Brad Barrett is one of our original community members – he was actually the first person we ever helped on the podcast way back on Episode 23! He has come a long way.
On today’s show Shane and Brad talk about how Brad was able to quit his full-time job thanks to his online business, how a random message from a stranger led to Brad starting the ChooseFI Podcast (which has now been downloaded more than 1.4 million times every single month), and how he is bouncing back from the economic challenges brought on by the COVID pandemic.
What You’ll Learn:
- All about podcasting with Brad Barrett from the ChooseFI Podcast. (9:00)
- Money makes the mission possible. (14:40)
- Casting your stone. (19:00)
- What sustains most podcasts? (25:45)
- You have to monetize your community. (34:00)
- Financial independence in crisis. (44:00)
- Relationship will help your business survive everything. (56:00)
Brad Barrett is only 1 of 2 people we’ve ever had on the Flipped Lifestyle Podcast three different times – and with good reason!
Brad was on our show for the first time back in December of 2014 – (which in Internet years that is at least 100 years ago) on episode 23 of the podcast! Brad is so OG that he was the first person we recorded with the 1-on-1 coaching format of the show you see and hear today!
Back then Brad had a website called RichmondSavers.com. He lives in Richmond, Virginia and he and his wife are known for saving money. They got their start by helping people use credit card reward points to travel the world! They had even put together a trip to Disney World for around $100 for their family of four and ended up getting up a lot of press from the New York Times! It changed everything for their website!
Brad ended up helping people 1-on-1 through hybrid of a real-world and online business! He would literally take his lunch from work to coach people over the phone.
Around December or January of that year he started thinking about how he could scale it. In early 2015 a free course was somewhat a novel idea. It wasn’t complicated just simply an email auto-responder. He had to put a scarcity around it simply because he didn’t know how many people he was going to be able to work with so he started a Facebook Group (which again was new at the time). Their first month they had 200 or 300 people signing up and only continued getting several hundreds of sign-ups as the months went on! They were able to scale it and since then they have put over 50,000 people through that course – insane!!
Back then we weren’t totally in on the membership model, we were subserved in the course model. A few months later is when we went all in on the membership model!
Brad told me a story years ago and it’s still one of my favorite things to tell people about online business. Memberships are what we teach but online business is what it’s all about. The internet and making money online and being able to reach out to anybody on earth is really how you can set your family free. I will never forget setting goals with Brad and him saying how he simply just wanted to pick his kids up off the school bus. I remember thinking, “man, if I can help that guy pick his kids up off the school bus that is an awesome goal.”
Brad came back on Episode 72 and he told me that he now gets to pick his kid off the school bus. To this day it still about makes me want to cry because it is just such a worthy goal. And, that’s really why we all do what we do with online business. It’s about that level of control and freedom.
Fast forward to today. Brad is co-host of an amazing podcast of his own called ChooseFI – with a huge following!
All about podcasting with Brad from the ChooseFI Podcast.
You never know where the online business is going to take you. You never know where one podcast appearance is going to take you. That’s where Brand found himself just a few years ago.
The FI in ChooseFI stands for financial independence. Financial Independence is all about getting to the point where working is optional.
Now, Brad says that this doe snot mean to sit and be unproductive. It’s about getting to a point where you have freedom and control over your life. Most importantly it’s about taking control of your time!
Too often Brad feels like people look at saving money as deprivation. More akin to a diet with short-term mindsets. Brad’s podcast helps to change that idea. He says it’s about shifting the mindset to wondering what you want out of life.
Most people don’t want to be working 40-50 hours a week at a 9 to 5. Those same people that end up making up for it with fancy cars and houses. Brad doesn’t think that’s the life the most people are looking for but it has happened because those people haven’t taken a step back to try and design their life. They haven’t realized that they have to do what society says or ‘keep up with the Joneses.’
People do this because they don’t know there’s a better way.
It’s coming to that realization that has changed Brad’s life and so many other peoples’ lives.
The ChooseFI Podcast all started after Brad had appeared on the few financial independence podcasts back in 2016. He was talking about credit card rewards points, he was the “credit card rewards points guy.” None of ChooseFI had started yet.
A random listener named Johnathan heard him on the podcast realized that they both were: 1) Living in Richmond, Va., 2) into credit card rewards points, and 3) into financial independence.
Johnathan reached out to grab lunch and approached Brad with an idea for a website. Not only did Johnathan have ideas he had drive to go with it.
Three months after their meeting Johnathan ran across Brad’s mind again. He began wondering what ever happened to him. So he texted him asking if he ever started the website.
Johnathan came back and said that one text message, that one little thought that someone cared, that one bit of accountability was a “lightning bolt” to him. He hadn’t done a thing yet.
That very day Johnathan bought choose.com, wrote a couple articles as quickly as he could. He messaged and said that he wanted to pitch something to Brad.
The idea he pitched? Starting a podcast!
It was December of 2016. Podcasting was still very new and so they just decided to try it! It was going to cost a couple hundred dollars in equipment and software, that was it.
More importantly there was a need for this type of podcast. With that in mind they launched in 2017 and this rest is history!
His other business? Now on autopilot. Just like we taught him – scale what he can batch!
Money makes the mission possible.
Financial is the core principal of the Flipped Lifestyle. Money is a resource. You have to control the resource, not just earn it. Having control over your finances and wealth is what gives you that time freedom you’re looking for.
Most of the people that we know with time freedom have it directly from having control over their finances. And, when you have time freedom you get to do whatever you want: pursue a charity, go sit on the beach somewhere, whatever it is money makes the mission possible.
That’s what its’s all about: defining your ideal life, whatever shape or size it comes in!
It’s the reason we have an arrow in both the Flipped Lifestyle and Membership Masters logos. Everyone makes choices every single day. It’s all your choice whether to live financially independent and how you live when you are.
Independence does not simply means you get choose what life looks like. It’s the power of choices. It’s not about being independently wealthy compared to all of the rest of humanity.
Casting your stone.
I keep a stone on my desk so that every time I sit down at my desk I have to look at this rock.
There is a quote by Mother Teresa tat came after a reporter asked her question. The question was wondering if Mother Teresa truly believed that from he middle of nowhere, she could change the world. Mother Teresa laughed and said that she didn’t think she could change the world alone. But, she could pick her up stone and cast it upon the waters and cause many ripples.
I sit there and think about how I am just one person from eastern Kentucky. I can’t change the world alone. But I can sit here and help like Brad. Brad goes onto a podcast that gets picked up by the new York Times. He changes all those readers’ lives. Then, he finds a partner. They start a podcast and change thousands of peoples’ lives every single week.
People live their life through stories. Tell yours but don’t limit other people’s experiences by only telling your own. That a-ha moment for Brad and Johnathan was realizing that they had to certain everything they did and said around community.
While Brad and Johnathan are the hosts of ChooseFI, the podcast is a world-wide community. In 300 cities from all around the world in which people from ChooseFI’s Facebook Group come together and actually meet in person. And, it all started right here from the Flipped Lifestyle Podcast where Brad decided he wanted the freedom to pick his daughter up off the bus!
What sustains most podcasts?
People crave community, they just do. In this world of social media it seems everyone is connected but in really we are all craving real connections, that’s what you’re seeing.
With choosing to be financially independent, Brad has seen first-hand that that unfortunately that is counter-cultural. They shouldn’t be revolutionary ideas but they are.
You get comfort from seeing other people accomplishing what you want to do, every day in real-life.
One of the main reasons we use the word membership in everything we do instead of subscription is because membership implies community. That’s what we believe sustains most podcasts, YouTube channels, online businesses. The people who come into a membership are invested in a community.
It’s never about Shane and Jocelyn, just like it’s never about Brad and Johnathan. We’re kind of like the knights of the round table. We just happen to be sitting in the chair that gets to take first.
It’s all about that community. It’s all about helping each other. None of us have a monopoly on good ideas. We’re all here to help each other sort through our own variables and situations. That way, we can build a life for our families, change our family tree, and all those things.
You have to monetize your community.
We’ve had some people achieve crazy things over the years, Brad of course being one of them!
The structure of our of business is:
- Create content
- Build a community that pays you.
- Serve that community
What we’re really seeing here is the monetization of community. Not in a bad way, don’t milk your community dry that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is you have to monetize your community because of they don’t pay you, you don’t have the money to serve them.
Brad says his ‘choose 5 and monetize’ is all about becoming a trusted resource and adding value constantly. People can tell when you’re just trying to hawk a product. We are very social animals and we can sniff that out from a mile away!!
People have come to trust Brad because he is in their ears 3 times a week. He talks about the ups and downs in his life. Nobody is looking for expertise. They are looking for examples, they are looking for someone to connect to.
Now that he has that trust, when Brad recommends something they know it’s authentic.
Financial independence in crisis.
Coronavirus has opened the eyes of the online business world to the reality of how important it is.
Brad has a friend that is an Orthodontist a profession that you would think would be recession-proof. People ALWAYS need dental work, right? Apparently not.
Brad thought with his massive audience and affiliate programs that he would be okay.
The big part amount being financially independent is having a fall-back plan. It’s crazy because every single one of Brad’ fall-back plans weren’t possible during the COVID-19 shutdowns.
Another big goal of living financially independent is having 6 months of living expenses saved up. Then, we get see the news and see that there is no timeline for this pandemic and those safety nets are in question. There is no planning for something like this it seems.
What do you have to do? You have to figure it out! This is part of being a business owner – you have to pivot.
Because of COVID-19 Brad had about 90% of his revenue in jeopardy essentially overnight.
One thing that Brad started doing (that he never thought or hoped he would) was putting ads on his podcast. In times of uncertainty ad dollars and affiliate dollars dry up.
This is a truly hard thing to do because when you’re selling ads you’re entering into a partnership and a relationship. You saying, ‘hey, we’re going to believe in your company to introduce you to the audience and we’re going to trust you not to screw up the relationship.’ It’s a really big deal to make that decision!
Brad is like all of us. He has not only a team to support but his own family. He had to make a decision that though hard, was one in the best interest of everyone. You have to ramp up your intention and massively deliver value. You have to try your best and lead from the front.
It has to come down to continuing your mission for everyone that hears you, and continuing the important work you and your team are doing!
In online business things don’t always go perfectly – but in catastrophe at least you have the ability to roll up your sleeves! For people in a normal 9 to 5, things can happen and you are sent home with nothing you can do about it.
Relationship will help your business survive everything.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have been able to not only survive but grow – thanks to our amazing members.
Brad struggled the pandemic for revenue, but we didn’t. What’s the difference in our two podcasts? We have an online membership full of community, full of people who care, people who actually drew closer and more together than we’ve ever seen!
These members are also spread not only across the U.S. but across the world. Places where the pandemic was hitting hard one minute was not the hotspot in other areas.
Our goal is to keep our floor above everyone else’s ceiling. A relationship where we say “you pay us $20/month and we serve you.” Is so much safer than a corporate relationship. Because you may have 1,000 people clicking on a link in corporate relationship with an affiliate program. You still have a bottleneck of risk of the affiliate stepping back.
But for memberships, if you have 1,000 members paying each month from across the world, it’s okay if you lose 100 of them. Your points of risk are spread farther.
With as big of an audience that Brad has – he could pay for everything during a crisis because of the floor he could build up for himself!
Brad was stuck thinking that since his business does run well and smoothly the vast majority of the time that it was hard to move to a membership model. It was “it if ain’t broke don’t fix it.” That was until the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, Brand and Johnathan are starting to see just how quickly that could change and they could literally lose everything whereas we don’t have that problem. They are finance people and even with planning never expected this situation.
Now, Brad is considering to start utilizing the membership model – something we are more than happy to hear!
There is a reason Disney added Disney+, they are spreading their risk out. They didn’t have to add it, look at all the massive amounts of revenue they have. They knew they needed to add a membership to something that is working very well – to make it work every better!
Remember to subscribe and leave us a review to the Flipped Lifestyle Podcast here on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-flipped-lifestyle-podcast/id902645131
You can also listen this week’s full episode here on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/42uP4GqJZRHDRt8r3Hh4iS?si=e3Lyd2D4QzGmNJeqhIFf3g