Jordan Olmscheid is a ‘girl dad,’ husband, Christian, and a small business owner/solopreneur. By day, he runs a one-person (him) cleaning business, where he washes windows and cleans gutters. Jordan also has a very interesting side project, The Wealth Letters, where he collects insights from people of all walks of life on the pursuit of wealth, wisdom & meaning.
Today, Jordan joins the show to discuss faith, money’s impact on happiness, and what his ultimate goal is for The Wealth Letters.
Watch on YouTube
00:54 – Jonathan introduces today’s guest, Jordan Olmscheid, who joins the show to discuss his exposure to entrepreneurship at a young age and his incredibly voracious work ethic
08:17 – Jordan expounds on how he built a successful cleaning business from scratch
13:17 – The decision to scale back instead of grow the business
20:58 – Why Jordan describes himself as ‘just a window washer,’ despite his many previous successes
28:17 – What inspired Jordan to start The Wealth Letters
33:52 – Money and happiness and Jordan’s favorite letter
40:11 – Jordan’s ultimate goal for The Wealth Letters and how to connect with Jordan
43:42 – One thing we can do to have better satisfaction in our lives and one thing to completely avoid
46:09 – One thing Jordan has changed his mind about recently and the one question he would want to know the answer to
50:23 – Jonathan thanks Jordan for joining the show today and for sharing his story
“For the most part on the residential side, most people – if they choose to get their windows done – get them done twice a year. So kind of a Spring and a Fall type schedule. Some people do the insides themselves, but we do them both if needed.” (12:48) (Jordan)
“That allowed the ability for me to be able to downsize to myself. I do still have a couple of part- timers that help me out as needed, but I do mostly commercial work now. And most of it is contract work. I have a handful of my own accounts that I still have that I service under my business as my customers, but most of what we do now is contract work, which works for my lifestyle.” (17:36) (Jordan)
“The expectation on myself was that I was going high-profile job, maybe I was going to be in medical or something like a lawyer, or something like that. And to look at what I’m doing now, I don’t think my younger high school self would have thought that this would be a successful route.” (22:16) (Jordan)
“It is ok to have an occupation or to have a day job that supports your family, your kids, and your lifestyle. And it’s ok to have passions outside of your work. Work doesn’t need to be the definition of who you are.” (26:01) (Jordan)
“That has been a very interesting thing that I’ve noticed that has bled across the letters so far is that everybody’s want for money really isn’t different. We all want it. We all want more of it. But man, the levels of what’s needed is very different or people’s goals of what they want to do with money is very different.” (36:14) (Jordan)
Mindful Money Resources
For all the free stuff at Mindful Money: https://mindful.money/resources
To buy Jonathan’s first book – Mindful Money: https://www.amazon.com/Mindful-Money-Practices-Financial-Increasing/dp/1608684369
To buy Jonathan’s second book – Mindful Investing: https://www.amazon.com/Mindful-Investing-Outcome-Greater-Well-Being/dp/1608688763
Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Newsletter: https://courses.mindful.money/email-opt-in
Capture the most important benefit of an advisor – behavioral support – without the 1% fee: https://courses.mindful.money/membership
For more complex, one on one financial planning and investing support with Jonathan or a member of Jonathan’s team: https://www.epwealth.com/our-team/berkeley/jonathan-deyoe/
Jonathan on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathandeyoe
Jonathan DeYoe: Hey there. Welcome back. On this episode of the Mindful Money podcast, I’m chatting with Jordan Olmscheid Jordan’s a girl, dad, husband Christian, and a small business owner, solopreneur. By day he runs a one person hymn cleaning business. He washes windows, cleans gutters, etc. And he has a very interesting side project, the wealth letters, where he collects insights from people of all walks of life on the pursuit of wealth, wisdom and meaning, which is why I wanted to chat with him today. Jordan, welcome to the Mindful Money podcast.
Jordan Olmscheid: Thanks. Thanks for having me on. Wow, I love that intro. That’s very professional and right on the money. Thanks for bringing me on today.
Jonathan DeYoe: Of course. I’m glad you’re here. So first of all, where do you call home and where are you connecting from?
Jordan Olmscheid: Connecting from Minnesota. So I chatted with you a little bit before recording here. I’m calling it the north tundra. Yet this year, we’re still waiting for summer to hit. We’ve got some rain and snow today and yeah, most of us here are, we’re about ready for snow and winter to say goodbye to us.
Jonathan DeYoe: Are you a hockey fan?
Jordan Olmscheid: What’s really funny about that? We are in the state of hockey and I can’t skate to save my life. Yes, growing up, I was a basketball guy, so that’s during hockey season. So yeah, I like watching hockey. But yeah, to play, that’s. I couldn’t do that.
Jonathan DeYoe: So did you grow up there in Minnesota?
Jordan Olmscheid: Yep, I’ve been, yeah, my whole life, central Minnesota. I mean, we’ve moved within an hour or so growing up. But yes, I’ve pretty much been in the same place my whole life.
Jonathan DeYoe: So I’m curious, as a kid in the I’m going to say upper Midwest. Would you call yourself upper Midwest?
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah. Okay.
Jonathan DeYoe: So what did you learn about money, entrepreneurship growing up?
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah, that’s a good question. So I probably was, quote unquote, luckier than most others in that both of my parents were both entrepreneurs. So my dad started his own trucking company, so he was smaller, if you want to say that. He probably had four or five drivers working with him under him. And my mom opened up her own retail business. So kind of growing up, I didn’t really know anything different. It was mom and dad. They had their own thing going. They had to work hard to not necessarily pay the bills, but to be outside the nine to five kind of hours. So, growing up, I remember my dad being gone a lot of the time. He did a lot of driving overnights. My mom, obviously, she had to work retail hours and holidays and things like that. So, um, as a kid, I guess I didn’t think anything differently of that, but chatting with my close friends that most of them didn’t have any parents that had that growing up. And so that was definitely a, uh, positive for me that I didn’t even think about in terms of entrepreneurship.
Jonathan DeYoe: How were you engaged in that process of them having that? Did you go to work with them? Did you do the books with them or anything like that?
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah, for my dad’s trucking business, I did the books for him.
Jonathan DeYoe: Really?
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah. So that was a funny thing. My dad is hard worker, blue collar guy. Technology was not and still is not his strong suit. And so for him to need to do his invoicing and do most of his accounting electronically, I took care of that for him. And so that was, uh, something that he was very thankful for, but obviously something for me, too, to be able to do that a younger age. I was in high school when I was kind of doing that with him early on on my mom’s side, being in retail, I helped her a lot with prepping the store, unpacking boxes and that sort of thing, so kind of was able to get my hands dirty on both sides of things.
Jonathan DeYoe: Did they give you business lessons, or were you just picking it up as you went along?
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah, I would say for both of them on the business lessons, they basically kind of said, hey, we did this. We had to start from, quote unquote, ground zero, and just kind of put in the time right away, not expecting the greatest results, but they knew what they were doing was right for them, and they knew that if they kind of just kept that slow progress, that in time they were going to get to a point where the business was going to be where they felt it was being successful. So, yeah, both of them said the same thing. It was early days. It was a lot of hard work solo, doing a lot on their own time. And then again, slowly as they built it, got to a point where they’re like, hey, I got to see the fruits of my labor.
Jonathan DeYoe: So, besides working for them, did you ever work for somebody outside of them growing up? Did you have a boss that wasn’t mom or dad?
Jordan Olmscheid: Yes, I did. And worked at a local pizza place in town, so I was a pizza delivery driver.
Jonathan DeYoe: Hey, me too.
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah, there you go. There you go. Gosh. Looking back at it now, it was a great time. I worked with some really good people, and I got to get into the nooks and crannies of my hometown that I never even knew were there because I was delivering pizza all over. Growing up, that was my only job where I was working for a boss. On the weekends, my brothers and, uh, I, we would referee football games for the youth program in our town. So, I mean, that was something where we’d make $100 on a Saturday doing that. But I don’t really count that necessarily as a boss, if you will. It’s kind of more fun. We got to go watch football and make some money while we were doing it.
Jonathan DeYoe: Do you think there’s anything that you take out of? Well, first, actually, you had a boss at the pizza place. You also worked at your parents. You saw they had some freedom. Did you begin to develop this idea that, hey, someday I’m going to run my own show, I’m going to have my own thing? Or did that come, like, much later?
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah, that’s another good question. Today, my mom tells me that she always knew that I was going to gravitate to doing something myself because I’ve got two other brothers. So out of the three of us boys, I was the only one who really kind of showed interest in being involved with the business or what they were doing, helping my dad with the books, helping my mom at the store. My mom has said that she just could tell that I showed interest in that side of things. And so she kind of always knew deep down I was going to be doing something on my own someday. For me, personally, I don’t think I had any clue that it was something that I would turn into wanting to do myself, which is interesting because you talked kind of to some other business owners, and they kind of were like, they knew from a young age that they wanted to be working for themselves. And that really wasn’t on my mind at the time. So it was an interesting, uh, dynamic to think about that.
Jonathan DeYoe: Now, I’m curious, just for context, are you the oldest or middle? Youngest.
Jordan Olmscheid: I’m the middle boy. Yep. I’m the middle.
Jonathan DeYoe: I would have expected it. Just psychology being what it is and what little. I’m not a psychologist, but little I know. It seems like the oldest tends to be the one that’s most aggressive and might end up doing their own thing, but the middle boy doing it. That’s interesting. So what do your brothers do today?
Jordan Olmscheid: My older brother is. I don’t know if it’s the proper term. I call him a headhunter. So he’s a talent acquisition. So that’s what he does. And my younger brother is. He’s a medical sales. He’s a medical device sales, I guess you could say. Got it? Yeah.
Jonathan DeYoe: So I want to get to the wealth letters, but before I do that, I want to talk about the cleaning business. So is it a good business?
Jordan Olmscheid: Gosh, that’s another funny story. So originally I was a k twelve teacher and basketball coach. Varsity basketball coach. And so with that, you have your summers off. And so I kind of thought, hey, my wife is also a teacher, and she does some lifeguarding and that sort of thing in the summers. And so I thought, hey, I can do a little something on the side. Maybe we can make a little bit of extra money. And my uncle is a post construction cleaning guy, so he does everything from the vacuuming and getting everything ready for a new construction project to go on the market. And so I kind of asked him to say, hey, do you need any help? And he kind of said, yeah, I could use some help. But he said, you could probably do some of this on your own. You could just go around to people that you know and clean windows. And so that’s how I got started with that. He got me off on the right foot in terms of how to clean windows properly, what’s all entailed, the equipment that you need. And so we started it just as a side kind of summer business. And about a year and a half later, I decided to take it on full time. So that’s how I got into the cleaning side.
Jonathan DeYoe: Tell me about that. Your uncle, was it?
Jordan Olmscheid: Yes, my uncle.
Jonathan DeYoe: Your uncle says, you need this equipment. Do you then go and buy that equipment or do you lease the equipment? And then your first six, eight months, you’re just basically doing sales. You’re going door to door talking to people, hey, can I clean your windows. Give us a little picture of that first year. Like, how tough was it? It seems like in a year and a half, did you replace your full time job, your teaching job’s income in a year? That seems pretty incredible.
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah. So there’s two parts to that. So bought the equipment ourselves. So when I say ourselves, my older brother was involved as well, because at the time, funny enough, he was in education as well, so he was a teacher as well. So we both were working on the business together in the summer. So we bought the equipment. We knew how to clean the windows from my uncle. I mean, he gave us kind of the quick rundown of how we should be doing it properly, because there is an art to it, there is an art to getting a window to look clean. And so we were extreme beginners. I mean, we knew how to clean a window, but we had no idea what we were going to run into. When you’re going out to people’s houses, I mean, you’ve got three story houses, you’ve got all kinds of different windows and things that you run into. And so, yeah, that first summer was a lot of trial and error. I mean, we would get out to some places and we didn’t have the proper ladders to reach heights of windows. I don’t want to say it was a rough first summer, but we had some things that we learned along the way, where we learned quick what was going to work, what was not going to work in terms of our pricing structure, in terms of upgrading our equipment to bigger, uh, ladders. We needed a bigger truck, that sort of thing. But, yeah, how we started it was really in our sphere of influence. We went to our family, our friends, that sort of thing. Just kind of said, hey, this is what we’re doing. We’re doing it for the summers that we have off. And of course, people are going to be nice enough when they’re family and friends, and they’re going to give us a shot right away. So who knows? They probably were like, hey, you know what? They’re trying something, let’s help them out. And we did a good enough job that they told some other people about what we were doing. And it really did. That first summer, it was all word of mouth. We did some flyers, we did a little bit of advertising in our local chamber of commerce website, and they had a magazine, that sort of thing. But yeah, we did no search engine optimization, no online ads or anything like that. It just was strictly kind of that word of mouth. And so that went really well. That first summer, we thought we had a good side business to get going.
Jonathan DeYoe: It’s interesting. I’ve lived in this house for 1815 years now. We’ve never had the windows cleaned. So just as a side note, how often are we supposed to have our windows cleaned?
Jordan Olmscheid: That’s funny, too, because before becoming a window cleaner, I was just like you. I’m like, wait, that’s actually something that people get done and pay for. And, yeah, it really is. We can run the gamut of frequency. I mean, we’ve got some customers that they want their windows done once a month. Now that is what. Yes. Now don’t get me wrong, that’s getting your windows clean a lot. I would say that’s clean windows.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, that’s clean windows.
Jordan Olmscheid: You got clean windows for the most part on the residential side. Most people, if they choose to get their windows done, is going to be once a year. Some will choose to do it twice a year. So kind of a spring and a fall kind of a schedule you do.
Jonathan DeYoe: Inside and out, correct?
Jordan Olmscheid: Inside and out. Some people do the insides themselves. They might be able to access all their windows themselves on the inside. So we’ve got a lot of people who say, hey, we just need our outsides done. But, yeah, we do both if needed.
Jonathan DeYoe: So you said at one point, maybe I read this or you said it, that you kind of grew the business and you had employees and you had staff and HR and all the kind of stuff you have to deal with. And now you’ve kind of said, no, I’m going to downsize it. I’m going to be a solo operator. Walk us through that. You’ve got a bigger enterprise. I’m assuming you’re making more money. Why would you downsize?
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah, as we were growing the business, I was excited about the growth. I mean, it really was fun to grow, to see the growth happening, to bring on employees. Bringing on our first employee was just kind of like a big deal. We’re like, hey, we’re getting beyond just ourselves here.
Jonathan DeYoe: I remember that. I remember hiring my first employee. I loved it. I was like, oh, I’m growing. I feel good about that business.
Jordan Olmscheid: And at the time, my wife and I, we were married, no kids. My wife was also pursuing her master’s degree. So she was pretty busy. She had a lot on her plate. I was growing a business, I had a lot on my plate. So there were times there where we were both pulling the 60 hours, weeks, or however you want to call that. Uh, but again, it worked for us. We didn’t have kids. And so what can I say? I was really dialed in, I guess, on growth. I had the time and I had the fire and the energy to do that. And so we did really well. We got to a point where we probably, gosh, we had maybe four full time employees and a couple of seasonal guys, some college students that would come and help us when they were off for the summers. And our business was doing great. And then at the time, my brother decided that he wanted to kind of pursue something different. So he kind of stepped away from the business, which was, that was a big hole to fill. So at that point in time, my wife and I were about ready to start having a family. And I just was chatting with her, and I said, hey, this has been a lot of work to get to this point. And we were at that size where we were big enough to have employees, but we were not quite big enough where a lot of that stuff kind of fell on me, where I had to wear a lot of those hats. I had to be doing a lot of the accounting yet and the sales, and I had to be on the ladder cleaning the windows and training the employees. I mean, I had another guy who was able to kind of help me along with that process, too. But for the most part, a lot of that still fell on my shoulders. So it was at that juncture where we were large enough, we could take that next step, which probably would have been involved bringing in an operations manager, that sort of thing, to kind of replace me and what I was doing. And so my wife just said, I think that you obviously know what is going to be best for you and for us. And so at that point, I was locked in, ready to say, we’re going to continue to grow. I’m going to bring in an operations manager, and we’re going to see where we can go with this. And at that time, we were doing some contracting work for another company who was doing mostly commercial work. And I created a strong relationship with the owner. I don’t know why or how, but we just clicked. I learned a lot from him in terms of how he grew his business. He’s been in the cleaning business for 40 years. I had done quite a bit of work for him, and we’d done a great job for him, so he enjoyed that we were doing good work for him. And I think he just kind of saw that what I was trying to do and grow, and he wanted to provide some mentorship. And I kind of told him what I was going through, what my thoughts were, what my struggles were with potentially growing versus maybe staying the same. And, yeah, he laid it out on the line. He said, if you want to go for this, you can go for it. But he kind of said, expect x, y and Z in order to be able to do that. And X, Y and Z was still, you had to put in a lot of time. You had to probably be outside of the normal business hours, if you will. And I, uh, just said, wow, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to commit to that with starting a family, necessarily. And he said, well, I’m here to help if that’s something that you need, and chatted with my wife about it. And long story short, he actually sold most of our residential business to him. And so that allowed the ability for me to be able to downsize to myself. I do still have a couple of part timers that help me out as needed, but, uh, yeah, I do mostly just commercial work now, and most of it is contract work. So I have a handful of my own accounts that I still have that I service under my business as my customers. But, yeah, most of what we do now is contract work, which is, for me, it works for our lifestyle.
Jonathan DeYoe: So this wasn’t the intent of the interview. I want to ask a couple additional questions.
Jordan Olmscheid: Sure.
Jonathan DeYoe: One, you just told the business story about the growth and the decision to not grow. Right. The decision to shrink it. In that story three different times, you say, I consulted with my wife. I think that’s really important. I want to highlight that because I know that a lot of business owners feel like they’re alone, even if they’re married. And so the fact that you had a partner that you could just kind of bounce ideas off of and get some help from, that’s huge. I don’t know if you know how lucky you are to have that partnership. It’s beautiful. So that’s the first thing I wanted just to note. And then the second thing is, I think almost every business owner has a mentor at some point because I had this happen to me. Like, I had somebody say, jonathan, in order to, and they warned me, if you really launch this thing and make it go, you’re not going to have as good a relationship. My z was, you’re not going to have as good a relationship with your. So someone says, and what a great thing to have that kind of mentor. What a fantastic relationship to have somebody that says, you know what? You could do it. I’ve done it. This is the cost. The cost isn’t always financial. So I’m curious, in the decision to shrink, did you lose income? Did your income go down, or did it sort of cancel it? The expenses, did that cancel itself?
Jordan Olmscheid: That’s a great question, too. So basically, my income didn’t go down because we were just at that juncture. We were ready to kind of make to that next step. And so, yeah, by downsizing and shrinking, I’m still able to have the same income that I have as when we were at that size. That was obviously a big decision in it, too, to be honest with you, if I knew that my income was going to go down, it may have been an entirely different decision. So, again, as you said, the blessing that I had to have somebody who had been doing it for basically his whole life say all the positives of growth for sure. But he also said, this is the other side of growth, too. And he said the same thing as you kind of pointed out, your mentor. He said, I wasn’t really there for my kids. As he was growing his company, he’s got a very large company, a very successful company. And from the outside looking in, it seems kind of, I don’t know if you can call cleaning windows glamorous, but it’s glamorous from the outside looking inside. He’s got a large business. He’s got a lot of employees. It seems like it’s a cool, great thing and it can be. But I was very thankful for him to say this is kind of what you might have to give up to get there. And so it was just great to be able to have that laid out on the line. Yeah.
Jonathan DeYoe: So I’m going to go back a little bit because you introduced yourself a little bit, and you left a few things out that I’m going to touch on real quick. And I’m going to ask. I’m going to sort of put a bow on it and tie it together. So you describe yourself as kind of an eBay reseller who was scammed. A trucking company dispatcher, women’s apparel store co owner. You’ve already talked about this. Collegiate basketball coach, k twelve teacher turned window washer. And then in your. I think I might have seen this on your website, you say, no, this is in your wealth letter. Maybe you were a top of your class four sport athlete, expected by peers and parents to go on to high profile career, and you ended up as, this is your words, not mine, just a window washer. Yes, I get the point you’re making here, but why do you think the point needs to be made?
Jordan Olmscheid: I, uh, like that question. Too. Yeah. I think I’m a type a personality. I like things to have a plan to go well to achieve my goals. Right.
Jonathan DeYoe: You’re speaking to the choir.
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah. But, yeah. Growing up, did I ever think that I was going to be a window washer, that for my living, that I was going to be cleaning windows? Absolutely not. As you kind of pointed out, I was 4.0 GPA doing the whole athletics thing, looking at what scholarships and colleges am I going to go off to? And, um. Yeah, the expectation was not necessarily from others, I don’t think. But the expectation on myself was that I was going to be doing some sort of high profile, maybe job. Maybe I was going to be in medical. Maybe I was going to be doing something like a lawyer or something like that. Right. And to look at what I’m doing now, I don’t think my younger high school self would have thought that this would be a successful route.
Jonathan DeYoe: So this is the point. This is what I’m trying to get to, because I had a couple mentees. Like, I’m a pretty successful business owner in Berkeley, California. Another thing in Berkeley, California, is the University of California at Berkeley, which is one of the know public institutions in the country. I, uh, had a couple mentees. I’m a Rotarian, so I had a couple mentees through rotary, and one of them came to my office once, and he was telling a story about his disappointment with his father, because his father had left, like, a Wall street hedge fund career, very successful in Connecticut, and came to Berkeley, and he purchased a moving business, like allied van lines, mayflower moving business. And his son was disappointed in him for this. And I, uh, think there’s something culturally broken here that’s important to speak to. And I think you feel it, and I think this kid felt it. There’s something we dismiss. If window washer, painting contractor, laundromat person, someone who owns a mortuary, we dismiss things as not important. I think people can be very. Some of the most successful people I know are painting contractors. They have a retail business. They do something that’s. They didn’t launch an app. It’s not a tech company. It’s not something that’s high profile, but they’re very successful, and they do stuff that serves the community, and their community loves them. Why do you think, as a kid growing up, you got to the point where it was like, uh, I thought I would be more than just a window washer. And how have you reconciled that in your own head?
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah, no, I have thought about that. I think growing up in school, and it’s not the fault of anybody, none of the teachers or anything like that, but we’re brought up to say we want to strive for our best, be the best you can be, get into college, do help change the world, and that sort of thing. And those are great goals. Absolutely great goals. And I think we’re not necessarily aware of it as we grow up, but that’s kind of a, uh, weight on our shoulders, if you will, that, okay, what am I doing with my life to live up to what I’m learning in school or to live up to my basketball coaches expectations or my parents or myself? And I think that it’s somewhat of a hidden burden that we’re not necessarily aware of, but it’s something that we’re all kind of striving for that greater purpose, if you will. And so for me, yeah, it was hard for me to say, okay, I’m cleaning windows. Now, I’m not a professional basketball player. That was my plan growing up. Well, that didn’t happen. So I’m not a lawyer. I’m not in the medical field. So what am I doing with cleaning windows that is pushing my potential that I thought I was going to be when I was growing up in high school. Right. And you did mention, I think the turning point for me was so I was listening to a local radio station here. It’s a christian radio station. And the, uh, host said something like, he knew somebody where they had this passion of what they wanted to do with their life, that they were so passionate about it, and that it was something that’s all that they wanted to do, but it wasn’t something that they could make a living on and support their family. And so what he realized that kind of turned the light bulb on for him was that it is okay to have an occupation or to have a day job, if you want to call it, that supports your family, that supports your kids, that supports your lifestyle, and it’s okay to have passions outside of your work, and that work doesn’t need to be the definition of who you are, which is kind of what I feel like we’re fed as we grow up, is, what do you do? What’s your career? And, uh, it’s nothing groundbreaking, but that, for me, really kind of just flipped the switch in my head, saying, hey, I may clean windows, right? But that doesn’t need to define my success or who I am. I’ve got a lot of passions outside of cleaning windows. Right. My family and different pursuits that I really enjoy and I’ve let myself be okay with the fact that just because I’m not doing those pursuits for a living, that doesn’t mean I can’t continue that outside of my day job.
Jonathan DeYoe: You’re still doing it, though. This is interesting because we’re having this conversation. You are. You do clean windows and you’re still dismissing. So I don’t think you clean windows. I think you help people see more clearly.
Jordan Olmscheid: Yes.
Jonathan DeYoe: Right. I think I read this on your website, the story of the bricklayer. That somebody comes and asks the bricklayer, what is it you do? And he goes, I lay bricks. And the guy next to him laying bricks, he asks that guy. And that guy says, well, I’m building a wall. And then the guy next to him says, I’m building a cathedral.
Jordan Olmscheid: Right.
Jonathan DeYoe: So I think that there’s a lot of. We’re dismissing you, are dismissing what you do as not as valuable as what you could have done. And I think that’s a mistake. I think there’s something that you can do in how you do the thing you do. And just as an example, there’s this guy named Larry who cleans carpets. Like, he used to work in a manufacturing facility in Berkeley, California. And this guy changed over and he cleans carpets. But every single time I interact with him, I smile like I have a great time. It’s a better day because I’ve interacted with Larry. And I can’t have him come over to my house and clean my carpets every day because it’s ridiculous. Once a month or once, I see Larry and I feel great, like he’s a great guy. So there’s something just about being you in the world and how you affect your.
Jordan Olmscheid: That’s.
Jonathan DeYoe: I think there’s value in that. I think there’s value. I’m trying to get to this segue here.
Jordan Olmscheid: Right.
Jonathan DeYoe: And you created the wealth letters.
Jordan Olmscheid: Yes.
Jonathan DeYoe: What does it mean? What is the reason? What is our purpose? So, uh, why did you create this idea of the wealth letters?
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah. Well, I appreciate you. Yeah. I’m a valuable window washer. Yes. Thank you. I do appreciate that. To go off of that quickly, I try and have a conversation once a week with my best friend who I grew up with. And, uh, what you just said is how we kind of define our self worth with what we do. That’s a struggle that we both still are navigating and trying to figure out because we both aren’t doing what we thought we were going to do. And just like you said, that’s okay. But yet you can tell just by how I answer some of your questions is that I still kind of have a little bit of a struggle with that, that, you know what? This is what I do for a career. And maybe I’m thinking, what do other people think about that? And honestly, that was the impetus for starting this project, was chatting with my best friend. We kind of were just struggling with that whole side of things. And so I was like, you know what? I’ve got two young daughters. One of them is three, one of them is one. And I’m like, gosh, I would hate for them to have to try and maybe deal with these kind of same feelings that I have in terms of attaching my self worth with what I do for a living or maybe my self worth with my net worth, that sort of thing. And so I said, I’m just going to put it all out there. I’m going to write them a letter. I want them to know what dad has gone through, maybe kind of what some of my findings were. And don’t get me wrong, they’re three in one, but this is for further down the line. They can start to, uh, maybe read this someday. And it was the most just eye opening experience because it took me a long time to write, because there’s just a lot of things that I wanted to bring up that I had gone through. And when I was done with it, I really was like, this is what I needed to do, not only for myself, because I think I really did need it for myself, too. But I was just proud of the fact that my daughters were going to be able to read this and say, wow, my dad, he did x, y, and z. Or you know what? He does have feelings. And I know he’s a man, but he’s got feelings and that sort of thing. And so that was really where I was going to just have it stop there. But my wife said, wow, this is really cool. I think I want to do something like that. And my mom and dad read it, and they said, hey, I think I want to do something like that. And before you know it, it was kind of like, hey, maybe this is something we can kind of spread to people just beyond my daughter.
Jonathan DeYoe: It. I love it. And I love the fact you did it again. You said, my wife thought this was a great idea, so she’s, like, pushing you to publish this and become the wealth letters. And I think you got a good one there. Yeah, that’s awesome. What is the question that the letters are answering?
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah, so when I think of wealth that has been again, growing up. As I said, I was involved with my mom and dad with their businesses. I started my own business. To me, it was kind of like money and financial stability and career, that sort of thing, kind of was the definition of what a successful Jordan looked like. And obviously, as life has gone on, I’ve realized that there’s many other different things than just money and career and whatnot. And what’s even more interesting is that, gosh, there’s so many differences between people’s mindset on wealth, but yet there’s so many similarities, too. From all ages, young, old. And through this project of starting this, I’ve really been starting to see some relationships with kind of, what are some of the things that are aligning with a lot of people in terms of what they feel is success or what they feel is happiness? And so, yeah, long story. To answer your question, the wealth letters is trying to answer on our pursuit of wealth and the meaning of life. What does that mean? What is that? Is it money? Is it possessions? Is it experiences? And for many people, that’s yes. And the question is trying to answer, what other things are we trying to tie together to kind of have that full picture of a wealthy life? And again, most of us, money is definitely a huge part of that. Absolutely. But there’s other aspects of it, too, obviously, our relationships, our social outreach with other people. And so just trying to pull a couple of components together to say, these are the most important things that’s going to allow for someone to live a happy and contented life.
Jonathan DeYoe: Are there any letters that have been written that don’t touch on money at all?
Jordan Olmscheid: Yes, but which I think is right on the money, too. Is that every letter so far that is out on the website has said that money is not the sole definition of wealth. However, we would all be kidding ourselves if we couldn’t pursue time, our health and all those sort of things. We have to have Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We have to have all those met. And money is one of those things. Know, for us to have a stable living situation, to put food on the table, we have to have money. Right. And so I found that very interesting, that all of the letters have said that, yes, money is not what makes them wealthy, but it absolutely is a must in order to have that baseline, in order to kind of pursue those higher level thinking things.
Jonathan DeYoe: I’m going to do my best to tie this together. There is a bunch of research on whether or not money makes us happy. Someone did a study, I think it might have been Kahneman that did a conneman did this research with somebody else, and they determined that when you get to about 75, maybe today, uh, inflation adjusted, it’s probably like $90,000 of income. And it kind of speaks to what you’re saying. Once you get to that level, that’s not what makes you happy. More money doesn’t make you more happy at that level.
Jordan Olmscheid: Right.
Jonathan DeYoe: I just read a piece of research this morning, because about a month and a half ago, something came out that said, well, actually, it does keep going up. There is a direct influence. More money equals more happiness. And it’s interesting, because what came out today was analyzing those two studies and saying the reason they’re different is because one of them looked at people that didn’t have as much money. And so the people that didn’t have as much money, once they got to $90,000, they were like, oh, my God, I couldn’t possibly be any happier than this. Everything I want is here. But the other one kind of leaned towards looking at people that already had more money, and people that have more money could be happier with more money. And that’s interesting, because if we make money, our goal, then it seems to be additive. But if really what we really want is enough so that we can spend more time with our family and friends, then that ends up making us happy. So it’s kind of like what we decide is the thing. Self fulfilling a little bit, which is bizarre. So do you see any themes? Are there any themes that come out of the.
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I’m glad that you brought up that study, because I read the same one, too, recently. And when I read that study, I’m a big Morgan housel fan. Oh, God.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah.
Jordan Olmscheid: Uh, read the book. Love his writing. And, uh, he said something, I don’t remember if it was in his book or if it was on a podcast he was, um, on, but he just said that the whole reason that we are pursuing money or we’re pursuing wealth or whatever that is, we just want enough so that it’s just not a worry of ours. And for most people, that’s going to be at different levels. Like you said, someone who maybe grew up, maybe in poverty, and they’re at a $90,000 salary or whatever, for them, that’s going to feel, hey, I don’t have to worry. There’s someone else on the other side here. That’s definitely not going to be enough. And so that has been a very interesting thing that I’ve noticed that has kind of bled across the letter so far is that everybody’s want for money really isn’t different. We all want it. We all want more of it. But, man, the levels of what’s needed is very different. Or people’s goals with what they want to do with money is very different. Some, they don’t have family, they don’t have kids, but they want to travel the world. Some want just enough, like you said, to feel like I just don’t have to worry about it really anymore. And so the money piece, again, has been even across the letters, but the use of the money is very different. And another piece of it is, it’s been relationships and it’s been higher, um, power. It’s been a belief in a higher power. Why are you here? Truly, why are you here now? I’m a Christian, but I understand that’s not everybody’s thing. I totally understand that. But these letters have shown that whether you believe in a God or whether you believe in not a God, that you still have to have some sense of purpose as to why you’re here. There has to be a reason for what you’re doing. And so that’s been just an eye opener for me that, yes, we can have a great job, we can have the money, but if you don’t have your purpose or your why, there’s no satisfaction in it, for sure.
Jonathan DeYoe: Do you have a favorite letter?
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah, that’s a good one.
Jonathan DeYoe: Do you have a favorite kid?
Jordan Olmscheid: Yes. No, I’m biased to, uh, Morgan Housel. So one of the letters that’s on there, it was a letter that Morgan Housel wrote to his daughter when his daughter was born in. I think his daughter was born in 2019. And so I’m a little bit biased because I just love his writing. And so that definitely is one of my favorites on there. But there was a letter from a 24 year old, he’s just recently out of college, and he wrote a letter to himself from the future. And I thought that it was a really kind of interesting dynamic, and how he wrote it was just. It was a lot of the normal things of make sure that you’re having strong relationships in your life, pursue money. There’s nothing wrong with that. But don’t make that be the full purpose of your life. Kind of some of the normal things that you would think of. But again, the perspective of him writing it from his future self, I just thought was a really cool way to kind of bring those things across. Yeah.
Jonathan DeYoe: Is there anything that’s been, like, you’ve read this m and it just was like, wow. Total surprise. Like, shock.
Jordan Olmscheid: There was one letter. It was an excerpt from a CEO who had built a very large business, a very large company. And he was kind of talking in a very humorous kind of tone. Like, many people want to be like me. They want as much money as me. And he kind of was just saying, like, don’t make me laugh. You can have all the money and you can have all this stuff. But he said, if you don’t have the relationships, if you don’t have that in your life, he’s like, it just means nothing. And it wasn’t necessarily surprising, but it was kind of the tone of how he was writing that really just. It kind of just hit you in the gut. Like, man, this guy has more money than probably any of us can imagine. And yet he’s kind of jokingly saying, that doesn’t matter $0.01 if you don’t have the relationships.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. This is not news to anybody that’s heard me talk before, but it’s like, I’ve had conversations with people who are ridiculously wealthy, and they’ve been divorced three times and their kids don’t talk to them. And it’s like, I feel bad. I’m nowhere near their financial success, but I feel bad for them. My kids and I, we hug every day. My wife and I, we get along swimmingly. I couldn’t imagine busting that apart or screwing that up for a dollar. There’s not enough money in the world for that. I’m curious, what’s ultimately the goal? I mean, if you get a certain number of letters, does it become a book? Is it going to be a movie someday? What’s the.
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah, no, that’s. I’m type a. I love was. It’s a social media account out of the United Kingdom, and it’s called letters live. And what they’ve done is they’ve curated history’s letters. I mean, it’s letters from long ago up to the present, but there’s no really focus with the letters. It’s just kind of history’s letters. But what I think is really cool is they do live readings of the letters in a theatrical format. So they’re in a big theater. They’ve got skilled readers who are very skilled at what they do, and they read these letters. And I’ve watched some of these presentations, and it’s just wonderful to kind of hear the words from history, but it’s brought out in a live format. It really brings the words to life, and that kind of just was like, man, uh, wouldn’t that be so amazing if down the line, we could have some of these letters read out loud, and they could be read in a format where people can hear the emotion, they can hear the passion behind the words. That would be the ultimate goal, would be to have something like that. I have thought of putting the collection together down the line into a book format, kind of having it a medium for people to be able to read that way, because some people, they like the book in their hands, and that’s a thought, too. And so ultimately, the project is hopefully, I’m just hoping to try and help some people to get beyond their way of thinking. Like, I think, right. Because it’s not always fun to have to deal with your own demons up here. And so that’s ultimately still, if I can help just a few people, that’s amazing. But yes, it would be amazing also to kind of see this thing blossom into something down the road.
Jonathan DeYoe: The idea of the cultural shift about what we value and being part of the push, um, to alter what we value, because I think you can pick almost anybody, and maybe there’s some rounding error, number of people who wouldn’t answer this question this way. But I think almost everybody knows that relationships, health, purpose are more important.
Jordan Olmscheid: Yes.
Jonathan DeYoe: And yet, when you look at us as a culture, you go, wow. On that. What’s the Friday before Christmas? Everyone goes absolutely crazy, and they’re just fighting with each other and punching each other for tvs at Walmart.
Jordan Olmscheid: Ah.
Jonathan DeYoe: Some of the stuff you’re like, really? It’s unbelievable. Some of the stuff I see, I’m just like, I don’t understand this at all. But I think that one on one, most people would say, yeah, health, family, friendship, that’s what matters. So I love the idea of having these wealth letters and going out and reading. I’ve read a few of them. I haven’t read them all, obviously, but I’ve read a few of them. And it’s interesting. You find different stuff. And I would ask our listeners, if you’re curious, I’d go check out the wealth letters. In the meantime, how do people connect with you? How do people find you?
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah, I, uh, appreciate that. The best way, again, you can go to thewealthletters.com. You can check out some of the letters that are there. Commenting on any of those will come right to me. I’ve got my email address on there, too. That’s probably the best way, is to just go direct there and they could get in touch with me. If they have any questions or maybe they want to share some of their thoughts or insights, that’s always welcome, too.
Jonathan DeYoe: Thank you for that. And we’ll put all that in the show notes for sure. There’s a ton of noise out there, and just, um. I’m hoping you can simplify something for us. I know you don’t really call yourself a financial expert, so maybe it’s not a financial thing. So maybe you can pull from the letters, like, what is one thing that we can do to have greater well being, more satisfaction? And then what is one thing that maybe we’re led to believe is going to be helpful that we should stop doing?
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah, well, I think the thing that I’ll start with the stop doing, and I think, again, that we all kind of have this, whether we know it or not, we have this carrot dangling in front of us that we’re trying to chase. And I think that if we’re honest with ourselves, it’s probably going to be something that we’re never going to grab onto. We’re human beings, and so we’re always going to keep moving those goalposts. And so, yeah, my advice would be, is absolutely have the goals, have the vision and what you want to reach. But we also need to be aware that we’re imperfect humans, and when we reach said goal, we’re probably going to want to push that goalpost a little bit further to say, uh, I think I want to achieve that yet. I want to go a little bit further. And I think that can be dangerous because I think we can kind of lose the nowness, being in the present and being okay with where we are, too. And if we’re always kind of looking ahead, that would kind of be my insight there in terms of what can we do for our contentment, our peace. I ultimately do believe that, yeah, you have to find inside what is truly the meaning of why you’re here. Right? I mean, is it because you were created to be here? Is it because you were meant to change your son or your daughter’s life, to change someone’s life at work? I think by kind of reframing that in terms of I am here for a reason, there’s a reason that Jordan is here. It just kind of makes you just kind of take on a different vision of life. Yes. You can tell in the background here I’ve got frozen stuff because I’ve got my two daughters, and my vision and purpose in my life right now feels like, hey, I’m here to be the best dad that I can be for my two girls. And so that might be my vision and purpose for my life right now, but everybody’s going to have their own, and so if we don’t have that, we kind of can just aimlessly go about our day. Yeah.
Jonathan DeYoe: What is one thing that you’ve changed your mind about recently?
Jordan Olmscheid: That’s a really good one, too. It’s a financial one. I think in my head, you’re always told, what’s your number? What’s that number that you’re going to be able to reach where you can just say, I’m done. I can retire. Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that I like working. I don’t mind working. It’s not something that scares me or something that I don’t think I want to do forever. And so my number of what I think is enough. I feel like that’s changed. I feel like that’s actually come down some, which is surprising to me, being that I’m a type a personality. But I found that there’s enough skills that I have, there’s enough things that I could do where I think that I could probably take my foot off the gas pedal a little bit earlier in my career than I’ve had set in my mind for a long time. So I would say that’s a positive change.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. It sort of falls in line with the idea that you had this company with four or five employees, and then you said, you know what? Being smaller, that’s fine. Having the number, maybe work longer instead of having a bigger number. That trade off is a great trade off. I love it. I am going through this in my own head. Question about retirement. I’m 51, so I’m looking forward going 15 years, maybe ten, maybe seven. But then I’m going, I like what I do. Uh, maybe I can find a way to just do this fewer hours a day kind of a thing.
Jordan Olmscheid: Right.
Jonathan DeYoe: I just do it longer. I love it. If there was one truth, if you could ask one question and you knew you would get the true answer to that question, uh, you knew it was going to be absolutely the truth about your future, about something, what would your question be?
Jordan Olmscheid: Wow, that’s a really good one. Wow. I would say so. This is kind of going off of my faith as a Christian. We struggle with, why do bad things happen to good people? Right. Uh, and I think there’s no right or wrong answer to any of that. But if I could get an answer, it would be, I would like to ask God, what is the point behind a lot of our struggles here on earth, whether that be us as people, a lot of the difficulties we see on the news or around the world. It’s a question that I’ve gotten a lot from people saying, man, if God is so good, why do bad things happen? And, um, it’s a very tough question for me to answer, and I don’t have the answer to that question. So that would be one I would like to ask. Yeah. Why do bad things happen? Especially to people who, they try and do their best, they try and push the good of the world. And sometimes you can just see, like, wow, I could just be not caring too much and I would be just fine.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, wow. Uh, that’s a tough one. That’s a hard one to end on.
Jordan Olmscheid: That’s a great, positive, uplifting question to end on. Uh.
Jonathan DeYoe: I don’t have an answer to the question, but having recently myself gone through massive loss, um, I lost my brother about a year and a half ago, and my brother was my best friend in the world, and he’s my only sibling. And I’ve read since then, and this makes some sense to me. I’ve read since then that if you never had the loss, you would never realize, you would never be able to. It’s like it puts structure around the love, right? If everything was just hunky dory all the time and you never had anything bad ever happen, you would never really see the good stuff. And it’s really important to appreciate and to, uh, express appreciation and to have gratitude. And the only way you can do that is to know that it can go another way. Right? And as a Buddha, christian, like, I’m a reformed Lutheran, become buddhist, right? So I sort of have both, uh, elements. It’s like life is suffering, right? And that’s the sort of foundational buddhist belief, life is suffering, but there’s a path out of suffering, and it’s the realization of the path. Uh, but why do bad things happen to good people? I’ve asked that question myself thousands of times in the last couple of years. It’s insane. But, Jordan, I just want to say thank you for coming on. It’s been a pleasure talking both about small business and about the wealth. Been. It’s been a lot of fun. I appreciate it.
Jordan Olmscheid: Yeah, thanks for taking the time and asking some, man, you had some great questions today that made me think, and, yeah, it was pleasure to come on, and I appreciate what you’re doing and the vision that you have for your audience and for your viewers, too.
Jonathan DeYoe: Thanks so much.