EP. 14: How Aaron Ross, Founder of Predictable Revenue, is Managing Happiness

EP. 14: How Aaron Ross, Founder of Predictable Revenue, is Managing Happiness

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Aaron Ross is an extraordinary man, who combines the brilliant career of a best-selling author with raising 9 children! Listen to the show to find out how he does it.

About Aaron Ross

Aaron Ross is the #1 best-selling author of “Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into A Sales Machine With The $100 Million Best Practices Of Salesforce.com” (called the “Sales Bible of Silicon Valley”).

He co-founded PredictableRevenue.com, a software & consulting company that accelerates outbound sales, based on the Cold Calling 2.0 outbound process that added $100M+ in extra revenue at Salesforce.com.

He graduated from Stanford University, lives in Los Angeles with his wife and nine children, and (usually, but not always) keeps a 25-30 hour workweek. His latest book “From Impossible To Inevitable: How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue” was released in February 2016.

Vision and Mission

In the beginning of his career, Aaron was mostly driven by the desire to learn, become a better professional and achieve success.

However, his priorities drastically changed when he got married and became a parent.

At some point in their lives, Aaron and his wife Jessica felt a genuine desire to help children who didn’t have the chance to be born in a loving and stable family. That’s why they started adopting kids and became foster parents. So far, they have adopted 4 children and are fostering 2 more. They have 3 children together and Jessica has 2 kids from her previous marriage.

One of our dreams is to have a farm with a bunch of kids.

Currently, Aaron’s biggest motivation to run his business and make more money is his family. Whenever Aaron and his wife decide to have a kid or adopt one, they search for new revenue streams which would allow them to afford it.

Having a big family is similar to running a startup

Aaron makes a parallel between having a big family and running a startup and points out many similarities.

First of all, there is a high level of unpredictability with both. When you have 9 children you can never plan for all the unexpected problems that can arise. Your children might get lice the night before a transatlantic flight, or the entire family might miss the plane, or someone might get sick. Same as in business, there are too many factors which are out of your control, but if an issue occurs, it requires your immediate attention.

You can have your systems but there is this chaos element of unplanned crises that come up. Once you go through them, you realize you can deal with them, and they help you become stronger, or smarter, or more adaptable.

Feeling confident that you can handle any situation is key for your success both at home and at work. Believing in yourself helps you make faster decisions and be flexible.

Listen to the podcast to learn how being a dad of 9 helps Aaron be a better entrepreneur. Have you been in similar situations to Aaron? Share your experience in the comments section below.

Time Stamped Show Notes

[00:11] – Who’s Aaron Ross?

[01:45] – Aaron was already taking care of Jessica’s children when they decided to get married and had their first baby together.

[03:15] – Aaron and Jessica decided to adopt a child 6 months after their baby was born.

[03:36] – “Most people have a lot of fear and anxiety about adoption.”

[04:07] – “It’s not biology that determines whether you are a father or a mother.” “Every kid is different whether they are biological or not.”

[04:32] – Jessica has 2 kids from her prior marriage, she and Aaron have 3 kids together and they adopted 4.

“I never use the term “stepdaughter” or “stepson”, it’s always “my kids”. That’s part of my belief.”

[05:12] – Aaron never expected to have such a big family. He was open to life and it happened to him.

“It’s a ton of work. In some ways, it’s like in business – you put a lot of work in and then you get a lot out.”

[06:28] – “There are way too many kids in the world that don’t have stable families or loving parents.”

[07:18] – Aaron believes that education doesn’t help as much as expected people who come from unstable families. Thus, kids having stable families is even more fundamental than education.

[08:22] – Aaron shares that there were moments in his childhood and adult life when he felt lonely, which is part of the reason why he has such a big family.

[09:03] – Having a big family is interesting and fun. There is a lot of diversity in Aaron’s family in terms of ages and races and kids learn a lot from each other.

[09:38] – Aaron and Jessica adopted their children because it felt right for them. They didn’t plan for it or had some logic behind it.

[10:39] – “Just like in business, you can create your plan and your vision but you have to be open to how it unfolds because it’s always changing.”

[11:15] – “One of our dreams is to have a farm with a bunch of kids.” 

[12:28] – Do you have any tips for new parents?

“We just figure it out day by day. We just get through it. There is no way to make it easy.”

[12:52] – Aaron and Jessica adopted a baby whose mother was doing prescription drugs.

[14:15] – What helps Aaron and his wife a lot is that they have defined well their roles and responsibilities.

[15:40] – “It takes so much effort to figure things out day by day. The more that you can have some kind of responsibilities, schedule, and plan, the better.”

[17:10] – Do you have a system to track what is going on in your family and in the life of your kids?

Aaron’s main responsibility is to make money and take children to different extracurricular activities. Jessica takes care of the children and handles the adoptions.

“We definitely divide and conquer.”

[18:30] – In a bigger family, there is this paradox when you need a system and a structured approach to managing everything that’s going on, but chaos itself becomes part of the system. It’s just impossible to plan everything.

[19:36] – Having a big family really helps you prioritize the values that you want to teach your children. There is not enough time and energy to teach them everything.

  • Love
  • Relationships
  • Everybody helps with chores

[22:23] – “We make mistakes all the time. Every day is a new adventure, what worked last week may not work this week.”

“One of the essential things as a parent or an entrepreneur is the confidence that if there is something going on you can figure it out and be OK.”

[23:05] – Aaron talks about “the Ross travel curse”

  • Kids getting lice
  • Missing the plane to London
  • The missing visa in Brazil

[27:13] – “You can have your systems but there is this chaos element of unplanned crises that come up. Once you go through them, you realize you can deal with them, and they help you become stronger, or smarter, or more adaptable.”

[27:54] – “Being a great parent or an entrepreneur, or a human is not about not having problems. It’s about how you deal with problems because they always come up.” 

[29:38] – Does your experience running a big family help you run your team at work?

“Having lots of kids is like a super accelerated life learning system. It’s like taking 50 credits to college every quarter.”

[30:49] – Having a big family has been an extreme motivation for Aaron to get him to figure how to run the business and make more money. Every time he and his wife want to have another kid or adopt, they think about ways to make more money.

[31:40] – Since he has a big family, Aaron feels more gratitude and appreciation for the people he works with because in a way their work helps him sustain his family.

[32:57] – Aaron shares that raising 9 kids in Los Angeles is extremely expensive.

[33:24] – Aaron used to be driven by his desire to learn and succeed in life.

[34:57] – “The things that really crystallize my motivation are deadlines and forcing functions.”

[35:57] – Motivating stress (deadlines, partners) vs. bad stress (drama, business).

[37:08] – One of the challenges, when you have a big family, is spending one-on-one time with each family member.

3 Key Points

1. It isn’t biology that determines whether you are a parent or not. It’s the love, time and effort spent to raise a child.

2. Being confident that you can handle any situation, any crisis is essential for both being a parent and an entrepreneur.

3. Use family as a motivator for success in business.

Resources Mentioned

PredictableRevenue.com – a software & consulting company that accelerates outbound sales, based on the Cold Calling 2.0 outbound process

Predictable Revenue – a book by Aaron Ross

From Impossible To Inevitable – a book by Aaron Ross

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I’m a serial entrepreneur and I write about things I have learned along the way. I’m passionate about helping entrepreneurs and executives to find success and harmony in business and in life.

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