Finding the exit strategy to open doors to new opportunities with Back to Human author Dan Schawbel

Dan Schawbel Instagram WHITE BORDER.png

Dan Schawbel knew he needed to leave his job, but carefully choosing when and how to do it was the key to success in launching his own social media entrepreneurial venture


In Dan's money story you will learn:

  • How he was able to transition from his corporate job to becoming an entrepreneur

  • What it was like starting his own company

  • How his life was different after making the transition

In Dan’s money lesson you will learn:

  • Why it's important to be patient when moving from a corporate job to your own job

  • Why you should prioritize what's important to you

  • Why you should Invest in yourself

In Dan's everyday money tip you will learn:

  • How using a goal sheet can help you stay productive

In My Take you will learn:

  • Why you shouldn’t rush your exit strategy

  • Why it's important to create a goal system

Episode Links -

Check out Dan's websites -

Follow Dan!


Transcription

Dan Schawbel:
My life at the company was pretty wild back then. I mean, we're talking to the early days of social media, so my breaks, lunch breaks and breaks outside of a work, I was being interviewed by CNN. I was interviewing various celebrities.

Bobbi Rebell:
You're listening to Financial Grownup. With me, certified financial planner of Bobbi Rebell, author of How to be a Financial Grownup, but you know what? Being a grownup is really hard, especially when it comes to money, but it's okay. We're going to get there together. I'm going to bring you one money story from a financial grownup, one lesson, and then my take on how you can make it your own. We got this.

Bobbi Rebell:
Hey, Financial Grownup friends. There is an expression out there that became very popular a while back. First I believe it was first really mainstreamed on a show called Sex and the City. Then it was a book and then a movie. The expression is he's just not that into you because a lot of the time relationships don't work out, not for some big dramatic, blowup reason, but just because one person isn't that into it. They just hope there's someone else out there that will wow them, that will be their true love, not they're like, good for now, whatever.

Bobbi Rebell:
That can be true for jobs too. Follow me here guys. For all the stereotypes about hating your job and wanting to go into your boss's office and dramatically scream, "I quit." The truth is most jobs are okay. We like them, but sometimes you just know you're just not that into it. So then what? And that was the case with our guest today, Dan Schawbel. He's the author of Back to Human and the host of the podcast, Five Minutes with Dan Schawbel.

Bobbi Rebell:
All right. Welcome everyone. We have a lot of new listeners recently, so a special welcome to all of you. We keep the shows short because life is busy, and we want to fit into your schedule, so feel free to listen to one episode. If you are short on time, we try to keep them the classic episodes of which this is one to about 15 minutes. We do Financial Grownup Guides, often on the weekends. Those are even shorter, but if you have a little more time, feel free to stack the episodes together to make whatever amount of time you want to fill. So, if you're commuting, you have a 45 minute commute. Listen to three episodes. If it works for you, we're happy.

Bobbi Rebell:
Now to our guests, Dan Schawbel, who I learned about through former Financial Grownup guests, Stefanie O'Connell. She's actually been on the show a couple of times. We will link to her episode.

Bobbi Rebell:
Dan Schawbel has a great story for all of us about what I was talking about, about just not being that into a job. He was doing really well. His bosses liked him. He liked his colleagues, but it just wasn't enough for him. He wasn't miserable. He just wasn't that into it. Here is Dan Schawbel.

Bobbi Rebell:
Hey Dan Schawbel, you're a financial grownup. Welcome to the podcast.

Dan Schawbel:
So happy to be here with you.

Bobbi Rebell:
And so happy to have you because your book is amazing, Back to Human, and I'm also enjoying your new podcast, Five Questions with Dan Schawbel, which has the most amazing guest line-up, by the way, everyone from Rachel Ray to Lewis Howes, Chris Anderson, star studded lineup there, so congrats on all.

Dan Schawbel:
Much appreciated.

Bobbi Rebell:
Well, we stick to three main questions here on Financial Grownup, and the first of which is to tell us your money story, and this has to do with a big transition in your life that turned out okay, I think. Go for it.

Dan Schawbel:
Yeah. This was at the early days of social media, so I created the first ever social media positions in a big company back in 2007. I knew I was onto something, and I knew that I had a high value in the marketplace because it was new, and I had the right skills at the right time, and so that gave me a degree of confidence. The other thing that gave me a lot of confidence was outside of work, the reason why I got the position is I was early into blogging, social media. I had my own magazine and a blog that was successful, and to me, that made me realize that, oh my God, not only do I have these skills, but I have the assets, the credibility, the connections that I can leverage, and I was getting a lot of demand from companies to have me speak at those companies to various groups and audiences.

Dan Schawbel:
Between all of that, it proved to me that there was a market that I was the right person at the right time, and that allowed me to transition from corporate life into entrepreneurial life.

Bobbi Rebell:
It's fascinating, though, because why didn't your corporate bosses see this and try to retain you?

Dan Schawbel:
It's actually really interesting. They knew that I was eventually going to leave. When I quit, they weren't surprised, but they didn't know when it was going to happen, so they wanted to maximize me and my time when I was actually there. So, that was really smart, and then they became one of my early clients because when I quit, they want to sign a consulting contract. So, that was the transition between when I was there and when they hired a replacement is we were working on a contingent basis.

Bobbi Rebell:
What kind of discussions were there during this time period? Did they tell you, "We value you? We just literally don't have the budget?" Or was there something else going on?

Dan Schawbel:
My life at the company was pretty wild back then. I mean, we're talking the early days of social media, so my breaks, lunch breaks and breaks outside of work, I was being interviewed by CNN. I was interviewing various celebrities. I was doing a lot of this stuff that I still do, but within the few breaks that I had during the workday and outside of work. So my life was already crazy, and I was being ... Google wanted me to speak on campus. I was getting crazy opportunities, and so it almost wasn't fair to my manager and the company for me to stay.

Bobbi Rebell:
Tell me more about that and the transition time? What was it like the early days, like day one when you started your own company?

Dan Schawbel:
One of the best pieces of advice my parents ever gave me was have the predictable income, be patient, stay at the company longer until you're really ready because I went through at least a year where I wanted to quit every day. I was like, [inaudible 00:06:11] like going home and working on my business nights and weekends was so enjoyable, what am I dealing with here? And they said, "Be patient. Make sure you have enough money." And I thought that was really good advice in hindsight. Right?

Dan Schawbel:
In the moment, I'm like, get me outta here. I think it is patience, right? It's very easy to be impatient because you get so much joy working on something that you own.

Bobbi Rebell:
So, what were the early days like? Day one? No company job. What'd you do? Did you get up and go to the gym, or did you get up and work?

Dan Schawbel:
Honestly, I don't think anything changed really. You know, I think it was the same or maybe a little bit more effort, but I was doing what I wanted to do.

Bobbi Rebell:
What is your lesson for our listeners? What's the takeaway from this?

Dan Schawbel:
The takeaway is be patient if you're going to move from a corporate job into your own business. Don't rush it. Be smart about how, where and when you're spending the money. Prioritize what's important to you, and if you're young, what should it be important to you is reinvesting in yourself and your own education and to save money so that you can make a transition that's smooth and not as stressful. There's always going to be some stress because it's something new, and people fear change. It's built into us being human. Take your time, be patient, save, know where you want to spend money and also know where you shouldn't be spending money.

Dan Schawbel:
I think that's also important that people don't talk about as much is not having lavish vacations in the early days is important. I didn't really even travel up until maybe seven years ago, and so a lot of the things that I had always wanted to do, I held off on and now I do them more regularly because I'm in a different position, but when you're first starting out, save, be smart about your priorities. Say yes to as much as you possibly can because that will give you the privilege to say no to more things later in life, the open opportunities. Do as much as you can. Surround yourself with smart people. I was fortunate to have supportive parents who pushed me to be as patient as possible and to save, but if you don't have that, I think it's finding role models, finding people who believe in you, and that will give you enough confidence to succeed in the early days so that sets you up for longterm happiness and fulfillment.

Bobbi Rebell:
You also brought with you an everyday money tip, which is something we kind of know, but so many of us just don't do.

Dan Schawbel:
I have a goal sheet that lists out the things that I need to get done on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual basis. And even though this is basic, it really helps focus my attention, and there's a certain degree of satisfaction when you check something off, like you completed something, you've achieved something.

Bobbi Rebell:
I always feel better with that. What was on the top of your to do list today?

Dan Schawbel:
Top of my to do list today was to take a break.

Bobbi Rebell:
Let's talk about your book, Back to Human. I really enjoyed this. There's a lot of great things here. For example, you talk about the optimal time for a break and the most productive day. Tell me more about those things.

Dan Schawbel:
Yeah. The most productive day is Tuesday because Monday everyone's catching up on work. You have all these emails, so you're going to prioritize those instead of just planning and working on things that are going to have high impact for you on Tuesday. For every about 45 minutes you work, you should take a 15 minute break. Those 45 minutes, you need to really zone in and be focused.

Bobbi Rebell:
I want to talk about your podcast, which is ... I hate to say this. This is a positive, but it's addicting because it's less than 10 minutes. It's five questions with Dan Schawbel, and you have such an incredible guest list. Tell us a little bit more about that and how you come up with these amazing guests.

Dan Schawbel:
Yep. So, I have interviewed over 2,000 people in about 10 or so years, and I've always had the same format. It's five questions in under 10 minutes, and it used to be for various media outlets and now I'm doing the same thing for a podcast because a lot of my friends have hour long podcasts, and for me, the format that makes the most sense because I'm a very intense, anxious type person is a very short podcast. And so I started putting it out, and I've been getting the feedback after thousands of downloads about how it's the podcast people listen to you between meetings. It's quick, it's efficient.

Dan Schawbel:
And I've also found that when I interview people, they give their best advice very quickly because they don't have an hour in order to talk about a subject. They need to boil it down into what's most important. So that pressure I put on them allows them to deliver their best content in just a few minutes, and yeah, it's been very enjoyable. The format feels unique and authentic to me, and it took me a while to come up with that format even though it was right in front of my face because everyone's like, "Start a podcast. Start a podcast. Start a podcast." And I had back in 2013. It wasn't the right format. I was trying to do too many things, and so I was patient. I waited, I put thought into it, and now we have Five Questions with Dan Schawbel.

Bobbi Rebell:
And it's a great thing. Tell us more about where people can find out more about you, be in touch with you, social media, all that stuff.

Dan Schawbel:
You can go to iTunes to listen to the podcast or DanSchawbel.com to see the research, the articles and all of my content as well as the book, Back to Human.

Bobbi Rebell:
And all your social channels, what's your handle?

Dan Schawbel:
It's just my name Dan Schawbel. It's D-A-N-S-C-H-A-W-B-E-L.

Bobbi Rebell:
genius. Thanks Dan.

Dan Schawbel:
Thank you.

Bobbi Rebell:
All right, my friends. Let's get right to it. Financial Grownup tip number one. Do not rush your exit strategy. Dan makes a great point about being patient and planning a gracious exit. You are not in a movie, guys. Screaming, "I quit" is not a very grownup way to move to the next phase of your career. Be Realistic about the challenges that you will face after the big sendoff. As Dan said, nothing really changes your first day, not at your job. It's all on you. Your income will not be certain. Dan couldn't take vacations for a while. When I left my corporate job, I had a multiyear plan that I carried out before I left, and when I did it, it was in the most amicable way possible.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial Grownup tip number two. Create a goal system. Now, Dan talked about how it gives him satisfaction when he checks things off a list. I do that before I go to bed at night, and it calms me down a lot too. To just know what I'm up for it the next day. So, find a system to organize the things that you need to get done in different time increments. I also have begun adopting systems including, for example, [inaudible 00:13:05] in recent months. No affiliation with the company by the way, as my company has grown, and I have to coordinate schedules and deadlines with my growing team.

Bobbi Rebell:
And speaking of that, I'm going to have a very big announcement about a new project very soon, so please follow me on social media for details. It involves a new partner, and it is one of those pinch me. I can't believe I'm actually doing this kind of thing. Translation, I am terrified, but I am excited for all of you to come along for the ride. On Instagram, I am @BobbiRebell1. On Twitter, BobbiRebell, and if you want to be in touch or ask any questions about the show, you can email us at hello@financialgrownup.com. You can even email us a voice memo, and maybe we will share it in the podcast.

Bobbi Rebell:
Everyone go pick up Dan's book, Back to Human and check out is awesome podcast, Five questions with Dan Schawbel. It is everywhere. Follow him on social as well. Big thanks to Dan Schawbel for helping us all get one step closer to being financial grownups.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial Grownup with Bobbi Rebell is edited and produced by Steve Stewart and is a BRK Media Production.