I Knew I Could Double My Business in a Year (I Did It in 3 Months)
“99% of the time it comes down to one single thing—are you comfortable where you are at, or are you ready to make a change? … If you are uncomfortable, you will do whatever it takes.” Listen to me do whatever it takes to survive Bethan Jepson's lightning-round barrage of questions before we delve deeper into the painful 13-year journey that led me to the point where I was willing to take action and make the necessary change.
We talk about my worst day as an entrepreneur, when I was literally weeping in my car thinking I would never climb out of the hole I had dug for myself. We also talk about my best day as an entrepreneur, when I toasted Dom Perignon with my girlfriend despite having just lost money on a deal … because it was the day I knew I could double my business in a year. I was wrong—I did it in three months, and I share the change that made it possible … my “millionaire secret,” if you will!
We also discuss:
- How my first job shoveling snow in small-town Pennsylvania taught me that people were willing to overpay if you have good marketing.
- How I discovered the urge to give back, despite the fact that I hate the term “giving back.”
- The important difference between elimination, automation, and delegation.
- How I briefly became the #1 seller of Amish romance novels on Kindle.
About the Show: Bethan Jepson is the host of the Millionaire Secrets.
Dylan Ogline: When I got home, I hugged my girlfriend. I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life. And because there was just such a weight off my shoulders. And then later that night we had a bottle of Dom Perignon.
Bethan Jepson: Oh, nice.
Dylan Ogline: And I told her, I said, “I think I’ll be able to double the business in the next year, and then I wasn’t able to do that. It took me three months to double the business because I was just focused. If I hadn’t gone through 12, 13 years of pain, and suffering, and sucking just terribleness, being up to my eyeballs in debt, forgetting what vacation was, not knowing what sleep was. Had I not been at that point, I might have not taken such aggressive action.
Bethan Jepson: Welcome to “Millionaire Secrets,” where we are pulling back the curtain on what it takes to be a seven-figure entrepreneur. Giving you the shortcuts and the wisdom from entrepreneurs who are achieving amazing levels of success today. Proving that no matter what your story is, no matter what your version of success is, you can take these millionaire secrets and change your reality. So you can have your version of success without sacrifice.
There is no doubt that we are living through abnormal times right now. But history tells us that this is where the next generation of millionaires will come from. Entrepreneurs who choose to see opportunity and rise above the challenges creating empires that will make the most impact in response to what’s happening in the world. So are you ready to rise up?
I am on a mission to show the world and the next generation of entrepreneurs that they can and should become wealthy. My name is Bethan Jepson, and in this series I will bring you amazing guests to reveal their millionaire business and lifestyle secrets. If you are very much on this journey of pursuing massive success in business, wealth, and life, I am giving away amazing bonuses to those who subscribe to the “Millionaire Secrets” email list at millionairescretspodcast.com. So make sure you listen all the way to the end for more information on this.
Welcome to episode number 17 of “Millionaire Secrets.” This is one of my favorite episodes to date. This week’s guest is someone that I can massively relate to, and he shared so many valuable lessons and shortcuts. I think that if you are someone who needs focus in your life and business, then Dylan Ogline, this week’s guest, is about to change your life.
Dylan is a high school dropout from a small country town in Pennsylvania. He started his business when he was 14 selling mobile phones. But after 12 years of struggling, making no progress, and working from his freezing basement on multiple businesses and projects, not to mention nearly a million dollars in debt, he decided to scrap all of his business projects but one: digital marketing. Turns out focus was the key. Four short years later he has built Ogline Digital into a seven-figure agency generating over a million in sales three years running.
Dylan is now a leading expert in direct response advertising and business growth. He has now also turned his focused to helping other people start and grow their own hyper-profitable digital agencies. Dylan undoubtedly believes that anybody can start and build their own digital agency that will allow them to have more freedom and live a life with purpose and meaning. Dylan’s training programs are designed to take the guesswork out of building an agency and remove all the unknowns that stop so many people from starting their own business.
When not working, he enjoys traveling around the world at least three months of the year, playing hockey, reading, and spending time with the love of his life: La Croix. And to be honest, I don’t really know what that is, so if anyone out there does, please let me know. He is also fascinated by stoicism and has an insatiable hunger for knowledge and growth. So Dylan and I would both love to hear your takeaways, so please feel free to share these on social media and tag us both in. You’ll find all our social media info in the show notes. But for now, please enjoy this episode.
Okay, wonderful, we are live and recording. So welcome, Dylan, to “Millionaire Secrets.” It’s lovely to have you here.
Dylan Ogline: Yes, it’s very lovely to be here. Thank you so much.
Bethan Jepson: No worries. So as my listeners will know, we always start with some rapid fire to give people the lowdown on how you think.
Dylan Ogline: Got it.
Bethan Jepson: So if you’re happy, I’m just going to dive straight in there.
Dylan Ogline: I’m pumped. Let’s do it. Hit me.
Bethan Jepson: Wonderful. So, Dylan, where do you live?
Dylan Ogline: Orlando, Florida.
Bethan Jepson: Oh, amazing. So you’ve got the best access to all the theme parks.
Dylan Ogline: Well, especially with COVID, I don’t go to them now. But we’ve got really nice weather, it’s a big city, and I play hockey, so there’s a ton of hockey here so.
Bethan Jepson: Where did you grow up?
Dylan Ogline: On a small little farming town in Pennsylvania called Somerset.
Bethan Jepson: Okay.
Dylan Ogline: And I made sure I had a little country swing there to the end of it. Because I think there’s more cows than there are people.
Bethan Jepson: Wow. Okay. What was your first job and what did it teach you?
Dylan Ogline: My first job. If I remember correctly, I think I started my first business before I got my first job.
Bethan Jepson: Okay.
Dylan Ogline: My first real world job, you could say, like where I was an employee was I managed the cotton candy stand at a local racetrack. My girlfriend at the time, ex-girlfriend now, her dad owned the racetrack and I managed the cotton candy stand. Before that, the first kind of like thing I was doing to make money was shoveling sidewalks. So I lived in Pennsylvania, so a lot of snow, so shovel sidewalks.
Bethan Jepson: That was your first business was it?
Dylan Ogline: My first business that I call it was I sold cellphones on eBay. But, yeah, I was like ten, nine, whenever I would like shovel people’s sidewalks and driveways. So that was the first thing I did.
Bethan Jepson: Okay. And so was there any kind of lesson? I don’t know if you can remember if you’re that young, but was there any kind of lesson that came out of that experience when you were a young lad?
Dylan Ogline: I guess looking back, you know what the lesson would be, is that people are willing to overpay. If you got good marketing, if you’re like this little kid who’s like, “Hey, can I shovel your driveway?” People are willing to pay you like what ends up being like $15 an hour back then. I did not realize that that was a lesson, but yeah.
Bethan Jepson: I love it. Did you have a role model or a mentor that inspired you to start your first business or any business I suppose, and if so, who?
Dylan Ogline: I would say Robert Kiyosaki, the writer of “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” which is a book that I recommend to absolutely everybody. I like to consider it my financial bible. I’ve never met the guy, but it was a massive impact on my life. I read it when I was like 13, 14.
Bethan Jepson: Amazing. And I mean this is not part of the rapid fire, but how does a 13, 14 year old know that that’s a book he should be reading?
Dylan Ogline: I think my brother, it was my brother’s book, and he just had it laying around, and I don’t know. I don’t know why I picked it up, and what must have been just hit me at the right time, and I probably consumed it in like a weekend. Just I was absolutely obsessed with it and it changed my life.
Bethan Jepson: Amazing. Yeah, I can’t wait to come back to that, yeah.
Dylan Ogline: Sure.
Bethan Jepson: Some things there. What time do you get up in the morning and what’s the first thing that you do?
Dylan Ogline: 7:00 AM, and first thing I do is drink a thing of water, and then I make coffee for my girlfriend and me.
Bethan Jepson: Ah, bless you. What’s your next big goal?
Dylan Ogline: Next big goal. Right now I’m working on my education company. If people could see me, I’m doing air quotes. I hate the term “giving back.” Ugh, that sounds so gross. But I’ll try to keep it really short. I’ve had a ton of mentors, even like Robert Kiyosaki, I’ve never met the guy, but I consider him a mentor. I consider myself very blessed and lucky to be where I am, and I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the mentors, teachers, and coaches that I’ve had along my “journey.” Another term I hate, journey. So I’ve always been passionate about wanting to kind of do that for other people, coaching, teaching, something like that. So that’s my project right now is my education company.
Bethan Jepson: Amazing. What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
Dylan Ogline: Wow. I apologize for the pause.
Bethan Jepson: That’s all right. Leaving us all in suspense.
Dylan Ogline: We got a bunch of time ahead of us, we’ll probably get a little bit more into my story. If we don’t, we don’t, that’s fine. But I dropped out of high school because I saw the path I was going down was not going to work or the chances of success were low. So I don’t recommend this to anybody, it was absolutely stupid, but I dropped out of high school to get into business to eventually be years ahead of the curve. I’m 31 now and I’ve had my own business for 17 years. Various, different businesses, but that was probably. That’s not brave. That’s the best answer I got for you right now.
Bethan Jepson: That is. That is good enough. What’s your biggest fear do you think?
Dylan Ogline: Another pause. Man, I’m messing this up. I was not anticipating these big questions. Death probably? But as I’ve gotten into stoicism, I fear that less and less. I believe that the purpose of life is to take the luck, the blessings, whatever term you want to use that you are given, push them as far as you possibly can, and then turn around and kind of sprinkle that luck back as best as you can. It can be trying to impact millions or billions. It could be just helping your child. Whatever. It could be either direction there. My biggest fear is to take more than what I have been given. I will go with that answer.
Bethan Jepson: Interesting. Is there anything you’re finding particularly challenging in life or business right now?
Dylan Ogline: No. Nothing I can think of. This is the definition of first world problems. I am bored because of COVID. I can’t travel. The hockey rink I play at was closed for like six months because of renovations. I am bored and I don’t really have anything to do. I can’t go see family. Other than that, yeah, I mean that’s the definition of first world problems. There are certainly people going through tougher things.
Bethan Jepson: Okay.
Dylan Ogline: I heard you typing that one down.
Bethan Jepson: I’ve typed a few things down. What has been the best day-- and I know you’ve had a lengthy business career-- but is there any particular day that just stands out to you as that was up there with one of the best days?
Dylan Ogline: Best days of my life or just best days of business?
Bethan Jepson: Let’s go with business. Let’s talk about that.
Dylan Ogline: Man, another deep question. I wasn’t anticipating this. I owned a commercial real estate property, and I sold it. I lost money on the deal, but the weight that went off of my shoulders from the time. It was just there, it didn’t really take a lot of time. It was a commercial real estate property, and there was also a laundromat on that property, and I owned that as well. And I sold it all at once, and again, didn’t take a lot of time, but the weight that went off my shoulders because then I was able to focus more on my agency, which was my main business, that was probably the best day. And I would add to that that when I got home, I hugged my girlfriend. I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life. And because there was just such a weight off my shoulders, and then later that night we had a bottle of Dom Perignon.
Bethan Jepson: Oh, nice.
Dylan Ogline: And I told her, I said, “I think I’ll be able to double the business in the next year.” And then I wasn’t able to do that, it took me three months to double the business because I was just focused. So that is my answer.
Bethan Jepson: I love it. And we’re certainly going to be talking more about that. Okay. On the opposite end of the spectrum then, what’s been one of the worst days in your business career?
Dylan Ogline: Worst days in my business career. This is going to be like 2015, 2015, 2016, somewhere around there. I was nearly a million dollars in debt, one of the projects I was working on was a residential property I was trying to flip. It was a single family home, bought it real cheap, it had all kinds of problems, and I was fixing it up. And I had maxed out every credit card, did every credit extension you could possibly do to get as much money to go towards the property to fix it up.
And I had no idea how I was going to finish the project because I didn’t have enough money to finish it. I somehow ended up finding that money and I don’t even know how I finished the project. But I needed to get a few permits approved. Presuming the UK you have some kind of permitting process that’s similar to the States. And long story short, the local government was like, “Oh yeah, do this, do this to the property, and then we’ll get you your permits.” And essentially they came out and they said, “No, you’re going to basically have to take everything you’ve done apart. We have to go to the bare bones of the property.” I’m trying to simplify this story as much as I can for time.
But I was like, “If I do that, I’m done. Like if that ends up being the case, I’m done, there’s no way I’m going to be able to make it. There’s no way I’m going to be able to sell this property so there’s no way I’m going to be able to pay off the credit card debt. I am done.” And I got off the phone with the guy and I cried in the car. And then I called another guy at the office and he was like, “Oh, no, no, that’s not correct. They misinformed you. That’s only for new construction. We’ll go out and we’ll give you the permit.” And again, I’m simplifying the story for time, but that was the one moment because I didn’t think I would be able to get out of the hole.
Bethan Jepson: Wow. Well, thank God you called for a second opinion.
Dylan Ogline: It was because I didn’t have any option. It was, yeah, failure just wasn’t an option at the moment.
Bethan Jepson: And this is one that I’ve kind of tailored for you based on…
Dylan Ogline: Oh boy. I’m nervous now.
Bethan Jepson: Well, it’s very tame. Because a lot of your story you talk about the importance of focus and how that changed things for you in your story. So could you summarize it into like a top tip to help entrepreneurs get focused?
Dylan Ogline: I’ll summarize it the same way the lesson was given to me. Which we’ll probably get into the actual story, but I had a mentor of mine who called me up at the peak of my lack of focus, getting nowhere, up to my eyeballs in debt, bad situation. And the advice he gave to me was to stop trying to build an airline, and instead drill for oil. And this was the lesson specifically when it came to business. And what he meant by that, and he dove into it was I was trying to do all these random little projects to make a little bit of money. And even if I was the best in the world at them, I might make a little bit of money, I’m not going to make a lot of money.
And the example he uses with the airline and the oil was, “Airlines are just notoriously difficult businesses to make money in. Like the best people in the world can go into that industry and they’re probably not going to make money. But an average business person can get into the oil industry and probably make good money.” So he was like, “Stop focusing on all these stupid little projects that probably aren’t going to make money and focus on the single project where if you end up just being okay or just average at it, you still end up meeting your financial goals.”
Bethan Jepson: Yeah. That’s such a juicy little lesson. Okay.
Dylan Ogline: So, personally, I scrapped everything and just focused on one single thing.
Bethan Jepson: Yes. Okay. And the final question of the rapid fire. So kind of my ethos and why I do things the way I do and why I build my business the way I build it is because I’m on this like complete unapologetic pathway for what I call success without sacrifice. So I would love to know, Dylan, what is your version of success without sacrifice?
Dylan Ogline: Success I would define as just simply being happy. So to me it’s more about lifestyle than necessarily money. Most people when they’re thinking of success all they think about is money. But if you have all the money in the world but you’re overweight, and overworked, and you have terrible relationships, you don’t know what sleep is. All of that, that’s not success even if you have a bunch of money. On the flipside of that, if you’re really healthy, and you’ve got deeply spiritual, and you’re doing all kinds of meditation, and eating healthy, and you have great relationships but you’re broke, that’s not success either.
So kind of having this balanced lifestyle. For me, something that’s very important is being able to work when I want on what I want and where I want. So I built my life that way. And pre-COVID I could do all those things. I could be where I want, but now it’s a little bit different, and that’s okay. But, yeah, I think that would be my answer.
Bethan Jepson: I love it. Great answer. Okay, so I mean there’s quite a few things that I’d like to revisit.
Dylan Ogline: I got to be honest. I’m like sweating after that like rapid fire. That got intense. I was not expecting that.
Bethan Jepson: Oh yeah. I like to like set the context from the get-go that, yeah, this is going to be… Because there’s lots of places you can go to get your generic tips and tricks on building success, and but what you find is, yeah it’s how you apply it to you, where you’ve come from, the way you think. And it’s a very individual experience so that’s why I kind of…
Dylan Ogline: That’s a very good way of thinking of it. I like that.
Bethan Jepson: Yeah, and that’s exactly what I’m here for. So, okay, I guess the first place I want to start is I guess at the beginning. So you’ve clearly got entrepreneur in your blood because you were 13 when you picked up “Rich Dad Poor Dad.” I think I was 23 or 24 when I picked up “Rich Dad Poor Dad.” So would you say like because I can reflect on that book and be like, “It’s no wonder he then chose to drop out of school.” That book is all about how conventional education isn’t useful.
Dylan Ogline: Uh-huh. Yeah. Yeah. Very much so.
Bethan Jepson: So did it actually feed into your decision to drop out of school then the kind of things you were reading?
Dylan Ogline: So there was a lot. It was almost serendipitous. So I picked up that book, which obviously talks about education system and whatnot. At the same time, that girl I was dating, my ex-girlfriend her dad was one like the vice president of one of the biggest businesses in the area. And I got along with him great, so kind of had like this mentorship kind of thing with him. He was a great guy and was giving me kind of lessons and whatnot.
And so there was that, picked up that book, and these were all like completely separate things. Picked up the book, there was him, there was at the same time my goal-- which I think I mentioned this in the rapid fire-- like my vision of where I was going was I was playing hockey, and I wasn’t that good. So I knew pro wasn’t going to happen by all means. But it was like if I just keep killing this and I just keep busting my ass and going as hard as I can on this, maybe I can get a scholarship to go to college. Not at some high end school, but like that was the only way, that was the only way I was going to go to college. Like my parents paying for it just wasn’t in the cards.
So that was the goal. And, again so at this time, I’m starting to think like what am I going to go to college for? And business just kind of sparked my interest. I had my mentor, I was reading this book, I’m thinking about business, getting maybe an MBA some day. Masters in Business Administration, I don’t know if you have that in the UK.
Bethan Jepson: Yeah. We do.
Dylan Ogline: So there’s all that. And I remember kind of where I’d made the decision of I need to go in a different direction was I was at this varsity match-up. I was too young to be on the varsity team, but I went to a game once, and there was this prep school playing. I forget what teams were playing, but I’m watching them, and these guys were just so much better than me, like light years ahead of me. And even some of them getting a scholarship wasn’t going to happen. And I realized that like all of these players that were way better than me, the commonality was either one: they had a lot of money. They came from money so they could go to all these camps and play for better teams and whatnot. Or two, more likely, they started sooner. They started when they were like four or five where I started when I was like ten or 11. Which is when you’re that age, that is colossal, it’s orders of magnitudes bigger.
And I had this realization like, “What if I were to get into business now?” Didn’t make the decision to drop out of high school yet, but what if I were to get into business now? In ten years I’ll be these guys. I’ll be the one who’s way ahead of the curve. When everybody else is getting out of college, when they’re reading “Rich Dad Poor Dad” when they’re 23, I’ll be the one who’s like, “I read that book ten years ago. I have ten years of experience.” I knew it was going to be painful, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I was like, “I can be ahead of the game.” So I now don’t remember what your question was, but I think it was all those things.
Bethan Jepson: Yeah, how you came to the decision that dropping out…
Dylan Ogline: Yeah, it was all of those things at once, and it was just like so I made the decision to quit hockey, start my first business, then I convinced my parents to let me do homeschool. I had to pay for it and everything, had to buy all the books. And I was like, “Oh yeah, yeah. I mean, then I could work on my business and do school.” And they were like, “Okay,” and they let me, and then I just never opened any of the books. I don’t even think I ever opened the box that the books came in. And eventually I was like, “Listen, guys, like I’m going to flunk out because I haven’t taken a single test. Just let me quit.” And they were like, “Okay,” so they let me quit.
Bethan Jepson: Wow.
Dylan Ogline: That was it.
Bethan Jepson: I guess I bet they’re happy with what happened now they can look back.
Dylan Ogline: It turned out all right. It took a long time to get here, but it turned out okay in the end.
Bethan Jepson: Was there ever a point when they got really worried about you?
Dylan Ogline: I don’t think I have that kind of relationship with them. But, yeah, I don’t think. I mean I’m sure to a certain degree if you were to ask them they probably would say yes, but I don’t have that perspective.
Bethan Jepson: Okay. Yeah. Because it kind of sounds like from a very young age you just knew your own mind and like you have this trust in yourself that I think is very mature. Because I can reflect back on my own experiences and not feel anything like what you’re describing. I don’t know, does that resonate, do you feel like you did know your own mind?
Dylan Ogline: It’s almost egotistical to say yes. But I think the answer is certainly yes. I always had people saying I was much more mature for my age than what my age was. And that just simply comes from my upbringing. My parents and people around me, they weren’t babying me, it was, “You go figure it out on your own.” And so just kind of a roughness to that, but in the end, if it turns out okay it is much for the better so yeah.
Bethan Jepson: Okay. And so okay, so at what point then? Because you’ve talked about obviously getting started, you made this decision that you wanted to focus on business rather than school. And then in the rapid fire you were mentioning when you were a million dollars in debt, and you had all these multiple projects you’re working on. So how did it get from leaving school to focus on business to I’m one million dollars in debt and I’ve got a bazillion things going on? Talk to us about that little journey in the middle.
Dylan Ogline: That little journey is like 12 years.
Bethan Jepson: Okay. Not little then.
Dylan Ogline: And, yeah, but what it was is it was just a lot of I don’t want to say I blame it, I consider it to be desperation. I was so desperate to get something to work that, and now that I’ve done some mentoring, and coaching, and teaching myself. I look back and I’m like, “Oh, I wasn’t the only one,” like a lot of people make that mistake. Especially if like they lose a job or they decide to go down their own route. And you’re so desperate to just get that little bit of income to kind of keep you afloat. So then you are like, you start doing a project that could only ever make a couple hundred dollars a month, but you’re like, “That couple hundred dollars a month matters.” But you lose sight of the bigger goal because it’s your blinded.
I like to say that the solution was like-- and I know people can’t see me but-- it was right in front of my face. Like it was right there. But you’re so blinded that you don’t have that thinking outside the box 30,000 foot view to see like, “Uh, duh, you idiot. The solution is right in front of you.” So yeah, that journey was just a lot of trying everything I could possibly think of. Every idea that came my way. Because work ethic wasn’t a problem. So I was like, “Of course I can do it. Like I have no problem working a hundred ours a week. I don’t need sleep.”
And because of that you’re bouncing around, you never actually get anywhere. And the lack of focus is huge, but then you also never get good at anything. Because you’re only giving ten hours a week to something. Everybody only has so much attention points that they can give out during a day. There’s only so much focus you can put on something. And eventually you just get sloppy if you’re doing so many different things. So don’t do that. Instead, focus on one project that’s likely to be an oil well where you can end up just okay at it and still meet your financial goal. And then if you put your focus towards it, you’re probably going to end up with success, and then as it turns out, if you just focus on one thing you get better and better and better. There you go. It took me 12 to 13 years bouncing around like an idiot, wasting a big chunk of my life, to learn that lesson.
Bethan Jepson: And was it worth it? I guess the question I’m asking is would you do anything differently if you could do it again?
Dylan Ogline: So I study stoicism. I hate using the word “practice” stoicism because that makes me sound like I’m really educated in it and I’m not. But I study stoicism so that and I always try to show gratitude towards things. So I looked back and I’m like I’m thankful that I went through that, and there’s no reason to sit and ponder like would you do something different? It’s a great question, don’t get me wrong, but if I’m sitting there kind of regretting it, that’s not going to help me going forward. So do I regret it? Do I wish I had done something different? Absolutely not because there’s no way to know would I be where I am today had I not gone through that?
Bethan Jepson: Yeah, and that’s interesting, yeah, that’s an interesting concept, isn’t it? Would it have changed the reality? Obviously we should grow, but a typical like philosophical, I don’t know if that’s a word.
Dylan Ogline: Philosophical, yeah.
Bethan Jepson: Philosophical. Thank you. Okay, amazing. I was going to ask you another question now but I forgot what it was.
Dylan Ogline: Actually, I would like to add one thing to that.
Bethan Jepson: Go for it.
Dylan Ogline: So like the philosophical. No, no, I’ll go in a different direction here. When I had that conversation with that mentor, and basically just like literally that night when I had that conversation I went down in my basement and I just deleted stuff that wasn’t making at least some money and just things that were making money I just shelved them, and just focused on the one business. That was pretty aggressive action. That was like cold turkey I’m quitting all this stuff.
If I hadn’t gone through 12, 13 years of pain, and suffering, and sucking just terribleness, being up to my eyeballs in debt, forgetting what vacation was, not knowing what sleep was. Had I not been at that point, I might have not taken such aggressive action. And it wasn’t just scrapping all these projects, like so I focused just on agency. Then I was like, “Okay,” I naturally I was like, “Well, I need a website, and I need this, and I need a logo, and I need a business card, and I need to have a nice phone system, and blah blah blah.”
But because I had gone through so much pain I was like, “No.” I just need to focus on getting clients and then delivering results to the clients. So I didn’t build a website, I didn’t get a logo, didn’t do any of that stuff, which was completely that wasn’t me, that wasn’t how I did things. But I wouldn’t have taken such aggressive, relentless, ruthless action had it not been for the pain.
Bethan Jepson: Yeah. And I think that’s like a really almost like a mic drop kind of lesson there is that, yeah, you don’t want to pretend that the suffering hasn’t happened. Or you don’t want to just put to bed those times in your life where you’ve not been where you want to get to because feeling that pain is the only thing that then allows you to figure out how to get to the opposite.
Dylan Ogline: Oh, 100%. Absolutely, you got to. Being comfortable is the worst thing that could ever happen to somebody, and being uncomfortable is a blessing. And I was extremely uncomfortable with where I was, and that’s why. If somebody’s not taking action, they’re not taking the steps to build their business or whatnot. This could go outside of business, this could be somebody who’s trying to get in shape, quit smoking, eat healthier, whatever, get better with their relationship. 99% of the time it comes down to one single thing: are you comfortable where you are at or are you ready to make a change? Because if you’re not making the change, you’re probably comfortable enough where you are. But if you are uncomfortable you will do whatever it takes.
Bethan Jepson: Yeah. 100%. Love it. Okay, so at that moment where you described you sat in your car in tears with the realization that you are one million dollars in debt.
Dylan Ogline: Close to. Had not hit it yet.
Bethan Jepson: Close to a hundred million dollars. A hundred million, oh my God.
Dylan Ogline: No, no, I would have been dead.
Bethan Jepson: One million, let’s stay reasonable.
Dylan Ogline: Yes. Let’s not make it extreme.
Bethan Jepson: Because I mean, I’ve heard now stories where people it seems quite common that people have been 30,000 pounds or dollars in debt, $60,000, $100,000, and so on and so forth. And clearly like it seems like there’s a ceiling for everybody and some people they can’t bear to be like $5,000 in debt or $2,000 or even $500. But I don’t know, was the million your ceiling, do you think? That then was like did it all change from there or did you keep going a bit more before you then…
Dylan Ogline: I would have kept going.
Bethan Jepson: You would have keep going.
Dylan Ogline: There wasn’t a ceiling. I think probably where I was, like nobody would have given me anymore money. Like I had close to $200,000 in credit card debt. And I have, knock on wood, I have never missed a payment. I have no idea how I kept balance transfer from here to here to make it work. I don’t know how I did it, but somehow was able to figure it out. But, no, I would have kept going. I would have kept going because I didn’t have an option. I had to keep going. Failure wasn’t an option.
Bethan Jepson: So would you consider that good debt then if you were able to repay every month? Is there such a thing as good debt and bad debt? What’s your take on that?
Dylan Ogline: Well, Robert Kiyosaki would certainly say yes, there is. And, yes, like some of that money I wasn’t using that money to go buy new shoes or something, or buy a Rolex, or get a new PlayStation or something like that. It was making just borrowing money to spend it on business, or buy ads, or whatever. And some of that was like a mortgage. Like that commercial property, some of that was included there, but I was obviously personally liable for it. So yeah, there’s certainly good debt and bad debt. And the vast majority of that would be considered good debt. It was the bouncing around from idea to idea that just exacerbated that issue and made it much, much worse.
Bethan Jepson: Okay. So how did you know that the digital agency was the right thing to focus on?
Dylan Ogline: So the lesson I got was focus on basically high margin businesses not low margin businesses. And on top of that, businesses where you can just be okay at it, or just be good, or average. You don’t have to be the best in the world to hit your financial goal, which for me, was six figures. Like I just wanted to hit six figures. I felt like that would solve all my problems. And I just looked at it and there were kind of training programs that I had gone through, and I knew the industry a little bit to where I looked at it and I was like, “if I focus on this, I get a few more clients, I get the clients results, it could scale up pretty quickly.”
And the other things I was working on one of them was Kindle ebooks. To give a little bit of context here, I took this training program where the guy taught you basically you hired freelance writers to write these short ebooks, like 2,000 words or something like that. You pay them like $50, you get a cover designed, you slap it all together, you upload it to Kindle, and you sell it for like a dollar or two. And then you encourage people to give you reviews. It was pretty much it. And then you target certain keywords depending on what’s going on in the market to try to get niche down books. And he was making like $5,000 a month with that. Well, it turns out, he was like the best in the world at it. And I was just average at it, so I think the most I ever made was like a couple hundred bucks a month.
And, this is worth commenting, for a period of time I was undoubtedly the world’s biggest Amish romance story publisher on Kindle. The world’s biggest. Right here, the world’s biggest publishing company for Amish romance novels on Kindle. Because that was what you did was you targeted, like you would put out like 20 books in various different categories, different keywords, et cetera. And like whichever ones seemed to stick you then produced more of them and like series of books, and that’s what I did. I don’t even remember what your question was. Damn it, I did it again, but now you know about the Kindle romance novel publishing company.
Bethan Jepson: Oh God. You’re so funny to interview.
Dylan Ogline: Thanks. Now you’re laughing at me. Great. I hope this video goes live. She’s just sitting here laughing at me the whole time.
Bethan Jepson: So, yeah, you’re making my day if it’s any consolation.
Dylan Ogline: That’s good. That’s good.
Bethan Jepson: My original question was why did you decide the digital agency was the best bet?
Dylan Ogline: Well I think I did answer that. It was a high margin business and I saw that it was scalable. And if I ended up just being okay at it, I could probably hit six figures.
Bethan Jepson: Amazing. Love it. And how long did it take you, out of curiosity, to hit six figures after you focused?
Dylan Ogline: That’s a good question. So six figures is $1,923 a week. And I used to keep a spreadsheet that I tracked my rolling 23-week average revenue. 23 because I’m obsessed with 23, and it’s almost six months. And the reason I did that was say I got a check one week for $3,000 for a project or something. I didn’t want to trick myself and be like, “Hey, I hit six figures,” and then like the next five weeks I generate nothing. So it was to stop myself from tricking myself, so I kept a rolling average. So it was October, November of 2016 that I scrapped everything and just focused on the agency. And I believe it was March or February that I hit the six-figure level. So yeah, that would have been 2017, 2018 is when I hit seven figures.
Bethan Jepson: Amazing. Because this is a common problem that A: I mean I’ve personally had it in my own businesses, and I know my clients have as well. That moment where you’re on your own, and you recognize you’re very busy, but it’s like right, do I now allocate the time into finding the person, training a person, and how do I make the decision of what to outsource first? So I can still keep momentum going. I’m trying to not make the wrong decision because I don’t want the momentum to stop, but it’s too big for just me now.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah.
Bethan Jepson: Do you have any advice for that moment where you realize from my singular being I now need at least one person and how to kind of start making that shift?
Dylan Ogline: Sure. So I don’t particularly have any advice on like when that moment happens because I think you just know or you just get a feeling.
Bethan Jepson: Yeah.
Dylan Ogline: So but I would recommend I kind of have a process. I’m going to give two pieces of advice here. So the first is, is always try to apply the 80/20 method to pretty much everything in your life. Which, for those of you who don’t know, the 80/20 method is essentially if you look at like any area of your life-- it it could be business, personal, relationships, everything-- like you will find a common theme where 20% of your efforts get 80% of the results. And 80% of your actions, your efforts gets you 20% of your results. Like this is just so common.
So you often want to go through what you’re doing throughout your day and see like is this the 20% or is this the 80%? Am I actually getting any revenue any business from what I’m doing or is what I’m doing just busy work? So just constantly being aware of that, constantly looking for it is I think the first step. From there, what I do is apply-- what is the order-- eliminate, automate, or delegate. So look at the task, whatever it is, and apply that 80/20 to it and see is this certain task just busy work?
Adding a little bit more to that, can I batch it to make it more efficient? So batching is simply a good analogy is like your laundry, right? You don’t do your laundry every time you have a pair of socks that you just changed, right? You don’t do your laundry two times a day. You do laundry like once a week. You don’t pay bills every single day or every single time a new bill comes in. You pay bills once a week or once a month. So but for some reason with business people don’t view it that way. Like they check their email every minute. They have notifications on their phone. Like every time an email’s come in they got to respond to it right away. Like no, like do that once a day. And you’ll find by batching, by doing tasks, grouping them together, you cut a lot of waste, and you cut the time. So eliminate tasks and/or see if you can apply batching to them.
The step of automating is looking at the task, or whatever it is, and seeing is there an app, or a software, or something that will automate this task. A very common one is scheduling. It’s almost 2021, people. Like why do you not have a Calendly account? I actually think, if I recall, you don’t have one do you?
Bethan Jepson: No, I do, I do.
Dylan Ogline: You do? You didn’t send me the link I don’t think to schedule this.
Bethan Jepson: You sent me your link.
Dylan Ogline: I sent you, that’s how it worked, yes. But no, the podcasts are a great example. It’s almost 2021 and I will get people who are like, “Here’s five times that I’m available.” And I’m like, “Why are we doing this? Why aren’t you just sending me an email with a link to your Calendly or ScheduleOnce.” There’s all kind of apps. Acuity Scheduling I think is another. You need to look at it in just Google is there an app or something to automate this task? And then the third step is delegate, which is hire a virtual assistant, or a team member, or something to do the task.
Bethan Jepson: Nice. I mean that was super detailed, so thank you so much.
Dylan Ogline: It’s so important. Because eventually, everybody, if you’re growing your business you’re going to hit your limit. You only have so much time. And by having a step by step process, you’re not longer being reactive, you’re being proactive. So, okay, I have reached my limit. There is this task. Run it through the process, step one. Can I eliminate this? Okay, I can’t. Step two: is there a software or an app to automate this? Okay, I can’t. Then step three: bring on a team member or add it to a team member’s list of things to do.
Bethan Jepson: Yeah. I mean it is really interesting because like I speak to a lot of people that start their business with a view that they want more freedom, and they want to like prioritize their lifestyle. But then they end up kind of the opposite happening because they’re so resistant to grow a proper business because for whatever reason they’ve associated that as not the direction they want to go in. So, as a result, they take on everything on themselves, have zero freedom because they have to be sat at the computer for 12 hours a day. And at a certain point they kind of forget the reason they did it in the first place.
I’d love to know actually, because you’ve talked about like you zoomed in on the digital marketing agency, with the view you want to see if you can get to six figures and that’s obviously a financial goal. And then you described the journey to seven figures. At what point did you start going it’s not really about the money anymore. I want to build my business so that I have more freedom. Do you remember at what point it stopped becoming about the money?
Dylan Ogline: I mean it’s always technically about the money. But, no, I had “The 4-Hour Work Week,” I read that. And you’ve read “4-Hour Work Week.” That’s another book everybody’s got to read.
Bethan Jepson: I think everyone has.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. Yeah, so you have to read that. So I knew going into it like that’s what I was trying to build was a business where I had freedom. So even whenever I was still struggling, I knew that that was the direction that I wanted to get to. So the foundation of the business was in place from day one.
Bethan Jepson: Okay. So I guess that was probably then one of the reasons why. I guess it’s one of the reasons why you probably did a million different things. Because I guess I mean I’ve been on the other end of the sales pitch myself with the view of this is the business that you can run online. It can all be automated and A, B, and C. And then you’re like, “Great, I’ll have seven of them.”
Dylan Ogline: My perspective, again, the solution was right in front of my face was I looked at these projects or whatever. Like the kindle, we’ll talk about that, I was like I know if I get really good at this I’ll be able to hit six figures. But like I just couldn’t put the time, the focus, the effort, et cetera into it because I was so desperate to get all these other things going so that I could get six figures. In my mind, because you’re blinded by desperation, it was if I get all of these things going, then I’ll be able to put the time and effort into the one thing. I don’t even know if it was Kindle in my mind at the time, but it was like if I get all of these things to work, then I’ll have six figures, then I can kind of take a breather and evaluate which is the best one to take to that next level, and just focus on that. Whereas what I should have just been doing is kind focusing on the one thing from the beginning.
Bethan Jepson: Yeah. It’s interesting. I always think the quest for time freedom is really is quite a funny thing for an entrepreneur because we’ll end up working. You’ve said it before, you’ve got a really strong work ethic, clearly because your motivation’s very strong for where you’re heading. And it’s like, right, well if I need to work 80 hours a week to then work four hours a week, I’m going to do it.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. And what you find is you get addicted to it, and you have to be self-aware. That’s why the first step that I mention is eliminate. View it through the context of is what I’m doing just busy work? And a lot of times I talk to people and maybe they’re only doing six figures, or maybe they’re doing $60,000, $70,000 a year, and that’s all their goal is, and that’s fine. And they’re like, “I’m working 80 hours a week,” and then you talk to them a little bit. It’s like you’re like wasting 90% of your time, why are you doing that? You could just be doing 10% of the work and then actually have a life, and it’s very, very common.
Bethan Jepson: And at one point did you realize like travel was going to be a big part of the way you lived your life? Because that’s pretty much all your Instagram is, is travel.
Dylan Ogline: Well, now they’re getting a little old because I haven’t been out of the country in over a year. So I think it was in contrast to my parents and my upbringing. I was from a small town, I don’t think I had went further than Ohio west up until I was like 25. Never went out of the country until I went to Europe for the first time when I was like 24 or something like that. So it was that small town feel I wanted to get out into the world and travel. And then but I didn’t have the resources until I was probably like 25 to actually seriously get into traveling until like 2017.
That was when I first was like, “Wow, I can actually go, and maybe take a week off.” Or not even take a week off. I can actually go and, for me, it’s not about actually going to a resort and taking a whole week off, it’s going, and exploring, and still taking care of the business. But it wasn’t really until 2017 that I really had the resources to do that.
Bethan Jepson: Yeah. It’s certainly a big motivation of mine, so that’s why, I’m always into.
Dylan Ogline: How old are you? I don’t think we talked about this yet.
Bethan Jepson: I’m 28.
Dylan Ogline: I’m flipping it around. Rapid fire for you.
Bethan Jepson: No one’s ever asked me a single question yet on these podcasts so.
Dylan Ogline: Oh really? Where are you from?
Bethan Jepson: Oh God. So I’m from Manchester in the UK so.
Dylan Ogline: If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
Bethan Jepson: The Caribbean. That’s one place that I have not yet done.
Dylan Ogline: Really?
Bethan Jepson: Yeah. Yeah.
Dylan Ogline: Why? Yeah, let’s go with that, why?
Bethan Jepson: I don’t know. I just feel like it’s so far removed from where I am how I live my life. I don’t know, I just feel like the Caribbean just represents something completely different to what I would experience.
Dylan Ogline: Where all have you been?
Bethan Jepson: We’re going to cut this out.
Dylan Ogline: You did not expect this did you? I will leave Apple podcast comments and be like, “Hey, this is Dylan, you recently did an interview with me and I think you cut a part out.” Yeah, you can’t cut this out. This is good stuff, yeah, flipping it around. All right, this will be my last question: where all have you been?
Bethan Jepson: So I’ve done a lot in Asia, Australia, New Zealand. Been to America a few times. Obviously, Europe, I’ve been to a lot of places. I’ve still not been to everywhere in Europe, a lot of Eastern Europe I’ve not been to. But yeah, I’ve never been to South America, never been to Central America. I’ve been to Africa once.
Dylan Ogline: So you’re well traveled.
Bethan Jepson: I’m fairly well traveled for a 28 year old I think.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.
Bethan Jepson: Yeah. As I say, it’s a big motivation for me as well.
Dylan Ogline: That’s the end of my rapid fire session for you.
Bethan Jepson: I’m glad that’s over
Dylan Ogline: Makes you nervous, doesn’t it? Are you sweating over there?
Bethan Jepson: I am sweating.
Dylan Ogline: Oh, how the tables have turned.
Bethan Jepson: Funny. I mean, yeah, actually it’s funny because I feel like I didn’t particularly want to end there, but I feel like I think we’ve gone on quite an adventure together. I suppose the last thing that I was intrigued about, which I think would be super valuable actually to get your opinion on, is I noticed in your media sheet or one of your sheets that you sent over.
Dylan Ogline: I didn’t make that, but I know what you’re talking about.
Bethan Jepson: Maybe I’ll be putting you on the spot here, but in the interview topics it talks about building things to break. How to be lean, mean, and scrappy when starting a business and why it will bring success. And I just wanted to understand a bit more about what that means because I think there’s such a like a perfection tendency and like I have to do things perfectly. Or I guess it feels that fear of failure, but what do you mean or what do you think it means when you talk about that?
Dylan Ogline: So, yeah, absolutely. Pre-show we were talking about your podcast, about like when you did your first episode. And this is kind of a good example. You don’t want to spend six months, a year, longer building that first podcast episode or that first YouTube episode, or your product or service. I mean this could go in so many different directions, so many different businesses, so many different industries, and so many different niches. You don’t want to spend six months, a year, years building it perfectly. Because, I hate to tell you, but the first version’s going to suck. It’s going to be terrible. Your first sales call, you’re doing sales calls and you start a digital agency, probably going to bomb it. It’s going to be bad. Your first YouTube video, it’s going to be terrible, it’s going to suck. Your first podcast is not going to be good.
And we live in such a visual world where people are on Instagram or they’re on YouTube and you’re viewing somebody’s YouTube videos and you want to start a YouTube channel, and you’re like, “Wow, look at those.” You’re following somebody like, “Look at that production, it’s so good. I need to copy that. I need that level of quality.” And for some reason we blindly forget that that’s probably like the thousandth episode or the 50th podcast. And the only way to get to your 50th iteration, constantly improving, is to do your first one. And the first one is always the hardest, and the first one is always going to be the worst. So just get out and put it out there.
And don’t worry about perfection, don’t worry about getting it right. Put something out into the marketplace and get feedback from the marketplace. Depending on your product, depending on your service, a hack or a cheat that I like to recommend to people is to sell before you build. So you have a training program, don’t spend six months building the training program out and then try to sell it, only to find out that nobody needs it. If you’re starting a training program on how to build a podcast, or in my case how to start and grow a digital agency, don’t spend a year building out the program and then try to sell it just to figure out that nobody actually wants it.
Like actually prove that there is product market fit by going out into the marketplace and actually getting somebody to give you money. And let me add this, it doesn’t apply to every industry and every niche. This wouldn’t work with a podcast. But if you have a product or service, actually go out into the marketplace and get somebody to give you money. Don’t ask them, “Hey, would you use this product or service,” because people are nice and they’ll lie to you. They’ll say, “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.” But if somebody’s actually willing to give you a credit card, or hand you money, okay that’s proof.
And then what happens is you use that training program example. So you go out and you sell it to somebody, you get them to give you money. Well, if you end up not building the product or service, you can just refund them the money, it’s okay. But because somebody gave you money and you tell them like, “Hey, I’m going to deliver the product or service by such and such date,” it forces you to build the minimal viable version. Minimal viable product, minimal viable service. And build it to break, build it to be the minimal version of the product or service. Don’t spend two years building it only to find out that nobody wants it.
Bethan Jepson: Yeah. Such a good piece of advice there. Wonderful. Okay, so final question then, you’ll be very relieved to hear. So the podcast is called “Millionaire Secrets.” I’m really trying to figure out, yeah, how successful people think, what they do more of, what they do less of. So with that in mind, Dylan Ogline, what is your millionaire secret?
Dylan Ogline: I think we talked about it would be if I had one single thing would be focus. Focus your efforts. Try to focus your efforts on one single thing. And the more specific you can get the better. If the most specific you can get is I’m just going to focus on one business, okay. But challenge your notion of that’s as specific as I can get and say, “Can I focus on just one specific product or service within that business?” Try to get as focused as possible and then scale up from there. There you go, that’s my secret.
Bethan Jepson: Love it. Can I ask a follow-up question?
Dylan Ogline: Absolutely not. Go ahead.
Bethan Jepson: Yeah, I just I don’t usually ask a follow-up question for millionaire secret, but yeah, I kind of feel like it’s an important one. So in your case, for example, you built your digital agency and now you’re build your training business. So does that mean you still have the digital agency or have you now fully like put that to bed, or how does it work when you’re kind of evolving as a business owner? And, like you said, your passions changed, or you’ve got a new goal or something, like what happens?
Dylan Ogline: That’s a great question because it kind of might sound like I’m not taking my own advice. I have two businesses, what’s going on here? So, in my particular case, because I wanted to build that kind of four-hour work week life, I did an article recently, and the interview said something along the lines of “he lives the laptop lifestyle.” And that’s just kind of stuck with my brand I guess. I hate that term, another term I hate. So but when growing the business because I wanted to have lifestyle was very important, it eventually got to the point where I still have the agency, I still run it now, this is going to be our best year ever. And if it requires two to three hours of my time a week, that’s probably putting it pretty high. I could probably get away with one hour or less a week.
Bethan Jepson: Wow.
Dylan Ogline: And I’m very blessed, I’m very lucky for that. That is on purpose, that is by design, I wanted it to be there. And so once I hit kind of I was addicted to the growth, once I hit six figures it was like, “Oh, $200,000.” And then, “Oh now I want to hit $500,000.” And then I was like, “Ooh, seven figures.” So once I got there, I kind of took a step back and was like, “Okay, you have the lifestyle you want, you’re just going to keep wanting to grow bigger, and your quality of life isn’t increasing dramatically anymore.”
And I had this nagging itch, desire, like I mentioned to give back. Again, I hate that term, hate that term giving back, but to do some kind of coaching, and mentoring, teaching. And I had along the journey, again another term I hate to use, along the journey I had done some mentoring and wasn’t getting paid for it or anything and I just absolutely loved it. I don’t want to say much more enjoyable than the agency, but it was much more fulfilling than the agency work. So I hit seven figures, was like, “Okay, I got an incredible team in place. I’m only going to be addicted to the growth going forward. My lifestyle wasn’t dramatically increasing anymore. I have all this time. Okay, what can I do now?” So that was about two years ago give or take, a year and a half, two years ago, and kind of just switched my focus, and now that’s where 95% of my time and effort goes to.
Bethan Jepson: Okay. So it’s kind of like so do one thing, build it to the level where you can pretty much remove yourself apart from potentially like a couple of hours a week, then do the second thing. Is that an accurate summary?
Dylan Ogline: Well, that’s what I did, yes. Would I give that advice to somebody else? Depends on what your desire is. A very good friend of mine has a successful business, and he doesn’t want to kind of do go down my route that I’ve gone down. He pretty much just wants to make a bunch of money and then retire, and just chill out, I guess. And so my advice to him was is to continue to grow the company, keep your operations slim and elegant as you possibly can, and then try to sell it. That’s probably the route that he would go down. So, yeah, again I wouldn’t necessarily give that advice to anybody because that is just what fit my particular situation.
Bethan Jepson: Amazing. And where can people come and follow you to learn more from you and just follow you on your journey that you love to describe as?
Dylan Ogline: No, I don’t. I need to come up with a better word there. But no, my website’s dylanogline.com. And then you can follow me on the Instagram, and the Facebooks, and I think that’s pretty much, and like the LinkedIns, but I’m never on there. But yeah, dylanogline.com.
Bethan Jepson: Amazing. Cool, well thank you so much for your time today, Dylan. Honestly, this has been as valuable as it’s been hilarious.
Dylan Ogline: Thank you very much for having me. It was great.
Bethan Jepson: No worries. Thanks for listening to this episode. This is the one secret that I really want you to share. If you know someone who you know needs to hear this message of inspiration, please share this episode with them. And if you enjoyed what you heard today, I would be super grateful if you could leave me a five-star review on whatever podcast platform you’re listening on. Also, those who subscribe to the “Millionaire Secrets” podcast email list, you will immediately receive the “Millionaire Secrets” success checklist. 12 easy to implement daily practices which guarantee success in business approved by millionaires for future millionaires. Thanks again for listening to “Millionaire Secrets” and don’t forget knowledge is only power when you take action on it. I don’t want the secrets in this podcast to stay secret for long so go away, implement the advice given in this podcast, and let me know your results.