My wife and business partner, Rachel, joins me to talk about my new book, Survive and Thrive, which comes out in ebook form today. Rachel asks me some important questions about why I decided to write the book, and how I hope it will help people. Get your copy of the ebook today at surviveandthrivebook.com.
John Meese 0:24
Rachel, Hi, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast. How are you doing today?
Rachel Meese 0:28
Doing great. Well, glad to be here.
John Meese 0:31
Good. I'm glad to have you here with us. So whenever you come here on the podcast, it's always because it's a special occasion. So what is today's special occasion you want to share?
Rachel Meese 0:40
Well, today we're celebrating that your book surviving thrive will be released in ebook format. Yes. Is it Tuesday?
John Meese 0:47
Rachel Meese 0:47
Today? I'm sorry? It's today.
John Meese 0:49
Yeah, today is now Tuesday.
Rachel Meese 0:51
Wow. It is Tuesday. We had a snowstorm last week, and I'm a little bit off. Oh, yes. I'm very excited about your ebook which comes out today.
John Meese 1:00
Yes. Thank you. Today next week. But so
Rachel Meese 1:05
We because we record videos in advance, yes. Your ebook comes out today.
John Meese 1:09
Yes it comes out today. Today, March 2.
Rachel Meese 1:13
John Meese 1:14
Today, March 2, the book comes out. So yes. So survive and thrive how to build a profitable business in any economy, including this one does come out it will release in bookstores in July. And so that's where you'll be able to find the paperback in everywhere in the world, of course. And then, but we were able to rush the ebook with the publisher. And so we were able to encourage them that we wanted to release this as soon as possible. And so the ebook is actually available today. You can go to survive and thrive book.com to learn more, or go search for it. wherever you'd like to buy your ebooks. And, yeah, that's what we're gonna talk about,
Rachel Meese 1:53
Because it's available today on March 2,
John Meese 1:56
Rachel Meese 1:57
Today's Yes. I'm so proud of you, well done.
John Meese 2:00
Thank you. I appreciate that. So I'm just going to share a little bit about the book.
Rachel Meese 2:03
No, people listen to the podcast. It's called Survive and Thrive, right. So I want to know how to book and podcasts work together and what makes your book different.
John Meese 2:14
Great. Thank you. It's a good question. So the podcast is really part of the book in the sense that, you know, this time last year actually was when our world really changed radically between lockdowns and pandemics and all kinds of new vernacular entering their language like social distancing, and all those fun things
Rachel Meese 2:35
and phrases like- Oh, no, I forgot my mask.
John Meese 2:38
Yes, that's a became a new phrase to learn. So in the midst of all of that, during a lockdown, actually, when our new brick and mortar business that we're in right now Cowork Columbia, when that was closed, then I felt kind of, you know, overwhelmed in the situation, of course, just like everybody else, but then I started identifying, okay, what exactly is going on? And I recognize that there were three crises happening simultaneously. There was a health crisis, right, it was a physical health pandemic, saftey, you know, sickness. There's a mental health crisis, because of all the shock to our society. I mean, really, the destruction of life as we knew it, you know, that all of that is a mental health
Rachel Meese 3:17
thats too many changes at once.
John Meese 3:19
Rachel Meese 3:19
John Meese 3:20
likely to cause some sort of trauma globally. And then there was an economic crisis. And I looked at all of those. And I realized that there were a lot of people working on the health cri– crisis. And I believed and prayed that there would be a growing number of people focused on solving the mental health crisis. But where I decided to really focus my energy was the economic crisis. So that's where this book comes from, was really in the midst of that. I said, Okay, I want to create a guidebook for everybody that's really trying to figure out whether it's the current business owners who are trying to adapt their business models, the new economy, or the 30 million Americans. And then countless all over the world. were recently promoted to entrepreneur,
Rachel Meese 3:59
Meaning recently unemployed due to economic crisis and job changes and are with the unrestricted, uncharted path before them, right?
John Meese 4:09
Rachel Meese 4:10
But for you is clearly entrepreneurship.
John Meese 4:12
Right. And that made me think that may not be the case for everybody. And for anybody who wanted to try and pursue that I wanted to create a guidebook that would really be a step by step plan that would make that attainable, but also focus on the timeless practices that wouldn't just be relevant during COVID-19. But also beyond that. So that's where this book came from. But as part of that, I interviewed 25 of the best and brightest minds in business that I knew of and I did begin its podcasts were so I was able to actually interview those mentors of mine and include their insight in the book alongside my own experience, and then extensive research. So yeah, so that was my 2020 project, biggest in my DIY project for 2020.
Rachel Meese 4:48
That's a good way to put it. A lot of people have their DIY Yes,
John Meese 4:51
mine was my DIY
Rachel Meese 4:53
Creating the guide to the economic crisis. Yeah, I love that. You've done that interviews and then you take in this question. That content that you've learned and the data you have with your background in creating a guide for the podcast still continues because we still continue, like that economic recovery, which helps in mental health, like, feeling like we're building something together. And it all it all works together.
John Meese 5:16
Yes, exactly. So. So if you've been listening to the podcast, you've been listening to all the early interviews, and you've heard some of the inside expertise that ended up in the book. But there's a lot more than that was a lot more than the book that wasn't in the podcast. And even the podcast itself is still down, who the common themes and the most important takeaways that apply, not just to right now, during, you know, as we're coming out of the COVID-19 crisis, or going into whatever the next version of this crisis is, I pulled out the insights that didn't that apply, not just to now, but that were timeless. They're really about building a business from scratch without venture capital without asset backing, building a profitable business from scratch that would stand the test of time do you wouldn't be dependent upon
Rachel Meese 5:55
It was in the test of time in any economy
John Meese 5:57
in any economy, including this one, Yeah.
Rachel Meese 6:00
Great. That's great. I'm so proud of you.
John Meese 6:02
Rachel Meese 6:03
Yes, I have a bunch of sticky notes
John Meese 6:04
I see that, I love that.
Rachel Meese 6:05
Can I ask you questions. So
John Meese 6:07
Rachel Meese 6:07
is that okay?
John Meese 6:08
Rachel Meese 6:08
All right. So you said, so we've talked on the podcast, why apprenticeship is so important to you, which comes back to the infinite game of eradicating generational poverty, yes, that entrepreneurship is how you pull yourself, your family and your, your next generation, how you build a better future is the entrepreneurial ladder, always moving forward. And so when you say wealth can't be created from scratch, I can only change form unless you're an entrepreneur. So could you talk about how, like, your economic background, how money makes the world go round? And why money so important to you, like fixing your finances, increasing that step into entrepreneurship
John Meese 6:52
So that concept, which is in I think the first chapter in the book, really is about setting the stage for what it means to be an entrepreneur, because I view that as a really noble, important role in the world. And it's kind of also my cheeky take on the entrepreneur version of the, you know, the first law of thermodynamics, which is
Rachel Meese 7:10
that matter cannot be
John Meese 7:12
I think the aka
Rachel Meese 7:13
energy cannot be
John Meese 7:14
I think the first. So there are two laws that are related. But I think the first law of thermodynamics believe is that energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change form. Well, so I kind of took the same thought, as I was really thinking through the world, and I thought, okay, if I go take my money and put it in a bank and save it, and that money, you know, gets interest from the bank, because the bank is able to loan it out to other people. And they're able to make interest on that, then like, there's some money kind of changing hands, and like doing pretty good, but it's kind of like it's sort of a it's kind of circular, it's kind of like the money's changing hands and going around and like it, you know, it's sort of like wealth cannot, it can change hands, it can change forms, but it's not really created. The only time that wealth is created, is when an entrepreneur steps in and says, I see a real problem. And there are real people who value a problem, and I have a real solution. And they create a business according and when they do that, you actually create new wealth to make the world a better you generate new wealth and new progress, new change new goods and services that didn't exist before. And so that's really kind of where I got excited about this idea that entrepreneurship is about making the world a better place, literally, you know, by moving pushing the envelope, moving things forward. So that's where I got this idea, what I call what I call the first law of entrepreneurship or something like that, or the
Rachel Meese 8:33
first law of financial dynamic.
John Meese 8:35
Yes, the first law of financial, which is the first law of financial dynamics, which I made up, which says that wealth cannot be created or destroyed. It can only change form unless you're an entrepreneur.
Rachel Meese 8:46
John Meese 8:47
What are the sticky notes you got?
Rachel Meese 8:48
So this one set is in your chapter about? It says a word about problems.
John Meese 8:54
Rachel Meese 8:56
So I wanted to get into that book we wrote read about the resistance. Every page was like, the resistance,
John Meese 9:04
the War of Art.
Rachel Meese 9:05
Yes. It's a war of art
John Meese 9:07
by Steven pressfield.
Rachel Meese 9:08
Thank you. So he talks about the resistance and why it's always an uphill battle and why there's always something to be solved. And I wanted to pair that with the entrepreneurial problem solving. Like, how do you as an entrepreneur, tub thump, as it were, you get knocked down and you get back up again, over and over and over?
John Meese 9:25
Yes. So in our family, we should explain. We use this phrase a lot about Tubthumping, because it's the song Tubthumping by Chumbawamba which most people don't know that either the name of the band or the name of the song, which is why I love referring it to it by name, the song Tubthumping by Chumbawamba you've probably heard it before it's the song You know, I get knocked down. But I get up again, you ain't never gonna keep me down. So our kids know the song we play telephone thing, which is where we all like push each other down, but then we get back up again like the kids love it.
Rachel Meese 9:53
We have boys so
John Meese 9:55
yes, so yes. So your question is how does one tubthump
Rachel Meese 9:58
How does an entreprenuer tubthump?
John Meese 10:01
Well, I think it's important to put a little context here and talk about this in the book. But that definition, one of my favorite definitions of an entrepreneur, and I cite Michael Hyatt here, although I've heard other people have different versions of that same definition, which is that an entrepreneur solves a problem for a profit. And at least now you're like, Okay, totally make sense, solve the problem for a profit. But then the implication there is that to be an entrepreneur, is to really commit to a life of problems.
Rachel Meese 10:30
Yes, that's what I want to talk about choosing entrepreneurship to survive and thrive, you are choosing to take on and solve problems indefinitely, yes. How do you maintain energy and hope, with so much resistance?
John Meese 10:46
Well, that's a good question,
Rachel Meese 10:48
This is why you bring me on the podcast, great questions.
John Meese 10:51
So I think it's different for every person. I mean, but I mean, you have to have an impending game you're playing where you feel like you're making a difference, and you have a purpose beyond what you're doing. But the reason why, early on in the book, I talk a lot about the entrepreneurs paradox and the fact that by choosing to solve problems for the rest of your career, you are also choosing to surround yourself with problems for the rest of the year, or a year
Rachel Meese 11:13
The rest of 2020
John Meese 11:14
The rest of your life, it wasn't Yeah, then that all comes back to just making it clear that you need to know what you're getting yourself into that entrepreneurship right now in our culture is kind of Glorified is like the new sexy thing to do is to like, build your billion dollar unicorn and like, you know, did you know that you know, oh, yes, a unicorn is the term used in the Silicon Valley world to refer to a company that is valued by investors at worth more than a billion dollars. So like, Atlassian was the first Australian unicorn,
Rachel Meese 11:45
right? What I see in the glorify entrepreneurship, it's like, Instagram, tik tok rails where people are like, cleaning up things, like I built my million dollar business, but all I do is dance on a screen... Is that what a unicorn is? okay, Thank you for defining a unicorn.
John Meese 12:02
Thank you. Yeah, of course. But I think the reality is like, I believe that I believe that you should build a business to fuel your life, rather than the other way around. And so that's part of the whole surprise formula, the whole thrive framework is that it's not just about surviving, right, that's key, you know, off the top of my head, I think it's 80% of businesses fail within the first five years.
Rachel Meese 12:23
John Meese 12:24
And so the survived part is just about survived 2020 or survive 2021, or survive COVID-19. It's about survived the odds. I mean, it's about creating a business that can really last beyond that. And the thrive part is really about building a business that fuels your life. I mean, like we're telling people kind of dismiss, there's this term that people say, kind of a dryer trick where they're like, Oh, that's a lifestyle business. And what they mean is that's a small little businesses kind of cute that maybe you make a little bit of money from, but I've always resisted that. I've always been frustrated by that. Because the reality is, every business should be a lifestyle business, right? If you're not building a business to support your lifestyle, why are you in business in the first place? Because it's a lot of work. So there better be a reward.
Rachel Meese 13:05
But even working at Cowork Columbia here, I'm always like excrescence in emails to leads all the time. Like, we want to support your business and your focus so that you can support your family. Like we want healthy businesses and watch you become millionaires, etc. so that you can bring your family with you and climb that together. Yeah. I wanted to also talk about the personal resistance magnets. So in your book, you talk about weak magnets versus strong magnets.
And the question that I eventually wanted to get to you, but you probably need to explain that magnetic poles, is what do you do with the haters as an entrepreneur?
John Meese 14:29
Let's just address that question. Not much. I mean, you accept that they're part of the I mean, it actually it's kind of similar to the whole point about problems you kind of just accept that that's that's part of the map is just that, like, the more people you reach an impact. The reality is the odds are you will interact with someone who's not who's going to find something wrong with whatever you're doing. And it's not fun, but no, I tried to give everyone a pass that they're just having a bad day. So like anybody who says something negative or mean. Everyone gets one pass, you know, respond kindly. If they respond again, in a very mean way, I'll just either block them orignore them. I mean, it's just a reality is just like it's just when they're ready to seek help, I can send them the number for a great therapist. But that's not, that's not what I'm here for.
Rachel Meese 15:12
Sure. Can you explain magnets within business?
John Meese 15:15
Yeah. So this actually comes to the section on courting your customer and the whole idea that the reality is, so Michael Hyatt has a great quote in the front of the book, would you mind reading the endorsement that he gave to the book real quick.
Rachel Meese 15:27
If you can focus on creating real solutions to real problems for real people, you'll have a clear advantage in the marketplace, Survive and Thrive can show you how,
John Meese 15:37
Thank you Michael Hyatt. This whole idea of creating real solutions to real problems for real people, that's really a core framework throughout the book. And when I get to the real people part, that's where the magnets come in, which is this idea that a lot of times you'll tell, you'll ask someone, like, Okay, well, who is your business designed to serve? Or do you want to help? And they'll say, like, Well, everyone, like I made this widget, this cool thing that anyone everyone wants it, right? The reality is, if everyone could use it, you probably are going to get no one's attention. And some of this actually comes back to physics. That's where I tie it into magnets in the book is that I'm fascinated by this. I guess, apparently, thermodynamics, physics, I don't know if it really is a thing. But in physics, you know, you learn that a magnet doesn't just attract things. So we'd like bang, it says a theory because really, I want to track something I want to magnetic brand, I want to magnetic business or whatevee. But the reality is met, you know, our kids have done this, I take two magnets and try to that are opposite energy, and try to get them to like touch each other. And they can't, you know, they'll get close, but they won't quite get there. That's because magnets attract and repel with, with more or less equal strength. In other words, for you to be a strong magnet and attracting something, you have to be a strong magnet and repelling as well. And so if you're not willing to repel anyone with your business, I don't mean being gaudy or going in any way to be rude or offensive. But I mean, picking a real people picking real people that you can serve. Like I said, like, for example, let's just say your business is designed to serve working mothers. Well, then it's not designed to serve, you know, 65 year old corporate executives. I mean, I suppose unless they're working mothers, but odds are no. Okay. Yeah. At least
Rachel Meese 17:14
It would be a small target audience,
John Meese 17:16
Right. It's all young kids at home. Like maybe there anyways, but yeah, so like, we're, you're working mothers with young kids and Oh, okay. Okay. Well, then if a 65 year old corporate executive runs across your website, they're gonna be repelled by it. Right. It's not for them,
Rachel Meese 17:29
Right. It's not an offensive thing. It's just the bounce off of it. Right,
John Meese 17:33
Exactly. And so that's a key part of choosing your real people who you're going to help and serve as being specific enough, the repelling someone, because if you're repelling no one, you're also going to be attractig no one.
Rachel Meese 17:43
It's one of those things that I'm like, yeah, and Oh, I know. It's hard. It's double sided. But I guess it was a nightmare. So, yes, yeah. So I wanted to talk about how, and he told me a story once of a company in Japan that last 1000 years. You remember the hotel, the boutique hotel in Japan?
John Meese 18:06
Yeah. I read about that, in the book, The Soul of the Entrepreneur. Yes, by David Sachs. It's up there on my shelf, The Soul of the Entrepreneur by David Sachs. And he talks about as a really cool story about a business that lasted literally 1000 years, it's been passed down from person to person, you know, as insist him and it's a right size business, like they're not, they're not trying to scale their business to. So now I'm doubting and I'm wondering if maybe I read about it in the Company of One by Paul Jarvis, I read a lot of books.
Rachel Meese 18:37
I think it was The Company Of One
John Meese 18:39
That sounds right. Sorry, Paul,
Rachel Meese 18:40
Because he was talking about the one
John Meese 18:42
The whole idea that you get out of that. So the whole idea of the book, the company of one Paul gets in there, he talks about the fact that, like, it's okay, it's kind of a lifestyle business idea, like you don't growth at all costs is kind of like Why?
Rachel Meese 18:55
So it's not sustainable.
John Meese 18:56
It's not sustainable. But also like, like, if, you know, for example, like Harvard has such a good reputation. Well, if Harvard is so good, why don't they have a Harvard in every city? Well, because they'll kind of watered down what they're doing.
Rachel Meese 19:08
It's not sustainable.
John Meese 19:09
And the same thing goes with this hotel that Paul shares the story about David's book is also wonderful, just a different. Paul shares the story about this to kind of really emphasize the fact that like, this boutique hotel is, is perfect. It's it's small, it's easy to systemize they've got if I remember correctly, they have like a hot springs, and they have like 17 rooms.
Rachel Meese 19:31
I was gonna say, it's less than 50
John Meese 19:32
It's small and it's beautiful, and people travel there. It's a destination. Literally, they have multi generational customers, their customers who go to stay there for vacation, who's like great grandfather used to go there and say vacation, it means really cool things that are possible because they're not trying to just go to 10 or 15 or 20 locations. They're just saying like, this is the business. And so I think that's a really cool idea, and just really encouragement. It's kind of countercultural right now to say like, you don't have to grow you don't have to be a unicorn. You can be weird in other ways, by really just building a business that fuels your life.
Rachel Meese 20:05
Yeah, I am. I feel like that the boutique hotel, I wish I knew the name of it. And but it survives. It's survived 1000 years and it's still thriving, right? It's a niche market that it repels big chains but it attract you know, a very target customer.
John Meese 20:21
I mean, it's right, not just economic recession, but like wars, currency changes, regime changes, gunnery, organization, and globalization. So many things. The Japanese are known for writing, when they are for writing 100 year business plans,
Rachel Meese 20:37
like even today, like within certain business today.
John Meese 20:39
Yeah. So like, typically in the US, we're like, okay, let's make like a three to five year vision. It's common practice in Japan, to create a 100 year company vision, I think that's a really interesting idea. So we're not even talking about just a longevity of business, because obviously, they 100 of your business is gonna last behind beyond you. And that's cool. But that's not actually. And that's very possible with the framework of this book, by the way. But that's not even the point. And it necessarily is like, step one is like you need to survive, right and break beat, the odds, build a business is profitable. And then you need to shift into really thriving and making sure that profitable business is fueling your lifestyle, not just in terms of money, but also in terms of making sure that you're spending your energy in the right ways that you're not having to work 70, 80, 120 hours a week to do something crazy to grow your business, that instead you are really building a business that supports your lifestyle.
Rachel Meese 21:28
Right to build something.
John Meese 21:29
Yeah. So we've done that, you know, with, you know, three little kids, and we have a babysitter calling right now. And so I think should take that. Okay. So that's a little bit about the book. I mean, I really hope that, you know, I wrote this, like I mentioned, as a response to the economic crisis to really trying to create action plans that people could create a business that supports their lifestyle and create one from scratch without alignment, venture capital funding without relying on a booming economy. And then this goes in any industry, I mean, the principles that are in here should apply to a brick and mortar, to an e-commerce store, to a to a bookstore, to a clothing boutique, to a consulting company. I mean, these are really principles that are designed to go across many different industries and niches and apply. These are principles which are meant to apply, you know, in any industry in any economy. So,
Rachel Meese 22:21
So my next question, yeah, is these principles or this framework works for any business? So how do they tell where they're at in their business? And then how do they find out what their steps are?
John Meese 22:31
Well, that's a great question. If only there was an assessment, yes. So you can actually go to yourthrivescore.com. So yourthrivescore.com. And take a brief assessment, which is based on the principles in this book, which will give you a score a numerical score about where your business is at right now, in terms of, you know, that's true, but if you're at the very beginning stages, maybe you're just the idea stage, well, you're probably gonna have a lower score. But that's not a bad thing that just shows you that now you know, what you need to do to grow.
Rachel Meese 22:59
Right. So the set, so after you take the assessment, it will tell you which areas of your business need attention. So the different areas areas would be like marketing, and finance.
John Meese 23:10
Yeah, marketing, sales and finance are kind of the three broad areas that that I mean, it's fair to say this book, and this, this whole framework really focuses on the integration of marketing, sales and finance. And so you're going to be scored in those areas based on different questions. But the really the detail how to improve all of those, the assessment itself will give you a snapshot of where you're at right now, which is good. So you can track that and you can see, okay, I can improve that. But really the step by step guide for how to do that, make sure that not just your score improves, but also your, you know, balance sheet, your bank account, right, that that's all in the book. So thriving, try book calm, the book is available today. And you can pre order the paper book, paperback, it will be out later this year. Currently is slated for July in bookstores.
Rachel Meese 23:54
I'm so excited to walk into a bookstore and see the book. But I'm more excited about how this book will help people now, as we have it, you know, locally at a bookshop in Colombia, but we also have it we have it online today. And we'll have it in stores everywhere. In July,
John Meese 24:11
Rachel Meese 24:12
Yes. Just I'm excited about how many people can benefit from this framework.
John Meese 24:17
Well, thank you so much for joining me to talk a little bit today. And I look forward to hearing from everybody that gets a copy and puts it into practice. I mean, I you know, yeah, I want the book sales, and I want the reviews. But really what I want is I want to see people put these principles into practice and to build a business to know maybe you've got an existing business and right now you're going to put these principles into practice and you're going to double your revenue, or triple or quadruple. I mean, maybe you're going to have them yeah, let me put these principles into practice. I genuinely believe you can 10x your revenue. If you're, if you're brand new, just getting started. And this might be how you get your first dollar, your first 1000 or your first $10,000. Those are stories that I can't wait to hear about because I genuinely view entrepreneurship as the best cause to eradicating generational poverty and making the world a better place, and this is one step one milestone on that mission,
Rachel Meese 25:08
Yeah, your here to, to put into practice what you learn to teach what you've learned, and but also to build your business with your family lifestyle in mind. You think you're grabbing yourself, you're visiting your family life and you want to do that with everyone.
John Meese 25:27
You heard it from my wife. So it's been verified and backed up. So well thank you for joining me again, Rachel, and thank you, listener, and please once again, go to surviveandthrivebook.com to get your copy and keep up the good work.
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