March 6, 2019 – Millennial Money Makeover Conor Richardson, Future Proof Sales Steven Norman and Procrastination Adela Schicker

March 6, 2019 – Millennial Money Makeover Conor Richardson, Future Proof Sales Steven Norman and Procrastination Adela Schicker

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Conor Richardson – CPA, Founder of and Author of Millennial Money Makeover: Escape Debt, Save for Your Future, and Live the Rich Life Now – Read interview highlights here.

The prescription to success transcends generations. 

Conor Richardson studied Accounting and Finance at The University of Georgia, where his interest in finance and writing began to blend. Conor went on to earn a Master of Accounting and Professional Consultancy from Villanova University, where his intrigue in numbers and behavioral economics took off. And like any good budding accountant, Conor moved to NYC, the world’s financial mecca. He started his career with Deloitte & Touche. Eventually, he moved on to Tough Mudder, where his entrepreneurial spirit was ignited. But after several years in New York City, it was time for Conor to do his own money makeover. He moved to Austin, Texas, where he lives now. Since then, Conor have written articles or have been featured on sites like Fox Business, The Washington Post, Equities, Buzzfeed, and more.

Steven Norman –  Author of Future Proof Sales Strategy: 7 Steps to Rise Above the Chaos, and Transform Your Team and Take Charge of Your Career – Read interview highlights here.

There are a lot of introverts that are good at selling.
Great sellers are very good at listening.

Steven Norman considers himself to be a lifelong student of sales and sales processes. For more than 20 years and across many geographies, Steven has successfully led small to large businesses within the technology industry. Each role being in intensely competitive and testing environments. He understand first hand the complex challenges of B2B leadership. Over 13 years Steven held several critical senior roles with Dell Asia Pacific as it grew from a startup in the region to a multi-billion dollar giant. As one of the founding members of Dell in Australia, Steven went on to key roles driving the Asia Pacific business with assignments in Singapore and Korea. More recently, Steven was the Asia Pacific MD for Targus – the global leader in notebook cases and technology solutions. There, Steven successfully developed the organisation, and implemented the strategies and products to grow the brand profitably in many Asian markets.

Adela Schicker – Co-Founder of – Read interview highlights here.

Lots of people tell us they do their best work under
pressure. Every research shows otherwise.

Adela Schicker helps companies to support every employee in their personal and professional development because what counts first is not the customer, the technology or the notoriety but the human, his intrinsic motivation, his understanding of the world which surrounds him and his ability to collaborate with others. Her passion is to simplify the access, understanding, and practice of scientific studies (neuroscience, behavioral economics, positive psychology) to help each person become the best version of oneself. Human skills are becoming more and more valuable, and the best way to develop them is to understand and apply what science tells us about self-fulfillment, communication, performance, focus, critical thinking, and emotions.

Conor Richardson Highlights

The prescription to success transcends generations. However, we’re dealing with a completely different game at the moment, if you will. Millennials are dealing with an enormous amount of student loan debt as well as higher credit card debt. The nominal amount amounts of these debts are incredibly important when we have this conversation. The book Millennial Money Makeover is tailored with some empathy and understanding of the current plight of millennials.

It presents the case that anybody can turn around their finances and live what I call the rich life. So the finance industry has done a tremendous job of making things enormously complex and convoluted. We have this sort of information overload at our fingertips on the internet. But what I’ve done as a CPA is I’ve distilled all the latest academic literature as well as industry data to come up with a six step sequence that people can follow in sequential order that will take them from being a broke millennial all the way through being a rich millennial.

The first step is to turn professional with your finances. And what I mean by that is, you know, most people sort of go through their day to day and they haven’t really thought about money, but for a money makeover to start, you really have to change your relationship with money and how you treat it. So that’s where we begin the makeover process. And that involves things like you know, keeping money and not giving it away and understanding its value to your long term success.

Step number two, we cross from Red into black. So that means we cross that debt free line. We get rid of consumer debt credit cards as well as student loans. So there are a couple different processes for each one of those. But the main point is that once you get into the black or you’re debt free, you stay there.

All right, so finally, now we are out of debt.

That gets me to step number three. I believe that has something to do with budgeting. So we all have to spend money and we all need to make a budget and it’s critically important to do that, to me, your short term and your long term goals. And the take that I have on budgeting that’s new is this concept called ‘passion budget.’ And really what that means is you’re being purposeful and intentional with how you spend your money on things that you really enjoy and you really love

But then you’re also looking at things that you don’t care about, and you’re cutting those ruthlessly. So for example, we know that experiential purchases like going on a vacation or going out to a concert, you can extract a mental value from those purchases longer than a material purchase. But you might need to downsize your apartment and, you know, live in someplace a little smaller to offset that on a total basis. So it’s really being intentional with how you’re spending your money and making sure that you’re giving yourself you’re sort of increasing that happiness factor as you’re going through this process.

We are ready for step number four, learning how to optimize the three biggest purchases you’ll make as a millennial. So that means buying your first car, paying for your wedding or an engagement ring, and then learning how to buy that first home and really do that properly. These large ticket items have a really long downstream impact on people financially. It pays for you to do that right up front.

You’re not buying new because the value will depreciate in value by 10% the moment you drive off the lot. Not leasing. Making sure you’re really factoring in all the costs around the car, gasoline, repair costs, maintenance, the total cost of the purchase and looking at the big picture there.

I’ve seen this statistic somewhere that if in your life, you buy 10-15 cars and if you bought all of them new versus buying all of them used, it’s, at retirement, it’s a $200,000 difference or something like. That’s a big ass difference. 200 grand just for driving a used car.

It’s optimizing how you’re doing your wedding. That’s having the conversation with your significant other about your budget. Looking for people in your city that are offering discounts or looking for those wedding planners that are the rising stars.

I would rather take the money and put it into the third category, the house. You know you can have a great party that you remember forever that cost $100,000. But you can also have a great party that you remember forever that cost $1,000, because I’ve done both really.

You want to make sure that we’re putting that 20% down on your house, which is historically there as a barrier of entry for a reason. So you can afford your mortgage later. I am a proponent of 30 year mortgage and then if you can accelerate your payments, that’s terrific. But you can give yourself some wiggle room.

Having the white picket fence as the end all be all the success sequence and they’re opting for earlier retirement or financial freedom. And that means you need to have this momentum behind you. So 40% of millennials want to retire by 57 years old. And in order to do that, you have to be saving very quickly up front.

Connor is would you send your kids too expensive with debt or make them go to state college debt free. And I see you went to the devil’s playground for your undergraduate degree.

I don’t see the ROI of Harvard being higher than the high ROI of East Tennessee State.

Adela Schicker Highlights

It’s always easier to procrastinate, things that we don’t want to do. Don’t be sad or anything. We all do that. So it’s more about the idea to force yourself or motivate yourself to get things done and strongly suggest you do it step by step.

Actually, the people who procrastinate the most are apparently the smartest and most creative people, because they have to come with excuses. So maybe it just means that you are smart and creative.

A lot of people tell us actually that they do their best work under pressure. They think, ‘I need the deadline to perform well, but honestly every research shows that if you would organize your time better, you would perform better.

I know that there’s some people who are just, you know, they’re lazy. They don’t care. They just lay on their bed staring at the wall. Those are not the same thing as procrastination, because those people don’t regret the time. The worst thing that happens when you ask procrastinators is that you feel like you could be doing something so much more valuable with your life, but you’re not, you’re postponing it, you’re procrastinating and then you’re just hating herself. There’s a regret and knowing that you shouldn’t be doing something.

So talking solutions. I think number one is thinking what type of motivation you should be having and how you’re motivated. Because there is always this idea of the carrot and the stick, the punishment, the rewards. We know that doesn’t work!

We have to be motivated intrinsically. We have to have an inner motivation. And so lately, the idea is that we get motivated by goals. And weirdly, that’s almost even worse, because we become something that we call the goal junkie.’

Honestly, the best ideas to be motivated by are something that we call the intrinsic journey based motivation. In a more common word, it is just to be motivated by personal vision. When you create this personal vision, you create your own motivators, something that helps you to find your purpose at work, purpose in life, and then that motivates you in the long term. And the great thing is that that just actually never runs out, you’re just always going to be motivated by that which will be forever. That is cool. And I love that. So the goal junkie is that the exact opposite of the procrastinator and then our goal is to be in the middle where we are motivated by the path.

Well, I think this one thing that can really help you with motivation is the idea of training your willpower. If you think of your willpower as a muscle, the same way as your workout in the gym, you can actually strengthen your willpower.

Imagine that you want to learn a new habit, you want to learn how to run, you want to strengthen your willpower. So number one, get dressed up in your running shoes and stand behind the door.

Number two, the second day after that. How about you run around the block in three days. You run around two blocks, three blocks. You strengthen the muscle and then you can apply this to any aspect of your world or any aspect of a new habit you want to learn. And the great thing about the other willpower you learned, and then you can really use it for anything else.

I for example, wanted to learn French. I had a little app that every day it reminded me to take five minutes of French classes. But a little app with every five minutes and the repetition ends up really working. That became a habit pretty quickly.

Steven Norman on the New Sales Process

Yeah, well the balance of power has definitely shifted from sellers towards buyers over the last decade. If you think about the access to information that buyers have today, they don’t need a sales person to get product information or to get industry information or to find out what other customers are doing.

So wherever possible the buyer is doing their own research on your product. We’ll focus on the solution for their business before they even engage with sales. So they have a tremendous advantage for when they do engage with sales people and so that’s the buyers getting better and the sellers have not been getting better as fast as the buyers have been.

Most sales organizations have not transformed. There’s always going to be room very good salespeople that bringing value to to the customers.

And as mentioned before, it’s not so much about personality. There are actually a lot of introverts that are very good at selling, there’s a lot of technical people that are very good at selling. Great sellers are very good at listening; they’re very good at understanding customers; they are very good at giving them the right advice and the right solution. So those types of sales people will do very well the sales.

Business people don’t have time for relationships that don’t deliver value anymore.

There are some traits that are very important in the sales person and it’s more like listening skills.

The Future Proof Sales Machine has seven steps. Where I start is we need to have the right sales structure that really reflects what’s happened with our customers. So our customers have become much better informed. They also have been pretty protected by their existing suppliers, applying customer experiences to an extent that we’ve never seen before. So it gets much harder to break into new accounts.

We also have a situation where our products and services are getting increasingly monetized so again that’s another challenge for us to make a difference when we meet with a customer.

I really believe we need to be specializing our sales roles and ideally we want to have specialized teams. You know teams and capabilities that are absolutely fantastic at prospecting, teams that are absolutely fantastic at progressing the deal and taking it through to completion and then we want to have specialists who are managing the customer after we’ve done a deal, someone who will make sure the customers getting full value for the investment they’ve made.