Mid-Week Live Coaching: Tyler
What do you think about money? How does your perception of it affect your way of life? In this episode, Tyler Ornstein, the CEO of Tylers Coffee, undergoes coaching with Adam Quiney, where he gets real and practical from start to finish about money and how it reflects on one’s success, lifestyle, and beliefs. Tyler expounds on how money can provide you with freedom from most problems in the world, with health being the exception. Together, they also discuss some of the household names in business and how their experiences and decisions reflect on their legacy. Tyler then gives his distinct take on what differentiates a friend from an acquaintance and why he prefers the latter over the former.
Listen to the Episode Here:
Mid-Week Live Coaching: Tyler
We’re talking with Tyler Ornstein. He is the CEO and Co-creator of Tylers Coffees, which is the first acid-free coffee. The idea began because people with stomach problems, Crohn’s, etc., weren’t able to drink coffee and his father was one of these people. His father was a biochemist and began to solve this and he, at the age of fourteen, started to sell this on his bike. It’s a cool story and interesting to hear Tyler share it. The format of this is we talk about his story and his life and what’s going on for him and the business, and then we shift to a coaching conversation.
You’ll notice Tyler’ is very brilliant. He’s got a lot of brilliance and a lot of passion. There are a couple of things that are cool about this conversation. The first is the fact that brilliance tends to be right about stuff and the way we’re right about it is we think a lot about it. We reach a conclusion or make a decision or like, “This is the truth,” and then that’s where we are. How that shows up in the world, when we’re talking about creating possibility is that we’re like, “This is the way the world is. Given that this is the way the world is, what’s the best I can create?”
We create an optimized result inside the constraints of how we’ve concluded the world is. You’re going to read a lot of Tyler’s conversation about how the world is. You’ll read a lot of statements that he makes about like, “You’ve got to do this. You’ve got to do that.” “You get more money, you get more problems.” From there, it’s like, “What’s the best solution we can figure out, given that if you get more money, you have to get more problems?” That’s the first thing worth noticing.
When we’re in a coaching conversation, what we’re looking at is what are the rules that this person has created about their world? As I’m listening, I’m listening to those rules and I’m just noticing them. My job is to be unattached to the person I’m working with having any different set of rules or any experience. My job is only to point to them. The second thing that is cool to notice in this conversation is how you’ll read about me reflecting this to Tyler. As I’m asking him about freedom and what he actually wants, his conversation very quickly goes back to the way the world is and therefore, why not? “If only I had more money, then I could have more freedom.”
One of the things we do in coaching is we take this idea of this thing that you want out there and force you to reconcile it with where you are right now. You want more freedom? What would that look like right now, rather than just more money? What would you be doing differently? What would show up differently in your life? You’ll notice that’s a conversation where Tyler basically gets stopped. Sadly, we didn’t have more time but if we did, I would hold him in that conversation and invite him not to stop at, “I don’t know.” It’s a cool conversation and there’s a lot you can take away from this one. It’s neat to hear about Tyler’s journey and what he’s up to. I hope you enjoy it.
Tyler, get over here. Let’s start talking.
Thank you so much for having me on your show. It’s absolutely true, I am game because I like to be the dumbest from the room. People look at me stupidly and they go, “What do you mean the dumbest in the room?” I’m like, “I’m the dumbest in the room and I’m learning.” I’m learning and I’m making my intelligence more and more essentially attributed to a better opportunity for success.
What is your background before you got into being a coffee mogul?
At fourteen, I had a strong background in being a kid. I don’t have a background. I started this company at fourteen years old, door to door on a bicycle. My father is the brains behind it. He’s the scientist. He’s a biochemist and he’s essentially a consultant for major corporations, but he started having stomach issues at a very young age of 12 or 13.
Fourteen is grade 7 or grade 8?
They’re about grade eight.
For me, it was like, “How do I play more Magic the Gathering and not get beat up?” You’re like, “I’m going to sell coffee.”
I like coffee and that’s how we bonded. We bonded over coffee and then he couldn’t drink coffee anymore. He pretty much told his doctor to go pound sand and he figured out a way to not bloom the tannic liquid acids in the roasting process.
Did he know that was the thing that was causing the problem?
He knew that tannins and lipids are essentially an inflammatory acid and they’re found in all plant matter because it’s used in photosynthesis. By not blooming the tannic and lipid acids, you’re able to yield a neutral pH and your body is not going to be affected by it.
Walk us through that. You’re fourteen and your dad comes home like, “Here’s what’s going on.” Most people would be like, “What a neat idea. We should make a coffee thing,” and then like, “Remember ten years ago when we thought about making a coffee thing? That was cool,” but you guys actually did it. How did that become real?
Let’s break that down. He’s the one that said, “I can’t drink coffee so there’s a problem.” His whole life, he’s built around problem solutions. He fixes problems like major chemical issues in Linde oil and gas, Syncrude, he works with Caltrans, ADOT and big people. He’s the fixer and so he fixes issues. The point is that he fixed this problem, but we didn’t understand the value of it and nor that anyone else. This is when Starbucks was at its all-time high.
When would this be?
2004, and back then, people didn’t care about health. In 2004, if you said, “I’m a vegan.” They’d be like, “No, this is Earth. You’re from the wet planet.” They didn’t even know what vegan and alkaline were. There was a very small individual group that cared about their health. In 2016 is when we saw that strong, hard and very deliberate push to a healthy and more organic lifestyle across the world, and that was because it was festering all the way back from the early ‘90s. Now if you say, “I’m vegan,” they go, “Here’s your menu.” Not, “What are you talking about?” Long story short, he figured out when the tannic lipid acids bloom, he went to an electrical engineer and mechanical engineer. They figured out the Z-roasting process. It’s our proprietary process that we use, we use extremely hot air to roast each individual coffee, precisely using computer technology so that there’s no human error.
The end result of that is that all those tannins and lipids get removed from the process or they just don’t bloom?
They don’t bloom. They stay dormant, and as long as they stay dormant, then your body does not see that as an inflammatory.
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This will be a weird metaphor, but the difference between burning marijuana to smoke it versus vaporizing it whereas if you vaporize, it reaches a certain level and you don’t get the combustion. It doesn’t cause quite the same damage to your lungs. Is it along those lines?
At what point does this become a business or something you’re actually doing?
I went door-to-door on a bicycle. That’s how I started and all I did was hand out 2 ounce Perk Packs, and I asked for a name and a number. I called this lady up and I said, “This is Tyler and I gave you that coffee.” She goes, “I enjoyed it. Where do I get it?” I was like, “From me.” “How much is it?” “$1.”
Is there a unit for what you get?
It’s $1 a pack because I did not know what I was doing. The point is that there was a light bulb moment and that light bulb moment essentially created a value. We’re no longer in a conceptual process. We’re now in an ability for people to want to pay for the product. We’re going out of conception, and we’re going into infancy. Now that we’re in infancy, how do we grow that to adolescence, to a child, and to adult? I look at every business as a newborn. Everything starts from a single idea. Everything is essentially driven off of an idea, then what you do as you figure out the benefits.
Before COVID, I was speaking around the country. I would be interviewed and I would tell people my story and then at the end, I would walk offstage and people wanted to talk to me. They were like, “How does this kid at fourteen years old, now 30 years old, have a multimillion-dollar coffee business? That’s crazy.” I love talking to people, I love supporting and helping people. I tell people all the time when I sit down and talk to them, “This is your idea. This is your concept. This new product or this is your service. Let me ask you a question. Does it help?” I’ve learned at a very young age that you have to have something to bring to the market that actually is going to be viable, and a desire to a problem. There’s not a single product or service in this world that has not succeeded by causing a better solution to a problem.
I’m very in line with what your dad made his life about, the way you describe that.
This computer that we’re having a conversation on, if we go back 30 or 40 years, it would be over the phone. Now, we want to see face-to-face. We need to conceptualize that. If we have a problem, we have a solution. I use this analogy all the time. I go, “Ferrari and Ford are the most opposite spectrums of a product. There’s no value in owning a Ferrari except saying, ‘I have a Ferrari and I like to enjoy driving it fast.’” That’s fine and I think that’s great. I’m a car guy, so would I like to have a Ferrari someday? Yes, but Mercedes-AMG fills my need very well. That’s not the point. The point is that it will get you there on time, every time. The difference is that a Ford is for everyone and a Ferrari is for a limited selection, but they do the exact same thing. They’re motor vehicles. They’re made to be driven to a place, from A to B. That is essentially why both companies have succeeded. They both have a solution to a problem.
I remember when I was around the same age as you when you started on your bike with your coffee. I was in a band and we had band trips. One of the things you could do was sell wrapping paper or chocolate almonds or whatever. They give you a thing to sell.
Popcorn is what we did in Cub Scouts.
Under no circumstances would I do that because I found myself and know myself to be these days is connection. I shied away a lot from that aspect of who I was, very nervous about talking to people. My first question is, it sounds like that wasn’t present for you, you were just like, “I’ll just get on my bike and sell people coffee.”
It’s extremely present for me. The one thing that I learned at a very young age is, and I don’t know how I can explain this in a more transparent light, but I have a very interesting mindset. I don’t have a normal mindset. It’s also why I don’t get along with society as a whole.
Most entrepreneurs don’t in some regards.
If you have a fear, you have to confront it head-on.
You’re like the buffalo, you run towards the storm. Getting on this bike you were like, “This is terrifying, therefore I’m going to go towards this.”
Was that the primary driver for you taking that on?
Yes. I knew that I had to get out of my shyness because it wasn’t going to benefit me down the road. The other thing that was somehow some way through the grapevine, this is obviously way before the internet was big. I got an opportunity to go on a morning show in my local area. I show up at 4:00 AM, that’s when they want me to show up and they start at 5:00 AM. I remember my dad and I driving down to the studio. He didn’t tell me this, and I don’t know if he knew it or didn’t know, but I think he didn’t tell me because he knew that I was going to freak out.
I get there, they’re getting me ready and I asked one of the producers, “If I mess up or if I cuss, you guys can edit that out?” He goes, “No, this is live.” At sixteen years old, my first media push for my company was like, “And, live.” The lights come on, the cameras are there, you get the red light on it, you’ve got this sixteen-year-old going through puberty, and you’ve got this beautiful newscaster. It was an interesting, eye-opening experience. After that, I kept telling myself, “Don’t cuss.” After that, it got more normal and more repetitive. I got comfortable with being uncomfortable.
The stuff you’ve learned, which is to run towards the fear and being comfortable with being uncomfortable. What are some of the consequences you’ve noticed from these ways of showing up?
Timid is not in my vocabulary. Sometimes that turns people off and frankly, I could give two shits. That’s how I’ve built my success. I tell people all the time, “I love helping people. I love supporting people, but I will fire you as fast as I hire you.” If you do not do what I need to have done, then you no longer are in my business. You no longer are in my life. I have “burned bridges” but those bridges are never burned because I want to, it’s because the other person doesn’t want to succeed with me.
What’s the hardest bridge then to burn?
Yes. My girlfriend is a very strong alpha woman and sometimes we butt heads. We’ve definitely had our differences and she’s threatened to leave me and I’ve threatened to leave her but at the end of the day, we come back and go, “It’s good.”
How long have you guys been together?
Congrats. That’s a long time. My wife is better at this than I am, but I think we’re celebrating twenty years together. We got together around the same age you guys did. It’s amazing to me, because she and I, do a lot of work. We have a lot of support and yet still, there are these places that show up where it’s like, “There’s the friction. That’s the thing that we’re currently up against.” We bang our heads into each other. It sounds like doing the bold or maybe a better way to put it is, doing the difficult thing isn’t so difficult for you.
The other thing is, and I don’t mean this in “disrespect,” I believe in going 100% and that’s why I don’t drive a Toyota Camry. All my cars are 500-plus horsepower cars. With great power comes great responsibility. In business, if you are going to work for someone, if you are going to say, “I’m going to go in the college route, get my degree, go to a job, that job is going to pay me, I’m going to do at their bidding what they want.” No questions asked, fantastic. I wish you the best and I think you’re going to enjoy your life. Entrepreneurs would rather shoot themselves in the face because we cannot be controlled that way. We don’t have that drive to be controlled. We have a very independent drive. I tell people all the time, “You’re either going to be in your business or you’re not.” People say, “I’ve got my side hustle.” I’m like, “That’s cool. That’s what it will be. It will be a side hustle.”
The idea is like, “If I relate to this as a side hustle and I do this stuff on the side long enough, at some point, it’s going to cross this threshold somehow.” It’s like people that are frantically trying to get everything done in the hopes that if they do that long enough, then they will experience peace. It’s weird to think that.
It is, and there’s a lot of people out there that have become beta males. I use the word loosely and I can’t think of a better term and that is, complacency is the best policy. I live by that time, quote, or ability to say, “I’m just going to roll over and take it.” Business owners that say that or do that are no longer in business.
Give me an example of something where you have been confronted like that, where you were like, “There’s an opportunity where someone might roll over and take it. I’m going to show up differently. I’m going to choose a different path.”
Definitely, I’ve had people come up to me and say, “I’ve heard through the grapevine that you’re an asshole.” I go, “Yes.” They look at me like, “You’re not supposed to agree to that. That’s where you’re supposed to go, ‘Really? I’m so sorry.’” I’m not sorry. Am I rude? No, I’m not. I’m very focused and I will be as pleasant as possible. If you’re not going to “like what I say” and deem me as an asshole or someone that is rude or disrespectful because of my way of talking or my way of dealing, that’s your opinion, and I respect your opinion but I won’t conform to that.
What do you find challenging or difficult? It’s not this sort of stuff. The path you’ve been talking about is like, “This is the stuff I can take on. Timid is not in my dictionary.” What do you find challenging or difficult?
I find business challenging in the sense that when you try to build something, and then there are outside circumstances that hold you back. A perfect example is, “We’re switching over to a new K-Cup box.”
You’re changing the pods that you’re offering to different pods?
Correct. We’re also changing the box. We’ve submitted the artwork, it’s done, it’s out of our hands. We’re waiting on the manufacturer to make the labels and then put the labels on the new boxes and get them delivered to our warehouse. They’re like, “We have lead times.” I go, “I understand we have lead times, that’s why I talked to you three months ago.” “We’ve been inundated with work.” There’s this never-ending back and forth and you’re like, “Son of a bitch, I’m going to come down there and I’m going to run the presses myself.” You’re not going to, but the problem is that, when you’re trying to create something and you have outside circumstances that hold you back, it’s very frustrating.
What’s your go-to when you’re confronted by that stuff?
You’d be knocking on their door? If they’re like, “Just a sec.” You’re like, “I’ll keep knocking on your door for the next eight years until I get what I’m after.”
That’s what we did. I’m virtually knocking on the doors by texting the people and saying, “I need to have a timeline. What’s going on?” It’s getting to a point where I’m being an asshole, but if you do not take the initiative, they won’t.
You’re taking that initiative as your responsibility. You’re like, “I’m bringing this forward because I have to. I can’t rely on, wait or expect it of them.”
Every single business owner needs to take accountability. Literally, all their failures have to be on them. I cannot stress this enough. If you are going to fail in business because you want to say it was them, not you, you’re cheating yourself.
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The whole model for leadership that I work with, and attempt to model myself is one where a part of the leaders’ job is to take more ownership of the experience they’re currently having. It’s like, “My K-Cup box isn’t happening. How can I own that result? How can I be at cause and responsible for the way it’s going?” The reason we would do that is it gives us access to power, “I can see this is how I’m showing up. Now there’s a path for me to do something.” Whereas, “If it’s not my fault because of those people, there’s nothing I can do other than complain about it and say it’s not my fault and then I don’t have much power in the matter.” I’m reliable down that path as it sounds like you are pretty reliable to like, “What can I see on my side?” One of the things I noticed that can be challenging for me is allowing the space for my humanity when I have those moments when I want to be a victim. Those moments when I’m like, “It’s not my fault,” or, “They are fucking wrong,” or whatever that sort of thing happens to be. Instead, I’ll try to layer this almost like hyper responsibility over top of that, and because I’m so committed to that, it doesn’t let me sit where I am. I’m curious how that goes for you. Do you have space for yourself in that or is that a challenge for you to sit in? How does that all play out?
Let’s put it this way. Everyone would be a multi-billionaire if everything went their way but because you have to fight tooth and nail for every dollar, I learned at a very young age that nothing will come to me. I have to go to it.
Is that your experience? That you have to fight tooth and nail?
Shit, yes. I can’t stress it enough. Look at Steve Jobs. One of the most amazing men of our time. He fought against the biggest giant of IBM, and he won because he would not give up. He got fired from his own company because he was considered an asshole but then he told everyone, “You will hire me back because you need me because I’m the one that’s actually going to drive the ball across the line.”
You mentioned Steve Jobs, is he one of the people that inspires you towards how you think yourself?
Yes. I think Apple products are the greatest. Tim is a good guy, don’t get me wrong, but you’re never going to replace the original.
Who else are your people that are like North stars, guiding lights or inspiration?
Do you know Dan Peña?
Look him up. I truly respect the man because he’s worth $50 billion. He’s sitting there with the guy interviewing him, and he says, “Dan you’re so successful, and you’re a motivational speaker. What’s the one takeaway that other entrepreneurs or people that want to be successful could look up to?” He goes, “It’s very simple. You’re either going to be fucked or you’re going to be fucking. If you’re fucking, you win. If you’re fucked, you lose.”
Quite a lens through which to relate to the world.
He’s so blunt but it’s true. I will say this is, he’s got a very valid point. The man has a twenty-room castle in Ireland, he’s worth $50 billion. Let’s talk about the orange man bad, Trump. One of the most amazing business people in the world, even though they say, “He bankrupted himself so many times.” He did because his partners didn’t know how to run companies. He said, “I’m not going to go down without a fight,” and so he went down and he filed chapter because he’s so sick and tired of people trying to run the company into the ground. Trump’s worth $8 billion and the media decided to come out and say, “You have a $400 million debt.” He goes, “And?” He had to be very presidential about it but he goes, “And? What’s the point?” If I had a $400 million debt, I’d be worth billions of dollars. Every billionaire has debt. Every business owner has debt. The more debt you have, the more money you have.
What’s the question you find people ask you a lot that drives you nuts? It might not be like, “Fuck you for asking that question.” It might just be like, “This is the question being asked.” What do you find people bring to you?
“Is your coffee gluten-free?”
I know the answer to this, but tell us why does that drive you nuts?
It’s like saying, “Is meat gluten-free or is vegetables gluten-free?” “Yes, you idiot.”
I buy stuff and I look at the labels from time to time and there’s stuff that gets labeled gluten-free. That’s just like, “That’s being labeled gluten-free.” I guess that’s become a new marketing label to stick to your product.
What’s happened in America and the world, but mainly America, is we have been inundated with a media that wants to passively control the masses.
Say more about passively control.
When you have a separation of people, that’s not a free society. That’s a controlled society and that’s essentially upper-class hierarchies. America was founded off of everyone is equal under the law. Whoever’s reading, you’re about to know absolutely one of the most amazing controversies of America come out. It’s going to be a flipping show of epic proportions, so buckle up and get ready because it’s going to be fun. It’s gotten to the point where our economic system is of the class of wealth. We should be teaching how you can go on to Robinhood and get an app, start stock trading, and making passive income in schools. We should talk about how the supply and demand curves work in business in schools. We should talk about how you balance a checkbook in schools. We should talk about how you have positive debt and negative debt and what the differences are in schools.
I’m not talking college level. I’m talking high school and elementary level. What public education wants to do is they want to talk about everyone is equal and we need to be understanding of black people and indigenous people because they suffered and we need to atone for our problems. What we need to do is every time we decide to make success, we need to give it out for free. It destroys the structure of a society.
We’re getting a societal conversation here, but let’s bring it back to you. What do you wish people asked you more? What’s the conversation you wish you were in more with people?
I’m an open book. I’ll voice my opinion. If I want to have a question answered, I’ll ask it. I like conversations that are intellectual. I like conversations that aren’t just surface-level. I like conversations to talk about psychological mindsets. I’m a car guy, too. If you ever want to talk cars, we can talk till the cows come home. This could be a three-hour freaking show.
What was your first car?
BMW E46 M3.
I don’t want to blow your mind and make you feel bad, but my first car was a Chevrolet Sprint, three-cylinder. I bought it, used it and it broke down almost instantly.
I bought a Beemer so I get the last laugh. Your car costs as much as one repair. I bought a BMW in high school and it was from the coffee money.
How was that? Did you find your peers related to you a different way given you’d already started to amass wealth and were an entrepreneur at this point?
I was definitely the big man on campus to a point where the sheriff’s office thought I was selling weed, but it’s more than that. They thought I was selling hard drugs. Flat out, let me be clear. The more wealth you make, the more haters you curate.
It’s the attention you draw to yourself.
That’s the reality of it. Anytime you succeed, the exact same person on the other side is in jealousy and wants you to be destroyed. It’ll always be that way. You have to absorb your haters and you have to say, “Those are going to be my haters and that’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to look at my successes and I’m going to go look at how I can succeed with other friends and people.” You are who you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with druggies, losers or people that go to Taco Bell as a living, they come home, live in their parent’s basement, and play PS4 all day long. If you hang out with the people that sit on Learjets, have Ferraris, Maseratis, have businesses like the Great Wealth and are in real estate, those are the people I like to hang around with.
What did that look like? Take me back to high school though. You’re related to as the big man on campus. I’m guessing you relate to yourself that way to some extent. What’s life like at that point? Are you busy? Are you ignoring social activities? Are you relishing in what wealth is bringing to you? What’s the extreme?
I didn’t go to college. I dropped out. My immediate family, my grandpa, aunt and uncle pushed college on me. I remember in high school, I checked out. I got to the point where I was selling coffee to my teachers. I was making more money and I was like, “Why am I needing to figure out the circumference of a circle using a math formula?” I get it. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a good thing to have knowledge. I was more interested in supply and demand curves. I was more interested in SEO, Search Engine Optimization. I remember taking phone calls in high school with SEO people that I was paying to get my website higher up in rankings. Kids would come up to me like, “How do you do this? What’s going on?” I had peers that were trying to learn from me.
Did you have many friends?
I had a lot of acquaintances. Still to this day, I don’t have friends. Friends is an interesting word. Friends to me are someone that will suck your time.
No wonder you don’t have many friends.
I’ve got thousands of acquaintances. I’ve got friends that are friends. I got acquaintances in real estate and stock market trading. It’s how you see the term at that level. Is my friend that’s in real estate a friend? Yes. How many times do I see in a year? Three or four.
It’s not someone you’d call up to watch a TV show with or play a video game with or something like that.
You nailed it. Friends to me suck your money and your time.
From that relationship to what a friend is, it would make total sense to me that you wouldn’t seek that out. Why would you? It’d be weird.
I have a friend and that’s my girlfriend. We spend more time together than anyone else. That’s my friend. She’s a girl and she’s awesome. I’ll do ski trips with acquaintances. We say friends because that’s what the general term is. We do a five-day ski trip, and then we won’t talk to each other for eight months because we’re both busy and highly motivated individuals that don’t have the time to just sit around, watch football, and drink beer.
Is that what you would do if you had time to watch TV, you’d watch football?
No. I hate football. I hate sports.
If you had an extra two hours every week, what would you spend that time doing? You can’t choose work.
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In high school, I was a good swimmer. It was 3/10 of a second going away to Olympic trials. I love swimming because it was self-motivation and if you failed, it was on you. That’s how I related to swimming. Our coach was hard-ass about it.
I was going to say that would fit.
What do I do on my downtime? Sorry, I have to keep going back to cars. Cars are my passion.
Drive or work on them? Are you someone that tinkers with the engines and stuff?
I realized that my time was valuable. It’s funny, this is where I was like, “Maybe I should let the expert do the thing.” I came to the conclusion that I was going to replace the radiator in one of my cars. I bought the part, looked at the manual, watched the YouTube videos, and did everything. I forgot to bleed the system. Essentially, when I went in to put more coolant in, it mixed with the old coolant and it had to get drained. I took it to a good mechanic and I respect him. He goes, “Quick question. How much did you spend on this?” I was like, “What do you mean?” He’s like, “How much you spend on the alternator? How would you spend for the parts?” I’m like, “$300.”
“I wouldn’t charge you $300, but it would have been done right. Now I have to charge you $800 because I have to go get all the new parts because you use the same fluid which contaminated the radiator. You can do whatever you want, but I’m telling you, if you bring it to me, I’m going to save you time and the money.” I wasted six hours where it took him 1.5 hours because he knows that stuff. He knows what he’s doing. I learned at a young age to always hire your weaknesses. Never your strengths. That’s what I do in my business.
Let’s dive in. Let’s take a look at something and see where we can go. Tell me, Tyler, what would be something for us to take a look at, work out and dive into that’s going on in your life?
I need more money.
More money is what we’re talking about.
I love money. It’s freedom.
Tell me about that because the sense I get from you sharing is that there’s a fair bit of money. Is that not your experience of it?
What do you mean?
When you’re talking, I’m like, “It sounds like this guy’s surrounded by money.” It’s the sense I get. It doesn’t mean I’m right about that, but that’s what I was getting. It’s interesting, you’re like, “I need more money.” I’m curious, that’s almost a little incongruent.
It’s the greatest addiction in the world. You can never get enough of it.
What for get more money? What will money provide?
Freedom. The thing about money is that when you get money, you have the ability to buy your problems, whatever problem it is. It can be any problem in the world and money will buy it.
Can you buy true love? Is that available through money?
No, you can’t buy true love, you can’t buy health. Can I buy organic food for my health? Yes. Generally speaking, health. If you have a health-related issue, you need to address your health before you address anything else in the world. Health is above everything. It’s above love, money, God, family, and everything because if you don’t have your health, you have absolutely nothing.
More money so as to get freedom. Help me get a sense of that. Let’s say you achieve freedom. What’s different about your life from where you’re at having broken free and created freedom?
It’s a better quality of life.
Instead of taking commercial, you’re flying private. Instead of driving a Toyota, you’re driving a Mercedes. Instead of living in a one-bedroom, one-bath like I did, you’re living in a five-bedroom, three-bath, $500,000 home with a yard and a nice pool.
Wouldn’t there be the next level after that?
You go from your $500,000 to a $1.5 million house. You have more money to invest into the market, ideas, or companies that you think are going to make you more money. You have the ability to buy your own plane instead of rent your own plane. You have the ability to have 7 cars versus 2 cars.
What are you left wanting at the end of all that? More money it sounds like.
Absolutely. It’s a never-ending cycle of reciprocation.
That doesn’t sound like freedom to me.
Help me get over there with you. I’m not saying I’m right. I’m just reflecting on what I’m getting. It sounds like you’re still trapped under this need for more money on this side of the conversation.
Let me segue in that. I believe in helping people if it’s going to help people. I don’t believe in hand-out. I believe in hand-up. If someone says, “Tyler, I’m down on my luck. They’re going to foreclose on me. Is there any way that you could give me a little bit of money and I’ll reciprocate? I’ll come over and I’ll do work or I’ll pay you back somehow.” “Sure. No problem. Here’s $2,000,” or whatever. Seeing a commercial of, “We’ll pay $75 a month. We’ll feed 3 or 4 African people in Uganda.” You don’t know where that money goes. It could go right to the pockets of the board. When I say charity, I don’t believe in just giving to a company and praying that it gets to the need. I’d rather go to the need directly and give it directly to the people in need.
How does that connect with this conversation about the freedom that you brought?
What I’m saying is the more money you have, the more money you can give.
Is that important to you?
To support causes?
Yes, absolutely. We have a 501(c)(3) that does all our fulfillment. We employ people that have downs or mental deficiencies that unfortunately cannot “have a normal job.” The remedial task of fulfilling orders or the warehouse items is unbelievable. It makes my heart swell with pride that we’re supporting a cause that I can see directly benefiting people. I love going down to my warehouse and walking in and seeing everyone smile and say, “Tyler, how are you?” To me, I know that we’re supporting a cause there. That makes me feel glad and happy.
It’s interesting you say more money because then, you can do more, but there’s a degree of a hamster wheel. Not that it’s a bad hamster wheel, it’s pimped out, nice, gilded, etc. Here’s one of the things I noticed. You describing stuff is well thought out. You’re brilliant. You’ve got like, “Here’s how stuff is, and therefore, here’s the optimized approach to being with the way stuff is.” What I’m left wondering is what feels missing in your life? What’s an experience or something that feels like, “This thing feels elusive.”
Would you set me over the, what would you want to knock off your bucket list? I don’t know if you saw it yet, but I would love to have a tour of Area 51. Wouldn’t that be the coolest thing in the world?
Maybe the most boring, depending on whether you go and you’re like, “The myth isn’t true.”
Either way, it would be a revealing experience.
I’m not sliding it. If someone was like, “The bucket list for me would be to have a Lamborghini,” great, but they’re going to get that Lamborghini, and then it’s like, “Has that fulfilled what’s missing in life?” Let me ask this. Do you feel like, “I’ve got life by the balls more or less, I just want more of it, it’s all lined up the way I want it?” Is there more to life that you’re wanting that all of this contributing more is hopefully going to get for you or create somehow?
Let’s talk about that concept of Lamborghini. I’ve driven 4 or 5 Lamborghinis and I do like Lamborghinis. I have to say that the AMG car is one of the best value cars you can ever have in your life. Lamborghini comes with some status. It comes with some, “You’ve got a Lamborghini.” Lamborghini can be bought. I can buy a $90,000 Lamborghini tomorrow. They’re fun toys, but that’s money. Just go buy one. Make a phone call and say, “I’ll wire you money. Send me the car.” Done. You can get that cut and dry.
When people say, “It would be nice to have a Lamborghini someday,” it’s because they’re not looking at how to make money. You’ve got to look at it this way. I never look at what my expenses are. I only look at how much profit we made. We made more money this week than last week. That’s all I care about because when you have enough money, you look at your bank account and you go, “I can go buy stuff.” It becomes a transactional process. It’s not an emotional process. People put so much emotion behind money. It’s a transactional way of living our lives.
To be quite frank, money has zero value. What we do is we put value towards it. We have 300 million people that put value towards $1. Up in Canada, you have 30 million people that put value towards your dollar. If you don’t have that people, that paper is weigh in paper. Money is not an emotional thing. When I say I want more money, it’s because I want more freedom, but the only way we can obtain more freedom is more money.
I get that part of who you are as a man is a brilliant, driven, passionate guy and that there’s a part of you that longs for true freedom. With more money, every time you take a step, you get more freedom. As much as you can buy more, you can create more. With enough money, you could tour f Area 51. If you were like, “I’m going to wipe out the debt of the United States of America,” they would allow that. Enough money can provide something.
Every billionaire has debt. Every business owner has debt. The more debt you have, the more money you have. Click To Tweet
You get into higher places with more money.
You can get away with more. We’re not going to go down that path. Here’s something I noticed. I’ll speak to this as an analogy, and then I’m going to give it back to you and see what you get in this. Often, I work with people that are time scarce, so they’re busy and we could almost call it empowered but it’s resignation. They’re empowered about their business because they’re like, “There’s an impact I want to create in the world. I’m willing to be busy in order to create that impact because I care so much about that impact.” If you ask them, “What if you could create that impact without having to be so busy?” They would choose that 100%, but never mind that for now.
Often, when I talk to these people and I’m like, “What do you want?” One of the things they’re craving for is travel. The reason they want to travel is because it’s going to give them an experience. Particularly what they want more of in their life is an experience of adventure. They believe that traveling will create that experience, which it will. Except then what they’re doing is rather than creating an experience of ongoing ever-present adventure in their life, they create an experience of restriction in their life, let’s say 48 weeks out of the year.
Four weeks out of the year, they get to travel and have this experience of adventure. What they’re longing for is an ever-present, living their life from adventure rather than it being this thing on the shelf they get to pull down one week every quarter. That’s what I’m curious about. When you say, “I want more money because then I could have more freedom,” I’m curious, what would true freedom look like for Tyler? If you had real freedom right now, what would be different?
It buys problems. More money, more problems is an absolute truth because I went from buying $5,000 a month in coffee to now buying $50,000 a month, and now buying $500,000 a month, now buying $5 million a month. If I’m buying, let’s say, talk to your $5 million a month in coffee, then I’m selling $15 million to $20 million in coffee. Let’s take 1% of that. Is $1.5 million to your pocket a month enough money? Shit, yes. There’s no question about it. $14 million a year is you’re above the 0.001% in the world. With that, what do you do? You can travel the world and you can go to different places.
You can meet different people and you can push your weight around and say, “I’m going to support the candidate that I want because they’re going to change the future of America for the better, not for the worse.” There’s a lot of things you can do that are successful people. When you’re around successful people, they talk in terms of monopoly. “I bought this building cost $5.5 million and there I got 6 to 7 tenants. I paid off the mortgage and I’m making about $300,000 net profit a month kind of thing.” That’s talking in monopoly terms. If you played monopoly with friends, you’re like, “I’m going to buy boardwalk.”
How does this all relate to freedom for you and what you would do with more freedom?
Let’s backtrack. We have about 80,000 days of life on this planet. From birth to death, it’s about 80,000 days, which is surprising. When you think about it, it’s like, “Holy shit. That’s not much.” In that time, you want to leave a legacy.
I do. I want to leave a legacy and a value, and I want to enjoy it. The way to enjoy it is with your money. You can do it the bad way of being the cartel and making millions of cash, but then you’re going to get a bullet in the head or you’re going to get arrested. Trust me, don’t go down that route. You don’t want to go down that route because all you’re going to be living in is fear. If you do it in a legal, logical and honest way, then you can enjoy it and you don’t have fear holding you back. Money does anything you want it to do except buying true love and health.
How free do you feel in your life?
Sure, I’ll take whatever you want to use. You can use alligators if you like.
Sixty percent. I have another 40% to go.
The interesting thing about that, to me, is I’m hearing you say more money would lead to more freedom, but 60% doesn’t feel, at least to me, a lot of freedom expressed. This is not a criticism. It’s almost like half the time, you’re not feeling free. I’m hearing you say more money would lead to that and yet you have a lot more access to wealth and money and all of that stuff than most people. It’s an exponential curve. It can always go higher and higher.
There’s always going to be that guy that’s richer than you.
Tell me about that 40%. What is your experience of not being free?
If I have more money than someone else, then I have more freedom than them.
Has that been your experience? As you’ve made more money, you feel more and more free in your life?
At 25, what was your experience like?
Twenty-five was pretty rough. In 2015, the business was still struggling. I’m not saying the business is not struggling. I’m saying that we’re substantially different than before.
Different struggles and more money. Different scale.
I didn’t own three cars. I didn’t have a house. I did have a small house, which is my rental. I couldn’t afford the food that I have now. I’m not a clothing guy. People say, “Tyler, you’ve got to up your wardrobe.” It doesn’t bother me. COVID put a damper on my travels. I used to travel all the time. I didn’t have the time and I didn’t have the money to travel. You would always fight over it. I would be like, “Do I buy gas or do I buy food? do I do this or do I do that?” Money has a lot of friction to it. Poor people talk about money all the time. The reason why they talk about money all the time is because they don’t have it.
You have a lot of it and you talk about it a lot.
That’s not true. I don’t have a lot of it.
More than me, I assume.
We don’t know that. I would say that when poor people talk, they talk a lot about money. You’re using the word money. Why don’t you take out that word money in the vernacular and put in freedom? I don’t have the freedom to do this.
If we were to do that with you and the conversation became, “I want more freedom,” rather than, “I want more money,” what would that look like? The task I’m going to give you is to take the advice you’re giving, which is to remove money entirely from this conversation and then be in a conversation with me about like, “I want more freedom.” What are the areas in your life in which you want more freedom?
I’ll put it this way, I’m content for right now. I do want to travel. Travel is freedom. I would like to go to Hawaii but I heard that you have to quarantine for fourteen days. You have to buy a trip for two weeks. I never worked in my company. I work on my company. Any investor would say, “If you don’t work on your company, then your company is going to fail.” That’s why people invest in people. They can invest in the business because they say, “It’s making this money.”
People invest in people because they say, “This man’s going to work hard. He’s going to be dedicated. He’s going to be driven to succeed.” I’m the same way. I go to work every day because I have a drive to succeed. I have a drive to make more. I have a drive to make better. When you decide to travel, that’s when it takes away from the success. You have to have people there. You have to trust the people. There’s a lot of dichotomy to what I’m saying here. I feel like I’m talking at a level that is semi-confusing and I apologize to your readers if that’s truth. If you have a business, you have to make sure that you have it under control. You can’t leave it. It’s a child. I don’t have kids.
May I offer a reflection?
My question was, what would you do with more freedom? You started talking about going on traveling. Your conversation shifted into explaining to me why you can’t have more freedom. Did you notice that?
Sure. That’s the reality of it.
It’s a different conversation than the one I’m inviting you into. Let’s imagine you could and I don’t even know how and any of that. The whole reason to have any conversation like this one would be to change reality. You can create something beyond your reality. If you’re like, “This is reality,” I have no desire to disabuse you of that. I’m happy to let you have that as your reality. It misses an opportunity here. What I’m curious about is what else would Tyler be creating if he had that freedom? If life didn’t have to be the way he’s already decided it has to be, I wonder what else would he create? How would life be different for you with more freedom?
I would want to start more businesses.
You wouldn’t be working in this. You’d be creating more.
Tylers Coffees is not an infant anymore. It’s not an adolescent anymore. It’s a grown business. It’s been operating for years. It has pre-existing customers. It has a retention rate of 80% on our customer base, which is extremely high. We do X amount of volume of product every month that we can put our thumb on and say, “By the last 4 to 8 months, we’ve done this volume. We’re going to be doing it just fine the next 4 to 8 months, but we’re probably going to see about a 5% to 10% increase hopefully.”
Tell me more about what you would create with more freedom.
Would you be spending the same amount of time in them if you had all the freedom in the world?
You can’t be a one-man band.
To be clear, it’s not what I’m asking. What I’m asking is, given the amount of time you spend in your businesses of which there’s only one but we’re going to use that moniker, would you be spending the same amount of your time alive in those businesses? Would you be spending some time doing other things as well if you could achieve the same results?
The only way we can obtain more freedom is more money. Click To Tweet
I wouldn’t do the latter. I would do the former.
You’re spending the exact amount of time you want to be spending in businesses?
What else would you want with more freedom?
What people are starting to want to see is where does the business owner that has what he has start figuring out and questioning the other nuances of life in its entirety? That’s important because you’re absolutely right, everyone is equal and that they have 24 hours in the day. What are you going to do with those 24 hours? What are you going to do that’s going to benefit you and/or give you freedom and/ or give you enjoyment? I like that question tremendously. To be quite honest with you, that’s where I would say I don’t know.
Thanks for owning that. That’s the first time I’ve heard you say you don’t know. That’s a courageous thing to take ownership of.
I always take ownership of something that I don’t know.
I heard you describe what was happening. I want to share my take. First of all, can you own your brilliance? Are you present that you have that capacity?
I respect my brilliance but I’m never going to say I own it because that means that I would shut the door on it.
Fair enough, brilliantly put. I’ve got a lot of brilliance too. Can you get that about me? Adam shows up in the room, there’s a lot of brilliance. We can connect on that level. One of the things I noticed about people with the quality of brilliance is that we’re right about the stuff we’re right about. We think a lot and we analyze it. My background is law. You’d be a fantastic lawyer. I don’t think that’s the right place for you to go but you’d be great at it if you wanted to. What happens is that we become right about the way the world is. The world is this way, X, Y and Z. The way I would describe the conversation we’re in is I’m hearing you say, “I want more freedom.” We started with more money, but it’s pretty clear that it’s not about the money because there’s always more money you could get. What you want is more freedom.
What I notice is that when you start to get pushed towards a conversation about what more freedom would be and what you want, your default is back towards, “Here’s the way the world is and here’s why I can’t yet have what I want more of.” Your conversation is more about the way things are and why they have to be that way as opposed to that bluer sky like, “What if?” As long as the conversation we’re in is inside of how the world is, what it will get us is more of what is possible inside the way the world is. It’s clear to me that you’re reliable to generate a hell of a lot in this column. What I’m not hearing is a lot of that like, “What if I could create more freedom? What would I have more of?” I imagine there’s a part of you that would be like, “It’s been a couple of hours doing something different.” How many hours do you work in your business?
9:00 to 3:00.
Five days a week?
What do you spend the rest of your time doing?
I’m spending time with the girlfriend and hanging out with my dog. I love my dog.
What kind of dog?
He’s a boxer.
I’ve got a Boston Terrier. I often feel that they’re like snout brothers. Their heads are similar.
I love Bostons, they’re like Frenchies. I love spending time with my dog. I love researching. I’m a research-holic. Let’s put it this way, I don’t think I could ever get into politics because I have a sailor’s mouth but I love researching politics. I love researching what’s going on beyond the curtain. Entrepreneurs strive to see what is out there versus what is seen.
Even though you’ve created a fairly abundant amount of time, most people would give their right arm and they’re like, “That dude is working 30 hours a week. That’s sweet. He’s arrived.” The circumstances of money and/or time are still at best 60% freedom. There’s more to life that you want to experience. I want to honor that and I want to start to wind us down. I’m going to offer you a practice. You don’t have to take it on but if you are curious about what might be outside of this, this is the practice I would give you. The thing I would invite you to do, Tyler, is to get curious about, like, “What if I could have all of the freedom I wanted right now? What would be different?” I get your content because who you are not is a complainer. You’re reliable to be like, “I’m okay with what I have right now.” As I am. That’s fair, right?
The danger of always finding contentment is sometimes they can stop us from, like, “What if I could create something beyond this?” It can slow us down a little bit. The invitation would be to start to get curious over here. The other thing I would give you is to notice when you start to get into a conversation back on this side about why not. Here’s why this is the way it is. This is how the business is. You know how it is. Notice your resistance coming up as you get into this conversation over here.
It’s important to always think of yourself as you could do better. You could always be better. You could always do better. You can always “speak better.” Proficiency is an important aspect in anyone’s life but it also can create a lot of stagnant patient in the education of yourself. What I mean by that is the 9:00 to 5:00. We do 3:00 because why not? The 9:00 to 5:00-er that wakes up, goes to work, hates what they do, comes home, gets yelled at by his wife, his kids are falling apart at the seams, and he has no money to make ends meet. He then goes to bed, wakes up and repeats himself. You have built yourself your own prison. Most people are content with that. We’re the ones that say no. I tell people this all the time. I’ll be the first to tell you I’m right and I’ll prove it, and I’ll be the first to say I don’t know. I’ll be the first one to say, “I apologize and I was wrong.”
That’s where we will wind down. Let me check in with you. I want to finish by acknowledging you and then we’ll do a brief debrief.
Those guys are so polite. I can’t believe it.
What part about that feels polite to you?
I want to honor you. Americans don’t talk that way but that’s good.
Some of them don’t, that’s for sure. The circles I swim in, those of leadership and coaching, acknowledgments are a key part there but it’s definitely not commonplace, for sure. For what it’s worth, it’s not commonplace up here in Canada either. Before I do that, anything left for this whole conversation to feel complete for you?
People that suffer from stomach-related modalities can’t drink coffee anymore. There’s a study done by Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation in 2016 that found that there are 50 million Americans that suffer from stomach-related issues as little as heartburn and as severe as interstitial cystitis. You can go to TylersCoffees.com. We’re giving a ‘tyler2020’ 20% off. You can go to Amazon, Walmart and Amazon Ca and you can try the coffee. Don’t take my word for it. Go look online, there are over 1,000 reviews or five stars on Google or Yelp or on Facebook. It’s a good product. I do want to put out there that this is a product that you guys would benefit from if there are stomach-related issues that you have.
Even if not, I imagine? I’m assuming this coffee is delicious regardless.
It is stunningly delicious. We cater to a specific mark. Tim Hortons is something you don’t talk about. Tim Hortons is a real staple in Canada. People love Tim Hortons. I understand that Tim Hortons does a lot of press behind it. I respect it. There is a coffee out there in the industry that is smooth and flavorful.
If people want to learn more about that, they go to TylersCoffees.com. You said there was some charity or contributory companies. Is there something where people can learn more about that as well?
It’s Beacon Group.
That’s something you also started.
No, I didn’t start it. What we do is we support it. They do all the fulfillment. I wish I could say I started it but I didn’t. It’s BeaconGroup.org.
Anything else you want to plug?
I am coming out with a book.
What’s that going to be about?
It’s going to be about my life. It’s like a memoir. It’s getting ghostwritten. The thing is it’s pulling teeth because I don’t like to read. I like reading the articles but I can’t read books. It makes me exhausted. It’s like a sleeping pill. I listen to books online all the time. I’ve listened to many books. I love listening to books, it’s my favorite way. I can listen to this while I fall asleep, and I wake up and I feel like I’ve already read. I love listening. Listening to books is my favorite thing to do. I enjoy it immensely. I do it hour- long. The point is I am coming out with a book. It’s been a long time coming. It’s been about a two-year process. My ghost writer wants to punch me in the face but that’s okay. It’s about my struggles and tribulations and what a lot of entrepreneurs go through.
What is it going to be called? Do you know?
It’s going to be called Tyler’s Coffee. It’s what they want to call it. They want to call it Tyler’s Coffee and written by Tyler Ornstein.
One of my books got published. The Amazon one came out. There’s another one I’ve been publishing. I’m finding writing much easier than the publishing process. When you share, I can appreciate that it’s like pulling teeth. It can feel like I’m birthing something here.
I have a lot more fun building businesses than writing books.
The danger of always finding contentment is, sometimes, they can stop you from creating something beyond what you have. Click To Tweet
Tyler, may I acknowledge you?
First of all, I honor your brilliance. It’s present for me even in your vocabulary and the way you think about things the. It’s clear that you’re someone who puts a lot of thought into everything that’s been spoken. It’s not necessarily that you’re thinking about as you’re speaking it. You’re a man who thinks a lot and who’s thoughtful and thinks about the world around him and himself. Second, I want to acknowledge the joy that I’m present to you. It’s subtle, I can feel it peek up above the surface from time to time. There’s a part of you that I imagine that it would be hilarious to sit in a bar and have a beer with and shoot the shit and talk about what’s going on. I acknowledge you for that too. The combination of your joy and brilliance is a charming and delightful thing.
I appreciate it.
You’re welcome. There are two other things that I’m present to, one is your passion. It’s cool because those of us with brilliance have the nerd gene and those of us with passion have the geek gene. You’ve got both of those too. I appreciate your willingness to share about what you’re passionate about. For me, sometimes I can have this story like, “Fuck, am I telling people too much about the shampoo I found out about?” I’m reading them the ingredients and they’re like, “It’s great. You love that.”
That’s why we get along well. I look at everything that I put in my body. I read everything and I google it and I go, “Hell no.”
The last thing I want to acknowledge you for is your courage. Thanks for being game to come and be in this conversation with me. Thanks for being up to run towards the fear. Thanks for everything that you’re doing and for sharing your story. It’s been a treat to get to be with you.
Same to you. A lot of podcasters like to live on the surface level and that’s fine. I respect that. Don’t get me wrong. Diving deep is also enjoyable. At the beginning of this, I was like, “How the hell do you keep interest after 90 minutes?” I get it because it’s ongoing. How do we take that compartmentalization of a saying or an adjective or an adverb or an idea, concept, or a creation? How do we build into that and get to the nano level? It’s hard for people to do that. Whoever is reading and whoever is your viewership is, props to them because I bet they’re kicking ass.
Thanks for that. We’re going to wind down. Everyone, thank you for reading. Check out TylersCoffees.com and check out the BeaconGroup.org. Go buy coffee from Tyler.
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About Tyler Ornstein
Founded in 2004 by Tyler Ornstein, Tylers Coffees® was born out of necessity. Tyler’s dad was told by his physician that he could no longer drink coffee due to its acidity. Realizing that drinking coffee is more of a lifestyle choice than just a beverage, Tyler and his father felt a strong need to create an acid free coffee. After careful research and engineering, Tylers Coffees® was born.