One of the world’s leading Asana experts shares how he balances his job, his side-hustle, and his life… and how you can do the same.
One of the world’s leading Asana experts shares how he balances his job, his side-hustle, and his life… and how you can do the same.
CONNECT WITH BASTIEN & HIS WORK
I think I'm actually doing better by having less time for the side also, because if I had more time, I would feel that will, I don't know, redoing my website, for example, which doesn't make sense and focus on other stuff. So having soliton time really forces me to first only find clients that pay me a really high rate because I just have like 1 hour per day. So it has to be a really high rate. And when I work on the materials, the website or whatever, I really need to go directly to the most important stuff because I just don't have time to do the rest.
Alright. Welcome everybody. Today I'm excited to have Bastien Sebian with us to talk about how you can start a consulting practice and build a consulting practice as a side-hustle. Bastien is an Asana certified pro who helps clients all around the world. He's the Asana community number one contributor, author of four books and the greater of many tools and services. His team of virtual Asana assistance helps clients delegate and save time. And as I spoke with him, I really got a sense that he understood how to balance starting a side-hustle and doing it in a realistic way.
A lot of people do. It a little too crazy and it doesn't always work out. It's kind of delusional sometimes or low percentage. So thank you so much for joining us, Bastion, and welcome to show inspiring me.
Absolutely. So the first thing I wanted to ask because a lot of people, they hear this concept side hustle and it can mean so many things. And as you and I talked about in the pre interview, there's this range of things that are really likely or possible to happen that usually involve a little bit of work in patients. And then there's these ideas of things that are just going to blow up and explode just out of nowhere. And they're magical and they're usually tied to some course that cost quite a bit or with a deadline and urgency and scarcity and all that stuff.
How did you start your consulting practice and what's your current working situation? So people can kind of get a sense of where you're at and what you're doing?
I actually did not start a consulting practice. I had three clients. I had one client that paid another one, another one. And at one point I just got back. And I realized I did have a consulting practice, but it wasn't my goal at the beginning. I think it might be the difference. I didn't wake up one day and say, okay, I want to be a consultant. I actually specialize on the tool because I really like the tool, which is Asana. And I became quite got at it and I build stuff for fun.
And I've written books for fun and then some people offered some money to help them. So I accepted. And again, just things started from there. And I didn't wake up one day saying, okay, I want to have consulting practice. I just build stuff on the way.
Awesome. Thank you. It's funny you say that. And because it resonates so much with what I did, I left a corporate job and started a business thinking I was going to do a certain type of coaching and consulting, and that didn't work out. And in fact, I was fortunate to realize pretty quickly it wasn't working out. So I pivoted to something else. And it was the third thing that I pivoted that actually turned into something that now is one of the main sources of income that I have my software business.
And yet so much of what I was doing was looking for just how can I help? It wasn't this magical thing like you said. I knew I wanted freedom. I knew I wanted to go a certain direction, but it didn't happen out of nowhere. It certainly didn't happen the way I planned it. And yet being open to what people wanted isn't always the sexiest sounding thing. And yet it was something that worked out for me. What would you say is the wisest way to start either a side-hustle or consulting practice?
And I think you kind of reference on it being something that you really enjoy. How would you suggest somebody get started in a way that's wise? It's not going to cost them a lot of money. That's not going to have them trying to explain to their spouse what just happened with the $20,000 that they invested on a credit card somewhere. What's a wise way, a smart way to do that that you've seen.
I started from something I knew, which was web development. So I started to build stuff, develop stuff rather Sana and got that I had to really study the tool. And that gave me the confidence to help other online, because I just realized that people had a question I had answers to to really help people keep building stuff. And I I thought that maybe one day I could be able to solve those tools. I was building the website I was building. I was hoping to make some money from that.
And I never had the intention of doing consulting because I didn't really know it existed. And at the time, I think being an Asana consultant did not exist at all. And having a Cyrus or I didn't know it existing either. So I was just building stuff in addition to my main business, my main work as an employee.
Great. And so something else you and I talked about, which I thought was really got. And it's a bit of advice I try to give people is it can be great to make this. It can sound great to make this heroic leap that I'm leaving. And I've never got exactly my own thing. And it's just a very dramatic thing. And sometimes that can work. But a lot of the times people have commitments. They might have families, they might have kids, they might have bills. They might just not want to jump.
They might not know what to do. Share a little bit if you don't mind about your situation, as far as how you're currently doing it and what you like about balancing leveraging the benefits. There are benefits to being an employee. There are benefits to starting the side hustle. How have you been able to leverage both of those to be able to do what you want? Because ultimately, when you talk to most entrepreneurs and most people, it's like, well, I want to do what I want, and it might look differently.
And I think sometimes people get caught up in this very extreme, dramatic version that it has to be that they tell everybody off and they're never showing up again. And yet if you have a business, you go right back. You just work for different people and your names on the door. Now you do the same work. So what's a little more realistic for what have you done that balances the benefits of being employed, the benefits of being a side hustler and what freedoms does that give you?
I have a balance because first, I really like my daily job. I'm a web developer. I just like it. I love my team. I love the product we're building. I just love that. And I also have a balance because my consulting business could not pay me as much as my developer job pays me. So I'm forced to have some kind of a band. I'm learning a lot from my daily job that I can put what I learned into my consulting business. And I learn a lot from the consulting business I can actually put into my daily job.
So it's really balance in terms of knowledge and in terms of revenue as well. And I just if I were to only be a consultant today, I think I would miss having colleagues and coffee breaks and having people around me. But if I didn't have the side household, I would miss the ability to create something myself and decide for myself about everything. If I want to add a button on my website to just do that, I don't have to ask someone. I do not have to ask a PC project manager or whatever.
I do whatever I want. I can price. However, I like my product, I really have the freedom, and it's really two different worlds that really balance themselves and they feed each other. And it's really I started with having just 1 hour here and there of consulting and then slowly took more time. So I had to ask for PC of my time for my company. So I'm actually working 90% of the time as a developer, and I have PC for the consulting business. And I think I'm going to stay like this for a little while because I think it's enough for me.
And it's a good balance.
Yeah. That's one of the things I think people miss out on. It's kind of like the person that says that they want to retire at 65 and they work really, really hard and they enjoy the work. And then they stop and they think that golf or fishing or traveling is going to fulfill every need or want. And I find so many people that if you haven't done it, I've worked from home for 20 years, and part of the main reasons I did it was to be able to travel.
So my wife's from Peru and different actually, I didn't even know her at the time, but I would know I wanted to travel, and I wanted to be location independent. And at times I Wade business decisions to continue to be location independent. And that was great. But I missed the experiences of connecting with people and seeing people. And now I have a situation where I actually work. I help run my father's business. It's funny how sometimes things come full circle. I'm from the insurance industry. He's a top level person in this industry, but he's reaching age.
He does want to do a lot of the stuff. And I have this nice balance. So technically, I have a consulting gig that similarly is part of what I do. I would not want to do it 40 hours a week, but I like doing it about 8 hours a week, and I get kind of the pure protein of it. I get to really enjoy it. I got, some steady income from it. And like you said, there's this interplay between the creativity and the the reality of an environment that has less constraints or it has more constraints.
Excuse me? It has less flexibility where you have to get a little creative. And it's not just about ice cream every day, all day long with sprinkles on it. Sometimes you have to make things work in a way, and it gets you to be creative. And I think that's the balance that for me makes it fun. And a lot of people, when they hear the word side-hustle, they they don't like that word. It implies that it's this temporary situation. And as I've told, people said, look, I have two businesses, a software business and a sales coaching business that I've done for 20 years now.
They are not my absolute highest passion in the world, but I like them very much. And so I have this side-hustle from that. And that's what part of this work is a or a four day work week. So if you're creative, you're usually going to be looking to do something new. But that new thing isn't going to necessarily pay the bills. It might pay you absolutely nothing for a while, but it's joy no different than a hobby or art. Or I think that's the part that people miss is like you said, a PC balance is what's working for you.
And so many people are looking for somebody to give it to them. But if you're managing your finances, if you can afford it, you can kind of choose what you want to do. And I think that's something that I really just enjoyed about hearing about your process and how you balance this tour. At the end of the day, you're getting to do what you want to do. And I think that's the main goal. How did you figure out your balance or how did you know that that's what you wanted, as opposed to perhaps getting caught up in the got or the glamour of being your own boss and throwing everything aside?
What kept you grounded.
First just to go back on what you said actually realized, my motivation is always like this. It goes up and down for my daily business, and it's always the opposite for the side also. So when I'm down at my main developer job, I have very high motivation for the side. Also, I put everything on the side. Also, I still do my daily work. I do my hours, but with the less motivation. And when I'm down motivation in my side also, usually because I'm really excited about the work I do every day, and I try to balance that.
And actually, I don't try it just the way it works. I always do like this. And at the moment, I really motivated by my son or stuff. And last month it was about my daily job. It's really since, like, an opposite direction.
Yeah. I was going to say I think that's the balance when people talk about work life balance. Or I remember when I was in College, I hung out with a few different groups because what I would find is like, I say I play volleyball and I was part of fraternity, and I had another group of friends, and usually at least in work or in groups, there's time where there's down time. In the case of my social circle, sometimes things would either get boring or sometimes people got start just talking bad about it.
I was like, okay, got, I'm going to my other area now. I remember once I was working on a corporate project and some of my friends were on one team, and they had to sit through all the meetings. Well, I was blessed. It was on three different teams. So whenever a meeting came up, I was like, oh, got, you know what? I need to go to this other thing. And I always dodged all the meetings. And Ironically, got just about as much done per project as some of my friends.
got on one because I had an excuse to duck out. And these were corporate meetings. Just sit and listen to somebody sharing and going on and on things that could have been an email. And again, that Evan Flow, and you're not going to almost be excited about something now if people say, Well, wait, I want to be a billionaire. Okay, well, then maybe focus on one or two things exclusively, 80 hours a week. And, yes, I don't know that path. So that's what I've heard that takes.
But being happy that doing your work doesn't necessarily take that. And certainly being either part of a team or helping somebody or bringing on a team PC certainly be something that's positive when you're building.
I also realize that for my side hustle, I have so little hours, I really need to focus on the most important stuff. So I have to cut out all the noise, and I do not do the fluffy stuff. I think I'm actually doing better by having less time for the side also, because if I had more time, I would feel that, well, I don't know, redoing my website, for example, which doesn't make sense. I focus on other stuff. So having so little time really forces me to first only find clients that pay me a really high rate because I just have, like, 1 hour per day.
So it has to be a really high rate. And when I work on the materials, the website or whatever, I really need to go directly to the most important stuff because I just don't have time to do the rest.
And that got, that's so huge. I know some people there's that saying you've probably heard it. You don't want to be trading hours for dollars. And I hear so many people say that. I say, Look, Lionel Messi Wade hours for dollars. He does. Okay. Lebron, James, Dwayne Wade, how much are you making per hour? And also, to your point, so much. Gosh, I've done this so many times. Most entrepreneurs, you can spend a day and somebody asks you, what do you do today? Well, I worked on my website this and that now if you're really got at that, that can be very productive.
If you're not very got at, that can just be that you spent today and you didn't even make minimum wage. You literally made nothing. You Wade, zero when you compare that to say, okay, yeah, well, for 4 hours today, I did something 6 hours today, I did something, and I made maybe not my peak income, like you said in your job. Usually if you have steady hours, you're consulting gigs for longer hours, you're going to be paid a slightly lower amount or a significantly lower amount because they know they're paying you more for results or you're on longer.
When you're a shorter term, you can charge the two times four times that amount. And yet, like you said, there's a sense of time urgency to get something done. If you don't let it expand, you have to be more productive. What is it that's outside you said you have these constraints? Do you have something like free time? Is free time important where you say I'm only working a certain amount because a lot of people say wait side-hustle now means I've got 40 hours. Let's say plus 40 hours.
How do you set your time constraints? How do you know when your side hustle is done? Do you have fun things? Family?
What it actually is when my wife gives me the angry eyes, I know I have to stop working, but now I'm not working that much. Actually, I'm working after hours sometimes like 1 hour or 2 hours in the evening, maybe once a week. And I work doing the map of my kids. And I work some time. I have a short lunch break compared to other people. For example, today I had 30 minutes to work on my side hassle too at that time. Yeah. What? What I realized my chance is that my clients, the biggest market for Asana at the moment is the US and I'm in France, which means my day, my business hours are not the same as theirs.
So my site also actually matches the day in the US or the day in Asia. So I can work with clients from Asia or the US. When that's their business days, business hours, and when it's mine, they don't work at all. So time zones really worked for me in that case.
Yeah. I think people miss that, that there's so much opportunity. Somewhere there's a song about drinking for aparts called it's 05:00. Somewhere it's 05:00 omewhere somewhere somereason a different time zone from you. One of the things I like to about what you said is some people will talk about Will Wade, four day work week. Are you always working four days? Well, I do my best to stick at four days, and things have shifted for me a little too with my children's age and also with COVID. But my children or our children, Rosanna and mine, my wife, our children are 14 and eleven.
They're at a different stage than they were four or five years ago. Four or five years ago, they wanted every minute I had available. 1411 they pop in and out and sometimes they have their thing going on. And for me, part of my side-hustle, whatever the newest project I'm working on is usually even after my regular hours, I'll look at and see what are people up to. Okay, everybody's. Family is up for doing something great. Let's watch a movie. Let's do this. Let's do that. Sometimes my wife is happy watching a show.
Kids are happier. They're doing somewhere else. I'm like, okay. I've got this two hour window and in the past I might have played video games or what. Nothing wrong with those.
But that's where often I'll say, okay, now I'm going to put in 1520 minutes a half hour an hour, like you said, until it's clear that the family is ready for me or they're like, okay, we want to hang out now. Great. And the beauty of a side-hustle if it's done a certain way is you don't have people that are beating you down. Like, Where's my stuff? Where's my stuff? You can attract a different type of client that says, oh, this is important, but it's not urgent.
It doesn't have to be that I get my result from you in five minutes. Or did I need you on call? And that can be something that's very helpful.
How do you what I do it's really easy is I set up a Kellen line with my calendar and the slots available, and I talked with my wife and we said, okay, on Monday evening, you can work on Wednesday evening, you can work, and that's it. So from 09:00 p.m. To 11:00 p.m., I can work on Monday and Wednesday, which are the afternoons for the US. And I also have Wednesday morning from 07:00 a.m. To 08:00 a.m.. I can also take climbs from a from a that's my available slots.
And every day from 01:00 p.m. To 02:00 p.m. Before I start again my daily work. I cannot also have clients at that time short, so I just have my time starts open. The client can book anytime they wish that they can't book me in the middle of the day.
That's so brilliant. That's such a great use of technology. And I love the fact that you discuss it with your wife, because that's another part, too. That as much as people can joke about, it can become a problem if you're not clear about what you're doing. And certainly there'll be times when you schedule something and something comes up. I wish we had this time free or maybe need to reschedule the client, but people say, okay, what are we doing? Just like a business. Okay, I'm going to got 5 hours a week for the next month or two or three.
Let's see how this goes. And let's try this. And there might be some shifts, but to be clear about it, and definitely I do the same thing. I happen to use Acuity instead of Calendly both great softwares and say, yeah, this is when I'm available. And I think one of the biggest fears people have as entrepreneurs, I will my clients adjust to my schedule. And the short answer is if you give them no other alternative, most of the time they will. And if they're got enough client, then you might decide to go off your topic a little bit or your schedule a little bit.
Because I actually went a little further because I have my evenings and mornings and I have my entire Thursday afternoon, which is dedicated to my work. That's my 10%. So what I did is I have a different calendar just for Thursday. And I say, okay to client if you take slots from Thursday to 10% off. So I push everyone to take those slots instead of my Monday 09:00 p.m.. So I push everyone to take the Thursday afternoon. So I rarely have evenings, and I often have everything during the Thursday afternoon.
So I really choose the slots, and I have some dealers with people. And let's say you will only be able to choose from Thursday. It's the rule that's the price you can 1010 percent off, but you have to choose only on Thursday.
Yeah, it's so great. And one of the things, too, that people forget is if you're going to do a side hustle, you want to be able to enjoy it. So the last thing you want to do is give yourself another job that you're now trying to run from. People talk about working in your business versus working on your business. One of the toughest things about sticking to a four day work is that I don't get Fridays to work. That might sound almost dramatic, but I don't get that time where nobody's calling and nobody is expecting anything.
So I need that at other times, and that's where sometimes to your point, I'll do that ever after hours or 4 hours. But if I try to funnel people again to certain times, just like you're talking about to say, look, this is when these things happen, especially when you're doing something for somebody specifically. For example, if you're a podcaster, if you're interviewing people for video shows, I see some people that they're hosting the show and they're so worried about their guests. And I got that at first and I thought, wait, hold on.
Obviously, there's a mutual exchange, the person's giving benefit or one up, and sometimes there's a stretch. When does the guest want to hold on? It's your show. When do you want to give your show and you're providing something as well? And there's a balance there. It's not an entitlement thing, but can you schedule it in a way, because most people if it's important enough or flexible, and if it's not important enough or if what you're offering isn't got enough that they're going to be flexible, then maybe it might be that you're offering or what you're doing isn't really where it could be till a question for you, how do you know if you're an entrepreneur and person hearing what you're doing, some great productivity delegating, saving time?
When or how do you know if adding a team member or an outsource or project is going to be profitable for your business or not? I.
Think it comes down to knowing how much you're willing to pay to save 1 hour of your time. For example, if you talk about the SaaS, am I willing to pay $20 to have that extra hour to do something else or to go with my kids? So you really need to have a number in mind to know if you can buy someone. Also, you need to take into account the time to train them, and that goes into the computation, obviously. And when it comes to hiring and never had that choice because I'm not making enough money to hire someone and pay myself.
At the same time, however, I'm partnering up with someone else that it does so on consulting services. But I think we could be better together, having bigger clients and serve more people together. So more about partnering up with other people rather than really hiring someone.
Yeah. I think that's something a lot of people miss. And I've definitely made that mistake. In the years of my business, I've been through the solopreneur stage. I've had employees, I've been under staffed, I've been over staffed. And a lot of this was well, before there was up work or five or places where you could more easily get little projects or side things done, or even longer term freelancers more easily found in the technology. And one of the things I found was there were these two schools of thought, one which, again, was very charged with excitement, which was you're worth so much more than that.
You should be you should always be delegating delegate everything you can. And I understand that. But I've also been that person where I over delegated, and then I had to go hustle more to sell some stuff to pay for what I just delegate at. Well, that's not what I want. I think it does come down what you said. What is it worth to you? And certainly there are certain things that are more easily deletable. For example, people forget that when you go to a restaurant, you buy food, you're delegating cooking.
And if a person has that down, great. That's a really got delegation. But if you're about to hire somebody for a similar amount, and then you have to train them and you're not sure if they're going to now how to do it, you're not sure the result maybe not so exciting. And so I find a lot of people, and it is great to get into your zone of genius or unique ability or whatever it is. But that doesn't always mean that you're always getting paid each of those hours.
And again, the basic equation of making sure you can afford your bills and the lifestyle you want and the other pieces to be able to SaaS in some circumstances, it does make sense. I know in my case, it was just a matter of at times, I have a couple launches or times the year where I'd have a lot more cash coming in, and I couldn't get to certain things. Well, great. Then let's hire people. And, of course, with services like Upwork, where you can reach people that are already at a certain level who are intending to be freelancers as opposed to somebody who's hoping to be your employee and then gets upset if you have to let them go, it's certainly a little easier, but it can sound so easy that it's like, oh, I'll just throw money at it.
It's going to take care of itself. And certainly anybody who's delegated for more or outsource for more than a month has spent money on something. And nothing came back and work. And you said, well, I just literally throw away that money. There went $500 and $500 in the business, perhaps might not sound as much. But then when your kids want an ipad, you like, be nice to have $500 right now, wouldn't it? Yeah. So I think we put a Halo around it some time. What's been your experience working with SaaS?
You mentioned the team that you work with Asana virtual assistance. What's been your experience and what do you find works best as a working arrangement?
I was really excited at the beginning after reading the four Hour Work week and realizing I could actually use a VA. So I hired someone. It was great. I delegated some stuff. And then after six months, she had to leave. So I had to find someone else. I actually found three or four different VAS. And I realized I actually had a team, and I could actually sell that team to other clients. So I started to have a business around having VAS that I saw to clients. I had up to twelve people, I think, working for other clients.
And then I realized it was too much work. The margins were not enough. And as they are actual people, so they have family problems, they have money problems, they have a carrier. They might be studying at the same time. And I've had a lot of troubles with different VAS that's left quickly or we're not got enough. It's hard to find someone that is got in that stayse. And when they're got, they usually start their own business, and then they don't have enough time or they're charging more.
So it doesn't make sense anymore. So I really went down from having a dozen people to just having one or two people to delegate when I need. But I really try to decrease my own need and make sure I do not have to delegate. So I'm trying to do to simplify everything I do in order to not have to delegate anything.
Yeah. That's been something that's been huge for me. A similar thing. I read Tim Ferriss four Hour Work Week years ago and started doing the delegations and very similar found that, well, now, if I didn't reach the point where I was hiring them out to other people, but I was connect with a few people. And what I found worked best for me was there was a couple freelances that I worked with that were excellent, and I didn't always have worked for them. And so I would tell certain friends, hey, here's somebody that's excellent.
And just because it would help the freelancer, and, of course, Wade them to me, I would think, and it also just helped create a continuity that that person was getting got work. And for my friends, they'll say, hey, here's somebody who already knows how to do this thing, that it took me a while to help this person get there. And usually the way I would explain to the freelancers, look, what I'm going to ask you to do is I'm going to teach you a very specific thing that I know a lot of people need done.
And you're starting with me at a certain hour, and I'm still going to give you raises, and then we'll negotiate those as you get better. But I'm going to ask you at a certain point, I'm going to show you how you can make quite a bit more. And I'm going to ask you just stay, because I'm going to have taught you got to get there. I'm going to ask you keep me at that got rate, and I'm going to help you get other business. And I found that worked really well to this very nice, win win situation of helping a fellow entrepreneur, though, not an employee, not somebody that needed to be raised like a child, but somebody who is a fellow entrepreneur to say, look, I'm going to teach you this thing.
I'm going to show you're going to here's the mechanics, and I'm actually just got to get business for you because I know other people need this, and I didn't take any kind of it, because to your point, the margins do become thin. Exact what you said. The really got people start their own King. They not so got people, the one just stick around. Now, you're supervising those people, and that's no fun.
But if I find in finding a deal, it's a lot of energy. You have to negotiate. You have to track the work they do. They have to pay you what the clients have to pay you, and then you pay them. And depending on the financial structure you have, you might be losing money. So it's really I realized after a while, it's not a got business unless you really have a lot of people, like a dozen or 30 or 50 people you play at clients. Otherwise, I think it's too much trouble.
Yeah. And that's why I have a few friends that actually run businesses like that. And they find it funny when people say, but you charge so much. Well, who do you think is building this team and helping train them? Coaching? They're like, look, I need to make somewhere in here. It's not like these people just dropped from the sky landed knowing all this information, and I happen to know them, and I'm trying to make them no, I've helped to develop them to get there. So in that case, they're developing people, which, if you like, that, that's great.
But again, it's a different business model. It's like the person that invest in real estate with a couple tips and is wondering why they're not making as much as the person that takes it as a full time job. It is a very different thing. What do you find? Works best for you to find leads for your consulting practice.
Your side hustle free content being put online. I think you have there's two philosophies out there. You have the one that do not share anything for free, and they believe they have to sell anything they know it's not. I don't think it's a bad age, I think doesn't work in my case. And in my case, I just share as much as I can for free. And what's funny is everything I teach clients that pay me, they can actually have the exact same information for free online because I've done videos, I've written books, have posted stuff online, so anything I teach them is actually available online.
So what they buy from me is the short version, the condensed version specifically applied to their case to just buying time for me if they don't want to look for themselves online. And when clients come to me, they tell me, we saw you everywhere. We already know you, and we want to work with you. How much does it cost, basically? And I do not have to negotiate and sell myself, saying I'm an expert because they already came to me knowing that because they've seen everything I've created online, and it's got because I don't like to sell myself.
I might actually be pretty bad at it, but I don't have to do that because I put so many stuff out there for free, and it actually saves me time and energy. And it's I don't know what's the name in English in French, we explained a long ten. So you invested years ago by answering on the forum. And today I have people coming to me saying, We've seen you everywhere, and it probably so stuff I wrote, like two years ago, and I know that for the many, many months to come, people, we still come to me because of all the stuff I published online.
Absolutely. That's one of the best strategies that people I still think are missing. The idea of giving away, knowing that there's over 7 billion people on the planet. You don't need 7 billion clients. You don't need 7 million clients. You don't need 7000 clients. You can get got, 70 clients, much less even 700. And be grain value for people like you say just helping people, because one of the best filters I found that it sounds like you found it too, is I want the client that says, Look, I know the Information's out there, but I actually value this well enough that I want an expert.
You're the one that I've seen has a clue on this, so I get it. I've watched your videos. I'm not going to watch your videos. And now try to hire a low dollar virtual assistant. Now there's anything wrong with that and some pole, you might be the stage. We say, Wait, I don't have the money. If you don't have the money, then you watch videos of an expert, and then you might do it that way. But the person who's already you're filtering to the person that says, look, this is a business for me.
It's real. It's serious. I'm aware that, for example, I have this $10,000 problem. So you charge me $1,000, let's say to fix it. That's no big deal. In fact, I know that it's a $10,000 every year problem. So you charge me a thousand or a thousand years, a consultant or whatever. That just as a concept is an idea, but that person usually very aware of it. One of the things that I like to do, and you mentioned the free consult, the strategy type sessions. One of the things that I like to do and include on the Acuity or when the person schedules is to ask them, what's your biggest challenge right now?
What's it cost you money once it costing you in time and what it would be worth it to fix it for you? Because if they can't answer those, I know they can't see my value. You're an expert. I'm an expert. I'm a coach. Hey, here's how you do this. Saas. Oh, no, I know it. Wait. I don't need you anymore. I'm got, thanks. No, I want to make sure you understand what it's worth and what it means to you. And then from that standpoint, yeah. Then the person will also implement, because I would imagine you running this, too.
Sometimes people, Wade, they want the answer, but then the implementation takes quite a bit longer. And I imagine there's a lot of people who are looking for your skill implementing not just the idea. Is that accurate?
Yeah, I guess so. Because they want in teachers from the answer, they can find it quite easily by typing the right words. But sometimes the answer I gave to someone on the forum does not apply to them. So I really need to. And sometimes the answer I gave two years ago doesn't work anymore. And there's a new way of doing things now, because I follow what's happening every day. I know what's the latest, best solution to any problem they have. They actually pay me to give them that solution.
And not the one I gave a long time ago. That was got at the time, but not good now.
Awesome. Share a little, if you don't mind. I was really interested in the tool. You tell me about the tools you've built, and now I'm going to ask you if you would geek out a little bit, because I know a little bit about Asana. Would you share a little bit about what Asana does for people? And then what about the tools you built from that? How did that start out? And then how did that turn into something that you were able to charge people for either the expertise or the tool?
So a SaaS, a work management tool allowing you to collaborate with teams on work of the company. So basically your team project and task. So you create the task to assign them to someone with a new date. And those people, they do the work and they complete the task. My first tool, what I do, the tools that I build are using what is called the API, which is a way to discuss with Asana from the outside. So you can actually ask Asana for information like give me all the task for one person.
You ask to server that, and you can also tell it stuff within, like create task for summer. So I'm using the API to build tools around Asana. My first tool was about creating templates, so PC examples of projects that people could download into their Asana. So I have someone create a project and people buy the project. So basically you want Ariana write a book. You're already using Asana. You can buy a template of how to write a book with all the steps all the tasks predefined being created by an expert on the topic.
So I have about 250 different templates for a lot of different topics. And people actually they buy the knowledge being injected into Asana, so they actually save time, copy pasting, or whatever. That's the first two I created. And then I created as a tools. For example, in Asana you have Tags. You can put a tag on a task, like Urgent Priority, whatever. In Asana, you do not have a list of the Tags you use. It doesn't exist. And if you are serious about Asana, you will soon realize the Tags are not being created properly.
You have typos in the name, the colors, and that's right. So at one point, if you're serious, you really need to see a list of the Tags you have because you want to clean up, you want to duplicate, and you can't do that in Asana because the list doesn't exist. So I use the API to read all the Tags and display a list on the screen so someone can actually clean and deduplicate. And I did this with a dozen other scenarios of stuff that doesn't exist.
I can give you an example of a thing I might build someday. When you archive a project, the tasks are still assigned to people. It doesn't delete the task or complete the task or whatever. So people end up with task from archive project being assigned to them and bottom them. And science does not have a solution for this. So I might build a tool that actually completes all the tasks from archived project. And it sounds like a silly thing, but it can actually save dozens of hours per year to someone managing the actual so count of the company.
So I'm all about helping assign users save time and help them clean up the tool and make it more efficient. When Asana does not want to develop a specific feature, I do that with my tools.
That's awesome. I think that's something a lot of people miss, too, is the time savings. It's not always as easy to charge for time savings as income earning. You help somebody make $20,000. It's a lot easier to charge for that service. But most people are aware that if you can save time, that's worth something. And especially if it's something, that's a recurring situation. So I have a software that helps small business owners compensate their team members and reward them for production. And 20 years now, that's the majority of my income or the highest percentage of my income.
And it was something I created in Excel. A friend just said, hey, I'm having this challenge with this, and this part's not automated and all these SaaS, it's costing us this much time. So it was a frustration. So basically, remove a frustration or address a frustration or minimize a frustration. People, I think, are so often looking for something that's so dramatic. And I know if you're in the software development in the world, you hear about the idea of scratching your own itch first figure out something that's your own issue.
Fix that. And then you might find pretty quickly of other people that have that same challenge. And whether that's the fitness industry, whether it's working out and trying to find the best way to gain muscle in a short period of time or lose weight or whatever it might be, I think so much of this comes back to what you started with is having a genuine curiosity and passion about something. And I guess this is why for me, when I hear people say, Well, I'm starting the side-hustle so I can make a lot more money, and I'm just going with ever is the hottest thing.
Wow. Trends change so quickly, and if you're not up here, you're usually going to have people that are so passionate about it that they'll do that extra level of research that you won't. And that's one of the at least best ways I've found to lose money or the worst way to be successful is to say, yeah, I'm going to do something I'm really not passionate about, but I hear other people are making money at it. It's no different than the person says, Well, I got this degree because my parents said or because the trends said that it was going to be great to do this job.
And then now technology is shifted, and I hate the job. And even if I am making money at the job, I hate the job or whatever it is as opposed to something you're passionate about and naturally curious about. As I get the sense from where you're at, you're very clear. It seems to me like you're making a lot of micro decisions about how deep do you want to go in the business? How do you balance your family time? How much does it cost? All these are little things.
And by the way, you might not realize most people struggle with that. So much of what I coach people to. Okay, how do you evaluate these things? How do you have things make sense? Or where does it make sense to invest the time? One of the things that I find is if you can help people get clear about what they most want, then the other stuff happens. And all of a sudden now, well, what's it costing you? Well, you're not using my Asana tool. You're not using my software that helps you save a couple of hours.
Well, remember you said you wanted to find a couple hours a week to do such and such. So you don't really, as I tell people, you don't really want my software that motivate your team members to sell, you actually want the result. And if I had Magic Brownies and my Magic Brownies could get your team members to sell more stuff, you buy my Magic brownies. But sadly, I have no Magic brownies. So software it is or coaching it is or something of that balance. And I think it's great when you can combine the two.
And it sounds to me like you've done a great job with that. I'm going to ask you to got one more time into something, because it's one of the things I think it sounds like you're doing. Well, maybe talk specifically about the strategy. So you've talked about how you're sharing your content. And so people know you're an expert when you share a little bit about and then we'll give them specific links to look at what specifically does that look like for you? You say, because a lot of bizarre giveaway stuff and this and that and very often they're giving away content.
That is really just the first part of a sales pitch, as opposed to truly giving away content, saying, hey, go, got, do it if you can do it great. And if you need help, or as opposed to the person says, Well, I'm going to give you. My wife tells me that this it makes me laugh so much, she's proven. And she tells me that when the older ladies give recipes to each other, so someone says, Come to their house. Oh, this was so great. How did you make this?
They'll give a recipe, but they leave out an ingredient to change something, but never as good as theirs. How do you give in a way that you find generally gets people to realize, not only is this guy got, but I trust him. And in fact, I trust him so much. That why else would I go to anybody else? What is your mention of that look like for you and how got that start for you?
I do three things. The first one is I publish every day on Lincoln, every single day. I post something about Asana. Most of the time I get a few, like, sometimes I get many likes, but most of the time it's really quiet. I'm also I'm the biggest contributor on the form. If you look at the official form, if you go to the statistics, like all time, I'm like I'm just below the moderator because that's their job to actually moderate the from. But in order to reach that point, every day I'm going there and I answer questions for free.
It's like nobody pays you to do that. So I just published, I think more than four0 answers a question. So I'm the guy that is willing to got every single day on the forum and answer question. And most of the time, when people start a new career or sites or whatever, they do that one week, one month. But doing that every single day for months and months or even years, that's the only way to get there. And the third thing I do is writing books. So usually I write a book, simple book, a couple of dozen pages, like 100 page.
It takes a couple of hours. I published the book, I sell the book for six months, and then after six months, I put the book for free. I split the book into post. So if I have a book with 30 chapters, it's 30 post. I post once a week. So I have 30 weeks in advance of content that I can share. And then I start again and write another book about new stuff I learned. Well, I'm all about the case approach. Small steps every day will get you to a big result.
And it is exactly what I've done. I've never had a big leap or big breakthrough or whatever. I just posted very regularly. I was there, I was listening to the opportunities, and I was getting clients Wade at a time. Now I have more than 80 climbs. But to get to it, you need to get to one and then two and then three and then four, et cetera, up to 80. And it takes just take months and years of effort. And I'm really happy to to be where I am now, because it took me a long time to get there.
And the strategy I put out, which was a share content for free, it's actually paying out now. So I'm really happy about that.
That's awesome. And it's funny that's one of the things I find that works so well. A lot of people hear about it. They don't necessarily do it. They don't believe sometimes they don't have the staying power they can't afford to, because again, as we talk about at the beginning, they've leveraged too much. They quit their job, and now they get paid in a short period of time. And that's why some people say that's not a got strategy. We'll know it is a three month strategy. No, it's not a got strategy.
If you need to get paid your income in three months and shift, you might need a job or to do something different. But in the long run, I'd imagine there's not too many people that can knock you off that horse. You've established a territory. There's a book I love by an author named Steven Pressfield, and it's called The War of Art. And he talks about territory. He uses the word in this way. He says, when you gain mastery in an area, you claim territory. And so to some people, being the Asana guy or the four day work week guy doesn't sound very sexy until you're looking for someone to help you Asana.
And all of a sudden say, Well, and there's a clarity that one of my coaches, you should say, look, if you really want to master an area, be clear and say, yes, I'm okay with being the person that does this thing. That when people think of that, you're synonymous with that. And certainly for those who have been listening the whole interview, you might have been hearing, well, guide got seems seems to do what he wants. But here's your hustle. The hustle is always there somewhere here or the consistency.
And in your case, what I love is it's not struggle. It's not dramatic. It's not. Oh, my got. The house. I was working 80 hours. No, but it's consistent. And that's the same thing. And probably if I look at my life, the two or three things I've done best, one is to be a pretty good husband, two is to be a pretty got father, and three is to be a pretty got Beach volleyball player. And all three of them didn't happen in a day. There is love involved.
There's consistency, there's frustration there's. Oh, man. But I'm going to show up again. I'm going to do it tomorrow. I'm going to show up again. I'm gonna do it tomorrow. And I think that's the part of people saying, what's? That security. What's that consistency. We invest in something that is going to be something that you're building, because, of course, if the platform changes tomorrow, people aren't got. Just forget who you are. Someday, in five years, ten years, there'll be another platform. But you will have taken whatever that is.
And if that happens, you'll be able to move with that. Wow. Thank you so much. There's so much you've shared today that is seem subtle, and you don't talk with a loud in your face voice. But what you're saying is so true. And I know I'm doing being an entrepreneur 20 years, seeing so much you're doing is accurate. Where can people connect with your work and see what you're doing?
You can find me on LinkedIn where I post every day, and they can also go to my website. Minimalist work com it's easy.
Awesome. And we'll make sure to put those links in there. Yes. Thank you. I forgot to comment on the LinkedIn. The one or two posts being so okay with that wife got, a yoga certification. And the gentleman taught the program said, Be okay with having one person show up to your yoga class. Be okay with having nobody show up to yoga class. And by the way, when nobody shows up, you still give the class. You do the class because that's what you're doing. And I think of that if you do webinars, got, if you've never had a webinar where nobody shows up, and to me, you've not been in the game.
You do a webinar and something nobody shows up or you send out do I do have to ask me anything tomorrow evening. It's my first one. So I hope people will show up.
And you know what? Sometimes they will. And one of the best ways of position I heard, which I think is true. But it's a good way to put it is when fewer people show up. Of course, you can give that same hour of time or whatever you've committed to and just give deeper to those people, because then they're more likely to fans or perhaps clients. But it's not even for that reason. I should say again, your commitment. And this goes back to that book, The War of Art, of saying you've committed, that you're going to do this stuff.
And this guy, Stephen Pressel talks about if you're a writer, you commit. You're writing for an hour. You might write garbage. You might throw it away an hour later, but that's part of your discipline. You show up and you do the work, and you post your LinkedIn post, and you spend more time doing the work than relooking at how many likes you got it or how any comments. And I know that's so hard, and I don't do that very well. I do go back often too much.
And usually when I go the second time, it's like, okay, it must be time for me to write the one, because apparently I've got some free time. I'm checking to see how many people liked it. got work on the next one, Wade, and make the next one better. And of course, you want the feedback loop. But thank you so much for sharing your wisdom again. For those of you all who sometimes see people, they're very glamorous or present themselves as being very glamorous. Or shall we?
I can tell you from what I've experienced being both in the software business and the consulting business for years, that what he's sharing is true. I encourage you. I'm going to as well check out his work more. And as always, I look forward to helping you all make more money and impact more people and less time. Do what you do best so you can better enjoy your family, your friends in your life. Thanks for listening.
Asana Solution Partner & Ambassador, Author, Side-Hustler
Bastien Siebman is an Asana Certified pro who helps clients all around the world. He's the Asana Community's #1 contributor, author of four books, and creator of many tools and services. His team of Asana virtual assistants helps clients delegate and save time.