Jeff Steinmann- Hello everyone. Welcome to the HowtoQuitWorking show. Today my guest is Jordan Harbinger. Jordan started with a buddy of podcast back when he was like 19 with no idea that the thing was ever going to make money but it ended up being his ticket out of a law job on Wall Street that he hated at the worst possible time to be on Wall Street and Jordan is going to tell us all about how he did it today. Jordan welcome to the show.
Jordan Harbinger- Thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.
Jeff Steinmann- Oh, it’s a blast. I am excited to hear your story because it sounds like you were on Wall Street. You were working the grind up Wall Street in that high pressure cooker job. I worked for a brokerage firm so I understand kind of what that’s like and you said, to hell with that. You are going to do something that you really enjoy and you really care about.
Jordan Harbinger- Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I mean I am literally creating a presentation right now about how I did just that for a group of kind of, I hate to use the term wanna-be entrepreneurs because that sounds kind of condescending but what I really mean is people who want to do the same thing.
Jeff Steinmann- Yeah, there’s a lot of folks out there who really want to do that. And that’s why I love talking to people like you who have done this for themselves. So tell me what was going on when you were working on Wall Street. What was going on. What made you start to think yeah maybe this isn’t the way I want to live the rest of my life.
Jordan Harbinger- Well it’s kind of funny because you know, it was just one of those things that happened by accident. First of all, when I went to law school, and I know there’s people out there who are professionals that can attest to feeling the same way. When I went to law school I thought I am going to law school because I got nothing else to do. I don’t know what I am going to do to get a job. And I don’t really have a career in mind. And of course not to blame other people for those issues, ‘career counselors’ at the university of Michigan where I went to school were kind of like, they were not that great at finding something that seemed to even remotely promising. And you remember that test you took when you were a kid. I don’t know if you did but it’s actually
Jeff Steinmann- Yes.
Jordan Harbinger- But when I was a kid, I took a, you already know where I am going with this
Jeff Steinmann- Yeah. Yeah, I remember my results.
Jordan Harbinger- Yeah and it was like you are going to be good at a machine metal stamping job you know. I was like what.
Jeff Steinmann- What test. What do they measure that tells them that.
Jordan Harbinger- Yeah, and I am thinking oh great. I have a future in machine metal stamping. Now, if you are a machine metal stamper, obviously I am not picking on you. But you know I just thought to myself I just built a radio transmitter in my garage, in my basement. I am 13 years old. Machine metal stamping sounds really dumb but there’s 87-97 other results on this page that you know, do you like stamping metal. Oh yes. Well then you should be a machine metal stamper. I am thinking who ever invented those just needs to be beaten with reeds. And so I am thinking okay, that’s useless. And so that kind of persisted in high school. What do you want to be when you grow up. I don’t know. Okay. Anthropology, I am taking German class. And all you know is kind of what your parents or friend’s parents did. And I am like, oh I don’t want to be an automotive engineer like my dad. And I don’t really want to be a school teacher like my mom. I don’t really think I am good at school anyway even though I am a good student. I am just doing it cause I have to. So okay college. Then you are in college and you are doing the same stuff and then basically grad school, opportunities roll out. College graduation was running. This was a huge wake up call for me. I go to get a job at Best Buy which I think is probably a national choice if you are overseas. And you are listening to this, it’s basically a store where you can go buy, at that time CDs, computers, radios, phones. Things like that. It’s pretty much the same now minus probably the DVDs and CD. And they went through and I made it like to the final round of interviews and came in for the interview. And they were like, okay, you can get a job here and it’s going to pay like $8.95 an hour or something. And I was like this really stinks. I don’t want to do this. It seems awful and I graduated from the university of Michigan. I speak two languages fluently besides English and I am working at Best Buy if I am lucky. So my friends were like, dude you are smarter than that. You should go to law school. Oh okay, I never really thought about it. So I applied to law school and I happened to get in Michigan which is a decent law school. And so I am like, okay cool. I will go to Michigan for law and I have my girlfriend there so now I don’t leave my girlfriend. Yay. Right. So like 120,000 dollars graduate school tuition later, I graduate from law school. I end up with a job on Wall Street, pass the New York bar exam and I am thinking I never wanted this.
Jeff Steinmann- Yeah. Well do you think like the high salary that lawyers make, did that play into the decision to go to law school.
Jordan Harbinger- Yeah. Oh to go. No. But once I got into law school, people were like, dude you are set if you do well.
Jeff Steinmann- Oh I got you. Okay.
Jordan Harbinger- Yeah, out of college was going to be like a 150,000 grand and it was. And that was cool, right. I was like this is really neat. You know like I mean that’s awesome. I mean who doesn’t like a lot of money.
Jeff Steinmann- And that was like you starting salary.
Jordan Harbinger- Yeah dude, that was my starting salary.
Jeff Steinmann- Yeah you had long ways to go.
Jordan Harbinger- It was like you are going to start at this ridiculous amount. You are going to graduate to the following 10 ridiculous amounts until you make partner and then you are going to make that ridiculous amount forever. And then you are going to retire and it’s like, from there, I mean you know what I mean, it’s like a really sweet deal provided that you value your time not like zero.
Jeff Steinmann- Yeah. It’s like the corporate teeth
Jordan Harbinger- It is. And we call, at Wall Street we have a motto or a saying or a term I guess called the golden handcuffs. And you probably talked about this on your show so I won’t bore everybody with it too much but it’s basically the idea that you go get a job like that and then you are like oh cool, I got to buy a really badass condo or apartment because I got a killer job and I live in Manhattan. So you buy this condo but man, why live like a normal person when you are a rich and you are only getting richer. So you buy this really nice condo and then you are like, well, I am going to get married and I am going to marry a girl who’s probably going to cost me a lot of money because we are all after the trophy wife. And you know not everybody did that granted, like a lot of people were sensible and married girls that were nice people. But you know, some people didn’t do that. And then they went, you know what I got to get out of the city sometimes and then your buddy that you work with goes, well just buy a house in the Hamptons. That’s where I summer. And then you go, oh okay. So then you buy a summer home and you are like, well man, houses are expensive that are like you know in the five figure range but screw it. I am loaded. You know, I am loaded. My IRA is packed out nice. I am doing pretty well for my self. I really enjoy, you know all the money I have but man, I wish I just had more time to spend it. And then you kind of realize that you haven’t spent a whole of time with your wife. You haven’t spent a whole lot of time with your kids because you are working like 10 to 12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week and it stinks but you can’t quit because you have a condo and you have a house in the Hamptons and you have a family to support. So now you are stuck and then you go, well, if I am going to stuck somewhere, I might as well be stuck somewhere where I am making six figures and then maybe seven when I am 45. The problem is that 15-20 years expanse in there even if you are lucky that’s a long time. And it’s probably the best years of your life. So when you are in there grinding away, you are kind of wasting that and you know a lot of people I know who are in turnings doing cool stuff. A lot of people that I was really good friends with at law school, I don’t even have time to talk to them anymore. I actually say they don’t have time to talk to me anymore. And I often wondered like are these people doing anything and whenever I see them on Facebook and I say, hey happy birthday. What are you doing. They are like you are so lucky you made it out. I am jealous. You are so lucky. They never go oh man, things are awesome. I just had a baby. I am loving life. I am living the dream. They either don’t answer because they are never on Facebook because they are way too busy or they go, man this sucks. I just don’t way if I have any other options.
Jeff Steinmann- So why did you escape that that they can’t.
Jordan Harbinger- You know, it’s interesting and it goes back and I think about this question a lot and it goes back a lot to unfortunately, there is a couple of like large complicated answers so I am happy to dive into all of them.
Jeff Steinmann- Go for them. That’s what this show’s about.
Jordan Harbinger- Good. Okay. Cool. When I was younger in college, even in high school, I worked at a movie theatre and I thought we do things so stupidly here. There are a lot better processes and then the owner explained to me, well you know we do things here for a reason and this is the best way to do it. And we thought well and hard how to get this done. And I go, okay fine.
Jeff Steinmann- That’s the manager accent.
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Jordan Harbinger- That is the manager accent. That’s the condescending owner of a movie theatre that has never worked in his own. Ever. He just goes and counts the money at the end of the day and he goes, I am so good at business. You know and you are thinking okay Mr.I have operated at a loss for the last 5 years even though my dad paid for this whole thing out of a pot kitten cash. So you know, I remember telling my manager once, you know when I am up this hallway and I do this and then I go downstairs I am actually losing a lot of time and then there is a lot of momentum loss at the concession stand because we are doing the switch to please time. The other thing is maybe to just do it this way and he goes, that’s a really good idea. You know, I didn’t even notice that because I have been upstairs. And I am thinking if the manager didn’t notice that, the owner doesn’t even know that this might have been a problem because he doesn’t know how this place operates. So I thought to myself, I am not really cut out to be an employee at a place like this. And so they moved me up to team leader. Of course I quit. It was a movie theatre. I was 17 years old. But throughout college and things like that, I had lot of different little jobs and I was always hustling. I was always making money on the side. You know how do I make money to go to the bar but not do a ton of work and also make it fun. How do I go travel for a whole year but also get credit for going to school for that year but also not payout through the nose for one of these stupid exchange programs which means you are just jerking with Americans and then go on towns everyday you know in Spain not France. And so I did a lot of that stuff and I always dreaded I am like one day I am going to have to get a job and it’s going to terrible. One day I am going to have to get a real job and I am not going to be able to fit in. One day I am going to get a real job and everyone’s going to find out that I am just a really good hustler but I am a shitty employee, a really terrible employee. And pardon my line, I don’t know your policy.
Jeff Steinmann- No you are cool, you’re cool.
Jordan Harbinger- And so I got the job on Wall Street. We are like hustlers, people who go out and get business. Tat ta da ta da. Great. Okay good. That sort of works for me but also at the end of the day, really I am just checking for commas in documents. So I am still thinking I am going to be a bad employee. I don’t know what to do. And you know I was doing mortgage back securities and what those are for people who are listening and don’t really know, basically these big investment banks would come up with these mortgage products where they would take a bunch of mortgages and pack them together and then essentially like a stock based on these pools of mortgages. There might be a like a 100,000 mortgages in a big pool. So the problem was, a lot of those mortgages was what we would call subprime mortgages and now people are getting news flashbacks of what happened in 2007. So we were taking these giant pools of, imaging a 100,000 subprime mortgages and then imagine that 60% of those people can’t afford to pay their mortgages anymore. What happens is that the stocks that those securities are based on, in other words, that pool of mortgages goes from oh my god, this thing is making like a million bucks today in revenue because of all the payments. They are going oh this thing is making like negative a million dollars a day. And nobody wants to buy it anymore. So everybody is selling their stock in that security which means that the bank that holds insurance has to make up the loss and they are losing their shirts. And that’s sort of like financial crisis in a nutshell. Right. So needless to say when those mortgage pools went really bad, all the lawyers that created it those mortgage pools, did the paperwork for those which is what I was doing. We didn’t have a whole lot going on. Nobody was going hey this ship is sinking, let’s buy new furniture for the dining room. Right. Nobody wanted to do that. So they also didn’t want to fire their first year associates. Because that looks really, really bad for a law firm to do that. You can’t lay off first year associates because no one will ever want to work with you ever again ever. What they didn’t realize was that the crisis was going to be so bad that it wouldn’t matter anyway because everybody was going to go belly up. And in short order. But what they did instead was they paid me full salary and benefits for 9 months while I did nothing.
Jeff Steinmann- Oh wow.
Jordan Harbinger- And that was awesome. Because I was basically like winning a mini lottery where they were like hey man, you want 80,000 dollars and an office that you can do whatever the heck you want in, then go for it. You know, and they were like use this time to find another job. We will help you out with job training and networking skills and classes and recruiters and all that stuff. We will help you figure out all that stuff. And I went cool man, so I had an office and my office maid, he just stopped showing up and like we have been to his girlfriend who didn’t care anymore and so I thought this is actually a pretty killer deal. Now while everyone else was freaking out and panicking, I was going, awesome, I really don’t want to be a lawyer anyway. I am not really going to find another job and I had started and this is where the second leg of the story comes in right. So I had all this free time and a bunch of extra money and I am like what am I going to do. We are back in law school. I had started what’s called a podcast, just a hobby show with a friend of mine that was about my dating life and how crappy with was. It sucked. And it wasn’t just me ranting and whining. It was more like me going okay I went on a date and I did this and this didn’t work and so I went on a date and did this and she responded really well with that. I read this book by this guy that says here’s how you do your first date and I did that this stuff worked but this other stuff didn’t work. And then I would go hey this week I actually brought on the author of this book that I like and he’s going to tell me what I did wrong. And so I would tell all about this and I would get coaching from this author and then I would start talking about body language and how you know I read this book on body language and I met with the coach and learned about body language and did this and that. And so we started interviewing those coaches and I would just try stuff out and come up with theories of our own and then we would go out and test those. We had a really good knowledge base of actual practical knowledge of how to go out there and network with people and go out there and meet with girls and go on successful dates and bear in mind, we were in our early 20’s. This stuff was really cool for us. This was like perfectly apropos for 8-10 years ago now right. So we started this podcast since way when podcasting was new so we got pretty popular because people were trying new podcasts and there were probably like 400.
Jeff Steinmann- Sure. You were providing a crap load of value. I mean what single guy doesn’t want that kind of advice and like you said, there were so few podcasts at the time.
Jordan Harbinger- Right, right. Exactly. And then like this book came out called The Game by this author Neil Strauss and now it was about sort of what we were doing. It was really popular so people were searching for it and they found us and they were like oh, these guys are doing similar stuff but it’s more genuine. They are not lying, they are not making up stories, they’re not dressing up funny. It’s more of an authentic approach to becoming a more charismatic guy. And so people were spreading the word and that was going crazy and then one of my co-hosts on the show, his friend wrote a screenplay and that got turned into a movie and it was called Hitch and Will Smith was in it. And it was kind of about what we were doing. So we were like this is really cool. So people were searching for that and they were finding us so we had a really good sort of boom on our show then and that show we just kept doing it every week or every other week for a while and I moved to New York to do my law job to start my job at the firm and we kept doing it you know over Skype and things like that and then we got picked up by Sirius XM Satellite Radio and you know we were guests on another show. They thought it was a really interesting topic so they gave us this Sirius XM Satellite Radio show for 3 years. And we were running that and they are still replaying the show. Right. And so we kind of had some luck but we are also using our networking skills to get ahead and get what we want and that was really important and that sort of covers why we were able to do what we were able to do. Why I was able to escape the cubicle prison. Well I had a pretty nice office at the firm but whatever. And you know, and because we were putting in a practice what we were teaching here at the company that we eventually formed called the Art of Charm. And so we, the podcast became popular and more popular. The Sirius XM show is still popular. And then I found myself laid off, right. This is where the stories converge and I found myself laid off from this law firm, well not laid off. Still getting paid but then going, hey next year, you’re done. Man soon as you hit second year, you are finished. This is your last paycheck. These are your last reimbursement, bla bla bla whatever and they said do you need a loan or any kind of money before you leave because we know we are leaving you in a somewhat of a lurch. I thought I’m not really in a lurch. I am getting paid full salary and benefits but if you guys are going to give me 10 grand just to go away and not complain, I’ll take it. So I took that money too and then I went hey guys, you know Art of Charm is doing okay but I have got like a lot of money here. Why don’t we do something with it. So we started investing in an advertise. I mean we wasted it. I am not going to tell you that that money did anything other than provide us an opportunity to lose a lot of it and go oh man, that didn’t work. So but the fact is that I had that hobby that was working for me. People were buying our products, people were paying for our boot camps. We have live programs where guys come to live at our training facilities which was in New York is now in L.A where they live with us for a week. It’s a dorm type, it’s a living area, right. They are not staying in my couch anymore like they were back then but they stay here for a week, they learn from us a bunch of different criteria for charisma, we do a lot of drills, we do a lot of fieldwork and practice. We teach them networking skills and things like that as well as a lot of dating skills. And so we were doing that you know for a while so that hobby business turned into my fulltime gig because I wasn’t afraid to kind of leap knowing that least the beginnings of a net were there. I thought to myself that it’s great that there is a kind of net here and we are surviving barely on this other business that I have got but also you know I don’t, it’s not like I am choosing between this amazingly rewarding career as an attorney. I am going maybe I want to start my own thing. It was kind of like either I am going to find another job that I hate even more than this one in the legal field and that’s even more soul sucking or you know I am going to find something that I can do on my own that I actually enjoy. And I thought to myself you know, I never believed that that was possible because my parents were kind of old school. They are very supportive but they are old school and they think you know, if you enjoy your job you are probably doing something wrong. You know and that’s old school thinking and it’s totally correct for a lot of people. You know but I also believe since I had exposure to so many authors and independent business men and cool teachers that were teaching us what we were using at the Art of Charm, or the seeds they are of, I realize there are people out there that work for themselves, that do things that they like they to do and they don’t spend 10 hours in the office. And they still make a good living off of that and I also had to do a hard thinking that okay, I live in this awesome building in Manhattan. I have got tons of cash. I don’t even know how to spend it all. So sometimes, I am partying with my friends and just paying for everything and I thought, I really don’t care about any of this. I don’t care. Like I am 27, I am making more than both my parents combined with the peak of their career and it’s like my first year out of college. I don’t need all this money. I just don’t. So I started investing it in my company and you know, in retirement accounts and things like that but I really, really didn’t need it. And it was good, it was good experience to have and I know a lot of people out there going boo freaking hoo. Homeboy’s got too much money. Must be tough. But you know what it taught me was I don’t need to stay in a career that I don’t like so that I can buy a house that I don’t need because as clichéd as it sounds, when you don’t need that stuff, it so liberating. Because possessions, debt, all those things limit your options. And that’s the Golden Handcuffs and Mark Cuban noted onto to the Dallas Mavericks, he said something very interesting. I want to say on Twitter or Shark Tank or any other talk he gave, I can’t remember but it definitely came out of his mouth and it was that debt limits your options. Right. And things like that, things like having that law job, that law career and then buying the house and then buying that condo. That limits your options. Now I make approximately the same as I might have made on Wall Street had I stuck with it but I’ll tell you, I work a lot less. My stress level is a lot lower. And to be honest, maybe I won’t ever, it’s possible that I won’t ever make millions of bucks but I don’t care because I know I am not really missing anything.
Jeff Steinmann- Yeah. Yeah. That’s a really cool perspective. So you had, did you, I assume you got rid of the house in the Hamptons and the apartment.
Jordan Harbinger- I didn’t really buy the house in the Hamptons the people were recommending.
Jeff Steinmann- Oh, I got you.
Jordan Harbinger- But yeah, I didn’t need that because I was still kind of green and new and I was like I don’t need that. It’s kind of ridiculous. But I got rid of the apartment and you know it was fun to have it but I have got a great place in L.A. too but the thing is like that’s because I worked my way back up there you know. And I don’t need like, people don’t get my car that I drive, a Ford Fusion, a black Ford Fusion. My dad worked for Ford.
Jeff Steinmann- Those are nice cars.
Jordan Harbinger- They are great. They are fun. And people go, my clients will get into my car and sometimes we will go out to dinner and I will drive a couple of people with me and they will go hey no offense but I mean no disrespect but I thought you drive something a little higher end. And I will go really why. And they are like well because business is successful. Your place is nice. Your clothes are nice. But you don’t, I mean why a Ford Fusion. You could obviously afford you know a something nicer. And I thought you know it’s because I don’t care. And it’s not a good investment. Because the reason, the only times I ever thought, man I am not a car guy as you can tell, the only reason is the only times I ever thought man you know I should get a nicer car is when I thought, man everybody in L.A has a great car. And then I thought but I don’t really care. I don’t want to be like these people. Or then you know, my friend’s got a really nice pool at his apartment and I am like alright, I am going to make a note to ask him if I can use his pool. So I go hey man, can I use your pool. He goes anytime you want to use my pool, you call me. And I am like oh great. Now I basically got my own pool. How many times did I call him to use his pool. Zero. I think maybe one time I had some friends in from another country and they are like where can we swim and then I was like I’ve got a place right. But I didn’t need the pool and I thought if I had this pool in my yard, I would never use it. I would literally never use it. And then I was like man I am having trouble getting to the gym. Well, this building has a gym. I am going to get this building that has a gym so I got a building that had a gym and I never went to the gym in he building because it sucked. And I was like you know what, I don’t need that. So I got a trainer and I go to that gym instead. And I thought okay so I don’t need all these nice things and so you think about what you need vs. what you want vs. what you think you want and they are very three distinct separate columns. And what’s good about it, what’s very pleasant about it is when you go, here’s what I need- food, water, shelter, love from a good women or whatever and friends. You are like that’s what I really need. That’s what I have surviving on. That’s what I love. What do I want. Well I want a Maserati and I want this and that and the other thing. Go rent a Maserati for a day. You’ll love it. Rent a Maserati for a week you will be like meh, it’s just another car now. Sorry. Unless you are car guy, you don’t care. You won’t care. You stop caring.
Jeff Steinmann- Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger- And you know if you think man I wish I lived in a place like this when you are on vacation, then I’d say figure out a way to work remotely for like two weeks. By the end of those two weeks, you are not even going to care. You are going to be working in your home office overlooking the ocean going yeah, my view’s great. Anyway, I have got a ton of email to catch up on. Hell, I got to make some phone calls. You are not going to care. You don’t need that stuff. And people convince they do so grass is greener on the other side type of thing and that’s fine but once you have a taste, you just realize you don’t care and you can go back. You can scale back which is good because it can be tough but once you realize what you do need and what you think you need and what you think you want are different than, you are going to have a much easier time affording it because you really don’t need as much as think and you can afford the basics quite easily. You don’t need to make a quarter million dollars a year to have a good lifestyle. You might be chained to your desk now because you over purchased but get rid of that crap. You don’t use it. Your wife probably not really going to care especially if she knows how miserable it’s making you having to stand the job you hate just to pay for it. She’s not going to care about that summer home. And if she values that summer home over your happiness, then maybe you should reevaluate your relationship.
Jeff Steinmann- Yeah. Sure. Sure. Well, you know you are definitely really, I mean you have really kind have given up the thoughts you need to have certain things in order to be happy. But my question for you would be was there a time after you gave up that nice apartment in Manhattan and kind of some of that luxury that did you, were you kind of bummed out. Did you kind of missed it.
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Jordan Harbinger- Did I ever miss some of the stuff from my old apartments you mean. My old lifestyle. Not really. You know not really. I had a really awesome place and it was great and when I came here to L.A, I got a good place at a good location but not nearly as much as many bells and whistles. I never really missed it. And I kind of thought to myself, I kind of rationalized it like this, I am starting up a company. And that’s the place to be living in the lap of luxury. Right. And now that I am doing a little bit better, before I make major buys and purchases, I always kind of think about where is this impulse coming from and lot of times, especially in L.A and New York and those types of cities, you think you okay am I buying this because I want it. Yes or no. Or am I buying it because someone else wants it for me. And then you go okay, I am buying it because I want it. Okay then why do I want it. Do I want it so that other people perceive me differently or do I want it because when I was 15 I saw a Porsche and I thought I want one of those. Those are the coolest things I have ever seen and for the past 25 years or 10 years or 5 years or however old you are, you have been just dying to get one and now you can finally afford one. If yes, go ahead, get it. Indulge yourself but chances are things are going to get filtered out somewhere along the way. When you were a kid, you probably didn’t care if your parents had a house with a view of the ocean and a balcony and a pool and a gym in the basement. You probably didn’t care. And so that means that you don’t really need it. And if you do think you want it, do you want it because you think it will help you get girls because it probably isn’t really going to do that. Chances are you own insecurities are kind of invading your rational thought process there. Because you know I will tell you that like the women that I dated when I was broke and a student and before I even had my job were just as good as the women I was dating when I was rolling around in cash and just had the top of the world job and had bragging rights and a lot of greed that basically came from a golden chalice of Michigan law and it didn’t make any difference. In fact it hurt in a lot of ways because if you lean on that too much, the only kind of girls you get are not the ones you want anyway.
Jeff Steinmann- Oh okay. Makes sense. Well so what is, I know there is no typical day for an entrepreneur right, but what’s your life like.
Jordan Harbinger- Well, there is no typical day for an entrepreneur and it’s funny because people always go what’s your day-to-day like. I am like man, I don’t even know.
Jeff Steinmann- That’s right. There is no day-to-day.
Jordan Harbinger- Exactly. You know if there is such a thing as ADD, it’s me. Right. Okay so like I have an assistant that manages my calendar and I need it real bad. She’s awesome. I am looking at my calendar today, looks like I have got a 9 am hike, so I wake up you know after watching Game of Thrones way too late last night, wake up, go for a hike, call back a friend that I missed a call who called the other day, create a presentation about basically what I am talking about right now for a talk that I have to give. Tomorrow I have got a couple of sales call with some people interested in programs from the Art of Charm, talk to them. I have got an interview with this guy Jeff Steinmann, should go pretty well. Fingers crossed on that.
Jeff Steinmann- I hear he’s really good looking too.
Jordan Harbinger- Yeah, I don’t know anything about that, you know. I really don’t. That’s just getting somebody’s hopes up. And there are another couple of calls people are interested in programs so much, work on my presentation again, do some yoga, go for a run and then I have got a business dinner with two of my best friends actually who I have to begin business with about my new show that I am going to be starting on another network Pervy Sin so that’s today. But then I look at like Saturday and it’s an entirely different thing. And people go oh, you work on weekends man, that’s a bummer. And I kind of think yeah but when people ask me how many hours a week I work, I don’t even know because I don’t think about it like that. I don’t go to work and go to an office at 9 and go oh, only till 5. Just got to make it till 5. I never think about that. Even when I am banging my head against the wall trying to get a project done, frustrated to no end, failing repeatedly, I never look at the clock. It is an entirely different experience than it was on Wall Street where I was like, oh, it’s 11. How much longer are we going to be here. You know that type of thing. I am thinking just you know is this project going to have our life from our company. It’s not you know we learned a bunch of stuff about it. So it’s a lot of attitude. But I look at Saturday I go oh okay, I got cross fit in the morning, I have got another interview radio show in the afternoon. Guy’s probably not as good looking as you.
Jeff Steinmann- I am sure.
Jordan Harbinger- I am sure. And then I got to record my own show and make some commercials for it. I got to edit an article about that somebody wrote about what we do that’s going to go on our blog. I have got to study some Korean because I am learning Korean and Mandarin because I am like masochist[32:27]. I got to edit a contract with the vendor that I am actually using a lot, go me[32:34]. I have got a write our company newsletter. And then I have got dinner with a friend. So it’s like these are my ‘work days’ and it’s never like go to office, gouge eyes out with sharp stick you know which is what I thought was going on in Wall Street.
Jeff Steinmann- Yeah. Yeah. Are you learning Korean and Mandarin just because you want to.
Jordan Harbinger- Yes.
Jeff Steinmann- How awesome is that.
Jordan Harbinger- I am learning Korean and Mandarin because I want to and I go to China, well I actually run, this is random but one of the side gigs that I started to do by accident almost was I go to North Korea regularly as a tourist and I actually bring Western tourists to North Korea and so I am learning Korean because my friends in North Korea can barely speak any English. I thought how cool would it be if I could read some stuff you know and actually learn how to say a few things in Korean and understand it and then Mandarin was because I was originally going to start learning Korean only but I thought if I am going to learn a hard ass Asian language, I might as well learn one that has 1.3 billion speakers instead of one that has like 80 million. So I started Chinese and I love it. And my girlfriend, my recently acquired girlfriend loves it too because she’s actually from Taiwan. Also that’s a happy coincidence. But you know then I was like I still want to learn Korean. You know I got back from North Korean and I started Korean. So now I am just doing both at the same time because I don’t know any better. But I love languages and I have plenty of time to do these things because I do set my own hours. You know, there’s no boss going. Well I shouldn’t say there is no boss, I actually hired a CEO and hired an assistant to make sure that aI do things but you know, there’s nobody going you need to be making calls from 9 to 7 am or 9 to 7 everyday. I can set my own hours. If I don’t want to work on Friday, I don’t have to. I just all move my calls to Saturday.
Jeff Steinmann- Yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome, awesome stuff. I want to talk a little about the Art of Charm. So the first question I want to ask you is when you guys, when you and your friends started that podcast, did you have any thought in your mind that that might be a money maker someday.
Jordan Harbinger- No.
Jeff Steinmann- Excellent. Okay. So that’s kind of what I thought based on the way you described it. So how did you take that from being just kind of a fun hobby project to being a full on business that’s now supporting your life.
Jordan Harbinger- Well, basically we, when we started the podcast thing and this is not ever going to be a thing. Right. And we did it for fun. And we started to get, see a lot of people go man your business model is brilliant and you give away all this free stuff and now you got this business. And it’s like we didn’t think of it ahead of time. We were doing something that we loved and that’s the key right. A lot of people go how do I find a job that I love. And it’s like you don’t probably. I mean you can. A lot of people do that. It’s tough though. What a lot of people want to do who are listening to this show is create a job that they love. And so we started that podcast and we loved it. We had people going man, this is so cool. You guys are great. This is life changing material. And we thought, we said okay cool. Well you know you can donate to us with this Paypal button that we got on our website. You know it’s like buy us a beer. And guys were like, okay I’ll buy you a beer. Here’s a 100 bucks. And I am like oh, that’s a lot of beer. And then people were going, hey I’ll buy you a beer but I want to do it in person and also if you could help me go out an afternoon with you guys and help me talk to girls. I would love that and I would give you 400 bucks. And we were like that sounds pretty good. So we would do that. And we would get like 400 bucks. And I am like thinking this is some good cash we are getting here. And then another guy came to us and said, listen I want to do some phone coaching with you guys. How much is it. We were like I don’t know, 50 bucks an hour. I mean this was 7 years ago so different now. So 50 bucks an hour so he says cool, I want 10 hours to start. I will just give you a retainer. I thought okay this is actually not so bad. I mean I am laying on the hammock after my bar exam study going alright got a call with Omar on the Skype you know. Guy from Denmark wants to talk about how to become more social. So you know we were doing all kinds of stuff like that and then one guy when we go to New York, I hear you live in New York. I actually live nearby. I will give you 5000 dollars and pay your rent for the whole month if you just let me shadow you for this time period. And we were like wow. That’s great. What a win. Right. So we let that happen and then we started talking about that on the show and another guy was saying, hey I will do that too. I’ll do that. I’ll come in. And then we said, now we have got 8 people here for a month, this is awful. Why don’t we do something for a week instead and actually have a curriculum and figure out how to teach it. And you know so over the years that’s what evolved into the Art of Charm. People would come in to our quarters here, our teaching facility here in L.A. they’ll stay here for the week and they do 60 hours of training. And we train them, body language, vocal tonality, eye contact, the way they sit, stand, walk, talk. We have them approach women. We video tape it. We break down the video tape, point out body language and vocal tonality errors with female instructors. We do a ton of drills and exercises. Teach them persuasion skills. How to deal with difficult people. How to mend relationships. One of our clients is married, a lot of them are entrepreneurs, a lot of them are in sales, lot of them are intelligence agents, a lot of them are college kids. I mean we get all walks of life in here because charisma is something that’s applicable to everybody. But to answer your question, you know it started as a hobby, we loved it. We started figuring out by accident that we could make money doing it and boom, now we are. And that’s really important. Because we didn’t just look for something that we could stand that was profitable or something really profitable that gave us the opportunity to take enough time to not do it. And that’s great. If you hate your job but you only do it 5 hours a week, whatever, keep your job. If it’s paying the bills, keep it. You are going to be passionless, but it’s better than the other alternative which is a full time job that you don’t like that doesn’t give you any time but pays the bill. So but the ideal situation really is something that you are passionate about that keeps you motivated, that keeps you interested and also just really, well obviously this is rewarding as well because it helps the clients so much in the long run. I look at it this way. I work hard but it doesn’t necessarily feel like it all the time. I love what I am doing. It’s rewarding and it’s lucrative. And I can’t think of any other combination that’s better than that.
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Jeff Steinmann- Definitely. Definitely. So is the, so they come to this facility that you have in L.A and go through this week of training. Is there anything else. Do you have any other revenue streams in your business. Do you think like online training or anything like that.
Jordan Harbinger- We do. We have something called the Art of Charm Academy and it actually comes with your program as well but it’s, you can also buy it as a standalone. And so it’s like an online university that goes to some of the basics of what we teach at here at the Art of Charm. We also have a free podcast. It used be just about picking up girls but it’s not anymore obviously but the name stays. It’s called the Pickup podcast. We are going to rebrand it soon. But if you search for that on the web or search for that in iTunes, you will come up with that podcast. We interview a lot of entrepreneurs, we interview a lot of life hackers. We also interview a lot of dating coaches and things like that. And people are free to pick and choose, I think there is over 200 hours there right now.
Jeff Steinmann- That’s awesome. We will link all that up below the show.
Jordan Harbinger- Oh cool. Cool.
Jeff Steinmann- Yeah. Now that’s awesome. But let me ask you this. So as you made this transition and as you built this business, what is the biggest mistake that you made.
Jordan Harbinger- Oh my gosh. I mean, how can I even quantify that. I mean it’s like, it’s so hard to say. I mean to be honest, the biggest mistake I think I made, I hired a lot of bad people. I mean I have had people that have stolen content from us, stolen ideas from us, stolen clients from us, stolen resources from us, scammed me out of my money. Flat out stolen my money. You know there’s just have been a lot of that. And I think it is because I hired people that I was like oh he is excited as I am instead of going I need to hire people who know what they are doing. And I know it sounds like really, people are going you idiot, you didn’t hire qualified people, you just hired your friends but it’s really hard not to know that when you have never run a business before and a lot of people I know that are very intelligent are like I am just starting this awesome business and all I am doing is hiring my friends because they are all these brilliant IT guys. And then a month later, they are like oh, I just had to fire my buddy. It sucks. Maybe he was a bad employee and I am thinking, yeah of course he is. Then I thought wait a minute Jordan, you got no room to judge here. You hired your buddies and they are off running around with your money, your intellectual property all over the place. You know so that’s been the, that’s probably been the mistake that has hurt the most I would say. The biggest mistake that I have made was probably not really thinking super clearly about the fact that this was going to be a business moving forward, focusing on what I guess you would call drivers what’s like, I haven’t done a lot to grow my podcast other than run it and thankfully, the content stands on its own. But had I busted tail to get under like large podcast network and buy advertising on other podcast and figure out ways to really spread the word about the show over the last 6-7 years, I would probably be calling you from my thirteenth private jet right now instead of my office because that’s really been the primary driver and I just never wanted the beta. I was always like I want to do this now, I want to do that now. I am kind of lucky to still be here and I think it’s because I hired a lot of smart people in addition to hiring all the dumb people. You know and that went oh, let’s look at this before we spent this amount of money on that. And you know, okay and then so there’s been people saving me from myself I think but there’s also been a lot of like not paying attention to what really, really matters. And luckily we’ve started to snap out of that. That’s sort of proof that when you are running a business, a lot of what you are doing is seat of your pants. You’ve got to test things. We didn’t do a lot of that in the beginning either. Okay. So it’s hard to quantify the single biggest mistake. I would say not valuing our company enough to hire the right people but hiring people who would work for cheap or like best. That was a big mistake. Because it ended up costing us a lot more money than just paying the right person a salary in the long run. I know their problem and I’ll leave it this last one. I wanted a business with a bunch of friends and we all, one vote in a partnership and that’s been a huge mess. Because as good as friends you are when you start things, when there’s money on the table and everybody thinks they know how to run the show, you are going to run into problems. Because now you’ve got some of you guys running this way and two guys running that way but the problem is the three guys running this way, they just want more vacation time or they just want less work. Or they want to make more money for their end of the business and they are screwing you over and you are thinking this is going to sink the ship along her. What you need to do is have one or two partners at the top, even if it means that you have to overpay people or give them smaller equity or given the equity but no vote. You know there’s ways to structure companies where there is no deadlock and deadlock has been killer and a lot of my friend’s companies have gone under due to what’s called creative differences and all that means is that one person won’t get on board with the plan that everybody else has. And there’s just a lot of that. Because unfortunately you are talking about entrepreneurship and business, there’s a lot of ego mash that goes into it.
Jeff Steinmann- Definitely. Definitely. Well that’s awesome. Well Jordan this has been awesome but before we get to your website and your contact information, what is the last thing that you would want to leave somebody with who wants to start a business like this for themselves.
Jordan Harbinger- If you want to start a business for yourself, I would say instead of looking for ways to make money, work for things that you really enjoy doing, make a huge list and then figure out how you can monetize that instead of just figuring out ways to cash in the door. Because I know a lot of people who are fairly successful and are doing things that they hate doing and they are doing it because they went okay, I need to figure out how to pay off all this debt or pay my way through school. So they started a business managing properties or something and sure, they are doing okay. They are paying for what they need to pay for. But they hate it and it’s boring. But now they have to sit cross in there. If that same person had gone, what do I like to do. Well I like to do crochet spare tire covers for minivans, they probably would have been smart enough to figure out a way to make that profitable and if not, there’s no harm in trying 10 to 15 different ideas. Don’t be afraid to fail. I guess it’s probably even more important. You know try a bunch of things out. If they don’t work, it doesn’t mean that you’re never going to successful. It means that that idea’s not successful and part of that is mindset you know thinking no I am going. Well this failed, I suck at this. I’ll never be able to do this. When people ask me what my biggest failure is, I have to try to remember because I don’t think about them for very long. I try to learn the lesson from said failure and then move on and what ends up happening is I don’t feel like I am a constantly showing of failures even though literally my life and everyone’s life is a product of constant failure and the results they are of. I think about success because it keeps you motivated and I learn from failure. So that’s really the key. It’s just make that shift and it really is what you looked at. Right. You are the sum of your thoughts is essentially your reality as boohoo as that might sound.
Jeff Steinmann- Yeah. No totally. Totally. Totally. Awesome advice. Well, Jordan well this has been a blast working folks go to get more information about you and your podcast.
Jordan Harbinger- Go to the artofcharm.com and there is a bunch of free stuff there. And the podcast is actually called pickup podcast and you can search for that or you could go to pickuppodcast.com
Jeff Steinmann- We will link all that up. And again, thanks for all the great insight and advice that you have given to our listeners. I appreciate it. I had a blast talking with you. And look forward to seeing what you do next.
Jordan Harbinger- Yeah. Yeah. Let’s stay in touch. I think you might be a great fit for our audience as well because everybody asks me how do I get out of my crappy 9 to 5 and do something like you Jordan and I think you are probably better qualified to tell them than me.
Jeff Steinmann- That’s awesome. That’s what I do. Thanks Jordan.
Jordan Harbinger- Alright Jeff. Thank you.