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Aaron Ross

2 Cent Dad Podcast podcast.

June 28

Aaron Ross; author, entrepreneur, speaker and father is the special guest today.

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welcome to the to set dad podcast, where we interviewed dads to discuss their journeys of intentional fatherhood while doing work they care about and living a life purpose. I'm your host, Mike Su DIC. I never had joy till I got that. I enjoyed things I didn't have, like joy. And now I get it every day. I mean, there's shift deal with every day to sometimes early, but you know, I have, like, magical moments every day that I never had. On today's episode, we have author and entrepreneur Aaron Ross, who's a thought leader in the software to service space.

But more importantly, why did I want him on the podcast? He has 11 Children, he seemingly not insane and still running a successful business. And so I thought I had interviewed him and get how he has done it and share some tips with you, the listeners. So without any delay, let's jump right into the interview with Aaron. So today, on the podcast of Aaron Ross, who's the author of From Impossible to Inevitable, See previously senior director of sales at salesforce dot com, is that correct? And that's been a while. But yeah, um and thought leader in the SAS community.

But most importantly, he has 11 Children, Um, and is still successful in his entrepreneurial ventures and still saying From what I can assess. So thanks for being on the show and


yeah, thank you. So I guess I barely seen so would argue that actually,


that's right. You know, even just right for his interview saying You had to deal with, you know, a three year old crying three year old, which I'm sure it was always something. Yeah, so? Well, thanks. Thanks for being Asher. Appreciate it. So So you said you had it. You have 11 Children were speaking before. So some from from your wife's previous mayors, some biological, then six adopted. Is that correct?


Yeah. Okay, so 11 kids. 10 of what? Your soul. A home. So it's from newborn to 18 80 year old looser, the boyfriend which were not happy about. But, you know, and you're right, so three biological, you know me. There's a couple for my wife's prime marriage, and there's six adopted kids, so it's a little bit of everything and adopts. I think four of the six kids doctor from trainer and one and two from the U. S. Went from East L. A one from Florida. So everything we adopted 16 year old teenagers and a newborn and everything in between.

How does Aaron balance his family life while being an entrepreneur?

Having a big family was one key motivator on making more money to support them. He balances the two by learning how to deal with the certain amount of stress that is acceptable. Having kids, stress is unavoidable and unrealistic. He believes it’s important to trust that things will work out for the better, and to do the things that feel right.


How does Aaron balance his family life while being an entrepreneur?

Having a big family was one key motivator on making more money to support them. He balances the two by learning how to deal with the certain amount of stress that is acceptable. Having kids, stress is unavoidable and unrealistic. He believes it’s important to trust that things will work out for the better, and to do the things that feel right.

that's a modern family.

How does Aaron balance his family life while being an entrepreneur?

Having a big family was one key motivator on making more money to support them. He balances the two by learning how to deal with the certain amount of stress that is acceptable. Having kids, stress is unavoidable and unrealistic. He believes it’s important to trust that things will work out for the better, and to do the things that feel right.

Yeah, exactly. So how are you still able to be an entrepreneur in the in all of that?


Well, let me more interesting, too, is it's only my wife's words are sixth wedding anniversary next week. So it's been no. 0 to 11 kids and about six years. Wow, for me. She went from 2 to 11 and six years. But yeah, that is going on. Let's see Internet Me Time wrote two books. I think maybe, do you think they'll get two books yet and then also grew to support? You know, a big family means to make a lot of money. It wasn't like we made a lot of money,

then had a big family. It was B had a big family or started going the family. That was the key motivator for me to figure how to make more money. So Gruber income 10 times, and, uh, I was like my four year from 2011 to 2015 or so in this plateau the past couple years.


Okay, so how do you balance that? That period of having to grow the revenue that your income while you're raising these kids, it's like that is that's a lot of stress to deal with.


Yeah, it is. And that's one thing is, you know, it's just learning to deal with a certain amount of stress as acceptable, whether it's because you like it. If you have kids, you can't avoid stress, period. So, like the idea of some sort of easy family life and easy life just isn't realistic with kids. It's not realistic, usually with the most businesses, either. But, you know, I could say business is the best way to invest for financial wealth,

and a family is the best way to invest for emotional wealth. So I don't know if I look back, there's there's, you know, sometimes I'm not sure what we do but Nuffer. So again, the main thing was, having kids and having more kids was what motivated me to me for money. And we basically spend all our money like we live mostly paycheck to paycheck because we're always investing in that, you know, We're always, you know, each adoption was like each international adoption was probably 30 to $40,000. And when we come down to, there's been, you know,

maybe once a year or two ago, where it was, well, we could either pay our rent on time or we could do this adoption and, well, we're gonna pay that we're going to the adoption. Um, there's some of those challenges where you're just every day's a new adventure you like. If you're an entrepreneur of the growing business, every day's a new adventure. Whatever work yesterday may or may not work again today, and so I think for me, a lot of this has been, you know, a couple of the Cooper points has been really learning that, um,

you know, I don't say set a goal, But if there's something that feels important to me and I want to say it is whether it's my heart or my body might get, there's something it might even be that feels important. It may not make sense. It may not, um, but it's just like to go for it and trust that things will work itself. But in the cells out as they go, whether it's financial or whether it's support. Um, 11 kids we we have. We hire nannies. We are older. Kids help. Sometimes we have friends combines just trusting that things will work out for the better. When you just go for for something that feels right.




And that's just been a really big lesson. Um, nothing, you know, not being too scared. Of what if we had more kids, how we afford it? It's a real concern, but hasn't stopped us. Or if we have a baby, how are we gonna survive? And why don't we just adapt and do? It's It's been hard in a lot of ways, but worth the investment in time and energy, just like starting business could be hard, but worth the investment time and energy. Usually,


Yeah. So one of things I'm curious about is your your of Mary, Very much an anomaly in the startup community having such a large family, at least from what I


can see. Yeah, I think in in the big cities, it's gonna be I don't know what the percentage of people who have more than 10 kids are in major cities, but it's gotta be tiny. I don't.


So how do you How do you get support in that? Like so most of your people you're working with you're talking with as if they have a family that, you know, small families. Um, and it sounds like you put this this a huge priority on having a large family, you know, using the business to support the family. So that philosophical worldview our way that you see things is probably different than most of the people that you're carrying your business circles. Would you agree with that?

What are some things that Aaron had to sacrifice while growing his family and entrepreneurial career?

At first, he set a goal to only work 25-30 hours a week. As he worked more, he felt that he lost his insights and creativity. Growing his family and making more money, he had to shift his focus by putting his side passion projects on hold. Limiting his amount of work forced him to focus on the things that were the most important to get done.

Um, I'm not, you know, So I'm not really sure. What's definitely different is that for seven or eight years, I've I've had this goal of, like, You know what? I'm gonna work 25 or 30 hours a week. Um, and I need to make money. I was early, its sales force, but not early enough. And I've had to make money, but, you know,

that's pretty different story. This You know what a maid amazed nine years ago. Now it's like, you know, um, when I work more than, like, 30 hours a week, I lose sort of those big. The insights I'm used to and you get more stuff done. But I just I feel like I'm not afraid of, um, so many for so while growing the family, I I worked my ass off all week, but it's really for the family. I still I probably worked less now reasons one,

because with the new baby, I came just It's hard to put ours and honestly, so maybe 20 hours a week is problem critical for last few months, we played my wife being displayed pregnant in the new baby s O to make more money and to go to, you know, to make a lot more money while have while adding kids, they're fast, takes a while, um, needing to make money and while working 25 25 hours a week required I don't I just focus on, you know, this, like the easiest waited for me to make money. I start put all my side passion project aside, um, a lot since I need it for a couple of years.

I gave up exercise. I just do Dad aerobics, right? I'm always active. I run around all the time. Um, you know, because I'll get an hour. Here are given our they're like this afternoon after interviewing Dr My five year old to school for an afternoon class. While she's doing that, I'll get 45 minutes to work. That pickup would come home and do some of the pickup, so it's more like bits and pieces. I'm always moving, but focus, um,

trust like a big thing for me. I think when I limited my work was also realize, you know, you could have a list of 1000 things you should do or could do. But does that can easily be distracting from here. What are the few important things to do? And I don't think so. Having limited my time really forces me to really focus on the things that I feel like the most important and to be okay with having a long to do list of stuff. It doesn't happen what it might be blocked posts or marketing. There's there's a 1,000,000 businesses that could do that. You just don't get done, and I don't know if it's maybe if I'd put 40 hours a week and I could have grown more money faster. But, you know, I know this is just feels right this kind of the way. I've been working daily for years.

You know, a lot of some of the kids and my wife focus on the work. I have great partners I found over the last few years whether it's in the sales consulting business, um, online sales training business. Predictably So, I've got two or three different businesses with different business partners that can really I can rely on them, too. And I know sometimes I'm like, I'm not sure what I do. I'm not sure how that's lost track of doing this for so long. I don't really know if someone shadowed me. They could probably tell me how similar or not in philosophy, I am too attacked for no executive or CDO a regular one.


Yeah, I think, though you said you said, um, you're having good family is good for your emotional health, and it sounds like you know you be becoming okay with leaving some things undone as long as you're you know, you're focusing on making enough money for one to support a family and then to do things that absolutely have to get done. But then you're saying I'm okay with that and I have. You know, I have that My emotional support that I'm gonna get for my family you're not, like stewing on the things you could do and letting that kind of take your take your mind and your you know, your energy. Especially emotional energy.


Yeah, not above a certain point, you know. So on a scale of 1 to 10 I'm just started, used to living with was called like five and attend of General. It's got, like money, anxiety or stress because we make a lot. But we spend a lot and that's OK. It's this. It's like if you have a fast growing company, it's not no different than whether you raise money or not or your boot. If you're bootstrapping, you're basically taking any extra money you have, and you're investing in the company, so you never you have very little slack, but it's worth it.

You're like, Well, I could hire that. I could take all the savings and hire someone in sales. I'm gonna expect to make money back on that. I'm just going to be comfortable with him a little more riding the edge of my financial past float, and that's something I've gotten very comfortable. A lot we're comfortable with is like riding this edge of cash, your investment, whether it's, um, in the business itself or investing, it could be like a piano lessons for the kids, you really or art supplies or a family vacation to Big Bear or, you know, food or whatever it is like just,

um, you know, getting ah new bed for our son's birthday that he's been wanting for two years. Even whatever it is, it's investing in the family and not being as scared tohave smaller savings now, spending it now based on cash flow and think, you know, I don't save any money. And four Okay, 54 K for one K. I don't say I would like to, but it's just more important to me. It's a it's a better use of it now. Don't spend it on family. And whatever we're doing with family, you know,

I'll trust the business I'm doing. I take a bit more of the turtle in business than hair like, um, you know, I had a very rapid income growth rate the last a few years, but I'm expecting to grow by a lot more of the next few to 10 or 20 through, Um, you know, it's like for me, it's all work less now. But when I find the right partners, it's like I'm looking for the multipliers. This is the way when I find multipliers might take a long time to find the right person the right thing. But then and it still takes a couple years ago, a new business off the ground like what I found? No,

you know, China. Someone came to me and there's like a opportunity creative sales training company in China and that feed. She's a great partner. I feel like this will happen and it might be a couple of years. I'm willing, all right. It might take a couple of years, and we'll just keep working on it. Bits and pieces as we d'oh slowly but for, uh, you know, what is it? The turtle, the turtle? But I'm like I'm the turtle that wins the race. In the end, people who are bringing some bread. Newsome's Alice to work to make so much money right away.


Yeah, man thing. That's interesting. Point like, um, taking the tortoise approach. But you're you know you're consciously reinvesting in your family like you would have business, which I think is interesting because you're looking at the that has a longer term pay out in the end, right? Just like you wouldn't try to cash out of a business early on and just reap the profits, cause you know that that's gonna have a negative long term consequence. You're saying no, actually want to reinvest my family? So a long term, um, I guess healthy family, if you will. But some people,


I would say, How did


you arrive at that? Because, I mean, the common argument might be like, you know, I'm gonna work and make a ton of money now and sacrifice, maybe time with my family, put in 80 hours a week. I'm gonna make money for a period of time, and then we'll have that. I'll spend time with family, which then it never actually comes. Right. You know, you just just


working. Maybe it does. Sometimes many Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn't. Yeah, so I feel like one hand. I'm not even sure it's not in me to work 80 hours a week anymore. It did. When I was younger. I acted like I don't know if I could emotionally or physically do it. Um, if I was, you know, I probably could If there's if there's an important reason If I saw a real payoff to it, I could do it. Like if I knew if I worked. If I knew that there was for six months or a year,

I could work 80 hours a week and I could make a $1,000,000 extra dollars or two million or whatever 50 million. I probably do that. But like, ironically, you know, my most famous book is predictable revenue. Still like, um, I don't have enough of, ah, of predictability, my own money to say, You know what? If I worked 80 hours a week for six months, I would triple my incomes. It doesn't really work that way.

It's more like I know there's some things that are gonna pay off, and I can't was that's exactly what So because I'm not sure exactly what's gonna work, Um, I'm not willing to work more than 30 hours a week because the sacrifice I feel like that with my family and my wife isn't worth a maybe pay off because I think it be easy for me to work twice as much and only make 10% more money. I don't know. It's like because there's an uncertainty in. So I think what's funny is, you know, I've always been an engineer heart in a lot of ways. But now the last years of the family reasons like I've I think I've become much more, um, feeling based on how I work in what I do in some sense of what I feel like doing. So I feel like working on this. Does this person feel right? Does this project feel right? And,

you know, I still very logical in lot of ways like or experience based. But a lot of what I decide do is based more. I feel like doing Does this feel right and express? We could, you know, some people might like Heart center here in L. A. There's a lot of, you know, wound coaching stuff, but it just feels right to do certain things. And I was left. Listen to that. It's realized how right that is. So many times,

Let me give you one example. Um, where they're waas. Okay, this is it. might be a bit extreme, but a few months ago and we had, like $500 in the bank because I might have not paid rent, and I get different bits of cash during the month. It's not always predictable life from royalties consulting. So, um, you know, sometimes I end up with serve no money until I get the next thing. Might have, like a few $100.

Like enough for I think of groceries and on the street is at night. And there's a homeless person. Um, and my wife never drive. We pulled over and we had some food we gave him and whatever was he was just crying. And you don't mean exactly the way he looked at me, exactly what he said. But it's like, you know, it's really important to help this person. And we went, We've I went to a motel, rented him a room, and I don't think it's raining. It was either really cold at night or might have. Randy was in the winter here,

which I don't have. People survive winter in New York like, you know, we don't He needs it more than we do, and I've never done that before, Unfortunately, because I don't think our country does a horrible job taking care of unfortunate people. Um, like, you know what? I'm just gonna trust this. This felt right to dio and little so dropped him off bottom dinner, Um, something, you know and got home. And funny enough,

I had in the mailbox the roots public 10 different checks off of some May, like $12 with the checks that from insurance refunds that I know didn't expect it at all. And I just kind of a don't call a silly example. I feel like that happens a lot like the more I've learned to trust. All right, do the right thing may not have either the money or the time like having another baby when you were already like, so busy. But I know it's worked out. It's just what's right. And just going with the flow, I guess, is a lot of it. Definitely still in methodical in many ways how I approached the business we do. And there's a lot of structure and like the way a structured my weeks, you know, certain days for certain things like Mondays for coaching and Tuesdays your family because we do not gymnastics and things Wednesdays or serve Ah,

three days of with no calls. Thursday's a certain. So I have a lot of structure, but, um, I know it's like it's just it's a pretty mate I would never would have guessed ever. I'd have this kind of life even a few years ago in a good way. So


that's really interesting.


Yeah, we'll explain it. It's, I think someone has to, like, come watch me during the day and they could tell me I have lost track of what I would work used to be like and how it's different than what other people do.


So would you say I mean then could you say you could give because I think the what I'd like Thio addresses. Maybe someone that's that's a little bit earlier and where you're at, you know, so much younger, maybe a really young father that's may be trapped in the cycle of wanting to be successful, and it is, um, sacrificing of their family and and how did you get to that point, that kind of mental state to say like, Hey, it's gonna work out and and yeah, I'm gonna be working on the business. Yeah, I'm gonna be investing my family.


Yeah, well, I note I think one of the things that I do d'oh. And I would encourage anyone to do is, um, you know, make sure you have clear boundaries of your time when you work. You work on when you're with family, your thing with family, for the most part, I mean, look, if you're working a home and kids wander in and it's like the BBC guy's funny but that they too many people, it's, you know, when you when you work, you work.

You know, when I work, I'm using super focused. What? I'm a family. I'm, you know, usually pretty focused. But look, sometimes someone text meteor, my head's wandering, and I really try to put up with the kids and really try to play with them with my way of trying to be with them. Try to keep those things separate, unless a special I think there's an Alexa in here that I thought I said, Alexis said, separate,

Um, and I also try to blend things where I have taken some of the bigger kids on work trips with me when I do a keynote conference or speak. But I think, look, if you have to work 50 hours a week, do that 50 hours and make sure it really counts. When you're not there, turn it off or only work. What you don't want to do is is your what? You You're with your family or kids, and you're like either on your phone and you're sure like going back and forth and you're not really focused on one of the other. You're just spinning your wheels in both directions. So or if you have to work, if you have to travel on your way home one day a week, make sure that Dave really counts. You know,

sometimes you have to you know, it's not even. I don't think it's so much the hours which are part of it. It's also what you do with the hours. So, for example, to me, my wife and said, I'm really good at this, and I know it just seemed natural is. And when I'm with the little kids, I will play with the little kids, like I'll get on my hands and knees and I play with them. I don't just watch them. If they're doing that, goes,

I'll do Legos usually. Sometimes I'm just I'm always tired, still, and and are at the park. I'll play with him at the park and I'd encourage any parents listening. Look, if you're at the park, don't just watch them. I mean, you could watch him sometimes. Just It's actually really fun for me to watch my kids play, uh, to really watch. And it's also fun to go play with them and they love it. Of course, when I'm playing with them so that it's like,

you know, I don't one hour really playing with, um it's probably worth 10 hours to them of just me, like just being there, watching them, but not actually engaging


with, Um, yeah, I couldn't agree more. I think it's so much you get so much more out of it. It's cool. I I really like watching my kids interact with other kids. I think that's kind of interesting to play with him.


Yeah, not really. I let my kids be family. The kids play together a lot not to, and Mike, I love watching them. Plus, it's a chance to rest, cause I mean, it's better now for the last six months. You know, For six months we adopted a baby from Florida and her mom was on drugs and we knew this and long structure is for six months. I was up with her at night, taking care of her when my wife is pregnant and just really couldn't. So I was up three or two or three or four times a night with her for six months. You know, I was just I used to have just hired all the time plus,

um, on the go all day fair m unite very little time to rest once in a while and get used to it. I don't want this to last forever. It's worth it for a while. Yeah, but you know, it's a chance. Like if the kids were playing together. Oh my God, I got to serve rest for a little bit and I enjoy that. So it's I'm not. Conflict is. Sometimes it's fun to play with them. And even if I'm tired, I finally get over the hump of okay and I get on the trampoline or with the water war starts. And then I start having fun.

What site? Get off my duff, right, But I think that's again. You know, one of the uber of things that would ever have a parent's encourages. Just don't just watch you do it with them. I mean, one more example is I wrote up, Um, I would say about my son, and I did this fun little book one time and put it on Amazon because it's so easy to self publish. You know, it's put some pictures in that's called Sons Love Mutant Robot Battles With Dad's




great. And then we just drew these all these pictures together. Like his robot battles. Um, in the book is just like a few. It's very simple and few words like messages. If you're drying robot battles, don't just wrong. Or don't just watch your kid wrong, like draw them with um, and if you're drawing lasers, you know, make sounds like B B bu. It's really have fun playing with them and doing with them together. And you could do that with anything, whether you're cooking with them like, I think we're good about trying to get her kids to help cook.

Sometimes they want to. Sometimes I don't, um I noticed, actually, my five year old when we started making salads together, like when she was two or three, and I just have her, like, drops up in. She's more likely to eat them or food. She helped make sure you eat, including salad. So it's like when you do things with them, Uh, I think again, it's like qualities in really quality time. It's really good for you and keep for them, especially for them.


That's awesome. I like that idea of the cooking with him. And then they actually want to eat the maybe a healthy thing that they won't need.


Yeah, I mean, sometimes you do. Sometimes I don't like. She she start make she made this, like smoothie for me yesterday twice. Then she'll take broccoli and water in cucumber. I had her put in some apple to the first time she did. It was just like broccoli and cucumber of water. And I was like, Yeah, thanks, honey. Um and she didn't want to drink it, but us one for her to make it for me. And next time we did together and it got better actually drink that time. But so You know, sometimes you do. Sometimes you don't.

What’s Aaron’s view on big families?

Being a parent is a pain, and no one has it figured out. Bigger the family equals more challenges, more anxiety in some ways, but more fun in others. Overall, it’s it worth.

That's really cool. No thanks for sharing. And I really appreciate you taking the time to be on the show. So anything else you want to share?


Yeah. You know, being a parent is also fucking pain in the ass. A lot of times, I don't want people to think that Oh, I've got everything figured out because, like, no parent has everything figured out. It's more fun to share the successes. Um, but, you know, we have there's always some electronics is a whole nightmare to manage, and that's probably freaks me out around. Um, not just what did this to people. You know,

For me, this might be my paranoia because I grew up. I had for there's a few years where I didn't have friends. I have a computer and, you know, I don't want my kids to replace human friendships with phones there. Cecil is so accessible now, is that chores? There's some kids are okay doing chores, and there's a couple of it just well, dodge it this can't you know that's a pain in the ass is so trust me bigger. The bigger the family Maur uh, challenges, more anxiety in some ways, more fun and others. Overall,

it's been worth it. Just like if you an entrepreneur. I interviewed this guy, CEO of Zip Recruiter. It's $100 million plus cup night figure plus company is like when the company's really smaller bootstrapping. I have the ideal life. I just didn't know if I could like a workout for now, or I could go on a beach. And now the company's. The bigger, more successful is gotten, the more I've lost. He's lost track of his time, and he's busier and so on. So, um,

you know, it's like being okay with the fact that's not perfect. Just be anxiety, distress and not Lenny overshadow the great parts of having kids or a big family, too, because they I never had to joy until I got married had kids.


That's a part


that I enjoyed, things I didn't have, like joy. And now I get it every day. I mean, there's shit to deal with every day to sometimes literally. But, you know, I have, like, magical moments every day that I never have before. Yeah, it's gotten better with more kids for a lot of different reasons, even though it's also more work with your kids. In some ways,


yeah, so 11 kids. That's a lot of kids. My wife's one of eight and I think they have a big family. So


yeah, well, you know, there's like families who have, like, 21. Like how they do that. They don't have help. And there's a guy who said he was one of 100.




crazy. I guess they had 15 you know, kids adopted brother and they fostered a 80 something over the 20 years. So like, OK, but still I had a


thanks so much for your time. Yeah, yeah, thanks for listening to the show. You can find out more about us and sign up to receive updates at to send dad dot com. If you liked what you heard or just want to say, Hi, you can shoot me any mail that mike at Tuesday dad dot com. Please leave a review on iTunes if you like.

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