Tony Robbins, Chairman of Tony Robbins Holdings, Inc.
Tony Robbins: Mastering the Money Game
Tony Robbins talks fast. Conversing with him is like riding Space Mountain: you get in, you hang on, and before you know it, it’s over and you’re left feeling bewildered, slightly euphoric, and wanting to smooth your hair.
Tony Robbins has become a household name as the man who popularized life coaching, and motivational speaking. Imagine your client list including Oprah, Princess Diana and President Clinton – all before you hit your mid-thirties. He’s spoken to over fifty million people, in a hundred countries. To call Tony Robbins just a self-help guru would be like calling Muhammad Ali just a boxer: it doesn’t quite cut it. Robbins is a force of nature, an industry, and a global brand. His advice is still sought by the likes of professional athletes, CEOs, movie stars, rock stars and world leaders.
In an exclusive interview with Foundr, we interrupt Tony Robbins’ schedule when he’s seventy kilometres from the Arctic Circle, racing Lamborghinis across a frozen ice lake. As you do. “I was eaten up by my crazy schedule, going to fifteen countries a year, so I decided ‘I’m going to find a little time to play’, and this was on my list. So it’s nice to be able to experience it.”
We’re not surprised. Robbins is best known for his high-intensity seminars. To say he’s bursting with enthusiasm is an understatement: it seems as though he’s sitting atop an erupting volcano of energy and optimism. His voice is booming and thunderous, with its trademark rasp. Each point he makes with the force of an artillery bombardment.
You could argue that Tony Robbins is the embodiment of the American Dream. The story of his transformation from a young penniless janitor into international-multimillionaire-superstar-life coach is as powerful as any of his teachings, and as much a commentary on American values as anything F Scott Fitzgerald ever wrote.
Born Anthony J. Mahavorick, Tony Robbins hails from Azusa and Glendora, California. His formative years were by no means easy. “I grew up dirt poor,” he says. “We had no money.” His father was a parking garage attendant. Robbins himself did not attend college; instead, he worked as a janitor. What he lacked in education he made up for in undeniable raw charisma.
“We had no money for food, which is part of why I’m so driven to help people – not only to end suffering, but succeed and experience the quality of life that they want. I hate suffering and I love seeing joy in people’s lives, and I love when people take back control.”
As a boy, Robbins initially was drawn to the energy and excitement of sports. “I wanted to be a professional baseball player,” he says. “I had a lot of moxie, but that was my only strength. When I got into junior high school, I got cut from the baseball team.” As a fall back, he wanted to be a sports writer. “I learned to take shorthand, I learned to type. I went to work for a daily newspaper when I was fourteen years old.”
As a sports writer, he’d be convincing. But this never had chance to take hold, before he was steered in a new direction. Robbins recalls his ninth grade teacher Mr Cobb providing him with a speech called ‘The Will to Win’, to memorise and present at a regional competition. Anthony J. Mahavorick may have been born in 1960, but Tony Robbins was born fourteen years later, on that day. His force and presence as a speaker led him to become Student Body President.
From there, he moved from strength to strength, building an empire of motivation. By the time he was thirty-one, he was coaching President Bill Clinton. He was working one-on-one with literally the most powerful people on Earth. “President Clinton was really a beautiful guy,” Robbins recalls. “He said, ‘Listen, I like your style. I’m looking for someone to shoot straight with me.’ I’m at Camp David, walking through the woods and deer are running by. I’m thirty-one and I’ve got the President of the United States asking me what he should do, and it’s kind of a trippy experience.”
However, recently the self-help guru has undergone a directional shift – from motivating presidents to educating people in one of the more confusing areas of life: finance. Robbins confesses that money has never been the primary focus. “To me, your energy is the most important thing, your physical body – because if you don’t take care of that, we’re just men in the graveyard.”
But the shift to finance is a welcome move. Like it or not, if you don’t understand the present financial system, you’re at a disadvantage. But not to worry: today’s financial system is so bafflingly complex – technical, in fact, to the point of being pernicious – that if you don’t understand it, you’re in the majority. However, the gap between those who can successfully play the financial game, and those who can’t, has widened to the point of being a nigh-uncrossable chasm. In fact, the political climate globally seems to concern itself with financial inequality more than at any time in recent history. A fitting time to release a book on finance’s inner workings.
Robbins’ new book Money: Master the Game has been on the Number One New York Times Business List for three months in a row. So far he’s clocked up three best-selling books, of which Unlimited Power (1987) and Awaken the Giant Within (1991) are long-time classics. Not bad for a man who doesn’t like writing books. “I haven’t written a book in twenty-eight years because I don’t like writing,” he laughs.
OK, so if he’s achieved all he has, why write another book? And why shift direction from pure motivation? “This book needed to be written because what you don’t know in the financial world will hurt you and if you do understand it, you can absolutely win this game still and become financially free.”
The book’s inspiration came as a reaction to the Global Financial Crisis. The world lost trillions of dollars practically overnight, and many average families lost their homes and life savings. Post-GFC, the universal attitude to money underwent a detectable shift. No longer was it that straightforward system of numerals, dots and dollar signs it might once have been; instead, it became something much more mysterious.
Many attempts have been made to mediate the overarching misery and fallout of the GFC. It confirmed what many of us have suspected for a long time – that finance is indeed a game, and one that most people are not particularly good at. Remembering the GFC in 2008, Robbins admits, “when that occurred, I had clients – billionaires – who were in trouble.”
Before all this talk of finance starts to scare you, Robbins’ book isn’t going to give you the rundown of the financial system: that’s still a task for the economists. Instead, it looks at the importance of investing.
Now Robbins is not a financial expert. Of that he makes no pretence. But he does have access to some pretty powerful people. Money: Master the Game required him to “interview fifty of the smartest people in the world financially, the most brilliant minds, and simplify into a set of steps,” he says. He wanted to create a series of steps for his readers that were “fundamentally identical to what the investors did,” he explains, “so that anybody could close the gap from where they are to where they want to be.”
Robbins took four years to meet with the necessary financial heavyweights, magnates and moguls. “I interviewed everybody from Warren Buffet to Carl Icahn, the most successful investor in history.” And it makes sense too. “These people win in good times and bad,” Robbins says. “When the market goes down, they make money, and when the market goes up, they make money.”
The book’s appeal lies in its simplicity. “I put this in a format where, literally, a novice could get started and get results. Steve Forbes wrote an article in Forbes Magazine and he said, ‘If there was a Pulitzer Prize for an investment book, this would win hands down’.” High praise indeed.
‘Financial freedom’ and ‘financial independence’ are terms Robbins comes back to continually. To be clear, he specifies he does not mean not working. So what does it mean to be financially free? “You make money your slave and you stop being the slave to money.” However, he explains, this isn’t just a pithy aphorism, but something practical and simple to execute. “You stop being just a consumer and you become an owner, you become an investor, and don’t wait till you have a bunch of money. Even if you’re struggling to start your business, and barely have enough cash, you still invest now because every business owner must have a money machine independent of the business.”
Expanding on the ‘money machine’ theme, Robbins repeatedly stresses the importance of setting up an investment account that accrues compounding interest. To illustrate the point, Robbins’ favourite example is that of U.P.S. employee Theodore Johnson, who, on an annual salary of US$14,000 in 1952, managed to invest wisely using 20% of his base wage. Owing to compounding interest, this grew over a lifetime into assets worth $70 million dollars.
Compounding interest and multiple revenue streams might not be areas young entrepreneurs are well-versed in, but Robbins entreats business owners to consider investment options sooner rather than later, owing to the fickle nature of business itself. “96% of all businesses are gone in ten years,” he says. “And of those remaining 4%, most aren’t profitable. What you want to do is have something on the side.”
ALTRUISM: MONEY STILL CAN’T BUY HAPPINESS
Sorry, but it’s still true: money can’t buy happiness. And despite his Lamborghini-racing hobby – which, let’s face it, can’t be cheap – Robbins is labouring under no illusions that money can truly make you happy. That’s not what this is about. Robbins stresses that your happiness is more closely tied to your relationships. “Your relationships are critical,” he says. “I’ve dealt with so many people over the years – billionaires – who had all the money in the world but their relationships were horrible, and they’re miserable because the quality of your life really is based on relationships.”
And you know Robbins practises what he preaches – since he’s already given away 100% of the projected profits of the book to charity. Robbins’ charity work is well known, especially his own pet project of delivering charity food baskets to millions of families across the world every thanksgiving – his own pay-it-forward act of thanks to an anonymous stranger who provided thanksgiving dinner to Robbins’ own family during a time of crisis, when he was seventeen. Talking to Robbins, it seems the joy really is to be found more in the giving than in the receiving.
Directed to name a single core trait for the most successful people on Earth – whether they be in business or politics or finance or sports – Robbins is quick to pick one: “hunger”. He elaborates, “But, it’s a special kind of hunger. The hunger that comes usually from pain, quite frankly. People who haven’t had pain don’t usually have that level of hunger.” In that sense, a childhood of privilege might not be such a great thing after all. “You have to have something that ignites you, that you want more than yourself.“
In this, the importance of his childhood brushes with bankruptcy becomes clear. “That hunger, you either get because you’ve had enough pain and instead of letting the pain destroy you, you turned it into drive; or you get that hunger because you get inspired by something larger than yourself, or get around people that are hungry and let them impact you. I always tell people, the source of energy is not you. The source of energy is a mission bigger than you if you can find something that you’re excited about.”
MOTIVATING THE MOTIVATOR
So what motivates the motivator? What does Tony Robbins value more than anything else? Hint: it has nothing to do with money. “I don’t think anything replaces family or God but I would say impact. I live for impact,” he says. “I love to see people light up.” Robbins recalls some of his needier clients who have been suicidal. “I’ve been able to turn them around and they’re alive ten years later.” And another client whose marriage was “being torn apart and now they’re together and they have two children that they weren’t going to have.”
“I like the idea that I will sacrifice my body, my heart, my soul even, for a stranger, because it makes me feel like my life has a deeper meaning than just about myself – and I think that’s really what matters in life. I could die tomorrow and say I lived well. This is a meaningful life. I don’t want to die tomorrow but if I did, I would have zero complaints and I’d feel like I’d lived fully.”
GET HUNGRY: 4 THINGS EVERY ENTREPRENEUR NEEDS TO DO IMMEDIATELY.
He’s coached billionaires, movie stars, and world leaders – including a President of the United States. And now he’s going to coach you. If you’re an aspiring and novice stage entrepreneur, Tony Robbins has some words of advice specifically for you, Foundr reader.
Know your market
You must decide: who is your market specifically. And you must know more about them than anybody else. That is number one. If you’re going to go into a business area, don’t go into that area because you write great code and you want to write great code, or you’re a great fashion designer. Go into that industry and say “Who do I want to design clothes for? Who do I want to write this code for? Who do I want to build this for? What do they need? What do they want? What do they desire?” I always tell people to influence someone … business you’ve got to influence them to become your client and then to stay your client.
Know your competition.
You better know what your competition is because if you don’t know what the competition is, it’s going to hit you – and the competition may not be out there, it’s what’s coming! New technology, new elements – so you need to know who your client is, got to know what the competition is, and that’s how you also know you can keep that competitive edge.
Love your clients.
What you have to do is fall in love with your clients. Don’t fall in love with your product or your service because it will become outdated. You can make money by screwing somebody over but you can’t be wealthy and stay wealthy unless you continue to find a way to add more value than anybody else does – and that means it never stops. To do that, you need to love your clients.
Get quality financial guidance.
What I mean by that is, don’t just get a damned CPA or an accountant. Most people don’t even do that – most of us entrepreneurs, we hate numbers, we hate accounting. Profit is a theory. I just want to warn every entrepreneur here. If you haven’t already experienced this, you can have this huge profit but at the end of the year, there’s no cash! So, accounting is a weird world, and you don’t have to become an accountant, but you have to get somebody who can advise you. There are virtual CFOs now that you can get, and you can get somebody who can turn financial numbers into intelligence. You need someone to guide you, or you won’t make it.
Key Takeaways Of Our Interview With Tony Robbins
- How to deduce your market to the metrics that matter
- The steps you need to take in order to be financially free
- Turning past pain into pure motivation and a hunger for success
- Tony’s ethos in living for impact, and how the money will follow
- How to serve your client in the best possible way
Full Transcript of the Podcast with Tony Robbins
Nathan: Hey guys welcome to another episode of the Foundr podcast. It’s so great to have you sharing your earbuds with me. I’m really, really, excited about today’s guest. I know you will be too. He’s an absolute legend within the personal development entrepreneurship space. And his name is Tony Robbins and I was really, really, excited to speak to him. Well at least you know, at least three to four months ago I had a chat with him on Skype and I was so, pumped to share this episode with you guys like even one of our writers has told us like this is one of the best ones I’ve ever done. And yeah look I’m not gonna tell you more than that, but I’m really excited to bring this one to. Tony shares with us everything around his latest book money. and he talks about so much more around entrepreneurship hunger, money, you name it. So I’m just going to leave it at that. And I’m just gonna leave you guys curious because I know you’re gonna love this one. And I just gonna take a quick little story about Tony an amazing guy. And I’ve never done any of his events or anything like that, but it’s crazy. The kind of level and energy that he brings to the table. And I just want to share a few a little story around like how this interview came about because you know, I thought it was really funny and interesting and might be interesting for you guys.
So pretty much I scheduled up with Tony’s team and it was two times, two times he stood me up like first time I’m not exactly sure what happened, second time, yeah he was in Finland and he had an opportunity to race Ferraris around the Arctic Circle and he said to me before he jumped on for when we act one actually called him for the third into like for the third scheduled time he said you know look I’m so sorry to stand you up but the last time I was in Finland and I had an opportunity to race Ferraris around the Arctic Circle and I worked so hard these are the kind of opportunities I don’t want to pass up. So I was like what maybe that’s what he gonna be doing to stand me up I totally respect that, that’s all good in my world and yeah I just thought it was really funny. So you know, third time’s a charm and when I did catch up with Tony, he was extremely generous with his time and this is a really cool interview I think you’re gonna love it. All right guys that’s it from me if you are enjoying these episodes please do, please, please, do leave us a review. It helps more than you can imagine. The show is growing really, really, fast and the more reviews we get, the more help support our brand and our mission. And yeah I’d love to hear from you. Nathan at Foundrmag.com if you are enjoying these episodes. And I’ll speak to you soon. All right let’s jump in.
Nathan: First of all thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. Tony I’m a massive fan of your work. Can you tell us about your latest book “MONEY Master the Game” It’s on the number one times business list, New York Times business list for three months in a row. Why did you decide to enter the financial realm? And what made you want to write a book about money last year?
Tony: Well first of all my pleasure to talk to you because I know your magazine is all about empowering entrepreneurs and that’s my family basically all over the world. Anybody who’s got the guts to put himself on the line and build an organization and try to find a way to do more for other people anybody else is doing that’s what it takes to succeed. They are people I really care about especially, I care about everybody, but I really want to power them. So hopefully this interview give some insights, but the answer your question specifically. I’ve always thought principles of money, but it’s never my primary focus. It’s been one of the areas of life that matters. There’s to me your energy is the most important thing. Your physical body because if you don’t take care of that which is man the graveyard doesn’t do any good. Your relationships are critical. I’ve dealt with so many people the earth, billionaires who had all the money in the world but their relationships are horrible, they’re miserable because we’re calling your life really is your relationships, your emotions.
If you got a billion dollars and you’re pissed off and angry all the time, or frustrated, or depressed, then your likes quality is not a billion-dollar life quality, its frustration, and anger, and depression. So I have taught money too, that’s been the primary focus until 2008 happen because when that occurred. I had billionaires that were my clients in trouble. I mean affected everybody. And my barber I mean that the alliteration billionaire the barber is probably as accurate as I could give you. And I’m watching people losing their homes, and losing half their net worth overnight. And I grew up dirt poor, I mean we had no money, with had no money for food which is part of why I’m so driven to help people not only in suffering, but you succeed experience quality life they want. I hate suffering, and I love seeing joy people’s eyes, and I love when people take back control, And so it wasn’t a statistic to me to see these people suffering and I have a unique privilege that most people even know of me didn’t know because I’ve always kept it private up until now which is for 21 years I’ve been coaching one of the top 10 most successful financial trainers literally in the history of the world not, last year, not this decade, in human history his name is Paul Tudor Jones. And in the 21 years I’ve worked with him and coached him, and I’ve coached him every day. Emails me and then I see him every 90 days face to face. We measure all the pieces and elements. In those 21 years he’s never lost money in one year which no one in his class can say, and it’s pretty extraordinary.
And so I know a lot more about finance than most people ever dream about because in order to help him I got to interview his peers like George Soros off that entire group, a Druckenmiller who made a billion dollars in a day betting against you know the pound years ago and they’re black what was a Tuesday whatever day it was. So I had a lot of, I have a tremendous amount of contacts and I thought to myself you know what the average person does not know how to win. These people win in good times and bad. When the market goes down they make money. When market goes up they make money. Real estate goes down make money, the Real estate goes up they make money. If I could find a way to go interview 50 and the smartest people in the world financially, the most brilliant minds and I could simplify it into a set of steps whatever number seven, eight, nine, steps that were fundamentally identical to what they did so that anybody could close the gap from where they are to where they want to be. Whether it be young entrepreneur that’s trying to figure out how to build a business but you probably have a second business on the side called your money machine, it’s making you money while you sleep even if your business isn’t making money in the short term, or whether it’s a baby boomer is trying to figure out how to still retire. And so it took me four years to do it and I interviewed everybody from you know Carl Icahn who you know most people I interview Warren Buffett, but Carl Icahn is the most successful investor in history now. Most people think it’s Warren Buffett, he’s got all the stars and stripes, but it was an article recently published by quick dip lenders and it showed that since 1968 Warren Buffett has done something unbelievable, he’s got a 20% compound in return on average since 1968, but Carl Icahn has delivered a 30%f, 50% better than Warren Buffett.
In the last ten years alone Carl Icahn has delivered 1,600% returns, it’s unbelievable. So I went and met with all these people.They, many of then become dear friends now and I’m able to call upon them on our ongoing basis but it allowed me to come up with this book and I put together these seven steps and I’ve put this in a format where literally a novice could get started and get results or very sophisticated financial planner could do it, a trader could do it. Steve Forbes wrote an article in Forbes magazine and he said if there was a Pulitzer Prize for an investment book this would win hands down. So we’ve got endorsements maybe on the planet and this is our fourth month at number one on the New York Times bestseller list. business bestseller list. I’m really proud of who it’s reaching and I hope that some of you listeners will tune in to and pick it up. And I want you to know I wrote this book and then I donated all the profits for the book in advance because when I was 17 years old we had no money in the food and my family was fed by a man a stranger, I don’t know who sent the food but we would have starved and within a few days without food, but our Thanksgiving is a very emotional time a feasting time, in a time of giving Thanksgiving and it was about as low as we could possibly get, and it changed my life because it wasn’t the food it was a stranger’s cared.
So I promised that someday to myself I’d find a way to get back. So I was 17, I’ve had two families for the first time on Thanksgiving. In the next year I did four, and then eight, and then 16, and then I got my small little company probably like many of the people starting now I have small entrepreneur at the time. And my companies weren’t even doing a million dollars but I got my employees involved into my company’s grid of hundreds of millions of dollars and then I come as get a billion dollar companies. And so now all my employees got involved, my foundation got involved, now we feed two million people a year, but I also match that with two million, but when I wrote the book I decided that I would donate all the profits and I called Feeding America the best time to relief organizations I know of, and said look if I gave you all this money, all the book profits in advance how many people got a team they said 10 million, I said I’m in but then I got more inspired so I read a larger checks. I’m feeding this year in my lifetime I’ve had 42 million people over the course of my life. And I said I wanna feed more people this year than I did my whole life. So this year I’m feeding 55 million people throughout the United States, and Canada, and Australia, the biggest group is in the United States and then I have matching funds to make a hundred million. Right now we’re at 71 million people so far and we’re, as we’re doing this interview right now we’re in March, so I think we’re gonna hit the number very easily. So I want people know, I’m not looking for your money, I’m looking to help, I have plenty of businesses. I succeed, get paid for coaching and do all kinds of wonderful things. So this is my way of giving back. I’ve written a book in 20 years I don’t like writing, but this book needing to be written because if what you don’t know in the financial world will hurt you and if you do understand it you can absolutely win this game still and become financially free.
Nathan: Look it’s an absolutely brilliant book Tony. And it’s it’s such an honorable thing you’re doing. I highlighted and took all sorts of bits of gold from the book and there’s a couple of of little one-liners that I just like to share for you that really hit home for me. And I’d like you to comment on them. One thing that really hit home was “No matter how much money you earn you always find a way to spend it.” Which is so true and everybody I think, especially a lot of our audience now they’re probably think once I start making it a 20-30K a month or once I become a millionaire then it’ll be okay, I’ll be safe, I’ll be secure but you will be too certain extent but you will always have way to spend it, right?
Tony: Well what happens is as you become more skillful as you find a way to add more value and you’re able to earn more, you’re that same creativity and imagination that helps you do more for others allows you to think of other things you want to create or do experience for your family, or people you love, or things you want to contribute. And when I interviewed all the people for this book I asked them all this financial pain or financial what sort of look for pressure I guess the word I use financial pressure ever go away, 98% of people I interviewed said no, and these are multi-billion or something that’s $20 billion. In their case though like Paul Tudor Jones said to me, “Tony there’s this piece of land that I want to buy that’s so expensive that he said even in my position he said but it sees thousands of thousands of acres outside of Georgia that he wants to buy and preserve so that a hundred years from now the forest will be back and people have those, and he can’t just do that out of this cash flow.” So one island and all of a sudden your finances are changed overnight. I know that from experience. You buy a jet so, it’s not about money anyway, it’s really about your ability to take what you envision and turn into reality, to take just pure spirit ideas and convert that into something physical. That’s a spiritual game I really believe business is a spiritual game.
Where else is it closer to every religion on earth which in essence is teaching you to love thy neighbor as myself every religion has a different descriptions but in its core that’s what life’s about. Which means you do love yourself and your love thy neighbor as thyself but you also love your neighbor, you’re gonna onto them as you wanted them do unto you. Well my gosh, if you are in business you have to deliver for people, you can’t prosper unless you’re doing more for them anybody else is doing. So it’s a spiritual game. Similar way if you could be you know more loving should you to be it, you wouldn’t question it, say of course I should be more loving. And you can increase your intelligence should you? Of course I should. If you could be more generous should you? Of course I should. If you can make more money should you? Why would that be any different? And so it’s not about the money it’s about expanding capacity, that’s really what it is. And it’s… I’m in the stage of my life, my wife was saying, is like honey you know at this point it’s kind of silly, it’s like ,why do you work? I said what you mean why do I work? You know why I work. I have a mission. I have to work financial independence by the way, is not, not, working. If financial independence is not having to.
And then usually you work at something you love that much more because interesting statistic, young people starting businesses not all young entrepreneurs are young in age, some are young in mind, so some of your readers may be an older age at 55, remember when I was growing up the idea was make enough money so that you can retire at 40 and you just live off the land and have an eye on with the new all that kind of stuff, right? And I did that at 26 and six months later I want to kill myself is like there’s only so many margaritas I could drink in those days or girls like a chase like you want to do something, plus all your friends working today my closest friends are people like Steve Wynn and Bill Cassell Las Vegas, he’s 72 years old, Warren Buffett is 70 what? Five years old, excuse me 83 years old, I could give you a list of 12 people Peter Guber rooms the Los Angeles Dodgers was president Sony, and present Mandalay pictures got 52 academy award nominations brilliant friend of mine 72 years old. They’re all working more today than they ever have in their lives and they’re loving it today. If you interview people who make more than $750,000 a year, 85% of them say they’ll never retire. And the 15% to say they do say they won’t before 75. So I think the game of mastering money is to not have to work and then you walk different, you talk different, you live different, and you’re a different lifestyle, and you find yourself I work hard today that I ever did back then.
So I really believe that yes if you want to see what people can spend look at great entertainers, and you look at somebody like a Michael Jackson it was near bankrupt before he died, you look at somebody like Mike Tyson the greatest boxer and history’s made more, he made a billion dollars, a fighter, personally earned a billion dollars in personal income and went bankrupt. So you know money Mayweather is now his replacement and he carries around a satchel and cash of a million bucks just in case of Louie Vuitton needs a visit. And then and I think he’s a brilliant guy and I think he’s starting to grow out of it. I hope he does for his sake because right now he fights spend the money, fight spend the money, which sounds crazy to us but that’s the most people do, they work spend the money, works spend the money, so the only way you ever get financially free is you make money you’re slaving you stop being a slave to money. And the way you do that is something simple, you don’t make the stupid mistake most people do.
You stop being just a consumer and you become an owner, become an investor, and you don’t wait till you have a bunch of money. You’re struggling to start your business you barely have enough cash for your own business you still invest now. Because every business owner must have a money machine. A money machine independent your business because 96% of all businesses are gone in 10 years and I’m sure yours is the one that’s gonna make it, but only four percent make it in 10 years and of those four percent most of those aren’t profitable. So what you want to do is have something on the side. And I’ll give you an example as a man I wrote about in the book named Theodore Johnson you work for UPS, the shipping company.
Tony: In his lifetime he never made more than 14,000 US dollar in a year. Annual salary topped at 14,000. He retired with 70 million U.S. dollars. And he didn’t receive any inheritance, it was all his compound interest on his investments he gave away 35 million while he was alive. How is that possible? Because a friend of his pulled him aside and said, “I wanna make you wealthy, he said I want you to save money and invest because I have no money I made $14,000 years everybody would agree with him except his friend, his friends and you know what, if the government came in and said there’s a 20% additional tax on your money you would scream, you would yell and you would pay it because you have to. He said we’re gonna tax you for your future. We’re gonna make you rich.” He took twenty percent off the top of his money, you prefer an investment account was automated so he could never touch it, never saw it, and it grew to $70 million dollars into his old age. So people either stand the power, every tournament power of compounding but my God if you are young, and young is anything under 70. You are compounding so I talked to 70 year-olds like a guy which I would have done this when I was 60, 60 years old I wish I have done with 50, 50 years old I wish I was 40. 30 year old say I wish I would do is 20. You want to do it now.
I interviewed the gentleman who have to create index funds that are now so famous around the world. He’s a professor at Princeton. His name is Burt Malkiel and I interviewed Burt in, I said what is the biggest mistake investors making? He said the biggest mistake they make is they think they know it but they don’t apply compounding. They just don’t do it, they wait too long. So I’ll give you a story Tony, told me a story of two young men one start saving literally when he’s 20 years old and he stops at 40 and he said just $300 a month, $4000 a year, for 20 years. So he got 80,000 save and he stopped saving any money at the age of 40. He has a brother James, William is the first kid. James is that one who at 40 he’s finally starts to save and he saves for 25 years till he’s 65. They both get a ten percent return. Well interesting question is which one has more money? Well you know what this is going the guy that started sooner and quit sooner is gonna have more money but how much more money? Well the man’s foot put a 100,000 in right the guy to did this for 25 years, he started 40 and 65 has $400,000 they die only put in 20 years worth of money only $80,000 but did it from age 20 to 40 has $2 million dollars. So my message to anybody listening as a young entrepreneur is get some money put aside, I don’t care how small it is, it will grow, but you got to make it automated.
Nathan: Mmm yeah look those would brewing examples in the book and they’re great to challenge your perspective because I remember reading it, it was just like wow that’s amazing. Especially, UPS guy, that was crazy. Yeah so look, brilliant book I absolutely love it. There’s a lot of golden nuggets we could talk about it all day but I’d like to switch gears and talk a little bit more about you and especially all your success. What do you value the most? The books you’ve written? The crowds to thousands of people that you’ve spoken to? The business leaders like Marc Benioff at Salesforce who attribute their company’s creation or his company’s creation to your help. What do you value the most Tony? Because you’ve done some crazy things.
Tony: My wife, my children honestly. God in my life, I mean I’ll sounds corny but it’s the truth. My wife’s the greatest gift in my life. I love my kids.I don’t think anything replaces family or God but I would say impact. I live for impact. I love to see people light up. I love to see, I remember the day that Marc Benioff came to me, came in my seminar three times and my Unleashed the Powerman seminar the one I done in Australia so my times in Sydney. Came to the program he was working for Oracle, and I’ve said what do you really want? Pushed him any thought he said I want to build this company. So when are you gonna do this. He said you know what I’m pushed over the edge, remember my face, my name is Marc Benioff, I want to be friends with you but I’m gonna tell you I’m gonna build a company it’s gonna change the business world it called salesforce.com. I’m leaving today Oracle. I’m gonna start the company. I’m gonna build a $100 million dollar company. Well now he’s $2.5 billions a year. And everybody from Facebook to Coca-cola runs their entire company on his platform. And he keeps growing at 30% a year.
So I mean it’s pretty exciting but you know I also have like for example I’ll see examples of people that they were suicidal and I’ve been able to turn them around and they’re alive and it’s 10 years later they’re telling me things around people whose marriages were being torn apart and they’re together and they have two children now that they weren’t going to have. There’s business examples, there’s personal examples, there’s emotional examples. I love the privilege of being able to get up.Yesterday I was in Poland doing a seminar there at 8,000 people I’ve never even been to Poland before. I show up and you know word of mouth and my brand is made it so that I can see eight to 10,000 people just about anywhere I go. five to 10,000 people anywhere I go. And I can get up for day to day out and create an environment where most people won’t sit for a three hour movie somebody spent $300 million to make just me and my thoughts and voice and I’m people people there for 50 hours and they’ll come out of there saying the greatest experience of their life. So that’s a pretty fun experience you’ll do.
And I do that in somebody diverse ways my business mastery, my unleashed power within programs, in my date with Destiny’s, and then I get to coach sports stars, and musicians, and pres United States, and so I have diversity in the impact. So it’s family, love and impact that’s what it’s all about as far as I concerned. My work is love made visible that’s my real belief. And that love permeates everything I do and I think people respond to when they get a tree, a lot of people think is bullshit till they experienced it, but when you with somebody works as hard as I do with you, for 50 hours in a weekend there’s no bullshit, you see raw and real, that guy could have done five hours and I would have been out of my mind. I was just Jay z and Beyonce’s manager just came to the unleash power did in New York and his name Steve Stoute. Steve said to me, “Tony I sat back there, he said I watched you for three hours and he said I thought this is unbelievable, everything’s got energy room he said, but I have see, I’ve seen that the Rolling Stones have done this, I’ve seen Elton John do this, he said he said at five hours, he says look at myself going this is insane, no one on earth could do this.” And he said at 12 hours he said he had 7,000 people on their feet he said it one o’clock in the morning and he said I wouldn’t these other two rooms because we’ve sold out the venue. So we had two giant thousand person rooms with giant screens on it. I wasn’t even there. They’re all I’ve been doing it unbelievable. So the privilege to have figured a way to meet people’s needs that is so potent that they leave saying is one of the greatest experience of their life and then see him 10 years later and see how it still change them a pretty game fulfilling.
Nathan: So like your work ethic is crazy. Like what have you had to sacrifice to get where you are today?
Tony: Well it’s interesting, I don’t look at it a sacrifice. I look at it as what I made for. I mean, I’m looks like what else you’re gonna do with your life? I mean people say to me will you sacrifice play time? You sacrificed a time you could just spend relaxing? Sacrifice playing golf? I still do a few those things every now and then play 16 holes of golf I don’t wanna play 18 holes of golf. I’m over here you know racing Lamborghinis here right now 70 kilometers from the Arctic Circle. I’m gonna do this for two days and play like crazy. So I’ve sacrificed letting go, relaxing, I sacrifice doing nothing but I don’t see those things as a sacrifice. On the other hand, I like the idea that I will sacrifice my body, my heart, my soul, even for stranger because it makes me feel like my life has a deeper meaning not just about myself. And I think that’s really what matters in life.
Nathan: Can you take us back to your first ever talk, your first seminar. How it felt? Because fast forward you’ve helped over 50 million people in a hundred countries. I just like to hear what it was like for you the first time.
Tony: Well it’s interesting I had… I wanted to be a sports writer, I wanted to be a professional baseball player, and I was starting very late, but we had no money I couldn’t play Little League earning of that nature and then I got a third father was a semi-pro baseball player. He got me into sports and I had such intensity I was 5’1, 1.5 meters I’m now two meters right since six foot seven, but I was a tiny little guy. And I wasn’t skilled, I had a lot of moxie that was my only strength and when I got into junior high school and I got cut from the baseball team. I went, “Oh my god if I don’t do, if I don’t make the junior high school team, the high school team much less get a college scholarship, get all the way through the major leagues.
So I said okay I’ll be a sports writer. I’ll be a sportscaster. I’ll be involved in sports because I love the energy of sports. I love the excitement sports. What of my love’s for Australia, I lived in Australia at the golf course for many years, and had a home there. It’s the meat ship and the sporting environments better than almost anywhere on earth I say that with no exaggeration. It’s an energy that Aussies have. And so I wanted that energy in my life.
So I learned to take shorthand. I learned to type. I went to work for daily newspaper when I was 14 years old. I got interviews with very famous people no one else could get interviews with. And I started work for even a television show and then I ran into a stage here where I took the speaking class and I had this teacher and I was in the seventh grade and excuse me in the ninth grade, and this teacher, I was trying to get the senior high school cheerleaders attention that was pretty funny.
So I wasn’t very attractive but I was funny as shit and I get her attention at all costs disrupt the classroom and said he said, “Mr. Robbins I’ll see you after class.” It’s like our shit I’m so busted so I wait after class he looks at me goes you know why I have you here don’t you? I’m like yeah, yeah, he said, “Mr. Robbins I’ve never seen anyone, he called me Mr. of little boys. “I’ve never seen anyone, take a group of high school students, with no notes, with nothing but just pure passion, and move them. He said you have a gift.” And I looked at him like he was crazy. Can I owe this man so much his name is Mr. Cobb, he’s since passed away. And I said what do you mean? He goes, he said, “Don’t you see?” Oh yeah but I’m just communicating to him. I’m just talking about, I talk about shit I’m not passionate about.
He goes, “There’s a gift in you and he goes you know what I know more about your life and you probably think I do. I know that you know you’ve been thrown out of your house. I know your mother through your dad out. I know you almost stopped because I know what a tough like you’ve had.” He said, “I just want you to know I want you read the speech.” And he handed me the speech called the “Will to Win” And you think, “You go home and read this. And if it’s what I think it is, I think it’s your life.
I want you to memorize a speech. And I want you to get up and give the speech in a regional competition.” I said, “I’m not a senior.” He goes, “I don’t care, I’ll get you in and I think you’ll kill it.” And I went home read the speech and I cried my eyes out because it was so the core of what I was about and I got up and gave us talk in one first place and started speaking and that kind of move me in that direction so my first speeches were like in high school and then I ran for student body president because I was sick of the popular kids doing shit that made me crazy.
I wasn’t popular but I ran it like a real campaign I went to the band so what you want to do and I did my homework and said that shits never gonna fly. Looks I think I can pull off, and I was straight with people. And I end up beating two of the most popular kids in school. And I gave a speech in my high school. We had those days 18 hundreds kids in the school and I’ve got a standing ovation, shook the building and I was like okay, maybe Mr. Cobb is right. I can do this and then as the years went by it wouldn’t be on speaking just in groups to where I was working with individuals. First time I worked with Princess Diana, or President Clinton called me I was 31 years old. He’d been such a popular president all of a sudden you know the Congress in America and taking over other Republicans, and he is seen is totally ineffective and he’s calling me saying on Christmas Eve, “Will you fly to Camp David and meet me and coach me?” And I said to him Mr. president I want to be very respectful but I’m not a fan so if you want something just gonna tell you what you want to hear I’m the wrong guy.” And let the guy that I was at his house who called it was a very wealthy man look at me, “Are you crazy mouthing at the president of United State, you dumb aren’t you?” And President Clinton was really beautiful guys and listen he said I like your style because I’m looking for someone to shoot me straight. So when you’re sitting down, I’m walking through the woods and deer running by in Camp David, I’m 31 I got the President of United States asking me what he should do, it’s kind of a trippy experience. I’ve had a lot of those along the way that they come from God’s blessings, they come from extremely hard work. I always tell people you see somebody’s extraordinary in public you’ve not seen all the intense things they’ve done in private, you only get rewarded public for what you practiced unbelievably intensely in private. I’m always pushing myself beyond. And so you do that for decades and you get opportunities and if you could deliver those opportunities life reward you disproportionately and I’ve had that great blessing.
Nathan: Do you ever believe in giving up? Is it ever the right thing to do in your eyes in business?
Tony: I think there are some businesses that are not a sustainable model anymore. I mean, there are businesses at one time there was a margin in and now they become commodities. So I am a pragmatist, but I don’t believe in giving up. I believe that what you have to do is fall in love with your clients don’t fall in love with your product or your service because it will become outdated. I don’t give a shit what it is. Technology is going so fast, the world is changing constantly and forever. So the mistake people make is most entrepreneurs excuse me, build a company that reflects what they want.
Instead you gotta say “Who’s my ideal client? Who are the clients that will be able to grow with me through time? And then I’m gonna learn everything about their needs, they want, their desires. I’m gonna learn more about what they need then they even though they need. And I’m gonna be ten steps out of them delivering more value for them than anyone else because that’s the only way that you stay wealthy.” You can make money, I scream somebody over but you can’t be wealthy and stay wealthy unless you continue to find a way to add more value than anybody else does.
And that means it never stops. I mean it’s funny I have people over the years come up to me at times in my seminars of a how and a guy come up to me in this really intense look and he says you know in a couple of years “I’ll be where you are. You better watch out.” And I just laugh, and I smile, and I say I hope that’s true. I hope in two years you are where I am because when you get to where I am you’ll be where I was. I said, “You don’t stand a chance. Because I’m not gonna stop growing but you should give it your best shot.” I like competition. So it’s like you’ve got to keep growing that could never stop.
Nathan: Look, we have to work towards wrapping up Tony but have a few more questions. One is that, one thing that I see amongst successful entrepreneurs that I speak to and the aspiring entrepreneurs, all the people that can never get started is they don’t have that fire, they don’t have that passion, that burning desire. And I find that they don’t want it bad enough, in its simplest form they don’t want it bad enough. What does it take to develop that passion, that fire just that wanting it bad enough? Like that’s something you have that I can really, anyone listening they can hear the passion, that fire inside of you?
Tony: Well you hit the nail on the head. When people ask me, what’s the single, if you gotta give only one trade there’s the core to all the most successful people on earth where they be in business, or politics, or finance or sports, the answer is hunger, but it’s a special kind of hunger, it’s a hunger that doesn’t go away. Most people get hungry because they see something they want or they haven’t had enough of what they want but if your hunger is only driven by your needs then it’s easy to get to filled in the world we live in today.
Especially with the internet you can make yourself meet all your needs you can feel certain, you can feel significant by tearing are the people down, you can connect with people that I have no work about it. I mean it’s easy to meet your basic needs and settle. But you know you look at the people the greatest on earth than anything. Whether it be, like Tiger Woods in all the years these be able to do the things he’s done and he’s not doing as well now but like nobody is, nobody’s equal to him and God only knows how long or you look at a Michael Jordan in the NBA, or LeBron James currently. I mean these are people you know Kobe Bryant, Kobe Bryant makes three hundred shots every practice before he stops. He has to make 300 shots.
I mean it’s like the mindset of people like that is he could have said look I’m the best the world I made $28 million a year. I got endorse him 300 million bucks a year .I don’t even work this hard but he’s never lost his hunger. So how do you get that hunger? That hunger comes usually from pain quite frankly. People that haven’t had pain don’t usually have that level of hunger or you have to something that ignites you that you want more than yourself.
I always tell people the source of energy is not you, the source of energy is a mission bigger than you because if you can find something that you are excited about, like I got more excited last year when I said I’m gonna feed a hundred million people, I’m gonna feed 50 million personally. I provide the matching funds. It will be the 100 million people one year. I only fit 42 million in my whole life. Only it’s totally amazing. Looks like, I got more excited about that it just about anything else I was doing.
I come up with new tools, new resources, when I started out there was no way. I’ve been funding to make that happen or the strategy or even how was I gonna distribute all that food. I mean it was like this giant vision but it was bigger than me. It wasn’t like, “Oh how do I make enough money so I can buy another house?” Or buy a mansion or there’s nothing wrong with that but I found that in my wife, people when they aspire to take care of themselves your part of life. So life supports whatever supports more of life. If you want to do something that’s gonna make your life bigger and better then you’re gonna get a certain level inside.
If you’re doing it because you’re trying to support more than yourself ,for your family well that’s more than just you and like gives you more insights. Try to support a community that’s… you try and support of all of humanity the game gets bigger, and as the game gets bigger, gets more exciting there’s more energy, and then the hunger never dies. If I was just trying to say, “What do I gotta do so that I can have a great wife? Well you know I got my islands, and I got my jets, and I got all that crap, is not crap it’s all beautiful wonderful gifts, but you could take all that shit away and you can’t take away what I become.
Who I become as a man and what delivered for millions of people. I could die tomorrow and say I lived well, this is a meaningful life, I don’t want to die tomorrow, but if I did I would have zero complaint, and I feel like I live fully.” That hunger, you either get because you had enough pain and instead of laying pain destroy you turned it in to drive, or you get that hunger because you get inspired by something larger than yourself or get around people that are hungry and let them hit you. I mean you get around an environment, we become when we spend time with. So that’s why I do events, you to get into event with 5,000 people Sydney and you see people every walk of life so the biggest Olympian champions are going to be there, stars from television movies, business people moms, and dads, and we’re rocking at a level of intensity you’ve ever seen in an auditorium and I don’t give a damn where you’ve been? What concert you’ve been to. You are going to go into state when you going upstate you gonna remember who you are. You remember who you are, you’re gonna remember what you really want and what you want to create for your life. So giving an environment like that and giving yourself around people like that and let something hit you.
Nathan: Yeah, I know this is awesome because this is you’re like to me this is what I know you about and in your work so I had to ask you that question. Three action items for aspiring another stage entrepreneurs from you looking to build a successful business.
Tony: Number one, you must decide who is your market specifically and you must know more about them than anybody else. I mean that is number one. If you’re gonna go into a business area, don’t go in that area because you write great code, you want to write great code, or your great fashion designer. Go into that industry and say who do I want to design clothes for? Who do I write this code for? Who do want to build this for? What do they need? What do they want? What do they desire? See, I always tell people to influence someone which business you got to influence to become your client, and then to stay your client. To influence somebody you got to know what already influences them. So the more you know over their needs, their desires, their wants, their fears, the more you can figure out what they need and how to do it better than anybody out fulfill that need better than anybody else that is rule number one. If you can’t tell me precisely and specifically, not generally man ,women from age 22 to whatever, I want to know cycle graphically emotionally where they live? I want you to give me a half dozen people personas of six people that are your core clients, the best client you think you’re gonna get, and now tell me what they need? And tell me why are you gonna deliver better. Tell me number two. What is the competition? You better know what your competition is, because if you don’t know what the competition is it’s gonna hit you, and the competition may not be out there it’s what’s coming.
New technology, New elements, so you need to know who your client is, got to know what the competition is, that’s how you also know you can keep that competitive edge. And then I think the third thing you got to deal with making this happen is, you’ve got to decide but from day one you’re gonna get quality financial guidance. And what I mean by that is don’t just get a damn CPA or an account, and most people don’t even do that. Most of us entrepreneurs we hate numbers, we hate accounting, so you go CPA and how much you’re going to go? Oh you’re profitable and you go yeah you have a beer, you have a shout, you go great but profit is a theory.
I just want to warn every entrepreneur here. And if you haven’t already experience it. You can have this huge profit in the year there’s no cash, so accounting is a weird world and you don’t have to become an accountant but you have to get somebody who can advise you. You need to get a CFO and the problem is you probably can’t afford one because on account you can get for an hourly wage, a CFO might cost you $300,000 a year so that’s why in the first year 50% of businesses are gone for a lot of reasons but in five years, 80% of business is gone and the ones that are gone in ten years, 96% are gone it’s not because it wasn’t a good product or service usually or the owner didn’t care or work hard it’s because they didn’t know their numbers. They were driving their car thinking they were going 35 miles an hour and they were driving 100 because they’re getting the wrong gauges they thought they had a full taking gas and they were on E and they found out too late and now they’re gone.
So I actually started a service called My CFO which is a virtual CFO service because if you look at my career my business is now doing over $5 billion a year in sales, the combine businesses. So I mean they’ve grown for the level that’s just mind-boggling to me but I almost was bankrupt multiple times it was not because I wasn’t driven, I didn’t care, or I wasn’t doing great for my clients. My clients love me but the economics were wrong. So you got to get, and I’m not the only ones doing it. There are, these virtual CFO’s now that you can get. You can get somebody who can turn financial numbers into intelligence, you got to do this. So there’s more money to make. You got to do that. You’re gonna change your pricing.
You gotta swim less more money on this and more on that. You need someone to guide you or you won’t make it. You’ll do well when things are going well but then when the storm comes it’s kind of like flying an airplane. I’m a helicopter pilot and a fixed-wing pilot as well when it’s sunny skies I’ve called DFR, digital flying rules, you can fly anybody can fly knows how to basically fire an engine but when there’s storms, and clouds, and that type of thing you have to be able to read those gauges, and if you can’t read them you’re gonna crash and die. So the gauges are your financials. You’ve got to learn those. I teach those from business mastery.
I think I do this five-day immersion program where I take entrepreneurs of all levels, multi-billion dollar clients, and people literally just guarding and we go five days and nights in this total immersion. It’s basically boot camp for business. I promise people a million dollars a day but fun day with one if they don’t feel it’s a million dollars of value that they’ll earn more than a million or they’ll save more than a million I give all the materials for free incentive home. Nobody ever leaves.
This extraordinary but what I do in that process I also during that time I show them in four hours, I teach them how to look at their numbers in a way that’s fun believe it or not people never believe that’s possible. And I’m bringing a guy that’s brilliant from Harvard that gives you the equivalent of an MBA in about four hours, the most only lived in Harvard so that now you can manage somebody else and you can make sure that you don’t get dusted because it’s not enough to have the best product. It’s not enough the best service. It’s not a best of the best marketing. None of the best people. You also have to manage the financial part of your business. And it’s a part that changes quickly, because the world changes quickly. You got to master.
Nathan: Yeah I know this is absolute gold and that service, that virtual CFO service, where’s the best place for our audience to find that if they were interested?
Tony: They can go to mycfo.com or I believe in, I think I have it also au, and hauled Sandwick which probably familiar with. One of the top firms there. They’re my partners in it. Even around since like as long as Australia has been around, a couple hundred years. So they’re a really, really, sharp firm. They can help firms to really, really, grow. I know that’s one piece that everybody needs. I know might not having it was was literally, literally, my almost my undoing multiple times. Once I got that part of my business handled then I was freed up to just create, add value, and make things happen.
Nathan: Well thank you for sharing that with us Tony. One last question I’m very, you’ve been so generous with your time and this has been an amazing interview. If you had your last speech that you could make you know 30 seconds what would you say? Your dying speech?
Tony: The secret to living is giving. Life too short to focus on yourself. Find something more than yourself, larger than yourself. Find a vision greater than yourself. Go get you up early and keep you up late and fill your life with growth and joy because that’s where all that love is going to come from. It’s not about getting love it’s about doing something you love with people you love for a higher purpose that you love. That will make you feel filled with love. As the map there’s a life of passion that most people would only dream about.
Nathan: Awesome. Look, thank you so much for taking your time you’ve been very generous Tony. It’s been an amazing interview. I thought I did my best interview ever but I think I think you’ve topped this now so thank you.
Tony: well thanks to your time Nathan, good luck to you.
Nathan: Thank you and I’ll be in touch.
Tony: Okay take good care. Bye-bye
Key Resources Of Our Interview With Tony Robbins
- Learn more about Tony on his website
- Visit Tonyrobbins.com
- Check out Tony’s blog post page
- Visit Tony’s Store
- Experience Tony Robbins
- Read Tony’s book MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom
- Follow Tony on Twitter
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- Subscribe to Tony’s Youtube channel