FUNancial Freedom and The ReThink Academy Creator, Paul O’Mahony

audio-interview Paul O'Mahony

Martyn Brown's Marketing Bugle Podcast - Episode 58

Transcript of audio interview with Martyn Brown and Paul O'Mahony

Editor:

I'm excited today because this time around, we're chatting with a best selling author and speaker. He's also the founder of FUNancial Freedom and The ReThink Academy, two groundbreaking initiatives that have seen in feature in Forbes Magazine and achieved global recognition. I think this is going to be fun and informative. Paul O'Mahony, it's great to meet you. Welcome along.

Paul O'Mahony:

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Editor:

For anyone who's not discovered you before and also the great work that you do, maybe we could just start with a brief background.

Paul O'Mahony:

Sure, absolutely. I am the son of two teachers. My entire young life was based around academia, getting a permanent job, which meant going to school, doing well in exams, going to college. My background was actually a degree in industrial biochemistry of all things. Then I did a year in chemical engineering to get my graduate diploma and then I worked in a corporation for nine years where I was in a position as a director, as a medical device company, got an MBA, became a project management professional, and I was the youngest ever director in that company at the age of 30, all set to scale the heights of the corporate ladder.

Paul O'Mahony:

And it was at that time that I realised I was over half a million euros in debt from purchasing two houses in the middle of the Celtic Tiger in Ireland in the mid-2000s. And while from the outside looking in, everybody would've said, "Oh, look at this. Amazing. You're doing a successful career. You're doing well. You've got yourself a car, a house, an investment property, and a good job." But the absolute reality was I was completely riddled with debt, 500,000 of negative equity of money that wasn't mine in the first place. And now, suddenly, this was a reality of somehow at 30 years of age, having done everything to the book of how to succeed in life according to the educational system. I was in a massive, massive dilemma.

Paul O'Mahony:

And I ended up going to a conference out of pure desperation in Ireland in Dublin in 2009, which was basically, I think it was called Life Lasting Success and it was a kind of an event about motivation and there was hints of how to maybe set up an internet business, which wasn't too keen on. I had a complete shutdown perspective on all of that, but long story short, went to that event, ended up investing in three of the products. A month later, went to a Tony Robbins conference, quit my job that night and three months after that, lost all my money that I'd saved on the stock market.

Paul O'Mahony:

And actually, so in July 2009, I was still in the negative equity, but now I had no job. I had kind of burnt my bridges at work and I had no source of income. I lost all savings on the stock market. And that was when I realised, okay, this internet stuff has to work for me. And the reason why I turned to it, even though I'd done the three courses, hasn't really done much with them, it was a cost, literally nothing, but my time to get started.

Paul O'Mahony:

And within four months I was generating $10,000 monthly from Twitter actually originally. Within a year, I'd made my first million dollars with my business partner. And you can imagine, it took quite the while for even my mindset to catch up with the money, because it was so far beyond any of my wildest dreams. And it's been a crazy ride ever since to... because I had no history of entrepreneurship or anything like that in my family, so it was very much a case of going from the complete sceptic, completely, completely dismissing what I heard from those original speakers in that day in 2009 until literally one, and sorry for the long story, but this is the compelling moment for me was when they were trying to get each other to high five each other and say, we're awesome and that does not work with an Irish audience, but one speaker really spotted what was going on.

Paul O'Mahony:

And he basically called us out and said, "Look, here's the problem. You think we're here to brainwash you," but he said, "Ironically, you guys are so brainwashed, you actually don't see the wood from the trees." And he said, "Let me explain." He said, "The vast majority of you in this room today are between age 20 and 65, which means the vast majority of you are in debt. You owe more than you own. In fact, if you were a child, you would be better off financially than how you are today."

Paul O'Mahony:

And it was kind of this very sobering moment. And then he said, "Let me explain why." He said, "Because the belief system you have is that wealth is connected to qualifications, to letters achieved after your name." He said, "I found as a high school dropout that wealth is not connected to letters. It's connected to numbers in your bank account." And I'll never forget when he said it because as a 30-year-old with my MBA, a corporate director, felt that I knew how the world worked, the world was completely pulled from under me because he was 100% correct. I was totally broke. I was massively in debt. There was no way out of it with the career that I was pursuing.

Paul O'Mahony:

And it just suddenly woke me up to you can be so certain in something that's completely wrong and just because you're certain in many cases, doesn't mean you're right. And your environment is just very much, and if you are surrounded by people who think the same way as you, who don't challenge you, who very much are brought up to believe in the way we live to follow the path of education designed hundreds of years ago, it can be a very unforgiving place when you're looking for opportunities outside of that.

Paul O'Mahony:

It's been an incredibly interesting journey, not just from a financial perspective or career perspective, but from a personal perspective to go from really feeling that you are on the crux of having reached the apex of what you could achieve in corporate world to realising you had now reached the bottom of a mountain from a financial perspective and to work your way back up that mountain with a whole new set of skills and tools that I'd never used in school. Sorry for the long answer, but it kind of will lead into a lot of why I got into what I did at a later stage then.

Editor:

It's a well-known phrase that everything happens for a reason. In order to achieve something, you have to sometimes hit rock bottom. Is that what you found, Paul, in your experience?

Paul O'Mahony:

I mean, I think relatively speaking, my rock bottom was a dream for 80% of the world, living in a developed country, having a house over my head, a car that I could drive, but in that sense, it's certainly not rock bottom having a broader perspective. But at the time, it was a very insular view about me being the most important thing in the world. Of course, it felt from a very selfish perspective that I hit rock bottom after pursuing, I guess, a dream for 30 years that turned out to be a complete nightmare.

Editor:

Absolutely. With all that happening in your life, you then decided to take the leap of faith into working online. What was the first thing that you did?

Paul O'Mahony:

I attended three separate workshops from three separate coaches on the topic of online marketing. That was the very first thing I did and they were in London.

Editor:

And from that, what was the next stage for you? What was the thing that you developed to get things rolling?

Paul O'Mahony:

I attended the first one, thought, okay, this is great. I got really annoyed because the speaker offered something else and I got really frustrated. I said, "Well, hang on. Why are you offering me something else? I came for this." And I actually ended up a little bit annoyed at the end of it, never acted on the training despite having all the intentions of doing it, went to the second workshop. I'd never been to anything like this before, so it was such an eye opener. Went to the second one then was expecting this kind of offer of the next stage, which annoyed me further. And I said, "Okay, they're telling me that if I don't do this next level, I won't do it by myself. I'll show them the last time that I didn't make it happen was because I just didn't follow up soon enough."

Paul O'Mahony:

I felt that, okay, this time I'll do it. I'll hold myself accountable, et cetera. And then that didn't work again. Then in the meantime, I quit my job. By the time the third one came, I now had quit my job. I'd gone to Tony Robbins. I had lost all my money at the stock market. I literally had to stay in my aunt's apartment in Ironville, two hours train ride outside London, because I couldn't afford a hotel. And it was at that point that I ended up purchasing a mentoring programme from the guy who became my mentor at that time when I had less money than ever before, but I had a realisation that until I actually pay for somebody who's been there, get the shortcut, be held accountable, that I was basically chasing a dream. It took me three shots at it to finally realise that I was the problem and not the coach.

Paul O'Mahony:

And a very, very sobering moment when the coach said that to me that, "You said you couldn't afford the first time this happened. You can't afford the second time. Now you have no job and you're still telling me you can't afford it. It was never a fact that you couldn't afford it. It's just you don't value getting knowledge, shortcuts, and education, and then willing to put in the work behind it."

Editor:

And what changed then, Paul, once you had actually embraced that? What changed for you at that moment?

Paul O'Mahony:

I had certainty. I had clarity. I knew what to do. I knew what the first steps were. I knew what the second steps were. I was very much, you got to take for a moment here where I'm coming from a supremely confident director in what I do, because I've been doing it for 10 years to literally knowing nothing, but still portraying these characteristics that I kind of knew stuff.

Paul O'Mahony:

My mentor was like, "You need to get this ego of yours and completely set it aside. You're a complete newbie. You're a complete beginner. Stop trying to improve the system, adjust the system, ask me why don't you do this? Why don't you do that?" He said, "You just us need to become a student again." And it was very humbling. He literally said to me, "You can approve what I do when you make your first million." And I remember thinking, "Geez, wow, this guy's putting me in my box." And he was younger than me, which again makes you think, wow, I was measuring everything by qualifications and suddenly you realise how narrow a field of range of view that is. It became tough love and it became, you need to learn how to crawl before you can walk and walk...

Paul O'Mahony:

But the thing is, it was very straightforward. Then it was like, create an ebook then turn that ebook in into a video course. Turn that video course into something that little bit longer. Let's create a webinar. At that event that I went to, I literally made two sales. My first two sales online, $44.20 while I slept from Twitter at that event and remember thinking, wow, I need to sleep more. I am literally making more money while I sleep than while I'm awake. And this is when I joined the mentoring programme. He said to me, "Do you want to make $44 every now and again like that or do you want to make life-changing money?" And that's when I said, "Isn't it obvious?" He said, "Not to me." I said, "What?" He said, "Well, you told me yesterday how you didn't like this course and this other course because they offered other stuff, but you basically told me that you are not willing to invest in yourself to learn these things."

Paul O'Mahony:

And of course it sounded salesy. I'm Irish. We're so allergic to anything that's salesy, but at the end of the day, if you don't listen to people, or if you're not willing to listen to people who know better in that area, doesn't make them better people, doesn't make them any... and that's what you have to separate is you've to separate the person from the message, and you've to learn that when somebody tells you what to do, don't improve it until you've done it first yourself. Just literally dumb it down, implement it, get the results, and then start to scale that. Don't over-question it. Don't try to see the end of the road before you've turned the key in the ignition.

Paul O'Mahony:

The metaphor I use is don't try and learn how to drive in a Ferrari. Learn how to drive in a crock, get from A to B and once you lower the rules of the road, then upgrade, then start pursuing your dream business, pursue your passion, all these things, but get the basics right first. And that's kind of a huge realisation that you kind of need to humble yourself a little bit before you open your ears and eyes enough to realise that there's nothing handed to you. You literally have to put the work in, but you can shortcut it dramatically if you have somebody who's willing to show you how.

Editor:

How did it feel to make that first $44.20?

Paul O'Mahony:

Unbelievable. And that's crazy because three months earlier, that was nothing to me in terms of somebody going out for a night and spending 100 euros, but the fact that I did it while I slept and it didn't rely on my time, I genuinely felt like I had cracked the code. I had cracked the code and if I could do it once, I could do it 10 times, I could do it 20 times. And I immediately just said, I was very naive, but I think it worked in my favour. I just became extremely confident that, look, if anybody could do this, then why can't I do it? It's pressing buttons. The keyboard only has a certain amount of keys. Everybody has the same keyboard. The difference between someone making a fortune and someone spending a fortune is the sequence of the keys that you press in your keyboard.

Paul O'Mahony:

And I really got into that train of thought that, you know what, I don't want to start listening to people who can't do it. I'm going to start listening to people who can, and I'm going to not feel bad for the people who can't. I'm not going to talk down to those people, I'm just going to start valuing the opinions of the people who've been successful in a different way to those who haven't. And I really started to pick more carefully who I'd spend my time, not from a social perspective, but for sure when it came to business-related stuff.

Editor:

Do you know that before, I think one of the funniest things you said was the idea that when you go to sleep, you're actually making more money than when you're awake in many... I'm amazed you didn't go into hibernation at that point, Paul. I'd have been so tempted to do that.

Paul O'Mahony:

I would have, only I couldn't afford to ease enough to eat for three to four months.

Editor:

Now, we mentioned right at the start about The ReThink Academy, which is perhaps one of your flagship programmes. Maybe you could just tell us a little bit about that, the background, how you came up with it and also what it is.

Paul O'Mahony:

Sure. Thank you. The Rethink Academy is kind of an emergent organisation where I started out helping people get online and with an online business, but the thing is, as I met more and more people over the years and entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, the more I realised that their desires, their needs, their wants were far outside the span of purely learning how to make an online business. They didn't understand money fully. They didn't understand wealth fully. They didn't understand mindset fully. They didn't have their health in order. They didn't... And it was often those other things that impinged on their ability to succeed in... They couldn't be in terms of their time and their day, et cetera.

Paul O'Mahony:

As I was teaching the online side of business I said, "You know what, there's a real opportunity here to expand the brand beyond me and to expand the brand around just beyond the business opportunity realm to anybody who's at a point in their lives where they're not happy with themselves, whether it's their health, whether it's their finances, whether it is their productivity, whether it's their job. And basically, if they're at a point where they're ready to rethink where they've ended up, that we would have a book and potentially a digital product that would help that person unravel what had happened and kind of shine a light to a degree on there is definitely an easier solution out there. The problem is we've been thought the wrong way to do something."

Paul O'Mahony:

I partnered with experts in areas like health and longevity, in book writing, in time management, in money, in finance management for children, for productivity separately to time management and started developing planners and basically, we've a gambit of up to 80 of these. I think we've 11 bestsellers so far, but there's a whole list of these that I saw an opportunity that the dummies guide type idea, but very actionable, very available to people in whatever area they're struggling in.

Paul O'Mahony:

And I used to rethink word as an expression or as an acronym, should I say, to cover the eighth areas of life in terms of how I teach it, where R is for relationships, E is for earnings. And I can develop these in a moment. R is for relationships. E is for earnings. T is for Tao. H for health. I for investments. N for networks. K for knowledge and an exclamation mark at the end for fun, basically having fun.

Paul O'Mahony:

The R is for the relationships with your core family and friends. The E is for earnings, which is exchanging time for money. T for Tao is the spiritual side of you. But regardless of whether you are a believer or not in a god or not, it's the underlying energy behind everything. H is health, both physical and mental. I, from an investment standpoint, it's different to earnings because now you've mastered exchanging time for money. Now, how do you turn that money into more money? The K then for... Sorry.

Paul O'Mahony:

N for networks is the extended network beyond your family and friends who hold the key to your success in all those other areas, but you haven't realised it or not open to it or not aware of it. And K is for knowledge, the constant and never-ending insatiable desire to learn more from people who've already achieved and solved the problems that you're only facing at this point in life. And then the fun part is none of this should feel like a draw or a drag or something that takes energy from you. It should be incredibly inspiring. It should be something to celebrate. It should be about the person that you're becoming, not purely attaching to specific outcomes that you're going to achieve in any of these areas.

Paul O'Mahony:

The academy helps people master those areas, all eight of those areas through the books, through the planners, et cetera, that we have. And whether you're a person who just buys the book and that's enough to somebody who wants to go deep into one of those areas, we're looking to build this entire online virtual campus where you kind of enter this 3D world and you get to choose what campus it is that you want to go in and you can attend these lectures literally in this virtual world. And we deliver our training programmes, which are all CPD approved to a degree that will just shock people. And we're kind of referring it to as real life changing education for today's world, and that's what I feel is missing. And it's without going after and pointing fingers at the educational system as well, why don't I go out and create an alternative? That's not about me, but it's about giving the experts who know what they're doing and have dedicated their lives to these causes to disseminate that knowledge and make it available to everybody globally.

Editor:

I love that, and as you say, in many ways, people go into life once leaving school, once leaving the academic side of things, and they're left to flounder and in many ways, that's what happened to you back in the day. It seems that you are inspired to do this from your own stories, is that right?

Paul O'Mahony:

Absolutely and genetically, I feel, because I was certainly born to be a teacher. I feel like you're not the product of two teachers without some sort of a clear direction been provided there, but I feel I need to teach something that is required and extremely prevalent and required in today's extremely polarised society where a lot of it comes down to the ability to critically think for yourself or rethink, as I would put it, that everything's not exactly as it appears. And a lot of your life while taking responsibility for the outcomes that you have, the reality is you've been given the wrong map and you may well have followed the correct path on that map, but now that you've got to the end of it or halfway through it, you're questioning your, well, this isn't... is this a dream? Age 50 in a mid-terrace house where I'm still in debt and not happy. We've outgrown it. We're not happy with the car. We're fighting all the time. Our closest friends are pretty much all divorced. We're going to divorce.

Paul O'Mahony:

It just doesn't fit with what the intention was as that spark in the eye child at 12, 13 years of age that was asked, what are you going to do when you grow up? And anything that didn't fall into the label of exchanging time for money, like lawyer, accountant, police officer, fireman, teacher, engineer, if it was anything outside of that, it was frowned upon. It's everywhere and at the same time, it's nowhere. In terms of, it's very easy to fall into this trap very much like what Warren Buffet says about debt that sometimes it's too invisible to be seen before it's... Sorry. Sometimes the binds of debt are too weak to be seen before they're too strong to be broken. And that's so real, so real. And unfortunately, we're kind of stuck in a dynamic that we continue to be dragged to the level of our closest friends and family when it comes to our finances.

Editor:

Well, I mean, this is obviously something that's very... you're very passionate about, something that's very close to your heart. And in terms of who this is aimed at, this is, I guess, aimed at adults that have experienced some of the challenges that you yourself face. What about for younger people, Paul? What do you think the answer is to create this kind of training for younger people?

Paul O'Mahony:

When I started running workshops, I had a huge eye opening moment about probably 2014, when, for the first time a teenager attended the workshop because the babysitter cancelled on the father. And so, the kid sat in on the class and basically put his hand up and said, "Paul, can I share something?" "Sure." And he had just made 150 pounds in 11 minutes. And, obviously, the standard of question was from every... "What did you do? What did you do?" He said, "Exactly what he just said." And there was this almost a sigh of, "Oh, you little shit," kind of a thing. "How dare you prove this works." And I kind of thought about it for many weeks and months afterwards going, why did the kid do it? Why do parents or adults, not parents, adults look for 99 reasons why not, when a child just looks for one reason why?

Paul O'Mahony:

And it was from that, that it made me realise that I can only assist a certain number of people as grownups. They need to be open to be even looking for a business opportunity for them to even to come into my world. But for children, that's the time to expose them to, you can have your own purpose, mission, vision in life. You can have your own goals that aren't anybody else's. You can be whatever it is that you want to be provided you've got a guide, you know what you want, and you have a clear mechanism of how this could work and learn that life is about a balance and learn about these eight areas and learn that you've a specific thing, probably.

Paul O'Mahony:

I mean, this is an opinion, but, that you probably have one specific thing that you are here to do and want to do, and that's your purpose and to help uncover that rather than focusing on always trying to correct your weaknesses in school, that you double down on the things that you are great at, and absolutely, but learn how to cover for your flaws that may hurt you in later life if you don't also address, just because you're not good at maths doesn't mean you shouldn't learn how to count.

Paul O'Mahony:

And so, I started by building an entire training programme, animated cartoons based on teaching children about how to master money and we call it the LEAP system. L for learning. We teach them how to, like what money is, what's debt, what's good debt, bad and all that stuff, but that's already out there with the likes of Robert Kiyosaki, but I felt that wasn't enough. We created the E in the LEAP system. E was for earning, literally showing them how to generate that income, build a business within 24 hours, making money within 48 hours. And then the A is for accelerating. Learn how to take that money and let that money work for you. And then the P, the most important part is for play and philanthropy, learning that money's not just about what you can get, but what you can give and help others. And as part of it, encourage that one of your first yearly goals is to pay for your family vacation within that year, whether you're age 12, 14, whatever age, because it's very easy to teach people how to make money. The younger they are, the easier it becomes.

Paul O'Mahony:

And that's the FUNancial freedom thing that you mentioned earlier, but even with that, only the likes of entrepreneurs and wealthy parents are open, very open to having their children learn it. We found there was a major resistance in the general population of let children be children. Oh, don't kind of infect them or intoxicate them with this money thing too young, which is a very much, obviously, somebody else's belief system been filtered down to the next generation because money is seen as a tool or it's very emotional for people.

Paul O'Mahony:

It took so much effort and we've done, literally have spent over a million dollars on the animation, this entire metaverse world for them, but we've actually decided that this will only become one element of it because parents were literally nervous about, well, what do children do that are earning more than their parents? Because that's very much the reality of-

Editor:

Of course.

Paul O'Mahony:

... the children we're putting through the programme, is they're earning way more than their parents. And they're only 11, 12, 13 and that becomes the problem because money is used as a weapon or a parenting tool for most parents. They're like, "Well, that's my control mechanism." And again, that's not a fault to the parents. That's just how things have been. That's the reality of the world today. We now start by helping children get clearer on a vision of purpose, but also we start with their mental health. That's where we begin with is to make sure they know how to meditate, how to control their emotions, how to be aware of them, how to stop comparing their lives to other people. And within that, and they're absolutely invited to come in and learn more about money within that part of the campus.

Paul O'Mahony:

But it's been a really interesting journey because I remember the first time I started teaching children about this stuff, I got pushed back. What do you know about money? How are you qualified to teach my children about money? I said, "Well, I've made..." At that point, I probably made, I don't know, 15 million online. I didn't say that, but basically they didn't care how much money I made, what they wanted to know was I passed an exam. And it was really interesting because, wow, this is the world that we live in. You qualify through letters, not through numbers.

Paul O'Mahony:

I actually went and got qualified as a qualified financial advisor to make sure that the mainstream would actually feel that I was qualified to help their children learn about money, which is, if you think about the layers of that, it's just incredible, but it makes sense at the same time, you have to meet people at the level that they want to be met at in order to be able to help them to scale to the next level of knowledge if that's what they want to do.

Paul O'Mahony:

I was so against university for a while, and then I realised, but that's the dream for most parents. I said, "Why fight this? Just create a virtual university for their kids to go to, but where they can learn real life skills in terms of money, money management, business, where they'll never have to worry about money for their entire lives." I've evolved so much in terms of my learnings where you feel so certain in something that I'm finding, the older I get, the more you realise the less you know, and that that's closer to wisdom that you're getting as you realise that.

Paul O'Mahony:

And it's enabling people to do what they want to do at their pace rather than passing judgement on other people's situations, their lives, everybody is unique. Everyone's on their journey. Everybody isn't ready for what we have or what we're capable of teaching and that's fine, but those that are on the lookout, when that student is ready, that the teacher, in our case, The ReThink Academy and FUNancial Freedom are sitting and waiting to help people fast track that journey.

Editor:

I think it's fascinating, Paul, as well that you were prepared despite all of the success that you'd had online by this point that you were still mindful to go out and spend your own time and your own money qualifying as a financial advisor purely to help move your business forward, go in that extra mile, if you like. And I think that really sets apart those people who are successful and those people who just want to be successful. I mean, total kudos there. I mean, that's incredible. For anybody who's either reading or listening to this, who wants to find out more about The ReThink Academy and FUNancial Freedom, where do we need to go?

Paul O'Mahony:

Great question. I'd say my social handles. Twitter is the place you'll get me most, which is just @paulomahony, P-A-U-L-O-M-A-H-O-N-Y. Instagram paulomahony_. In terms of The ReThink site, it is therethinkacademy.com and for the kids stuff, it's FUN with the F-U-N funancialfreedom.com.

Editor:

Excellent. I mean, it's fascinating that you've been able to put these programmes together, and obviously both of them have been a huge success already. For anybody who's just going to discover this for the first time, why should they sign up?

Paul O'Mahony:

I guess it very much depends on what they're looking for, but I truly feel that we provide a very rounded, grounded, real life education, that in a world where people are just struggling to survive, that we give people the tools to thrive and allow them to realise that in a world with such uncertainty that you absolutely can take control. You definitely don't need to be at the whims of what's on the news and what's happening around you and feeling that you're completely at a loss as to where you'll be financially or health-wise or whatever it is in the next few years. It's you absolutely can do it and feel incredibly confident about it once you know that you've got a guide helping you along that journey.

Paul O'Mahony:

And whether it's from a book that gets you onto that path, or whether it's you want to dive deeper into trainings, et cetera, depending on what scale you want to get to, I mean, I can't speak highly enough of it because my coaches are just incredible. The vast majority of them I met from coming as students and graduating and coming out the other side, proof of the pudding, so to speak. And I always feel myself personally, that if you learn anything, even from... If you learn just one new idea from a book, it was worth it. If I learn one new idea from a programme, it was worth it, but I can assure you there's a lot more time, effort, energy, and thought that's gone into any of our programmes then will trigger more than one idea.

Editor:

Yeah, no, I absolutely agree. As long as you get one thing, then at least you're moving forward. Paul O'Mahony, thank you so much for your time. It's been an absolute pleasure to chat with you and thank you for sharing your insights and your story. It's been an absolute pleasure.

Paul O'Mahony:

Thank you.

 

Source: MarketingBugle.co.uk

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