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Your Lifestyle Business By Design with Kent Julian

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Quote: “Speaking is like a vehicle that drives my purpose in life. It helps me drive into what I feel is my life calling.” Kent Julian

We work toward creating the speaking business of our dreams, but does that give us that work/life balance that we all so desperately crave? How many days are you on the road, and are you feeling fulfilled and like you have enough family and downtime? On this episode of The Wealthy Speaker Show, we’re thrilled to welcome Kent Julian to share his journey and how he has created the perfect business for his lifestyle, and you can too.

Kent is a lot of things… family man, champion swim coach, CSP* professional speaker, fish taco lover, and proud bald guy. Yet, this hasn’t always been the case. Kent started as an at-risk child with severe learning challenges and SAT scores so low that he had to take Development Studies just to get into college—on probation. From these humble beginnings, Kent became the Executive Director of a national youth association to help teenagers like him. Then, after 20 years in non-profit work, he did something crazy… he launched two successful businesses. Along the way, Kent realized that the successes he experienced were never “his successes.” 

 

Read Full Transcript

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Jane Atkinson: Well welcome everyone to the wealthy speaker podcast to day. We are exploring the idea of business by design. What do I mean by that.

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Jane Atkinson: How about? Since we're going to all the trouble of growing a business? How about we build it? Based on what's perfect for us, a lifestyle business?

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Kent Julian: And today we have just the right person to talk about this. My friend Kent. Julian is here. Welcome, Kent. It's been so long since we've talked to each other a long while, and I'm very, very happy to see your smiling face and get back with you. Tell everybody about your current business model.

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Kent Julian: So when it comes to speaking my business, the way that I would describe it is the business I have. Number one. It's it's very it's very streamlined. I don't have a lot of employees. I do that on purpose. It's grown really well, but I've been able to manage it with a few vas, and that's kind of the way that I like it. I know other people when I connect with

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Kent Julian: others speakers, especially when I go to the Csp summit, which you know what that's all about. You. You sit in a room with

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Kent Julian: multiple different speakers that have many a everybody in there has a different business. And over the years I've really, you know, there's I've I've thought about maybe doing business this way. I thought about doing business this way, and the more that I hear all the different models, and they're all great. But you really want to come up with one that that fits you. So this really streamlined simple

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Jane Atkinson: business, the way that I run it is it really fits who I am, how I'm wired, and what makes me tick and energizes me. Okay, so that's the speaking side of things. Tell everybody who you speak for. What's your market?

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Kent Julian: Okay? I'm primarily I started in the youth market, and I still do that every once in a while, maybe maybe 5 or 6 engagements a year. But I'm primarily in what I would call an association market, where I'm speaking to business association, some government associations. I really go after associations.

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Kent Julian: And so no particular industry no, not one vertical just associations across the board. Yeah, so you know, there's 2 ways to niche your your speaking. There's actually to me. There's 3 ways you can. You can niche it on topic. You can niche it on industry, or you can do both.

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Kent Julian: And when when I was in the youth market, II really did both. It was very, very niched. I didn't go to schools. I primarily just did the big statewide associations. And I did leadership. So I was topic and what I would call industry.

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Kent Julian: And when I when I moved into associations for businesses, I started that way Jane, and realized that the message I was sharing was one of these. That's very niched on topic, but it can fit all kinds of associations. So in the last

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Kent Julian: 6 weeks I've done club management. I've done banking.

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Kent Julian: and I've done an education conference. And then this coming up in a couple of weeks, I'm gonna do a transit event. So those are all very, very different industries. And what is the topic that you're delivering to those people? I do leadership and

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Kent Julian: culture in company culture or organization culture. And I'd speak specifically on, how do you create a response? Able team? Ha! How do you create a response? Able culture.

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Jane Atkinson: Nice. I like that. And so you have this going, and how many times a year would you go out and speak and have your parameters gotten more narrow the more you have said, Okay, I know I don't wanna speak like at night when people have been drinking. I know I don't wanna speak on Saturday like, what are your? What are the boundaries you've put around yourself for your speaking business?

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Kent Julian: Okay, so, and this will lead into if we want to talk about. Cause I know we're talking about lifestyle. B business. Yeah, yeah, so I really shoot for no more than 35 engagements a year. And that's E, even for me that's that's pushing it. And so just to give you a little bit of background. I came out of

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Kent Julian: I came out of being an executive director for a national youth organization.

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Kent Julian: And when I was doing that role I did a lot of training. I did a lot of speaking, and I was primarily traveling on weekends. So this is when my kiddos were really little, and I was probably I was probably gone

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Kent Julian: a hundred plus nights a year, and then on top of that

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Kent Julian: probably 2 at minimum of 2 weekends a month. And it was. It's one of the reasons I got out of that work. And so when I came into doing this, I knew that I was going to have multiple streams of revenue. That was my desire. At least I didn't know it. But II mean, that was my desire.

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Kent Julian: And I really figured out my sweet spot, you know. 25 is kind of low, 35, I would say, is high. So if I dial in somewhere between 28 to 30 32 a year, and I count an engagement. I know a lot of people will say they. They count all like if they go somewhere, and they speak 3 times and and 2436 h, they'll say, Oh, that was 3 engagements for me. That's one engagement.

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Jane Atkinson: Go somewhere one time. Yup, okay, fair enough.

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Jane Atkinson: Okay, so

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Jane Atkinson: 30 per year is kind of where your sweet spot is. And

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Kent Julian: are you still doing weekends and things like that? Rarely, I mean occasionally. If I want to take the event. But almost never. I mean, you know.

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Kent Julian: one or 2 a year. Yeah, yeah. And maybe there's a play time when you know the family can come with, or something right? Right? Right? No. And that does happen. That does happen. My wife. We're empty nesters now. So she does like to travel with me. But she she doesn't need to hear me speak, so it's gotta be a.

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Kent Julian: It's gotta be a good place. And and she enjoys, and they're down there. Got the T-shirt. Oh, yeah. So let's switch gears now and talk about this passive income that you've developed for yourself. What is that business? So I have a a rental real estate business

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Kent Julian: where I just own personal real estate properties. So here, here's what's really interesting. Jane. I

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Kent Julian: yeah. When when I first got into business, I didn't understand

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Kent Julian: the difference between what I would call a passive and an active. I mean I did, but I didn't. And so I wrote an article.

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Kent Julian: On the 2 different lifestyle businesses you can have, and they're both very legitimate, and they both fulfill a different purpose. And so my speaking business, I look at that business as something I'm never gonna sell when I'm done. It's done, you know. My, I, my kids, don't want it. II it's a personal brand business. I'm very active in it.

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Kent Julian: And so the way I describe that. It's like a vehicle that drives my purpose in life. That's how I look at speaking. So it's a vehicle that

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Kent Julian: that helps me drive into what I feel like is my life calling and what I and that's why I enjoyed so much. And I want to invest my time and energy in that business. Well, what happens is, if you're a speaker you can create pretty good revenue from speaking. I mean, it's a great business to be in for that.

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Kent Julian: And so this is where I would get confused, cause I'd read business books, or I'd be at Nsa. And I'd hear, you know just this last Csp, there were 2 different

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Kent Julian: 2 different people. My mastermind. One had 6 No. 7, full time employees. The other one was retiring and selling his business. And again.

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Kent Julian: it's what they wanted.

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Kent Julian: And I used to get distracted by that and confused by that. And I thought, Well, that's maybe what I'm supposed, you know, if I'm gonna be successful in this, this is what you're supposed to do. I guess

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Kent Julian: what I found is, there's another type of lifestyle business, and that's my real estate lifestyle business, where. instead of driving my life calling it supports

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Kent Julian: help, support the life I want to live, and so I call it. It buoys my life, and so I, on purpose in that one. I love real estate.

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Kent Julian: but I have people who manage my properties for me. I don't do any of that kind of stuff. I'm not collecting rent. I don't do any of that. So one really drives my purpose. The other one buoys the type of life I want to live. Oh, that's so interesting.

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So

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Jane Atkinson: yeah, there's you're just basically identifying what investments you want to be a part of yes or no.

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Jane Atkinson: and then you put your money where your mouth is and rewards. Yeah. And one of the great things about speaking is, if you. If you do well in it, you will have revenue, and you, you know there's only certain things you can do with it. You can give it away, you know which we do some.

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Kent Julian: You can spend it, which we do some, or you can figure out what's a good way, you know, to invest, and some people do the market, and everything like that I have just found invest in real estate has really II often will say this, I have made really good revenue speaking.

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Kent Julian: My wealth has been built through real estate, and again very passive. I mean

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Kent Julian: you've it's fun. It's it's something I've studied over the years. I've built great relationships with people who do all the work for me. But it literally. If you were to, Jane, if you were to say, Well, how

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Kent Julian: how many hours a month does it take you to manage your you know your real estate business, and II would say a month. You know. How about when I'm not buying a property? It's maybe 10 HA year, you know. It really is 10 to 12 HA year. It's just doing taxes and and checking in with my property management people once a month for 30 min.

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Jane Atkinson: and you

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Jane Atkinson: would decide. Would they come to you with an opportunity. Hey? We have a property that we're eyeballing, and we think you're a good fit for it.

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Kent Julian: No, sometimes I do. But I have over the years. So you know, I've been doing it, for I've been speaking for

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Kent Julian: Gosh! Gotta start doing my math here for about 13 years, and I did, and I bought my first real piece of real estate within

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Kent Julian: within a few years after that. And so what happens is over time.

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Kent Julian: you know, again, it's it's a very different type of things. But you you like. I've connected relationally with professional. So I have a real estate agent when I'm ready to go buy something, you know I've had a good year. And speaking, here's all. Here's the dividends that I'm pulling out, hey? Let's go buy another piece of property.

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Kent Julian: I get him looking for me. And yeah, so it's just very, very different. But it's a great like for people who are doing this. And and you're gonna make money. There's there's

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Kent Julian: You do get out there. And if, especially if you read business books, there's so many business that talks about building your business to sell it. And I look at my personal brand business. And I go, who's gonna want to buy the Kent, Julian personal brand unless it was my kids. And then even my kids aren't me, you know.

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Kent Julian: So that's gonna be hard. But I look at what I've done in real estate, and now we've got something that again it supports. It buoys our lifestyle. But guess what, when, when we're done, guess what we get to do with our real estate, we get to pass it on to our kids.

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Jane Atkinson: I think that's so. It's just a a great way to go. We are also we we've had quite a bit of real state, and I'm just always curious about it, and I'm always watching the market. See what's going on. We're not in a very good place right now here in my hometown

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Jane Atkinson: in real estate, but when the interest rate will drop by even a quarter point. That's gonna make a very, very big difference. It happens south of the border. So that was the everything kind of ripples upward. But a little bit later.

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Jane Atkinson: So we just sold a property that we've held for 15 years. And now my 2 brothers were our tenants one of my brothers is handicapped. And so we've gotten him relocated. And and we're cashing out now, because, you know, we've kind of it's it's done what it was meant to do as an investment, have you? Did you manage all that yourself?

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Jane Atkinson: We managed it all, but wasn't a lot. There wasn't a whole heck of lot to it. But we were gonna do a big renovation and then sell the property, and somebody swooped in and asked us and gave us our price. And so now we don't even have to do the renovation. Thank you very much.

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But I love. I love watching out for real estate and seeing what's coming on the market, and it's to me it's fun. W. We really enjoy the flip, not a flip, but

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Jane Atkinson: like the renovation and the makeover part, my husband loves it. I love it, and we've done it on multiple properties. You're way brave. This is where mine so passive. It's literally

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Jane Atkinson: go in. Buy something that's ready to rent. And yeah, well, that's the perfect way to go, isn't it? And then you're able to be hands off on that. And a lot of people would be like, oh, I don't want to be a landlord, but if you're giving it to somebody else to manage, I think it's it can be a beautiful thing. You don't have the headaches and the 3 am calls of. I'm locked out of my apartment.

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Kent Julian: I never.

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Kent Julian: ever have that. I never have that at all. Because and I've and it is, you know, part of it. If you're gonna do something like this, you wanna be wise. So to me one of the things when I was looking at. Okay, what do we do with this revenue that comes in from speaking again? It could go into the market, or whatever, and a lot of people just do that, and they kind of do it blindly. I always felt like, man. I don't. I don't know what's going on in.

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Kent Julian: and all that stuff either. And so I became a student of real estate, and I really learned you've got to get a great if you're gonna do it the way I wanted to do it, you've got to get a

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Kent Julian: find, a really good property management company. Well, I've developed a great relationship over the years with my property management company, and they they cover everything and their friends. They're it's not just, you know. In fact, I've had yeah, their family, and I've helped them by sending people their way. It's it's a really great thing, hey? I'd love to recommend a book.

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Kent Julian: if you don't mind, and it's and if you want me to, I can send you a link to the

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Kent Julian: the article that I wrote. There was this article of 2 pictures. It's a 2 page article on 2 pictures of lifestyle business, so people can understand it. But this book, right here it's called the Thought leaders practice by Matt Church

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Kent Julian: and it is so again, back when I was reading all these business books, I'm meeting with all these different speakers.

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Kent Julian: and I'm and I'm just even hearing.

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Kent Julian: You know I'm I'm not hearing. I'm hearing people think think of it in big business, and it just never settled with me, so I felt like I was almost a renegade in how I was doing my business. And about a year ago I ran across this thought leaders practice. And I'm like.

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Kent Julian: this is what I did, and the thing that makes it so good, and why he calls it a practice is, he says you're

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Kent Julian: you're really. You're not building a business like other businesses. You're building it more like a practice where, if there's a dentist or a doctor that has a specialty the way that person builds that business is around them doing that specialty. And so everybody they hire isn't there to make money? It's to bring more business in for that expert.

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Kent Julian: And so thought leaders, practice is is all about, how do you create a business that's more of a practice that revolves around

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Kent Julian: you, sharing your thought leadership in multiple, different ways. And and they talk about, how do you build a 7 figure business with a very lean staff?

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Kent Julian: And with really high profit margins. And you're never planning on selling this thing. You're you're just. Gonna and in fact, they even talk in there, hey? When you're when you get it up and going, you're making good business. You're not trying to.

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Kent Julian: you know. You're not trying to necessarily grow the business you're looking to take that money and invest it somewhere else. So these guys were, I wish I would have read this 10 years ago, when I was doing my business at the beginning, cause it it just articulate everything that I did.

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Kent Julian: But it put words to all these thoughts that were going on, that that I had never

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Jane Atkinson: really read articulated anywhere else. That's really good. The thought leaders practice by Matt Church.

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Jane Atkinson: If you, if you are thinking about selling and there is, I do have the odd client who is in the position to be able to do that. It's because they have

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Jane Atkinson: thought leadership as well as systems and process bring people through their door, not at all interested in developing that. Then it's true. Then, once we go away, our business will likely go away. I've been in that position with the wealthy Speaker school. Do I sell it? Do I close it down? What do I do when I'm ready to retire?

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Kent Julian: And I don't have the answer. I don't know. Well, and wouldn't you say yours, too, is a is a B to C business versus A B to B business. Would you say, speaker, launcher is a B to C

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Jane Atkinson: consume a customer? We do have all that one on one people coming through the wealthy speaker schools. So yes, absolutely, you're right about that. And I think that that and and the fact that we do have so many systems and processes means that and but I love where you're talking about like just kind of lean and mean in terms of

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Kent Julian: staffing. We've really taken a lot of looks at those numbers in these in the last year and a half, and we've gotten more lean and more mean with everything that we're doing, because, as I think about what's out into the future in my mind, it's not even necessarily be about the money. It's more about simplifying the process. So

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Jane Atkinson: so talking about lifestyle business, I mean, my goal is that I'm working 3 days a week into the future. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Mondays, and Fridays are off, and every week this a 4 day or 5 day weekend. That's the goal for me.

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Kent Julian: yeah, I think you're on the same train, on the same path at some point here. Yeah. And I just again, when you, we're talking about lifestyle business here. So it's really what do you you know what you're looking for. And I just love the concept of hey, this speaking thing, it

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Kent Julian: it. The reason I enjoy putting time and energy into it is because I really do feel like the message I'm sharing is a calling in my life. So I'm when I'm sharing that it's not about.

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Kent Julian: It's not a it's. It's not just about being on stage when I'm writing books on like I'm I'm doing a book right now. When I'm doing that, I just feel feel so fulfilled and so alive. And I. And if I as somebody who comes from a background that was running an association, and I had multiple staff, and I was overseeing all these things that drained me.

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Kent Julian: So that's why I wanted this kind of lifestyle business. And then with the real estate, the way I look at that again is, hey? If I'm gonna do that, and I

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Kent Julian: II need somebody else who's, gonna you know, run the staff and do the details. I don't want to do that. So that's that's kind of how I look at it. One really drives my life calling, and the other one is is helping support the life I want to live. Well, you know, I think there's a lot of people out there who are probably trying to sort this out for themselves and your

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Kent Julian: focusing on it that way could be very helpful, purposeful. This part is what keeps us afloat. We look at it like I. The speaking business brings in a ton of revenue. So we're

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Kent Julian: we're fine like that. But it's like, Okay, what do we do? Not just to blow through this, or or you know we get to the end, and we go. Wait! Wait! Where did it all go? You know. What do we do to to buoy it that way. So II do know if you were talk, you know, like people who are listening in, and especially the people who are.

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Kent Julian: They've got it up and going, and it's beginning to kick for them. They're gonna they're gonna come to the place where they have to decide. Okay.

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Kent Julian: do I do. I do this 50, 60, 70 times a year on the road. If I don't, what you know, what else can I do to create revenue? You know all those kind of things. So II think this is a really good thing, like, if you're starting from scratch right now, and you're just trying to get it. Just just focus on getting, you know, speaking engagements. But once you get to the place where, hey, this is, this is now a legitimate business. You want to be thinking this way.

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Kent Julian: or or else you can go down Bunny trails like II just know I went down that Bunny trail. And for multiple years I even though deep down inside, I

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Kent Julian: I said, I don't want to be managing multiple people. I thought, that's

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Kent Julian: kind of what you're supposed to do, because, hey? To be a legitimate business. That's what you have to do. So II feel like I kind of wasted some of my time. If

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Jane Atkinson: versus getting really clear from the beginning, hey, this is driving my passion, and I can use the revenue and other ways to to buoy the life we want to live, and I'm thrilled that your life has balance to it with the 30 engagements a year. Somebody told me about this guy that was doing like 300 gigs a year price, and I thought.

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Jane Atkinson: Well.

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Jane Atkinson: his family doesn't see him. Oh, I just nothing about it that felt appealing to me. I don't care if he's making bazillions of dollars every year when he comes home his family will be gone. Yes, no. And and you probably know this as well as anybody. There's there are people out there that are speaking on how to live your best life, and

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Jane Atkinson: if you pull back the curtain on their life. I wouldn't want their life, family and children never, ever actually see you. We know that's not legit. So yes, I

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Jane Atkinson: I don't want to judge that either. But if just don't tell me what's not really true, don't lie to me.

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Kent Julian: Alright, Kent, I wanna say thank you so much. We would love the article. We're definitely gonna put a link to the book. If people wanna connect with you, what's your favorite way of doing that?

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Kent Julian: Well, as a

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Kent Julian: for speaking, it's kentjullian.com. II do a little

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Kent Julian: occasional podcasts called paid it's called the paid to speak podcast Yeah, no. And it's just a little personal. I don't do interviews. It's just me kind of sharing thoughts, and I'm off the road. II share those thoughts every once in a while. So over about 3 or 4 years, we're up to almost a hundred episodes. So it's it's yeah. It's a little. It's a little

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Kent Julian: and

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Kent Julian: project of love, I guess, like a passion project. Yeah, yeah, just something to to share. Say, little. Let's just call it just a passion fun project. It is called the paid, to speak. Podcast so they can just look it up. And and it's fun.

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Jane Atkinson: We'll send some people over there, Kent. Thank you so much for your time and for those tuning in. I hope you've gotten some ideas on.

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Kent Julian: Hmm. I'm at this particular level. Maybe I need to start thinking about either investing or winding down. Who knows? Everybody's in a different place in their business, and I'm really excited to get another point of view on that. So thank you so much, Kent, for being here. And with that we will say, see, you sooners bye, for now everyone.

Highlights you won’t want to miss:

  • What’s happening in Kent’s business? [1:00]
  • Creating boundaries for your business. [4:30]
  • Passive income rocks! [7:30]
  • Reaping the rewards. [10:30]
  • Reinvesting in your business. [16:00]
  • Systems & processes are necessary. [20:00]
  • What’s your goal? [21:00]


Kent recognized that each accomplishment came about because of the teams he was privileged to lead. Whether working with millennial students, coaching championship swim teams, or leading his own businesses, success was the result of committed, engaged teams. Now, with his expertise in leadership and employee engagement, he is privileged to speak, write, and consult leaders and teams all over the country on what it takes to create what he calls “DREAM-to-DO” culture. You can find his work online at Entrepreneur.com, Success.com, GoodMenProject.com, and more.

If you want to create a more balanced life and ensure your business allows that, you simply can’t afford to miss this episode!

I hope you’ll download and listen.

Links:

Kent’s website
Kent’s Lifestyle Business article
The Thought Leader’s Practice
Kent’s podcast
Kent’s LinkedIn profile
Jane’s LinkedIn profile
The Wealthy Speaker School
Jane’s Private Coaching Options

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