Steven Van Metre is a certified financial planner, the inventor of the Portfolio Shield™ trading strategy, and a financial media personality.
Steven transitioned from IT to financial services and found that he had an especially capacity to automate the systems of running a financial practice. In conjunction with producing a regular YouTube series, Steve has built a dynamic and highly-profitable practice.
The extra time he has been afforded by his commitment to automation has allowed Steve to research market structure deeply and come to some fascinating conclusions about deflation and the policies of central banks.
In this episode, Steve and Aaron discuss the risk of deflation, how small businesses can prepare, and how Steve has built his practice.
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If you liked this interview, check out our conversation with Brent Johnson about his Dollar Milkshake Theory and our conversation with Jeff Booth about the impact of deflation.
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Metre: Yeah, the key would be in a small businesses. You need to always listen to your customers. I mean, they're going to give you more feedback than anybody. Um, you know, and it doesn't mean you go out and do everything they say for sure. But listen to what they're telling you overall, what their fears are, what the things they like.
Watson: Everyone welcome back to going deep in there. And Watson, my guest today is Stephen van meter. He is a financial advisor who has had an enormous amount of success, and he's done it somewhat unconventionally coming from a background in IT. And. Platforms like YouTube to grow his business while applying loads of automation.
We talk about all of that in today's video, but we start by discussing deflation. If you read financial headlines, you've probably seen all sorts of reports about inflation and how that poses a risk and or opportunity in the economy. Steve. Who has dived deep into the data to actually see what's going on is more of a believer in the deflation narrative. And he not only explains what that means, but the implications for small business owners, I found this really fascinating. I think that you will as well. Here is my conversation with Steve van metre .
Metre: You're listening to going deep with Aaron Watson.
Watson: So, Steve, thanks for coming on the podcast. I'm excited to be talking with you.
Metre: Aaron's a real pleasure to be here with you.
Watson: So, I want to start off with a definition that I would guess, you know, the, the people in finance, they probably heard it, but all the other sorts of entrepreneurs folks out there, it's not necessarily a common part of their parlance, which is the concept of deflation. People hear about inflation, CPI, these other things. Deflation, we'll obviously kind of being the opposite of that isn't as commonly understood. So can you help start us off by just giving a kind of comprehensive definition of what that is and why people need to be aware of it.
Metre: Yeah, that's a great question, Aaron, because, you know, we see inflammation every day in our life, too.I mean, cars go up in price homes, go up in price, you go to the store and you know, food's going up in price. And so we're used to that. And so what is the notion of deflation? Well, when you can simply put it as you're, maybe you're out looking in the market to buy a new bicycle and all of a sudden there's a, you know, you're in clearance because the new models are.
And so the retailer through the manufacturer discounts may be 20%. And that's a sense of what deflation is. It's it's when prices fall. Now, it doesn't mean, you know, a one-off event, you know, again like a bicycle or maybe, you know, if you buy a car at the end of the year, which if any of your aunts is looking to buy a car, maybe not in this market, but in a normal market, best times are either end of the month or end of the year, because everybody's clearing out.
Or if you look for model changes, that's where you find the deal. But when you get concerned about what deflation means to the economy, it's the exact opposite of inflation. So inflation is a broad increase in goods and services. So it's not isolated to say one part of the economy or one sector. It's everything going up and you look around and you see that in history in the 1970s and early. And deflation being the exact opposite, being a broad decline in prices and services. And that's really dangerous when you're in a debt-based economy, you'll hear policy makers, particularly the federal reserve say we don't want. Deflation. Well they'll know, they won't actually mention that. They'll just say we want a certain level of inflation, which is their way of suggesting. We really don't want that to go the opposite direction. If it goes up too much, if inflation is too hot, we can manage that. But boy, if it goes the opposite direction, that becomes a real problem.
Watson: And so said, you know, maybe with like a kind of tangible example, if. Inflation is the truth. If it's the future, if there was some way to know with a hundred percent certainty that in the future, things were going to inflate at a relatively high rate.
Why not take a whole load of debt out to buy a house, to buy some sort of asset that would appreciate and price because relative to the appreciation of that at home, the debt is going to be super serviceable. But conversely, and this happened with some of the people that were like, you know, in, in markets where maybe. Uh, you know, a manufacturing center was exported somewhere else. You buy this piece of real estate at a certain price, but the real estate value deflates. And now all of a sudden you have all this debt on your books. And even if you sell the asset underlying it, you're not going to be able to pay off that debt, which cause all sorts of really scary ramifications.
Metre: Yeah, you've got it pretty much. Exactly. I mean, if you understand why the federal reserve wants inflation is exactly for the region. Reason you mentioned is if I perceive that TV that I really want to buy is going to be up, go up in price. Then I have to, as a consumer will say, can I buy that TV today? And if I can't afford it, which is actually ideal in terms of our monetary system and financial system, then I have to say. Is the borrowing costs, which could also go up if prices are going up better for me to buy now, Ian finance now to get that TV today, instead of waiting maybe six months or a year when I've saved enough money to do that. And what happens in that transaction of mean borrowing money from the bank as money gets created into the economy, as money gets created and more money gets created, those prices actually become sticky and continue to rise. And so what you're doing is that. The sense pulling demand forward. And I think that's really a key comment. That actually happened during the pandemic is we gave people money and they went out and bought stuff. They, they were actually going to buy, in some cases, people were planning on buying a new vehicle, but what we saw as people buying lots of stuff for their home, because they were there or they were going to start working from home.And all it does is pull demand for deflation. Again, being the opposite problem. And as you mentioned, is I own a home or. And now I'm upside down on it and I'm committee money to something that is actually just vanishing. Right? I mean, you think you bought a house for 300,000, it declines to 250, you owe 280 on it.You make a payment. Where does that money really going? As you're making that payment, it's going nowhere. It's just lost as a sense as a consumer and people don't like that, banks don't like. And becomes a problem because as we've seen during the great financial crisis, a lot of people get upside down or are leveraged to the point where they cannot make those payments. They say, well, you know what, I'm upside down anyways. So have it out at bank, I'm giving you this property back. And then all of a sudden you start getting a wave of delinquencies that turn into default and just like inflation begets inflation deflation, actually gets deflation.
Watson: So, can you talk kind of in broad strokes, why this is something people should be cognizant of? Because if I'm a headline reader, Steve, I see that CPI is above our targets. And like you said, central bank authorities are aiming for inflation, anticipating setting goals associated with inflation. Um, but there's, you know, elements to why your, you know, issuing this warning on your channels and in different channels where you get to share it with your clients in your advisory practice, what is kind of ringing the alarm bells for you?
Metre: Yeah, that's a, that's a good question because what, why does the fed, I mean, they'll start with, why does the fed want inflation? And just for the kind of the reasons we talked about, whether it's a TV, a car or home, something I'm financing. If, if that value is going up, maybe not so much, you know, you don't mind TV with an idea that goes up, but nevertheless, if your wages are going up with something's going up where you can pay that and make that dead service that's ideal. I mean, it's particularly important when you have an asset, like a home. Well, it's really nice when it goes up in value and we all know when we buy a car, it's going to depreciate, but maybe if it just doesn't appreciate as fast as again, my wages are increasing. So I don't have a problem servicing that debt because that's, that is the ultimate issue in a debt based economy is you need more debt to expand the economy. So you need people who all borrow and spend. Well, if their wages are rising enough where they can afford the Dutch service and perhaps maybe I even have the perception that I'm going to get a promotion or their company is doing real well. And maybe I'm going to get a bonus for Christmas. What I do then is take that money because I'm confident, again, this is a confidence game and maybe I'll go out and say, Hey, you know what? Let's get that new boat that we always wanted. And let's take that trip that we were hoping to do. And that again, just gets money moving through the economy. So that's why the fed wants that. And in the opposite fashion, the reason they don't want deflation, as we talked about is people tend to not want to pay on depreciating assets and watch their money vanish. And so that's a problem as well, particularly if I think that my wages are going to be static or perhaps in the case, you're looking at the CPS. And this is kind of where we get into the broader issue is you see prices rising. And the question that I ask and I challenge people to ask is are those prices going to stick? And what does that mean? Can consumers afford them? Are wages rising? Where they can. And we're S we're seeing in the data. They're not, we saw that real inflation adjusted earnings are actually lower, then prices are rising. So what does that mean is that if I have, you know, a hundred dollars to go spend a hundred dollars today, now it doesn't buy me as much as it did. Say a month or two months or three months ago. And from an economic standpoint, that's really bad because that means I have to make a choice, Aaron, on what are my money gets spent. And so what tends to happen is discretionary spending tends to fall has, you know, Food and housing prices, which we all need start dominate, dominate a larger share of my income. And so when you look at the rising prices you have to ask, is, is a transitory, is it sustainable? Are wages going to rise enough to hold them? And if it doesn't, then you get the risk of deflation. And the reason that becomes a risk. You have to start putting yourself in the mind of a business. Right? So now I've got a business, I've got shelves full say of widgets that I bought at a high price, thinking that I'm a sell to you, Aaron at an even higher price, because that's how you run a business. But what happens if those widgets start sitting on my shelves and not. Well, what do I have as an employer? Well, I have rent, I have utilities. I have employees I'm have probably bills of my own and all of a sudden I can't pay them. And so what do I need to do is I need to start lowering my prices. To see if I can get that inventory to move. And if I start lowering my prices, well then maybe the neighbor, you know, the business next to me sees that I'm Lauren. So they start Lauren. The next thing you know, everybody's starting to lower prices because there isn't demand there and that's where things start to go wrong.
Watson: So. Often, and, you know, we, we had a friend of yours in the past, Brent Johnson come in and talk about his dollar milkshake theory. And what I pushed him on was articulating strategies. Not necessarily from the investor standpoint, that's, that's your kind of conventional bread and butter. You have a bunch of clients for your advisory practice, who you help them construct a portfolio with these kinds of considerations in mind. But when we actually. You know, stay focused on that business and an entrepreneur and owner, a employee at a startup or a mid-sized business, trying to make prudent strategic decisions in that world. What are some of the considerations that you would suggest to them outside of how they're allocating the dollars in their accounts?
Metre: Yes. The biggest problem that you always see, what businesses and why. Failing or struggling in particular during recessions is they don't have enough. They don't have enough money. They don't have enough money to get by a downturn. And sometimes we can think of that on a, on a household level. You know, what did the experts recommend that you should have six months of, you know, expenses on, on hand?
Well, most people don't and businesses are the same way because they have to. Uh, and inventory or whatever it is, they're trying to sell with the hope to sell it at a higher price. So when they see demand starts to pick up, particularly through the pandemic, they start to believe that that's going to continue. And so they go out and they buy product and they buy stuff because they, they hear the news and the experts and the politicians say, Hey, this is good. Things are going to boom. And so what do I say? Well, I'd better go get some inventory because boy, people are certainly going to want to buy. And the risk then is they don't come. I don't have the resources. I have to start lowering my prices. And then it becomes a huge problem because if I can't move that inventory fast enough, then I have too much debt and I don't have enough capital to service that debt over a period of time that I might need. Well, then I'm starting to go in and default on my loans and look at failing. And so that becomes the domino effect. And you saw that a great example of the great financial crisis is deflation took over. And there was just so much debt in the system. It became unserviceable and there was just nothing to policy makers could do. It just collapsed in on itself. And that's the risk you have in a debt-based economy is when you have a rapid or a long expansion of debt. And that debt becomes unproductive where it's not generating a cashflow. Well, then at some point the, you know, whether it's the. Slowing down his process of easing or ended up a tightening cycle or any other number of factors where the economy starts to slow down. It becomes a game of musical chairs and there isn't enough money to support all the debt and then the music stops. And then you find out who really is in a good financial position. And then it usually turns out that, well, there wasn't fair in many.
Watson: So it really sounds like, you know, super kind of conventional stuff that, you know, my parents told me from when I was young of you, you accure too much debt. You're putting yourself in a risky position, which is really counter theoretical to the signals of inflation. The inflation signals. If it's to be believed that that this rate of inflation is accelerating or far from transitory, then it's, you know, load up on debt. It's gonna, you know, get deflated away in the future. Um, not deflate it away. It's gonna get inflated away in the future. You're really, you would really say position the other way, you know, tighten down the hatches, clean up your balance sheet, get this house in order before a deflationary shock arrives.
Metre: Yeah. Cause they always happen. And that's the problem. They happen around every eight to 10 years and people don't believe it. That's when their wages are actually you know, finally going up enough and they're making more income and they've, you know, want to start spending from those years of balance sheet repair from the last recession. But what's interesting. Aaron is in the years I've been in the financial services industry. I don't have a large amount of small business owner clients, but there's a common theme among most of the ones that. They're on their second or third business. Some of them have made it barely. Some of them have done well, but a lot of them have at least one failure under their belt. And when you start asking questions of how it happened, It becomes the same story over and over again where, Hey, I started this business and we struggle for years and years and years. And it finally started to grow and I started hiring the kids. And after, you know, 20, some years of seven days a week, you know, 14 hour, days or more. We're finally making money and the business is doing real well. And then they have to show off by the big home, go on the fancy vacations. Cause it's just deferred to the family of, Hey, all those years of sacrifice, we're here, you know, let's buy that boat. Let's buy that second home. Let's go buy the big fancy cars. And then when you and I started asking them questions, well, what about, you know, how much cash did you have on it? Well, it didn't have that much or turned out because. Well, the business was expanding so fast too. I was buying new equipment and new vehicles and hiring people. And you say, well, what about your retirement house? Oh, I, I, I was planning on selling the business for a ton of money, so I didn't save anything. And what you find out is they had no real savings or what they did have. They could only go a few months and before they were forced to lay off to try to protect their assets. And again, it's the same thing over and over again. I always recommend that business owners have money on hand not to go invest in other things, but to go through that long drought, if there is a recession and there always will be recessions because your survival is key. When you look at the data and you look at the studies as a business owner, you want to have recessions. Because that's when your competition is going away. And the data shows that if you can survive a recession and even more importantly, advertise through a recession and after a session to let consumers know that, Hey, I'm in business and I made it. And maybe those people, you were doing what they're gone, but I'm still here. Your business goes vertical. It just explodes because people want to do business with someone who is smart enough to get through the hard times.
Watson: Right on. So let's talk about your own hard times, your own small business, your own approach to these things. So as a small business person, yourself you've invented portfolio products, you have kind of carved your own space.
Was this your first try? What was the experience that allowed you to go off on your own? Because there's kind of very conventional path. Get trained as an advisor, um, get a CFP designation, but to actually jump off on your own. And chart your own trajectory. What has that pathway been for you?
Metre: Yeah, it's been, it's been a lot of ups and downs, uh, early on. Um, I started out, uh, working with my father. He and I've, you know, had a great relationship, uh, all our life we've worked together in the past. And he started a business. Um, he retired, started, um, a little investing in business. Came to work with them. And he had a great idea and together it exploded. And early on, I made a lot of money and then one thing that I didn't do was spent it, and that's the tempting thing. I'm gonna go buy a car and we're gonna buy this stuff. And I didn't do that because I wasn't sure that I, this was. Fit for me and where I was going to go. And, um, with the business, it was a whole new industry. I came out of it and went into the financial services. So I didn't really know for sure, uh, if I had what it took to to make it. And there's a lot of obstacles, just, you know, sales and marketing. I didn't know. I mean, when you, when you work on computers and networks, I mean, you have no clue about a lot of that stuff. So, um, I held onto a lot of cash. We continued to grow the business. Uh, our marketing work, we were very fortunate. We had money to try different marketing things. We had money when they failed to go back to the drawing board and do another one. And a lot of people don't. And over the years, Aaron, I just started listening to what my clients wanted. And I started looking at, you know, prospective clients that they came in and were showing me what they liked, what they didn't like. And, you know, when I created a portfolio, which is a proprietary strategy that I invented, it was based on over more than a decade of client feedback and industry feedback. I mean, listening to what, you know, uh, wholesalers and companies would tell you, oh, you know, that you can't do that. This won't work, that won't work. And I said, yeah, maybe there's a way to do it. And so, you know, the, the key being a small businesses, you need to always listen to your customers. I mean, they're going to give you more feedback. Anybody, um, you know, and it doesn't mean you go out and do everything they say for sure, but listen to what they're telling you overall, what their fears are, what the things they like, and you have to have money and be willing to try and fail and woke. Gosh, we failed so many times over the years. It's, it's incredible. Um, but the key is we, you know, didn't live beyond our means and we had money in the bank. So if something didn't work, we could figure out what it did and, you know, go try it. And, you know, that model I continued on, uh, over the years, uh, trying new things. Um, a lot of it stemmed around what people said you shouldn't do and what you couldn't do and what wouldn't work in the industry. And I believe strongly in communication with my clients. And I started writing and I thought, well, writing is good videos. You better. Right. So I started doing videos and they were boy, they were really bad. Uh, and my clients didn't watch them cause they were horrible, but I didn't quit. I kept going. I thought, you know, someday the videos will turn into something because I was teaching a class at the junior college on retirement planning. And I thought, gosh, if there was a way I could really expand out of my geographic area, if I could do what everyone says you can't do in the industry, which was expand out of your geographic area. Uh, and I thought, gosh, there's gotta be a way. And well, those videos, um, got a little bit better, but not that great. And then, uh, for whatever reason, I decided to put them on YouTube. They were hosted on a private server and then some people started watching, which was weird because I didn't have a clue what I was doing on YouTube. And then the pandemic came along and people were at home and now all of a sudden they were looking for content and the channel started growing a bit. And I'll never forget the day that I got a call from a Brent Johnson, as you mentioned, was on your show, a dollar milkshake guy. I'd, I'd watched him on real vision. So I was familiar with them and he said, Um, I want to bring you on real vision and Ralph Paul signed off on it. And I was, I, I thought he was joking and I'm like, there's just no way. And he's like, it's a real deal if you want it. And you know, this is something Aaron that I try to tell people is, you know, a lot of people when they have businesses, right. And even if you don't, I mean, we're, you know, dreamers someday, I'm going to do something, you know, someday. I had this dream of someday, I be able to run my business, sitting on vacation from pool. I can tell you I can actually do that today. I had a dream years and years ago, and I started building toward that. And so when the opportunity to go on real vision came, I remember I went home. I told my wife, I said, this will change everything. If I do a good job. I have to nail this. And Brent was great. We had some calls beforehand and he said, look, I'm going to help you be successful with this interview. I'm not here to, you know, make you look bad. I want you to do really well. And I practice, I went and I made notes about what I want to talk with. And I shared it with Brenda, this is where we want to go with a conversation. This is what we want to do. 'cause you know, in, in Aaron and life. And whether people, you know, believe in a higher power or not, it's immaterial to the point that I want to make is we're all given opportunities in life and, and you will be given them. And the question is, are you ready? You know, when, when I have to say, when the coach calls your number, are you a player? Because when they call you say, Hey, Steve, you go out on the field and you go, Hey, that ball's coming. And they, and the play starts and the quarterback drops back and you turn. Do you catch the ball or not? Because if you are a player and you catch the ball, all of a sudden your number could get called again. If you can't, you're going to go ahead and back to the sidelines and you're done. And what will happen is the world will give you so many opportunities. There's no defined number, but you will get them. And if you are not a player and you can't catch. They're going to go away, but if you are a player and you can catch that, those opportunities will lead to more and you, but you have to recognize when they're coming. You have to. And I knew, I said, this is it. This is a big deal. And I nailed that interview. Um, that year it was one of the top three to five videos, uh, privately washed by real vision and went into their top 10. I don't know if it's still there for a while. It was in their top 10 on their YouTube channel. And it changed everything. And I didn't just sit back and say, okay, you know what awesome. I'm going to just enjoy this. I realize that now the real work begins because I saw the power of social media is how do I get better? How do I do more? And what happened to YouTube channel grew my business grew and everything started to change. And here I am at a point where I am very, very close to having a fully virtual business where I can run my shell and my business from anywhere. And that dream that I had years and years ago is coming to fruition as even we talk right now in this very exciting, because what happened there and is that opportunity with Brent who I will never forget. And I will always feel like I owe him. And real vision for what WRAL did and open that door has turned into opened so many other doors, but every time they open, you know, I remember when I went to the same thing happened when I went on macro voices with our Townsend is I said, this is a big deal because he's got a big shelf. And I wanted to go out and make sure that I delivered a great job for him and his audience. Same as we're doing today with the Iranians, because you don't know who's listening. You don't know where this is going, but if you keep at it and those opportunities start opening and you work for it, it will change your business. And in two years, my business is completely changed, which is why.
Watson: I'm fired up. Your, your metaphor has got me excited for my Turkey bowl on Thanksgiving. I know that wasn't necessarily the intention.
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Watson: The concept there. I just get absolutely fired up about that in certain ways, feels like this secret. And I can't quite figure out why more people aren't just foaming at the mouth about it is as much as you're not a proponent of leverage in your financial life, leverage in your brand, building media marketing strategy, life is incredible and I'm, I'm a big fan of and he talks about how, you know, people that. Prudently use leverage can have these kind of outsized returns and outcomes of success for themselves. And really what you're talking about is that's what you've used YouTube to do, which is you can have all the answers and a ton of wisdom that you can convey to clients. But if you're only ever conveying that in a one-to-one meeting, Then there's no leverage to that. You are every hour, every new meeting burning, all of that energy and all of that expertise on one single set of ears and eyes, or maybe it's, you know, a couple, but your YouTube channel says, okay, let's scale that let's, you know, I'm going to put on all the work to be able to explain this, to break this down, let me get this in front of as many people as possible and let them consume it while I'm, like you said, out of pole.
Metre: You know, you you've got it. Exactly. I mean, kind of the idea of the YouTube show or the, the videos for the clients that became the YouTube show was in the advisory business. You'll get calls from your clients and they will ask you the same question about whatever's going on in the news at the same time. And I found myself on. 30 minutes with Aaron and it's the removal of Bob and 33rd. He was like, wow, this is a really inefficient use of my time. If I could create a video that explained what's going on, if they still had a question, then they can call me. And now we're talking maybe a two- or three-minute conversation instead of a 30 plus, and then the other cool thing. And I'm glad you've mentioned all of this about meetings is because particularly in the financial services, They'll tell you, you, you've got to sit down and have meetings with people and tell them about what you do. And you got to go through all this stuff and it takes two, three, and five minutes to get a client. And I said, yeah, you don't, I don't, I can't do that because, uh, I, all my life I've been tired, which is kind of weird to say, because I've been tired. I didn't know it. But I found out during the pandemic that I had. I have, I was born with a genetic bone marrow disorder that causes a blood disorder that causes constant fatigue. My body's continuously wearing itself out as we speak right now, I am burning a larger amount of energy than the average person. It happens when I sleep. It happens all the time. 24/7. It is a non-reversible non-treatable process. So I don't have the ability to sit and do a bunch of means I can't do it. It's not possible. I physically can't do it. So I thought, okay. I'm going to create a website and I'm putting my portfolio strategy. I'm going to make videos. I got to have fact sheets. I'm going to have guidebooks and answer every question. If someone asks a question, that's not in there, I'm going to go put it in there. And the industry and people told me you're an idiot. I'll never work. I said, look, all. It's taken my first meeting, which is people are doing this now. You know, if you want to buy a car, whatever you going to YouTube, Hey, I want to see a review of blah, blah, blah. And you watch it. And you make that first woo boy, that I didn't know that, that the engine really underpowered and still using, I'm not going to buy that car. You, you have that first meeting. Online now. And so I created that and it worked and people still don't believe that it works, but it works really well because I give people the opportunity to go to my store, which is my investment advisory firm, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I don't require them to sit in front of me. They're not required to go to sales pitch if they go there and they don't like it, they don't have to buy it. If they're curious and they keep coming back because they're wanting to get more comfortable with it. They can do that if they like it and want to come buy it. There's instructions to say you ready to get started? Here's the step-by-step process. So all I did was take my disability in my inability to have a lot of meetings, which the industry says I have to, you know, use all this technology to automate the process and wow. Yeah, what an incredible transformation in my business. Now I have time to create more content and people can go browse my store, which is really phenomenal. And if they have some questions, they can email me. Are we going to have a call? And they're usually not these drawn out long meetings. And then from my. They can now go to my YouTube channel and know exactly what I'm thinking and what I'm talking about. And it's just phenomenal. I wish more people would do that, but it's really difficult to do because it requires a lot of faith that your transitions are going to work in my case because of my physical limitations. I had to make a work. And I didn't know that a would I just thought, you know what, I'm going to do this because I can't sustain a pace of having, you know, eight meetings a day or whatever. I can't grow my business this way. I physically can't do it.
Watson: Well, another thing that you illustrated there in that example is by applying automation and kind of putting these systems in place. That's another deflationary force. Our past guest, Jeff Booth talks about deflation less through the lens of what central bank regulators and monetary regular regulators are actually doing that may or may not be either creating inflation or deflation and more through the lens of look at technology. Look at. What an iPhone used to be and what it is today, look at what, uh, you know, a mainframe computer was today versus, uh, back in yesteryear versus a laptop today. And that's where he sees a lot of the Genesis point of deflation coming from. And you just beautifully, beautifully illustrated how technology can deflate your cost of doing business.
Metre: Yeah. And that's absolutely true because when my dad kind of, some of my retired and I ended up hiring a water system and then eventually when she left and a second assistant and I, at first, I really didn't know what to do with them. Um, but then I realized like, you know, it was just the infancy of this transition that I had, again, this idea that, Hey, someday, I want to be able to sit by a pool around like, And, you know, what I did is I paid them to effectively replace their job. So, you know, a lot of financial advisors have just, you know, huge paper files. Well, I had them scan them all in. And so we would go through the process of autumn. Now they didn't know at the time. And then when they, you know, went on to do other things was perfect because I didn't need to hire anybody. But when I got done, I had all these empty file cabinets. I had these new processes that they helped me create. And then it was just a matter of me taking, you know, the, the final step of the process. And it was phenomenal because today. I don't have any direct staff. Now, my partner, uh, my securities from Atlas financial, he has brought on some staff from an administrative point to help volume of business that I bring in, which is really great. But I directly, I have no employees, you know, people often suffer from. I do it's me. Who emails you back? You know, if you have a question on something, I need a phone call. I am the one who will call or answer the phone. I mean, that's the nature of automation. It's transformed my business to a point where I can pick up this equipment. Actually, I bought a, uh, what's called a, um, uh, not a portable desktop, but it's a remote workstation. I mean, it's, it's a gigantic laptop, but I can take my show on the road. Tomorrow and no one would know what, but that's the power of automation. The technology is out there, but people are so afraid of it. They're so used to doing the same thing, the same way. And for them it's easier. I'll just hire more people. You know, the people in the industry that are where my competitors, how do you staff? I mean, you know, they'll have one or two assistants per advisor. I have none and they can't handle the volume I have because everything is automated. I've got, I mean, I tell people, you can start in your business the simplest way, find out what you're doing repetitively all the time. So I would be sending out certain emails over and over. Why am I rewriting this? So I wrote one, I put it in the save box of my email. And then as I, you know, over the time, if it needs a little tweaking, I tweak it. But you emailed me about some of specific that I already know where we're going with this train of conversation. Copy paste. Hi Aaron, blah, blah, blah, blah. Here's all their send now instead of retyping. Which takes minutes or more, and it's maybe different. Each time is now a template. And if you have an issue, you know, if I get an email back about confusion, then I can go back and say, man, you know, people are getting confused by this. I'll just fix the template. And then once it's dialed in. Whom the whole system work. And I can tell people, Hey, I know the process is duplicatable. It's repeatable because I'm doing it every day. And that's the thing is it's takes the first step is just to say, what am I doing that I can make a change with? That's real hard to do because a lot of people don't like to do that.
Watson: Do you think the reason that you've been quicker to adopt this relative to the rest of the financial services industry is because of that background, you have an IT?
Metre: I think it's a combination of the background on it. I'll man, I got a lot when I was an IT people. I was not a very people liked me as an employee, but they would complain about me. And the reason they would complain is big. And I would hear him, Hey, he's sitting around and doing nothing. Everyone's complaining that you ain't doing nothing. I said, okay. Is there anything that is broken on? No. Is there anything that you need me to set up? That's new, that's sitting here that is waiting to know. Is there anything that we're doing a budget that you've got coming up with some new spending that I need to do some research on? No. What do you want me to do? I'm effectively sitting here waiting for something to break now, is it my fault? When you hired me on you gave me a list of all the things that didn't work. Right. And I went around and said, Hey, will you give me some money to fix some of these things properly? And I went around to everyone everywhere and I went through everything and I made it all work. Isn't that what you wanted? Well, absolutely. It is great. It all works. So I'm going to here. And when did I get a call and something that needs fixing, I will go fix it. Well, I guess Steve, fair enough. You're right. There's nothing. I mean, everything is working. So there you go. And I think the second part of that, Aaron is not just my experience in IT, but it was my physical limitation. I knew there was something different about me. I just didn't know what it was. And so I would find myself, you know, Uh, it's not unusual for me around noon to be exhausted. You know, I wake up tired people, you know, they don't understand. It's like, okay, you know how tired you are when you go to bed. That's how tired I am when I wake up. So a lot of times by around noon or maybe, you know, to two o'clock man, I am I'm beat. I need to, I need to sit down or, you know, maybe recline or lay down and rest for a little bit just to rebuild some energy. And I knew that in my, not only my business now, but being an IT is, I had to take care of what I had to take care of while I could, because later that day I might not be able to. And so I've reached, I just structured my business around my unknowing disability. And it turned out to be actually really smart and from a business perspective, brilliant.
Watson: Well, I don't obviously have the same condition, but I do have a three month old. So I have a little bit of empathy for the perpetual fatigue, uh, concept.
Metre: Yeah. There's no doubt that you do. So, and that's the thing is, I don't know, day to day and just like, you don't know what your three-year-old, how much energy or what they're going to get into that you need to deal with. I don't know, like right now in our view, I feel pretty good, but tomorrow I might not. I mean, I'm not guaranteed when I go to bed at night that I'm going to wake up and feel a little bit better than normal mind. Yeah. Is tough is when everyone else feels tired. And that's a challenge because you don't know, certain days, you carved more energy, maybe you get more phone calls or more emails, or you have more videos, or we have more things you need to do. And that means there's always a sacrifice the next day. For example, I'm getting ready to go to a speak at a conference in Miami. Uh, this, uh, tomorrow, but the conference doesn't actually start till Friday evening, but I asked them specifically, I need to come in a day early. And I said, just because of this condition is if I need to know when I'm going to speak, because I'm probably going to actually not show up to a lot of things because I need to rest up because I'm going to give you 110%. And then after that, you're not going to see much to me because I'm literally going to have to go recharge the batteries. And I'm not guaranteed how fast they recharge. I mean, it's there just as no guarantees with what I've got going on. And so I have to be prepared. I have to be as automated as possible to run my business. And run my life and it just happens. It turns out that YouTube and video and all these wonderful tools that are available have changed everything for me. And the great thing is I've not done anything special. I didn't know anything about YouTube when I started and I still learning every day. If it wasn't for my friends, like Jay Bravo and Mark Moss, uh, that, that helped me out. And George Gannon. And all the people that interviewed me, where I w you know, forced to learn and they'll tell me, I wasn't, Hey, man, you need to know your, you don't, you're doing this wrong. If you try this instead. And that willingness to learn and listen, but to not be afraid to try some of this new technology to get my clients to do it. And because of the pandemic, I mean, like I said, in two years, my whole business, it completely has changed. It doesn't even look anything like it did, but it was, this was what I always wanted. I just didn't know this was how it was going to happen.
Watson: Well, uh, Steven, I'm really grateful that you've given us 110% of yourself today for this interview and for sharing some of your time with us, I want to ask my kind of standard, uh, wrap up questions. But before I do that, anything else you were hoping to share today that I just didn't give you the chance to?
Metre: No, I think you asked some really great questions, Aaron, and I'm sure we'll continue this conversation. Yeah, at some point.
Watson: Beautiful. Um, if people want to learn more about you check out the YouTube channel, your website, all the different services that you offer, what digital coordinates can we provide for people you've met?
Metre: Let's do the challenge question. I was going to see if you were going to ask me again, but let's do it. I want to challenge everyone to find something in there. The day we'll redo repetitively over and over and waste their time and automate it. That's my challenge. Automated pump part of your life. You'll thank me for it later. Uh, the best place to find me is on YouTube. You can put my name. Steven van metre is spelled M e T R E a in the search box. Um, my website is Steven van metre.com and on Twitter. I'm also on Facebook with Twitter. Um, meter Stephen met R E Steven. You can find me on and just put my name and search into if you can't find me you'll you'll, you'll find me pretty easily.
Watson: Perfect. Um, I'm going to find all those links too, and put them in the show notes. For this episode, you can find email@example.com slash podcast for every episode of the show and see if you already jumped the gun. Usually this is when I jumped right into the challenge, but you were ready and I love the challenge to automate more stuff. Um, you are not the first guest tissue. That challenge. You will not be the last, but it is a superpower once you unlock it. And, uh, I thank you for the challenge and for sharing so much of your time with this set.
Metre: Oh, you're very welcome, Erin. Um, I think if people embrace it and if they one example go to my portfolio, websites, portfolio, shield.net, you don't have to even look or be interested in. But look at what I did is how I automated things and find out a way, whereas your business or personal life, what you can do, because it will free up more time. It'll give you have a lot less stress and you know, it'll, it'll be a great experience for you, your family, your customers, your employees, wherever the situation. They'll love you for it. So embrace automation and you'll really benefit from it.
Watson: Beautiful, Steve. Thanks for coming on the show today. I really appreciate it.
Metre: Aaron. Pleasure's all mine.
Watson: We just deep with Steven van metre. Hope you're out. There has a fantastic day.
Okay, thank you so much for listening to my conversation with Steve. If you are fascinated by deflation and business strategy, then you would also enjoy our past interview with Jeff Booth. Jeff is also a very big believer in the deflation frame of thinking. And if you listen to that conversation, Even more perspective on why these guys think that this is what you need to be worried about.
I'll link it in the show notes and I will have another great episode for you next week. Hit subscribe.
Metre: Thanks for listening. Connect with Aaron on Twitter and Instagram at Aaron Watson, 59.