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Top 5 lessons from 10,000 hours of my podcast

I’ve been doing the Noah Kagan Presents podcast (spotifyitunes) since 2017.

Recently, we crossed 350+ episodes.

In that time, I’ve interviewed SO many interesting people – including solopreneurs, billionaires, CEOS, athletes, moms, and celebrities.

Here’s the BEST 5 lessons from 350 episodes of the podcast:

1/ Don’t Be The Best, Be The Only

In 1993, Kevin Kelly and his co-founders started Wired Magazine. At the time, they faced zero competition. They were the only magazine talking to tech founders – and it was a strong selling point when they pitched advertisers.

Many people are familiar with your Zone of Genius – the intersection between what you love, what you’re good at, and what you get well paid for.

But Kevin told me there’s actually a fourth level. Which is, “Can anybody else do that?”

Because there are more opportunities within your Zone of Genius than you can ever do. But few that only YOU can do.

So how do you find what only you can uniquely do?

“It takes an incredible amount of introspection and getting feedback from other people,” Kevin said.

You’re not going to find it by thinking about it. You have to go out in the world and try stuff. Start projects. Experiment. Fail. Reflect. Fail again. And then, and only then, will the fourth level reveal itself.

Listen to the full episode

2/ Don’t Burn The Boats

“I thought I was dying, I was hallucinating, I was screaming at the top of my lungs. My wife didn’t know what to do.”

In 2018, Justin Welsh was making $500k/year as the VP of Sales at PatientPop. (Impressive!!)

But it wasn’t all peaches and cream. As the company scaled, Justin became overwhelmed with more teammates, more revenue, and more problems. And soon enough – it all boiled over.

The morning after a company Christmas party, he suffered a major panic attack.

That’s when he realized he needed to take back control over his life. He quit drinking alcohol. He fixed his diet. And he started consulting to eventually quit his job.

Now, Justin makes $5M/year as a solopreneur selling information products.

When most people hear Justin’s story, they want to quit their jobs and do the same. But Justin doesn’t recommend burning the boats immediately.

“Find an hour each day to grow a side project. Replace 60% of your current income while trending in the right direction. Then make your move,” Justin said. “It’s almost always a better decision.”

The two paths he recommends:

  1. Identify what you’re already getting paid for. Build a portfolio of services that mirror the same outcomes. Go out and find companies who need your services.
  2. Pick something you’re obsessed with. Go find someone who’s done it successfully. Study the living hell out of them. Do it your way. Then help people who want to do the same thing.

Listen to the full episode

3/ Everyone Is Winging It

Paul Orfalea is the legendary founder of Kinko’s. If you haven’t heard of Kinko’s, it was a leading retail chain for copying machines in the late 90s.

Paul ran the company for 30 years, and it was later acquired by FedEx for $2.4 billion dollars in 2004!

A piece of advice that Paul’s mother gave to him has stuck with me.

“In your 20s, try everything. In your 30s, figure out what you do best. In your 40s, make money from what you do best, and try not to do too much in your 50s.” (Click to Tweet)

Too many people beat themselves up because they don’t have everything 100% figured out. But it takes YEARS – even decades – to figure out what you do best.

Since interviewing and working with 25+ billionaires like Paul, I’ve realized that they aren’t any more special than anyone else. They still face the same doubts, insecurities, and problems everyone else does. Everyone is winging it.

Listen to the full episode

4/ You Can’t Change Yesterday’s Newspaper

John Paul DeJoria is the founder of Paul Mitchell Systems (hair care) and Patron (tequila) – both billion-dollar companies!!

But at one point, he had no money and was living out of his car. He was homeless (twice)!

He could’ve dwelled on his misfortune. But instead, he repeated this reminder to himself.

“You can’t change yesterday’s newspaper.” (Click to Tweet)

When you’re down and out, don’t think about why you’re down and out and how bad things are. Focus on the next thing to do.

“What slows most people down is they’re stuck in the past,” John said. “Forgive everyone who has done you wrong. You can’t change it.”

There’s always someone you can blame for your problems… but does that solve your problems?

Listen to the full episode

5/ “Boring” Builds Wealth

Larry Janesky came from humble beginnings. No one in his family went to college, and he didn’t have the money. So he started his own carpentry business straight out of high school.

Today, that business is a multibillion-dollar home improvement empire with over 1600+ employees.

When most people think of billionaires, they think of sexy businesses like tech or AI. But blue-collar businesses are a great way to build a durable business.

“Tech isn’t the only way to make money,” Larry said. “The cool thing about working with your hands is that you can never be replaced by AI. Amazon’s not going to take over. Nobody can go into a home and fix their basement from India.”

I love how he’s winning BIG in areas where fewer people are paying attention too…

Listen to the full episode


Rooting for you,

Noah 🌮


Ps. Not already a listener? What are you waiting for… Subscribe on spotify or itunes 🙂

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