For Glen Carlson, life was about making money. Lots of it.
The co-founder of Dent Global, a company that runs structured accelerator programs to help entrepreneurs grow and impact the world, told Bushy Martin on the Get Invested podcast that his upbringing shaped his initial view of the world.
“I grew up in a boat when I was a little kid for seven years, so lots of freedom, lots of adventure, lots of travel, my dad was a shipwright in the navy so he built the boat, my mum was a hairdresser, so not a family of wealth or substantial means but certainly a family with. a bold heart and I guess I got that from my dad,” he said.
“(But) there was this underlying subtle anxiety that there wasn’t enough. So I made the decision pretty early on that I wanted to solve this money problem. I was a kid and I was naïve so I was given all these personal development seminars and get rich quick seminars, I’m listening to all these tapes and I got a job at McDonald’s and I got fired after six months because I just didn’t fit into that cookie cutter mould.”
Glen found a business partner and the duo started marketing and selling various products where ever they saw potential to make money.
“We were chasing the cash,” he said.
“There wasn’t a real purpose, there wasn’t a real driving force behind it, and I won’t go through my entire resume, but essentially we ended up building a very freakin’ successful business. Three years in we’re doing $10 million in revenue, we expanded to the UK, and I was depressed. So it got to the point where we made quite a bit of money, really significant revenues and I didn’t want for anything. We were going on great holidays, we took three months off just to party, essentially.”
But Glen received a wake up call when he met and talked with Tim Ferriss, author of best seller The Four-Hour Work Week and host of the Tim Ferriss Podcast at an event.
“I just went wow, I’m chasing the wrong thing,” he said. “Here’s this dude that is totally disconnected from the idea of ‘more’. He’s just really happy enjoying what is and really sucking the marrow out of that and happiness out of that. And that was something I lost.”
Glen took a sabbatical in Bali for two years, where he met a mentor who would impart wisdom that would change his life.
“He said, ‘The key is to find the thing that lights you up day in, day out, where even if you’re not getting the money, even if you’re not getting the recognition, even if you’re not getting the rewards, just simply the service serves you and serves your soul. Go find that thing.’
Glen then spent hours and hours talking with entrepreneurs and business owners about all of the challenges they were facing. He didn’t charge a fee, he didn’t ask for anything in return, he just shared everything he learned a long the way. And he loved it.
It was the seed that would eventually grow into his company, Dent.
“It was really about connecting to this idea of helping people do better business for good so they could then use that business not just as a cash machine but to build fulfilment as well,” he said.
“I call it the trifecta where I had money, and I wasn’t happy. So you’ve got to have money, you’ve got to also have time, and you’ve got to also have fulfilment. And my experience is, unless you have all those three things, happiness and that sense of fulfilment and purpose doesn’t last.”
Now, Glen’s business group is valued at $20 million, as he has learned to create ‘assets’ that create value outside of his own time and effort.
“I define an asset as anything that continues to produce new value once the creator of that asset has disengaged or disappeared,” Glen said. So let’s say you’re going to build a house, you might be very focused on building that house but once the house is built, you can go on holidays and the house retains its value or increases its value, most of the time, and you can get a rent roll out of that house. So that would be the balance sheet and the PNL respectively, in a business.
“The problem that most people in business have is they don’t see their business like an asset, they see it like a to-do list, a bunch of meetings and to-dos and checklists and fires that need to get put out. One of the maxims I guess that I have is that any stress, frustration, and bottleneck can be traced back to an asset deficiency.”
Listen to the full interview here.
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