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Episode cover_Jon Matzner_Unlock Global Talent to Win Locally

Unlock Global Talent to Win Locally with Jon Matzner of Lazy Leverage

March 20, 2024

Successful entrepreneurs, like our guest Jon Matzner, realize the power of stepping outside their local bounds to find and leverage global talent. Today, Jon sits down with A.J. to discuss how venturing beyond local boundaries can give your business a massive advantage at home. They also talk about Jon’s experiences living and working abroad, his transition from government to Main Street business, and his approach to creating leverage in his businesses.

About Jon Matzner

Jon Matzner is an accomplished business leader and former national security professional who divides his time between Dubai, UAE, and San Diego, California. With a rich background in government service—specifically in counter-terrorism and non-proliferation strategies—Jon brings a global perspective to his business pursuits. Since transitioning from the public sector, he has launched, acquired, and sold several businesses, demonstrating his passion for entrepreneurship through acquisition. 

Jon focuses on improving businesses by hiring top talent from abroad. He aims to modernize traditional industries using AI and help from workers from around the world. He also shares his insights and experiences through his free newsletter, ‘Lazy Leverage,‘ and his X profile.

Strategies for tapping into global talent for business efficiency

The internet boom and rise of remote work have erased geographical barriers and made it easier than ever to hire worldwide, tap into foreign markets, and source products and services from all around the globe. Here are some ways you can maximize your efficiency with global talent:

  1. Delegate Non-essential Tasks: Global talent can manage operational activities efficiently, freeing your time for strategic development.
  2. Conduct a Time Audit: Know where your time goes. A time audit can reveal tasks better suited for remote talent, thereby refining your focus on high-impact responsibilities.
  3. Choose the Right Tools for Collaboration: Tools like Notion are very useful, but it’s all about finding what works for your team.
  4. Invest in Training and Development: There is so much more to global teams than just virtual assistant tasks or data entry. They can be much more than that if you take the right steps to unlock their potential. Providing resources and training them will be a good return on investment because they’ll improve your company’s efficiency and competitive edge.
  5. Set Clear Expectations and Goals: Ensure every team member understands their role, the quality of work expected, and the deadlines. This clarity helps in managing projects more smoothly across different time zones.

Remote work allows businesses to tap into global opportunities like never before. With effective collaboration tools, good resources, and clear expectations, you can greatly improve your business efficiency. The above strategies help optimize your operations and equip your business to stay ahead in a globally competitive environment.

Key Insights:

  • Keep reinventing yourself. Whether it’s learning a new skill or just finding a different approach to everyday tasks, self-improvement is key for every individual. But this also has a positive impact on your business. When you’re learning and growing, you bring new perspectives and solutions to your work. This ultimately leads to innovative products, better services, and more efficient processes. (09:46)
  • Choose high-return business opportunities. Jon suggests prioritizing high-leverage activities like creating scalable systems or automating processes if you want to multiply your returns over time. This will ultimately give you more time to focus on your other ventures or priorities in life but still keep your business running smoothly. (11:20)
  • Always start with the problem. Instead of obsessing over groundbreaking ideas, focus on identifying a problem that your customers have. Do this through customer surveys, market research, social media, or competitor analysis to get to the core problems of your audience. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating a product or service without a clear audience or purpose. (16:41)
  • Build a global team. People from different backgrounds tend to approach problems and challenges uniquely. They can bring diverse and creative solutions to the table, which helps your business stay innovative. This diversity also makes your business more agile and gives you a substantial competitive advantage in your local market. (20:18)
  • Build your media leverage. Grow your brand by being active on social media, running a value-packed blog, sending out interesting newsletters, and creating other types of content. These tools can help increase your visibility, position you as an industry expert, and ultimately ensure you’re never out of work. (32:14)

Jon’s best advice for entrepreneurs:

“I don’t think of this as outsourcing. Outsourcing implies that you’re throwing it over the fence, and it’s no longer a part of your company. […] No, this isn’t outsourcing; this is building a global team.” (21:09)

Connect with Jon:

Resources Mentioned:

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Affiliate Disclaimer: Some links in this episode are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Rest assured, we only promote products/services we believe will benefit your entrepreneurial journey.

Transcript

Jon Matzner is just a really cool guy who I’m enjoying learning from. So, Jon, thanks for coming on the podcast.

Jon Matzner:
Thanks. I don’t know if I’m a great guy. Certainly in my own mind I am, but I don’t know if it’s broadly respected. But you know what? I’ll take it. I’ll take what I can get.

A.J. Lawrence:
Well, here we will say, you are so far a great guy.

Jon Matzner:
I’ll take that there. Yeah. Facts as they’ve been currently revealed, but you’re reserving judgment. I’ll take that.

A.J. Lawrence:
There are a lot of people, and it’s fun for a lot of the people to kind of follow who tell you everything in the world of, like, this is how you should do stuff. You have a generosity of spirit. And I’m specifically going to talk about your travels to the Middle East, your experiences there that you shared that I don’t see very often online. And it’s one of, like, I’ve been an exchange student in Ecuador and Budapest right after the Iron Curtain came down, Copenhagen, and then I’ve worked in London. I’ve lived in Spain. But it’s like, you’ve gone to some really cool places. And just the kindness you have of talking about those places and the people there, I think, is what I was struck by.

Jon Matzner:
Thank you. I appreciate that. I think living and working abroad and more broadly in life, I think there’s a lot you can get done when you experience the world from a nonjudgmental point of view. And I’m incredibly flawed. Incredibly flawed. And other people are and other countries are. And so if we accept that and move past it, and then experience the world as people doing the best they can in their own way, you can really reveal maybe opportunities that you don’t see when you think the whole world revolves around you.

And so whether it’s in South America or Africa or the Middle East or wherever, if you come in and say, wow, this is a very interesting way to interact with the world – food, culture, religion – and you just do it from a nonjudgmental point of view. You can learn a lot about how to live well, how to do business well. And so I try as best as I can. It’s an aspiration. I’m not always successful, but to be non judgmental, just, wow, this is cool and different. Why do you do that? So that’s where the perspective I try to come from, is nonjudgmental.

A.J. Lawrence:
I love that moment when you can kind of be somewhere and you fade past the, wow, this is cool. I’m staring at everything like a tourist to like, that’s cool. Why didn’t I notice this before? This is cool. This is the way it’s been for the past x times I’ve seen it. That’s really interesting.

Jon Matzner:
Yeah. I think you get what you look for in the world. And if you look for reasons to say, look, I’m the most patriotic American in the world. I served in the government and all that fun stuff. But you can also learn to love other things in other places that are not american. And so if you go in with kind of a spirit of generosity of kind of interaction, and really trying to understand the beauty of something like the call to prayer in the Middle East.

Like, I’m not a religious dude at all, Christian, Muslim, whatever. But this kind of droning melodic call to prayer five times a day in the Middle East is gorgeous. It’s beautiful. It’s stunning. But if you go in saying, like, what’s with these damn terrorists? You’re like, what the? It’s so stupid. It’s just I don’t have time for.

A.J. Lawrence:
I agree. I mean, I haven’t spent time in the Middle East, but I have spent time in Morocco.

Jon Matzner:
Yeah, that’s Middle East. North Africa counts as the Middle east. Yeah, North Africa. Then you look at their architecture and you’re like, oh, yeah, the muslim world was there.

A.J. Lawrence:
There’s so much of the world outside the US where everything is like, wait, this is 20 years old. Oh, my God, this is ancient. But in kind of diving in, I would like to kind of talk about where you are as an entrepreneur because international relations also, it was my undergrad. And then I got recruited by a company out of the US government and then sort of got a scholarship to go to business school. And it’s always my door not taken that I kind of take it. So I don’t know where you kind of entered through the government and stuff, but let’s talk about going from government to main street.

Jon Matzner:
Yeah. So that journey was I’d spent my time in the government, had a lot of fun, traveled a lot, got out of the government and was living in Dubai at the time in the United Arab Emirates, which is a very interesting place. I think people really underestimate it in that they say it’s, Oh, it’s like Las Vegas. It is absolutely nothing like Las Vegas. Other than that it’s new, maybe, and it’s in a desert. But Vegas is built on the back of gambling and UAE is built on the back of trade and it is breakfast with a South African, lunch with a Pakistani who wants to do a real estate deal and dinner with a Russian. And the Chinese. And it’s like this huge crossroads, right, of just incredible stuff. And so leaving the government where I landed as I was just kind of trying to figure out what I want to do. I want to stay in Dubai because I liked it. I was playing a lot of rugby, which is a passion.

A.J. Lawrence:
I forgot all of that line too.

Jon Matzner:
Yeah.

A.J. Lawrence:
Yeah. Second row.

Jon Matzner:
Oh, cool. Yeah, I was a back row and then I got a little fatter and I played hooker. I slowed down a bit.

A.J. Lawrence:
My head between your legs. Yeah.

Jon Matzner:
Exactly. So I was playing a lot of rugby. Really enjoying that, living in the Middle east. And so kind of where I fell into, which I’ve given this advice to people all the time, which is if you’re good interpersonally and you don’t know what to do, sell something. And so what I started doing was raising foreign direct investment out of the Middle East and South Asia to invest in US based real estate stuff. Because it was very similar to what I was doing for the government, which was networking with rich, basically. Like, instead of telling them to do something on behalf of the US government, you’re saying, don’t you want to put it in the four seasons in Miami beach as preferred equity? And so it was very easy transition from government to that and paid the bills, made good money, and then was able to kind of parlay that into accumulating some skills in digital marketing and things like that. And I realized I don’t want to raise money for other people’s companies. I want to own and operate them myself.

And so that was kind of how I, over the course of a couple of years, was able to pay the bills, not have to PG myself to the gills and make my way into kind of main street businesses. At the same time, I met my wife kind of indirectly and wanted to move back to the States. And so concurrent with that was able to leverage my experience and know I’m going to get in the small business game. And so I’ve now done that, which has been a blast.

A.J. Lawrence:
And just quickly for anyone in the audience because I know we do a lot of talk about acquisitions, PG is personal guarantee. So did you have the target? Like you knew you were, and like indirectly meeting your wife. I hope eventually you did directly meet her.

Jon Matzner:
So the story on meeting my wife. She was my little sister’s college roommate. We’d stayed in touch. She was working in San Francisco at the time and I was working in Dubai. And we just had always kind of stayed in touch. And we both ended up being single at the same time, finally. And we ended up meeting in Thailand for a couple of weeks and then kind know courting via meeting in some cool places halfway between San Francisco and Dubai. And then I said, all right, I’ll move back to California.

1st official date in Bangkok is a cool place to do it.

A.J. Lawrence:
Rooftop?

Jon Matzner:
We were at the. Where were we? We were at a bougie hotel. Not the W, but something like that. It’s just like this great hotel. And we ended up going to Ko Samui, which is this really cool island. So we ended up spending two weeks in Ko Samui. It was great.

A.J. Lawrence:
Yeah. I’ve spent some time and I love Chiang Mai because it is just sort of like a weird expat little bubble where you’re meeting 20,000 people carrying a 4-hour work week.

Jon Matzner:
Yeah. From Australia, taking kickboxing lessons.

A.J. Lawrence:
Yeah, it’s one of the two. It’s like, okay, you either want to be Timothy fifth Harris or you’re kickboxing.

Jon Matzner:
Or australian backpackers.

A.J. Lawrence:
So I have a great story about a female rugby team that made those old guys really sad one time. But that’s for the adult version of the show. But okay, so you come back, you acquire the business, and now where does this start coming to the Lazy Leverage?

Jon Matzner:
It’s a great question. So I’ll give one kind of thing that I think is important that I tell everybody when I’m on podcasts or whatever, which I think was a big part of my success and how I’ve been able to accumulate leverage has been this idea of reinventing myself 20% at a time. Not saying, okay, I’m in the government, and now I’m going to fully jump into roofing. So find ways to only change out 20%. Okay, it’s this, but now I’m in the private sector. Okay, it’s this, but now I’m doing digital. And over time, you can fully reinvent yourself. But you don’t have to take this huge existential risk to jump out of Pricewaterhouse into a landscaping company. Try to go from Pricewaterhouse to working at a PE fund that does commercial landscaping, then try to be a PortCo CEO, and you just chew your way into where you want to be rather than just like, F it.

I’m now officially a commercial landscaper, and you’re naked. And so part of my journey was that. Now, I have a guy and he was able to basically put words to it, which was a buddy. A guy I’ve become friends with here is a successful search fund investor. His name is Tim Ludwig. You know, I paid most of my expenses in college by playing poker. By playing cards during the poker boom. And rich kids don’t know how to play cards. I was having a conversation with him, and I was saying I wasn’t a very good poker player, but I knew which games to sit down at. With the rich kids, right?

You don’t go to Vegas to try to make a living. You go to-

A.J. Lawrence:
Watch who’s drinking.

Jon Matzner:
Yeah, exactly. Right? And so basically what he said to me was, you know I’d had some success. I was freaking working my butt off with some of these main street businesses. And he said, Jon, you could make a lemonade stand work. But is that really the best use of your time? You need to start thinking about what games you’re playing. The reason why search funds work is because we only play very specific games. Retiring owner, million dollars in earnings, critical industry, recurrent or highly reoccurrent revenue, and there’s one other one. I forgot what it was.

And so he challenged me to take the same idea I had in poker. And instead of applying it to a vending machine business, which is a fine business when you’re first getting started, to think about how to kind of like move up the leverage ladder. He didn’t use the word leverage. That was kind of where I realized that was really what he was talking about, which is there are certain business models, there are certain activities where you get disproportionate returns on your time. Rather than banging your head against a $499 SEO contract, you can do that, you can make a living doing that, but my God, you earn your money. And so that kind of initiated a journey for me of saying, where do I get the biggest bang for my buck? Because I’m smart and ambitious and that kind of walked me down this leverage path. So that’s how I talk about it.

A.J. Lawrence:
No, I like that approach because I am constantly getting caught up in like, well, this workflow isn’t working, or how do we gain access this, or, no, we need to have this, blah, blah, blah. And it’s like, I don’t think it matters.

Jon Matzner:
It matters if you can use it and create leverage from it, right? So there’s four forms of leverage. There’s labor leverage and capital leverage, which are the two classic ones, and there’s media leverage and code leverage. And all of those basically things that have no marginal cost of reproduction. Meaning I write one tweet and 10 million people can see it or 10 people can see it, it’s no more work. And same with code. If one person use my software, 10,000 use my software. So as you think about what is worth your time and what’s not, if you can turn you problem solving that automation or whatever into an SOP that can then be followed by overseas talent, or you can build a little JavaScript code off of it, now it’s worth your time because you’re getting leverage on it. But if it’s literally you just like squashing bugs, low leverage activity, try to stop doing that or try to get out of it or grow out of it, I would say.

A.J. Lawrence:
Okay, so you get this advice, you have your roofing company and you start getting-

Jon Matzner:
It wasn’t roofing. It was a home improvement.

A.J. Lawrence:
Oh, sorry. You use the reference roof.

Jon Matzner:
I just randomly use that.

A.J. Lawrence:
Okay, sorry. So you have your company, you’re getting this advice to go leverage, you have this wide experience, you’re incrementally growing the way you look at the world. How did you start moving this into, because you and I have chatted about some ideas around your business through this that I think would be really great. And I hope to kind of do more. But then you have team Wiki, one click assistant, Twitter co-writing, road recap, and then the Lazy Leverage newsletter. How did these start evolving?

Jon Matzner:
So the journey was more or less sniffing around for leverage. And what I mean by that specifically is trying to find opportunities in my own life that I was an expert in to use more leverage. And so, for example, Vivaldi, which is the co-writing on Twitter, was because I saw that I was meeting and starting to build relationships with really interesting people. But I needed ways to write more because I’m busy. And so this was me scratching my own itch. That’s all that was, was solving my own problem. So that’s an example of where I was doing it, where I kind of needed it in my own life and then was able to kind of say, hey. And I text a couple, hey, you guys want this? And they’re like, yeah, dude, I’d pay for that. And then off we go.

A.J. Lawrence:
So this was sort of an incremental. You had this one thing, and I take it this wasn’t a grand plan. This is just more of a focus on growing your presence and then spinning things off as they logically came about?

Jon Matzner:
Yeah. What I would say is where I’m determined to live is, if you’ll notice all of my projects live within the world of automation and AI, global talent and main street. So everything that I do is within that triangle. So I’m not like buying some random dumpster company, right? I’m not doing roll ups. Every one of the things you just listed is just a different variation in use case of global talent, basically technology and main street businesses. And so I’m very committed to staying within that triangle, trying new products, trying new business models, trying new monetization paths. Just because I see so much leverage on my time when I stay in that triangle, I’m not trying to start a freaking tech company that’s venture backed. That’s just not my thing.

A.J. Lawrence:
Okay, well, let’s talk about that. Because our audience are business owners, and I think slowly becoming less, but there seems to be a big, like, I outsource everything. And then the other camp is, I have to do everything with the people I know in the area I am. So, like, either everyone’s local for everything. When someone’s looking at this, a main street business owner, how do you tell them to start approaching this? To start adding global talent, to start looking at creating leverage?

Jon Matzner:
Sure. So the first thing I almost always start with, and I learned this from John Seiffer, who is better CEO. He’s an extremely experienced CEO coach.

A.J. Lawrence:
Oh yeah.

Jon Matzner:
Yeah. Great podcast guest, by the way, if you ever want to invite him. Is I start with, what problem are we solving for? You have to start with the problem to solve. Right? So if they say, well, I’m working too much. Great. That’s a great starting point. If they say I’m doing lots of the type of work I don’t want to do and not enough of the work I do like doing, I’m not making enough money. So you always have to start with what the problem is. There’s no one size fits all in terms of a prescription until I understand what your sickness is. So that’s the first place to start. Is it you’re not growing fast enough? Is that your fulfillment is broken? Is it that you can’t go on vacation without everything getting effed up? And so I would start with what we’re solving. You get too many emails? You don’t know what’s going on at your company?

That’s the first thing I’d say. The second thing I would say, and again, this is a John Seiffer technique that I fold a lot of what I do into, is I start with what outputs do I want to create?That’s a great place to start.

Meaning I look at my business and I look at some of the functions within my business and you say, if you take a let’s say like my home improvement business, a garage upgrade company, right? There was only four real outputs. Now, there was lots of sub outputs, but it was generate a lead, design a garage and sell it, install it, and then administrate the first three. Okay? That’s the simple way in a marketing company. It’s we find customers, we do account management, and we deliver backlinks or whatever it is. And you take those outputs and then you start looking at them. And the best analogy that I like is you look at them like a chef and you say, okay, when I look at this output, the output at a restaurant is a gourmet meal. But do you have your best chef washing the pots and pans? Do you have your best chef dicing the vegetables? You still have a really good chef there. Maybe they created the recipe, they do VIP relations and they taste it before it goes out to the customer. But other than that, they’re just kind of quality controlling, training, supervising.

And so I oftentimes encourage people, one of the best ways to start with global talent is to say, who are the sous chefs and the dishwashers in my business? Let’s start there. Let’s not replace Gordon Ramsay, which you can do, but what I would say is there’s oftentimes very low leverage work both in your life as a business owner. All right. Are you still reviewing expense reports and coding them in quickbooks online? That is not a magical activity. I wrote a newsletter called what if you only did magical things? And so what I would start doing is deconstructing some of these outputs and these roles and saying, A.J., you’re scheduling your podcast guests? Dude, anybody can do that. Now, you have to do the podcast.

But other than that, confirming or whatever, that’s low leverage activity. And so that’s kind of where I’d start, is by looking at what are the outputs within this particular business model and then starting to try to deconstruct them.

A.J. Lawrence:
So sort of taking that EOS structure of like, was it the right person, right seat, basically, just constantly looking at where the talent is available. Now, what I liked in your approach, because I’m getting a little tired of the Philippines, Eastern Europe, Central Latin. Like, some of these people are selling services right by location versus talent. It’s global talent coming across. How do you kind of start walking people through how to look at this type of global talent?

Jon Matzner:
So I would first say, if you only think about global talent as VAs, you mentioned 4-hour work week, which was a great book that changed a lot of people’s lives. But I think it did a lot of disservice in that it makes you think global talent is one step above robot. When you hear people say VA, they think this person’s one step above robot. And so you take someone who went to the best school in Argentina with a master’s degree in graphic design, you want to call them a VA. It’s extremely limiting. Think these are full time members of my team who happen to be on the other side of an imaginary border. Right? Not somebody with broken English who I pay freaking $0.99 an hour, who does data entry exclusively.

So the first thing I’d say is, you have to challenge your beliefs. The second thing I would say is, and it’s one of the reasons I changed the name of my newsletter and I never use this word, is I don’t think of this as outsourcing. Outsourcing implies that you’re kind of throwing it over the fence and it’s no longer a part of your company.

A.J. Lawrence:
Okay.

Jon Matzner:
Oh, we’re outsourcing our bookkeeping, I think, of it. No, you should hire a bookkeeper who’s just a member of your team. They’re just a member of your team, right? That’s not just like, Beth works from home in Oklahoma City, Javier works from home from Buenos Aires, whatever. That’s not outsourcing. That’s just, he lives in a different country. Again, that’s not like, and so I kind of push back when people talk about outsourcing. I’m like, no, this isn’t outsourcing. This is building a global team.

So that’d be the second thing. And the third thing I would say is I would start with things that you know. Meaning, a great place oftentimes for people to start is accounts receivable. A lot of people have accounts receivable balance. You get somebody in global talent and you say, can you take on the output of shrinking our accounts receivable and do that by texting, calling, emailing, keeping the records up to date in our ERP or QBO or whatever? I don’t know what ERP stands for, but QBO’s Quickbooks online, and that is a very bounded task. It’s oftentimes one that’s very neglected in a business. It just falls on the CFO’s shoulders or the CEO to call and say, hey, man, pay your invoice. And so that’s a great place to start is when it’s a very bounded activity just so that you kind of get the hang of it. Not, oh my gosh, I’m going to hire somebody from Mexico to do all of our account management.

And you’re like, dude, that’s a big bite for your first bite. Right? You got to get good. And so I would say pick something kind of bounded, like, oh, yeah, they’re just going to build our backlinks. They’re just going to upload everything to WordPress once it’s been written and do all the internal linking on our site. That’s it. We’re going to start there and see how we do. And as I get more comfortable managing them and figure out this person’s not a complete dweeb, I will then say, awesome, I’d like you to start composing content for our SEO company or whatever.

A.J. Lawrence:
No, I love that because one, those are straight up business tactics. Like years ago, if the last agency I sold way too late in the cycle, I hired a fractional CFO. And one of the things he did was once he got a bookkeeper he trusted because we had someone, he put a new bookkeeper in place. And I was, as a CEO, was the one who was following up. But I would usually wait to like 90-120 days before I started bugging people. And he just was like, this is stupid. If someone’s really being a pain, fine, we’ll sick you on them. Otherwise he had her start reminding people at 10-20 and our cash conversion cycle dropped.

So what I think is so amazing about your approach and that I think more people are coming aware is it doesn’t matter where people are, and yes, COVID helped that, but I am still amazed at, yeah, we’re virtual. Everyone’s in the Boston area. Okay, that’s great. But when you can find people who can be available at different hours to your company that have specialties and yes, there is, and it’s overemphasized, but there is a cost variation depending upon where people are in the world.

Jon Matzner:
Hugely.

A.J. Lawrence:
But still it is worth. Hugely. It’s worth. You can get first level talent who have 10 years of working with american companies experience. I came out of New York City and God, when I started first hiring gullible talent after that, I was like, why didn’t I do this earlier?

Jon Matzner:
Exactly. It’s like a drug. Once you take your first hit, you get addicted. It’s like a gateway drug. And I’ll tell you, you mentioned COVID. You’ll appreciate this as a student of history, like I am. I study history, I study economics. And if you look at, I think I’m going to maybe Coast’s theory of the firm from the 1920s, right? And essentially what it says is firm design.

What is found out in the market versus what exists within a company is all driven by transaction costs, and how hard it is to do something. And obviously using global talent, if the only way to talk to them is to mail them a letter, that’s not very effective. But what’s happened post COVID, whether it’s payment infrastructure or Slack and Microsoft Teams or Zoom, is that the transaction costs of having a global team member have collapsed. So in the 1980s in BPO, you had to spend $50 million and build a physical office in Manila, Philippines. And so only Fortune 100 companies could do it. Now, in about 30 seconds, I can hire somebody globally to do something and it’s not a piece out of my butt. The transactions costs have collapsed, which means it’s going to be adopted by more and more sub $50 million companies, which historically said, look, the transaction costs for hiring globally is too high now they’re basically eliminated. Right? And so that’s where the opportunity has really started to emerge.

It’s all about transaction costs. If you want to be wonky and academic about it.

A.J. Lawrence:
No. And that is a great way of putting it because, yeah, I’m helping a friend spin up a call center. And even just 10 years ago, talking to a different friend who had call centers, it was some work. People are still an issue. Understanding people. There’s still that piece that hasn’t gotten any correct, though, AI overlords are making things a little bit easier. I love crystal and stuff like Crystal AI and tools like that. But back to the point.

The tools, the blueprints, and just the general understanding, sometimes it’s not even just the transaction. It’s the fact that people are starting to go, oh, it’s doable. Or I know X is doable. This is so close. Why can’t this be doable? If we just kind of figure out how to jiggle this part correct.

Jon Matzner:
It’s all transactional, right? Even ten years ago, getting on a high quality Zoom call with someone from Belize where they speak native English and working at a call center as a high prestige job would have been basically impossible. You’d have to flown to Belize, all this other crap, right? Whereas now, again, point being is the world is shrunk because of largely it stuff and technology. And so now hiring somebody for, again, I’m a Californian. Love me some California. But someone to answer your phone who’s $32 an hour plus benefits and hates the job and is going to quit after three months, versus somebody at a fraction of the cost, who’s in the time zone, who speaks English better than you know. It’s just like there’s very compelling value there.

A.J. Lawrence:
Well, and sometimes it’s not even time zone because I have someone on my team in the Philippines, and I’m always apologizing. I’m like, oh, I’m so sorry. I know something. She’s like, no, you don’t understand. I joined this co, but it’s not even a coworking. It’s like a club, movies, they have a gym, they have access, they have generator. And we all love it because this is a chance where we get to all meet and hang out and do stuff, but they live their life on a different time cycle. But back to the point, all right, you talked about getting started, incremental picking, some things.

And I know you advise different companies, you help. Let’s kind of talk through this. From low hanging fruit, getting started, getting your feet, your first little like, ooh, this may be fun. Here’s your first piece of kidney, little child. To evolving and looking at leverage. Here.

Jon Matzner:
Sure. So a really great exercise for a lot of people, not just the CEO, although the CEO can do this, but also high powered people within your company, whether that’s the HVAC tech or your killer salesperson, is, I would say, to set an aspirational hourly rate with how much money you want to make that year. And so you say, all right, my aspirational hourly rate is $100 an hour because that’s, what is that? Four grand a week, which is 300 grand or whatever it is. Right. And if you put a little piece of paper next to your desk and write down everything you do, where you could hire somebody at less than $100 an hour to do that for you, so you have a really angry customer who needs delicate. They need to talk to the CEO. Obviously, that can’t be done for less than $100 an hour. But categorizing your expense report from iPhone pictures and putting those into a format that the bookkeeper is okay with, that’s not $100 an hour task.

I could get somebody with a master’s degree to do that for freaking $20 an hour, $10 an hour. Right. And I would start to audit your time against your aspirational hourly rate. Again, whether you’re a salesperson, an HVAC technician who spends 3 hours a day calling the parts house. Not wrenching, which is actually the hard part of the job. Right. Or you’re a coo who’s overworked, or a marketer who is uploading things to Zapier. Right.

So I would start by auditing against your hourly rate, and you can identify your hit list. And I’d start with, what are the easiest things to have somebody else do? Oh, man. Expense report categorization. Man. That’s like $5 an hour, and I’m $100 an hour. Jesus. There’s a lot of leverage to be gained there, right? There’s a book called Buyback your time. That’s a great way to say, yeah, buy back your time.

A.J. Lawrence:
Actually, I just got that. I’m in a business group called Baby Bathwater. I don’t know if it’s a business group. There’s a bunch of entrepreneurs who like to get together and drink and talk, but baby bathwater, it’s in the living room. I’m on the third chapter right now of doing that, and he’s in the group. Great opening. I love that, how he opens with sort of like, I reached for the gun, but I couldn’t get it out of the bag, and therefore my life went a different direction. It’s like, okay, so when you say.

Jon Matzner:
Buy back your time, though, what you’re talking about is building your labor leverage. That’s what it is. So just trying to categorize all this stuff into the methodology and the ideas that we’ve been talking about all buyback, your time is. Is build your labor leverage, which is one of the four terms. Sorry, one of the four kinds of leverage that we talked about at the beginning of the conversation.

A.J. Lawrence:
Okay, so first, it’s low hanging fruit. Second, it’s a time audit. Where do we go? How do we get hired? Because I know just to kind of reference and kind of direct, because I know we’re running towards sort of the end of our time. You do things from everywhere, from sort of the whole dashboard for companies, helping companies develop that, the workflow. And I really loved you had a newsletter talking about how you are so obsessed with notion, except for the fact you don’t actually use it yourself.

Jon Matzner:
It’s true. It’s true.

A.J. Lawrence:
I love that because it’s like, wow, that is so me. All right, let’s move up from now the time audit to now. As an entrepreneur, kind of someone who has a main street business, where do we go next?

Jon Matzner:
So in terms of using global talent, specifically, leverage.

A.J. Lawrence:
Let’s talk about leverage.

Jon Matzner:
Leverage. Obviously, global talent is a form of labor leverage. Right. Speaking. And this is not out of left field, but it is a little bit tied into what we started with. For most entrepreneurs, I can tell you the single biggest thing that I’ve started doing that has increased my prospects, let’s call it, over the last 24 months has been media leverage. Writing consistently on Twitter and my newsletter. Yeah, it is the single biggest thing that I’ve done.

Better than offshore, better than building programs, better than. If you gave me a half a million dollars for my Twitter profile, I wouldn’t take it. No way. It’s way more valuable than that. Not because of its size, because I’m some influencer dancing and bullshitting, right? Because of the quality and the quantity and the depth of the relationships that I can access by building my media leverage. And so if you’re a business owner, start writing in public on Twitter is a great place because how did this interview happen? Right? I’ve been writing for two years. You found me and you went, Jon Smart. Now I get to do this podcast, and I’m going to reach another 10,000 entrepreneurs.

One of those guys might be an LP in my next acquisition. One of those guys might be the CEO of a portfolio company. One of those guys might be a distributor of a product I’m working on. Right. And all I had to do was just write consistently at no marginal cost to me. And so if you’re an entrepreneur looking to build your leverage, I would say start pumping content in whatever form you’re okay with. I didn’t want to be on video. I don’t love video.

I’d rather do conversations, kind of like video interviews like this, or write. I love to write, and so I’d fall in love with that. Media leverage. Why do you have a podcast? Same exact thing. Media leverage. 10 million people can feel like they know AJ because they’ve listened to your podcast. You get inbound opportunities.

A.J. Lawrence:
I wish it was 10 million, but it is true. It is this idea of leverage, and definitely on the voice. It does take literally about 100 times of hearing your own voice before you’re like, okay, I guess I’m not a complete idiot, but I like that. Okay, so you started doing, was this incremental? Let’s not get into the tactical, because there’s tons of people that teach this or daily process and all that, but let’s kind of talk about the mindset you went through, that decision that you’re like, wait, let me put more leverage here versus here. So a couple of years ago, you’re running your business. You’re being pushed to develop more leverage. What happened?

Jon Matzner:
Yeah. So because of my small experiments on Twitter, I had come into contact with someone with a very large audience who I ended up doing a day of consulting, kind of on some operational challenges. And I looked under the hood of this person’s business who had an audience that was significantly sized. And to put it bluntly, that person couldn’t have run my company for 1 hour, and they were making ten times more money than I was. And I went, what are they doing differently than I am? Because literally, this person couldn’t run a team on my company for an hour. And how much? Whoa. Holy. But Jesus. Right?

As I saw under the hood, and I was just stunned. I was stunned by the economics and the scale and the reach of someone with an audience. And I went, well, shit, I’m working my butt off and trying to drop 15% to the bottom line if I’m lucky. And I know I can write, I like writing, I enjoy it. And so I said, look, media leverage should not be ignored. As a business owner and flash forward two years, I have people who say, Jon, just let me know what your next deal is. I’d love to be an LP. Basically write your own check because of that lever.

Whereas four years ago, I would have been like, I guess I hire a bank or whatever, whereas now I’ve got a bench of partners. And if I needed to, hey, I want to start a podcast. AJ, any advice? Right. That’s media leverage. So that was the mindset was I was disgusted, frankly, by how much money someone with an audience was making and the quality of their inbound opportunities. And I was like, I need to talk about what I’m doing because I’m 100 times better than this person.

A.J. Lawrence:
Well, one of the common things people say is like, all right, you just got to with anything. And I think this is true. You just have to consistently do it. But from starting your voice, starting using your voice, you like writing. You’ve had amazing life experiences. You’re a student of history and economics, so you have a great wealth of ideas to kind of bring to bear. But when you’re starting, how did that kind of change between, like, this is what I’m going to start saying to, oh, this is what is gaining me traction. How long did that take you? Of consistent effort?

Jon Matzner:
Yeah, I might challenge the way you described it in that. Yeah, I might challenge the way you describe it in that I continue to write for myself. Meaning, what kind of person has a newsletter where they talk about global talent and sops and then have poems at the bottom? That’s just what I like doing. So what I mean is, I would say that this is, to me, as much of a journal as it is some sort of a calculating business transaction. And so if 15 people read it, I don’t really care. And so that’s been my North Star would be, if nobody ever like a podcast, hey, I want to do a podcast just because I want to talk to interesting people. And if other people want to listen in, that’s great. But if they don’t, I just want to talk to AJ because AJ is cool and has things to teach me and I have things to teach him.

And so that’s how I think about it, which is, it doesn’t feel like work to me because I’m learning, I’m refining my own ideas. And if you’d like to join in on that, AJ, be my guest. And I’ve had people who like my stuff and they find me interesting, and it’s like, great. But if not, I get to go down a memory lane about all these cool places and these cool people that I’ve interacted with, and great. If it gets five people or 5 million, I don’t really give a shit. And so it was just me exploring my curiosity and exploring ideas that I find powerful more than it was some sort of a, here’s what’s working right now. And how do I tie into that? Because that doesn’t sound very fun. I’m too well off for that. I don’t need to play that game. I just do it for me.

A.J. Lawrence:
Okay.

Jon Matzner:
Yeah.

A.J. Lawrence:
You had these experiences. You bought the business, you started exploring leverage. You incrementally grew. You kind of created these companies around the concept. You’re generating more media around this interest of it. How do you go about defining what success is going to be for you as the entrepreneur? Not well. What I like is I don’t really get a feeling that because I’ve had weaknesses in the past where someone asks, how are you doing? And I’m like, well, the business did this, the business did whatever, but how do you go about defining what success is going to be for Jon?

Jon Matzner:
So I would zoom out. As I think about this, I was talking about this with someone the other week, which is the first thing I would zoom out. And when I’ve done some advisory work with entrepreneurs, the first thing I would say is, how does my entrepreneurial journey feed into the life that I want to live, my joyful life. Meaning, how does my business activities serve me? And I define that with my wife and say, hey, how much money do we need to do what we want to do? Because I don’t really give a crap about a couple of extra zeros. If I have to travel three weeks a month for work, I don’t care. You pay me $10 million. I wouldn’t say yes to that. And so I start with how my entrepreneurial pursuits feed into my life.

And I define that with my wife and my family. Right? I want to have kids and all the stuff I’m doing right now, I want to take care of my body. I want to some things I’m not perfect on, but I start with my life. And then I say, okay, how do I accomplish that with my business activities as an entrepreneur? For me, that’s been to build my leverage via things like media and labor. So that if I feel like knocking off at ten in the morning or this summer, we spent a month in France as a family, I start with everything, which is, look, it’s like there’s that old phrase I love. It’s like, don’t join the Marine Corps and then bitch about getting shot at, meaning don’t start a local home improvement company and bitch about the fact that you have to go into the office every day. That’s what we sign up for. And so before I sign up for something, I think, does this serve my larger life? And being able to tweet on Twitter and have businesses that I can run from my computer and crap like that is the life that I want.

Not handcrafting cabinets in a warehouse somewhere to make my living. But you have to answer that question yourself. I don’t know the answer to that. That’s just my answer. I define success as my business. Fueling my life. Not my business is my life. I consider them very different. Doing art, reading poetry, that’s the life I want. Not, oh, I can make some money doing this. Who gives a shit? Money is a means to an end to me.

A.J. Lawrence:
So that’s how I think about it. And after having lived abroad, there’s always just little hack of, like, geohacking. It’s like living in southern Spain and there know beautiful, great culture, great food, lots of sun. So you’re getting vitamin D and half of what it is here in the US. And it’s like, guess what, guys? Money is a tool, very much, but you have to get to it first. It’s hard to kind of get there. But once you do what I’ll tell.

Jon Matzner:
You though, AJ, and this is a good thing to kind of, like, wind down with, is what I said, the way that I did it, my very specific process was, how much money do I need to make in order to be okay? And I have a number, right? My freedom number, whatever you want to call it. And that in the beginning, to provide for my family, I will do whatever it takes, low leverage activities included, meaning I will do whatever it takes to hit that number. Once I’ve hit that number, then all I’m trying to do is reduce my personal amount of time to generate that number, meaning assets or revenue shares or licensing deals. And now I went from having to spend 40 hours a week to hit that number to now I spend less than an hour a week to hit that number.

Now I get to spend 39 hours a week effing around if I feel like it. But until I’ve hit that number, I don’t care if you have to drive an Uber. That’s what I need to do to provide my family. Great, that’s fine. And then just work to try to buy the truck and then lease the truck out to a different Uber driver who gives me a dollar an hour. And then build your leverage as you go. You don’t start with high leverage. You have to earn it, is how I think about it.

A.J. Lawrence:
So if the audience wants to learn more about how to kind of go on this journey with you of creating higher leverage or lazy leverage, what’s the best way they can go about doing this?

Jon Matzner:
Yeah. So find me on Twitter. So I’m @MatznerJon. I also have a beehive newsletter called Lazy Leverage. I think if you just Google lazy leverage, you’ll find it and go back and read some of the old issues. And I write- again, part of my rich life is I don’t write the newsletter on a schedule. I write it when I feel like it. And so it’s not like every week, Friday at 08:00 a.m.

If I don’t have something interesting to say, I won’t write. And sometimes I’ll write three times in a week if I feel like I have interesting things to say. And so check out the newsletter would be a great place to start.

A.J. Lawrence:
A lot of great things today. I mean, Jon, we’re going to make sure we put all that in the show notes, the newsletter for when this episode comes out, and of course, our socials. But some really great ideas almost want to take from what you said at the end of really defining what you want from things and then going back to the low hanging fruits and kind of going up. Because I do think a lot of us chase, hey, I’m just going to create a business, I’m going to do this. And then all of a sudden, it’s like we’re in this race to do something because we’re just there. The changing costs, at least in our head, is so high. So I think really sitting down and spending that extra time really defining what it is at different levels is really important.

Hey, everyone, go check out Jon. I mean, I love his Twitter profile. I get the newsletter, but the Twitter profile is great. And like I’ve mentioned a few times, it covers everything from business to just a great way of looking at the world we’re in. Especially as an American, I do think it is important to realize we are part of the world, not separate. But hey, that’s my opinion on that. Everyone, thank you so much for listening today. Please, if you enjoyed today’s episode, share with someone you think would get a lot, because I do think what Jon’s talking about.

He’s taken it from a lot of different pieces. You’ve heard other guests kind of talk about similar things, but the way he puts it together, there’s an elegance and there’s kind of generosity of spirit that kind of pulls us all together. I think a lot of entrepreneurs would really kind of learn a lot from exploring this. All right, everyone, have a wonderful day, and I’ll talk with you soon.

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