Delegating to Elevate: Business Efficiency in a Remote World with Dan Moran

Apr 15, 2024

The Back-Story

In this episode, Tim interviews Dan Moran, founder of Solidan. Dan’s journey from working in makeshift offices to becoming a remote work advocate is a testament to adaptability and resilience. His story, shared in a recent podcast, sheds light on the shift towards remote work. The episode also discusses hiring a virtual assistant, a potentially daunting task that can boost business growth and efficiency. It underscores the importance of choosing the right business tools and strategies. The episode also emphasizes the significance of a morning routine for personal and professional success, the role of mentorship, and the impact of mastermind groups on business success and personal growth. It’s a valuable resource for those seeking to enhance their business or personal effectiveness in today’s professional landscape.

Who is Dan Moran?

Dan Moran is the founder of Solidan, a consulting firm that specializes in maximizing the power of Slate and PeopleSoft for Colleges/Universities. Dan is a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience in PeopleSoft Campus Solutions. He has served in various roles, including Business Analyst, Technical Developer, Trainer, Team Lead, and Project Manager. He has a knack for mentoring and has guided vendor consultants and clients in enhancing their knowledge and project success. Dan’s expertise spans all CS modules, and he’s adept at working with diverse teams. His project portfolio includes implementations, upgrades, and post-production support across various educational institutions.

Show Notes

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In This Episode:
(0:00) Intro
(0:19) The good note
(7:15) What didn’t go as planned
(10:34) How do you go about finding good people
(17:26) Part-time or full-time VA
(20:32) Choosing the tools
(27:43) Growth and scalability
(30:10) Personal growth journey
(41:40) Write down goals
(46:26) What’s exciting in his business right now
(49:11) Outro


Read Transcript (generated: may contain errors)

Tim Melanson: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to today’s episode of the work at home rock star podcast.

So for today’s episode, we have the founder of solid in, and he helps universities and colleges with software and systems, and he does a virtual reality and colleges too. So super excited to be rocking out today with Dan Moran. Hey, Dan, you ready to rock? I’m ready, man. I’m ready to rock for sure.

Perfect. So we always start off here at a good note. So tell me a story of success that we can be inspired by.

Dan Moran: I worked at a school in New York and I was traveling back and forth, it was between 800 a week for them to get me out there to do computer work. We were implementing a big system and I worked out there for about six months and they were like, you know what, we need to save some money.

So can you work from home? And I was like, sure, I’ll try it. being in tech for, you know, 15 years at the time. Yeah. We always worked from home on the weekends at night, whatever it is to get the job done for go lives and that kind of thing.

But I was like, sure, absolutely. So I ended up going home and I have a wife and two kids at the time. They were very, very little, And we ended up [00:01:00] traveling up to. Wisconsin, where we have a small cabin and I worked from home there. So it was very interesting.

We had no internet, which is cool. I know you’re in Canada, so you’re probably used to those types of circumstances in different places. It was a small town and we only had one vehicle. So I had to drive into the town, the closest town that was about 20 minutes away. Plug in at McDonald’s, there’s a plug at the top of the wall and it was hanging down in the thing at 6am and I would sit there working away until lunchtime.

And I just did what I had to do, you know, to get it done. And then at lunchtime, my wife would come pick me up with kids. We would head to the country club that was 20 minutes away, where they also had interesting called internet. And so we’d get out, I’d go over there and have lunch with my family and then they would leave me again.

And I would stay there until about five, six o’clock at night. And they would come pick me up. So again, I’m working at the country club, just fighting at the table. And it was more comfortable there cause I had a place to plug in. But yeah, I mean, you pretty much just got to do what you got to do.

Yeah. And that was [00:02:00] really my first work from home experience where it was an extended amount of time and it really made the best of it. It was pretty cool.

Tim Melanson: Well, yeah, it’s crazy how things were quite a bit different before lockdowns really solidified all things. They just upgraded all the infrastructure and people got lots of ways to work from home.

But before that, yeah. Cause I was working from home before that too. And it was very confusing. People didn’t know what that meant. What do you mean? What you can help me move? You mean, is that what you mean? You mean you’re not working? Yeah. And you know, being in the IT

Dan Moran: world, I think we were at an advantage because a lot of the stuff, once there were VPNs and different mechanisms to connecting remotely, it was available.

Now, companies in my case, universities and schools, they kind of frowned upon it because they wanted you there. They wanted to make sure you’re working and all that fun.

Tim Melanson: Yeah.

Dan Moran: And the attitude towards working from home was completely different than it is today. So those folks. That are working from home in the last three or four years are really, they’re just blessed with how [00:03:00] the corporations and businesses allow us to do that.

Because back in the day it was frowned upon and, they were always nervous about what you were doing, where are you, what’s going on? They want to micromanage you.

Tim Melanson: You bet. I used to work for a high tech company and actually we built infrastructure. we were allowed to work from home as long as it was off hours.

If you want to put in overtime, no problem. We’ll set you all up for work from home, but not during the day. It’s pretty normal. Unless you were sick, I suppose. That was what was interesting about it back then But yeah, now I think there’s a lot of people that work from home.

that’s their jobs. Now their jobs are working from home jobs. So it definitely opened the minds of a lot of companies. Yeah. Cause I think that the difference is that, and I don’t know if you agree, but. There are certain personalities that really would struggle from working from home. And then there’s other personalities that don’t struggle working in what’s a setting, right?

Like they get more work done at home. I’m one of those people. I find I get distracted, all the coffee talk and all this. I just want to get my work done and go.

Dan Moran: Yeah. I honestly, it is a, it’s a yin and yang in terms of the people. I agree with you a [00:04:00] hundred percent because some people need to be in those meetings and they need to contribute and that kind of thing, you know, from a, Left brain thinking, analytical, a lot of times you just want to, you want the meeting to be as short as possible to be pragmatic run through the, you know, let’s get some action items.

Let’s assign some things, a task for people to work on and go work on those. You know, I don’t want to be sitting in the meeting. And where other people are, you know, they just want to be around the people. Now, to be fair, I love being around people. It’s fun and everything like that, but I’m way more efficient.

If I can sit with my fingers on a keyboard and be undistracted. Absolutely.

Tim Melanson: Well, and then even on that note, I mean, if you’re sitting in a zoom meeting. I mean, let’s face it, a lot of the meetings, a good portion of that meeting doesn’t really concern you directly. You know, you’re sort of, everybody’s doing their updates and all that stuff.

And then when it gets around to you, you do your thing. And I mean, I find these zoom meetings sometimes are super effective when I can sit there and work while I’m waiting for my turn and then it pops around to me. If someone asks me a question, I can answer the question. And [00:05:00] that’s the reason why they want you to the meeting in the first place, because they’re going to throw a question at you and they want it answered right away so they can move on with their business.

Right. But I mean, Zoom meeting is something back in the day when I was sitting in those board meetings, I’d be, looking toward my turn and then eventually it comes to me. So I’m not really paying attention. Anyway, why can’t I be working? It’s wild.

Dan Moran: Over the years, the technology has changed. I remember using, you know, like teleconference.

Even just a phone in, right? And everybody would sit around the table and we’d be on the conference. And I remember being at a school one time where we were doing a file load on a weekend and we literally were on this thing for like 40 hours. So there were like 15 consultants in this room. It was unbelievable, you know, just to get this system loaded in and it was the first time load.

It was right around the, everything that happens at a school that’s systemwide. And this probably is a lot of cases in corporate too, is throughout a holiday. Cause people aren’t working. So that’s the time that you have to do this. So in those cases, we were physically in the room together, but sometimes on a phone.

And the technology has changed over the years. I remember using a thing called join me back in the [00:06:00] day. And that was kind of one of the first ones where, with the screen sharing and that, you know, there’s web apps and teams now and, and zoom. And I, I like zoom the best, you know, at Solid M we’re a Microsoft partner, so we are, you know, teams is kind of included in our office 365 package of that kind of thing.

But honestly, I really prefer Zoom the best. I think it’s easiest. It’s the lightest client for people to log into and do their thing. You know, it’s got the whiteboarding features and some of the, you know, glitz and glamour that, that people like,

And your machine goes crazy. It’s pretty wild.

Tim Melanson: Well, and give us another few years and that stuff will be ironed out too, right? Yeah. You know, things are moving pretty quick. So along with the good notes, so there is some things that don’t go as planned. There’s some bad notes that get hit every once in a while.

Dan Moran: here’s kind of an interesting thing that happened in the past, I went to a client and the idea of going and taking this project, that one of the beauties of having your own business, whether you work from home or not.

You get to choose the projects and clients that you take, you know, if you’re fortunate enough to be in that position to choose. And one of them was a mobile product, you know, [00:07:00] developing a mobile product for students to log in and do their financial aid and register for classes and all that kind of stuff.

And at the time. There was only a one or two, we’ll call it one and a half, one real competitor out there, but two, there was room in the marketplace to do this. And so I went and took this project that I was working with Java developer that was pretty skilled, had a good background in, you know, operating systems and full stack engineer, but they were currently doing Java and, you know, pretty good at what they did and they wanted to work from home, no joke.

So they were driving an hour and a half to an hour and 45 minutes each way every day. So they’re. in a car three hours a day, five days a week, and it was painful for them and they wanted to work from home, but this was back again, I think 2010 ish and they wouldn’t let the person work from home.

And so they ended up, you know, giving their notice and quit. The project got canceled. So I left the project to go to this one. And you know, I was excited and you know, and to do all this work. And unfortunately, they lost their development. I ended up staying there for two and a half years. I did some amazing [00:08:00] development, built some cool modifications and customizations in their PeopleSoft system, which was fun, but it wasn’t my intention to go in there.

That was kind of like, I was just starting to spin the wheels of, Hey. I can build a product and not just sell services. And that’s one of the things that’s, you know, like, for example, in your case, you know, you may be in an agency format. You want to get the hosting. You want to continue the relationship.

You don’t want to just build a website, say goodbye. And that’s all that happens. You want to continue the relationship and hopefully, you know, with good clients. I want to do the same thing with a product as opposed to go and do my service here, do my service there, do my service there, whatever.

Tim Melanson: yeah, that sucks. It. And then of course, now, if that were to happen now, they would probably have been okay with working from home.

Dan Moran: that guy’s a rock star, honestly. And I’ve worked with him probably three to four times since then. I’ve actually hired him to do some stuff. I didn’t have the wherewithal and the motivation or maybe even the thought process to say, Hey, you guys are letting this guy go for this reason, [00:09:00] maybe.

Solid air the company should contact them and go and pitch the idea of continuing on and let’s make this project happen I don’t that sure if they would have entertained it anyways, but I just didn’t have that mindset, you know, and now When I look at a project or anything, I have so much more experience, so much more mature in how I approach things.

I would have definitely at least put that back on the table. I may have even hired him if they didn’t agree to it to go and build that product myself. I would have found the funding mechanism or use, you know, cashflow to do that and make it happen because he was super talented and it was a missed opportunity for.

The school as well as, you know, anybody that was involved.

Tim Melanson: Well, then that’s a good segue into the next topic, which is about the band. I mean, you know, when you find good people like that, there’s a lot of options

Right? So when you find somebody good, right? And now, I mean, what does your band look like? What are the people that you have around you right now and how do you go about finding good people? Yeah, honestly,

Dan Moran: I started in 2005 by myself. So that was my first independent contracting [00:10:00] gig.

And for the next, I don’t know, six, seven, eight years, it was just me. And that was fine. That’s, that’s all I needed. Right. And I went from contract to contract and client to client and did a lot of cool projects all over the place. Huge projects, small projects, all sorts of things. One of my clients actually contacted me because I solved the big issue that, you know, actually one of the major companies, if I said the name, you guys would know, couldn’t figure out, and they had people on site for two months

they reached out to me, they’re like, Hey, can you take a look at this for us? You know? And I’m like, sure, I’ll take a look at it. I literally fixed that thing in five minutes. So it was funny, like literally five minutes I found what the issue was. And they had actually that company and a smaller consulting company look at it and they couldn’t get it.

So the lady had remembered me and she’s like, Oh, that Dan Moran guy, he knows how to fix stuff. So a few years later, somebody had reached out to her, a private company that was working in the education space as a third party and was like, do you know anyone that knows how to do this? People saw it and she’s like, I got someone perfect for you and made the introduction.[00:11:00]

And so I went out to Pittsburgh and met with the owner and I ended up hiring three people. So that was the first time I ever really had to hire anyone. Quite frankly, they were my friends. They were consultants that I either worked with or my client who did the, the DBA server card set that up. So we literally, I called them.

I was at that same place in Wisconsin on a Friday. I remember distinctly standing on the wood deck. And I was like, Hey, how much would it take to build a server to build PeopleSoft, like for a fake university? And he told me, you know, probably 40 hours, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I was like, go to Best Buy and pick up a machine.

I’m going to pay for it, whatever. And this was like my first foray into doing anything like that, which was cool. So my system lived in his master bedroom. And that’s where we did the development. So it was cool. We built out this system and that’s how I found my first few people. Fast forward a couple of years again, I wasn’t in the mindset of, Hey, I figured out how to make good money with these three people.

Let’s just go hire a bunch of people. I was just in the mindset [00:12:00] of, Hey, I’m solving this problem for this, you know, people in need and we’re figuring this out. And it was fun. Like I like complex problems and figuring things out and that kind of thing.

You could keep going, so fast forward a couple of years and another person wanted something in Chicago. I was working in New York at the time. And I couldn’t do it. working 80 hours a week, billing 60. that client wanted me to work 800 hours and I couldn’t even do that.

I couldn’t do anything on the side. And so it was the first time that I went out to an agency. Robert Half. They did a great job. Everybody probably has heard of them at some point And they went and found me two people to do slate technology.

And I didn’t have slate people at the time working for me. I had worked on slate back in 2010 or 2011, the first time that I worked on it. But this was the first time that they wanted me to go do this. And I would have learned it fine. It was, you know, SQL server kind of backend and queries and, you know, web integrations and that kind of thing.

Web services, which is all kind of in my nature, but I just didn’t have the time. So I hired these two [00:13:00] guys through Robert Half, which is, you know, Robert Half had hired me before for something else.

So it was kind of flipping the script for the first time. It worked out great. So then I kind of, from that time forward, I just started figuring out, all right, I need to do something about this. So, you know, the two turned into four, turned into six, turned into eight. And then really, Over the last year or so, I have more than 30 people working for me now, which is pretty incredible, you know, so somebody had actually talked about hiring me.

Which I’m not really hireable. And so in theory, you would have to buy Solid M which wasn’t for sale, but my mentor recommended that I go talk to the M& A attorney. Okay. And again, I didn’t even know what M& A was. You know? And so I went to Upwork, which I’m sure you’re familiar with.

One of those sites out there that allows you to contact independent contractors or gig workers or whatever it is. And I just listed a short narrative of, Hey, this is what my situation is. Is there an attorney that can help me? And I got [00:14:00] connected with an attorney out of California. She was amazing. She didn’t even charge me, which was pretty wild.

Cause I was more than willing to give her, you know, a fee. But she was just like, you know what? What you really need is someone to do evaluation for you. And not necessarily me to tell you any legal ramifications. You need to get your financials in order. And then the next step would be to talk to her and whatever that looked like.

So it was fun to use Upwork and then I have one more story. So I was going to Florida. This is last February. It was my first ever event. And I think we’ll kind of roll into this in our next topic, but it was my first event and I joined a group, a mastermind group, and so that was in December. And I was on calls every week with these folks.

And so, you know, you recognize the faces just like, you know, you’re used to seeing your, your colleagues or coworkers or whatever it might be. I walked in the hotel and I saw this guy facing the other way with a headset on, you know, he’s kind of a geeky guy like me. I knew who it was. And I’m like, man, that’s my friends.

I walked up and tapped him on the shoulder. He’s like, hold on a second, hold on a second. And he pulled [00:15:00] out his phone, you know, just like this. And he’s like, pulls up a PDF document. He’s like, yeah, my VA just made this. And now. I’ve worked in higher ed for over 20 years. When I hear VA, that’s Veterans Affairs in the U S you know, so it’s like, okay.

Yeah. I didn’t even know what a virtual assistant was. And he’s like, yeah, you know, I have this VA and they created this for me. And then he explained to me what a VA was. And I was like, Hmm, does she have any friends?

Three days later, I hired her. I meet with her five days a week. She’s amazing. And it’s really done some incredible things as far as delegating and offloading some of that work.

Tim Melanson: That’s amazing. And so now that’s crazy. I mean, when it comes to the VA thing, that is something that I think is a game changer for sure. For a lot of people considering that now is this VA, is this a full time VA for you? Or is this a part time VA for you?

Dan Moran: He works about 25 to 30 hours and honestly, I’d love to have her work more. And you know, it’s so gratifying to me. She’s literally painting her [00:16:00] house that she has now because of the money. And I’m not even paying a lot of money, but it really is life changing money for folks that it’s more than double what she can make in quote unquote, her career or whatever it is.

I bought her multiple monitors so she could be more efficient. She’s so awesome.

Tim Melanson: Love it. Yeah, I love it. And, you know, one of the things that I think that people are blocked on when it comes to a VA, a virtual assistant or any type of assistant really, is that you sort of think, okay, well, I need to hire somebody full time, but you don’t.

You can hire them for a few hours to start, right. Just to help you out. And then what happens is that a lot of the VAs will have multiple clients as well. They’ve got their own business, right? And so you don’t have to like air somebody full time as an assistant when you’re not ready yet. I mean, you can build into that.

Dan Moran: Yeah, well, you know what, it was a challenge for me. And I think it’d be a challenge for many of your viewers as well that haven’t taken that step yet. It was a challenge for me to delegate things that either I wasn’t comfortable delegating, or I didn’t even know how [00:17:00] to delegate.

So I had to learn and teach myself, how do I take myself away from this piece? Now, you know, I work with, my wife does all the financials. She’s really pretty much, she’s, Taken over doing more stuff than I do in the company, which is awesome. She’s been tremendous. my mom used to do my books.

Unfortunately, she got sick and passed away in 2017. And when that happened, I didn’t know how to like do the invoice. I mean, of course, an invoice is an invoice, but there’s things that I kind of wasn’t working on. And as I progressed and added more people and more people, there’s more invoices and more invoices.

And certainly, so, you know, I had my wife come in and she actually delegated, you know, some of that, And my VA created SOPs, standard operating procedures, as everybody knows, or if you don’t know what SOPs are, you need to get them in your business, especially for the solopreneurs. They will help you so much to have those in.

If they just become checklists of how do I do the procedure for Whatever it may be, I’m boarding a new employee. You know, I have different systems that we use. We use [00:18:00] Slack internally for communications. We use Microsoft office for email. We use the Technolution slate stack. And so there’s a lot of things that need to be set up for someone to come on board.

And back in the day, I was the guy that had to set that up for people, you know? And so it’s painful. Going through those steps, because that takes time away from me when I need to be working with a client or talking to them and doing that kind of thing.

Tim Melanson: So let’s talk a little bit more about those tools.

Now, how do you choose the tools that you’re using in your business?

Dan Moran: You know what? Honestly, it’s funny. The one really good guy that I have worked with multiple times said, Hey, are you using Slack in your business? And this was early on 2013, 2014 or something like that.

I didn’t know what it was and I’m like, no, I don’t really use it. I used to use Google talk just with my clients and this was back pre 2010. And then I think they made it the font or it kind of, Oh yeah, they did. They knocked it out for some reason. Yeah, it was great. It was a great tool. Like all, everybody I worked with and it was awesome for me because I work in a niche industry.

I could talk to [00:19:00] other consultants that were doing the same work that I was doing. This is when I still had fingers on the keyboard and I could get information. Quickly, you know, as opposed to going out to a bulletin board and posting and hoping that somebody is, you know, bored at night wanting to answer me, I could quickly, pull one of my friends

So that was really, I ended up not using it. And unfortunately, listen to the people that tell you and that you trust of good things. Cause I wish I’d used it earlier. So that one, some of my clients would use Slack. And so I have it set up with multiple things there.

I’ve just always been an Outlook guy. I think Microsoft got Outlook and calendaring right. And so I do appreciate it. What gets tricky is when you’re dealing with, I mean, I probably have. Seven or eight different inboxes right now for different clients, different companies that I’m involved with,

I have to have their logins to do a VPN. So if I want to hit their file system, if I want to do things, I have to have their logins. I can’t just use a solid end. net account. Evaluating [00:20:00] I’ve done software selection for huge ERP systems. And so I understand how to set up kind of like a pros and cons selection, you don’t board or whatever that may look like in terms of analyzing what you want to do.

I mean, sometimes it’s just what’s going to be the best tool to work with the other tools that I have or to work with my clients tools. And when you understand, you know, buying something that like, you know, and the only place that a Mac really existed was at schools because they wanted people to use them.

You couldn’t use a Mac in business unless you were doing Photoshop or a music type activity on a PC on the Mac, it didn’t make sense because the software wasn’t compatible with it, you know, and now they’ve come along with much. Now I own a MacBook Pro. I work on a Surface, which is funny. So I am kind of in between those things.

Anik Malenfant: Hi, my name is Annick Malaff. I’m from Mastering Ascension, and I’ve been working with Tim Melanson and the Creative Crew Agency for a number of years now. Tim is my go to guy for all things technology, and his [00:21:00] team have helped me to really Create the platform that I need that represents my brand, my message and connects me directly to my ideal clients.

What I particularly love about Tim is before he starts to dive into the technology, he always makes sure that he understands what your global view is, what your ultimate goals are. So then that way you’re not wasting a lot of time back and forth. He creates something from the get go that is scalable, which is highly beneficial for any business What I’ve experienced from Tim and his team is they’re highly responsive They are a wealth of information and they’re going to offer you the tools that you need to really make the mark That you want to make in the world.

So that’s my recommendation for Tim He’s awesome. You’re going to love every minute. You won’t regret it.

Tim Melanson: Yeah. My wife has the back and I’ve got the PC and it’s, we go to each other’s desk and just can’t, he’s like, show me how to do this. I’m like, all right, I love it. Let’s go back to my desk. [00:22:00] But yeah, like I think that one of the things that I wanted to see what you I think that sometimes when you are looking at new software to bring in, to maybe make things a little bit easier, there’s a bit of a learning curve to kind of figure out what it does and how it works.

And I’m wondering, what do you think would be better? Would it be better to like, imagine you find this tool that’s brand new, that nobody knows how to use yet, but it’ll do everything you want. Or there’s some things that you know, that other people are using like Slack or whatever. Would it be better to bring in the brand new tool?

And teach everybody how to use it, or would it be better to use something that. A lot of people already have familiarity with.

Dan Moran: Yeah. I think it really matters on what the functionality is that matters the most to you. So you have to analyze that. And, and what we do in software development, and when we’re looking at buying something off the shelves, you know, OTS is we do a fit gap.

So we look at what fits and where are the gaps. And so now does it make sense for me [00:23:00] to actually purchase something that’s a closer fit and I only have to close this much gap. Or something that’s a bigger gap, but it has a better development tool or an IDE or something that my developers are used to, and I can move it faster.

So there’s a, really, it’s an experience thing from years of doing this to really choose which one over which one makes more sense. So I would say it’s a case by case basis. I would recommend small businesses, solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, buy something off the shelf. It’s so painful to build something. A lot of times it’s easier to just.

Buy something off the shelf, you know, and if it’s something a friend is using, something in a group that you’ve seen, people are using, if there’s good community interactive boards and forums that you can get information from, those are the places that, especially for the solopreneurs that I’d probably lean towards as opposed to, you know, hiring somebody to develop this exact tool.

Now, if you’re a little bit larger. Or you have more funding or more capital, or, you know, it’s a startup and you’re, you [00:24:00] really need something precise that fit the exact need. That’s a different, you know, the majority, I would say 90 percent is probably just looking at a product that already exists. That 10 percent really needs the software development.

And I think you probably see this in web development too, you know, like it might make sense to do, you know, a model where you’re not developing a login structure for somebody. Why would you do that from scratch? They already exist or a payment gateway. It already exists. Sure. You could design your own, develop your own.

That’s great. But if I’m a manufacturing company, that’s doing XYZ widgets that fit in a certain mold and they only, you know, can transport a certain way or something like that, I want something custom for that. But again, it’s few and far between, it’s kind of that 90th and we’re rolling.

Tim Melanson: Yep. I agree.

And you know, a lot of it, I think about from the perspective of if I’m building something super custom for somebody, or if you’re buying something super custom, then. Now, you are now married really to that person who built that for [00:25:00] you, because nobody else is going to be able to figure that out. Or you’re going to have to pay somebody a boatload of money to figure out how to use that.

Whereas, you know, if you’re looking for a solution that is very well supported, very well documented, you could just hire somebody from Upwork. To now maintain it, as soon as you, if you happen to lose the developer, that’s there’s a lot of value in choosing something that people can, because that would be what scalability, if you all of a sudden grow, and this developer that has all the expertise doesn’t have time for you anymore, well, then you’re in trouble.

Dan Moran: You just said an important word. about growing. You don’t need to buy QuickBooks if you can do everything out of an Excel spreadsheet, when you outgrow QuickBooks, you might have to go to a financial software like PeopleSoft or Intuit or something else.

And so there’s growth there that needs to happen in that software cycle as well. And this is one of the things that I’ve learned as far as different break points in companies. So, you know, you have different break points, like Zero to a million and then a million to 3 million, 3 million to 10 [00:26:00] million, 10 million to 25 million, up to a hundred million and beyond,

And as you move through various breakpoints in a company, it’s really going to push what systems and processes and things you have in place. But if you have that intention, the aspiration, the inspiration to grow, as you grow, the people that got you to one break point might not be the people that can get you to the next one.

And so it’s the same thing with software.

Tim Melanson: Yeah. And that’s a tough one too. That’s a very, very tough lesson that, you know, people that got you to the point you’re at right now might not be the ones that are going to continue. Cause there’s a. There’s a big, I don’t know, loyalty factor. I think, I think people feel bad about maybe not continuing with somebody who’s not going to get them to the next level.

And that’s very tough to go through, right? When you have to let someone go, right?

Dan Moran: Yeah, absolutely. You know, hiring and firing. Hire fast if you can, but fire faster. And it, it’s a tough thing to do. you’re running a business and you have to realize that run, and this is [00:27:00] something I had to grow into because I’m a middle child.

I want everyone to be happy, you know, generally get along with mostly everybody and that kind of thing. But quite frankly, you need to do what’s best and, you know, it helps to have other things, alignment and that kind of thing as you grow. Yeah,

Tim Melanson: exactly. So, I mean, let’s talk a little bit about your personal growth journey.

I mean, if we were talking about that before this interview started and I’m wondering what opened you up to, you know, really learning from other people and being part of, of this, you know, personal growth community.

Dan Moran: Yeah, you know what, honestly, it was, I think it was like the fall after COVID.

So right before COVID, I always kind of did this dieting thing. Yeah, whatever the fad was, I had up and down 25 pounds, up and down 25 pounds and really kind of never stuck with any, I was pretty heavy, you know, 275 pounds at one time or whatever. And I got into keto.

And it was all diet, no exercise and, and pretty much lost a lot of weight, which is a, an [00:28:00] easy way to do that. If you follow and prescribed a keto, whatever it is, then COVID hit and we weren’t allowed to go anywhere. And I, I didn’t have, I did keto and didn’t build a mindset behind it. It was just a tool to get me to lose weight, which, you know, might be great if you’re going in for a surgery or something.

But it’s not a good way to live and it’s not a good way to conduct kind of your health. And so I started eating burritos again and, you know, gaining weight and not really see, you don’t really see your, your weight gain or weight loss immediately, right? It happens over time. It’s gradual. You kind of get up and look in the mirror, that kind of thing.

And I was like, you know what, I’m going to take a look at it. I don’t know how serious I really was about it. I signed up and they were like, we’re closed. And, you know, probably in the back of my head, I’m like, you know what? I didn’t really want to do it anyways. Cause you’re kind of like turn it in. But then it was like literally four or five months later, it wasn’t, we’re closed, you can’t get in, or you can get in, but we’re closed.

We’re trying to make it if they really [00:29:00] just close the door. So they’re actually closed. Yeah. Like four or five months later, they emailed me and said, Hey, we’re open again. And then I looked at, I’m like, you know what? I’m going to take a swing at it, whatever. And honestly, that was the first time I ever really invested in myself.

And I joined this group and started just, it was just like getting around people that thought the same or, you know, did the same, actually thought differently from me a little bit, you know, in terms of health and personal journey and all that kind of stuff. So I started learning and it was kind of cool.

Well, in that process. One of the things that they said was, Hey, reach out to people in the industry. And so that’s what really catapulted me. So I reached out to a guy Solid Edge, my company was kind of small. It’s still a small company in the grand scheme of things, but it was very, and I reached out to a guy.

And he had sold a company similar to mine like 15 years ago. I didn’t know him. We were connected on LinkedIn, but you know, you, you got a lot of connections. You don’t know everybody you’re connected to. I pinged them and just said, Hey, would you be interested in meeting with me?

And so I did a [00:30:00] zoom just like this with him for an hour, it was 58 minutes. And we talked about my company and we talked about his company and the market and the direction It was great. But at the last two minutes, I remember it was right before lunch. It was 1158. And he said to me, he said, when I was in your position, I got coached.

And again, I think we started discussing this before we jumped out. I didn’t even know what a coach was. I mean, to me, Mike Ditka was a football coach, you know, these coaches were sports people or whatever. I didn’t ever think of a coach. I heard of Tony Robbins. And that kind of thing, I’d never went to like an event or anything like that.

But you know, those guys are super famous, like Oprah, you know, whatever. But I never really knew that this coaching ecosystem even existed. So he’s like, do you mind if I refer you? And I’m like, sure. It was actually, if you’ve ever read the book, rich dad, poor dad. it’s a real estate book and it’s fairly famous for those people that read books, know this.

He was rich dad in that book. So he was the actual rich dad in the [00:31:00] book, not Robert Kiyosaki, the author, but the guy that the book was written about. And so he reached out to me and said, yeah, we have this program and we can help you with your business and blah, blah, blah. But you have to sign up for this course first.

And I’m like, okay. All right, now I’m kind of like, is this a gimmick? Is this a gotcha? I didn’t understand what a funnel was. I didn’t understand anything at this point. I’m just like, you know what? This guy that I talked to sold his company. He did what I want him to do. I’m going to just go jump in the water and see what’s happened.

So I signed up for this course. It was expensive. I mean, it was eight grand. And to me, investing eight grand in a four day class was not something that I would do. It just, but I said, you know what, I’m going to do it. And so I went to this course and I learned more in four days than I probably learned an entire semester of, you know, I have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, but I probably learned more in four days than an entire semester.

And so that kind of got some more [00:32:00] wheels turning. And then I joined a mastermind. December of 22, that was kind of a level up from this coaching group that I was in and I skyrocketed from there. I mean, it was unbelievable. I had a personal trainer that was part of the group. It was included. It didn’t have to pay for it or anything like that.

He actually was in a music video with Chris Daughtry. he’s a vegan. He’s from New Zealand. He’s a huge guy. He’s really awesome. He did so much for me personally as a mentor and he wasn’t even, I wasn’t even paying him or anything, you know, he’s just part of the group and it was really cool.

So he did my blood work and I don’t like doctors. I’d probably hadn’t been to a physical probably just out of curiosity. Fear more so than anything else. But he convinced me to go do your blood work. And I’m like, all right, I’ll do it. So he ordered a special lab. He’s not a doctor. He’s a, nutritionist slash, you know, workout dude.

And he sent me in, he literally broke down every biomarker [00:33:00] in my thing on Facebook and left me audio messages of what I should do, and it wasn’t like, go buy this expensive thing or, or drink this special magic potion or whatever. It was. Okay. You need to eat more yellow peppers because of this blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, I don’t even know what they are.

you know, this certain level is this, or you need to, the only supplement that he told me to take was a mega three fatty fish pills or whatever, which I still take today, and I just started doing like one thing a week, so I added fermented foods into my diet. And then the next week I did something else, you know, and whatever.

And I literally lost about 45 pounds I mean, I did not look like this a year. If you go look at pictures of me, I didn’t look like this. So it’s, I feel great. I feel like a kid. And the funniest thing is when he was talking and there were people in the group, you know, like out of zoom and he’s like, people don’t know what it’s like to feel good.

And I heard that in my head and I didn’t, you know, people get, I mean, you could be like a buff athlete, an NFL star, and if you’re not [00:34:00] doing the right stuff for your biomarkers, you’re not going to feel good, even though you’re buff and ripped and whatever else, you’re probably better off than somebody that does nothing than sit around and eat burritos and that kind of thing.

However, you might not really feel good. And I slowly started doing these things. I might feel better than I ever did when I was a kid. I mean, it’s unbelievable. And I run around with, I’ve got a 14 year old and 11 year old. I was playing basketball with my son yesterday. It’s just, it’s really been life changing from that perspective.

So it, that got me into the fitness piece of it, but the business piece of that group, unbelievable. I mean, it opened the blinders. I was like this in software and just really didn’t look outside. And I was working with guys that are hard money lenders.

Own solar companies, a makeup company, you know, a lot of business people and entrepreneurs and that kind of thing. crypto people and finance people and HR people and whatever, we’re all just in this community. But when you start hearing people like, okay, this is how much I spend on marketing a [00:35:00] month, or this is what I did with my website, or this is how I hired X, Y, Z, or, you know, I signed up with this other program to learn, You know, business, something, whatever.

I actually ended up signing up with a business program. I actually spent over six figures on self development, you know, on myself, where again, I think I might’ve spent 500 on websites, you know, and so, and it’s paid off exponentially. So it’s really incredible what you can do in a short amount of time.

Once you get into the right group. I mean, in the last year and a half. I’ve read over 60 books. I think prior to that, I was not a reader. I just didn’t like reading. And most of the books that I read are self help books, that kind of thing. If there’s one book I could recommend to kind of like start it, really helped me was Atomic Habits.

It’s kind of a James Clare. It really isn’t a tremendous book. It’s simple. I actually should read it again. I gave it, I gifted, I do gift a lot of my books to friends that I think might need a certain thing. And I just [00:36:00] gifted it to them because I feel like I want to share that. I watched one of your podcasts with the guy with the books.

It was really interesting to hear, like he has a way to learn how to read from the books and that kind of thing. And I kind of listened to that and it was super cool, to see that he did that, I don’t recall his name, but you know, your guests should take a look at that. The books really.

You can capitalize on what you learn and it just exponentially builds, you know, So that got me into, you know, kind of this mentorships and coaching. And now I understand it. I mean, there’s, there’s quote unquote, they call it fake gurus. And, you know, you have to know who you’re getting into groups with and that kind of thing, and make sure that.

They’re in alignment with the stuff that you do

And so. Yeah, man, it’s been incredible. It’s been great. And I know you’re, you started your journey in this space long before I did. And so I, it’s interesting to kind of see the progression, but I literally I’ve been working 16 hour days. I wake up at 4 30 AM. I never did that [00:37:00] before. I wake up seven days a week at 4 30, start my day.

I’ve got a morning routine. I work out, you know, I get in reading, learning, you know, whatever I eat clean, I feel good. I mean, it’s the one thing in. I am in my office, since we talk about the work from home. I have a treadmill underneath my desk, which is great. And my desk is one of those desks that rays up and down.

So if I’m on a zoom, I want to be comfortable talking to you. But typically if I’m on a zoom where I’m not typing, I will be walking just because it’s good for your heart. It’s good to keep your day going and that kind of thing for your energy.

So it’s, it’s quite an Amazing journey, in such a short amount of time.

Tim Melanson: That’s such an excellent idea that I pace a lot when I’m on the phone. So, so I’m thinking maybe if I had a treadmill, I wouldn’t walk all over the house, but one of the things that it did, what, I mean, there’s so much there.

Thank you so much for sharing all that story. But one of the ones that, as you said, is about feeling good. People don’t know how to feel good. And my theory on that, like, there’s a lot of [00:38:00] people. We’ll say, well, you know, don’t go to a chiropractor because, you know, you’ll feel worse when you leave.

And that’s my theory on that is that you didn’t know how bad you felt until you went to see somebody who actually like, you know, fixed you up. And now you’re like, Whoa, I feel great now. And then the next day you got to maintain that stuff, right? I mean, it’s just, you’re going to go back to your old habits.

So, you know, you’re going to need to go back. And I think that that’s probably why, you know, they come back and then a few days later they’re like, Oh, I feel terrible. Well, that’s because you felt good, you know, for a few days and now you don’t anymore. So it’s not like, I’m never going back to that. See that person.

I’m going to get used to feeling terrible again. Right? Yeah,

Dan Moran: absolutely. I love how you kind of use that analogy because it is true. Like. You raise your standards, right? So like just even the food that I look at and things like that, it’s like, I’m not going to eat that, you know, double cheeseburger. And it’s not even part of what I would even consider eating.

It’s just, I don’t see that as something that’s [00:39:00] healthy for me. The other thing that I do is, and I never did this in the past. I recommend this. I actually was on the phone with my nephew yesterday and recommended this to him, which is cool because now I feel like I’m really impacting others lives as well.

Is writing down your goals every morning. So I write down seven goals every morning and their goals that are unattainable in theory and their goals. I write them like they already happened. And so I have all these different goals, you know, and it’s, it’s a physical, career, education, relationship, you know, all these different facets of goals.

And then as you operate throughout the day, whether it’s a business related thing, a family related saying a money related thing, whatever it is. It’s just sitting in the back of your head because you wrote it down in the morning, you know, like, whoops, I’m not going to do that because that’s a bad thing.

Or that’s not in alignment with my goal, whatever your goals may be. And everybody’s goals are different. but honestly, I operated for so long just to do better. Like I thought in my head, I’m just going to do better, but [00:40:00] I didn’t really think what, I never defined that and I didn’t say, what does that look like?

And until you create a target or something to work towards, you’re really, you’re going to swim in. You know, just tread water and you’re never going to move

Tim Melanson: forward. So, yep. I believe that. Totally. Cause I mean, one of the things about writing a goal is that now, you know, what you’re working towards. So when you see something along the way, you’re like, Oh, I need to pick that up.

You know? Whereas you might not even have seen it before because you didn’t have that in your field of view, I guess. Right. So I do like that idea as well. And oh, another thing too, is that when you start to, especially food, food’s a good one, when you start to eat healthier, then all of a sudden, when you do eat that cheeseburger or whatever it is, that thing, you feel really terrible.

Like it actually hits you. I remember that first experience when I had out the fast food and then just going to eat the greasiest thing, just cause I’ve eaten it before KFC is one of them. And now, I mean, I, like, feel it [00:41:00] afterwards, right? And that doesn’t say that you can’t have something, bad for every once in a while, but you will pay for it in some way.

Right. And so you have to be a little bit more mindful towards that and be like, okay, well, I’m going to do that. I know it’s not going to fit. You know, it’s not going to agree with me very well. So I have to make sure that I, I counteract that. Right.

Dan Moran: And I, I think you’re right.

And so, you know, but the insulin shifts and sugar sniffs and that kind of thing, if you think about I get tired at two 30, three o’clock and people want to take a nap or, they get in that meeting and it’s just like, they’re going to close their eyes.

They just can’t say if you’re operating correctly, I think, and in, in what my mentor, the nutritionist says all the time is to treat your body like software, you know? So you’re. Basically feeding it, you know, the right things at whatever it is. And then that will allow your brain to function correctly.

Tim Melanson: I agree with you. So, I mean, I could talk, man, we should probably do part, part two of [00:42:00] this. Keep hope for quite a while, but let’s do your guest solo. So tell me what’s exciting in your life and in your business right now.

Dan Moran: Well, you can see in the background, actually, you know what? I’m going to undo my thing here just quickly so he can see my office here.

Let’s go to a virtual background and none only because I cleaned specifically for you to check it out, but you know, I’ve got, I’m in Chicago. So I don’t know if you could see that over there. That’s Chicago. And then this picture behind me is cool. It’s actually a picture which was recently gifted to me from my mentor, which is cool.

And so I’m very appreciative of, of having that opportunity. You know, if you do soft, I don’t just do higher ed, so we have some fintech firms. We do some payment processing firms, some other things like that. But there are some pretty cool things that we do, but I’ve done software for so long.

What’s coolest to me right now that I’ve gotten involved with over the last year is the virtual reality. It’s so neat. [00:43:00] So it kind of drew my eye because it was called thecampusvr. com and at thecampusvr. com I have a funnel page or a landing page and it’s slash TEDx and that would actually take you to the website.

I’m going to take you into logging your name and email and stuff. You can meet with me and my team and we can show you what we do. I put this thing on my head. I didn’t even know how to use it. I had to have my son come home and show me because I couldn’t even navigate to where it was.

But when I got it on, I was basically walking on the university of Connecticut campus. And I used to work there. So it like was re rewinding for me 13 years of my life. And I physically felt like I’m walking. We have a robot that drives at eye level. So it’s like a student walking through the campus, you know, it goes out of the court, it’ll go into the locker room, it’ll drive it, you know, in the crowd.

And It’s really neat. You can see the buildings and all this stuff that’s fun. So again, it’s probably not something that your everyday listener is going to look at, but you know, if you have a business, [00:44:00] like you do weddings or real estate or, you know, we’ve done other things besides just college. It’s really neat.

You know, beyond that, I’ve signed up to write a book, which is crazy to me again, like, when you see there are authors and this and that, as a layman, which I was, you know, two years ago, I never even thought in my life of ever writing a book, it’s neat to get into these things and kind of see what’s going on.

So, I can’t appreciate enough you having me on the show and today it’s, it’s awesome. This is incredible. I love our conversation. And quite frankly, I’ve taken a look at some of your work. We’re probably going to have another offline conversation because it’s pretty impressive what you and your wife have done as far as the design work.

and if it works as good as it looks, I got a good feeling based on this discussion, it does. we’ll probably be doing some stuff together. I’m looking forward to it.

Tim Melanson: Thank you so much for rocking out with me today, Dan. This has been a lot of fun. Thanks Tim. Cool. And to the listeners, make sure you subscribe to eat and comment.

We’ll see you [00:45:00] next time with the work at home rockstar podcast.

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