To Learn More about Walt Hampton [click here] to view his Media Kit.
Janine Bolon: Hello and welcome to The Thriving Solopreneur Show. This is Janine Bolon, and I am incredibly excited about today. I know, I say that a lot when I have people on, but this gentleman, I have been stalking for the last six to seven years. My guest today is Walt Hampton. You may have heard of this guy. He was the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Summit Success International. He’s a global personal and professional development guy. He created the firm. He was also the President and Chief Operating Officer of Book Yourself Solid worldwide. This guy took an idea and it just exploded around him. He’s an executive business coach, management consultant, and leadership trainer. He’s the founder of the Consultant Success Formula. Walt helps entrepreneurs and business professionals make the impact they want and the income they deserve.
He’s the best-selling author of Journeys on the Edge: Living a Life That Matters and the two-time winner of the North American book awards. He’s also the author of The Power Principles of Time Mastery: Do Less. Make More. Have Fun. He is a graduate of Cornell Law School. He’s practiced law in areas of corporate and commercial litigation and criminal defense, and he was a managing partner of the law firm for over 30 years before he decided to do a mid-career twist of turn.
His passions are high-altitude mountaineering, ultra-distant running, blue-water sailing – notice he said blue water. In case you’ve ever been on the ocean, you understand what that means. And he is also an adventure photographer. He and his wife, Ann, live in Casselton, Ireland. So, it’s wonderful to have you with us today, dear.
Walt Hampton: You left one thing out, he’s a legend in his own mind. I’m so happy to be here. Thank you. What a privilege and a gift to spend time with you. Thank you.
Janine: I really am grateful to finally have tracked you down. As I was sharing with Walt because I didn’t want to hit him with this live as we were doing the recording, I got a copy of Book Yourself Solid, probably around 2014. My 30-year marriage had gone down the drain, I was having to figure out a way to raise four children and I knew I was a great coach because I have been homeschooling four different children and I just knew I would be a great coach. And so I got this Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port and I started reading it and it was crazy because, back then, they had a workbook. It was a hundred pages long that you had to print off yourself. Are you kidding me? And it was so new that that kind of marketing was happening. And then I started in 2017, something amazing happened. I started getting this Walt Hampton guy talking to me in the box. And well, he had just been gifted. The company started running the thing, Michael Port gave him his blessings and said, “Run with it, Walt. Run with it.” He did. Next thing I know I’m on Facebook in groups with him. So I’m sorry. I’m going to let Walt talk here in a minute but I’m just a little excited because I’ve been tracking this guy for years and then come to find out my last guest that we had on, Katrina Sawa, he and she are friends so it’s a small world. Walt, thank you so much for being with us.
Walt: It’s such a privilege and such a gift. I’m so looking forward to this time and I’m so looking forward to being able to share some cool stuff with you along with your listeners.
Janine: You betcha. So we’re going to get rocking and rolling because I want to make sure that we give a lot of the free content that you are so well known for. So, Book Yourself Solid is fabulous. If you are a new business owner and you want to get over your emotional head trash, when it comes to selling, Book Yourself Solid is fabulous. However, you may want to skip that step and move to the Consultant Success Formula. That’s book yourself solid on steroids. Talk to us a little bit about that, Walt.
Walt: Well, after I left Book Yourself Solid, what I realized out in the world, Janine, was that there is so much noise on the interweb. You look every day and you see, “Buy this one funnel, get this one bot, do this one LinkedIn strategy, these three keys, these seven steps and you’ll be an overnight success.” Well, first of all, I want to call BS on that because I have built five successful businesses from scratch and every single one of them has taken the time and a dirty four-letter word called work. And I think it’s a disservice to your listeners, to all of us as entrepreneurs to be sold this bill of goods that somehow you’re going to be an overnight success. If you have a mission if you have a big enough why you will be a success, but it requires a systematic way to go about it. And if we get distracted, by all of these shiny toys on the internet, we never really get there fast enough to do the important work we’re called to do.
And so I created the Consultant Success Formula as the most comprehensive business building system on the planet. Everything you need to know from zero to scale and sale if that’s where you want to go, but everything you need to go in step by step. It’s a roadmap. It is a comprehensive roadmap from, I think I have this idea to actually building it out on a website, on a LinkedIn profile, creating your social media presence, building and growing a team. All of it in a step-by-step framework. And so it is it’s where you can go and stay in the business-building process.
Janine: And one of the things that I absolutely love about almost every entrepreneur that I have had on this show, they all have the same desire and that is they wanted freedom. They wanted the ability to live life their own way, but at the same time, they were also willing to put in the work, like you said that four-letter word. And when you hear overnight success, I always giggle especially in the media when they say that because you can just go back and look them up on Google. Look anybody up on Google and you’ll find out they’ve been around for a very long time, that there is an inertia that is required. So, I’ve run 15 online businesses but I was always a solopreneur and wasn’t like Walt. He ran the bigger enterprises. However, it’s the same for all of us, whether you’re a solopreneur or you’re a multi-level marketing person, or you have multi teams that are working with you, it requires time. So talk to us a little bit about this building and stepwise system that you use, that there are phases in the business, an entrepreneurial mindset like you start off where you’re doing everything with the kitchen sink. But then, what’s the next thing that you see common over and over again? Like somebody comes to you for coaching with this success formula that you have and what is the number one thing that you find? They’ve taken these courses, they’re ready to rock and roll, and what is the number one thing you find that people struggle with still today?
Walt: Still today and always and will be, here’s the truth – no one buys coaching, no one buys consulting, no one really wants a speaker any more than you want a dentist or a colonoscopy. What people want is a solution to a problem. So what happens early on is people have an idea and they want to help. They come from this deep place of service and they go out in the world and they hold themselves out as “I’m a coach. I’m a consultant. I want to help people. I want to help people do stuff. I love people, I want to help them. I like business, I want to help solve business problems.” Well, the entrepreneurial paradox that we teach is that as consumers, we go narrow, we go for the specific. We have a specific problem that we want to be solved and so, number one is getting our clients super focused on what problem they’re solving, what exact problem do you want to solve, and who do you want us to solve it for? That is what is your market that you’re going to be selling to? And that is some of the hardest work of all because as entrepreneurs, we think that if we cast the net wide, we’re going to be successful and just the opposite is true. So, problem – solution.
Janine: And that’s one of my favorite topics to talk to people about because like you say, they come from this service leadership mindset. They want to just help, they love people, let me help you. And then we start talking about, you got to narrow it down. So then the next problem is, “But I do so many things, how do I narrow it down?” It’s like asking like when Hemingway was told, “In order for you to be a successful author, you have to learn to kill your children,” which was he was talking about your favorite paragraphs, your favorite chapter. So talk to us a little bit about that.
Walt: So I want business owners to be wildly successful to have six, seven, eight-figure businesses if they want because that’s possible but you have to start somewhere. You have to dig your first fence post very deep. Once you’ve got a business foundation that’s making you money and bringing you clients, you have the capacity to scale horizontally if you want to or grow the business vertically if you want to, you can do anything you want to once you’ve got the foundation down. But you’re never going to get the traction that you want unless you have the discipline to actually focus on one thing and do that one thing really well, be known for that one thing. And if you look at some of the big players in our industry, my own coach with whom I have a great privilege to work with is Jeff Walker – Product Launch Formula; Stu McLaren – Tribe; John Maxwell – Leadership. The big players, they’re known for a thing. And there are people like Robbins who have started with the one thing and now grown horizontally. So you can do anything with your business model but you got to start somewhere. Robbins started in dirty hotel rooms doing NLP around phobias and addictions, that’s where he started.
Janine: And it’s by digging that one fence post as you say that you really start to do well and then you can grow from there, but it’s really tough on some people because it’s like picking between children. It’s like, “I have no idea, which one do I pick? They’re all good ideas,” and I’m like, “You’re absolutely right. Just pick one. You can’t pick wrong,” and so that decision making and like you described, discipline. So discipline is a nasty word for a lot of people because they see it as an external force. So talk to us a little bit about how discipline is really an internal force that’s your best friend but still, it has a negative wrap.
Walt: Oh, it has a negative wrap but we talk about it all the time. With discipline, comes freedom. I know based upon our conversation that you are highly disciplined. You have an early time in the morning, 4:00 a.m. that you get up. I get up at 4:15 a.m. every single morning. I have marketing time. I have a direct outreach time. I have podcast times. I have client delivery times. I have times for myself care, for my meditation, for my journaling, and they are all very carefully blocked on my calendar because otherwise, time gets fuzzy, horizons get fuzzy. As I shared with you only half-jokingly because the sentence is true. I say at the beginning of my Time Mastery keynote, the great thing about being an entrepreneur is that we have the freedom and the flexibility to work whenever 18 hours of the day we want. And that’s not good. That’s bad for families, that’s bad for our personal selves, it’s bad for our spiritual life, so creating disciplines within our days or weeks or our years, creating disciplines for our businesses and for our self-care, those disciplines lead to the wildly successful businesses and lives.
Janine: Exactly. And one of the things I love sharing with people with my business boot camps I do and that sort of thing is that the very first exercise we do as I say – when are you going on vacation this year? And the next 12 months set up a time that you’re going to take a two-week vacation and you should see the look of horror and panic on these new entrepreneurs like, “My business isn’t even making money yet.” And I’m like, “You still need that vacation.” So, let’s talk about that beautiful concept of you need time to unwind from your day-to-day activities. Talk to us a little bit about taking a vacation.
Walt: So you mentioned that my passions include high-altitude mountaineering and ultra-distance running and they are my passions. I am planning to run the Grand Canyon from rim to rim to rim again in October, which is 50 miles, and 20,000 vertical feet inside a day. We’ve climbed five of the seven summits of the world and what’s true, we know this in athletics and sports and to some degree, some of us know it in entertainment, but we know that in order to actually get stronger – if you go to a gym, you know this. In order to get stronger, you actually need to rest. That is axiomatic.
For some reason, there is a disconnect between entrepreneurs and business professionals, certainly business professionals from my original profession of the law, where we think we’re machines, that we can work 24/7/365. The research is really clear that after 50 hours a week, our productivity drops off exponentially and we get no more effective work done in 80 hours than we would have gotten in 50. And so, taking time away.
The great pianist, Arthur Rubinstein, was asked about his virtuoso piano’s grasp of the notes. He said, “Oh, anybody can play the notes,” he said, “but the power is in the pauses.” And that’s true for us as well. The more we can pause, reflect, rest, the more time we do that, the faster our businesses will grow. I would add, Janine, and you probably do, not only schedule two weeks but schedule two weeks of real vacation, meaning you’re off the grid.
Janine: I totally agree. Yeah, don’t be anywhere near Wi-Fi, and don’t you dare take a device with you except to take care of the air flights and the necessary thing. So one of the things that I did when it was really early on was I would take every four months, I would take a four day weekend and I would just take off and I would go hiking in the hills of Virginia and at the time, there was absolutely no Wi-Fi available. So I was taking maps and figuring things out like a good girl scout and so those things really reconnected me with what the beautiful life is. So talk to us a little bit about how when people don’t have that vision of what they want their life to look like, they have a vision for their business, right? They know they want to help people and they may have a vision for their business but they forget their life. So talk to us about how you personally kind of turned that dial for yourself.
Walt: So I love that question. It’s actually where we begin in the Consultant Success Formula. Where we begin is – I want you to journal out your perfect day. What time do you get up in the morning? What do you do when you get up in the morning? Where do you go for breakfast? What do you do after breakfast, when you break for lunch? What it looks like and feels like. And then the same exercise for the perfect week. Because we want to create great businesses that support extraordinary lives rather than just simply having our nose down grinding it out, somehow living to work. I want people to have great work that provides them with great lives. And so, our business modeling starts with life modeling.
I went to a long story, another podcast about how I ended up in law school and I loved law school but if I had known that I had to wear a three-piece, back then suit and sit in a hermetically-sealed office, I don’t know that I would have done that because that’s not who I am. I don’t like hermetically sealed environments. I like the mountains and the woods and so getting clear about the life you want, we built the business that we have. We talked before when I went on live is that while I built my law firm in Connecticut, I live in West County Cork, Ireland now because I can. We built a business that is absolutely portable. And so getting clear on the life you want is what will help you create an extraordinary business.
Janine: And mine was out of the fact of, I was emotionally unemployable, meaning and that’s how I talk to people as I was emotionally unemployable because I refuse to leave my children in public school when I knew I was giving them an education that would really help them with their future. And so, being a homeschooling mom, I was one of those things that I demanded from the universe that they find a way to help me use my skill sets. And that was when we were just starting online learning back in the Dark Ages of 2014-2015 and starting online courses. You spent the first episode or the first lesson with just how you use Zoom. I remember I spent years doing that. And so that is the thing about making the life you want and let’s talk about the other half that we also like to share which is – making the money you deserve. Now that has to be very carefully orchestrated. So you want to talk a little bit about, yes, it’s creating the life you want and the vision, now, how you go about orchestrating that?
Walt: So money is energy in motion. Money is a wonderful tool, money gives us options, money gives us choices for ourselves, for our families, for those we love. It allows us at a certain level to create generational wealth, that allows us at a certain point in time to make a huge impact in the world if that’s where we want to go. I want the people I work with to make extraordinary incomes. Joel Osteen in Everyday a Friday, once said, and this kind of unlocked a little money mindset piece for me, he said, “Your bank account is a direct reflection on the number of lives you’ve touched in the world.” Like, “Ooh, I want to touch a lot of lives,” and so it’s okay to want money, money mindset issues, in fact, intentionally use of the word way too many entrepreneurs, particularly coaches, consultants, healers, caregivers – money infects how they show up in the world and they underperform and don’t receive the money they get. And, therefore, they can’t sustain the work. I have seen way too many coaches and consultants come to me who have gone through programs who are struggling, some of them have been even nearly bankrupt because they’ve either got money mindset issues or they’ve never been taught marketing and selling or they don’t think they deserve it at some level or that it’s bad at some level. And so money is good, and our clients, your clients, my clients, we want them to make a lot of money.
Janine: Yeah, that’s how I started was helping people learn how to live debt-free. So that was the first thing and then helping them learn how to have habitual savings and it was sometimes a very laborious process. It would take five to seven years for some people and that’s where I had five mental health care professionals that I would bring into my, we didn’t call him webinars yet, that wasn’t the term, but I bring them into my online classes and say, “Okay, here we go. This is what you need to do to kind of get over these emotional barriers to wealth.” And I used to share with people, “Look, I want to make millions so I can help millions.” That was the key phrase that I wish I had come up with that but it was Barbara Stanny. I think she’s now Barbara Husson. But it was Overcoming Underearning was the book that I remember reading on that one and thinking, “I want to be like her when I grow up.” So that was one of those fun things.
Walt: And that work you’ve done, Janine, is so important in the world. When I was sleuthing you out, I so honor you for that because that so inhibits people from really sustaining the work, staying in the game long enough because they’re not making the money they deserve and much of it is around mindset and bad practices. And I just love that you have given that gift to the world.
Janine: Thank you. I appreciate it. As you say, definitely comes from the scientific background that if I am seen as great, it’s only because I had the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of giants and so I know Isaac Newton was the first one to say that but I totally understand what he’s talking about. It’s one of those things that build and what I love about what you’re talking about is the fact that we’re still experiencing the same problems, they look different, it’s more complicated, problems seem more difficult, but it really comes back down to brass tacks – do you love what you do and are you making money? Because if you’re not profitable, you’re not in business, is what I like to share with people. So, let’s move forward with that then, let’s go figure out a way for you to be profitable while still serving others. And so, talk to us a little bit about this great book that you have now, The Power Principles of Time Mastery. As you know, I totally am with you on board with that. Talk to us about what spawned that book. I mean, why write that book? There’s a lot of time management books, but you obviously had a calling to do that. So, share that story with us.
Walt: So my first book was Journeys on the Edge: Living a Life That Matters, and it talks about creating a rich, full, deeply satisfying life, and it shares many of the components of my journey to creating that, and then I would get questions, “Well, how do you do that? And how do you have the time for that?” And so that’s what gave rise to The Power of Principles of Time Mastery and it’s not time management, it is time mastery because we talk about time management back to the keyword search, it is time management, but you can’t manage time. Time just is. It doesn’t care whether you wrestle with it, mud-wrestle with it, or get in the mosh pit with it, it doesn’t care. It’ll just go by. And so, you cannot manage time but you can manage yourself and master yourself and master your use of time. And so, time mastery incorporates a lot of the practices and disciplines that we’ve alluded to that allow us to structure and co-create our days such that we have great businesses and great lives.
Janine: Now you’re touching on my favorite scientific topic which is physics and we start talking about space-time continuum’s and I bring up Godel, Escher, and Bach and start talking about how these guys all knew.
Janine: Now you’re talking to your getting into the area where I really like to get down to the nitty-gritty, but we’ll save the others from this. We’ll save them from that. So it’s true. It’s time mastery. And, oh my gosh, it comes right back around to discipline, that self-discipline that you create. So, like a normal morning for me is I get up, meditate, do journaling, do positive affirmations, make sure that I’m on point with where I want to go with the goals that I’ve set up for myself, blah, blah, blah. And then every day of the week has a different series of tasks that are necessary in order to build the life that I want to create for myself and my children. So what is your morning or what is your day kind of look like for you?
Walt: So I believe in claiming the first four to five hours of the day for me so that I can show up resourceful and resilient and effective for the people I serve. And so I get up at 4:15, I get my cup of coffee, I journal. 22, 23 years ago, Julia Cameron wrote a book called The Artist’s Way. She has a wonderful journaling practice called Morning Pages. She characterized it as flushing the toilet of your mind, three streams of consciousness pages, it’s wonderful. It’s not Dear Diary, it’s just could be your laundry list or it could be your grocery shopping list or can be your worries, or your to-dos, or whatever. It’s three stream-of-consciousness pages and it’s amazing because you see patterns and repetitions and you need to get clarity. And so, I do my morning pages with my coffee, and then I do Vipassana Meditation that I’ve done for 25 years, perhaps the single most powerful practice of my entire life, it has kept me steady through my dozen years as a single dad, raising three young boys on my own. So meditation practice, and then my wife, Ann Sheybani, who’s the co-owner of Summit Success, co-founder of Summit Success, publisher at Summit Press Publishers, she and I have some coffee together and then we go out for a run along our beautiful Irish Coast. We run 6, 8, 10 miles, sometimes 15 to 25 miles on a weekend and we deconstruct Western literature and solve political problems, and have a great time. We come back, we do reflective reading, we then transition into the day with a business meeting, and that launches the day from there. But those first four or five hours, that’s a sacred time where we carve it out for ourselves and that leads us to be really on for the people we serve, and nowhere did you hear me say check my smartphone or my email.
Janine: That’s exactly right. That’s one of the things that parks itself in a drawer for me. Everything’s turned off and all that. Because it’s one of those things that I learned was really difficult. Now for the young moms out there who are also running a business, I know that that is your electronic leash because you have to have it on in case somebody as far as a child or something might have a need for you to pull them wherever they are at 11 o’clock at night or something like that. I understand that we do have those kinds of responsibilities to us, however, it’s highly detrimental if you go like that for too long. Really contemplate why are you on an electronic leash? Why is there that fear within you? Any advice you can give them on that? I mean, you’ve been a single parent, you know that kind of dark night of the soul at 2 a.m. where you hope your kids are okay. Do you have any ideas for them?
Walt: I’m not sure that ever goes away. I mean, my kids are grown. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news there, Janine. But I was a single dad. I actually had my boys, when I took on that gig exclusively, my youngest was five and so, there were many dark nights of the soul, and I knew that even in that time, I needed to claim time for myself. And it was in that early time that I actually began to develop that morning discipline. There’s no sane reason to get up at 4:00 a.m. really except as a single dad. It was like my time. That was my time. I was kind of dialed into the alarm ringing at 6:45, trying to get the kids up, trying to get them out. I just end up breathless and exhausted before I even started. And so, yes, I agree that even if we can create little oases of time, if we can get somebody to cover us, spot us for like an hour on a Sunday afternoon to go to Barnes & Noble and put the phone on silent so you can read a few magazines, a little oasis. Even little stuff is better than nothing.
Janine: And that is really challenging for those of you that feel that if you don’t do it, no one else will. There’s that lone-wolf attitude that really can be exceedingly detrimental to you as you move forward. So, for the lone wolf people out there, I know you feel like if I don’t do it, nobody else will. You may live alone in your apartment or you may feel like you’re alone because of the way you’ve chosen to live your life. I know a lot of my family had no understanding about why I was doing what I was doing. So that lone wolf mentality got us to where we at least got to freedom. So talk to us about how to build out of that. The lone wolf is what got us to where, “Okay, I know this will help me be happy and get that life of freedom,” but how do I kind of now build out my pack? So to speak.
Walt: So what got you to where you are will not get you to where you want to be and the entrepreneurial life is good, but it’s a lonely go, we get siloed, and we cannot go it alone. There’s the old African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” So, my very first recommendation is to go and find yourself a coach. Go and find yourself an accountability partner. Go and find yourself a community of entrepreneurs to surround yourself with and have at least someone who is you’re thinking partner. That’s how I often think about coaching is you have a thinking partner where you’re not alone, you have a sounding board, and from there, for me, the next question is when somebody’s a solopreneur and they’re feeling underwater which if you’re building a business happens pretty quickly, the next question is, well, where are you seeing the friction? Hire for that. Hire for that piece of friction. Dan Sullivan’s most recent book Who Not How is a wonderful illumination around this. Entrepreneurs that get into it, “Oh my god. I’ve got to figure out this automation thing. I got to figure out this Facebook pixel thing. I don’t know how to do that.” Wrong question, because that’s not your zone of excellence. Your zone of excellence is coaching or consulting or writing or doing your videos or whatever that thing is that brings you joy. It’s not figuring out Facebook pixels. So ask yourself who? Go out into Upwork, get somebody to do it for 30 bucks or 50 bucks, and preserve your time because your single biggest cost bar none in a business, the most pernicious cost of all is opportunity cost – the cost that you incur if you get lost in the weeds of your business and don’t stay in your zone of excellence.
Janine: And with that, we’re going to wrap it up because you have given so many wonderful gold nuggets today. So where do you want people to go to find you? I mean, you’ve got this great new book and you’re all over the internet. So where’s a good place for our listeners?
Walt: It wouldn’t be hard to find me. So the Consultant Success Formula, consultantsuccessformula.com is our signature flagship program. So that’s one way to get a hold of me. We also talked about, because I would love to share this with you and your listeners. I would love to give your listeners a gift of The Power Principles of Time Mastery, an electronic version of that. Now in its second printing. And so, we’ll get that over to you so you can put it in your show notes and make it available along with our executive planning templates to help people actually execute on the time mastery. So your listeners will have that. And then my primary website is walthampton.com, I made that up myself, walthampton.com.
Janine: So, that’ll work out. And so for those of you who are listening on maybe Spotify or one of the other platforms that we are with whether you are on Audible, wherever, Pandora, just know that you can go to janinebolon.com and that’s where you can click on articles and search Walt Whitman, I’m sorry, Walt Hampton.
Walt: Wow. Oh, my god.
Janine: I love it when I do that. See, that’s just the mommy brain, that’s the mommy brain at work right there. So go to Walt Hampton, search Walt Hampton’s interview, and that’s where you will find all these freebies and I highly recommend that. And if you are a business owner that you looked this up and it will really be helpful too. Thank you so much for being with us today, Walt.
Walt: Oh, Janine, my privilege. Thank you so much for the privilege.
Janine: No worries. And thank you so much for joining us with The Thriving Solopreneur where we ask you to keep your feet firmly on the ground debt-free while you’re reaching for those stars. Have a great day and we will see you next Friday.