Momentum Podcast: 440

Keep Hustling Or Quit?

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

I am at Funnel Hacking Live 2019. This is the most incredible event. Tons of people here are just starting a business but I'm chatting today to a friend of mine who has just shut down a business. 

Sometimes you have to make the choice to close one door, so you can kick a whole lot of new doors open. A lot of entrepreneurs are in the place where they're thinking “Do I keep going or do I quit”It takes a huge amount of entrepreneurial awareness to recognize when something isn't feeling right and that you need to pull back in some way. Is your business increasing the pressure and noise in your life? Do you feel fulfilled, like you're living the life you want?If you're not getting what you want, it's time to get some help. Go to

Full Audio Transcript

I am at Funnel Hacking live 2019. I'm in the hallway after Russell just did one of the most amazing introductions to any event I've ever been to. And I'm actually out with a friend of mine who I've met at a bunch of these events, Adrian Liao, and Adrian just recently shut down a business. So we're to an event where tons of people are starting a business, but sometimes you have to make the decision to close one door so you can kick a whole bunch of other doors open.

Alex Charfen: I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Shall we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them then rewrite them around our will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat, because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority. The few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent positive human evolution and we always will be.

Alex Charfen: Entrepreneurs love starting things. In fact, one of the things we like to do more than anything in the world is start something. There's this excitement of starting something. There's adrenaline. There's all kinds of chemicals that come from starting a business, starting a project, starting to get out the door. We just love to get things started. But, sometimes you come to a point in your business career where the most prudent thing to do, the thing you have to do is shut something down. Well, I'm standing here with Adrian Liao who I've met at a ton of different Click Funnels events. And he was just sharing with me how a couple of the podcasts that he heard actually caused him to make a really intense decision in his life. So Adrian, what is that decision?

Adrian Liao: The decision was to actually shut down one of the businesses that I have. I am a part owner in three different businesses launching one in the Click Funnels space, but my other businesses are in the real estate investment space which is what I've done for the past five or so years. But one of them was a huge opportunity that started roughly about a year ago. This is February 2019, that launched in February 2018, was an opportunity to grow a large real estate investment company throughout the state of Florida, which is where I am and eventually nationwide. My background is a lot and I love that concept of systems and scaling and I fell in love with this idea. And the partners I came with into business were awesome. They're amazing in this space, one of whom is as a mentor to me, and we banded together and we just started charging ahead.

Adrian Liao: I'll save some of it for later, but a lot of what happened was, we made massive progress in the beginning. But there's a lot of pressure and noise and the podcast that relate that, Stop Pressure and Noise. A lot of that was existing in my life as a result of a lot of the things that you talk about, Alex, is when it comes to culture, and just all of that. And at some point, understanding when your baby is ugly, and I don't know which podcast that was.

Alex Charfen: I think it's called Your Baby is Ugly.

Adrian Liao: Your Baby is Ugly. But there you could probably mix and match about eight, nine or 10 of your podcasts and all of them spoke to me. And you have an uncanny way of that morning when you wake up after a challenging week and then Alex is talking to me, literally. And I don't say that a lot about podcasts. But then this was going on for a while. So I think I see your progress, and I got to actually work with you more and talk with you more. It's just about being open about that. And what ended up happening was, it came to a point to where you realize that how much further do we want to push that particular business ahead? It's not that it's a bad concept, it's what I know it's what we're experts at but something's not triggering. And sometimes you have to make a decision about and making it about yourself. Not so much about the other people in the company. What about me?

Alex Charfen: Let's talk about that, Adrian, because, there's a lot of people who are listening to this podcast right now who are in a place where maybe they've been thinking, do I keep going or do I quit? And here's one of the hardest things for entrepreneurs, is that the word quit, it's a four letter word in reality, but it is a serious four letter word for us. Like we get to this place where quitting feels like defeat, quitting feels like a loss, quitting feels like all ... and then you know what happens. You get into a partnership, you start a business, you create this new future in your mind that is going to evolve out of that business. And when you decide that you have to wind it down, you have to cut off that entire future. We were just talking about this before I hit record and there's some emotion here for you around this, isn't there?

Adrian Liao: A lot. A lot, because this is what I've always been striving towards. I've been a real estate investor, I know you can relate to the real estate space and in Miami too South Florida. That's where I am.

Alex Charfen: Yeah, I know well.

Adrian Liao: And I've built a successful investment business in Miami but I always had a mind towards scaling bigger. I think about the system aside of it, and it's not just about ... and anyone can really learn and get out their hustle and flip some deals and make some good money. And what end up happening is, real estate investing has a way of masking the deficiencies of a business owner because our widget isn't a dollar 99 or a 1099. It's 5000, 10,000, 50,000, so it must-

Alex Charfen: Or more.

Adrian Liao: Or more, right?

Alex Charfen: Cash can cover up a lot of mistakes and a lot of internal issues, can it?

Adrian Liao: Correct, correct. And I think that's where you realize that with expenses not being watched that the rules of business apply to anyone from the 10 year old running eliminates and all the way through to Click Funnels, right?

Alex Charfen: Yeah. Adrian Liao: The rules are with your company. So that's just one of the things but what was also emotional was that, the systems behind ... so the expenses are one thing but the systems behind running a business, that's something I kind of hung my hat on because I got a chance to do that and then I wanted to do more. And I saw the opportunity to scale so that was sexy, that was appealing, and it was right in my wheelhouse. But I'll share why it's emotional. Part of being a systems guy and part of understanding how to scale ... I don't want to necessarily be the guy that's, okay I'm the guy buying all the Florida, I'm the guy buying the eastern seaboard in real estate. I don't have the ego to want that necessarily, but I know where my strengths are.

Adrian Liao: And while I went through the struggle of understanding like how to hustle and go get it, and I think it's important to understand but I have a thing where you should hustle until you don't have to hustle anymore. Because at a certain point, the hustle is just going to suck you in. Maybe some people love and they live for that every single day but the quality of life, what do you want? Your vision, and that wasn't clicking for me. I like being the systems guy and understanding how to scale things as opposed to running the whole operation. So, to sum it up, as we grew this massive company, we've had deals closing, we have a lot of stuff coming in, money coming in. But all the moving parts that have to be micromanaged to a point, the setup wasn't there. The culture wasn't there and it's so important to me that I just kind of like take it on. And I'm not trying to sound like a marketer necessarily. My partner's played their role as well.

Alex Charfen: Well, I don't hear you as a model. But what I hear is that you were in a partnership where ... And this is interesting Adrian, because it was success there, but you were feeling the pressure and noise of not being in the right culture, of not having maybe your ideas or your processes listened to and really the business wasn't being set up like you wanted it.

Adrian Liao: Correct. And that's what a timing with working with you and then listening to you was really, really important because, again, real estate there's ... and the one thing I've learned is that there's enough inventory out there for everybody to feed on even though it's been challenging 2018 2019. The thing though is, I'm preaching the culture that you talked and I've invested in some other as far as that business culture on courses and stuff before, but the concept is I'm preaching from the top of the mountain, this and after attending some of your workshops, I'm like, this is what I want to do.

Adrian Liao: But then if it's not carrying on with the rest of the company, and I'm not knocking anyone, because I'm the one breathing what you're saying. But then the mode is, okay, that sound was great. We got to take time to implement it. But in the meantime, let's go, hustle. Let's just keep hustling. Let's keep hustling. And I started to get a disdain for the word hustle, which I use carefully because again, as an entrepreneur, you got to have that hustle, that dog in you. But when you're doing it without a direction, without the culture, it's going out of whack.

Alex Charfen: Well, and you make such a good point, Adrian, because if you're in a situation where you're building something that doesn't feel right, and it's not that there was something wrong with it, it was that it didn't feel right for you. It's a profitable business. So a lot of people would say, “Hey, you're crazy. You should just go back.” But the fact is, when you're building something that doesn't feel right, it takes a lot of entrepreneurial awareness to say, “Hey, I'm not going to do this anymore. I'm going to pull back. I'm going to get out of this.” In fact, your partners probably thought it was a little weird that you decided to walk away from a profitable business where you guys were making money.

Adrian Liao: Correct, correct. And there's always two sides to that. We're making a lot of money but then there's expenses side. But either way, even if we double down, there's an opportunity to double down. And even if everyone's on the same page now, I'm not going to look back and make it even more profitable and more successful and be unhappy. And for the first time I started to feel it. You know what's something? In about two months from now, three months from now, next year, forget that. Right now I'm not happy. So why do I want to keep plugging away at something I'm good at, but seeing the makeup around me was not going to make me happy now. And I had to make a decision to move on from it.

Adrian Liao: And it's not that I'm a decision one day and it's not just your podcasts, and you gave me just some pointed advice. I saw you at an event in Phoenix in October and I asked this exact question. You kind of told me exactly what maybe I didn't want to hear but I needed to hear was that, “Adrian, this isn't going to work out.” You told me that.

Alex Charfen: Well, I remember we had a conversation where you expressed the challenges you were having, and that you didn't really feel like you were being heard. And here's the problem. A lot of entrepreneurs continue in partnerships, continue in businesses, like you said, we hustle. But here's the problem. If you're hustling towards a destination that you're not going to want to be at, you are running headlong into a brick wall. And I think you're one of those few entrepreneurs who could project forward and say, “Hey, wait, this really is a brick wall. I need to pull out." Adrian Liao: And then the flip side of that is we're taught to be so optimistic and so positive, which are important traits, and I have those. But then to start to see that, now I start to be the negative Nelly. I start to be the person who's being negative and I feel like a form of always having to [inaudible 00:10:41] to say, “Hey, I'm not trying to be negative here.” No, I'm being realistic about what's at a certain point. The brick wall is there. Saying it's not there and keep going towards and making money along the way, you're going to hit that wall. What happens when you hit the wall? And then what do I say? I told you so?

Alex Charfen: Yeah. So if you are an entrepreneur who is hustling, if you are working hard, if you are building your business, all of those are positive things. However, like Adrian said, you also have to be building something you want. Project forward, think about, is this a business you want? Is this where you want to be? Is this going to be what you want to be involved in? Adrian, it's very similar to earlier last year, when we were growing a high end mastermind really fast. That took a ton of involvement from me, we actually stopped trying to grow it and created a new mastermind where there's a lot less involvement for me but a lot more support from my team and I was a lot more excited about growing it.

Alex Charfen: I think one of the things that happens to us is, when you're trying to grow a business that you know will bring you pain, you either consciously or subconsciously start to check out and I think you probably felt yourself checking out and said, “Hey I'm going to make this official.”

Adrian Liao: And I found myself checking out and then every morning you wake up and you just power through because the word entrepreneur means, doesn't want to give up on this but the feeling was there. And I what I didn't want to do was a month down the road or two months down the road, really actually check out and then not just financial side but the relationships with the partners, the relationships with the folks in industry. That's important to me. So it's important to have some forward thinking about that. I don't want to wind it down like you have to know when to stop a business. So I guess the whole point of this podcast isn't to say, "Okay, well, if something isn't working out, shut down the business."

Alex Charfen: No.

Adrian Liao: No, but I wanted to give some insight into a specific situation where, thanks to you and some others I had some milestones along the way to actually check me and to realize, is this the right way to go? And then fortunately, I have other business opportunities that I was either neglecting or not putting as much attention to that had the promise of growing and by keeping that ugly baby, I was never going be able to foster my other babies. I'm neglecting the other babies in order to focus on one that is ugly and I'm sorry, needs to be thrown out.

Alex Charfen: So if you're an entrepreneur and you are growing your business, here's something that we all must do. We have to recognize, is this business that I'm growing increasing the pressure and noise in my life? Is it increasing my emotional pressure and noise? Is it increasing my relationship pressure and noise? Is it increasing the pressure and noise I feel getting up every day? If you're in that place, I want to give you license. I want to give you permission. I want to give you the time right now to think about, is this something you want to do? Because we live in a world where every entrepreneurial coach out there is all saying, go, go, go, grow, do it, make it bigger, make it faster, and do as much as you can. But I want to give you license to back out of what is not going to fulfill you, make you feel like you're living the life you want, and give you momentum just like Adrian did.

Alex Charfen: If you're in a place where you're not getting what you want, shut it down and go open the business you want, go lower pressure and noise in your life, increase the protection and support around you and make your greatest contribution. And if you'd like some help, you can attend the same event that Adrian did, and come and see us in Austin. Go to, fill out the application there. My team will fill you in on event information, on our coaching information and we'd love to see you in Austin. Adrian, thank you brother.

Adrian Liao: Thank you. Thank you, Alex.

Alex Charfen: You got it man. Great running into you.

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