Want to build a life and business around doing what you love? Me too. Let’s connect.
Sometimes you need to look far outside your circle to get insight on how to reach the next level.
I was in this position a couple of years ago.
I wasn’t learning anything new to market my business online.
And that’s when I met today’s guest on The School of Greatness.
Dale Partridge is an incredibly successful serial entrepreneur who has not only made several fortunes, but has spoken on stages like Facebook HQ, created a massive social media following, and is a new author.
But what I’ve learned from Dale about business, relationships, leadership, and life is beyond any of that.
In our conversation today, we talk about the best ways to interact with your employees to create an incredible culture, how to get essential feedback to course correct yourself, and what the role of fear is in making your start-up a success.
I’ve been looking forward to introducing you to my dear friend Dale Partridge for a long time, and the wait is over in Episode 172.
Dale is one of the brightest minds I know in the startup community. But he is also an incredible husband and father. How can you put people over profit?
LEWIS HOWES: This is episode number 172 with Dale Partridge.
LEWIS HOWES: Welcome to the School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur. In each week, we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now let the class begin.
LEWIS HOWES: What’s up, everyone? Thank you so much for joining me today. And a quick shoutout to our sponsor of today’s episode is onnit.com. If you’re looking to take your health and your mind to the next level, make sure to check out onnit.com for the best foods, workout gear, and supplements to increase your performance all day long. Again, onnit.com, and use the checkout code “GREATNESS” for 10% of on all supplements.
Today’s guest, his name is Mr. Dale Partridge. He’s a good friend of mine that I connected with a little over almost a year ago now. For those that don’t know who Dale is, he is an entrepreneur who’s launched seven companies and is most known for one of the companies called Sevenly. In each week, Sevenly partners with one qualified non-profit and Sevenly donates $7 for every product sold to support of the charity’s cause. In less than two years, Sevenly has given over $3 million in $7 donations to charities across the world. He’s also the author of new book called People over Profit, which is about breaking the system, living with purpose, and being more successful. And I’ve had a great opportunity to connect with Dale. I call him a dear friend of mine now, we chat all the time. And this guy just knows a lot about business, he knows a lot about the social landscape. There are few people that I’m really impressed with in the social media space, and he is one of them based on all the things he can do to drive traffic, and he’s just really bright the way he breaks things down. So we’re going to talk about some of the things he does in business, why people over profit is the most powerful thing, and how to take your business to the next level. So let me introduce you to the one and only, Dale Partridge.
LEWIS HOWES: Welcome everyone back to the School of Greatness podcast with my man, Dale Partridge, on the line. How’s it going, brother?
DALE PARTRIDGE: Whaddup?
LEWIS HOWES: I’m excited, man. We’ve been talking about this for like, seven months now since we have hung out a little [inaudible] up at Bend, Oregon. Was that long ago?
DALE PARTRIDGE: I know, right? I mean, out of all the podcasts I’ve been doing the last couple months, I’ve been super stoked about this one. Just that I think that you and I are definitely the closest out of everybody I’ve talked to.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, yeah, for sure. I think—well, I like to think that I inspired you to start your own podcast.
DALE PARTRIDGE: Yeah, you definitely did. It’s in one of my podcasts. I was talking to John Lee Dumas and I said, “You know what, between you and Lewis—but I’d have to give Lewis the credit, he was kind of the starter point.’”
LEWIS HOWES: Exactly. Well, for those who don’t know who Dale is, we met probably about a year ago. You hit me up on Twitter and then we finally—we started talking back and forth and then I came up to Bend and we met in person for a few days.
And here’s what I want to tell people is that I love to build relationships and I love to be connected to influencers and people that are like-minded but are doing big things and bigger things than me. And I feel pretty well-connected to a lot of the big players in the online marketing place, the entrepreneurship space, and I remember thinking to myself, “I’m getting the same results I’ve been getting for the last year to two years in terms of traffic and engagement on social media, and traffic to my website.” And I remember thinking to myself, “There’s got to be another way to figure out how to get more traffic and leads.” And the people that I already know aren’t helping me. I’m not learning anything new from the people I already know and I was like, “What is that thing? What’s it going to take?”
And I remember meeting you and being like, “This is it.” Because I met you and this group of these other online marketers who aren’t well-known, let’s say in the online marketing influence space, but you guys are just killing it financially and traffic-wise, and I was like, “These are the type of guys that I need to be needing who are thinking and doing things on a different level.” And so I’m excited. A lot of people are starting to learn more about your [work?] in my space, let’s say, who follow me because I promote a lot of your content on my Facebook page and I know you’ve shared a lot of your content on your page from me. So a lot of people are emailing me saying, “Thank you for introducing me to Dale and his content. I love his stuff, his blog, everything that he stands for.”
And since the moment I met you, my traffic has quadrupled from the month before I met you to the month after, and since then, it stayed at that level because of the stuff you taught me, and the stuff I learned that you and your other friends are doing. And that’s what it was about for me. It’s about meeting the people that can really take you to the next level. I want to talk about that because you have a new book out called People over Profit: Break the System, Live with Purpose, and Be More Successful. I think a lot of people want to get to the next level, but they keep doing the same things and they keep staying in the same circles and they keep engaging in the same conversation. But if you want to get different results, you’ve got to mix it up. And you’ve got to think differently and hang out with people who do things differently in another level. And that’s what you talk about in your book, and we’ll get into that. But really about connecting with people and making sure that they’re taken cared of more so than worrying about profit, isn’t that right?
DALE PARTRIDGE: Absolutely. I mean, when you get a chance to have a company of people that feel like people instead of parts of your machine, they work harder and more dedicated and more passionately than any other employees ever will. So the idea is when you care for the people, you’re actually going to be more profitable. And we see this in some of the top performing companies in the world.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. And one of the quotes that I have right here that my assistant printed out and put it on my table for me while I’m interviewing you as a quote from the book that says, “How do you make employees feel about themselves says a lot about your business.” And I love that because when people really feel cared about like you said, when they feel loved and they just feel understood and heard as opposed to— “What are the numbers today, what are the sales? Give me the stats and the data.” When people feel cared about, they really want to work harder, they want to make sure that you’re cared for, and your business is successful. I love that attitude, that energy.
You’ll talk about it the way you built up Sevenly, your company that was a multimillion dollar company that you’re now [no longer there?], but what did you really practice there? And did you know this from the beginning or did you have to learn the hard way?
DALE PARTRIDGE: I sold out a couple companies before this, and I’ve been fired from my own companies, I got through the ringer in many ways of learning about my leadership. I remember a mentor came up to me one day and said, “Can I talk to you?” He took me in the other room and he said, “Dale, when you talk to people, you hurt people.” And I remember thinking, like, “Whoa.” At the time, I had 42 employees and I was thinking—I looked at my past and the history of the relationships that I’ve had and I saw a wake of destruction. I mean, just the people that I had not cared for. I think that this might be one of the reasons that qualifies me to write this book. It’s because I struggle here, but I’m also winning here. In this time at Sevenly, I had to really regain this trust.
Remember that the marketplace left to itself, it doesn’t see people. It sees pieces to a puzzle. It sees a potential purchase or it sees zeros and dollar signs and credit card swipes and bottom lines, right? So in every dollar our company makes is a reason not to change. That worked. I don’t need to change.
LEWIS HOWES: Let’s keep being a jerk.
DALE PARTRIDGE: Right? Yeah, exactly. So what we’ve done is we’ve tied a lot of the negative things that we’ve done in our past, we’ve tied that to our success. We say, well, lying—”I’ve lied for 10 years, and I’m really successful and really wealthy, so I’m going to keep doing that because I’ve tied lying to my success.” And so, it’s really hard to be able to pick and choose and go, “What do I need to get rid of that’s actually bad? And what do I need to keep that’s actually good?” This is the depth of kind of real, emotional leadership because what got us here isn’t going to get us there. You saw that even in the marketing. You’re doing the same thing over and over. You go, “Man, I need to jump to the next level.”
Same thing with leadership. We look at the strongest companies in the world, and it’s so funny because—let’s talk about Patagonia or North Face or WholeFoods or In-n-Out or Chick-Fil-a or Ben and Jerry’s. These companies that just crush it in the marketplace. Their leaders, they all do the same thing and they have no idea that they’re doing this. They’re not tattooed on their HQ, they’re not in their mission statements, they’re not in their business plans. And they’re not things that you’re going to find in Fast Company or Inc. or Harvard Business Review. Instead, they’re things that your parents taught us in kindergarten. They’re the very basic principles of life, like, “Don’t lie,” “love one another,” “be kind, share, and be generous.”
At this basic level is where these leaders are crushing it because it’s very difficult. It’s very difficult. These are the things that humans have struggled with forever, right? I’m 30 years old and I still tell my wife that I’m around the corner and I’m not, I’m lying, right? We still struggle with these things as leaders, and this is where we find success is when we can be these moral, ethical, incredibly strong-willed, built with integrity type of leaders that can take over our companies and lead our companies to success.
LEWIS HOWES: So what would you say is the most important ingredient to running and then growing a successful company?
DALE PARTRIDGE: You know, for me, it’s emotional leadership for sure. Being able to become that leader. I remember switching my thoughts. So I thought, “As soon as I switched and stopped seeing money as the primary goal, but as a by-product of helping a million people, that was the big shift,” I thought. I got into Sevenly and I said, “My whole focus was just changing a million people’s lives. And that was the focus. And the result was a multimillion dollar company.” So shifting that into purpose and shifting that into caring—as the CEOs of our companies where there were 2 employees, 5 employees, or 500 employees, it’s our ability to nurture and to care and to love. I see this in so many different ways where people—I’ll give you a great example of one thing that we did at Sevenly that I think was completely different from anybody else.
LEWIS HOWES: Just so people know, can you explain what Sevenly is for a moment?
DALE PARTRIDGE: Yeah. Sevenly is a social [inaudible] company where every week, we partner with a new non-profit and we would sell products like hats and beanies and shirts and jackets and bags. Anytime somebody bought a product, we would give that charity $7. So if we sold a thousand products, we would give the charity $7,000. We grew the company to about almost 50 employees, almost $10 million a year in revenue. We actually gave away $4.2 million on $7 donations which is crazy to think about.
But we thing that we changed—in my leadership, I said, “Okay. If I’m going to believe that people are more valuable than profit—“ I mean, remember, the book title is not People Instead of Profit. We need profit, but it’s People over Profit. I redefined the golden rule. And the golden rule is we fire people the way we would like to be fired. Nobody likes to get fired. I mean, it’s a crappy day for anybody, right? I remember thinking, “Man, companies ask for two-week notice when people quit. Yet, we just drop people any day of the week, right?” You go, “Hey, sorry, man. We got to let you go.” We don’t give them two weeks’ notice. And so I thought, “Why are we doing these things?”
Tradition is powerful. Pattern is powerful. Just because it’s been around for a long time doesn’t mean that it’s the right way to do it. And so I said, “Okay, let’s [inaudible]. Let’s start firing on Fridays, let’s give them notice, and if not notice, then what we’ll do is we’ll actually extend their pay for at least two weeks. Sometimes longer.” We have to remember that these people are parents. They’re husbands and wives. They have mortgages and bills, and they’re people just like us, right? We made up a policy to never speak to the person, only to the problem. I would even write them a letter of recommendation for the things that they were good at and we would sometimes extend their benefits.
I mean, we had one time where a guy’s wife was about to have a baby. Let’s be known as the company that changes the world, but then lets our employee go into a birth without insurance, right? So we had to think about those things. And every person is unique. One other thing that we did that was different is we would tell these people—because a lot of the times, it was just, “Hey. The initiative is no longer needed, so we had to let people go.” It might [inaudible] they’re just bad employees. And we’d say, “Hey, do you want to come back on Monday? We’d like to go around the room, all the staff, and tell you how great you are.”
LEWIS HOWES: Wow.
DALE PARTRIDGE: And 80% of the people would do that, they’d come back and they’d sit at the center of the room, and we would walk around and say, “Man, John, your ability to draw is incredible. I love just coming over at lunch and just sitting over your shoulder watching you draw. You’re so gifted.” And then the next guy says, “You make me laugh. You’re the reason I get up in the morning to come here because you make me laugh.” This person leaves feeling not as a past employee, but as like alumni. This is the difference. This is what happens—and everybody feels safe in this company because they go, “You know what? If there’s a day that I do get transitioned out of this company, it’s not going to be horrible, it’s not going to be bloody and it’s not going to leave me hanging.”
LEWIS HOWES: Wow, that’s pretty powerful. So really, you focus on acknowledging everyone for their gifts, not for their downfalls.
DALE PARTRIDGE: Right? I mean, remember that the longer that someone stays there that’s not gifted in the ways that you needed, it’s crappy for them and for you. Just because they’re bad for your company doesn’t make them bad people, right?
LEWIS HOWES: Sure, sure. Do you think people should be implementing some type of plan or tracking system of their employees on their happiness or their levels of fulfilment or—how can someone manage that? If you have 3 employees or 300, how do you manage that if you do?
DALE PARTRIDGE: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s incredibly irresponsible for a leader to not employ someone to be—especially when your stat gets large—to take care of this kind of stuff. What we did is once we hit about 20 employees, we said, “Hey, we need to have someone who’s in charge of this.” And I hired a guy who was our Chief Culture Director. He’s pretty much like a therapist for the staff. It was totally not HR because HR is so boring and it’s legal. But this guy, his whole goal was to make people know that the executive team and the shareholders—that we love them and that we want to care for them. I remember our tagline for the company was “People matter.” It’s kind of the banner of my leadership style.
I remember it was Father’s Day. It was coming up—actually, two days before Father’s Day, and I was thinking, “Mother’s Day gets so much attention, so much attention. It’ s like one of the busiest holidays of the year, but fathers sometimes feel left out.” I thought, “If people matter, then fathers matter.” I think that relationship sometimes is the difficult relationship for a lot of people. I told [Elvie?], the guy that was running it, I said, “Hey, man. Why don’t you give everybody $100, each employee, to take out their dads or their father figure on Father’s Day?” And so, we made this announcement. We want in our company to be known—like the reason that maybe rekindle the relationship between a father and a daughter or a son. And again, at what point did our company stop caring about people? I feel like whether we lose this—and we see it in lots of start-ups today. But we lost it in a lot of the big corporations up today as well. So this is kind of the shift is this: how can we really start looking past the bottom line and into the souls and eyes of those who work for us?
LEWIS HOWES: Why do you think so many start-ups have lost that? I’m sure there are some, and we hear stories about some. But why do you think the majority of them don’t focus on happiness within their team? [inaudible] as a main focus, but more on profit or leads or sales or whatever.
DALE PARTRIDGE: One thing I’m saying is this: I’m learning that making money is one of the easiest things people can do. I think that most of the people listening today and most of the people that Lewis and I know here, they were good at making money. And that’s an easy thing to figure out. One of the hardest things to figure out is to be able to make money and be liked by almost everybody that you do business with. These people that say, “Oh, man. It’s not personal, it’s just business.” Those are like most dangerous leaders out there. You’re like, “No, everything’s personal, bro. This is personal.”
I think the focus on profit is easy. It’s really easy to focus on. Especially the COO types, the logistics, the left brain, people that are very focused on just kind of the black and white, who are kind of a little bit emotionally handicapped in some way. I know this because I struggle with the same thing. It’s difficult, man. It’s difficult to look at people and go, “You’re not part of our plan. I need to think about you in a different way.” That’s why I say that profit is easy. People is hard.
I remember, our tagline, our tagline for Sevenly was “Do good.” It used to be “Do good,” and I was so stoked about it. I was like, “Yeah, do good.” And when I switched it to “People matter,” I remember thinking, “Man, ‘do good’ is easy. ‘People matter’ is really hard.” To walk into a room and be like, “Man, that guy right there Is just as valuable as me.” I think that Bill Gates said it best. “Every human life is worth exactly the same.” And when you think about that, you go, “I got to walk into Walmart and look at that dude in the eye and be like, “Man, that guy is worth exactly the same as me.” And that changes your shift in your leadership style.
LEWIS HOWES: I don’t want to alienate everyone who’s listening because there might be a few people listening and saying, “Wow, making money is not easy for me, and it’s been a struggle, it’s been a challenge. It’s the one thing I can’t figure out. I can love everyone and be supportive, but money is really a struggle for me to make.” At one point, I was there for a few years. I wasn’t making anything and I was like, “Is this ever going to work? Am I ever going to be able to make money?” What I would say is once you figure it out, how to do it, it becomes easy to replicate over and over. I think sometimes guys like you and I forget that because we know just how to turn it on at any moment.
DALE PARTRIDGE: What it is is also it’s—those people have it a little bit easier because it’s really hard to learn how to love people. If you’re not born with that, man, that’s like a thing. You’re going to read a hundred books and make very little progress.
LEWIS HOWES: Exactly.
DALE PARTRIDGE: But if you want to figure out how to make money, you could read a hundred books and make a good chunk of distance, right? So you’re right. It’s definitely something that’s still a struggle. But yeah, I sometimes wish that I had that struggle than the one I have now.
LEWIS HOWES: Exactly. So when did you first make your first dollars, and when was your first entrepreneurial success?
DALE PARTRIDGE: I thought for sure, I was going to be a professional baseball player. It was in the cards, I got a full scholarship to one of the greatest baseball schools, and in the summer between high school and college, I was playing baseball, of course. End of the game, [inaudible] and I’m watching every pitch is [radar guns up?]. Radar guns up, radar guns up, and [notes?]. So I’m pitching hard, I’m throwing 87 miles an hour which is really fast.
LEWIS HOWES: You’re a pitcher?
DALE PARTRIDGE: I’m a pitcher, yeah. Left-handed pitcher at 87mph for a 5’9 guy is really fast.
LEWIS HOWES: Sure.
DALE PARTRIDGE: And, boom. My elbow—just like the bone if you reach down on the inside of your elbow, that bone was down on my tricep. It was it. I was done, man. Every scout in the world would note about that and say, “This guy broke his arm when he was young. He ain’t playing.” So I stopped baseball. I just started my first company thinking that I could learn how to fix myself, which is a fitness company. Grew that to about 5 or 6 employees, and about—almost a half million in a year and realized that I was training overweight, wealthy women, and I was a therapist, and not a trainer. And I hated it. I was also 19 or 20 years old. I sold that company to a young couple for 50 grand, and I was the wealthiest 19-year-old I’ve ever met. I was like, “Oh my gosh, what am I going to do with all this money? I don’t ever have to work again.” I took that money because I was an addict of Chipotle.
LEWIS HOWES: Love Chipotle?
DALE PARTRIDGE: Oh, it’s so good. I walked in one day, and the guy literally knew my name. He’s like, “Hey, Dale,” he’s like, “we went public today.” I was like, “Oh, really?” And you know, I had this money and I was thinking about playing the stock market. [inaudible] at $21 a share. And I said, “Huh.” And I went home and I funded $10,000 into my account and invested into Chipotle. I just lucked out because Chipotle happened to go up to like, $121 a share in a couple months. It went so fast and I thought, “Oh my god, I have to sell. There’s no way that I’m going to make any more money.” So I sold. If you look today, it’s like $600 a share. I lost a bunch of money on solar stocks. I was definitely the biggest idiot on the stock market for a long time. And I then started a rock climbing gym, raised a half million dollars for my past wealthy, overweight clients’ husbands and—which was a fun experience. I started this rock climbing gym and got fired from that company.
This is that process of me trying to figure out who I was as an entrepreneur. That was the journey. I remember thinking—you know, it takes 10 years to build an overnight success. It’s that process we’re so eager to make this business work. I remember thinking so many times that “This is it. I’m going to be building rock climbing gyms for the rest of my life.” And then “Oh, I’m going to own this branding agency for the rest of my life.” And then, “Oh, Sevenly. This is it for sure.” But we transition. I think also, there’s a bit of the human mind that creates variety. That journey is it just—remember, the more you start, the more you get on that dream, the faster you get at doing it. And so for me, I can start a company in three months and make it work, but I couldn’t do that seven years ago. So it’s just getting out there. I would say entrepreneurs learn by doing, not learning to do. So just get out of there and start crushing.
LEWIS HOWES: Now you’ve been transitioning over the last, I guess a year and a half, two years since leaving Sevenly and now kind of starting your own online brand and business and following and everything that you’ve been doing. You’ve done an incredible job, you’ve been learning a lot. What’s the biggest lesson you learned from—let’s say, a traditional offline business to with a bunch of employees to basically having maybe one or two employees working virtual and running an online business?
DALE PARTRIDGE: So one of the things that people don’t know about me is I’m a bad business partner. It doesn’t mean that I’m a deceptive, horrible person. It’s just that I’m just not good at being a partner. I really need to be in control and I need to lead, and that’s just who I am. I struggled with that for a long time because this business that I started now, startupcamp.com is the first company that I’ve done on my own. And so, this is unique because I think, there’s still a little piece of me that go, “Man, can I do this on my own?” So I understand that struggle where people say, “I need partners because it’s an insecurity that I can’t do it on my own.” I’m married with a little baby. It’s really hard for me to be good at this marriage, right, so I don’t need another marriage, right? To say, “Oh, yeah. Let’s be good at two or three marriages.”
So that’s one thing. I’m on my own now which feels really good. It feels right. So if you’re that guy that’s questioning that all the time, just know that it’s okay to say that I’m just not a good business partner. But yes, my whole goal now is highest amount of revenue, least amount of employees, geographically independent, having purpose freedom at the core. I’ve been able to create this new business with very little employees, high revenue. It’s very intriguing, it’s exciting, it’s freedom, it’s the real idea of the entrepreneur.
I’ll tell you a story. I owned a house in the mountains when I lived in California, in Lake Arrowhead, California, and I walked up there. It was in the middle of the summer and it was at night. I’m walking around the lake and I’m looking at these 3, 4 million dollar homes. Beautiful homes. And I’m walking around with my wife, and nobody’s there. Nobody’s at these houses. And I thought to myself, “These people don’t own their businesses. Their businesses own them.” And they are stuck chasing the things that don’t matter, and they have these beautiful opportunities. It’s summertime, you should be with your family. And they have these massive companies that just own their time. And I thought, “I don’t want to do that. It’s for some people, it’s not for me. I want to be a great dad, I want to be a great husband, I want to be a good friend, I want to be a good son, a good brother.” To be great at those things takes time.
So this is the new journey, and I’ll tell you, it’s really brilliant. I guess when people go, “Oh, I have a giant company and I make $500,000 a year.” “Okay, cool.” And they work 80 hours a week. I think that’s even more successful when you go, “I have a really small company, and I work about 15 hours a week and I make a half million a year.” And that’s been my new entrepreneurial chase. It’s like, “how effective can I be with my time?” And I think that’s really what makes a great entrepreneur is being able to do that. Remember, an entrepreneur, you don’t want to be an employee for your own company. You want to do it so that you could have that freedom to do the things that matter—relationships, right? Not revenue all the time.
LEWIS HOWES: Exactly. What do you think are the two, three, four, few things that every entrepreneur, if they’re starting their own venture online, right now needs to have in order to be successful? If there’s a brand new person listening who’s like, “Okay, I want to start this thing online and I want to get moving, and my goal is to make half a million to seven figures a year within the next couple years.” What are the key ingredients you would say that they need to have whether it be technical things or vision-based or those things be that they must have in order to set a clear foundation and a solid foundation for themselves moving forward?
DALE PARTRIDGE: I have three. Design, marketing, and fear. And I’ll talk about in that order. So for me, design has been—we live in the aesthetic generation. We live in a time where millennials are driven by fear, and are driven by beauty. So you look at this and you go, “Oh, my gosh. This company is so beautiful.” That’s credibility in your design. So when someone sees good design, they go, “If they cared this much about the smallest details, they must care about me.” And so, design is this instant trust, consumer trust, that’s built from it. So if you have bad design, you will almost for sure not work. Your company won’t work. And I’ll tell you, I can look at a company’s logo if they’re a start-up and pretty much from their logo be able to say if they’re going to be successful or not. Because the rest of the stuff on the back in the business—again, you can read a book to learn that. But design is something that you have to develop. And it has nothing to do with Photoshop, it has nothing to do with Illustrator, it has everything to do with your eye. So you develop your eye. That’s how you get better at design.
For me, I look at furniture and interior design and fashion and web design and product design. And every possible element of my life is curated because remember, the way we do one thing is the way we do almost everything. And so for me, everything must be beautiful. I cannot diminish the content, so the content needs to be solid. Not just good content but useful content. But it has to be beautiful as well. People that don’t understand this and don’t understand the power in design typically are in the back of the race, so that’s one. Marketing.
LEWIS HOWES: And just to clarify there and emphasize that, I had pretty—let’s say, basic, average, boring design probably about four years ago. When I was starting out five, six years ago, I had basic design. And I was getting basic results. At one point, my business started to make more money with still basic design. And I thought to myself, “Well, I don’t really need to focus on this design thing because I’m able to jump on a webinar and create great value and content that I’m generating sales anyways so it doesn’t matter.” I didn’t have a beautiful website and a beautiful logo. It’s just kind of like a quick 99designs thing that didn’t matter. But what I realized is that if I wanted to make it to the next level, if I wanted to really connect with the influencers, connect with the media in such a powerful way so that they wanted to bring me on, if I wanted to have a book agent take me seriously, get to the next level of credibility and influence in the world that design did matter.
So I spent a good three, four months creating a whole branding doc of how I wanted my online image to look, how I wanted my new website design to look, working with the best designers that I could find. And I implemented it over two years ago, I still get emails every week from people saying, “Gosh, your website is beautiful.” And like telling me they’re copying it, basically. When people talk about your design alone, it brings more attention to you and your business.
DALE PARTRIDGE: Yeah, you’d become more referable, more talkable. Because remember, nobody wants to say, “Hey, check out this website that I love, and it’s really ugly.” Right? And you’re so right with the press and with other influencers. Lewis, one thing that you’ve done that I’ve done also is you hire always a professional photographer to take your photos.
LEWIS HOWES: Yes, yes.
DALE PARTRIDGE: I have forty different headshots that I could use for different things. And you need that. Because remember, you are marketing yourself, and you can’t do iPhone photos from your buddy that thinks he’s a photographer. You’ve got to spend the money. Because that kind of stuff’s incredibly important.
So number two is marketing. And it sounds so simple, “Oh, marketing.” Well, marketing for me is that I don’t care if you have a PhD from Harvard in Marketing. It doesn’t matter anymore because everyday, you wake up and you go to school. You have to figure out “okay, what changed on Pinterest this morning? What is email marketing shifting into? What did Google AdSense change today? Marketing is a brutal industry to be in today because it’s always changing. You write when you figure it out and you’re like, “Oh, man. It’s crushing. Facebook ads is doing well.”
LEWIS HOWES: The changes.
DALE PARTRIDGE: And in changes. And then you’re like, “Crap.” With Facebook never showing their algorithms, you never know. So you constantly have to test and you constantly have to be in it. If you’re out for say, three to four months, you’re lost again. I mean, you have to consistently be on it. And that’s why it’s testing, it’s doing it, it’s following the right people that are winning.
Another part of marketing—what I’ll say is own your audience instead of buy your audience. I’m a big fan of—I try to build big audiences and own them, and then market to those people. I own lots of social media real estate is what you can call it. Instagram accounts and Pinterest accounts, and different things that I have built over the last few years that can’t be taken away from me. And that’s the one thing is you’re constantly [inaudible] to protect that. That’s something I would consider is work on building it now because a year from now, you’ll wish you did.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, I mean, the social media is still powerful. Some people say, well, Twitter or Facebook are going to die eventually, this and that. But the thing is, it’s so powerful right now to get instant traffic and instant connections and referrals through these social media channels, and Dale’s one of the guys I learned from on how to really acquire these accounts and how to grow them and how to leverage them from networks of people. What’s your top two or three traffic sources right now?
DALE PARTRIDGE: You know, number one is Pinterest, which always shocks people, right? Pinterest is such a great traffic tool. And then number two is Facebook still. It would go back and forth sometimes between Twitter and Facebook, but Twitter’s tough. Twitter’s a hard spot to be in, it’s a great spot you need to be in. I think Twitter’s becoming the next generation’s new source. I would say it’s got a pretty long life cycle, but Facebook, with Facebook ads and the virality component still is great. But you know, Instagram is coming up as a major player still. I know [inaudible] people are jumping on Snapchat like crazy right now. I think maybe that has a potential in the future, too. The big thing is constantly being everywhere. It’s tough. But remember, do what you do and do it well. And what you don’t do well, don’t do it. If you can’t crush on Facebook or on Instagram or on Snapchat, then don’t—I owned @dalepartridge on Snapchat, I haven’t done any Snapchats. Because I just don’t have the time right now and I can’t crush it there.
LEWIS HOWES: Snapchat. It’s like been a battle for the last year and a half for me because everyone’s like, “You got to get on, you get to get on.” And I’ve tried to a couple times, but I don’t like my content disappearing.
DALE PARTRIDGE: Right?
LEWIS HOWES: We spent—it’s gone. That means no one else can see it, and I’m like, “Why am I going to create something that no one can see in a year?” I’ve got YouTube videos that people email me about from years ago that’s like, “I love this interview you did that you had on YouTube.” I’m like, “Oh, I’m glad it’s available for people to search and find.” You can’t do that on Snapchat.
DALE PARTRIDGE: Yeah, it’s not a content space for sure.
LEWIS HOWES: So, I don’t know. I know it has its benefits and connect with people in a different way, but it’s tough. You’ve got to figure out things that you can do well, focus on those first, don’t try to do it all unless you’re doing it all well because you have a system in place for each one, then you can start implementing all of them. But I didn’t do Pinterest until I met Dale and learned his system on it and how to really leverage it because I didn’t understand it, and I was like, “I don’t understand this. I’m going to stick to Twitter and to Facebook.”
DALE PARTRIDGE: Check this out. I mean, Lewis, we always forget that like there’s al—I guess anybody that’s listening to this—that there’s normal people out there that use these things because they don’t have a business to be marketing on or whatever, right? And like my wife loves Snapchat, right? Because she just uses it like a consumer would. I thought, I think to myself, “Man, I wonder what it’s like to use Facebook because I actually want to talk to people.”
LEWIS HOWES: Not to market something, yeah.
DALE PARTRIDGE: Yeah, like not to market something. Meaning that I have my own personal Facebook page for my family and friends, with a hundred people on there, and I love that and I get a chance to see my dad who doesn’t live in Oregon with me. So I understand that purpose but I thought about it and I’m like, “Man, I’m constantly in marketing mode. I’m trying to be as authentic as I possibly can.” So it’s one of those things as leaders and as marketers, we got to constantly be reminding ourselves that the rest of the world’s not like us.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. Okay, so if you’re going to invest in—so if you’re a new entrepreneur or you’re an entrepreneur who’s stuck, and you can invest in one of the three things marketing-wise, what would you be investing your time in right now, knowing what’s happening over the next year or two?
DALE PARTRIDGE: Oh, man. I would invest my time into—I don’t think Facebook’s going anywhere. I’m pretty confident in what they’re doing. They’re constantly changing, and the Facebook ad function is still pretty stinking powerful right now. I think that Pinterest has a great future, has a really great future, and I think that email is going to be sustainable. Email has at least, so far the longest track record of success. It’s obviously owned by Google because they run Gmail and majority of the emails in the world. But I think that email marketing is becoming cleaner as we learn how to get rid of the crap that we don’t want, and we unsubscribe from the many things that we want. But we also actually say, “Hey, I actually subscribed to three or four blogs, or to three or four podcasts.” And then I guess, podcasting, man. I mean, I think podcasting’s got a great future. I mean, we’re all radio show hosts now. It’s hard to get to the top. I mean, I’m what, nineteen shows in with a pretty massive platform. And I’m still working hard to catch up to guys like Lewis, so.
But yeah, that’s what I would jump in. I think that Pinterest is very unique, and I think you got to play with these, be on them for at least 20 minutes a day because I think that’s really what it takes. You got to know the culture of each one. And then get into a mastermind group. Even if it’s just five guys or girls that are just like you, they’re all—the power of five over the power of one is so much greater. So, jump in one [inaudible] create one. Take charge and say, “Hey, we’re going to put one together.”
LEWIS HOWES: Yes. And the third thing that you were talking about?
DALE PARTRIDGE: Yeah, the last thing is fear. So fear has kept so many would-be leaders, so many would-be entrepreneurs on the sidelines while these good opportunities and ideas just paraded by. They’re not lacking insight, they’re lacking courage. And I’ll tell you, this life that you’re living right now, this is not rehearsal. This is your life today. And if you sit there and you watch your dreams just die in front of you because you’re too busy or because of circumstances or whatever it might be, you don’t get a second chance. This is it. So I constantly try to encourage people to say—chase those things. Get on and build time into it. Dave Ramsey says a great quote. It says, “Live like no one else so that eventually, you can live like no one else.”
I think that’s true is that today, you got to live like no one else. Which means that you’re working more. Maybe you’re working at night and you’re not spending money and you’re learning how to save. But if you do those things, then a couple years from now, you’re going to be living like no one else. You’re going to have freedom and you’re not going to have to go to work, and you’re going to have that time with your family and you’re going to get to be the dad or mother you wanted to me. I’d say just focus on that. Focus on that courage. Many who lack the courage to forward your head alone, they’re always looking for someone to take the first step to go first, to show the way. But I can argue that the dark provides the optimal context for an entrepreneur. If the path is well-lit, it’d be crowded. And it’s not.
LEWIS HOWES: That’s true, I like that. What’s your biggest fear then, moving forward?
DALE PARTRIDGE: For me, I actually recently told my wife I think my biggest fear is being irrelevant. I’m constantly making sure that people know who I am and that I have this message to tell, and that I’m influential and I want to be successful. And I don’t just want to be successful in business, but successful as a man, as home, and as a friend, like I said earlier. My fear sometimes is that people just don’t know who I am. And it’s an insecurity, it’s a shame, and it hurts me in a major way because I hustle sometimes harder than I need to. Sometimes I have to remember that I can’t take any of these stuff with me, right? TI’m not going to [say to?] my deathbed—we know this because there’s a hundred of studies done on people dying. No one’s going to say, “Man, I’m so pissed that I didn’t work more.” It’s going to be like, “I wish that I spent more time with the people that matter.” That’s the big encouragement, it’s to focus on that. My biggest fear and I think many leaders’ fears is that if we stop, we won’t be relevant. And I don’t think that’s true.
LEWIS HOWES: That’s a good point. What do you think is the biggest lesson that you still need to learn that you haven’t learned?
DALE PARTRIDGE: Oh, man. I think it has to do with probably mentorship. I would say self-evaluation is helpful, but evaluation from someone else is essential. Having someone, giving someone permission—one or two safe people permission—to speak into your life at a very raw level. I mean, nobody likes to tell anybody that they have a booger on their face. Right? At dinner, you’re like, “Oh, man, I got to tell them that.” But it’s true, sometimes we do things. We let fear run our lives, we were in a relationship that’s not good for us. We get caught in lies. We are sarcastic or we exaggerate too much or we mislead people or we’re rude to one another. If you don’t have anybody that can go up to you and go, “man, you hurt people,” then you’re never going to grow. So you got to find that one or two or three people, safe people, that will say, “Hey, man. You can’t do that anymore.” That’s when real growth happens. And if you can sit there humbly and go, “Damn, okay. All right, I can focus on that.” And sure, it’s going to take you months, maybe even years to fix some of those things, but that’s how people win right there.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, I like that. I’ve had many mentors, official and non-official, for years and people that I just look up to and admire that I reach out to for feedback all the time, and now I hire someone who’s a good friend of mine. I pay him monthly to get on a call, thirty minutes once a week, and literally give me feedback. Listen to what I’ve been up to, sometimes he gives me good feedback and other times he’s just like, “Okay, keep doing what you’re doing.” And that’s the feedback I need. But I feel it’s so value and important specifically at the level I’m at to have someone always checking me and making sure that they’re giving me their 100% honest feedback about everything. About my business, about the way I show up, about a podcast episode that I did—whatever it may be, but just being so honest with me. And some of it lands where I’m like, “Okay, yeah, I see that.” And I’ll make a shift. And some of it doesn’t where I’m like, “Man, I don’t feel inauthentic here. I feel like I’m good, actually.” But I think it’s good to have that feedback so you hear it either way.
DALE PARTRIDGE: Yeah. I have one story. I know we’re coming close on time here, but I want to tell you. A couple of years ago, this made me really think. I had a woman come up to me who was 39 years old. She was telling me her story. I was actually at the airport and I got to know this woman, and just briefly because we were sitting in the airport for a couple of hours together. And she’s telling me about her past and about her relationships and stuff, and that she had so many relationships that she would date for three or four years, and then break it up, and three or four years, then break it up, and three or four years then break it up. And she said she struggled with settling with good enough. She says, “And now, I find myself 39 years old. I’ve always wanted to be a mother, and I feel like that dream is slipping through my hands.” She says, “All I do everyday is [inaudible] somebody told me when I was younger to like the things that I struggle with, so I can make one of those relationships work.”
And I know that this is a business podcast, this is a personal topic, but I’ll tell you, the personal life extends in your business life. We get so caught in running that we forget—we get to busy in making a living that we forget to make a life like that one great quote. And so that’s the big thing, is that self-evaluation is something that—yeah, your business world, someone’s going to tell you, “Man, you need to do this instead of that.” But having someone that’s like you said, Lewis, that’s in your life that says, “I’m going to tell you about your business life, but I’m also going to tell you [inaudible] your personal life.” Because that’s where professionals grow, right? Personal development equals professional success. I mean, that’s what has to happen. And make sure that you start asking those hard questions, right? Like, “Do you want to be married?” “Do you want to be a business partner?” “Do you want be an entrepreneur?” “Do you want to have children?” “Do you want to travel?” What are those things that you really do want? “Do you have a religion?” Don’t just ignore those questions, and tell that person who’s going to evaluate you those things are important to you. They don’t need to be handled right now, but just say, “Keep hounding me about this stuff because I need someone to hold me accountable.” Otherwise we’d get lost.
LEWIS HOWES: Exactly. I love that. I got a couple questions left for you, and I want to make sure to send people back to the website. I’ll tell you guys where to get this book, that’s People over Profit: Break the System, Live with Purpose, Be More Successful with Dale Partridge. I’ll tell you guys where to go in a second for that.
A couple of questions left for you. I’ve been asking people at the end of the podcast lately which I’ve been enjoying the responses, so I’ll ask you: it’s the end of your life—I know it’s kind of morbid sounding—but it’s the end of your life in a hundred years, and the last day, all of your work has been deleted and removed from the Internet, all of your books are gone for whatever reason, they just vanished. And you have a pen and a paper, you’re on your bed, you’ve got a few hours left. You’ve got an opportunity to write down three truths that you know about life. What would those three truths be that you know? And this would be for the world to see—the only work that you ever create is these three truths they see—your family, your friends, the world. What would they be?
DALE PARTRIDGE: Well, definitely, one would be don’t get too busy making a living that you forget to make a life. I think that’s a massive struggle for many. The other would be promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate. I think the world needs a little bit more of that. There’s so much controversy and so much clashing between people. Then the last thing would probably be something about God just to say, “Make sure you ask those questions. Make sure you find out.” Because one friend told me when I was 19, he said, “I’d rather live life believing there was a God and finding out that there wasn’t than living life not believing that there was a God and finding out that there was.” And I thought, he says, “The risks are just too big, and that’s not the reason you want to follow God anyways.” But the ideas that I thought, “Wow, that’s heavy. That’s a heavy thought.” I’ve been pondering that one for ten years still. So yeah, those are three that I would probably leave.
LEWIS HOWES: Okay, great answers. And what are you most grateful for recently in your life?
DALE PARTRIDGE: Being a dad. And I know it’s very cliché to say something like this, but I’ll tell you, being a father, I get a chance to learn how humans grow. You don’t remember how you learned how to drink. You don’t remember that stuff. You don’t remember how you learned how to pick things up. And so when you get to be a dad, you get a chance to see, learn about the earliest phases of life that you forgot. I really just enjoy looking at creation. Like this little human that lives in our house, right? And she is so—
LEWIS HOWES: She’s so cute, by the way.
DALE PARTRIDGE: She is so cute and she’s so fun. So I think that for me, it’s also made me realize that I just want way more kids. And I’ll tell you, having kids is way easier than people make it out to be. It’s way easier and it’s way better.
LEWIS HOWES: It’s so scary, man.
DALE PARTRIDGE: Yeah, it seems scary. [inaudible] I would say that the people that say kids are so hard is the people that don’t have any. It’s true. When you talk to parents, typically, parents are like, “It’s easier, it’s better, and it’s cheaper.” I mean, it’s super cheap. And so, we’re hoping to have actually like five, six, seven kids. We’re going to go for the hundred yard line for there.
LEWIS HOWES: You’re crazy but I love it though. I think it’s all about your attitude, too. If you think it’s hard, it’s going to be hard. If you think It’s easy, it’s going to be enjoyable.
DALE PARTRIDGE: Exactly. I’ll tell you, being a woman—I don’t know, I can’t speak for women. I can always speak for men but I’ll tell you—women are—I just have way more respect for women after seeing my wife become a mother, that’s for sure.
LEWIS HOWES: That’s awesome. Okay, I got one more question for you. Before I do ask you that, I want to acknowledge you, Dale, for a moment because I am so proud to be your friend and proud to know you, for starters. I acknowledge you for all that you inspire to the world. You have been constantly creating great information and resources and content since the moment I met you that so many people are touched by. When I share your information on my page or to my audience, people thank me for sharing it because they’re inspired by you. So I want to acknowledge you for your ability to grow, your ability to be introspective and learn about yourself and share your mistakes and know where you’re making mistakes and be willing and be vulnerable to talk about those. Because those are the biggest lessons that people learn, and that’s where other people grow. So I want to acknowledge you for the inspiration you are in the world and for all the good that you do to show people that they matter. So thank you for that.
DALE PARTRIDGE: Dude, thank you.
LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, man. And the final question is what’s your definition of greatness?
DALE PARTRIDGE: Oh, man. I’ll go with this one. I think that today, we are chasing one dimensional greatness too often, and we hustle hard for business success or for friendship success or whatever it is, these one dimensions are. And I think a couple of years ago, I stopped following people that were just successful in business. And I wanted to find these men and women that were successful in relationships and at home, at marriages that were 25 years, and multiple children that respected them, and that were also running multi-million dollar companies, and had like a good name in the community, that were wise. I literally conquered some of the hardest arenas of life. Because being a parent, you conquer that one well, you’re a rock star. You be a husband or a wife and you conquer that one, awesome. You conquer business on top of that? You’re a beast.
And those people, they’re very rare. They’re hard to find. It takes time, right? You need to get married to have multiple children, conquer those areas, conquer it long enough to have a large business and success in your belt. So those people are greatness to me. And I’m looking for those people all the time. At anytime I get a chance to meet one or two of them, I’m like, “Let me spend time with you because—teach me the ways of balance.” Because it’s so hard to be great in all the areas.
LEWIS HOWES: Dale Partridge, thanks so much for coming on in, man. I appreciate you.
DALE PARTRIDGE: Dude, super stoked. Thank you, Lewis. I mean, your friendship means a lot as well. Thank you so much.
LEWIS HOWES: Thank you guys so much again for joining me today on this episode. To get the full show notes, make sure to head back to lewishowes.com/172. Again, lewishowes.com/172. And make sure to sign up for our free newsletter, guys. If you are listening to the podcast, you’re a fan of the podcast, I send out weekly updates with some behind the scenes videos, footage, tips, tools, resources that you don’t get on the podcast. So again, make sure to go to lewishowes.com/172. You’ll see a place to sign up for at the free newsletter, and I would love to see you on there more often and saying hi to me. I respond to a lot of emails.
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