Matt Kohn is the founder and Head of Growth at Different Hunger Media, a digital agency and lifestyle brand that empowers agency owners to live more and work less through systems and automation. His agency team and partners have Fortune 50 brand experience and have been featured by Forbes, Inc., Foundr Magazine, Rich20Something, The Next Web, Virgin Media and more. Let’s hear more from him in this episode of Productivity Masterminds.
- Time is the only resource that truly matters because you can never get it back. You should know what you want to achieve in your life and prioritize things according to that. Time is limited and if you don’t take the control, somebody else will.
- Track your time. There are 1,440 minutes in a day and most people have no idea where those minutes are going. So track your time and then every day go through every task that you’ve performed – that allows you to become just hyper-aware of how you’re spending your time.
- The principles of leverage. Every task that you do on a daily basis in a perfect world should create either more time or more money. When you can find which tasks are going to create either more time or more money, or ideally both and you’re able to find tasks that create leverage, then you can escape those hundred-hour work weeks.
- Simplify certain tasks. For most people, just simplifying and systemizing just very simple tasks can easily create 5, 10, 15, 20 hours in your week on a day-to-day basis
- Be smart with your time and how you prioritize activities. First, care about leads and getting sales. Then, create systems and automate processes.
Juan: [00:00] Matt, it’s a pleasure. Thank you for coming on the show.
Matt Kohn: [01:24] Thank you for having me.
Juan: [01:26] Matt, so you’ve grown a six-figure agency, you’ve served a ton of different clients across different verticals and you’re balancing a lot of things in the air while you are a self-made entrepreneur, growing your brand, growing a community, you certainly know something about time that most of us don’t. What are your thoughts on productivity, time management? How do you see prioritizing tasks to help you be a top performer?
Matt Kohn: [01:49] So, when I quit my job, like most people, I had no idea what I was doing. I Reached out to pretty much any role model that I could reach via email. I think I sent over like 300 something emails and actually turned all of the advice that I received because I was basically hitting these people up and asking them for ‘what is your best advice for your 20 something self, you know, your 20 something self that has no idea what the hell you’re doing with your life.’ I got flooded with replies.
I think people like to give advice, you know, it’s an ego-stroking thing, but also, a lot of people like to help.
And one of the biggest things that I heard from all these people, you know, we’re talking olympians, superbowl champions, a New York times bestsellers, multimillion dollar entrepreneurs,. They all talked about time and they all talked about how, you know, it’s just the only resource, like the only resource that truly, truly matters because you can never ever get it back. And so, I really internalized that and and over the years I’ve really kind of become obsessed with it. One of my greatest sort of motivations is death as well and, and you know, that might sound like weird or creepy or whatever, but I’m very much at peace with the fact that I’m not going to be here forever and I have big goals and big objectives that I want to achieve with my life so that I can help people before that timeline is out.
When it comes to time management and prioritizing, it’s just so, so important, it’s literally the golden resource that you need to guard with your life because if you don’t, then you’re just going to lose it and people are going to take advantage of that and you’re not going to be able to do what you want to do with your life.
I mean, that’s what we all want to do, right? We all want to be in total control. So, from a high level that’s kind of that, that’s what I would share.
Juan: [04:02] That’s amazing. So, by realizing and being aware of your own mortality, it makes you increase the value that you see in time. Instead of just being this unlimited resource, you’re actually noticing the scarcity of it and it’s making you be more intentional about what you do with it. What frameworks do you use, Matt, if any, to actually then take all of that kind of like high-level cloud thinking about how you look at time and then turn it into actionable steps.
Matt Kohn: [04:29] So, uh, the first thing and the most important thing is being able to track your time. So many people just have no data when it comes to how are you spending your time on a daily basis, you know, like where are the minutes actually going, right? There’s, there’s 1,440 minutes in a day and most people have no idea where those minutes are going. And so being able to track your time is just absolutely critical. And so, um, something that I do every single day is, is I track my time, you know, right now I’m using a tool called toggle, um, and it’s going live up, up above our interview. Um, and then at the end of the day, I actually go through an audit all of my time. So, what I do is I track my time on toggle, I use Zapier to set up an automation that pushes my tasks and time logged into a spreadsheet.
Every day I go through every task that I’ve performed on a daily basis and that allows me to become just hyper-aware of how I’m spending my time.
And you know, if you’re trying to grow a business, um, and you’re spending, 75 percent of your day replying to emails and handling client communications, you’re not going to grow the business because those are tasks that are going to kill your growth and prevent your growth. So, by auditing your time and actually programming yourself to be aware of how you are spending your time, it’s inevitable that you’re going to be able to get those insights that you can then use to better spend your time and better leverage your time. That’s just a quick sort of exercise that I’ve been doing, you know, I wouldn’t say 100 percent of the time for the past few years, but it’s something that I’m very committed to. And um, you know, when you do that, you’re actually able to calculate the value that you generate per day. Um, and so you can reverse engineer your 90 day revenue goals to a daily value amount based on, you know, how many days you want to work per quarter and make sure that you actually know your own goals.
Juan: [06:54] Wow. Matt, that’s perfect. So, a lot of our listeners, they’re self-made professionals in the sense that they are able to change how much income they earn. So, they’re either entrepreneurs or they’re freelancers and that’s a community that you’re very familiar with because you’re growing in it or leading your own community in that space. How do you see the things that actually should be getting put into the things that should actually be getting tracked? So, you’re talking about tracking time, what actually should you be tracking? What should you be optimizing for as a freelancer, as a self-made professional as an entrepreneur?
Matt Kohn: [07:36] Yeah. Right. So, after about, after I quit my job really for like 10 months, I just like, I just hustled my ass off, right? I just worked 70 hours a week, 80 hours a week, 90 hours a week. And um, you know, that’s kind of the norm, like, you know, it, I know it, most people that quit their job, they just become antisocial, they bury their head in their work, but that’s not sustainable and not only that, but it’s like, you know, we didn’t quit our jobs to do that- we quit our jobs to have the freedom that we wanted and to have the life that we want, right? So, when it comes to like how to improve and optimize your time, after about 10 months, I hired a business coach, I went into a lot of debt and I was just desperate to find an answer, the answer wasn’t working anymore because I would have just crashed and burned even harder. [08:31] So I hired someone, he shared with me this principle of leverage, right?
So, every task that you do on a daily basis in a perfect world should create either more time or more money, right? When you can find which tasks are going to create either more time or more money, or ideally both, and you’re able to find tasks that create leverage, then you kind of can escape that, you know, those hundred-hour work weeks, right?
Because, you know, instead of replying to emails for three hours a day, you can set up a system that you can give to a virtual assistant and outsource that entire process, and boom, you just saved yourself three hours a day, right? So, those are three hours that you can put towards, okay, what’s my, what’s my sales funnel going to look like?’ You know, ‘what’s my marketing strategy?’ Um, you know, ‘what types of partnerships can I set up?’ Right? And you know, we’re in business and there’s only, you know, there’s only a sort of fixed amount of tasks that you can do, but things that create more time and more money are where you should be spending all of your time as the business owner. And, and the thing with most freelancers and independent consultants and coaches and that kind of stuff is they never break out of that, you know, they’re there consistently just trading their time for money without creating systems that create that leverage that they need to remove themselves from the business while also growing their income. When it comes to leverage creating tasks, it’s, you know, there’s sales, there’s marketing, there’s systems, there’s operations, and you want to think about, ‘okay, you know, instead of writing a brief to this designer, this developer, why don’t I just create a template that I can just reuse and repurpose over and over again.’ And, and you know, that’s kind of at a basic level, but then at a more advanced level, you can start leveraging a lot of different technology and automation to further automate this stuff. But, you know, for most people, just simplifying and systemizing, just very simple tasks can easily create, you know, five, 10, 15, 20 hours in your week on a, on a day-to-day basis.
Juan: [11:01] Wow Matt, that’s so many golden nuggets about how you’re thinking about this. I think this is very, very relevant to our audience. Uh, one more thing. You were talking there at the end about sales marketing systems and automation. Is there any advice that you have for where people can learn more about this or how they can kind of become pros at the same things that you’ve learned? Is it through hiring a consultant or is there any material that you can recommend?
Matt Kohn: [11:29] Um, where it all started for me, was like the Four-Hour work week, which I’m sure is how probably 90 percent of us got started or you know, got that picture in our heads of working from a laptop, living on a beach and all that good stuff. Um, so that’s good, but that book is also really dense and it’s also very potentially overwhelming. Honestly I think there’s not as many resources as there probably should be around these types of topics. I’ll just do a little self promo and send people into my face. So if you’re, you know, if you’re a freelancer or agency owner and you’re looking to get that leverage, that’s something that we talk a lot about. And that’s just differenthunger.com/fbgroup.
Um, and you know, we’re working around this. Um, but let me, let me think about some other resources. I think, you know, like I said, four-hour work week, that talks a lot about outsourcing and that kind of stuff. Process Street is a really amazing tool that I’ve been using, they have a really good blog. They probably have the best blog on systems that I’ve found, and they do a good job of really simplifying things. And another thing is it’s also really easy to get caught up in the systems and kind of use that as an excuse to not really be taking action.
And that’s something that I even have had to sort of check myself on, right, is you kind of sit back and you spend hours just creating systems without actually doing shit.
And so you know it, if that’s you, don’t let that be you because you know, if you don’t have sales, your business isn’t gonna grow, if you don’t have leads constantly coming in- one is to focus on getting leads and getting sales and then you can work on systemizing what’s actually working. And that’s something that I think even myself, it has held me back and it holds a lot of other people back is, you know you kind of hear like, oh, ‘systems and automation and it’s really sexy,’.
Unless you have that machine of cash flow, then you’re going to run out of cash and those systems aren’t going to get executed because you’re broke.
Juan: [13:48] Yep. You heard it here first, directly from that Matt Kohn. Just goes to show, I mean, as business owners, if we come from a corporate background and more focused on creating systems, which is something that we’re used to doing in the bigger companies, we’re focused on delighting the customer, which is something that we’re used to doing in a bigger company. You are making that the non-negotiable thing that you do in your business. We will absolutely, no matter what, build systems, we will absolutely no matter what delight the customer, but what you’re making a variable that you’re okay with – maybe we will, maybe we won’t – is making money, and the thing about running a business as it’s like the most important thing, you have to make more money than you spend and people really struggle with the morality of it.
Like is it okay for me to care about money more than delighting the customer more than building systems? Those things really matter. It’s just you have to care just a little bit more about running a profitable business.
If you want to stay in the game, and by the way, if you want to run a profitable business, you will care about delighting your customers and about scaling, so they’re not mutually exclusive. And if you can get over the fact that absolutely matters and that absolutely is the non-negotiable, then you’re able to scale your business and not stay in the hamster wheel of hustling. So, Matt, let’s do a quick show notes wrapup to understand all of your principals and your paradigms for how you are a top performer and maximizing your time.
So, Matt Kohn first asked mentors for professional direction and he got flooded with advice and the number one top trend that he learned from his network was that time matters, by realizing that he is mortal and that what he does with time matters, he started getting much more intentional about what he does with it. Actionable steps that he recommends include tracking your time. Most people don’t, and also Matt then at the end of the day, every day looks back at how he spent his time and assigns dollar values to each slot so that he can anchor how he’s actually spending time to revenue-generated activities or opportunities lost. He’s found that the answer is not working more, but rather finding tasks that create leverage. And this is very simple. Everything you do should create more time or more money and everything you do as a self-made professional should be in service of leveraging opportunities. So, if you’re not doing that, you’re not creating leverage.
There’s four things that Matt talked about: sales, marketing, systems and automation. They all matter for business owners in order to get out of the hamster wheel of hustling, but there are two major steps.
Step one is to care about leads and sales before caring about step number two, which is systems and automation. Matt, as you continue to grow and scale your agency and your career, what is the best place for people to stay in touch with you and learn more about what you’re doing?
Matt Kohn: [16:40] Yeah. So, Facebook is a good place to connect with me personally. And then as far as keeping up with the work that we’re creating, differenthunger.com is our website. We’re days away from launching the new and improved sexier website, it’s funny because I got featured on a youtube video where I was talking about like how to build an agency and my blog and website at the time was from when I was kind of building the agency and I didn’t really know what the hell I was doing. So this guy was like, ‘who’s this guy to be telling us how to build a business, he just quit his job a few months ago and he’s, he doesn’t even know what the hell he’s doing?’ Um, so we redesigned the website and we fixed that issue. But differenthunger.com. And then as far as if you’re a freelancer or you’re an agency owner, go ahead and join our Facebook group of other freelancers and agencies that want to grow without working 100-hour weeks. And that again is differenthunger.com/fbgroup.
Juan: [17:50]. Excellent. Matt, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Matt Kohn: Thank you for having me.