In this episode, Dan Vega, Entrepreneur, Business Coach, Investor, and expert in guiding companies to maximize profits by minimizing costs, discusses the secrets to success in a shifting economy. Vega emphasizes the importance of creating value and leverage, focusing sharply rather than casting a wide net, and how leadership outweighs technical skills in entrepreneurship. He also touches on strategic debt, building passive income streams through acquiring assets, and the significance of adopting a thriving and abundance mindset over a scarcity mindset. 

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📌TALKING POINTS

02:13 Balancing Technical Skills and Leadership

04:43 Creating Value and Leverage

10:17 The Importance of Niche Focus

18:41 The Role of Mathematics and Economics in Success

21:55 Creating a New Economic System: Thrive Mindset

23:00 Understanding the Scarcity Mindset

25:51 The Characteristics of a Thriving Individual

34:57 The Role of Strategic Debt in Wealth Creation

40:09 The Importance of Investing in Tangible Assets

41:10 Leveraging Other People's Money (OPM)

🔗CONNECT WITH DAN

🔗CONNECT WITH TOM

Tom Finn (00:01.514)

Welcome in everybody, the water is warm. Today we are learning from Dan Vega. Dan, I am thrilled to have you on the show, welcome.

Dan Vega:

Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Tom Finn (00:12.278)

Well, Dan, we're excited to have you. And if you haven't met Dan Vega, let me just take a moment to introduce you to him. Dan helps existing companies maximize their profits while reducing their costs and overhead. His primary focus is to help as many people as possible, acquire the right education and alliances so that others can find their path to success in an ever-changing economy. Dan has coached and advised everyone from celebrities to some of the top companies found in Forbes Magazine. A very rich and detailed history there, Dan. So let's start with something right out of the gate. How do people get into the right rooms? How do they find the right alliances? How do you do that?

Dan Vega:

You know, I was having a conversation recently about this. I think what a lot of people do is they shotgun blast. So they use something like a LinkedIn and they're just trying to consolidate retail.

So a lot of people that try to set up a zoom calls and like that to get in.  But I think really getting into the right rooms, you have to be more of a sharpshooter and  that has more to do with value. I think that, I hate when people say, it's not what you know, it's who you know. The higher we get in success, it's, it certainly becomes more about who you know.

But in the beginning, you have to know a lot of stuff. You have to have real value to get those invites into those rooms. So I think,  you know, as we continue to build value and not just value, but leverage. Because nobody is more valuable than they are known, right? So it doesn't matter if we have a cure for COVID, a cure for the mental health crisis, or whatever.

If nobody knows about it, there's no impact. So we have to increase our value, but we also equally have to increase our leverage position, and that's going to get us to the end bites into the right route.

Tom Finn (02:04.302)

So you said something interesting, which was really about knowing your stuff and being an expert in some field, I think, is where you were taking us. Everybody needs to be an expert. So where how do you leverage sort of technical skill versus leadership and relationship skill? How do you balance those two?

Dan Vega:

You know, for my success, it's more about the leadership skill. You certainly have to, you think about a specialist, you know, like an engineer, they have to know their craft.

They have those very technical skills.  Most of the time in entrepreneurship, I think it's more about leadership.  And, uh, I think again, it goes back to, uh, the balance for me has always been, um, creating enough leverage. So.  A lot of people have the technical side of things, they, they understand  different modalities and they're experts in those things, but in my opinion, a lot of people are, are very overqualified or let's say that their skill level versus what they're monetizing doesn't match because of the other side of it, you know, we, we understand that they have these certain specific skills, but at the end of the day,  they lack on the leadership side or potentially they have those skills, but we just don't know it.

And so again, we have to, yeah. There's definitely that, that balancing act, but I, I tend to put more time into the other side, you know, we have a lot of success, but, you know, I'm good at two or three things and I'm not naive enough to try to pretend that I'm good at everything. I'd rather just really be an expert in a few lanes and then hire out the best help. And, you know, when you're younger, as an entrepreneur, you're like, I'll do that. And I'll do that. And you think you can master everything, but you just stay in your lanes. And, uh, you know, collaborate with other professionals. You're going to go far.

Tom Finn (03:58.502)

I think you're right on. Every entrepreneur thinks we have to do it all. We have to be great at marketing. We have to be great at copywriting. We have to be great in front of the camera. We have to be great leaders. We have to understand our discipline well. Um, and the reality is if you're just good at your one or two or three things, and you let everything else be done by trained professionals in their sphere, you can accelerate a lot faster than doing everything yourself.

Dan Vega:

Yeah.  And what we don't calculate is like. The time I'm doing this thing to save this much money, it's pulling out of my genius lane where I would, I'm still coming up short, right? So we don't think that way when we're starting out, but  certainly the case.

Tom Finn (04:43.43)

I couldn't agree more, but I want to go back to something that you said about creating value and creating leverage. So how does one create leverage in this example? You were talking about getting into the right rooms and creating leverage and having a leverage position. What does that mean?

Dan Vega:

So I know a lot of people that like professionals or C suite kind of executives that their, their value is here. Like they're, let's say they're making 400, 000 a year,  but their online presence and their leverage position is five figure.  So if I were to Google them, it appears to them that they're not doing online. So that's really difficult when our leverage is say five figure leverage. It's hard to get other six, seven or eight figure players who want to collaborate, take our calls in digital ventures.

And so the best way to increase it, I mean, there's lots of ways we can, you know, get out and do publicity. We can be so, you know, gain more social influence. It takes a little time to do that, but that's certainly a way we can write a book.  Um, I sound probably the best tool is like a digital media kit that we can send out.

Um, it helps create an anchor point, people, how they perceive you.  But, you know, in terms of, of creating more leverage, here, here's the problem. We all, every entrepreneur business leader out there, we all start, we have one thing in common. We start in obscurity. Where nobody knows who we are  and then after the phase of obscurity, we go through resistance, 95 percent of people quit in resistance, or they get knocked a few times, right?

And they go back into obscurity because of more comfort.  But right on the other side of resistance is acceptance. You can make a million a year, you can make a million a month or more in acceptance.  And then some people even hit the phase of admiration. So one of the biggest mistakes I see people make is they're spending a ton of time and money.

In marketing and branding and they're doing all this stuff while they're in obscurity. So they're obscure and nobody's paying attention.  But they're spending hundreds of thousands in marketing or they're spending a lot of money creating digital products. And all these other things that no one will also find or buy.

Right? So instead of spending this much money when we're obscure. Right. We want to just spend a 10th of that budget to just get out of obscurity into acceptance. Then the remaining money will go a lot farther. That's the whole key in the beginning is get out of obscurity, get people listening to what you're doing.

And, uh, many times, again, you'll spend a fraction of the money. Because when we're doing all that marketing and we're still in obscurity, it's falling on deaf ears. It's not landing anywhere. And then sometimes people will create a leverage tool like a book or a media kit.  And then they'll park it on their website, which is obscure.

So it's like, they got this really cool tool now that can really help get them out there. And then they park it like in an underground parking garage that nobody knows about on their website. Right? So we have to not only create these leverage tools, but also think about how to use them before we have any sit down, any zoom call. We have to show those pieces of leverage, uh, before we take those meetings.

Tom Finn (07:51.114)

So Dan, I'm gonna play devil's advocate here for a second. Are you saying that we need to have, all of us as entrepreneurs or business leaders need to have a really thick online profile with built out Instagrams and X and LinkedIn and TikTok, whatever it is, we need to have a lot of followers and we've gotta go invest in people following us and I've gotta do silly dances and the whole deal really to get everybody focused on me? Is that what you're saying or are you saying that we can do this in a more professional way?

Dan Vega:

I, we definitely don't have to do that. Although I would like to see you do the silly dances, but  that's a great question because I think that sometimes people associate, if you think about gaining more influence is what we're talking about, people associate that with social lens, right?

So, but you have to ask yourself this question. You know, I rarely do any social media. I might go a year without posting anything on any platform.  Um, so  instead of being connected directly to 10 million people, Um, what's more powerful doing that or having the ear of a hundred powerful men and women, right?

It's really about the quality of contacts that you need. For instance, I meet people a lot that need funding. So they're searching for capital. They might be on that journey for a couple of years  and then they'll come to me and I'll help them straighten a few things out. I'll make three or four phone calls and get them up.

They've been doing this for years. It's not about social influence necessarily. That is some way people gain more influence.  But you can have five people in your holodecks, and if you have influence over those right five people, you can move mountains.  I think it's, uh, not necessarily doing all the crazy stuff.

That stuff's very time consuming.  Um, it's not bad to have some social presence, but frankly, I have some friends that are social influencers, and they're great people, but I wouldn't want their life. You can't get through dinner without them being on their phones, constantly. And, uh, I'd rather focus more on upper echelon people that actually are doing big things.

And showing them value where they basically assigned me a position, an elevated position where they said, you know, that guy, I like this stuff. I trust his value. And they, they perceive me there and that starts with me providing them values.

Tom Finn (10:15.918)

So let's unpack that a little bit. And if it wasn't you and you were starting out, what would you tell someone who isn't having the right level of success? And I know you've mentioned value and you've talked about having the right level of influence in media kits. But outside of that, what would you tell them? How do they go from struggling, getting by, to this model of thriving and abundance?

Dan Vega:

Well, I think one of the big, where this stems from, this problem that you're describing or we're just, we don't have enough traction.

A lot of times we're trained to play in a space that's a little too broad, right? We're not going niche enough. Uh, years ago I was in the publishing business, book publishing business. And I remember people like a doctor or somebody writing a book about mental health  and they would have patients from seven years old to 70.

And so when we get to the marketing, I say, well, who's, who are we really looking for? Um, you know, women, children, you know, from seven to seven, they're like, we can't market the books like that. They don't listen. They go trying to market it themselves. They self publish, they sell 300 copies in a year. And then when they finally come back to us, I said, look, we're going to have to pick,  plan it towards men or women.

Like we're not going to forbid men to buy it, but we're going to maybe focus just on women. And we're going to have a 15 year age demographics, say 35 to 50 years old. That's our sweet spot for marketing and everything else will be organic, but we're not going to focus on it. And we sold 85, 000 books in a year, right?

So I think a lot of people, they have a product or service and they're, they're very broad. They don't want to lose customers. But in the beginning, we want to go as narrow as possible to get a foothold. And then once we have a foothold and we have traction and there's some resources coming back in, we could expand and say, now we're going to do a campaign here at Swordman.

Now we're going to do a campaign towards you. But we got to go narrow in the beginning to get traction as fast as possible. So I would start there, uh, you know, let's really narrow down who our market is and let's go super niche and focus on that.  And then begin to build leverage tools to help out there and build elevation.

Tom Finn (12:27.702)

Yeah, look, I wish I would have heard that, oh, about six years ago when I started my company, because I was that entrepreneur that said, look, I cannot close off any markets. We are going to be the enterprise software for the big, big companies, the fortune 100 we're going to be middle market, uh, and we're going to have products for middle market and we're going to be the small group under a hundred player as well. And, uh, it's hard to build technology, by the way, for all three of those market segments. And then of course, during COVID, because I felt like doing it, we built a business to consumer model. So not only did I have business to business in three segments, but then I piled in a fourth in business to consumer, which for those that are astute business professionals know is a very different space to play and requires a different set of tools and a different set of skills, and quite frankly, different strategies.

So I've been there and your advice is, is sage because you can save people a lot of time by just listening to this piece of focus. You have to focus in on niche part of your business and ultimately that will get you to expand later down the road.

Dan Vega:

Yeah. Something feels counterintuitive because we're like, look, we're starting out. We don't want to close off men. We don't want to close off youth. We don't want to close out because we want as much as possible as fast as possible. But actually when we launched broad. We just can't get through all the noise. We can't get a foothold and go super narrow, like maybe even five years, you know, one sex, five years, just go super narrow. You'll get traction right away. Now you have resources coming in that you could self-fund. Now expanding new campaigns to broaden the market instead of. All capital outlay.

Tom Finn (14:16.686)

So it's interesting though because you talk about a publishing company. I know you formally hosted a weekly TV talk show. You've done coaching, advising, consulting, a handful of other things sprinkled in there. You haven't exactly picked a niche. You've done lots of different things to find success. So help me reconcile in my own mind how you've done all these different things, but then you're telling us to be niche.

Dan Vega:

Yeah, that's a super great question. Um, In the beginning, so, so I have, I mentor a lot of young people every year, maybe 15 or 20, they say the same thing I'm telling them to go super niche and they're like, well, look at you, you have all these companies and you have all these interests,  but in the beginning,  you know, I think the acronym for focus should be follow one course until successful, but just got to do one thing, super niche, do it well, and then have, and then once we hit pay dirt,  then we allocate a portion of that money to expand our interest and diversify, right? So we're using our money to diversify, not our time, attention, and focus. You know, we, we, we've, uh, we're a part of a group. We, as you know, there's a, a rule we try to follow is don't chase too rabid, chase too rabid, you don't get either. So the beginning, a singular focus until we hit major, then we allocate money to get us into other things, to expand our markets, to maybe offset into new investments, but we're not splitting our focus.

And so that's the difference. I was seeing a thing recently with Mark Cuban. It's talking about the importance of diversifying and not having all your eggs in one basket. And that's the exact right advice for people in Cubans, you know, area or people that have already got their, their money figured out, but it's the worst advice if we're a startup. Or we're just starting out. We're trying to figure out how to  cover our expenses because we want to have a singular focus in the beginning.

Tom Finn (16:09.346)

Yeah, so let's touch on this idea of two rabbits for a second, because I did go hunting in the UK for rabbits at one point in my life. I was a young lad, Dan, and I was given a shotgun and I was out in the woods with a couple of buddies and we went hunting for rabbits. And this plays out in real life as it plays out in business. If you start trying to go after two, you end up splitting your energy back and forth. You're moving the gun back essentially, and you don't get either of them. But if you focus in on one and you really move your feet the right way and aim the right way and think through the process, try to anticipate a little bit, then you get the rabbit, you take it home and you make grilled rabbit stew.

Dan Vega:

Yeah, absolutely. You know, we've been with our companies, we've been focusing a lot on international markets because  just the space we live in today on the U S there's so many opportunities. You know, I constantly hear about, Oh, you can't hire good people. You can't do this, but we have so much opportunity. People are like, well, if I don't, that doesn't work out, I'll get something else by end of day. And there's tens of thousands of new opportunities appearing daily, whereas other countries that you get one opportunity, you got to hang on to it and you got to fight for it, right?

And so again, I think that, uh, you know, we're in this place today in the world, especially in the U. S. where there's a lot of shiny things, there's a lot of distractions.  But we have to, and people are searching for that vehicle to become wealthy, right? What's the car or what's the catapult or the vehicle?

What we got to understand is it's not the vehicle, it's the driver.  You know, if we work on the driver and the driver is successful, especially their mindset, and they have to learn some mechanics, um, you can put a successful person and drop them into most environments, they'll become successful the way they think and their actions follow that line of thinking.

You can put an unsuccessful person in any situation, including incredible opportunities. They will find a way to mess it up. So again, we're in this society where we're looking for this thing to become what they just are, but we got to start working on the driver.

Tom Finn (18:24.342)

Yeah, so I think that is the sort of flag for look inside, point the thumb, not the finger, and try to figure yourself out first. And if you can figure yourself out and get yourself in line and feeling great about who you are and what you want to accomplish, set your goals the right way. You can really accomplish anything.

So I want to shift gears a little bit because I know a little bit about your background in economics and mathematics. And I want to share with the world a little bit about that, really from your heart and your mind. What does math mean to you, and how has that influenced you in your life?

Dan Vega:

Absolutely. Yeah. 100%. For me, math, I have a love affair with math. That seems very boring. I'm sure the most people,  but you know, that was one thing I was good at and paid attention to. And. What I found over the years is that having real, anybody can grind 80 hours a week over a long enough period of time and live in scarcity and you can put some money on it, right?

There's no real strategy to that.  Um, but if somebody that wants to create wealth and have that wealth while they're relatively still young,  what I found is that success is basically a mathematical.  Um, there's a process to look at and there's several different steps that it's like, okay. A to B, to C to D In this sequence, anybody can be successful.

And I made this taste in my early twenties. I was studying, uh, economics and uh,  if you do a five minute Google shirts, just spend five minutes on Google of the definition of ethanol, uh, economics, you'll find that it's the study of,  that's really what it is, is the study of scarcity. So our current economic structure that we use in the US  was really framed from a book called Wealth Nation back in the 1700s. And it was written by a Scottish philosopher that didn't have any real business knowledge.  And he started mentoring under an amateur economist, but no real business knowledge. He, he basically built the modern day economy on three philosophies and twenty foundational principles.

And what we know now in hindsight is those three philosophies were wrong, those ideologies were wrong,  and those twenty foundational principles were built.  So years later during the Great Depression, uh, economics, uh, economists picked up his body of work and they finished it out. And that was the time in the world when there was no shortage of scarcity thinking probably more than any other time in history.

It was scarcity think during the Great Depression. And, uh, they used that book as the framework. And so again, a five minute Google search will see that. You know, economics is the study of scarcity. And so we know, Tom, that, uh, you know, the, the body follows the mind, you know, the way we think, if we think in thriving abundance terms, our body will follow, we'll take the right actions that lead to the right reaction success, right?

If we think it's scarcity survival terms, that's going to dictate the side actions that we take. How many are the way we view risk is going to limit us the very, it's going to. Have a sticking, very small actions that don't amount to much. And so we can't become really successful by playing in a set of rules that has been given it to us, founded in Spearthy. And so when I was a younger man,  I created a new economic system that I call economic,  and it's, it's an economic structure that's actually built in thriving abundance thinking, and it's got 20 foundational principles, but all those are again, based in thrive mindset. And what I've seen, you know, you can take somebody that makes a million a year or a small business, let's say, and help them make 10. 

That's a, that's not a huge accomplishment because the million already has power behind it. You take a company that's making 10 million a year, show them how to make a hundred over 60 months. Again, not a huge accomplishment because there's a lot of power behind 10 million dollars. But you take somebody that's making 12, 15 bucks an hour and show them how to become a millionaire.

That's very different  because There's no initial momentum you're starting from,  and, uh, that's really the power of working in the right system in, in economics and we  thousands of people, uh, achieve where they're going by this, by this study.

Tom Finn (23:00.722)

Ah, that's fantastic. So when you think about scarcity and the scarcity mindset, give us your definition. I'm sure there's a lot of definitions out there, but help people understand what that really looks and feels like, what behaviors they might be expressing that they don't even realize that they're doing. Frame it up for us, Dan.

Dan Vega:

 I'll tell you a really simple exercise that will give you this answer. And it's really good to go through with our own people. I do this probably a couple of times a year. We'll have a board of people sitting around a table. And I'll hand out index cards, little three by five index cards. And I say, look, I want you to write down eight or 10 things of what more money, a lot more money means to you, right? And I, I purposely am ambiguous. I say, you know, you don't have to write material things like a yacht, but give me more. What I'm asking more is like the feeling like more money means what more money means less. What not having to, what?  And they'll write down a list of things and I, I'll, they don't put their names on them, I'll select them and I'll start reading them.

Basically, every index card says the same three things.  Um, more money means not having to work as much. More money means not having to worry as much. More, more money means being able to pay my bills and having some comfort. More money means being able to take care of my children better. You know, more money means, um, less this, right? Less stress.  Now, are any of those things, Thrive and Abundance Thinking, that's the, being able to pair build and have less stress and have a little comfort, that's like the bare minimum, that's no benchmark by any means, that's like the bare given, right?  And so, without realizing it, man, when you do that exercise, you'll find that people are, you know, if we're thinking in terms of a thousand a week, we're never gonna make a thousand a day or a thousand an hour.

It's just not even in the cards for us,  right? And, you know, I kinda live by the saying, you can shoot for the stars, you might get an eagle. Right? Uh, we got to start thinking bigger and a lot of that problem, it stems from a self value perception, right? If we don't, first of all, we train people how to value us and how to value our time. So if we're doing things that we shouldn't be doing that are literally 12, 15 an hour tasks, we're not valuing our time and so we can't expect anybody else to value us. If our prices for our products and services don't reflect the true value of what we're doing, We can't ask others to truly give us a high valuation of our product service.

We're training people, right? So again, it starts with, you know, how we view ourselves and what that folder is that we have on ourselves. But, uh, again, I think most people, whether they're aware of it or not, they just want more breathing room and they want a little bit more comfort and less worry. And by any notion that is not anything to do with thriving about.

Tom Finn (25:53.198)

Okay, so if that's the antithesis of thrive in abundance, paint the picture of somebody who is locked in, who is really thriving, who is really thinking the right way, who is focused and kind and humble and hungry. How do you do that? How do you build yourself into that character?

Dan Vega:

His name is Tom Finn. I know you Tom. No, I actually, you know, you get, you'll hear a vernacular. There's a certain vernacular that the person you just described has. Number one, they're not a victim,  right? And they'd never placed blame on anything. When anything goes wrong, whether they were even related to it or not, it just, I'm gonna have to think, they say, Oh, well, no, that's mine. That they're not victims. They take ownership of success and failures. The other thing is. Likely, by that time, Tom, they're not working for money. Say, think about a guy that maybe has nine or ten figures, right? Why is this guy still getting up at 6am? He's not gonna spend what he has. The answer isn't because he's greedy, like some people perceive, and he wants more.

He doesn't even know what he has. You have to tell his financial people to know what he has.  The answer is he doesn't work for money. There's no set limit of, when I make this much, I'm out.  I hate to say this, and I don't want to offend viewers, but Sometimes the middle class and even upper middle class can be extremely selfish because there is a finite number. You know, when I hit 10 million or when I hit this much money, I'm done. That's, that's great for you. But what about your community or the world? What about other people, right? And so these people that have really figured it out, you'll see that there's no amount anymore that they, they still get up early, but they're Not working for ROI, return on, on investment.

They're working for return on impact.  They're purposeful entrepreneurs and they're doing things that are going to actually make a real difference in the world, right? And when you initially put a deal together, it's not so much about, you know, how much can I get out of these terms? It's, it's looking longer term of how can I provide real value and even provide abundantly to the other party so we can keep doing this for long term play, right?

That's just the one. And so, uh, that's a person, in my opinion, that's very dialed in. And,  you know, another thing is when I see these grinders that are doing 80 hours a week,  you know, a lot of people still wear it as a badge of honor. Yeah. But that's a person that just doesn't have it figured out, in my opinion.

Like, I can get anything done in 5 6 hours. Like, I don't need 10 12, right? Um, I just want to get in and get my work done and get out of there. And when I start working those 10 hour days, 12 hour days, I find myself where I've become quite out of balance to where, and in the long run, just a few months, I'm, I'm not as successful as I could be. So I think when you see a person that really values their time and they really value, you know, things like faith, family, you know, uh, giving philanthropic endeavors, you know, that's when you know that somebody is really locked in.

Tom Finn (29:01.678)

Okay, so I think if I'm listening to this, I'm going, hey man, that is a contradiction of all contradictions. So I'm supposed to thrive, be successful, have the right mindset, but now you want me to do it in five to six hours a day instead of 10 to 12. How do you mathematically go from the 12 hour day to a six hour day so that you can focus on your family, your friends, other interests, your fitness perhaps? How do you do it?

Dan Vega:

Yeah. So I, like I said, I mentor a lot of people and I get some hard rules, right? One of them is they're never allowed to work more than 25 hours a week  on what we call their dimes, their life, living and lifestyle month.  Um, so let's say for a young person, that's 85, 000 a year. It could be anywhere from 60 to 150, 000, depending on where you live. And I'm like, okay, look, we have to figure out how to cover that nut. It's 25 hours and don't get me wrong. It does take some wiggling to create, you have to create some processes, some efficiencies.  But we always are able to accomplish it. It might take us a year, 18 months to figure out how to do, um, but most of the time much faster.

And again, that's where math comes in. We have to kind of, we can't work towards our goals linearly saying, let me master this and I'll make 50 grand a year. Then I'll make 75 grand a year. Then I'll make money. Does the math doesn't  work that way. Money doesn't have to work that way. Money works by cause and effect. These actions, we get this reaction. These actions get this reaction. If you copy these actions, you get this reaction. If you do these low actions, you, it's predestined, right? And so you have to reverse engineer a few things. You know, what, how much money you're trying to make, what timeframe you're trying to make it in, what field you choose to make it. 

And then there's a little bit of math that you have to run in terms of finding a probable outcome with those three fixed points. So here's how much I want to make, timeframe I want to make it, the field I want to make it. And then if all three of those things were able to equate, what would be the probable outcome? And sometimes we'll see, okay, it's 2%, you have to be out. Sometimes it's a high probable outcome, but you might have to just, you know, manipulate a few variables in your plan. And, uh,  we find that that works very well. But again, nobody, even starting out, needs to work more than five, six hours a day to create wealth in just a few short years.

It's so that we don't have the right education. And I'm not knocking people like Dave Ramsey. He's an incredible human being. We've been sold on this bill of goods. I've worked your butt off. 20, 30, 40 years, like several decades, you know, live under our means, but suck money away, save a bunch of money and invest.

And then the last, what, five years where we're already starting to feel bad, that's when we can take it easy. Like that plan is crazy and it's not applicable anymore. You know, there's 1, 700 millionaires a day becoming millionaires. Most of them are very young.  And they're figuring out in just a few short months. That's the world we live in right now. There's so much opportunity to think about AI, and different other technologies. But we might have to learn a little bit. And sometimes people are aged, um, I'm probably a little older than you.  It's easy to convince ourselves that like, I have old world skills, and I'm kind of analog, and that's just what it, but it's like, hey look, my mom's 75, 76, she does email, she does, we just have to learn new things. And stop using those other excuses, because There's so much opportunity. Um, people can become millionaires in 12 months right now. 

Tom Finn (32:38.102)

So you talked about thinking differently, behaving differently, having different energy, looking at the world a little differently, using mathematics to really shape the way you view the world. So how does somebody who's a W2 employee, how should they be thinking about this conversation?

Dan Vega:

That's a great question. I mean, W2 is difficult because  We don't have a lot of control over our time and in terms of value, there's a finite amount that's already been set by someone else other than us, right? So somebody gives you 20 bucks an hour, how much are you worth? You're worth 20 bucks an hour. That's what you sell.  So if we have a W2, probably what we need to do is be the best W2 employee we can be,  and probably do need to sock a little bit of money away while we're creating a secondary exit strategy.

You know, I'm not an advocate of  kill the W2 job and just go all in and start a business. Because if you have children or a wife, you put your family at risk, even though that's what's all,  but you can, you can start a business and you can start getting some traction, start learning the right things, or you don't even have to start a company.

You can become an affiliate to other companies and start making really good money on the side. And eventually you might have a 12 to 18 month, you know, time period where there's a layover where you can slowly start exiting out of the job without. And have a pretty good mitigation of risk without putting your family in jeopardy. 

Tom Finn (34:10.454)

Yeah, I love the way you said that. Look, if you are a W2 employee and you want to get out of the rat race, don't try to do it immediately. Don't jump off the cliff. That doesn't make any sense. You're making money. It's, it's likely paying your bills, your lifestyle, all of those things, but you can take 12 to 18 months, put a plan together and start to bear down on, like you said, Dan, affiliate programs, get involved with other people in business, try to put joint ventures together, be an entrepreneur.

The one thing you didn't say today, but I've heard you say it other times is strategic debt. Try to take on some level of strategic debt to be able to make the investments over time and get out of the W-2 sort of journey. What does strategic debt mean to you and how does that play in your overall models?

Dan Vega:

Yeah. So there's a big misconception about our income is we continue to focus on more increasing our revenue, increasing our incomes, and then eventually we become very wealthy. If we focus on, if our lens is focused on increasing revenue, increasing our income, increasing our income, we can probably get to mid-six figures,  but we're going to be working like a dog and we're going to be out of balance, um, to get generational wealth, it's really not that related to income.

I mean, our income is, and I call it throwing the net. It's all active hours. You have to show up every day and do a thing that might be coming. It's all dependent on you. Um, that's never going to get us to generational wealth. Generational wealth really has to do with taking on strategic debts for the acquirement of assets. That's it. Right. So, um, a friend of mine just asked me, he came to me about six months ago and he says, look, there's a building that I'm taking this many doors. I'm thinking about taking it on. The debt of it is going to cost me 40, 000 a month. So I'm going to sign on a note and I have an obligation to take on 40, 000 a month. 

And, and I go, okay, how much does that earn? He goes, currently right now it can be managed better, but under the current management, it's actually bringing in 81, 000 a month and that historical data is over 60 months, five years of data. It brings in 81, 000 a month. And I said, well, what's your question?  He goes, well, right now I'm going through this and this is happening in my life. Do you think it's a good time? I'm like, it's always a good time. So 40, 000 of free money.  Like there's never, I don't care what happened yesterday or what's going on. That is a great debt. Right? So I tend to classify debts in a few things. So technically something we own outright is an asset, right?  But we might have land in a, in the boonies in some city that no one ever goes to and over 10 years that land doesn't really gain equity. It doesn't gain value. Technically we own it and it's an asset, but it's not a very good asset.  A good asset is something that we own that also have appreciating value, right? So you think about a house in a good area, if you own it outright, technically it's an asset, but it's gaining good appreciation. 

But a great asset It's something that we own that has appreciations in value, but also has a revenue attached to it. It's got a passive revenue stream attached to it. Right. So my personal goal has been for quite some time, I want 10 passive revenue streams a year every year. And so it might not be biting off a 40, 000 commitment, but I just,  you know, I just, I don't consider myself a big real estate investor.

I do invest in real estate, but it's not my main thing. But when interest rates get this high. I can't resist. I have to buy real estate. It's the only time I buy real estate when the interest is at the highest.  And so I just got a nice townhouse. My obligation is about 21, 000 a year on the mortgage. It's just a little three-bedroom to do on a golf course. But historical data for four years shows me it makes 41, 000. So I get a free house. I get the equity of the gaining value of the house. And I get a nice little income share of maybe 20, 000 a year. Well, it's a lot of money, but I don't have to do anything and I get the, the asset gaining value. So, um, that's where our lens needs to be is taking on strategic debt,  um, for, for asset. 

Tom Finn (38:40.138)

Yeah, beautifully, beautifully said. You've laid it all out for us. Mindset is the first place to start, making sure that we're thinking through a thrive mindset. We're focused on one technical component and then building our leadership skills. We're focused on getting in the right rooms through leverage. And then once we get in the right rooms, over delivering value is what I heard you say, as well as making sure that we are looking at passive income streams on an annual basis. We can continue to build passive revenue for ourselves while taking on a little bit of strategic debt that you're comfortable with, whether it's a big strategic debt or like you said, a basic three-bedroom on a golf course that generates 20 grand a year, a couple grand a month for you. It's still a passive income stream that can support your growth over the next decade or two. So, I love it. What else did we miss, Dan?

Dan Vega:

No, I think that's it. And you know, in times like this, we're, we're not in hyperinflation, but we're definitely in superinflation. We're usually three or four points, uh, three or four points higher than what online says. We're probably around 7 percent uh, inflation right now. So when we're in high inflation like, like today, we don't want to invest in quote-unquote, no financial advisor. I'm not giving you financial advice.  I stay away from, you know, stuff that's not tangible assets. I don't invest in paper. I don't invest in stuff that's not tangible. You want to invest in a hard asset. 

And that way those hard assets rise with appreciation to where when this period of superinflation is over, we can pull those assets back out and we created a gap that we get to keep. So right now it's all about, and we don't have to use, you know, if we're trying to get capital in something that's intangible, like somebody's vision or somebody's, you know, we're investing in this person's track record to be successful, there's risk there. If it's mitigated by property or by some type of asset, then investors will go for it. So I had a friend the other day, he was asking for 2.5 million, but it's basically, trust me, I'm gonna get this done. It's based on his vision, no assets. I said it'd be easier to add bump up to $5 million and add a $3 million asset in that mix.

And investors will say, well look, majority of my risk is worst case scenario. I got the property to mitigate a lot of my risk. You'll get funding much easier if we tie things to tangible assets. It allows us to use OPM, other people's money.  If we're younger and we're listening and saying, well, that's great, but I don't have a lot of capital right now to invest to create debt, and take on these debts, we don't need it because if we're investing in tangible things, other people will take the leap with you, um, because they can mitigate their risk and you'll be able to.

Tom Finn (41:36.206)

I love it. I love it, Dan. We're going to leave it there. Thank you for joining the show, my friend. If people want to get in touch with you, where would they go about finding you and tracking you down?

Dan Vega:

Yeah. I think LinkedIn is good. Hit me up on LinkedIn and I'm always, uh, happy to share.

Tom Finn (41:51.99)

Yeah, we'll put that in the show notes, my friend. Dan, thank you so much for being a part of the show and thank you for all the good you're doing in the world. I appreciate you, my friend.

Dan Vega:

Thank you, Tom. Thank you for having me. My pleasure.

Tom Finn (42:03.554)

Thanks, everybody for joining the Talent Empowerment Podcast. We'll see you next time.

Tom Finn
Podcaster & Co-Founder

Tom Finn (he/him) is an InsurTech strategist, host of the Talent Empowerment podcast, and co-founder and CEO of an inclusive people development platform.

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