Tools of the Podcast Trade

How To Balance Freedom and Discipline as an Entrepreneur w/ Robert Indries

August 30, 2023 J. Rosemarie (Jenn) / Robert Indries Episode 49
Tools of the Podcast Trade
How To Balance Freedom and Discipline as an Entrepreneur w/ Robert Indries
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wondered why as we gain more freedom, our happiness doesn't necessarily increase?

Robert Indries, is a seasoned traveler and successful entrepreneur. Having built a portfolio of eight diverse businesses, Robert knows a thing or two about juggling responsibilities across different time zones.

His primary business, Westrom, helps companies scale not merely by advising them, but through the practical implementation of systems. He shares his journey, his challenges, and his strategies in an engaging conversation that promises to be a treasure trove of tips and strategies you can begin to use now.

Delving into the key challenges of today's times, Robert emphasizes the delicate balance between discipline and freedom. Earning more, traveling more, experiencing more - all of these add to our freedom. But as we get richer and our freedom expands, it's easy to lose sight of our discipline.

This discussion also reveals how Robert transitioned into the world of podcasting as a business. He shares nuggets of wisdom about setting boundaries, the importance of monetizing content, and the responsibilities of a leader when it comes to profitability.

So whether you're a budding entrepreneur, an aspiring podcaster, or just someone intrigued by the nuances of success, this episode with Robert Indries is a must-listen.

Connect with Robert:  Website


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Robert Indries:

If you're a business owner and you're doing podcasting as a business, whether you're doing podcasting, or you're doing recycling, or you're doing design, or you're doing whatever you're doing, it needs to make money.

J. Rosemarie Francis:

This is Tools of the Podcast Trade, where you can learn about the tools and resources you can use to start and grow your podcast. Tune in this week as we talk about the help you need to remove the mystery from podcasting so you can become a successful podcast that can reach your audience where they are. My guest today is Robert Idindrius. Welcome, robert. Thanks for coming and talking to us on Tools of the Podcast Trade.

Robert Indries:

Thank you so much, jen, glad to be here.

J. Rosemarie Francis:

Sure, before we get into what you do, could you tell us who is Robert?

Robert Indries:

Well, robert is a civil engineer by background. He's traveled a little bit. We've been in over 100,000 miles of travels so far, really enjoyed them in 17 countries and doing a lot of work from those countries. We do have clients in many of those places, so it was work and play. Currently our portfolio has eight businesses in different sectors, generating seven figures yearly. We really enjoy what we do in every sector. We've played around with podcasts in the past. We had a podcast. We had so many invitees. We've been on podcasts ourselves promoting our book or things of that nature. We've been in and around the zone. We haven't achieved mass success with it but as far as we're concerned, we've always been profitable with it. We always enjoyed it.

J. Rosemarie Francis:

Okay, all right, thank you for that. Digging into it a little bit more. What inspired or motivated you to start traveling? Your bio says you've traveled to over 77 countries. What brought that on?

Robert Indries:

We've been to 17 countries.

J. Rosemarie Francis:

Okay 17,.

Robert Indries:

Yes, the traveling comes predominantly from interest. For example, we wouldn't just go to, for example, boston. We would have clients in Boston, right. Two, three people we would need to meet with, fly in, enjoy Boston, meet the clients, do the presentations, close deals or whatever needed we need to do, and then spend whatever 10 days, two weeks, three weeks, as much as we needed, and then go out. In other times it was purely for, let's say, sightseeing or spending some quality time. For example, we went to the Nijm and the Vaka Pulkou. We really enjoyed it there. On the other side of the continent, we went to Playa del Carmen in the Caribbean places. We spent a lot of time there and just working from there. It's very cool when you set up fully remote businesses. We have over 100 staff on 14 different time zones. No one's in the same place. We do have offices. We have six or seven offices but people go there optionally. They can go or cannot go to the office as they wish. We just enjoy it. In general, we can work from anywhere and at any place in time. Any days of the week you can work. We're very flexible with that and so that's why we travel because we can. We just had opportunities to do so.

J. Rosemarie Francis:

Okay, so technically you're a digital nomad, but in a wider sense of the word, you're not just a one-man show, You're a conglomerate from the sound of it. What is your main business and how do you help entrepreneurs?

Robert Indries:

My main business when I started was in tech. We were an engineering company and we're building a lot of hardware and software. The basic category in which we fall under is cybernetics it's systems. So any cybernetics system is one that makes an outcome happen, like, for example, when you build cars in a manufacturing plant. You need the manufacturing line, you need the prime materials to go in, you need something to be cut, you need the waste to be taken somewhere, so that entire thing is a system. Right it's a cybernetics system. It has hardware, software and so on and so forth. So we've built a lot of systems. We've successfully deployed over 200 projects, so we're very, very happy with that. We've worked with 19 different sectors. So that would be my baby up until now. So that was that business is called Westrom, and then we slowly expanded into other sectors, and so I wouldn't necessarily say that one business is bigger than the other, even though in terms of revenue some are larger, or in terms of headcount or whatever. At the same time, in the world and in the economy everything can shift very quickly. Right, and so one business can do much better in one year than the other. Right, and so on. So the main way we help businesses right now is by helping them scale. So businesses come to us and let's say they make half a million a year right. And they say we want to pass a million by next year right. And we just go in and implement. So we don't advise. We can't advise, but we prefer not to. We prefer to actually implement. And so we've done consulting before in the past and people will pay. We're paying us $2,000 an hour to do consulting for them. The issue was that, let's say, we would have a meeting this week, discuss everything that needs to happen until next week, and the next week would hop on another call and then on the call next week I would ask, obviously as an accountability partner how have these three initiatives gone? And they're like Robert, you know we were busy with this, we had to do whatever, and so on. Like you just uselessly paid me a thousand dollars. I mean, I can take your money all day, but that's not the point of this relationship, right? So we would basically focus on that. And then eventually we said, okay, you know what, let me do it for you. Let's agree on what needs to happen in the business and then let my team, just do it. Let us build the procedures. Let's us do the finances. Let's us do the collections on the accounts receivables. Let us do the balance sheet. Let us do the contracts. Let's us do everything that you need to actually grow the business right, or the marketing implementation, or the emails being sent or the whatever right. And so we basically went into the field of being the implementers, right. And so any business comes to us if they want to do anything, right, if they have goals and they can afford us right. We just take them to the next level from there, right.

J. Rosemarie Francis:

So Okay, sounds fun, interesting. And, yeah, those people who you tell to do things and I don't do it, and about those. So, before we get into more asking you more questions about these processes and systems that you you are obviously good at, I want to ask you a kind of fun question. Please spend six months in play at El Carmen as a digital nomad and it was sort of kind of but not too much fun working because you didn't want to work. So what is your biggest challenge in working in 17 countries? What's the biggest challenge, what's the hardest thing on a business that's traveling all the time?

Robert Indries:

I would say maybe it's discipline. So with freedom some people, some people don't understand with freedom comes the necessity for discipline. Yeah, when you don't have freedom, right, when you're a slave, your master tells you what to do. Right, like you have to go pick up rocks and then you have to go, you know, pick cherries and then you have to go wash the dishes and then you have to do you like. The less freedom you have, the less discipline you need. A slave doesn't need any discipline because they're a slave. They just do whatever they need to do or they feel like doing whatever. You can be a modern slave to your cravings, right, like, for example, if you've been eating pizza and drinking coke and you know doing all of that your entire life. Those cravings now become your master, because now you feel you need right to eat something, you feel you need to drink this, you feel you need, you don't need right, you don't need to smoke, you don't need to drink alcohol, you don't need to eat the burger, right. Those have become your master. So now you are their slave. I'm sorry, that's just the truth. Sorry to break it to you right now. Most people are basically slaves to their cravings, right, I? And so the moment you break through three of that and you say, okay, I'm only going to eat food that actually makes me healthier, I'm only going to do activities that actually take me closer to my goals, and so on and so forth, that takes discipline. So when we have so much freedom, like in the free world right and, by the way, not everyone lives in the free world. There are still people that live in China and Russia, billions of them right and so and many countries like that. So we live in the free world. You can do anything as long as you don't harm someone else. With that freedom comes responsibility right. Yeah it's a ability to be disciplined. Guess what? Our level of discipline has not evolved as much as our freedom has. Right now, you don't need to go hunt a bore and then learn how to cook it, and then learn how to portion it so that you can live off of it for three days, and so on and so forth. Right, you're hungry? You make a call or you use an app you know for twenty bucks, and in thirty minutes you have food at your doorstep. So that's the level of freedom we have right now so this level of freedom has grown very, very much and our discipline has not, which means that there's a gap, and that gap leads to depression, because people now are literal slaves and they don't even know it. They don't know their slaves because they feel they're in charge, but they're not actually, because they're cravings. Kick in, their cravings for sugar, they're cravings for coffee, they're cravings for smoking, they're cravings for whatever, just kick in and they're basically on autopilot all the time, right. And so that's why they're miserable, because they're actually slaves. They don't even know it. If they would be slaves and know it, they wouldn't be any happier, right, you still slavery in, just in a different extent. So you can never be truly happy as a slave. You can only be truly happy when you're truly free, and true freedom requires discipline. So when you are running eight businesses in our case right with over 100 employees on 14 different time zones, with clients in 19 different countries, you need a lot of discipline. So if I go to play the carmen and I say OK, I wake up in the morning, I go for a walk, we go to the beach, we enjoy it, that from 6am to, let's say, 9am. Then we go have breakfast, let's say up until 11, and then we go, and from 11 to 5 I work, right, six hours I work, I don't do anything else. I just six hours, I just work, work, work, work, work, work. And then from five onwards, right, or whatever Onwards, I can then just enjoy the rest of the evening. Right, we can go out, we can. You know, see, like some cool things they would do, like these cool stunts in Playa del Carmen on the poles. I don't know if you've seen them. There was a scarlet, there was explore, there was to loom right and so on, like there were all of these cool things there that you could Do. So we would either either do those early in the morning or late in the evening, and then midday we would work, and then weekends either way are for us. So in the weekend we would have trips right to close places. But that's my point. Like you have to be disciplined. If you're not disciplined, you will not put in those six hours of work right. And by the way, when I say six hours, some people might say, oh, I work ten hours a day normally. No, you don't. You don't my six hours. I do more in six hours that you do in 12 in most cases. I don't want to you know point names or whatever, but in most cases people are ineffective with their time right because they're not used to being Hyper-focused. But when you're hyper focused, when you're in flow, like I, can write an entire contract right, with an investment agreement For a million dollars, in those six hours you would need three, four, five days and to consult with three lawyers up until you actually put the contract together right, and so that's the difference, basically, and so my six hours matter. And Now, typically I work more than that, but when I, when I, when we're traveling, just answer your question or going somewhere and we're exploring that's typically how we do it. I work part-time, and then mornings and evenings we enjoy where we are.

J. Rosemarie Francis:

Okay. So even if you had the challenge, those discipline challenges, to begin with, you now don't have it, because you have systems and processes in place To make sure that you not only work but you enjoy where you are. So you have, quote-unquote, a balanced life, right.

Robert Indries:

So Let me tell you that the wealthier, the big you become. The bigger the temptation and I'm not joking, I you do, you would not believe it but the wealthier you become. So I was born in a relatively poor family. I managed to make my first million in revenue by the time I was 25 and we passed 10 million, you know, in my early 30s. So I Know what it means to grow and to make tons and tons and tons of cash, and we made $100,000 of investments in real estate and so on and so forth. I don't know if we passed a million, but definitely it's in the multiple six figures, right. So when you start having so much cash, so much capital and you could literally do anything any time, it's very tempting to do. So. It's most me, because when you're, when you're poor or not have so much money again, you fall into the I can't do. I can't, really can't do anything, so I might as well just work and become rich. But then, when you are rich, you're like, okay, now what do I do? Do I keep working at the same pace? Do I work more? Do I work less? Do I enjoy this? Like, what do I do? Because, again, temptation is higher and you start mean mingling with different people that are themselves as well, millionaires, right, or deca millionaires or whatever, and so you spend time with them and they don't need to lift the finger, just like you don't need to lift the finger anymore, right. And so some of them are more Slacking. Others are even more hungry, right, because everything they've done their entire life has worked. They became deca millionaires. Now they want to do more, right, they want to pass a hundred million and so on yeah right one, one of our clients, for example, when we started working with them, they're at 20 25 million a year and In two and a half years we managed to help them pass 50 million Right a year. So now we're at the stage in which, if we keep helping them to grow, and maybe three, four years, we're gonna pass a hundred million for them, right as, as one of our clients and I mean Statistically speaking no one makes that amount of money, like I can tell you, it's is zero, point, zero, zero, zero, one whatever. And you know in, if your population of the country is 20 million people, maybe you know 500 people pass that level right out of those 20 million people, right? So it's such a small amount, right, that passed a hundred million. So these guys were Taking them from, you know, 25 million to over a hundred million in under a decade and Hopefully, if I knock on wood, it's actually gonna happen. But I mean we took them to 50 million, so hopefully we can do more for them, right, and it's the same. We just help them scale. But they're as hungry as ever, I kid you not. They're hungry and hungry every year, and so the temptation is bigger for them. Still, they remain humble. They remain hungry, right and very entrepreneurial. We love working with them right, and then we just do well together.

J. Rosemarie Francis:

Yeah, thank you, and that's key, isn't it? You're hungry and once you started, you know you can do it and you just keep at it. You just keep going right, yeah, okay, so we're gonna kind of switch gears and focus a little bit on podcasters. As you know, I tried to focus on the aspiring podcasters and we hope that this interview can help them. That something you say will help them and Help them be successful in their podcasting ventures. So the one thing I want to ask and you may have answered this question already how do you create a high performance environment?

Robert Indries:

so Do you create a high performance environment? You need a few things in place. One is you need a very good filtering system for people filtering In the recruitment section, filtering hiring side, and then filtering in during their tenure with you, right? So in recruitment, you need to be able to shortlist the people that are actually or would actually be good for the job. During hiring, you need to weed out the people that lied in their CV or you know otherwise aren't a good fit culturally or whatever, right. And then during their tenure, let's say they managed to get through all of your Processes of you know, getting themselves hired. And then, if they fail after that, you need to have very good systems to keep them on track right. This is much, much higher, more difficult said than done right. Almost every single business fails at this, when I say almost 99.9%. So out of a thousand businesses, one business does this right. The chances of anyone listening of them doing this right is very small, incredibly small. You're probably not, and this is not to diminish whatever you've already done. This is to say that you could imagine how much better business can be improved these right, and so, whether you work with someone like us or you figure out yourself how you could do better in filtering and you know, weeding out people or firing them or changing them, or Do coaching them, doing what you need, that's, you know, amazing. You'll take your places right. And so that is more than half of the equation. If you have the right people on the bus, on the right seats on the bus, then you literally maybe 90% of it is done. The other 10% is to remain a good leader for them, right. And so the way you remain a good leader is to remain humble, to give them coaching, to have their best interests at heart, to be diligent with measuring, to not allow them to slack right, and so on. And so, like a good parent right there, sorry, like a smart parent, they're good parents and smart parents, right? Good parents let their children do anything, you know. Smart parents say did you do your homework? If you didn't do your homework, I'm sorry, you can't watch television. Right you didn't hit your KPIs. I'm sorry you're not getting a salary this month. That's the good parent, right? The smart parent or whatever like you're getting Like three months. You didn't hit your quota. We need to renegotiate your salary. I'm sorry, I can't keep paying you at this rate if you're not doing what we agreed you should do right. So you need to be that guy. As much as you love them, as much as you really want them to succeed, they need to have something that diminishes if they do not succeed. They need to feel that they are not succeeding and they need to do better. What their best right now is not good enough. If they want to succeed, they need to become better, right, and that is the only way to become better to realize that your current best is not good enough. That's one right realizing it, admitting that you can be better. Number two, figuring out how. And then number three, actually implementing that. How right like this is how I could write better content, this is how I could do sales better. This is how I could write better code, whatever it is. You do right, this is how and this is what I'm going to do, and then you're going to be paid more. You're going to have more responsibilities and so on and so forth. Right, so that's basically it. This is how you build that, and obviously there's much more to be said in terms of processes and how to actually implement, but you know, we can talk more about that at the end. I can tell people where to find out things.

J. Rosemarie Francis:

Okay, all right, thank you. Thank you for sharing that, all right. So how can a podcasting business which may basically operate like a cash business like you know, they're not well established like a corporation would, even if they have an LLC how can they increase their profitability and cash flow?

Robert Indries:

So one thing that I've learned a few years ago is and this has helped me become a millionaire is to never do anything that in business, in business specifically never do anything that does not make money. If it doesn't make money, don't do it right, if you're posting on Facebook all the time and it's making you zero money, don't do it right or find a way to do it that makes you money Right. Because, you can do the things you enjoy, but you need to make money from it. Money is the lifeblood of business. If you're not making it, it's going to die, it's going to wither away because someone needs to pay your rent and it's not going to randomly appear, right, and so there are no two fairies. I'm very sorry for you, right, but you need to generate money on your efforts. You have a limited amount of time every single week, every single day, and so if you spend half an hour of that time making money or if you spend eight hours of that time making money, there's a huge difference, right, you spend 16 times more time making money, right, for example. So some people can say obviously, robert, I want to make money. What are you talking about? Well, just look at your activities. Or is you publishing an episode tomorrow? Is that going to make you money? If the answer is no, then you're not doing it correctly. Can you find a sponsor? Can you, you know, join an ad network? Can you, you know, whatever, I don't know something? Sell the content, create a book out of it, do something, find a way to make money out of it. If you're not making money from it, then you're not doing it correctly. I'm sorry you shouldn't be in business. You can be an employee, no problem. Someone can pay you to do podcasting, work for their podcast and they will figure out how the podcast can make money Right, why? Because they're actually have a fiduciary responsibility towards the corporation. Many people say that they want to own their company and be directors and so on and so forth. No one wants to take the responsibility of. I have to make money, cut whether I, whether I sleep today or eat today or not, the one thing is certain is that too much today I'm going to make money and almost no one is willing to take that level of Responsibility because they're very happy being comfortable, and people that are comfortable are the best types of employees Because they will do the tasks that they need to do and they will be very comfortably paid. Everyone's happy. I need employees because they need to do the work and they're very happy because Excuse my French when shit hits the fan, robert, we need your help, robert Happened. Robert, you figure it out. Robert, you need to talk to this client, robert, robert, robert they need to deal with that. I deal with that right. When we lose a ton of money and something happens, I need to come up with a strategy. When we want to grow right and we want to take a business from 2 million to 4 million, I come up with the strategy. Right, I figure it out. I keep everyone accountable. I do that. No one wants to do that because, guess what? No one wants to get in conflict. No one wants to get in the fight. No one wants to say hey, jen, you told me you're gonna get me a hundred leads last month and you only got me 20. Do you realize you're 20% below your Quota? Yes, but this happened. That okay. But do you realize that if this happens again next month, we will need to renegotiate your salary? Do you understand that? Right? They're like well, no, robert, because this, because that. I'm sorry, but that's the truth, and no one wants to have that conversation. Yeah and so, but this is the fiduciary responsibility of the leader. They need to put lines, they need to do everything. This is the smart parent. You need to be a smart parent, and Many people are not good parents, right? Or they're good parents in the sense that they give their children everything, but then they the children end up dominating them and not letting them sleep, and then spending all their money and then doing drugs and then doing everything in between. Right why? Because you let them, they will do anything they want to do, and they, they will have the impulse of their groups, the environment, the ticktocks, the whatever right. They're going to go into depression, and that's that's what everyone does, whether they're 15 or whether they're they're 35, right as in, whether they're in high school or they're working for you, right, so is the. It's the exact same thing and this is basically what you need to do if you're a business owner and You're doing podcasting. As a business, whether you're doing podcasting or you're doing recycling, or you're doing, you know, design, or you're doing whatever you're doing, it needs to make money. And if what you're doing isn't making money, stop doing it or find another way to do it. I so that it makes money.

J. Rosemarie Francis:

I love that. Thank you, you're so passionate about it too. All right, so tell us what you do for individuals, how they can get in touch with you and how they can get more information.

Robert Indries:

Sure, so if anyone wants to grow their business scale, you know, work with us and so on, sort of things of that nature, right? Or they have any questions? If they just Google my name, my full name, robert Inderich, the first three pages of Google should be about me, so they cannot miss me, right? The first link should be my website and then if they email me at, so me at robertinderichcom, which is my website, and then they mention your podcast name, then I promise I will reply to them and your schedule a call or things of that nature.

J. Rosemarie Francis:

Okay, thank you. Let me put that in the show now. All right, so give us one piece of advice for a podcaster in the context of business, because I'm gonna say that a lot of us do not consider our podcast a business until we get to the point where it starts eating Alice out of house and home.

Robert Indries:

So your advice so the what you do is you literally think about what you want to do in life. If podcasting is what you want to do, like podcasting is like you're a radio host. Podcasting is the new radio of the internet basically right. So if you love the idea of being a radio host, love the idea of interviewing people, love the idea of promoting that you know and talking with the community and so on and forth, so forth. So if you love that, then keep podcasting and just figure out the way in which it can make money. There are I'm sure there are hundreds of articles online, right? I'm sure there's many things you can do, right. And if you're in a business of doing something else and podcasting is your hobby but you really want to make it profitable or whatever, then again is the same thing. The only way you can do this as a business is if you attach monetary gains to it, right, whether you need to make $500 a month, or you need to make $5,000 a month, or your ambition is to make $50k a month. Whatever you, wherever, you are right, because there are people like John Lee Dumas. I can't say how much he makes. I know how much he makes. He's been on our podcast twice and we've been on his podcast twice. He's the biggest podcaster in the world, by the way, with the entrepreneur on fire, or?

J. Rosemarie Francis:

one of the biggest. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Robert Indries:

So I know the guy personally, he's been, we've talked to him right. We know how much money he makes from the podcast. We know he only works X number of time. Again, I don't know if this is public information, but he works very little every month right To do the podcast, and so on. So I don't know how transparent he is about all of this, but he has talked to us. Perfect, so you can do do diligence on it, so you can turn this into a very, very successful business, right. And there are others, you know, like Tim Ferriss, that managed to do so right, and so on. What I can tell you is, the only reason I would listen to a podcast is because it adds value to my life, that's, it Adds value to the life of whomever is listening to it on the specific niche. I want to listen to it on right. Like, if I'm interested in art and paintings and you start talking to me about business, I'm not going to listen, I'm going to switch channels, basically. But if I want to learn about podcasts and you know I'm on a podcast that talks about that I'm going to listen all day because I want to, you know, learn about that, right? So if there's a lesson to take, is the lesson that you need to treat it like a business. And if you don't know, you can say oh, I am treating it like a business. Okay, show me everything you do in a day, show me your timestamps of your work and attach how much money you made from each of those tasks. And if most of those are zero, I'm telling you you are not treating it like a business. You are playing at the game of business and you're still an amateur, right? And the moment you go from amateurs to the pros, you will feel the difference. It's very visible in your attitude and how you feel and how much money you make and how you conduct yourself.

J. Rosemarie Francis:

Thank you, robert, of course, andreas, for coming and talking to us today. I really do like this conversation, which we could go on forever, but we can, so I appreciate you.

Robert Indries:

Any parting shots I would suggest that people take themselves less seriously. There will always be a tomorrow. If you're any reasonable, you can always get a job. You can just be happier. Learn to just be happy, because at the end of the day, all of us will die. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news. You will just die. You will take no money with you, no clothes, no car, no phone. It does not matter, you will wither away. I will, everyone will. So just learn to be happier with everything you do. Do what makes you happy. If that's podcasting, then do podcasting and then take yourself less seriously. You can do podcasting whilst you have a full-time job. Guess what? Get a full-time job, pay your bills and then do podcasting until podcasting makes you money. Or find a way to make money right now, cover your bills, whatever. Just stop taking yourself so seriously, stop being so stressed and then start enjoying life, because it's the only one you will ever get.

J. Rosemarie Francis:

I'm into that. Thank you very much. I appreciate you, Robert.

Robert Indries:

Thank you as well. Okay, bye.

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