I Should Have Learned This Sooner – Discussing life lessons for self-improvement

Understanding What Truly Matters in Life - Feat. Tracy Lee

May 01, 2023 Tim Winfred Season 2 Episode 6
Understanding What Truly Matters in Life - Feat. Tracy Lee
I Should Have Learned This Sooner – Discussing life lessons for self-improvement
More Info
I Should Have Learned This Sooner – Discussing life lessons for self-improvement
Understanding What Truly Matters in Life - Feat. Tracy Lee
May 01, 2023 Season 2 Episode 6
Tim Winfred

In this episode of the "I Should Have Learned this Sooner" podcast, I sit down with Tracy Lee, a business owner and entrepreneur, to discuss the FIRE movement and financial freedom. Together, we explore the ideas behind Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE), which allows people to maintain lifestyle without needing to work tirelessly to retirement.

Tracy shares her personal journey towards financial freedom and how it has allowed her to get out of feeling trapped because of finances. We also discuss the misconceptions around success and how it's important to understand what truly motivates us to achieve our goals. Tune in for an inspiring conversation about achieving financial freedom and living the life you want.

Connect with Tracy and learn more about her journey on Twitter at @ladyleet.

For transcriptions of this episode and more, visit https://learnedsooner.com.

Follow Tim Winfred on Twitter and Instagram at @contimporary (it's like "contemporary" but more fun)

Mr. Pick Me & The Manhater
Join as we laugh and discuss some of most toxic advice and people on the internet.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode of the "I Should Have Learned this Sooner" podcast, I sit down with Tracy Lee, a business owner and entrepreneur, to discuss the FIRE movement and financial freedom. Together, we explore the ideas behind Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE), which allows people to maintain lifestyle without needing to work tirelessly to retirement.

Tracy shares her personal journey towards financial freedom and how it has allowed her to get out of feeling trapped because of finances. We also discuss the misconceptions around success and how it's important to understand what truly motivates us to achieve our goals. Tune in for an inspiring conversation about achieving financial freedom and living the life you want.

Connect with Tracy and learn more about her journey on Twitter at @ladyleet.

For transcriptions of this episode and more, visit https://learnedsooner.com.

Follow Tim Winfred on Twitter and Instagram at @contimporary (it's like "contemporary" but more fun)

Mr. Pick Me & The Manhater
Join as we laugh and discuss some of most toxic advice and people on the internet.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

00:00 What do you actually want in life? Because people are motivated by different things. Are you motivated by fame? Are you motivated by money? Are you motivated by family? It could be a combination of those things, right? 

00:13 But once you truly figure out what motivates the people around you, it's much easier. So I think that's something that's really important to understand, and I think it really helps you understand, especially when you're working with people, right? 

00:27 Again, like, what actually matters. Whether you're in the workplace, whether they're employee, whether you're trying to get something out of them. 
-Hello. Hello. Hello. Welcome to the I Should Have Learned this Sooner Podcast. 

00:43 I'm your host, Tim Winfred. Together, let's take a dive into amazing stories of personal growth as my guests share their answer to the question, what is something you know now that you wish you had learned sooner? 

00:57 From overcoming impostor syndrome, investing, money lessons, and more. Join me and my guests as they share their stories of challenges they faced head on and how they came out on top. In today's episode, I get to sit down with Tracy Lee, a business owner and entrepreneur, a serial entrepreneur, who I've known for about 15 years. 

01:22 Actually, back in I think it was like 2008 roughly, I interviewed with Tracy when she owned a company called Dish crawl, and I was working in marketing, and she gave me a job offer, and I actually turned it down. 

01:36 So you never know whenever a job offer that you turn down is going to turn into a 15 year friendship. So, anyways, Tracy shares brilliant stories with me today, including the stories of how things you see that you believe are... 

01:57 Successes that people are having financially. You know, the instagram influencers or people wearing expensive clothes or driving expensive cars, those are not always wins. They might look like it on the outside, but you have no idea. 

02:15 Just because someone owns a $50,000, $100,000 car doesn't mean maybe they're spending 100% of their income every month just to maintain that lifestyle. So Tracy talks a lot about the Fire movement in today's episode. 

02:33 And for those who aren't familiar, fire stands for Financial Independence Retire Early. And the idea behind Fire is that you get to a point where your lifestyle costs do not exceed the money that you have and are generating income from, like, through dividends, from stocks, or maybe you have side businesses that are passive. 

02:59 It's the ability to maintain your lifestyle without having to do too much work. So we talk about that and how the Fire movement has allowed Tracy to get out of feeling trapped because of finances. Without further ado, here we go. 

03:16 Hi, Tracy. Thank you so much for joining me. 
-Hi. Thanks for having me. 
-Wow, it's been such a long journey. I've known you through Twitter for years, sort of passively, but we met forever ago whenever I got a job offer from you and then declined it. 

03:37 Back during the Dish Crawl days. Yeah. 
-In San Jose. 
-Yeah, it was a long, long time ago. I feel like yeah. I mean, half my lifetime ago, it almost feels like, at this point. So for everybody who's listening, can you give us a little rundown of who you are? 

03:53 Sure. My name is Tracy. I'm the CEO of a company called This Thought. We are a JavaScript consultancy and we're kind of known as best in class. So if you need anything JavaScript related from a development perspective, feel free to hit me up. 

04:08 Also a Google developer expert, an RxJS core team member. I'm on the... let's see, what else. I'm a GitHub Star, Microsoft MVP, but I think generally I just like love community and hanging out. 
-Yeah, you create a lot of content and you bring a lot of people on and chat and interview and I'm super happy to get to flip the script on you because we've had a couple of opportunities for you to ask me questions. 

04:34 Yes, we've loved having you. I remember when you did your first JS drop for the design systems. It was so popular. It's really great. 
-Oh, was it great? I haven't gone back and looked at it. Good to know. 

04:48 I was studying that during the transition between two jobs. And that was actually a question that came up in an interview that I had had and I took that and I turned it into a blog post. And then you were like, hey, come and be a guest. 

05:01 And I was like, "Wait, I don't feel like an expert on it!" But you sure made me feel like an expert and I really appreciate that. 
-Yeah, totally. 
--Impostor syndrome. 
-Yes, we're all experts. All not experts either way you want to look at it. 

05:17 We all like to think we're not experts and then we take on a challenge and now we have Chat GPT to help us. 
-Yes, I love it. 
All right, I'm going to jump right in because I know we're tied on time today, with our first question. 

05:29 So the first question for anybody who's tuning in for the first time, the episodes are broken up into three questions. So the first question is, what is something you know now that you wish you had learned sooner? 

05:41 I mean, there's like so many things I could say about that. I think one thing is definitely like I wish as a younger child or person, somebody was there to teach me about finances, because what I know now and what I know I should have done is... I should have done it sooner. 

06:06 Time is everything, right? So that's one thing I think another thing is the thing is that you see out there that you think are like, "so, wow, this person bought a Maserati. Oh, this person did this. Oh, this person that."

06:25 One of my favorite pastimes is, like, going to those shows, right? Like, what are they called? Like, Million Dollar Listing or like Real Housewives. Yeah. You know those shows that have people in LA buying expensive things? 

06:37 Do you live in LA? 
-I used to. I did for six years. I'm in Denver now. 
-Okay. Yeah, I remember you being in LA. But it's like, you see everything so flashy and everything like that, but then if you actually do the math, you're like, "dude, how can these people afford these things?"

06:55 I don't even know. So nothing is as it seems, and it might all look the same right now, but when we get to be, like, 60, all get to be 60. That's really when you see the true, what did I actually do with my money in my life? 

07:10 Okay, and then this guy, Greg Eisenberg I've done this with a coach before, but Greg Eisenberg, if you don't know him, he's a great investor and entrepreneur on the Internet, and he posted the other day. 

07:23 He says he asks himself all these questions every quarter, and whenever I would get, like, anxiety, I would ask the same question. So it's like, for his questions. If I had $50 million in the bank, how would my day to day change? 

07:36 Kind of the whole idea of, like, are you caring about something that you don't need to care about? Why do you have stress or anxiety over this? If you had $50 million, would you even care? And are you acting like you have $50 million? 

07:52 Because that's how you should act. How will being anxious about this serve me? Do I really need to answer this text or email right now? Am I really happy or am I just comfortable? Am I trying my best or am I just telling myself I am? 

08:07 I think just self reflection generally. Am I doing this for myself or because of someone? Right? I think sometimes we just get into this robot mode and we keep doing something over and over and over again, or we structure our lives and because something's in our lives, we feel like we have to deal with it because it is the way it is. 

08:27 But you can change your life. You just have to have the introspection to be able to understand what you want and how you want to change it to go. So that's why I wish I would have learned sooner. 
-Yeah. 

08:38 Wow. That was a lot I loved. 
-Sorry. 
-No, not a lot. In a bad way. I was taking notes to make sure I didn't miss anything, but what I really loved was -- first of all, I feel like everybody the reason that I'm doing this podcast is exactly the reason that you said for your first thing, which is you wish you had learned about finances sooner. 

08:59 For myself, I didn't really start digging into it until I was almost 30 sort of thing. So the brokest decade of my life is behind me. I like to say that my 20s were just, like, everything into one checking account, and out of that one checking account, pay bills, living life, whatever it was. 

09:16 And now there's other accounts that come into play, sort of thing. So, yeah, that is definitely the main motivator of why I've turned season two of this podcast into this financial conversation. 

09:31 Oh, that's fun. I need to know. 
-So many people have like, since I started sharing my financial story, people have been asking me a lot of questions. And just like we talked about in the beginning, I didn't feel like enough of an expert. 

09:45 Yeah. 
-To share it. And now that I'm a little, like, down the rabbit hole of finances, I have tidbits of information that a lot of people don't. So I'm like, "okay, I'm ready to share it, even though I don't know everything." 

09:58 Yeah. So first of all, thank you for saying that. I 100% agree. And to reply to your second thing, which is the things you see as sort of financial wins are not always as they seem. Sort of the world of Instagram influencers and online joy that you see. 

10:16 Right? Like, people only celebrate and share their wins, whether that's going on trips and stuff. And they don't talk about the grit that it took either to get that or the credit card debt, maybe, that they're in in order to be in Bali, whatever it is. 

10:34 Or what is it? The afterpay, like, everybody. 
-After pay has gotten a lot of slack lately, but I think it's because of the lack of what we said, financial education. It's not a bad thing if you know how to use it properly. 

10:51 Yeah. And that's most things in life. Right? Like, what's the joke? This is why we can't have nice things. 
-Yeah. I mean, God, I remember being, like, 21 maybe and having this $3,000 bank of America credit card bill that I just could not pay off, and I could only pay, like, $100 a month, but that was, like, half of it was interest. 

11:14 And it was like, I could never get this thing down, and I was living paycheck to paycheck. It was like, okay, I have $200 for food for the month. And it's like, oh, my God. How do you dig yourself out of that whole situation? 

11:32 Yeah. If you look at --
-I had boyfriends who paid for my food. 
-I've heard that's a common strategy. Just date and go on dates and have men pay for it. It's an unfortunate for men, unfortunate thing for women. It's sort of like this crazy system that we could go down a whole rabbit hole. 

11:54 But what you said about the 3K credit card bill yeah, so I didn't have a 3K, but I had an 800 and ran it up basically as quick as possible because you suddenly feel like you have money even though it's not real money, just stealing from your future. 

12:10 If you look at a lot of the credit cards I know a lot of people who have credit card debt and rely on credit cards and don't pay off the balance month to month. If you look at your credit cards and you see what the minimum payment timeline is, oftentimes they'll have, like, if you pay the minimum payment on your current balance, that's if you do not add any money to it. 

12:32 If you pay the minimum balance, it's like 15 to 20 years that it'll take you to pay that off. So if you're paying $200 a month on a $10,000 balance and it's going to take you 15 to 20 years to pay that off, how much is that going to actually cost you in that time? 
-Way too much money. 

12:53 Exactly. 
-Yeah. I just posted or scheduled one of those two by the time this episode comes out. I have a Twitter post about how I use the snowball method. So I'm curious for you since you were living paycheck to paycheck. 

13:09 A lot of people do that. Before I ask this question, let me clarify. Living paycheck to paycheck is not about your income level. It's about your income and your expenses matching each other. And if you have more expenses than income right, then you're going into debt and you're probably building up your credit card. 

13:29 So you could be making a million dollars a year 
-and still be living paycheck to paycheck. 
-Exactly. So how did you break away and pay off that $3,000? 
-I can't remember. But I do remember finding this thing where I could get a personal loan for a lower percentage amount, and I just kind of, like, consolidated some stuff. 

13:58 And then I only had one payment, and I was able to pay that off faster. I think that was how I did it. It or, like, maybe I had some family give me some money to help me pay it off? I don't know. It was probably, like a combination of those two. 

14:15 But when you have, like, a $500 car payment, and then because you have a car payment, you have to get full auto insurance, which can cost, like, over $300. Plus you have rent, plus you have a credit card. 

14:28 It's like, man, it can be hard. 
-Yeah, there's a lot of strategies. The strategy I use for that $800 credit is I took out additional student loans the next semester because I was like, these student loans have a way lower interest rate. 

14:45 Yeah, that's smart. 
-I was in college. It was a student credit card and used that, and I took the money, put that in, and I cut that credit card up. And I didn't have another credit card for like, five years, I think, until Target gave me, like, a $200 limit on a credit card. 

15:02 It's really important to have a credit card, though. It's important to have a credit card as soon as you can, but also not use it because you want to build up your credit. And then it's so funny because I have this one credit card that I never use, but my husband made me put, like, a $50 bill on it because he's like, no, you have to use it because that's your oldest credit. 

15:24 So a lot of people don't know that if you cancel a credit card, it actually impacts your credit score. I don't know, just all those funny things that you learn. Over time, which it'd be nice to have known, but unless you're sitting here reading millions and millions of forums and trying to figure it out, what do you do? 

15:48 Yeah. So canceling the credit card for anybody who maybe has credit cards and is considering this for increasing their credit score that's based off of the credit age and your credit limit, those two things. 

16:02 So if you have a credit card that is like three months old, for example, and it's $10,000, a more realistic maybe for someone who's $2,000 credit card limit, something like that, if you cancel it, it impacts it in two ways. 

16:17 One, that young credit card increases your lifespan. If you have older credit lines, it also decreases your credit limit. So both of those things, in a weird way, impact your credit score one way or another. 

16:31 I think the age has more impact than your credit limit, but yeah. 
-Age matters. 
-Exactly. Age and wisdom. Yeah. I have a Capital One credit card, I believe, or I don't know. Yeah, Capital One. Anyways, I have a Capital One credit card, that same thing. 

16:50 I put a single bill on there. It's a $5 bill every month just to keep it alive. I think it's like generally after a year or so, companies, if you haven't used their credit card, will maybe automatically cancel it for you, and then you could be impacted because of that. 

17:08 I just want to clarify that for anybody who's thinking about taking this strategy, it does have impact on your credit score. However, if you cannot control your spending right. It's probably more important to not have a credit card at that point than it is to have a higher credit score. 

17:27 Yeah. I think Credit Karma gives you a lot of education on this stuff. Right? I think, knowing... I mean, there's so many forums out there. I really love the Fire forum and the subreddit. Not the forum, but the subreddit. 

17:48 I think some of the stuff is a little extreme, but I guess it depends on how extreme you want to live. 
-Yeah. Are you looking to achieve financial independence, retire early? 
-I mean, I like the general concept, right? 

18:04 And even talking to people who are much older than me. Like, for example, I was talking to this guy, and he's like I think he's like 50 something. 55 maybe. And I was like, what do you actually want in your life? 

18:22 Because he's thinking about, okay, what am I going to do for the next five to seven years? And he's like, "well, I really want to make X amount of money." And I was kind of like, he has a very successful company. 

18:35 And I'm just like, I'm sure this guy has some number of million dollars in the bank, right? So why is he stressing out on needing to make more money? But I think the old way of thinking about it is like, okay, how long am I going to live? 

18:52 If I'm going to retire at 60 and I'm going to live till I'm potentially 100, that's like 40 years. If I'm going to live 40 years. And I am used to living on $500,000. What is that? 40 Times $500,000? 

19:09 Is that? $20 million. $20 Million dollars. So a lot of people are like, man, I need, like, $20 million to be able to retire. But then I was like, have you thought about this idea that Fire is basically this idea where if you have some money, like if you have a million dollars, let's say, and you withdraw like two and a half percent to 4% of that year over year based on 

19:37 the interest you make on it with whatever investment you're making, they consider like two and a half percent to 4%, like a safe withdrawal rate. Then you can live forever off that million dollars. Right? 

19:49 So what is that? $1 million, $1 million times point oh four? So it's like, if you can live off of $40,000 a year, then you're great. But again, it's like, okay, I need $2 million so I can live off of $80,000 a year. 

20:09 Then you can retire much sooner than you ever imagined. 
-Yeah, there's a lot to the fire community that I think is sort of a choose your own adventure, right? There's all these concepts, and there's a lot of things in life, I think, as I've gotten older, I've realized you can listen to someone and totally disagree with 90% of what they say and take 10% of that and make it work for you, right? 

20:38 Or whatever it is. You can agree with everything they say, but only 10% applies to you or what your goals in life are. So that's what I see for the fire community, because a lot of people take that idea to the extreme, and they live on a $10,000, for example, like super extreme a year, making their expenses so frugal that they are only spending $10,000 a year. 

21:03 And then there's people who, like you said, want to have a $500,000 a year and not live frugally at all. And those extremes, there is a finish line, I guess, to getting to that point where you can hit Fire and do that 2.5% to 4% a year. 

21:22 But for other people, like myself, and I feel like you're probably the same sort of person who, even if I do retire, for example, at 40, if I got to a Fire number and was making -- Or had a million in savings and was making $40,000 a year in interest and dividends, that wouldn't stop me from working on things that make me happy or that feed my creativity or generate income, even, because that's just who -- 

21:58 If you're making a million dollars and putting that into savings, clearly you have some sort of work ethic that is not going to go away just because you have that money. One day you're working to achieve this, and the next day, you're sitting on the beach for the rest of your life drinking martinis. 

22:16 I think it's like that whole idea of, like, if I had $50 million in my bank account, what would I do? Would I care? Would I care about this conversation right now? Not this conversation right now, but generally, you think about the things that stress you out. 

22:32 Yeah. 
-Does it need to take up your entire life? Do you need to be encompassed by I remember when I was a receptionist at this company, and like, oh, my God, all the other people who had to give me breaks, we all have to come together and sit down and have a conversation. 

22:50 I was like, this is the stupidest conversation I've ever had in my life. Like, literally, we have to come together to talk about who's going to give me breaks. Go away. What am I even doing? But it was, like, something that consumed their life, and I was like, oh, God. 

23:09 Gross. But also, it made me really tired, too. Right? It made me really stressed out, and I was like, does not help me. So eventually, I got out of that situation. But I think the idea is, like, I think a lot of people maybe feel trapped, right? 

23:24 It's like, I have to do this. I have to do this job. I have to be a certain way. And then it just wears you down, and you're in this cycle because you feel some sort of obligation or some sort of... Whatever society tell you you have to do X, or you truly do have some sort of obligation that you need to do, but it's like having that sort of Fire thing just allows you to have a little bit more, sort of like, freedom of thought, in a sense. 

23:52 And I think that's when the most beautiful things come, right? Like NPM, for example, was started when the founder had break. He took a little sabbatical and then he decided to make this thing which is now NPM. 

24:07 So like that type of stuff, right? It's like if you can somehow figure out in your life how to take breaks, like, that really amazing things can happen, right? And you could be not realizing your true potential. 

24:22 Yeah. I mean, you've started multiple businesses. I know of at least two, I'm sure there's... I know you're on boards and stuff for other companies, if I'm not mistaken. Right? So there's a lot that you've started. 

24:34 Have all of those come in periods like that or what was the creativity that inspired those? 
-I think it was definitely... yeah. I mean, like this thought, I didn't start it until I just took a year break after my last company was acquired. 

24:50 And I just hung out for a little bit and then things just kind of came together. Right? And I've been doing This Thought for seven years now. While I don't have a break, I kind of have a team to support what I've been doing. 

25:07 So I'm allowed to have a little bit more like freedom of thought, in a sense. So now I'm thinking, okay, for This Thought, what's the next seven years going to look like? I have that creative ability to be able to do so and Dish Crawl. 

25:23 It started because I did join corporate and I was there for like three weeks thinking like, I'm going to take over the world. It's going to be so great. I'm going to make an impact for this company. It's going to be amazing. 

25:34 You know, and then I just realized that, like, no, that was like, literally never happening within this organization. It was a big org, very similar to Cisco, for example, and it was like, no, your hopes and dreams are not coming true here. 

25:47 So I started three companies that week. Dish Crawl was one of them, and there wasn't a term for quiet quitting, but I basically quiet quit. 
-You know, okay, quiet quitting. I want to talk about that a bit because there's this sort of mentality around, I think the wording of it, calling it quiet quitting is a little it's created a stigma that it sounds like you're going to be leaving that company. 

26:17 People who don't know much about it think it's before I learned about it and heard the term, I was like, "oh, people are quitting, basically doing nothing and getting away with it." I think there's a place and there's a place, and maybe it's not 100% of the time that you're at a company, ideally, but we all go through phases where we need to just sort of be okay doing what is necessary. 

26:42 And that's in our personal lives, at work, all of those things, because that's why the burnout happens. 

Yeah. I hope you're enjoying this episode. Here's a quick word from today's sponsor. Are you looking for freelance services for your business or personal project? 

26:59 Look no further than Fiverr.com. With over 300 categories to choose from, you can find the perfect freelancer for any job, no matter how big or small. Whether you're looking for graphic design, writing, programming, or maybe even video production, Fiverr has you covered. 

27:17 Plus, with prices starting at just $5, you know it won't break the bank. Get started today at Fiverr.learnsooner.com. That's fiverr.learnsooner.com and take your project to the next level. 

-I never thought about quiet quitting being in the description that you're using it as because then I'm like, it shouldn't be called quiet quitting because that's just called recalibrating your life or going through... whatever. To me, and it sounds like I'm wrong. 

27:54 Quiet quitting sounds like, "okay, well, I'm just going to be here, but not be here." 
-Yeah, that's definitely I think of quiet quitting. And maybe I need to find the definition exactly again, but I think of it as doing the minimum that it takes to get your paycheck. 

28:15 Yeah, my quiet quitting was, "oh, okay, I'm going to respond to emails and basically work like 4 hours a week." 
-Do less than what should be done for what you're getting paid? 
-Yeah, I did get away with working 4 hours a week for quite some time. 

28:37 I mean, it's about output, right? It's not necessarily about the number of hours you're at the computer at the end of the day. Some people can spend 4 hours at the computer a week, like Tim Ferris's book the Four Hour work week and get enough work done to do everything for the week. 

28:53 And other people, especially I'm imagining people like you who have a business are probably ten to 12 hours a day thinking about and stressing over and working on the business because that's what it requires when you're running a business. 

29:08 Yeah, I mean, surprisingly, I don't work ten to 12 hours a day. I mean, I definitely did that and more for my first startup. But I mean, one of the things -- it's interesting because I think especially in the Silicon Valley, when you think about startups, it's like, I don't know, you just get caught up in it, right? 

29:25 You're like, oh man. I'm gaining traction. I just got to do this for, like, two years, and I'm going to get acquired for $50 million. Going to be so great, and then I'm going to get $10 million out of it. 

29:35 So this whole time, while my company was gaining so much traction, I was like, "yeah, I just got to keep doing this" and thinking like, oh, I just need to do this for another year, and then I'm going to get $10 million, and I can retire. 

29:53 That mentality is very like, it'll keep you going. Right? But I literally woke up, and it was like, eight years later. Oh, wow. So I was like, well, that was a lot. And did we get acquired for $50 million? 

30:10 No, we did not. I mean, I'm glad we got acquired, but it was not $50 million. But you look back and you're like, man, was that worth it? So I even have a friend right now, and he's been doing startup for so long and paying himself very little money, and he's like, the CTO of this company, and he has to go through these ups and downs of pay himself, and not paying himself and whatever. 

30:38 I'm like, "Dude, how many years has it been?" Is it worth it? Do you think you're going to get acquired? And if you get acquired, what's that payout going to be? Is it going to be $2 million? And does $2 million make up for the salary that you've lost over a ten year period, plus the interest you could have made, plus the lifestyle, plus the whatever? 

31:04 So I've always been trying to get him -- I'm like, please find another job and leave this company. But he's very committed and dedicated, right? But again, it's like, do you have to be dedicated? I think that's why this whole thing of just evaluating yourself on a quarterly basis and saying, where am I? 

31:22 What am I doing? Why did I start doing it in the first place? And is it still serving me? And is this actually what I still want? 
-Yeah, that's great. It's a deep question, because, like you said, eight years went by and you were like, wait, that dream that I had whenever I was starting this company hadn't come true. 

31:46 And what it's the opportunity cost, right? Like, what are you sacrificing in order to have this air quote dream? Maybe it was a dream whenever you first started, but then there's also something that I've thought about a lot is as a software engineer, we are higher paid than most industries. 

32:08 And so a lot of that comes down to, like, okay, if I'm making X amount a year, I'm just going to give an even number for making it easy. If I'm making 100,000 or $200,000 a year, how long if I were to start a business today and fund it myself, how long would it take me to make that same amount of money on an annual basis? 

32:32 Right. How quickly do most companies make $100,000 to $200,000 a year with one employee, first of all, and that's profit, right? Like, being able to generate that as a profit. So there's a lot that goes into it. 

32:47 So I'm curious for you, going back to wanting to have your company acquired and then fast forward eight years, to ask your own question, if you had $50 million going into that, would you have done that still? 

33:04 I think I still would have done it. I don't know. I'm such a forward moving person, right. It's hard for me to think back on what I would have done, but I can say that definitely. After the company was acquired, I joined the company that acquired us for a while, and then when I decided to take a break, I was very intentional. Because finally, it's like, okay, I'm going to be doing whatever I'm doing next for five to ten years. 

33:42 It better be something I like. 
-Sure. 
-You know? 
-Mmhmm. 
-And am I going to be okay with that? So I really spent a lot of time thinking about that before I decided to do what I did, which is start this up. 

33:55 And I'm happy with the results, and I'm happy with what I did. But I think also going back to your point of how much is something going to do? It's interesting, because as you make more money, right? 

34:09 Like, for example, the things I could have started when I was making, like, $40,000 a year are so different, right? Like, if I was making $40,000 a year right now, I have so many ideas. Like, I have this Cricut, and would I sell these little Easter bunnies that everybody's making, which are these little plushes, and make, like, $5 profit on them? 

34:34 Yeah, I probably would, because my dollar amount would kind of be worth my time, in a sense, right, and it would give me more freedom. Right? That's another thing. I mean, sometimes it's not all about money. 

34:44 It's also about the freedom you have in your life. But making the money I'm making now, am I going to go out and make, like, $5 profit off of selling these bunnies? No, I'm definitely not. Nobody could pay me. 

35:01 You wouldn't buy the bunnies. So it's interesting to kind of see how even my mentality has changed as I've gone up in my career of what I thought I wanted and could do. Like, seven years ago, I was like, okay, I want to buy properties and I want to do this, and I'm going to make this much money off of each property. 

35:24 It's going to be so great. And in ten years, I'm going to have whatever I could have ten properties and make X amount of money, and then I could retire doing that. I wanted to be, like, an airbnb overlord. But even through the past two years, me being an airbnb overlord, it actually does not cover my income anymore. 

35:48 I abandoned that a few years ago. I still want to be an airbnb overlord. It's different. It's a little different now. 
-Yeah. Wow. For the sake of time, I'm absolutely loving this, and I could continue and ask a bunch -- 

36:04 I do want to get to the second question. 
-Yeah. Oh, my God. Second question. 
-Yeah. We have 15 minutes and we have two more questions. We'll get through it. So the next question is, is there something a book, a quote, person, song, whatever it might be that really impacted your life? 

36:20 I feel like... I had this fun investor. He was founder of What's now Match.com, and when he met me, I was just like, "I'm going to fundraise money. Like, here we go, Silicon Valley." He was like, what do you actually want in life? 

36:40 And that's really stuck with me because people are motivated by different things. Are you motivated by fame? Are you motivated by money? Are you motivated by family? It could be a combination of those things, right? 

36:53 But once you truly figure out what motivates the people around you, it's much easier because a lot of people -- if you ever feel like somebody's talking to you and they're like, man, you're telling me all these things I don't actually care about. 

37:09 Right? It's like they're just talking at you because they're imposing what they think is valuable to you. And you're like no. This isn't like... you're talking, and I don't care. So I think that's something that's really important to understand, and I think it really helps you understand, especially when you're working with people, right. 

37:29 Again, what actually matters, whether you're in the workplace, whether they're employee, whether you're trying to get something out of them. So that has always stuck with me over the years. 
-So there's so much to that. 

37:42 There's so much in that with... I feel like the first step to that is actually knowing yourself. Right? You have to know what, like you said, what do you actually want in life is to let go of what you think everybody around you wants first. 

38:01 Understand what you truly want and then surround yourself with, like RuPaul says, find your tribe. There's all these the mentality part of the reason that I moved to Denver is because there's a community of investors and people who have a similar mindset to me that I was just drawn to. 

38:21 Nice. 
-And it's that, like, what you said about what motivates the people around you? Sometimes, if the people aren't motivated by the things that you're interested in, maybe it's not that you need to pivot yourself to be more motivating to those people, but maybe you need to relocate. 

38:41 Maybe not physically, like I did, moving, but find a different group of people, and maybe those people will be more interested, and that will motivate you and in return, motivate them as well. I mean, there's just small, easy ways to think about it, right? 

38:59 It's like, "okay, simplest is, well, maybe you don't care about knowing all the bartenders at all the bars and meaning you have to get drunk every single night and spend tons of money because you need to make friends with all the bartenders, so you need to find a different group of people." 

39:13 Or like, for me, it's been like. Man. This person joined a country club. Ooh, we should join this thing. Oh, my God. What are you talking about? $80,000? Hell no. Do I care? No, I do not value whatever. 

39:30 I thought it was cute until I found out the price, and that's not something I value enough to put money into it. Right? Because I don't care about I belong to a country -- No, to just like, no, I don't. 

39:43 Unless it was free. Then I'd be cool. Like, yeah, sure, of course I'll be part of it. That's an interesting way to think about it, though. 
-Yeah, it is funny. The value of something is personal, right? 

39:56 Yes. 
-To some people, they can buy an $8 Starbucks drink. Some people, that's a daily thing. But for me, I am so disgusted at the idea of paying $8 for a coffee -- whenever I can go and get a delicious bag of coffee for $15 or $20, it will last me several weeks that I just brew at home. 

40:20 And it's not as bitter as Starbucks. It doesn't taste burnt. I'm not a Starbucks fan. All right, one more question for you before we wrap up here. So you said earlier that you're a forward-thinking person. 

40:36 I know from working with you that you that being in your community of this dot, that everything that you do is sort of looking to the future with JavaScript. I imagine there's probably more than one answer to this question, but the third question is, what is something you're working on learning now? 

40:57 Well, for me, I really feel like I want to make an impact in engineering leadership now, so I am just meeting with people, hanging out, figuring out what they need. If I care... if I want to hang out with these people for the next five to ten years of my life, is this where I want to make an impact on my life? 

41:20 I don't know. So I think that type of stuff is really important. And then this thought, we've been so lucky over the past two years to just get business because of our name, because of our brand, because of what we do for the community, because of our engineers. 

41:35 And with the recession... it's not fun, but I guess it's the way you think about it, right? So for me, I'm really enjoying this opportunity. I really truly feel like hardships in your life, whatever it is, if you can be given an opportunity to learn something, then amazing. 

42:03 So I'm excited about the learning opportunity, because now we're like, "oh, man, we actually have to do sales and talk about what we're good at?" Where people just knew before, people who come to us, they just know we're the best. 

42:19 Duh. Now you're having to sell yourself. So it's a completely new experience. But I think in the end, we're going to be so much better off for it. And I'm so excited about that, because this weird thing that's happening with the economy right now is not going to last forever. 

42:37 So if we can be successful when the economy is not weird, and we can be successful right now, because we're reinventing ourselves to be even better, that means that when the economy recovers, we're going to be double what we were before the economy took a nose dive. 

42:58 So that type of stuff, I think, is just an amazing opportunity. And again, things I get really excited about. So I know other people, maybe not, don't think that way. I don't know. I like a challenge. 

43:11 Well, there's a lot of ways to think about this, because people like what we talked about earlier. If you, for example, are making 100,000, 200,000, 6 figures or more a year, losing your job might seem like a -- or IS probably, for most people, a huge issue, a problem. 

43:32 But there's opportunity in that, because maybe you can drive Uber, Lyft to subsidize your income and go back to school and do something for a year. 
-Or build something crazy. Build something. 
-Yeah, exactly. 

43:46 There's all these different opportunities that come out of this pivot. Like, look at what happened with the Pandemic. Right? So many companies had to pivot and change their strategies and ways to appeal. 

43:59 And now I'm in Colorado, and there are drive through liquor stores, and that's not a thing in California, but during the Pandemic, bars were doing, like, to-go alcohol, and that's also a thing in other states, but not California. 

44:13 And that was, like, an innovative idea that came out of this forced change. So, like you said, the sales that you guys are having to do now with your company might lead to record profit and record growth whenever this pivot changes. 

44:31 And you've got a sales team built up that you didn't need or had before that. Now, once the economy is back in the swing of things, then it's like, "whoa, we have this automatic -- Like, people are coming to us on our own, and maybe we can't even keep up with the growth." 

44:48 What a great problem to have. And I think just like with you when you were in between jobs, right? Like, you kind of upped your skills on design systems, or you took those rejections, and you're like, okay, well, I obviously need to learn this stuff, so let me do this. 

45:04 And there's so much opportunity in, like. You know, not so great times of your life, you know? So it's hard sometimes because I feel like I feel like as humans, we all we have to constantly trick ourselves into doing things. 

45:20 -Finding the silver lining. 
-Yeah. Or like having pep talks with ourselves or whatever it is. But I think there's opportunity in everything and I don't know, I just get really excited about that. 

45:34 Well, I think that's a good place to stop. I know you have stuff to do and you are a busy person. So before we wrap up, please, for anybody who wants to follow up with you or learn more about what you're doing, shout out all of your things. 

45:49 Yeah, well, I mean, for consulting. If you're ever interested in us helping you with application development, you can always go to thisthought.co. So it's thisthought.co. Or you can just find me on Twitter @ladyleet. 

46:04 L-A-D-Y-L-E-E-T. We do do I do two podcasts. I do the Modern Web podcast, which Ben Lush and Ryan Carniato, RxJS and Solid, they just had a pretty intense conversation about signals, hot takes or not, whatever you want to call it. 

46:24 A friendly conversation. So that'll be released on Modern Web soon, and then another podcast called Build It Better, which is basically like a podcast for people who care about architecture or more, I guess, senior topics or weird things. 

46:41 So we actually just talked to Manu from Builder IO, who's building Quick, the framework, and had some great conversations about how they built that. So I don't know, it's always finding weird things to entertain people with that entertain me. 

46:54 It's mainly to keep myself entertained, but I think it entertains other people, too. 
-And like you said, you like talking to people and getting out in the community and it's a great way to learn and meet people. 

47:04 Yeah, definitely. And, yeah, thanks for having me. 
-Thank you so much. This has been fantastic. I took more notes, I think, with our conversation and so many little tidbits than I have, not from anybody, but this is just great. 

47:19 And maybe we'll do a follow up episode at some point where I would love to talk to you more about that airbnb business that you stopped and the overlording. 
-Well, I didn't stop it, actually. I still do the airbnb. 

47:33 I just didn't, haven't optimized for doing that as my retirement. 
-Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. It's just another stream of income. Yes, exactly. 
-I don't have a lot of friends. I have a lot of airbnb friends. 

47:50 My husband's like, how do you deal with these people? I'm like, that's why I don't have and that's what I tell my sister, too topic for another time. If you want to be successful. Don't have a lot of friends. 

48:03 I tell my sister, what are you doing to invest in yourself? Why are you going out? Invest in yourself. What are you doing? Yeah, no, it's so true. Because Tiffany, Money Talk with TIFF, who was on the first episode of the season. 

48:18 She posted a tweet recently that said, this next phase of my life require buyers that I stay single. 
-Yeah, it's interesting. Very interesting. Or you just have to have a boyfriend who will actually boyfriend or girlfriend who work with you. 

48:32 Yeah, it just takes a lot of time. You only have so much time in a day. 
-So many topics for the next maybe the next podcast will just be like, look, this is what I'm telling my sister. Do we all agree? 

48:45 No, she would hate you for that. 
-Send in your questions for Tracy. All right, Tracy, thank you so much. Until next time. I appreciate you. Take care. Bye bye. 

Wow. That conversation really struck a chord with me. 

49:03 I mean, now I'm wondering, what would I be doing? And how would my day-to-day change if I had $50 million? In season one, I talked to my friend Shahan, and at that time, I was still working to pay off my debt. 

49:22 And being in that debt phase of my adulthood, I realized that my biggest motivator was paying off debt. And once I got past -- I still have debt, I have what I like to call good debt or low interest debt. 

49:39 But now that I am past that hurdle of paying off my credit cards, and I'm into a phase where I'm building wealth and getting to save for future investments, now that I'm there, it's what motivates me. 

49:54 And really what motivates me is just being the best, being absolutely phenomenal at what I do, learning new skills and expanding my skill set, not just for work, but outside of work as well. Building skills that will help me fulfill my life in such a way that it allows me to travel and see the world and live without stress. 

50:21 Like in this episode, whenever Tracy told the story of the investor who was the founder of What's This and match.com? Whenever he asked her, what do you actually want in life? If you just pause for a second and think about that question, it's kind of hard to answer, right? 

50:43 We all we all know that we want good food and we probably want to travel, and we want to be happy, and we want our friends and family to be happy and to see beautiful places. But outside of the obvious, outside of those little things that we all want, what really motivates you and what actually matters? 

51:07 So I'm going to be pondering this long after this episode, and I hope you are, too. So don't forget new episodes of the I Should Have Learned this Sooner Podcast come out every Monday. There's going to be about 15 episodes in season two, so we're a little less than halfway through here, but I hope you stick around and thank you so much for listening. 

51:27 If you've enjoyed this podcast, please rate and review on Apple podcasts or check me out on Instagram and Twitter. My handle is @contimporary. That's like contemporary, but more fun. Until next time, I'm Tim Winfred. 

51:45 Thank you so much for tuning in. Take care. 

Music for this podcast comes from FilmMusic.io Acid Trumpet by Kevin McLead, Incompetech.org. Licensed by CreativeCommons.org/licenses/Buy/4.0. 

(Cont.) Understanding What Truly Matters in Life - Feat. Tracy Lee