In today’s interview episode of the eCommerce Lifestyle podcast, Anton talks with Josh Stanton, one-half of the co-founding team behind Screw the Nine to Five.
Anton first met Josh in 2013 when they were working at the same co-working spot in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Since then, the two have kept in touch while both growing successful businesses that share the same mission: helping others find freedom through lifestyle design.
During their recent chat, Anton talks with Josh about his early days as a digital nomad and how the Screw the Nine to Five movement has developed over time.
Listen in with the player above or scroll through the transcript below.
Anton: Hello everybody. Anton Kraly here from eCommerceLifestyle.Com. Coming to you today with another interview episode. Today is a little bit different because historically the past five episodes have been interviews with Drop Ship Lifestyle Members. Today, we're kind of going outside of the box a little bit more, kind of try to bring in some variety and help you in more ways than just the standard seven steps that we use over and over.
Anton: So today, I'm really excited to be talking to a friend of mine, Josh Stanton, who together with his wife run a website and a business called screwtheninetofive.Com. If you're listening to this and you've been in our world for a while, you've probably heard about them or maybe seen their ads or listened to their podcasts or read their blog because they both been doing this for awhile. In fact, we actually know each other since 2013 when we were all living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. And yeah, that's when I met Josh, and I think it was Punspace and kind of got a glimpse into what he was building back then. Which if my memory is correct, it was a lot of different affiliate offers and a lot of different affiliate websites. So kind of a different way to monetize but something that has definitely proven to work well over the years.
Anton: So Josh, thanks for being here. Happy to be talking today.
Josh: Dude, good to connect again. You're right. We did first meet in Punspace. I remember what it was. And I heard about this guy who was like doing drop shipping. I was like drop, what now? What the hell is that? And I was like doing I think it was like niche sites, that little niche sites with affiliate marketing. And I think we first connected, and we just started talking about. And I was like, "Man, this is a really similar approach." It's like both are very much lifestyle businesses with the affiliate marketing and drop shipping. I just feel like it was just such a cool time to connect and talk about that kind of stuff. And I'm glad that it's been many years since then, and we're still running these online businesses. And it's super cool to connect.
Anton: Right. It's amazing. Even just thinking back, I was trying to picture the year and I was like, "Was it really that long ago?" I mean, that's six years. That's big, and it's just cool to see like the evolution of, at least what I see from the outside looking in on your business and what you guys put out there. And I don't know. It looks like this big community, very similar to what it is that we do here. But like you said, just an alternate way of monetizing, right? So you're basically helping people to get started and build lifestyle businesses by sharing what it is you know and what it is you do. So I'm curious, like from back then even to now, what got you into affiliate marketing and the whole lifestyle design thing to begin with?
Josh: I think it actually goes back to when I was in school. There was nothing like specifically that I knew I wanted to do, and I didn't really like the typical education route that everyone else is going down. And I remember I got into university to study engineering, and, man, I hate math and I'm not very good at science. And so I started studying this, and I realized this is not what I want to do at all. And I didn't know what I wanted to do. I just knew I didn't want to do that. And so when you're young, you've got like no responsibilities really. And so it was kind of like, let's just, I'm just going to drop out and just see what happens, see what comes to my way.
Josh: So I dropped out and had no job, had nothing, no income coming in. I was broke living at home, and I had a friend of mine who was working, who's doing this like internet stuff, like making money on the internet. And I was like, "How are you making money on the internet?" And he's like, "Well, I build these websites, and I make money through... Google sends me a check every month for advertising and stuff like that." I was like, "This is crazy. Are you serious?" He's like, "Yeah, I can put you in touch with someone I know who has an SEO company, and maybe you can start as like an intern."
Josh: So I reached out to them, and I was like, "Let's have a meeting." Caught up with them and all that. Let's stop. We'll pay you like $8 an hour. And I was like, "All right, whatever. I'm earning nothing right now. So $8 is better than nothing." And that was the beginning for me on this path towards where I am today. It was like that was where I first got started working online by working with this SEO company. And from there, I worked there for a couple of years and then went out on my own. And I started building these affiliate sites and so much just happened in between now and that time. But I'm sure we'll get around to talking about it.
Anton: Yeah, yeah, definitely. It's so amazing though. I've been trying to see if there's a pattern, right? Like different people that I know from living out in Southeast Asia and people that are living this lifestyle, and how did you even find out about it? And what I hear all the time, it really was just one person kind of just gave them an opportunity or just hinted at something, and then the person like you and like me kind of took it and ran with it. Because I think even now again, this was six years ago when we met and we were both doing similar things. Again, things change but similar things. And the fact is now the community is bigger than ever. The whole "digital nomad" community. But it's still I think like nobody knows about it. So it's just interesting how these little connections and little tips or pushes can just lead people to totally different lifestyles. That's cool to hear you went that direction.
Anton: It's funny you mentioned not liking school. I literally 20 minutes ago I just dropped off my son. We have kids about the same age. Just dropped him off at his first day of school and trying to be excited about it. But I was driving him away from it. I'm like, "All right, we'll see how this goes." If he's anything like me, this is not going to go well. Yeah.
Josh: Yeah. It's like a really looking back on it now, school is pretty much nothing I learned in school that applies to my current lifestyle right now. Everything I sort of learnt for my current life, i learned as an adult. And it's kind of weird because I keep learning more and more every year. It's like the rate of learning increases every year for me. And I think for most people it sort of stops after university, and they get a job. And then it's like, "I'm not going to learn anything anymore. I'm just going to have my comfortable job. And that's it." But as an entrepreneur, and you're the exact same as me, is the market's always changing. And so you have to keep evolving with it. You have to keep learning, you have to keep investing in yourself whether it be buying online courses, going to live events, joining masterminds, all this kind of stuff. We're constantly investing because we understand that if we want to grow, we have to grow ourselves. If we want our business to grow, we have to grow ourselves first.
Anton: 100% and I think we should talk about that. Like I said, you had Screw The Nine To Five back then. I had Drop Ship Lifestyle back then. But the way that I do business now, it's not the same. If you just sit there and say, "Wow, this works amazing. I'm good. I'm going to put my hands up and watch the money roll in forever." Then you're done. The day you stop learning is the day your business flat lines and then starts to decline. So I'm curious, we like to talk about recent wins. So things for you in your business, like somewhat recently, what are some things that you've done that maybe you weren't doing back then that have led to better results?
Josh: Yeah, so just speaking on the evolution side of things. So last year we closed down our paid membership. We had like a membership, there was like about 1000 people in there paying on average about $50 a month. And so we got to a point where we were like, "Man, I don't feel like this is the direction we want to go in anymore." And so we made a pretty big commitment to say, "Let's just close this down, and let's move in a direction we want to move in." And it was a big deal because we've actually shut down most of our revenue for our business. And so then we switched to an affiliate model completely, which is kind of funny. It's ironic because that's how we got started was earning money through affiliate marketing.
Josh: And so we said, "Look, there's an opportunity in this space where with Screw The Nine To Five, our goal mainly is to just help transform employees to entrepreneurs. That's our mission is transforming employees to entrepreneurs." And we said, "There's all these people who are selling online courses, all these tools and all this kind of stuff. Instead of us trying to compete against everybody, why don't we just like create an opportunity for us to connect with a lot of people and then move them in the direction of an online course or program or online tools and that kind of stuff, which is going to be relevant to them. It's going to help them grow other businesses." So kind of like a very middle man type approach.
Josh: So we made that commitment. We closed everything down and at the end of last year, and obviously when you change your business, you do a pivot like this, you're always concerned. What are your revenue numbers going to look like? Blah, blah, blah. But I would say the biggest win was shutting that down. And now we're, what are we in? August right now. We're on pace to crush last year's revenue goal, and we completely change everything.
Josh: So if anyone's listening in and they're in a situation right now and they're like, "I'm not liking how things going," blah, blah blah, and they feel trapped. I want you to know that you can change. You can change completely, and everything's going to be okay. In fact, it's going to be better.
Anton: Yeah. And what's amazing about that too is you didn't just... You weren't doing something that wasn't working, right? You didn't just say, "Oh, I've been failing for years. So I'm going to give up on this and try something else." You went from an extremely successful membership site, probably up in the top percentile as far as how many members and revenue, and you shut that down. So I think that's really important too because sometimes people hear things about pivoting or things about changing how they monetizing or maybe hiring somebody or firing someone or just restructuring their company, and they think that's only for people to do if their business is failing. But the truth is, something you preach as well, we're building businesses here because we want certain things in life, right? We want like a certain freedom. We want to be happy with what we're doing. So people might hear that like $50,000 a month, right? Membership site, you shut that down. What? And it's not because it's not successful, it's because it wasn't bringing you what you actually wanted out of it. Right? Like is that correct?
Josh: Totally. I was actually talking to someone recently who went to... Do you know how Richard Branson runs like events on Necker Island?
Josh: Yeah, so someone who went on one of those, and he was talking to Richard Branson and he said, "You said when I was younger, I had this dream of becoming a billionaire. And I'm in this situation right now and I'm like, 'I'm not sure if I want to pursue that anymore because I'm making like $10 million a year or whatever. And I'm pretty comfortable, and I'm not sure if I want to go for $1 billion.'" and he asked Richard Branson, he's like, "What's your advice to someone like me?" And he said, "Richard Branson turned back to me. He said, 'Look, I never went into any business to make money. I went into it because it was going to be fun.'" And I thought like that was such an amazing thing for that person to listen to for any new entrepreneur listen to as well because we would get so caught up in the minutia of like is this going to make money? Are we going to be okay? Am I going to have financial security for myself or whatever.
Josh: But then you hear from like an actual billionaire, like Richard Branson that says, "I never go into anything to make money. I go into it because it's going to be fun." I think that's a really key thing to think about. And I really try and keep that in mind now too, whenever we go into any... If we want to promote anything or we want to start a new business or whatever, I'm like, "Is this going to be fun?" Because if it's not going to be fun, we're not going to do it. We're going to find a way of sabotaging ourselves and preventing it from doing well anyway. So what's the point?
Anton: Yup. And then you could build whatever you want. Everybody listening, you could put your time into anything. There's a million ways to spend your hours during the day. There's a million different types of ways to monetize and to make content and all this. But, like you just said, if you don't enjoy it, you're not going to do it. And if you do it, it's not going to last. So I think that's just, that's huge. And I'm curious, you've coached so many people from all around the world and different types of business models, different types of content. What do you think to somebody listening to this right now that might be thinking like, "Okay. That sounds great and all, but I can't just change my business right now. This is paying my bills." What do you think are some actionable steps that people could take to help them actually get joy from their business?
Josh: So a lot of it comes down to, and this is... We can go deep into this, but I focus... Most of my work I do now with myself and with other people is on our internal beliefs. And the reason why is that it's a very specific formula in terms of changing someone. Because if we want to transition someone from like nine to five or from employee to entrepreneur, they have to change all their belief systems because they're caught up with the wrong type of beliefs to be an entrepreneur. And so what I find is whenever someone feels like they're stuck, it's because they're working from a belief system that that may be served them up until that point they're in right now, but it's no longer serving them anymore. And so they need to change their belief system. And so the question was if someone wants to change and they feeling stuck, what to do?
Josh: Yeah. So the first question I would ask is how much money am I losing by staying in this business right now? You see what I mean?
Anton: Yup, yup.
Josh: So instead of worrying about this security and stuff right now, instead of saying like, "I just want to like protect what I'm making right now, and I'm afraid to change." Blah blah blah. It's like, well how much are you potentially losing by maintaining that belief system, by staying in this business? When you know if you change, you could potentially go into make a hell of a lot more. That's like the first question we kind of asked. It sort of reverses their thoughts going on in their minds.
Josh: And then I would say what is going on internally that is making you feel as though you need to stay exactly where you are. And here's what happens, right? Whenever someone starts a new business, and see if you resonate with this. Whenever someone starts new business, they have nothing to lose. You know what I mean? When you first started your business, you were you like, "Oh, hopefully I don't lose everything I have." Because you're like, "I have nothing anyway."
Anton: Yeah. And even today, we bootstrap everything, try to get it started for nothing. And yeah, it's low F, low output to get started financially. Yeah.
Josh: Totally. So you go for it, right? And then suddenly you do well. You create some kind of success. You're making like six figures a year, whatever, and you're like, "Oh, this is really comfortable now. This is nice." Then what happens is as soon as you hit that point where you start to feel comfortable, you then switch into a defensive mindset where you're like, "I need to protect what I have run now."
Josh: So you go from being on the offensive in terms of electronic grower business to now being on the defensive, trying to protect it, trying to make sure everything's secure and this kind of stuff. As soon as you do that is game over. Because if you're not growing your business, you're dying. And so what happens is, this happened to us as well, is you need to adjust it. So you need to move from this defensive mindset to more of an offensive mindset. So start thinking like, "Okay, what are some other businesses I could start? What can we try in our business right now that is different to what we've done before in the past?" You start going on the offensive mentally as opposed to just trying to protect everything you have.
Anton: I love that. I love that. Yep. And that's key right there. Don't wait until it's too late. Start on the offense because that's how you're going to actually move the needle. And I think those are huge tips, and I really do think that'll help kind of start to break belief patterns in people's heads and moving in the right direction. And I know you said this is what you help people a lot with now. Do you have any like recent podcasts or guides on your blog or anything that we can link people to? And you can send me links too. I can put them in the description or-
Josh: Yeah, honestly if you're on iTunes right now or Spotify, whatever, just look up the Screw The Nine To Five Podcasts. It's all spelled out, no numbers. And honestly you go check out like a bunch of our most recent episodes. A lot of it is around this belief system. And if I could just like talk on this for a second because a lot of people disregard this as being unimportant, and I think it's like woo-woo kind of crap or whatever. And it's not actually going to change them. So they think that the thing's going to change them is when I go and just take lots of action. Right? But the problem with that is I use this like printout analogy. So let's say like you're sitting in front of computer, and you're topping up on your computer how everything is right now in your business right now. And you type it up in the document, and then you hit print. And then you go over to the printer, you pull it out and you take a look at and you're like, "You know what, I would like to change that," or, "I'd like to change that. I'd like to change all these different things."
Josh: You take some white out or a Sharpie, whatever. You cross out a bunch of things and right over the top of that piece of paper, "No, here's all of the things I actually want right out." Then you go back to to your computer, you hit prints and out comes that same printout that you got before. And you look at it and you're like, "What is going on? I just said I want to change all these different things." But here's the problem is that you tried to change the printout. You didn't go back and try and change the program. You need to go back and edit the program. The programming happens in your mind. And so if you're sitting there right now and you're trying things over and over and over again, you're just getting the same results over and over and over again. The problem isn't what's going on out there. The problem isn't what you're doing out there. The problem is what's going on in your mind. The problem is you, and you need to go and work on yourself.
Josh: So I know that sounds like really, I can get it really aggressive around this kind of stuff, but I'm telling you right now, I was in this situation where I felt like I wasn't changing at all. And it wasn't until I started looking at myself in the mirror and really trying to understand what was going on and change it. Did things, start to pick up from me again. So I really believe in it.
Anton: Yeah. And I get why you're passionate about it because it's something I've dealt with too. And people usually deal with it too late. Right? You deal with it when you have to, and people do, including me, I used to always think all the mindset stuff was that's for people that are weak. It's not. You're going to get to a point where you need it, and it's better to kind of condition yourself earlier on. So just like you said earlier, you could be on the offense and focus your actions that way rather than trying to play catch up when you really start to have to look internally. Sooner than later is always better.
Josh: Yeah, no, totally. Yeah. And if there's a book you guys want to read, just select start this process. I'd definitely recommend Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker. Have you read that book?
Anton: I have not.
Josh: Oh, dude. You need to read this book, and you need to read a lot. I read it like every single month. It's so good.
Anton: I'm going to order it right now, and I'll post the link too for everybody listening. That's awesome. That's very helpful.
Anton: Cool. So, yeah, I'm going to post that up. And definitely guys, again, like if you're listening to this and even if you're still thinking like, "Oh, I'm fine. Everything's moving the right direction." It doesn't matter. Again, mindset stuff isn't for people that are just weak or people that need an extra boost. It's great for them too. But even if you're on top of your game right now, these are things you still want to train yourself with.
Anton: Just like you want to get better at Google Ads, just like you want to get better at Facebook ads, just like you want to get better with conversions, you do want to be mentally prepared for what it takes to continue to grow because it's a different game than just launching something.
Josh: Dude, it makes so much sense. Think about it this way. What everyone wants one thing, right? Everyone wants one thing and it's the R word. Everyone wants results. Yeah? Like everyone goes into business thinking, "I want results. I want to make $1 million a year from this. I want this kind of lifestyle." Those are the results, right? But then you ask the question, well how do you get results? And people were like, "Well, you have to do something to get the results." Exactly, you've got to take action, right? So then you ask the question like, well, what happens? What's the precursor to action? Do you just like not even think about and you just like taking action all the time? And people like, "No, obviously I have a thought." And I think like, okay, maybe I need to... You get inspired and you're like, "Hey, maybe we need to learn about SEO. Okay, maybe I need to start a drop shipping business or maybe I need to type this course," right? So you have a thought first that leads to action, which leads to results.
Josh: And so then you have to ask the question. This is where it gets kind of weird for a lot of people. You have to ask the question, did you consciously choose that thought or did it just come up for you? Right? And for every single person, if you really stop and think about your thoughts that come up for you every single day, very, very few of those thoughts happen consciously where you decide to think that way. Most of it just happens automatically and it comes from your programming.
Josh: That programming comes from past experiences through like modeling your parents when you were younger or a verbal conditioning, all these different things. And so if you want to change, if you want to change your results, you have to change your programming. T. Harv says it's the roots that create the fruits. It's the roots that create the fruit. You can't just go and try and change the fruits. Let's say you want apples on your lemon tree and so you go and you get like a bunch of apples. And you tape those apples up on the tree. But then suddenly those apples start to rot and then fall off the tree over time. And you still just left with lemons. You've got to change the entire tree completely if you want to grow apples.
Anton: 100% a hundred because yeah. Whatever you're trying to do, if the mindset's not there, it doesn't matter if it's drop shipping or affiliate marketing or your trying to get a job. If you don't have the right mindset and you're not using your actual brain to think of the best course of action and to evaluate how you're doing, it's just going to work unless you make huge shifts and kind of, what's the best way to say it? When you're actually like alert, and you're paying attention to everything. So I love it.
Anton: I'm literally ordering this book right now too because I want to go deeper into this. And I appreciate it. Thank you for sharing that. And also for everybody listening, Josh is going to be in Prague. If you're coming, you know he's going to be speaking there. So I'm looking forward to meeting up in person again, hearing more about this stuff. And I'll give you my takeaways from this book there as well.
Josh: Holla. I'm excited.
Anton: Definitely. And just so one more time for everybody listening, Screw The Nine To Five all spelled out. Go to the website, and then you guys have everything linked up off there. I'm excited to dive deeper into this and definitely to have a beer in person. So thanks for hopping on. Appreciate it. I'm sure the community does as well and we will speak in less than a month.
Josh: Awesome. Thanks, Anton.
Anton: Thanks, Josh.
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