Have You Added Value To Someone’s Life Today? with Sharon Lechter

USO 59 | Adding Value To Someone

 

What many often don’t see with entrepreneurship is how it takes a lot of work. Thinking that it is a mystical world full of unicorns and rainbows is why most people never get out of startup mode. In this episode, we have someone who has an unvarnished perspective of entrepreneurship. Sharon Lechter – entrepreneur, international speaker, best-selling author, mentor, philanthropist, licensed CPA, and a Chartered Global Management Accountant – sits down with host Aaron Scott Young to talk about the evolution of her career and the lessons she learned along the way. Sharon brings to light the things you just can’t ignore when starting a business – from reading your numbers to the power of collaboration and association. She also gives great insights about financial freedom, loving what you do, and redefining success to actually add value to someone’s life while having your business work for you.

Listen To The Episode Here:

Have You Added Value To Someone’s Life Today? with Sharon Lechter

Many people out there say they’re a business owner or just self-employed. Self-employed is fine but at some point, you reach the maximum capacity that you have and you either have to level out or you burn out or you have to learn some new skills on how to become a real business and not just owning a job. That’s what this show is all about. In every episode, we bring you interesting people who’ve done super cool stuff and who’ve reached a level of success and our guest is no different.

Our guest is one of my lovely friends. I want to say dear friends, but this friend we have had sweet experiences but it’s always at an event. We’ve never had a meal at each other’s house or gone to Hawaii and watched the sunset. We have been in lots of different places together. Her name is Sharon Lechter. She has a company called Pay Your Family First or you could go to SharonLechter.com. Many of you know her work because of the things you may have done with your children, teaching them to read. If you wanted to learn about real estate investment or how to build a real business or working with the Napoleon Hill Foundation and all the books that she’s published for them. Her speaking career, the work that she does with women business owners and child financial literacy. Sharon is a powerhouse anywhere she goes. It’s great to have been able to schedule to get her here. Sharon, how are you?

I am fantastic, Aaron. I’m delighted to be with you. I think this is a great idea because it’s wonderful. A lot of people know what they know and you give them the opportunity to learn some things other people have done that they can emulate to take their business to the next level. Thank you for doing that. I’m honored to be here with you.

It’s a delight to have you here. I always like to start with the beginning, but it sounds like the sound of music. I do want to get to all the stuff you did, this big chunk of your career. I’ve known you now for eight or ten years and with more and more personal friendship over that time. Do you mind if we start off? I don’t know the answers to this question. Let me tell you, Sharon is the person, if you were to look at her existence right now. If you would be a fly on the wall and watch, you would go, “She’s got everything. She got a successful career. She’s got all these awards and all these fancy friends and they have a beautiful home. Is it Phoenix or Scottsdale?

It’s called Paradise Valley. It’s right between Scottsdale and Phoenix.

It’s there in that Metroplex. Also, you have a great big ranch and it’s so cool. Where we sit right now is not necessarily indicative of all the things we’ve gone through to get to this place. Is that true?

Yes.

Did you forecast all of this stuff when you got started? Was there any way to anticipate it?

No. We all have goals in our lives. Growing up, my dad would ask me if you added value to someone’s life now. I thought I was going to be a fourth-grade math teacher growing up. That was my goal. It didn’t take me long to realize that level of pay wasn’t going to qualify. I decided, “I’m going to become a doctor. I’m going to become a CPA.” I realized a doctor would take a whole lot more years than becoming a CPA. I became a CPA. I’ve always had a practical side. I grew up in this very entrepreneurial home. We lived in a little tiny house between my mother’s beauty shop and my dad’s used car lot. I swore I’d never been an entrepreneur because we had rental properties that I had to go help scrub out the bathrooms and we had orange groves. I grew up in the environment of assets. Buying, building and creating assets that generated revenue. I swore I did not want to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to be a sophisticated professional.

Being in some ivory tower someplace.

I wanted to be in the tall glass buildings in the middle of Atlanta, Georgia and fast track my way to partner in a Big 8 accounting firm at the time. When I reached 25, which that’s when we all get smarter or our parents get smarter. I said, “I’m working hundreds of hours for somebody else. If I’m going to work this hard, I should be working for myself.” All of a sudden, my parents looked a whole lot smarter.

That’s cool to have happened at 25. I want to jump back to your youth. You just said something so fascinating between your mom’s beauty shop and your dad’s used car lot and then your folks were buying rental properties. You grew up with the understanding that first of all, people could own a business. That was not unreachable. As a matter of fact, your perspective was it’s a pain in the butt. Is that right?

Because I was involved in it. I had to clean out the beauty shop, I had to claim the rental properties and my mother had an eighth-grade education, my father had a third-grade education. I was the first generation to go to college. My dad ended up running the engineering school for the Navy, so he did pretty well being a self-taught man. Their goal, their dream in life was that their daughters would get college educations. I always said I always wanted the better, I wanted to be better. Truth be told, I was embarrassed about where I came from because a lot of my friends’ parents were doctors or officers and military and I was lower middle class. I said, “I need to get to where I can be successful and be in the upper-middle-class so that I can help my parents.” That was one of the goals I had.

First of all, what is the statistic? 80% of billionaires do not have a college education and many of them didn’t finish high school because they saw a path and they went after it. You can think of Michael Dell or Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates. These people that got into good schools, but then they started a business and maybe finished, but most of them dropped out to pursue the business. You and I share a similar experience in that. It was uncomfortable for me, the neighborhood that we lived in. We had a company car, but we didn’t have our own car. My dad’s company, he got a new car every two years, but it wasn’t ours and my mom did daycare. I talked to so many people who have reached a level of success who came from a challenged economic situation. For me, if you’re going to buy a pair of Nike’s back in 1978 or Britannia scrolled jeans or something that was popular, my mom and dad were not buying that for me. I had to figure out how to get it.

You had to set a goal, you had to work for it and you had to achieve it.

Do you see that with a lot of the people that you work with who are successful? Were they born with a silver spoon or do they have to claw their way up?

The vast majority of highly successful people that I work with had very modest beginnings and exactly the same thing. I have a phrase I use, “You’re the CEO of your own life.” They realize if they wanted to get ahead, it was up to them. You can’t blame someone else. You can’t justify it. If you want something, you need to set a course, work hard and achieve it. That’s what you see as a general rule. When you look at a lot of these top young entrepreneurs now, many of them had humble beginnings. I still have a lot of clients, a lot of people that I know that actually were born with silver spoons in their mouths and they rejected what their parents were doing and went a different path. They also knew in order to be successful, they had to focus and they had to persevere and create that success.

A lot of us, we hear about the wasted generation of rich kids who become entitled and basically one generation makes the money and the second generation spends it and goes crazy. The third generation is left with having to start over again. You do see that a lot. In this environment, when I work with parents because of easy credit and the lack of delayed gratification, I tell parents all the time, “Please have your children set goals, work for them and achieve them because not only do you see their self-confidence increase, their level of responsibility increases as well.” That’s where I think we’re lacking now.

As you’re reading this, I want you to be thinking about the fact that if things are a little challenging, pay attention to what Sharon said. Just because it’s not easy doesn’t mean it’s not possible. You’ve got to think about, “How can you do something differently?” Everybody says, “What do you want?” “I want $1 million.” It’s like, “What are you going to do with $1 million if you have it?” Come up with a plan and start with what you have from where you are right now because you can take steps. Many people that I run across, they sit on their thumbs because they think they don’t have everything they need. You don’t need anything. You need to start.

Financial freedom does not mean millions of dollars. Financial freedom comes when income from your assets exceed your monthly expenses. My old partner, when we first got together, he lived in a small condo. He owned two small apartment complexes. He made $100,000 a year from those apartment complexes, but he was only spending $36,000 to live. He was financially free. That’s the message everybody needs to hear. Focus on buying, building and creating income-producing assets. You started off your show, Aaron, by talking about don’t own a job, own a business. Build a business that can work without you so that that asset is there working for you even when you’re not there.

USO 59 | Adding Value To Someone

Adding Value To Someone: Financial freedom comes when income from your assets exceed your monthly expenses.

 

It’s attainable and I want you to know, Sharon is an example of switching gears, coming from the lower middle class. She was okay, mom and dad were working. She could eat. She learned the value of work. Talk about an unvarnished perspective of entrepreneurship when you’re the kid out there picking oranges or turning an apartment over to put a new tenant in it or sweeping up the beauty shop. There’s no glamour in this. I get ahead of myself with all the philosophical stuff. I’m just saying some people imagine this mystical, magical world of unicorns and rainbows and being an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship takes work. The biggest part of the work is that most people never get out of startup mode, which is where we’re going to go with this conversation. You became a CPA, you became a partner and then you said, “I’m working my tail off.” What is it? At 25, your brain is fully formed now? All of a sudden mom and dad looked like maybe they had something at least to consider. You’ve never left your roots of understanding the numbers. I’ve noticed that about you over the years.

It’s the greatest training on Earth. Just to correct, I was on the fast track to partner but I left before I became partner because that’s good ten years to get to partner. It was incredible training to be a CPA because I went into lots of different businesses and I saw how they succeeded. Sometimes even more importantly, I saw how many of them were failing. I had this incredible education. I call it you’ve got the school smarts and street smarts. I had a great education in accounting, but my best education was the street smarts of actually getting in there and seeing how all these companies succeeded or not.

Everybody reading this, the numbers tell a story. You need to understand how to read your numbers. Too many people put their head in the sand and they try to ignore them and you can’t do that. You have to understand where you are financially. Even if you’re not quite sure, once you do it, even if the picture is not pretty, you feel better because at least you know where you are. My dad used to say, “A map doesn’t help you if you don’t know where you are and where you want to go.” You’ve got to figure out where you are financially.

Your dad sounds like a pretty wise guy. This is the second time you quoted your dad. You left CPA. What was the evolution of the career? Don’t skip over stuff too fast as you start to go because I know you’ve written a lot of books and I know part of your early business was with children’s books. Was that the first thing after leaving the CPA firm?

No, I left the accounting firm when I had a client call me and ask me. He was investing in a company that was in bankruptcy and he was putting money in to bring it out of bankruptcy to preserve the net operating loss carryover. I made the decision at that time and I share this when I do my speeches. It’s like I put the yellow legal pad and did the pros and the cons and I could argue each side and it didn’t help me a bit, but my hand just took off on its own and wrote, “Why not?” That has become a personal mantra for me. Why not do something different? Every entrepreneur out there, why not take the road less traveled? Why not create something better and new? Why not solve a problem or serve a need? When that happened, I made the decision to leave.

Still now, which we’re talking 40 years later, practically it was the worst business decision of my life. I got up there and found all kinds of corruption. A month later, I ran away trying to figure out what I was going to do because I was so embarrassed. I’m 25 years old and I just got my CPA license. I’m like, “I’m going to lose it because I’m in the middle of all this stuff.” Talk about stress. I came back and I had made the decision I was going to leave. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but there was a young man there, quite a few attorneys there and some litigation that the company had been involved in.

I met a young man named Michael Lechter and we’re celebrating 39 years in September 2019 together. People say how we met. I would say, “He was going through my drawers,” and it was a true statement. He was there on litigation doing discovery and we met when he was in my office and my chair. I came in and I sat in the guest chair. We shook hands. It was electric. It was love at first sight. That was January of 1980. We’ve been together ever since. As Napoleon Hill said, “Out of every adversity comes a seed of an equal or greater benefit.” I got instant feedback. My worst business decision provided me the best life decision.

I never knew that story. He’s such a nice man. He is such a nice guy. No wonder that you guys wanted to hang out together for 39 years. I had a question in there. First of all, you said, “I’m 25 years old.” I remember my one significant business failure was back in February of ‘92 when we were sitting in bankruptcy court and I was 28 years old. I thought my life was over. I thought, “This is it,” because you feel like a fully functional adult at this point, at 25 or 28.

While I was away, I was trying to figure out what to do with my life. For those of you that are single out there, I made the decision that it was okay that I wasn’t married. I figured I would be okay single for the rest of my life because I thought I was an old maid at 25. I give it up to the man upstairs and three weeks later, I met my husband.

Remember, especially when you’re young, if you had a huge financial setback in your 60s or 70s, that can be hard to bounce back from. Many people, when they’re young, they get so worried about a setback or a challenge and they think, “That’s it for me.” It’s not. That’s not true. Don’t allow yourself to follow that script because it’s baloney.

What I like to tell people is a failure, a mishap, a mistake is an event, not a definition. Too many people use that as a definition of themselves. It’s something that happened. You were involved. You have the opportunity to learn from it so you don’t repeat it, but it doesn’t define who you are. Too many of us carry it around like an old sack of potatoes on our backs. That’s something people need to let go of. We’re saying learn the lesson. It’s important to learn the lesson but then go forward.

My wife, you know Michelle, she’s a coach. She often says, “This is what it looks like on our way to some other destination. This is what it looks like.” Don’t get all freaked out about the mishaps or the events because they’re not the definition of you unless you’re doing things that are defining yourself. Going to prison doesn’t necessarily define who you are, but being a criminal does. Make choices. If you have mishaps along the way and you’re doing your best, don’t freak out.

Just learn from them. I also share the analogy for people who are sailors. You don’t get from point A to point B in a straight line. You’ve got to tack all the time and go back and forth. If you know where you want to go, you can recalibrate and get to where you need to be. It’s the same thing in business. You have a plan, you have a business plan and rarely does it come out the way that you originally designed it. Lots of things happen along the way. If you still have that long-term goal and you can continue focusing on that goal, you will get there.

Keep your eye on the destination and enjoy the events along the way and think, “How lucky am I to be in the game?” Tell us how you got into the publishing world and tell us about the books. I’m going to need you to explain it. You tell us about the books.

I met Michael and we were married nine months later. I moved to DC and we were together there. About our fourth year of marriage, I was working as an officer in a large insurance company. Mike came home one day. He passed the Florida bar, which is where I grew up. We expected we’d be moving to Florida and he had this offer in Wisconsin. I said, “We needed a geography lesson. This is the wrong direction.” We ended up moving. We moved to Wisconsin, Milwaukee area for seven years. We loved it there. We love our friends, our family and it was a great place to raise our children.

I got very involved in the community. I was on the Board for the American Cancer Society and we made a good friend with somebody else. He had an idea for a talking children’s book. At the time, there were no electronics, no internet and Amazon. He wanted to bring the sounds back into reading. When you read it, you would come to a picture and that picture had a sound strip down the side and you’d touch it. It would give you the relative sound or the relative word, depending on whether it was a reading book or whether it was a sound book. His background was in sheet music, so he was new to the industry. We were very good friends.

He went to Michael. Michael helped him do the patent work on what he was doing. I joined forces with him because he didn’t know how to build the industry. I had just finished building a woman’s magazine and sold that. I was involved with him on this. We started that in 1987 and in four years, we took it from $1 million to $9 million to $23 million to $52 million. We did that because we recognized that the power of association and this is what I always share with people, most people think they have to do it on their own. It’s so important to understand businesses is a team sport. I said, “We need to convince parents that we’re trustworthy.” They don’t know who we are but they know Disney, Warner Brothers and Sesame Street. We did license deals with all those companies so that the books became Disney books or Sesame street books and they were an instant success.

It’s that power of collaboration. People want to do business with people that they know, like and trust and we needed that trust because it was the first electronics ever in a child’s hand. We were excited about that. I’d done a woman’s magazine before that. I understood and I got into the publishing world and the manufacturing side of publishing, as well as the writing. That was in ‘91. We sold that company and that’s when Mike and I actually moved to Arizona. In 1992, our oldest son went off to college in September and came home in December, telling us that he’d gotten into credit card debt. We didn’t even know he had a credit card.

1992? I’m sitting here trying to do the math. I thought you guys got married in 1980?

In 1980, yes.

USO 59 | Adding Value To Someone

Adding Value To Someone: Buy, build, or create income-producing assets to create financial freedom. Have your money work for you instead of you working so hard for money.

 

I’m getting into personal stuff here.

Our older two children are Mike’s from a prior marriage.

You inherited a family.

I’m not the only mom, but I’m the one who raised them.

I just thought we had Doogie Howser at twelve years old or something going off to college and I was trying to do the math.

We had our 25th wedding anniversary and he was at the microphone and he was 31. He says, “I’m imagining some of you are probably doing the math.” It was pretty funny. I’m very proud of both of our older children. He had gone to college and he got greeted with these tables saying free t-shirt, free pizza and free money. He bit the bait. For him, he had a great time in his first semester. All of a sudden, the bills came in. That was December of ‘92. I was angry with him, but I was angrier with myself because I thought I had taught him about money. I taught him the things that my parents taught me, but there were no credit cards when I went off to college.

When I graduated from college, I had saved $21,000 to start my life with, which was a lot of money at that time. Here, my son is a freshman and he’s in debt already. I was devastated. In December of ‘92, I dedicated my career to financial literacy and financial education. I’m as passionate about it now as I was then. That started a journey that I’m still on. I started working with school districts and fast forward a few years, in 1996, I got a call from Michael saying he had this guy walk into his office in flip flops and a t-shirt and with this idea for a board game. That weekend he had hired Mike to help him put that inside of what I was trying to teach.

I made the beta tests. I’m the only one that got out of the rat race. I believed in the message and the message is buy, build or create income-producing assets to create financial freedom. Have your money work for you instead of you working so hard for money. I volunteered to help Robert Kiyosaki create the game, CASHFLOW. In that process, he told me he wanted to charge $200 for it. I said, “Maybe we should write a brochure that explains the methodology behind us because that’s pricey for a board game,” particularly back then. We’re talking ‘96. He asked me to be his partner and we wrote Rich Dad Poor Dad as a brochure for the board game. We never expected it to be a brand in itself. We never expected to become a publishing company. We thought we were writing one book.

It took off. We said, “We’ll do a trilogy,” so we did Rich Dad Poor Dad, CASHFLOW Quadrant and Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing. They’re like, “We want more.” In the ten-year partnership, we wrote fifteen books together and then I started an entirely new series called Rich Dad Advisors that we did well-over ten books in. We became not just a game company but a publishing company. This time I said, “I want to do what I did with the talking book company, but instead of me writing big checks to companies like Warner Brothers and Sesame Street, I want to build the brand that other people write the checks to.”

We sought out, that’s why people call us the Purple Storm in China because we had a consistent brand. We had a consistent message. Quality control and companies were coming to us to work with us and license what we were doing. That was when we wanted to go into infomercial. We got the call from Time Life. I don’t like infomercials but Time Life, I am going to do it. It’s going to be with them. They came to us. We became the authority in the field. Over that ten-year relationship, we ended up in over 100 countries and over 50 languages. By now, over 32 million books have been sold and it was a moral success.

When we first started, there still was no Amazon. There was still no internet. We had to get the books into stores. That was an entire process unto itself. We understood the power of association. At the height of our success, probably 5,000 people working for us but I only had fifteen, sixteen, seventeen people on the payroll. Understand that Mike and I work with people now to help them see how to have those multiple streams of income. How to find those partners that already have systems built that you can coordinate, you do a strategic alliance with and let them do the work and you get the revenue.

In that story you told, I thought we could have done a show on just that right there. Maybe there’s a different interview down the road that talks about how you take a brochure for a game and turn it into 25 books and turn it into a juggernaut of success and all within ten years. Folks, something I want you to take away from what Sharon said is that there are so many people that come up, I’m sure to both of us, Sharon, who has a passion about doing something. I tried to explain to people, at least my perspective is don’t necessarily pursue your passion. What you want to do is get passionate about what you’re doing and make sure that what you’re doing is something that people want to buy. Don’t you meet people all the time who say, “I’ve spent all my savings on this little course or this something,” I don’t know, whatever, fill in the blanks, “but I’ve never sold anything.” “Why?” “Because nobody wants to buy it.”

I can’t agree with you more, Aaron. I tell people sometimes in the success equation that I did in Three Feet from Gold and that’s the rest of my story and then we get in the Napoleon Hill Foundation. It talks about your passion and your talent. Your passion, you’re here to do what you love and love what you do. My passion came from anger because we weren’t teaching kids about money in school. It doesn’t necessarily need to be the business. I have a dear friend who just retired. He is a billionaire. He became a billionaire because his business did packaging, cardboard boxes and insert foam. He became a billionaire and he is very passionate about travel, about his homes all over the world and about hunting. That’s his passion. He built the business that solved a problem or served a need and the revenue from that business fueled his passions. That’s in concept that people say, “Find something like a problem to solve, a need to serve and then build that system that’s going to generate the revenue for you.”

People have said to me about my business Laughlin Associates, and it’s not a very sexy business to form a corporation, to do minutes and resolutions to help people with trademark stuff. It’s not like make $1 million or travel the world or fly first class for 30% off the normal price. It’s not the stuff that you get on Facebook ads, but we’re 48 years old. We have tens and tens of thousands of clients. Like your friend, everybody’s using cardboard boxes. Everybody needs it and you be passionate with that abundance that flows out of doing what the market wants.

He’s passionate about child causes. It allows him to fuel those passions because it gives him the opportunity to do. Because he’s doing so well in his business, he can do even better with the community and the things that he cares about.

I love all these little bits of wisdom that are spilling out here. You left Rich Dad.

In 2007.

You parted ways.

We were no longer aligned. He wanted to go into franchising. It was a great deal for us from a financial perspective, but it was not a good model for the franchisees. I tell people, “Sometimes you have to close one door.” I want everybody reading to just think about this in your life. Sometimes you have to close a door for other doors of opportunity to open and you might not know what that is. I made the decision to stand in the truth and not to do it. I did not feel comfortable with it at that point in time. I did not feel comfortable with a new business model. I didn’t feel it was good. I made that decision to leave. It was amicable for only a few months until the valuation of the company came in and we ended up fighting and in litigation for a year. It’s not something I wanted because I thought Rich Dad was my legacy.

USO 59 | Adding Value To Someone

Success and Something Greater: Your Magic Key

I wrote fifteen books in the Rich Dad series. That’s like giving birth fifteen times. I thought, “I’m leaving this. I am walking away from this.” Somebody upstairs had more important things for me to do and I didn’t know what they were, but I got that phone call a few months later from President Bush inviting me on the President’s Advisory Council for Financial Literacy out of the blue. I would never have gotten that phone call had I still been at Rich Dad. I challenge everybody reading, is there a door in your life you need to close to allow space for new opportunities? Three months later, we know what happened to the economy in 2008. I got a phone call from the Napoleon Hill Foundation.

I knew Don Green for years because we helped him, but he would never have called me had I still been at Rich Dad. He said, “Sharon, I found out you left Rich Dad. We need you. We need to reinvigorate the teachings of Hill in this economic time.” What an incredible honor. I read Think and Grow Rich when I was nineteen. I didn’t know until I was in my 30s the impact it had in my life. Having built the largest personal finance brand in the world and then being asked to step into the largest personal development brand, what a huge honor. I wouldn’t have had that had I still been at Rich Dad. I bring it back around to everybody reading, “Is there a door in your life you need to close so that other doors of opportunity will open?” I now have ten years working with the Napoleon Hill Foundation, in addition to my own companies. It’s been an absolute joy and pleasure to be able to work in an environment that is supportive. Just absolutely give and generosity of spirit.

You have a book and let’s say that right now because I’ve seen some of the promotional stuff that said this is the last book. Is this the last thing you and Greg are doing together or the last thing you do?

It’s Success and Something Greater. The title was the title that Napoleon Hill himself was going to use for his last book but he passed. The foundation reached out to us and said, “Sharon, this was the title he was going to use. We want you to use this title.” That’s why it’s so exciting and that probably connect the dots for you. Greg and I released Three Feet From Gold, my very first project with the foundation ten years ago. Ten years later, we’ve done this project together, Success and Something Greater. We’re going to come out with a tenth-anniversary edition of Three Feet From Gold as well.

There are lots going on still in books. It seems like you’ve hung around with books quite a lot.

I’ve written 24, but I also have several online courses that if anybody’s interested, they’re willing to check them out. What I did was there are high-level mentoring programs that Mike and I do or I do alone. We put it into an online environment, so people didn’t have to pay quite as much for the content. One is called the Essential Components of a Successful Business where it is like a college class of going into elements of the importance of what you do. The extreme importance of building the legal foundation of your business, understanding how to buy, build or create intellectual property in your business, the importance of intangible assets, the importance of business systems. Most people are so in love with their product or their service, but unless you build the platform so people can find you and the systems that once you are successful, you need to be scalable. If you are scalable, that helps you become sustainable and then at some point, it becomes saleable. Unless you have all that foundation, you’ll never get there.

We did an entire course on understanding how to build a sustainable business that will operate like a fine oiled machine. I have a personal financial mastery course for people that are still struggling or still trying to find or get to that break-even point. 70% of Americans are still living paycheck to paycheck. That course is available. I have another one called Play Big and that works with the personal finance course. Once are relatively stable, let’s get to the point where you’re financially free and we talk about, how we have done that personally and how we’ve helped many others do that as well. I’m proud of those courses.

Before, I wasn’t doing much online. We’re coming into that arena now in that market and I’m just thrilled. We have incredible feedback. They’re not your typical hour-long course. These are like college courses. Mike was an adjunct professor in addition to being a well-known and electrical property attorney. Both of us are much more into content than hype. It’s content with exercises. In the courses that I did on The Play Big Movement, the action steps are as much as a mindset. I have a mindset action steps as well as fundamentals that you should do.

Where would they find this information? How could they subscribe? How could they connect with you on that stuff? I don’t want that to just slide by. Where do you go? What’s the website?

You can go to SharonLechter.com. Those are all available there. If you have questions, email me at Info@SharonLechter.com. We’ll reach right out to you and answer any questions that you have. I also have a free gift for everybody. I talk about the personal success equation and combining your passion and talent. We talk about also multiplying that by power of association. The fact that Aaron and I know each other, but we also support each other, that’s the power of association. That one plus one is eleven, not two. That gives you exponential results. Taking the right actions. How many people know what they’re supposed to do, but they don’t do it? Sometimes I’m busted on that one.

The plus F at the end of it is faith. Having faith in yourself. Having faith in what you’re doing, having faith that is needed and necessary and having faith that you will succeed. That’s what gets you through the downtime. I created something, a gift for everybody. It’s a multipage workbook on helping you walk through your own personal success equation, triggering questions on what things you should do. Do you need that next association? Let’s figure out how you can get that. My incredible success with the talking book company came because we were both on a charity board together and we had a passion related to cancer. This power of association worked in such a beautiful way. If you’re interested in that, you can go to Bit.ly/successequation and we will send that out to you. There’s no sales pitch attached to it. It’s just a gift to you.

When somebody who’s built empires, who’s been handpicked to continue the legacy of somebody like Napoleon Hill, built the Rich Dad. I won’t call it to Kiyosaki because you are the one leading it. No disrespect to Robert Kiyosaki but you are the business head behind the whole thing, as well as the writer.

He used to say he was the horn and I was the engine. It’s pretty accurate.

He was out there giving his speeches and he was the face, he was the horn and you are the engine. I love that. I hope I’m not too much of a horn. You talked about the power of association and that you met the talking books person serving on a board. You know a lot of wildly successful people. I have a little inkling of that and I’m sure don’t know the half of it. When you talk about that, a lot of people say, “How do I get onto a national board like that? How would the president even know or somebody in the president’s advisory team, even know about me?” When we talk about power of association, how can people get out of their little vacuum of their office, of their car, of the kitchen table or even of their 10,000 square foot suite with 30 employees working? How do they get out of the vacuum of their own life and get some of those associations? What do you recommend?

Too many times, we get caught up on working in our business and don’t work on our business. In addition to that, you need to always continue expanding your network. When I work with people, I take them through the success equation. I take them through their business to find out why they plateaued and pretty much they’ve plateaued because they have stopped expanding their associations. You continue expanding your market. Particularly for people that are just getting started in business and industry, it’s important to get out there and meet powerful people. For instance in the securities world, the legal side of the world, you can’t solicit people for money without going through some securities issues and making sure you get all the legal stuff done if you don’t know them.

One way to get to know rich people is to find out what they’re interested in and volunteer at the same organization where you get to know them. They get to see your work ethic. They get to see your passion for supporting something and giving of yourself. As you get to know them, you expand your association, so they’re no longer a stranger. They’re an acquaintance. I’m constantly telling people that say, “I don’t know any rich people.” Get out there and start volunteering for some charities because the charity has a lot of rich people donors. That’s one way to get exposure and get to know them and start going to business events and start talking. If they have a Shark Tank-like organization happening in your community, go as part of the audience and make a point of saying hello to the speakers and understanding who they are and what they do. It’s taking action. It comes back to that success equation. What action are you taking to get out there to meet the right people?

A lot of businesses never succeed, and I’m going to be blunt because they have a victim mentality. It’s like, “I don’t know the right people.” Get out there and get to meet them. “I don’t have the money.” It doesn’t take money to make money. “I’m just not lucky.” That’s because you’re not putting yourself in the position of highest potential. They talked about me being the Velvet Hammer. I’m not going to put up with that because it’s a waste of your time and my time. If you’re not willing to roll up your sleeves and build the business to the point where you need it to be, going out there and solving a problem and knowing that if you meet Aaron Young, you have a huge opportunity to build your business. Why aren’t you finding a way to meet Aaron Young? Don’t talk about it. Do it.

First of all, thank you. Be the velvet hammer because I’m pretty hard on people here too because it’s not to be hard. It’s to be truthful. If you want to achieve something, then you have to take steps to do it. You can’t wait for somebody to hand it to you. The only way to meet the people is get out of your office or get out of your house. People have said, “I don’t know how to meet people for my something business. I don’t have a big marketing budget. I don’t know how to meet people.” I’m like, “What are you doing? Where are you going? Where are you showing up?” Are you striking up a conversation in the grocery store line or the bank? Somebody told me one time, “A closed mouth don’t eat.” I thought, “That’s the truth.” If we don’t open our mouth and let people know that we’re doing something, there’s no way they can choose to invite them.

If you don’t ask, a lot of times you don’t get. It’s the same thing. People are so afraid to ask or afraid of the rejection. The rejection means next or maybe not now. We live in a life where we’re not always going to get yeses. That’s one of the things coming back full circle to how we started. Too many of our children get nerved when told no and they’re going to have a hard time when they get out into the real world.

I’ll tell you this, I adore my dad. I respect and love my dad so much, but he sees the world as so much more difficult, so much more evil, more challenging and more impossible to succeed than when he was a kid. He says, “Being a kid in 1950s in LA was the best thing in the world. You didn’t have to look for a job. If you could work, you had a job.” He thinks now it’s so hard and maybe it is. The fact is that you hear these statistics that some huge percentage of the jobs that we currently know about won’t even exist fifteen years from now, which means there’s huge opportunity to invent new things. The population is not shrinking and people will work. It’s a matter of where are they going to work and what are they going to do. Are you going to be watching from the sidelines or are you going to be on the front edge of the wave creating something? As Sharon has said multiple times, solving a problem in the market.

USO 59 | Adding Value To Someone

Think and Grow Rich for Women: Using Your Power to Create Success and Significance

I want to want to add one thing because that’s exactly why I wrote Think and Grow Rich for Women. I was getting tired of listening to all these women complaining and criticizing the men in their lives for keeping them from being successful. I said, “We need to change the dialogue.” If you think about the Law of Attraction and when you say negative things, you attract negative results. I love working with men and there have been a lot of men who opened a lot of doors for me. Let’s stop criticizing and blaming other men for not being successful and let’s start celebrating the success that women have had. Do we need more? Do we need more women CEOs? Do we need more women in the seats? Of course, but we’ve come so far. Let’s celebrate the success we’ve had. Let’s celebrate the men that have helped us along the way. Let’s change that dialogue to one of optimism and positivity instead of negativity. That’s exactly why I wrote Think and Grow Rich for Women.

I know I handed out at least a dozen copies of that book to women that I know. Something else for the women reading and this isn’t a justification at all. I know I’m a white man in the United States of America, arguably the luckiest set of circumstances you could be born into. I’ll say this, men controlled the dialogue for thousands of years. Especially for the younger people who don’t understand this, go back and watch a movie called 9 to 5 with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton. This was just pretty deep into the ‘70s. It was a comedy about basically the horrible working conditions of women in Corporate America.

When you look at what’s happened in let’s call it 40 years since that movie came out, women are moving quick. Men, I’m going to remind you what I’ve said a million times before, more women are graduating college and starting companies. Women tend to do the tactical work where you’re all this big visionary stuff. I’ve told them in a million times, “Women don’t need us to protect them anymore. We don’t have to go out and hunt the cave bear. They don’t even need us to have babies anymore. If you don’t fall in line and start understanding what’s going on, you will get left behind.”

I’ve had a phenomenal marriage for 32 years to an equal partner. I would argue mostly she’s always been ahead of me. Sharon, I don’t spread this around a lot, but everybody knows that I served a little prison time and I don’t usually try to ever explain to justify it. It was an event. My business partner said to me, “Of everybody that had offered or that we could take from inside of the business to run the company,” he said to me very seriously at lunch one day, “the only person I would trust is your wife to take over. How do you feel about that?” You’d be coming into a pretty scary circumstance with the leaders going off to prison. Do you know what my fear was, Sharon? My fear was if Michelle runs that business for very long, they’re not going to want me back. I wasn’t making a joke. I thought, “She’s so competent. She’s so smart. She’s so kind. She’s so insightful.” I’m glad you wanted to change the dialogue. I want to say to the men, you better figure it out. To the women, I know it’s frustrating but it’s happening. There are changes. Should they have happened long ago? Sure, but it’s happening. I’ve watched it in my lifetime go dramatically different.

We need to stop looking back. We need to look forward. All of us are, where we are now is because of the choices we made before. If you want something different out of life, start making different choices.

Hang around with different people and Play Big, as your book. Sharon, is there anything you like to end with or any counsel you like to give, something that speaks to both your passion?

I need everybody to join the Play Big Movement. This is a private Facebook group, Play Big Movement with Sharon Lechter. It’s totally free. I do several broadcasts a week talking about ways to take your business to the next level. I invite all of you to join that. At the end of the day, and I’ve said this, you’re the CEO of your own life. Aaron, with your dad’s opinion, there’s a lot of chaos in our world. There’s a lot of distraction. Social media can be a killer for kids as well as a wonderful communication tool. I think it is increasing depression because kids immediately know when their friends are out without them.

In addition, it’s never been easier to start and build a business. With every positive comes a drag, a negative. Understanding how to quiet the chaos and focus on building a new business is an opportunity of a lifetime. Understand that in doing that, you need to be able to do something that arises your message above the chaos so they’d get people’s attention. I’m not talking about what you feature, but what your benefits are. What are you doing for the person that’s looking at this? Full circle back to what problem do you solve, what needs do you serve and you will be successful.

We’ve been talking with Sharon Lechter, Pay Your Family First. I know that’s been a long time ever since your son went off to college and got into debt. Go back to all the resources that Sharon has mentioned and find something that you can grab onto and you can make that new decision. You can create a new association. You start to get into Sharon’s world. You start to get closer to that famous person. There is no excuse. It’s right here in front of you. It has been served to you on a silver platter. Sharon, thanks for your wisdom, your insight and your friendship. You’re such a lovely person. Go out and make choices. Get clear on the destination. Get clear on your intentions. Make choices that will serve your future self. Go ahead and build something that is just bigger than you. Go out and make a difference in the world. We will be back next time with new content and new guest, but make sure you don’t let this one fall by the wayside. Make sure you’d plug in to Sharon Lechter.

Important Links:

About Sharon Lechter

USO 59 | Adding Value To SomeoneAs an entrepreneur, international speaker, best-selling author, mentor, philanthropist, licensed CPA, and a Chartered Global Management Accountant, Sharon Lechter is the premier expert for financial literacy and entrepreneurial success.

A lifelong education advocate, in 1989, Sharon joined forces with the inventor of the first electronic ‘talking book’ and helped him expand the electronic book industry to a multi-million dollar international market.

In 1997 Sharon co-authored the international bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad and has released 14 other books in the Rich Dad series. Over 10 years as the co-founder and CEO, she built the empire into the world’s leading personal finance brand.

In 2008, she was asked by the Napoleon Hill Foundation to help re-energize the powerful teachings of Napoleon Hill just as the international economy was faltering. Sharon has released three bestselling books in cooperation with the Foundation, including Think and Grow Rich-Three Feet from Gold, Outwitting the Devil and her latest project, Think and Grow Rich for Women, released in June of 2014. She is also featured in the 2017 movie Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy and has released the book Save Wisely, Spend Happily in cooperation with the American Institute of CPAs. Sharon is a highly sought-after mentor and has worked with major brands like Disney and Time Warner and served two U.S. Presidents as an advisor on the topic of financial literacy.

As CEO of Pay Your Family First, she has dedicated her entrepreneurial efforts to the creation and distribution of financial education books, games, curriculums, and other experiential learning projects. Everything about Sharon’s career centers around impacting others to improve their financial IQ, access untapped potential personally and in business, and create their own legacy. But everything changed in 2012 when Sharon’s son unexpectedly died. All of Sharon’s successes seemed to fade into the background. She kept working, but on autopilot. She stopped playing at the level she always had and just started coasting.

Now, Sharon is back and playing big again, and she wants you to as well with the Play Big Movement. It’s time to shed the limitations that have stopped you in the past. It’s time to play big, master your money and time and create maximum impact.

Sharon lives in Paradise Valley, AZ with her husband and business partner, Michael Lechter, a powerhouse in the area of Intellectual Property, Organizational Architecture, and Publishing. Together, they love spending time with each other and especially like to get away to their dude ranch, Cherry Creek Lodge, where they can get “off the grid” (literally) and get recharged for their next big play.

Sharon continues to be a committed philanthropist by giving back to world communities both as a benefactor and a volunteer and has been honored with numerous awards.


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