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How to Master High Level Connections with Brett Knutson
I am so honored. I have been wanting this guy to come on my podcast for the longest time and I finally nailed a time. Let me give you a little bit of background on this guy. Brett Knutson is a serial entrepreneur and speaker who has started several seven and eight-figure companies. Brett’s companies have raised millions and have led into working relationships with crazy cool entrepreneurs on another level and huge respected investors like Rohan Oza, the Founder of EA games and many celebrities, professional athletes and influencers. Brett regularly speaks alongside business icons like Steve Wozniak, Gary Vaynerchuk and others as well as giving back his time to high schools and universities all around the country. Brett, thank you so much for jumping on. I’m so extremely honored. I’m excited to dive in.
Thank you so much for having me on. I’m excited too. It’s been crazy watching everything that you’ve done and accomplished over the past several years and it’s been quite the journey for both of us. This should be really fun.
You have no idea who is on the other side of the screen on social. We were talking about the power of DM. How I connected with Brett, he reached out to me on Facebook randomly and he said, “We have a mutual friend. I’d love to connect and chat details. I hear that you’re a fellow entrepreneur just like me.” I am so game to that. I didn’t realize what a mogul this guy was and is becoming. Brett, let’s talk about your story. I want to hear about your background. What I think is so cool about you is you didn’t come from a family of entrepreneurs that are hitting on all cylinders. Let’s take it back. We went to the same high school. We didn’t think there were any other entrepreneurs that were there. Fill us in.
We went to the same high school but we were a grade or two apart and never met in high school. I think it’s hilarious. We ended up meeting through a mutual friend. I reached out to you because we’re both from Minnesota where entrepreneurship was dead for a while. It’s like in an apocalyptic movie like, “There’s one human left, another entrepreneur here in Minnesota. I need to reach out.” I definitely did not come from an entrepreneur family. This sounds made up but it’s completely true. I didn’t know what an entrepreneur was when I was an adult. My dad was a cop and my mom was a teacher, which sounds so cliché but that’s typical Midwestern family. My dad knew that there was something different about me. I was always very stubborn. I didn’t go against the grain on purpose. What everything else that made sense to other people didn’t make sense to me.
I was always pushed to get good grades so that I could get into a good college so that I could get good grades again so I could get a job. Here’s the thing, our parents’ generation, that was what was best for them. Statistics prove that. Back in our parents’ generation, the price of college was very low and the value delivered from a college degree was very high. All the numbers proved it. Now has been a huge shift in value versus price. Now the value delivered is arguably low and the price is extremely high. Over 50% of people graduate from college and moved back in with their parents and they can’t find work in their field. I was talking to somebody about this. Forbes said that 50% of working people by next year will be entrepreneurs or freelancers. I found entrepreneurship through network marketing originally. I turned eighteen and it was just a concept of it.
Even though there are different ways you can own a business. There’s owning a brick and mortar thing versus owning an online thing. The concept of personal development and growing yourself and doing something for yourself and earning a paycheck instead of collecting a paycheck was completely foreign to me but so exciting. I dropped out of college after a semester and it was very counter-intuitive, very against what my parents wanted me to do. It wasn’t me trying to go against the grain or trying to be a black sheep in the family or anything but it just worked out that way. I didn’t know what I wanted but I did know what I didn’t want. I knew so strongly what I didn’t want but it drove me to experience and try anything out. Entrepreneurship and starting my own businesses is where I landed and it’s been an amazing ride. I met a lot of incredible people like yourself and it’s been fun.You can't expect to have a different life than everybody else doing the same things everybody else is doing. Click To Tweet
We need to hear the details from when you dove into network marketing and then how did you get to where you are now? What did that journey look like?
I started in network marketing and I did well for my age when I was eighteen. I was the young up and comer. I ended up getting into a direct sales company at the same time. I don’t recommend this by the way, like splitting your focus but I was like, “I want to do both and whichever one makes the most sense in six months, I’ll just turn all my focus towards that.” The direct sales company ended up making more sense because I got promoted into a management track. They’re still very entrepreneurial as all 1099 based. I ended up doing that for a while. I ended up running a seven-figure division of that company when I was nineteen or twenty. Then after that, I started a direct sales company with a mentor of mine. That company failed incredibly mostly because of lack of experience in the industry on his behalf and on mine. My first big true entrepreneurship experience in my mind was a very big failure. I think that most people want to try to be an entrepreneur.
It’s certainly not for everybody but a lot of people try it and then they have that first failure and that’s all they got in them. Like, “I am not a fan of the money loss. I’m not a fan of the humiliation.” Nobody likes to fail publicly on a big scale. Especially when it was something that they’re evangelizing. That’s the worst. It’s like when you’re telling everybody this is the next big thing and it’s going to be whatever. Then completely crashing and everybody knows and there’s all the, “I told you so,” and everything. Getting back up from that took me a while. I ended up getting a normal job again, which I couldn’t stand. It was the sales and I’m good at sales but it was pretty miserable for me.
What got me back into entrepreneurship wasn’t me trying to be an entrepreneur, it was me trying to solve a problem for my mom. My mom is chronically disabled and as a result of that, she just sits at home all day by herself. Because she lost her license, she can’t drive anymore. My parents got divorced when I was fourteen. It’s literally her by herself. I felt awful for her and she would call me all the time and live vicariously through me. I wanted to figure out a way that I could find people nearby that liked the same things as she did so they could come to pick her up and do something fun.
Back in 2013, there was nothing. I very naively decided I’ll create the solution for her, which is literally waking up one day and like, “I should climb Mount Everest.” I didn’t know that at the time. I just took one step after another and I ended moving up to Silicon Valley. I raised several million dollars from the cofounder of EA games. We brought it to the point where we launched it. We had over 100,000 downloads in one day and we were trending worldwide on the app store. We ended up raising a bunch more money and ended up seeing some B2B opportunities with that and taking that route. Now we’re about to go back into the consumer space. It’s a long story and that brings me to a few months ago. I started Digital Accelerator.
If you’re familiar with Y Combinator, it is for startups and it’s a program that helps startups in their infancy get their first little bit of money and get off the ground. Out of Y Combinator in Silicon Valley has come Dropbox, Airbnb, Reddit and some of the biggest companies in the world. The combined value of the companies that have come out of Y Com over its fifteen-year history is over $100 billion and Y Com has 7% of all of that. They’re worth about $7 billion in fifteen years and they’ve taken in about 1,600 startups over that time. I decided to create the Digital Accelerator that does the same thing that Y Com does. For Y Com, you have to move there for 90 days and uproot your whole life and go live in their little incubator thing. I did a digital version where people can do it from anywhere, whether they have a family or whatever and they can do it on their own time. We can take in 1,600, 1,700, whatever startups every year. We have a tremendous ability to scale and give people access to these kinds of resources. We basically helped startups raise money and grow.You need to develop a relationship. Money exchanges hands over relationships and trust. Click To Tweet
It’s fascinating, it’s not like, “I started this business ten-plus years ago.” The first real venture that you’ve jumped out in faith and started was in 2013. That was not too long ago. Then you take it to a whole other level with raising funding on an online platform. That’s within the last handful of months. Then right before we started the podcast, you were talking about this epic idea that you’re putting into action as far as the most amazing mastermind concept I’ve ever conceived.
I know you get invited to speak at stuff all the time. I do too. I got to the point where it’s fun seeing my friends because all my friends are speakers. It’s fun adding value to people but I wanted to create a mastermind that I would not be invited to speak at. I wanted to create a mastermind that I won’t even be close to qualified to speak at. I also wanted it to be super exclusive. Not for exclusivity sake alone, but you know how they talk about classroom sizes in school and they complain if the class size is too big, then are you getting the attention you need? I wanted to cap it. Having a mastermind group that meets virtually twice a month and in person twice a year and cap it at 100 people and have the best business leaders in the world speak at this mastermind.
I pulled favors from all of my most high-profile friends and they all said that they would speak for free on the virtual side and then I would just pay for their travel. Unfortunately, they’re traveling with private planes so it’s a little bit more expensive. I pay for their travel for the in-person stuff. We have people like Rohan Oza who’s a shark on Shark Tank. He did Vitamin Water and Smartwater. The Founder of Shipt, which is the grocery delivery that’s sold to Target for $550 million. People who are literally the best in the world at marketing and have built multi-hundred million or billion-dollar companies are speaking at this.
It started off as the brainchild of trying to help the people in Capital Academy, which is the accelerator. The people that raised money were like, “This is great. I have $2 million now but how do I spend it? How do I market and how do I scale?” This is to help businesses that already have revenue marketing scale. This isn’t super 101 stuff. This is intense. How do you get influence or marketing to build a brand on a level that is insane? How do you get your products into Walmart? How do you scale an online business from a few hundred thousand to eight figures? It’s an intense concept mastermind group.
When you started the first business of the capital funding company, then you solidify that and now you’re like how can we add that much more value to what we have already going? You birth another whole business that works synergistically with that first business. That is such a creative way of going about it. What I think is so great about that is this is a key tipping point. There are a lot of people and there is so much information out on the internet. It can paralyze people. What is neat about the mastermind that you created is you say, “If you’re not implementing what we’re teaching, you’re out.”
Whoever decides to implement and go gangbuster then they’re going to be able to afford the next level being part of the mastermind long-term. That is absolutely genius that you say, “If you’re going to keep upleveling, you’re going to keep increasing the price point on the mastermind,” which I think is so important because then you know that the ballers are going all the way to the top with you and then the people that aren’t implementing it, good luck. Another mastermind is going to be good for you but that’s going to create the best mastermind on the planet.There is no such thing as reward without risk. Click To Tweet
The reason why I call that mind trap is I feel like the word mastermind has been underrepresented. There are a lot of “masterminds” that aren’t very good and there’s a lot of what I would call seat warmers. They are people who want to learn a bunch of stuff but they don’t want to apply any of that knowledge. We are implementing a survival of the fittest methodology into this, which is essentially we’re going to be increasing the prices every six to twelve months. If you can’t afford it, it’s your fault. I know it sounds harsh but if you’re learning from billionaires how to grow your business and you can’t apply that over the course of an entire year to be able to afford the next year. The goal is eventually when we cap out forever because we’re not going to increase the prices for the rest of time, but eventually, we’ll cap out that capacity and that price. At that level, just imagine the caliber of people and the person that you would be if you make it there but then the caliber of the people that are in the group with you. That’s what I’m excited about. If you have so much lateral and incredible peers and stuff, that’s what I’m excited about too.
Brett, shout out to you for always not being okay with the status quo, always pushing your limits, always growing. You are the epitome of iron sharpening iron. I am so grateful to have you in my circle. It’s great to have someone like Brett Knutson in your circle because you’re going places. You never settle for good when you can go to greatest. Thank you so much for showing people what’s possible. You aren’t even 30 years old. That’s amazing. Thank you, Brett, for showing what’s possible.
Thank you for creating avenues and channels for people to come in and share everything that they’ve learned and made it a mission of yours to be able to add value to as many people as possible. More people need to share what their expertise is. The biggest problem is everybody has a chip on their shoulder. They feel like there’s nothing that they’re good enough at and there’s something special about you. That’s why it’s okay for you to have the influence you have. There’s something special about me and there’s something special about these other people. If people saw the way that I was when I was in middle school. I had one friend and my dad used to coach me like, “Brett, look at people in the eye when you talk to them. Shake their hands and say hi.” I was so introverted and constantly bullied and everybody always says, “You just have the gift of charisma.” Are you kidding me? Do you know how many times I’ve spoken on stage and stuttered over my words and not knowing what to say and felt like my heart’s fluttering?
I’ve worked to become charismatic. I remember in ninth grade, someone that you probably know went to our high school. He was the captain of the basketball team and it was during class and I was like, “This is my chance. I’m going to be cool.” I was so nerdy. I wanted to be cool. I’m going to say what’s up. It’s just him and I. I was like, “This is my shot.” I was like, “How are you?” He was like, “Good, how are you?” I was like, “Good, how are you?” I asked him twice and I could see his face. He was like, “Okay.” That is the epitome of my entire childhood. I had my one friend I played Yu-Gi-Oh! with, which is the dumb little trading card game. The fact that people use excuses like, “You’re just smart,” or I love when people say, “You must have an MBA.” Are you kidding me?
People look for any reason to not believe in themselves and their own skills and their own strength. They do that by deflecting their insecurities on other people through excuses. It’s like, “It’s because you’re so charismatic and you’re such a great communicator and you’re all this,” and not giving you any credit for what you’ve developed intentionally over decades. My biggest thing is I speak at a lot of high schools and stuff because I’m trying to encourage people to realize where I came from. Anybody with reasonable intellect, obviously there are some people who are impaired to a degree where it’s extra challenging, but anybody can achieve what they want to achieve. There’s nothing special about the people that are where they’d like to be other than the fact that those people were willing to deal with more discomfort and the pain of growth and continued to persevere. That’s all that it is. I’m sure you can attest to that too.
You and I and different social media influencers or people that have “made it,” there’s no difference. It’s that they’ve decided they have more grit. They get up after they had that hard knocks. You have no idea when you start to peel back the layers on what Brett had to go through in order to get to where he is, it’s so true. That gives so many people hope. Keep pushing your limits. You keep adding value to other people’s lives. You keep sharpening your saw. You keep going to different events. If you’re not great at speaking, then go take a course. Go hire a coach. What can you do to uplevel? The sky’s the limit on truly what the gifts that God has given you. When you say, “I’m not turning back, I’m going all into my God-given potential,” all bets are off.You have to have a why that is tremendously bigger than any problem that you'll ever come up against. Click To Tweet
I’m coming out with a book. One of the things I say in the book is the biggest gap in the world is the difference between what people know and what they apply. I’ll tell people something or I’ll tell them to read a book on something and they’ll say, “I already know that.” Clearly, you’re not applying it. The same with me too, I know tremendously more than I apply but in addition to that, it’s a difference between knowing and applying, is there’s straight up the way that God works. There’s a testing ground. I don’t know why.
I literally want to ask Him like, “Please explain to me why life has to be extremely hard first?” I get some of it. There’s the appreciation. There’s whatever. I don’t know what it is but definitely, He’s got this little system in place and you cannot break that system. What nobody talks about was even after I had the communication skills, the sales skills, even after I had built a seven-figure business and stuff. When I moved out to raise money in Silicon Valley, I spent through all my savings. I slept on an eroded dirt floor because of earthquakes and stuff, in a 1,200 square foot illegally modified house with 23 other people for over a year. I had to walk to my part-time retail entry level job because it was flexible and afforded me the ability to pay rent and take meetings with investors.
I had to walk several miles because my car got impounded when it broke down and I couldn’t afford to get it out. I had to walk several miles to work every single day in 100 degrees or rain in dress clothes. I got holes in the bottom of my shoes and every time it would rain, it would make my socks dirty and wet and ruined my sock. I lost 80 pounds that I couldn’t afford to lose at the time from malnutrition because I had a budget for food of less than about $1 a day. I’d have half of the Little Caesars cheese pizza one day, nothing the next day, the other half the third day and nothing in the fourth day. That’s the type of stuff people don’t talk about enough. Most people think that if someone is lucky or if you have the right skills in place then it’s instant and it’s easy. “If I did it and it wasn’t instant and it wasn’t easy, then there’s something wrong with me.”
That’s not the case at all. It’s a way some people call the universe. I’m a Christian. I know you are too. It’s God’s way of testing. If you want a 0.001% impact life, you need to do 0.001% things. You can’t expect to have a different life than everybody else doing the same things everybody else is doing. If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re reading this and you’re going through ridiculous amounts of struggle, just know one of my favorite comics. Have you ever seen the comic where it’s the guy underground with a pickaxe and he’s digging towards the wall of diamonds and he gives up one pick away from the wall of diamond? Then the other guy’s right behind him and he’s determined to get to it. That’s what most people do. They give up right before the breakthrough moment. I don’t know the reason why but it’s the way that God designed the world.
With your business, what was that tipping point for you? Was it just hard work after hard work? Was there that point that that was the breaking point after you had work extremely hard?
Typically, what I’ve found is a lot of people give up. There are two different ways that you can look at something. You could look at strategies. I define strategies as timeless. A strategy in marketing would be marketing is based on emotion, not logic. That’s a strategy that has been true for hundreds of years and it will be true for hundreds of years. A tactic is ever-changing. It’s like Facebook Ads as a tactic for marketing. A lot of people will get the strategy right and they’ll get the tactic wrong because there are tons of different tactics, then they discount the strategy forever. For me, I did a bunch of things the wrong way for so long and assumed that it was the strategy that was wrong when it was the tactics that were wrong or it was the way that I was doing the right thing.It doesn't matter what you're going through. Understand that it's all part of your journey but it is up to you to keep going. Click To Tweet
I was doing the right thing the wrong way. When it came to raising capital, this is an example. I didn’t have a lot of stuff in place like a pitch deck and a minimum viable product, but it didn’t take me very long to realize that I needed to have those things in place. What took me the longest period of time though was realizing that if everybody else is doing it, you’re going to get the same results as everybody else. Cold emailing investors doesn’t work. They get thousands of them. They’re inundated and they literally ignore them. Most prestigious ones have either autoresponders or polite gatekeepers that basically reply a nice version of no. Cold emails don’t work.
You need to develop a relationship. Money exchanges hands over relationships and trust. How do you build a relationship and trust with somebody who has money to invest in your business? By not asking them for money. Everything is all counter-intuitive because if it’s intuitive, it’s what everyone else is doing. I need to reach out to 1,000 investors and ask them for money and I’ll get ten back who say yes. It’s not the way that it works. You need to develop a relationship with an investor and have them come alongside you as an advisor. Help your business as coming alongside you instead of coming against you and trying to pick apart your business because you’re asking them to invest and they’re trying to figure out everything that’s wrong. I have them come along as an advisor.
Have them get to know you. Have them watch you and execute on what they tell you to do. Have them tell you what to do with your business and help groom the company to the point where they’re ready to invest. Typically, people are doing the right strategies and the wrong tactics. If it’s intuitive, which I use it as a way of saying it’s what everyone else is doing, then you’re going to get the results everybody else gets, which are always subpar. That’s what I found. All of the best results I’ve ever had in my life were figuring out how to creatively approach situations and scenarios that other people just don’t put any extra thought into. That was a turning point for me.
Let’s say there is someone who is wanting to scale their business. They don’t have the capital. They have an idea that they do feel could scale. How would they get in touch with those type of people, because they can’t pay them or maybe they would get a loan to get that relationship started? What would you recommend at that point?
How people say it’s all about who you know is an excuse. You know the right people, tell about who you know as though you didn’t develop those relationships. I grew up in a township, too small to be considered an actual city. Six hundred people, Greenvale Township. I didn’t have any connections. What I did was I reverse engineered. Remember how we were talking about the power of the DM in social media? Think of how powerful this is. Most people have heard of seven degrees of separation or six degrees or whatever. It’s basically saying you are six or seven connections away from anybody in the world, from the president of the United States down to a random entry-level worker in a foreign country.
You’re seven connections away from anybody in the world. That’s the math. Social media has given us the ability to see where the connections are. You can go to Justin Bieber’s profile on Instagram, see who he’s following that’s following him back. Go to their Instagram, see who they’re following that’s following them back. Reverse engineer the network and then work your way back up the ladder. That’s literally what I did. When we were building an influencer network for Hive, I worked my way down the ladder from the biggest people on social media. I got them involved, people with less than 500,000 followers. Then I leveraged their name to get people with one million followers and then those people to get people with two million and then five million and then ten million and then twenty million. I literally got to the point where I had five of Justin’s closest friends in my network.Don’t look at the top of the mountain. Focus on taking the first best step and then the next best step. Click To Tweet
I invited them all at the same party and he came. That’s the type of stuff that people don’t think about. The same thing with LinkedIn. In my mind, for our generation, Instagram is what LinkedIn could and should have been. I connect with everybody who tries to connect with me on LinkedIn. I accept everybody’s request but I don’t follow anybody that I don’t know personally. If someone wants to know who I know, Instagram. I don’t follow anybody that I don’t know personally. If I liked somebody’s content, it’s too bad, I’m going to have to meet them in order to follow them. The reason why is because then I can go into other people’s pages and I can instantly see who our mutual friends are.
If I followed random people that I like their posts, I wouldn’t be able to connect with people on that level. If I see somebody that I know is a big deal, this happened at Funnel Hacker Live with Dan Lok. It’s a huge personal brand and a very successful man who lives in Vancouver. I saw him and I was like, “I want to go talk to him.” I went to his Instagram. I found out who he was following that I was friends with. I went up and talked to him and I started off with like, “We have a lot of mutual friends. I was just talking to X, Y and Z about you.” I instantly boost my credibility and we have an actual conversation instead of me approaching them as a fan, I’m approaching them as a peer. The power of social media, when it’s reversed engineered is absolutely incredible. Nobody’s using it that way. Everybody just uses that for looking at cool pictures of other people’s food. It’s the most powerful technology in the face of the planet and people are posting cat videos. Make money with it, use it, leverage it. Don’t have it use you.
That is on another level. I thought I knew how to use my DM. That is mind-blowing. That is genius. I think so often here’s the power of the network and even the inner circle. We wouldn’t have this conversation. I would have kept doing it the same way that I’ve always been doing it. When you group with people around you that are upleveling their A-game all the time, it forces you to do the same. I think that is the power of the network, the power of DM, the power of surrounding yourself with people that are chasing after their God-given and God-sized dreams, that’s where it’s at. In your time of being an entrepreneur, what would you say has been the toughest lesson you have had to learn and what do you take from it?
The toughest lesson I’ve had to learn is there is no such thing as reward without risk. I’ve taken that to a level that I think most people would never and maybe should never. I’m talking I’ve gone into over $100,000 in personal credit card debt because of the belief I had in what I was doing and it always works. I don’t think people understand the magnitude of that. Everybody wants to have a comfortable life without anything uncomfortable. If you only make comfortable decisions, you end up with a very uncomfortable life. Everybody wants to have an easy life but if you always make the easy choices, you end up with a very hard life. You have to on the front end, make very uncomfortable and very hard and very risky decisions.
Think of it this way. You’re never going to have less responsibility than you have now. You will only ever have more responsibility. If you don’t have a spouse, you’ll have a spouse. If you have a spouse and you don’t have kids, you’ll have kids. You’ll never have less responsibility than you have now. There will never be a better time. You have to take risks now. The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second-best time is now. For me, it was realizing I need to take risks. No one else is going to take a risk on me. I have to take risks and believe in myself. I did that to a magnitude that I seldom see. Thankfully some people don’t need to do it on the level that I did. I’ve over $100,000 personal credit card debt. I had a credit score at one time of 417. I would do anything and everything. I would sleep in my car. I live in my car. It didn’t matter. I was determined that I was going to figure it out. I was going to find a way. If I couldn’t walk or I couldn’t stand, I would crawl but at least I was moving forward. That’s the biggest thing that I’ve learned that has tremendously impacted my entire life.
Even with the answer that you gave me, the passion, the drive and the determination, where do you feel that came from? Your mom and dad are amazing human beings but they don’t have the drive that you have. They don’t have the vision that you have. Where did that come from? Is that nature? Is that nurture and what do you see for yourself in the next couple of years?Never underestimate how powerful relationships. Always add value first to a relationship over and over. Click To Tweet
It’s definitely having a why that is way bigger than yourself and way bigger than money. I see so many entrepreneurs who are hustling and all they care about is Lamborghinis. They’re not going to get very far and anywhere they do get, it’s not going to last very long. You have to have a why that is tremendously bigger than any problem that you’ll ever come up against. Otherwise, you will give up when the challenges and the hurdles get too big. For me, my why has grown over the years. It started with my mom. Then it became my family and it compounds. It was my mom, then it was my mom and my family. Now it’s my mom, my family and the entire education system. My life legacy and my goal is everything that I’m doing right now is to create influence among very powerful high net worth people. To become one of those people myself so that I have the capacity and the resources to make a significant dent in our very broken education system.
Having kids, we had to pull them out of the school system because it’s so bad. For me, I don’t want to just take my kids out of the problem and leave it a problem for my kids’ kids to have. I want to solve that problem. I know I can’t do it by myself no matter how much money I make and no matter how much influence I have. I know that if I have enough people in my circle that have influence and resources and I have influence and resources, together we can make a significant impact on a very broken system. That is the why that now compels me in addition to my mom, in addition to my wife and kids, to go through the most incredible barriers over and over again because it’s way more important to me than how much money I make.
I feel your heart for changing the trajectory of so many people’s lives. Thank you for saying, “It stops here and I know I can’t do it by myself but I can be the instigator. I can be the catalyst. I can be the one that changes the game,” and you have created the infrastructure that I believe that you will do it. Thank you for being that human being that’s, “Why not me? Why not now?” This is the time to change the whole way that we outlook on education.
Thank you and for the audience too, it’s important to know that. I’m sure you can attest to this too, the goals that you have now. You probably didn’t have most of those goals a few years ago. Your goals evolve with time. For anybody who’s like, “I’m not trying to do something that big,” take a step at a time. My first goal was just to help my mom. It was to help her financially because she had gone through bankruptcy and foreclosure and it was to help her make friends. That was my first goal. Then my goal was I want to provide a life for my wife and kids that’s way better than I had growing up. I had an average good middle-class life. I was loved as a kid so that’s most important. I wanted to provide a better life for my wife and kids that I could have ever even imagined having that I ever had. It increases with time. Your goals change and they evolve. Don’t feel like your why needs to be some cataclysmic shift in the planet or anything crazy. Start with someone close to you or something close to you that’s bigger than you and bigger than money.
I know even at the beginning of my life, it wasn’t huge. I think it is important that sometimes people will even ask, “What’s my calling? What’s my purpose? How do I get started? I am so unclear. I don’t even know what end is up.” Take the first best step then things get more and more clear as you go along.
If that first best step leads you down the path of failure, that is part of your journey. Remember what I said. My first business was a very big and very expensive failure. It was a very big and very ugly failure where I had friends and family that invested thousands of dollars into the failure. It doesn’t get more humiliating than that. It doesn’t matter what you’re going through. Understand that it’s all part of your journey. It is up to you to keep going. It’s not up to you to always succeed. It is up to you to keep going and you will continue to elevate and evolve your goals and your why and everything as you go down that path.
Last three questions. I could stay on this because I’m eating this up on another level. I’m not even coming up with other questions because I’m so in the now and taking all of this in. I want to know what is your definition of a boss?
Somebody who is happy and is in their calling of what they know that they are here to do in the peak of their ability. Someone who is chasing after their ideal self and the accomplishments, the impact, the significance and the contribution that their ideal self could have and is happy in that process and in that journey. Someone who is not chasing happiness. They’re grateful every step of the way. They are driven to impact and to contribute as much as they can in their element or in the lane that they’d been gifted.
Let’s say someone meets you on the street and they say, “I want to become the boss of my own life and call the shots. What’s my first step?”
Your first step is truly to take your first step because if you focus on the fact that you’re climbing a mountain, they will be so overwhelming that you won’t even be able to see your own feet. Don’t look at the top of the mountain, just focus on taking the first best step and then the next best step. Understand that by the time you realized how big the mountain is, you’re already halfway up, so you might as well go the rest of the way up.
You have already shared so much extreme wisdom. I will give you this last chance to share anything else with the audience that you want to share with them. Any last words of wisdom for the Boss Life audience?
It would be to never underestimate how powerful relationships are and to always add value first to a relationship over and over. Don’t expect anything in return. When you are offered value in return from a high-quality person, recycle the value on to somebody else in your network so that you can add value to more people faster. By doing that, you’ll become a very high-value person among high-value people. It is all about who you know and that’s the best way to know more people.
Brett, thank you so much for investing in my audience and giving back the way that you do. It means so much to me. My friendship and my relationship with you means the world to me. Thank you for being who you are and never saying, “This won’t happen.” Thank you for always stepping up and never stepping back. I want you to share how people can follow you. You guys have got to follow him on Instagram and all these platforms. Where can they find you, Brett?
For those of you that have this great idea or this strong idea that you’re like, “How do I scale it? How do I bring in the income in order to do it?” I’m mumbling still on everything that he has shared. That is times ten in that course. Go check it out. Go start following him. He is so inspirational and so motivational. Iron sharpens iron, go follow Brett and it will change your life. He has changed mine. Thank you, Brett, for coming on the show. Until next time. You know it’s time for you to fire your fear, build your faith and become the boss of your own life. Let’s get after it.
- Brett Knutson
- Y Combinator
- Funnel Hacker Live
- Instagram – @Knutson
About Brett Knutson
Brett Knutson is a serial entrepreneur and speaker who has started several 7 and 8 figure companies. Brett’s companies have raised millions and have led into working relationships with many respected investors like Rohan Oza (shark on shark tank/vitamin water/smart water), the Founder of EA Games, and many celebrities, professional athletes, and influencers. Brett regularly speaks alongside business icons like Steve Wozniak, Gary Vaynerchuk and others as well as at high schools and universities all around the country.