How to travel the world 6 months a year while successfully running a thriving online business
Erico Rocha is one of the most famous entrepreneurs in Brazil, with more than 4 million people following him. He interviews Olivier Roland (in English) in this video streamed live on his Instagram, about the recently published book, The Way Of The Intelligent Rebel.
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Text transcription: How to travel the world as a successful entrepreneur
Erico Rocha: Olivier.
Olivier Roland: Erico
Erico Rocha: How are you doing? Olivier, where are you speaking from?
Olivier Roland: Right now, I’m in Istanbul and I have an amazing view of the city.
Erico Rocha: Nice.
Olivier Roland: It’s really cool.
Erico Rocha: What are you doing in Istanbul today?
Olivier Roland: Well, I love to travel, as you know. I have been traveling six months a year for 10 years; a little bit less last year because of the situation. But I was in Cancun last week and I was on my way back to Dubai because I live in Dubai. I was like, “Hey, I’ve never been to Istanbul, so, let’s go there and see how it is.” I love the city. It’s just awesome.
Erico Rocha: Does Dubai count as travel for you? It doesn’t count?
Olivier Roland: No, because it’s my base. That’s where I spend not most of the time of the year, but where I spend most of the time compared to all other countries.
Erico Rocha: You’ve been traveling; you live in several places: Lisbon… I remember when I visited you in London when you were living in London; you had your base in London. That all said, how does Dubai compare to Lisbon and London? Is it better or are you just there for the tax advantages and so on?
Olivier Roland: It’s a good question. When I was in London after three years, I was ready to move, and I was hesitating between Lisbon and Dubai actually. It’s really cities I compared. And I’m in love with Lisbon, it’s my favourite city in Europe. I really enjoyed London; I know you live there also. Actually, I didn’t want to go to Dubai. The first time I went there, I was almost forced to go because I didn’t see the point. But when I went, I was surprised I liked the city. Of course, the tax advantage is a big one when you’re an entrepreneur but it’s not the only reason. I always say if the tax advantage will be the only reason people go somewhere, a lot of people will live in Andorra. It’s a small country between France and Spain but where there is basically no tax and there is no one there. So, it’s not the only reason. There is a lot to love in Dubai. I have a feeling I live in the city of the future. It’s very business friendly. Everyone speaks English. It’s the most international city I ever saw, 85 percent of the population is from other countries and it’s such a mix, it’s awesome. The food is great, the weather is awesome. In the summer, it’s a bit hot but the rest of the year, it’s awesome. It’s awesome to travel to and from also. It’s a great hub. I was surprised that I fell in love with Dubai.
Erico Rocha: Nice. Now, can you explain to the people that doesn’t happen to know you how do you get to live traveling? For how many years being everywhere since Dubai, London? Caribbean, you were last week. This week, you are in Istanbul. How do you get to do that? Did you have rich parents? They gave you a lot of money and then, you just splash it? How do you do that?
Olivier Roland: No. My parents are not wealthy at all. They are not even entrepreneurs. They are just normal people. They were even, not poor, but not… maybe lower middle class. I dropped school at 18 to create my first business.
Erico Rocha: Which grade you were when you dropped school?
Olivier Roland: I don’t know how to say it in English but basically, I don’t even have the basic diploma in France. I was not in high school.
Erico Rocha: You dropped high school? You didn’t finish high school?
Olivier Roland: Yes, I didn’t finish high school.
Erico Rocha: You just said, “Mum, dad, I’m going to stop” and mum and dad said, “Okay, fine”?
Olivier Roland: They were a bit unhappy about this, but I was very bad at school at the time. I was so bored that my marks were really low. I was summoned by the director of the high school who said, “Hey, you are so unmotivated that you are demotivating the teachers!” Some teachers, they don’t want to give class when you are in the classroom”. Can you imagine that? And it’s true because I understand now because I was literally sleeping on my desk. They were seeing that there was a problem with me in school. When I told them, “Hey, I’m going to try this: starting an IT company because I’m good with IT!” They didn’t like it but they were like, “Okay, maybe it’s better than actually him sleeping on the desk.” So, they, at least, gave me the benefit of doubt. I told them, “Worst case, I come back to school in one year, in two years. It’s going to be a good experience!”
It turned out that I managed to have a successful business with it and it was a great adventure. But like most entrepreneurs, I realized after a few years that this business I created to be free was actually a jail I created for myself because I was working 60 – 70 hours a week like most entrepreneurs. I couldn’t see how to sell the business. I couldn’t see how to work less in the business without putting the business at risk. And I was like, “Now, I want to have more balance between my personal and my professional life”, and I don’t know how to do it. I am trapped in this business, it’s my only source of income. I looked for a solution for years and I stumbled upon a book in 2008 that completely changed my life. It is “The 4-hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss. “A semana de quatra horas… quatro horas de trabalho”
Erico Rocha: “Trabalhar quatro horas por semana” That’s the title in Portuguese!
Olivier Roland: Okay. So, I read this book and, I read “The E Myth” by Michael Gerber. And these two books gave me basically the solution I was looking for to have a business that was in service of my life, instead of my life being in service of my business. That’s when I had the idea of creating a business, an online business, so, I could have this freedom of traveling when I wanted because I always have loved to travel but I couldn’t do it before. So, now, I enjoy it since I have a successful online business. I just love to travel all the time and discover new cultures. I’ve been to Brazil a lot. I love it too.
Erico Rocha: So, the recipe to be able to travel all over is to read two books? Those two?
Olivier Roland: No, It was just a start obviously.
Erico Rocha: But how do you get to do that? What is the secret? People must be curious. You read two books and now you’re traveling the whole world. You’re in Dubai one day, in Istanbul the other day, the Caribbean the other day, living in London, Lisbon and so on so forth. What is the secret?
Olivier Roland: I don’t know if there is one secret but …
Erico Rocha: What was your way? Sorry, a secret is kind of oversimplifying but how did you do that?
Olivier Roland: Yes. My way was to… I knew I wanted to have an online business, I didn’t know exactly how to do it. So, I began to explore a way to do it. In entrepreneurship, you have basically two schools of thought. You have the school of thought that say, “Hey, you need to burn your ships!” And basically, you have two options: either you succeed or you die, basically. It can work for some people. There is another one which is more my school of thought which is “Hey, you have to take risk, but you can take balanced risk!” You don’t have to do all it, like in focus. You can do small risk. And what you want to do when you have an idea, a motivation, something you want to change in your life, is to ask yourself, “Okay, what is the experiment I can do right now in my life without changing everything? What is the experiment that can make me see if my idea is good or not that will not require too much time, energy and money, and that will not require me to quit my job for example or stop my business?” So, when I felt this motivation to start an online business, I still was working a lot in my first company. I was like, “Okay, how can I test this idea?” That’s why I got the idea of starting a blog to see if I could build something with that. I started a blog part time while I was still managing my company. My first blog was not a success, my second blog was not a success, but my third blog was. And, in one year,…
Erico Rocha: What was your first blog?
Olivier Roland: My first blog was about IT. I had an IT company. We were managing the computers and network of customers and creating software. I started from my skills which can be a way to start but I didn’t work for different reasons. But also I made a lot of mistakes. Basically, this first blog was like the prototype, the thing I used to learn the thing, how to blog properly? The second blog actually it had some success but I was not happy with it because it was a translation of an…
Erico Rocha: What was it about?
Olivier Roland: It was about, it’s still about happiness and meditation and minimalisms. This kind of things and it’s a translation of an American blog called “Zen habits”, and I liked it. It was working well but I had a problem with that. It was not my voice. It was not my articles. It was translation of another author. So, I was not satisfied with it. The third blog was a success. It was a blog about great books that can change your life. The title in French is “Des livres pour changer de vie.” I read these two books and maybe in one weekend each. In one weekend each, they completely changed the way I was seeing a job. I was doing for 8 years which is unto being an entrepreneur. I was like, “Oh, my God, why didn’t I have this idea of reading business books before?” I always love to read but I didn’t get this idea. It was one of the worst mistakes of my life to not read business books for eight years. I was like, “Hey, if I made this mistake, I’m sure thousands of people are doing the same mistake of not reading good practical books.” So I created a blog to spread the word about that and it went very well. And that’s with this blog that I became a professional blogger and then, I began to have a successful online company.
Erico Rocha: Okay. And what do you teach in your online company? I know what you used to teach because… And I’m curious to… We haven’t talked for a year or maybe two.
Olivier Roland: Two… It’s good to see you by the way.
Erico Rocha: It’s good to see you again. I mean we used to meet every three times a year in the US in this mastermind from Jeff Walker. That’s where I met you first. So, I remember your business growing, my business was small at the time. Now, it’s a little bit bigger and then… So, I remember at that time that you should teach people how to blog and how to build an online business by blogging, if I’m not wrong.
Olivier Roland: No, you’re right
Erico Rocha: You had a thing called “Blogger pro”, right?
Olivier Roland: Absolutely. It was not my first course. That’s not how I became a blogger pro. It’s important for me to say because I don’t like people who make money only by teaching stuff that they didn’t apply yet.
Erico Rocha: Sure! Your first product was “Agir et réussir” something like …
Olivier Roland: Oh my God, you remember the name? I am surprised!
Erico Rocha: Oh, yeah. Your first Six in Seven.
Olivier Roland: Yes, true. It was my first Six in Seven, absolutely.
Erico Rocha: What does it mean in English?
Olivier Roland: It means “act and succeed.”
Erico Rocha: Act in French is?
Olivier Roland: « Agir et réussir ».
Erico Rocha: “Agir et…”
Olivier Roland: “Et réussir”. “Réussir” is succeed. “Réussir”, yes.
Erico Rocha: Réussir. “Agir et réussir”. It was almost as “Agir et réussir”.
Olivier Roland: So, in Portuguese it’s like… “Agir” in Portuguese too it works, right? Or…
Erico Rocha: Agir est un verbe. It’s a verb, yeah. To act…
Olivier Roland: Ia success… no, triunfar
Erico Rocha: “Agir e triunfar. » It was your first Six in Seven with this product called “Act and triumph” or “Act and succeed”
Olivier Roland: It was a first in Euros, yes.
Erico Rocha: In Euros which makes a big difference right now.
Olivier Roland: Yeah. And it was a course about how to create a business that like offline business, like the thing I knew how to do. I was making money with this blog. My blog was making maybe having like 500 visits a day which is not a lot and I was making 14 000 Euros a month. I saw like one of the biggest blogger in France, he was making… He had like 30 times my traffic and he was making only half of my income. I was like, “Dude, this guy doesn’t know how to make money with his blog.” That’s how I got the idea of teaching people this. So, I’m still teaching that. Obviously, the course was updated many times since then but blogging right now is too restricted. I like to say I teach content marketing. When I speak about blog, I’m not speaking about only the blog, I’m speaking as a blog at the center of your ecosystem. Of course, you also need a YouTube channel, a Facebook page, an Instagram account.
Erico Rocha: Instagram.
Olivier Roland: Yeah, exactly. And it’s an…
Erico Rocha: Tik tok as well. Do you do Tik Toks?
Olivier Roland: I just have few tik toks… I have to say I just don’t like the platform…
Erico Rocha: I know. I don’t like it…
Olivier Roland: I started… when I saw it, I was so terrified by what I saw. I need to put good content there. So people, at least, learn something. You know what I mean? I mean there is nothing wrong with a distraction but maybe it’s too much into distractions this platform. Oh, I don’t hear you anymore!
Erico Rocha: Sorry, my son just connected his stuff but I’m back. One second that I’m going to prevent this not to happen again. One second!
Olivier Roland: I don’t know if I’m still here… Ah, okay.
Erico Rocha: Yes, sorry about that. It’s just like my son connected a headphone to my device, but now I’m good. And then, after years of traveling and teaching stuff online, are you still listening to me?
Olivier Roland: Yeah, yeah.
Erico Rocha: Hello!
Olivier Roland: I’m here! Hello
Erico Rocha: Ok, just checking. You decided to write a book.
Olivier Roland: Yes.
Erico Rocha: Why did you decide to write a book?
Olivier Roland: Well, in 2012, basically, all my dreams came true and even better than that. It was crazy. I was making way more money than I could spend. I was traveling six months a year. I was inspiring thousands of people every month. I was really loving what I was doing and it’s great, but it’s also to be there. It can be very scary and you can feel like a bit empty because you’re like, “Okay, great, what is the next step exactly?”
You already have everything you wanted and so fast. And that’s when I got the idea of writing this book because I was inspired by Maslow’s pyramid. Do you know Maslow’s pyramid?
Erico Rocha: Explain to me!
Olivier Roland: Maslow? Maybe Maslow? It’s like a pyramid and often of needs and it starts… Basically, Maslow says, “Hey, you cannot really focus on your personal development if first you don’t have proper food, proper water, proper shelter”. And then, you gradually build the steps. And when I look at the two last steps, basically, it’s about self-realization and giving value to the world. And I was like, “How can I really realize myself and give even more value to the world?” I was like, “Hey, I always dreamed of being an author so, maybe, I can just write my masterpiece.” Just give everything I have into writing the book I wish I had when I started my first business at 19 because I made so many mistakes.” And that’s basically how it started.
So, it was an artistic creation because I spent four years to write it, not full time obviously but still. It had a huge cost of opportunity for my business because if I would have spent of this energy, this time, these resources into creating products I would have made millions more. But I didn’t care because I had already enough money. I just wanted to create this masterpiece. By the way, it’s a parenthesis but sometimes, I meet entrepreneurs who are stuck like me who have everything they want, and they don’t know what the next step is. I tell them, “Maybe think about these because us, entrepreneurs, we think a lot about our rise. What is the leverage here? What is the return on investment on all the time energy and money I will put?” But sometimes, you can also just get rid of this and ask yourself, “What is the artistic creation I want to do now?”, “What is the artistic process I want to explore?” Because sometimes, that’s what is great about having success. It’s sometimes, you have a luxury of choosing projects that you just like. And even if they don’t have a great area in money but that means that we have great area in other things like, I don’t know, your self-esteem, the value you give to the world and with this kind of things. So, that’s what was my project with the book and yeah, I really loved it. It gave me the secret fire again. It gave me purpose, fulfilment for a few years.
Erico Rocha: And you launched it in French first?
Olivier Roland: Yes.
Erico Rocha: Do you have the French one there?
Olivier Roland: I don’t have it right now. I just have the English version. Wait…
Erico Rocha: Oh my gosh, you betrayed France. You betrayed France because I wanted to…
Olivier Roland: I have it on my kindle so, I can share you the cover in French.
Erico Rocha: Oh, yes. I would like to see the cover in French.
Olivier Roland: Okay.
Erico Rocha: Just to see.
Olivier Roland: I said it’s my masterpiece but, obviously, it’s not perfect. Every time I read it, I find new things to improve but at least I gave everything I had to be able to do the best version possible. And I was so surprised by the success because it’s a bestseller in French we sold more than 100 000 copies.
Erico Rocha: For real?
Olivier Roland: Yeah.
Erico Rocha: Wow.
Olivier Roland: Yes, which is I mean…
Erico Rocha: 100 000 French people French-speaking people read… bought your book!
Olivier Roland: Yes, I mean, bought… You know that it is not because someone buy your book that they will read it. It’s not mandatory, right?
Erico Rocha: Of course…
Olivier Roland: But at least, yeah…
Erico Rocha: So, how do you call it in French?
Olivier Roland: “Tout le monde n’a pas eu la chance de rater ses études”
Erico Rocha: Okay and how does it translate literally?
Olivier Roland: Literally, in English, it doesn’t sound so well. It means “Not everyone has the chance to fail at his studies”. So, in Portuguese, I think you will say it.
Erico Rocha: Not everyone has the chance to fail at studies.
Olivier Roland: So, “Todo mondo no têm a sorte de fracassar seus estudos”, maybe?
Erico Rocha: Wow, very counter-intuitive because people, at least in Brazil, not sure in France, people value, you must study, you must…
Olivier Roland: No, exactly, in France too. That’s why it’s such a great title. I didn’t find it by the way. It’s my publisher who found this title. And this title is so like counter-intuitive, even controversial, that it’s very hard for someone to see it and not want to take the book in his hands to see what it’s about. We know that the title is…
Erico Rocha: That’s right. So, every time, not everyone has the chance to fail at their studies. Wow. Now, when you go to the US, and now, you launched it in English, right?
Olivier Roland: Yes.
Erico Rocha: And then, this one you have the cover, right? It’s the other way here because of the Instagram’s that… It mirrors it, so…
Olivier Roland: Maybe like this, I know.
Erico Rocha: Yeah. How did you? Oh, yeah. Of course, if you go to the front camera. So,
Olivier Roland: “The way of the intelligent rebel: Succeed outside the system, teach yourself anything and achieve the ultimate freedom”.
Okay. When you went in English, for the same book, you decided for a way different title. Why? Oh, I can’t hear you! Did you…?
Olivier Roland: Hello…
Erico Rocha: Now, I can.
Olivier Roland: Yeah. I mean I have a lot of English-speaking friends like native ones like you and they all told me …
Erico Rocha: Not quite English speaking but thank you. Thank you for thinking that.
Olivier Roland: You also have native English-speaking friends as well. That’s what I mean.
Erico Rocha: Ah, ok. Thank you. My English is not that good.
Olivier Roland: Your English is good but you’re not a native. It’s like me.
Erico Rocha: I think not native is the good description. Yeah, but… So, why did you change the title?
Olivier Roland: All my friends like American, Canadians, British, they told me, “Well, when you translate the title in English, it doesn’t sound so good!” I don’t know why? Some things are better in one language and not others. So, I knew I had to find another title. So, I worked with my publisher; I worked with people from our American mastermind; I did also a test with Facebook and AdWords to know which one was the best. And this one was the winner, “The way of the intelligent rebel”, which is also a great way to express it.
Erico Rocha: When people look at… Yes, which is also? Keep going!
Olivier Roland: Well, it’s a great way to express what is in the book.
Erico Rocha: But when I go to the library, for example “The way of the intelligent rebel”. The first thing that drops in my mind what the “f” what the fuck is “the intelligent rebel?
Olivier Roland: Yeah!
Erico Rocha: What is “intelligent rebel”?
Olivier Roland: That’s a good question! An intelligent rebel, it can be someone who has all the external signs of success. For example, you can have a great job, a good car, you work in a good company, he has a great family and bla bla bla. But inside, he’s hearing a voice that tells him there is something else you need to really blossom, to really become the best version of yourself. Something is missing, and usually, what is missing is his creation. The way for the intelligent rebel to become the best version of himself or herself is the creation. It can be the artistic creation: writing a book, writing a movie; it can be the creation of an adventure like doing a world tour for one year, for example. I know you went to live two years in Barcelona, for example. But it can be the creation of a business. But basically, it’s the creation of his own adventures through life, to create his own path.
Most intelligent rebels, they cannot be satisfied with the education system and the workplace system and the traditional: get the highest diploma you can have and do your job for 40 years and, maybe, after, when you will be retired, you will be able to enjoy life while your best years are already behind you. They understand or they feel that something is wrong with this model. It’s not good for them. Something is missing. And, they can be students and maybe successful students, but they feel something is missing. Often, they also feel like a misfit. They may even think that they are the problem because they feel they are not very well integrated into the school system. Like me, I was so bored. But I had very good marks until I was 14 or 15 when I became bored at school. And one of the things I tried to tell them in the book is “It is perfectly fine to feel like this, to feel like a misfit.” And it’s not your fault. It’s just because the system was not created for people like you. When you look at the genesis of the education system in most western cultures, it was created at the end of the 19th century to create people who were productive at that time. So, the government, they wanted good factory workers, good employees, good soldiers. They didn’t want creative people, people who were contesting authority, who could start revolutions or who don’t obey during a war. Do you know what I mean? So, the system was not meant for people like that. And you can see it in a lot of countries until recently and in some countries, even now, students are still in uniform. For example, in the UK, people are still wearing a uniform to go to school. In France, it was the case until the 70s. I don’t know in Brazil. But you see students align in a classroom with the teacher as the depository of knowledge, even though today, everyone with a smartphone can learn more than what the teacher knows. You have a bell ringing at the end of the hour, like in a factory, and you see a lot of parallels between school or how schools were organized and are still organized today, and factories. So, I’m trying to give in the book proper tips and advice for intelligent rebels to create their own adventure in life and succeed.
Erico Rocha: The book is big. How many pages it has? Can you show me?
Olivier Roland: Well …
Erico Rocha: It’s kind of a 300, 200?
Olivier Roland: It’s good because in the morning you can use it to do your workout, which is great. And if someone breaks into your house, you can also use it as a self-defence weapon.
Erico Rocha: If a car doesn’t have a brake and you park in a steep hill, you can put underneath the tires, so it doesn’t roll?
Olivier Roland: Yes, it’s a big book and, this one is like the most streamlined version because the first edition of the French version was even bigger. But I mean I really tried to give the guide I wanted to have when I started my business at 19. If I would have these, I would have avoided so many mistakes. I would have gained, yes, I don’t know, how many years exactly.
Erico Rocha: Can you give me an example of a big mistake? It’s counter intuitive. It’s probably counter-intuitive for most people, most misfits, or most intelligent rebels that “Dude, this is counter-intuitive, but it makes a big difference.”
Olivier Roland: Sure. When I started the business, I didn’t know what I was doing, my first business. I basically almost went bankrupt six months after I created it. Why? Because I didn’t have a proper strategy to get customers. I did a small experiment before dropping school at 18. That’s part of the process I shared with you about “not burning your ships behind you but taking a balanced risk.” So, before I dropped school, I paid for a small ad in a local newspaper. I paid something like 10 Euros or 40… I don’t even know the exchange right now but 40 reals, I guess. And I got like 800 Euros of sales in one month while I was still a student. It was great. It was an experiment that was in the field. I could see I had skills to help people, that people were happy when they were paying me. But this experiment which gave me the confidence to drop school and start my business was not replicable when I had a business because the costs were higher when you have a real business. This experiment was tax-free because it was not declared, there was no proper business structure.
So, when I did things properly, I couldn’t use the same strategy because the prices were higher. And in this newspaper, people were looking for cheap things. And then, I basically run like a headless chicken for a month because I didn’t know what I was doing. I spent a fortune paying for ads in a newspaper that were not effective. I remember I put an ad in one of the most famous local newspaper of my area, and I only had the budget to put an ad close to you know the column where they say who died recently. Basically, who reads that? Only old people because they want to know if maybe someone they know just died recently. And I got a few old customers but not enough to pay for the cost.
So, what I learned, then, is, it’s good… And even with all the background that I have now, it’s good to read a few books about marketing, how to have a proper strategy to get customers or learn the product launch formula. I wish I knew the product launch formula when I started obviously because if you start a business and you don’t have any idea of how you’re going to get customers, well, good luck because the clock is ticking! You have your expenses. It’s like you have a snowball of expenses that is rolling more and more, and you have less and less time to try out a proper strategy. I did something also interesting at this point because when I was running out of money, in French, I don’t know in Portuguese, but we say “it’s better to take the bull by the horns”. Do you say that in Portuguese?
Erico Rocha: I don’t know.
Olivier Roland: No. So, basically, when you have a problem it’s better to take the bulls by the horns, meaning, you confront the problem instead of hiding from it, instead of doing like an ostrich and put your head in the sand. So, instead of hiding this problem from me and from others, I reached out to everyone I knew who I thought could help me with this. And one guy told me, “Hey, but you know, there is this new type of loan that was just like released on the market. You can ask for it! Because I told him, “I know the business model is great, it is good because I see I’m doing good work; my customers are happy; the word of mouth is starting; but I did a mistake with the sale strategy and I just need a little bit more money so I can keep my head above the water and have a bit of time to continue.” And he said, “Just take a small loan like this and it was just a…
Erico Rocha: A small what?
Olivier Roland: Loan. Just a little bit of money!
Erico Rocha: From the bank?
Olivier Roland: It was a government loan that they just created to help small companies like me, small entrepreneurs. I didn’t know it existed, and my banker didn’t know either. This guy knew. This guy basically saved my business because I managed to get this very small loan of 6,000 Euros which is nothing, right? You can get this to buy stupid stuff like a big TV, right? And just this small loan, it was enough for me to keep my head above the water and get more customers and have a successful business. And this first business, I sold it 10 years later for a good sum. So, also that’s an interesting lesson inside, is that sometimes, your business model is good; you didn’t execute it properly; and if you don’t have the money, it can be a bit tough to continue. But you know if you’re going to continue, it’s going to work. In this case you want to be creative and try to find ways to have a bit more money so you can keep going.
Erico Rocha: Awesome and how do people buy the book?
Olivier Roland: Well, they can buy the book in every bookshop in English-speaking countries and in Brazil, you can order it on Amazon, no problem.
Erico Rocha: Amazon?
Olivier Roland: Yes.
Erico Rocha: It’s probably available in Kindle as well, right?
Erico Rocha: Awesome. Which is reversed right now.
Olivier Roland: Maybe I can do that. Does it work? In the mirror?
Erico Rocha: I’m thinking, outside of the box.
Olivier Roland: It could work but I need a better mirror.
Erico Rocha: You need a better mirror, a lighter one. Olivier, it was great to speak to you. It’s great to know that the book is now in English so we that don’t speak French can read the book and I wonder when you’re going to start publishing in English. Are you already…? Do you already publish your content in English as much as you publish in French, because I don’t see your stories in English? I only see the ju ju ju , moustache, collier,…
Olivier Roland: You didn’t say croissant this time!
Erico Rocha: I didn’t say croissant, right? I forgot croissant. In fact, I was in a party yesterday with a lot of French people.
Olivier Roland: Oh, really?
Erico Rocha: I’m near Jeri. You remember you spent some time in Jericoacoara.
Olivier Roland: There are a lot of French people there.
Erico Rocha: There are a lot of French people there. So, in a place called Prea which is the city nearby. I’m doing kite surfing almost every day. These are probably… I would say 120 % of the population here is French. No, no. I’m staying in a hostel that’s owned by a French guy.
Olivier Roland: Okay.
Erico Rocha: And there’s a lot of French people here. But why am I telling you that?
Olivier Roland: Yeah, because you were asking me do I publish content in English?
Erico Rocha: Oh yeah! And then, I often would love to hear your content. Mostly, your Instagram for example, and I know you have YouTube interviews and stuff. But I see most of the time, most of the content I could find about being a “intelligence rebel” was in French?
Olivier Roland: French. True!
Erico Rocha: Which doesn’t help if you don’t speak it. It’s very beautiful to listen but are you planning to go full on English or maybe just as a side hustle?
Olivier Roland: It’s a great question and I know you tried also to launch content in Spanish, so you have the experience also. Because the thing is, when you start another language, you have two problems. The first one is, there is a big cost of opportunity compared to if you put the same amount of energy and resources in your own language. Because, that’s the second problem, your leverage in this language is zero or very very low.
Erico Rocha: Starting from scratch, right?
Olivier Roland: Yes, starting from scratch! And when you put 10 hours of work in this other language, maybe, you have a result and when you do it in your own language, you have this for the same amount of work.
Erico Rocha: Exactly.
Olivier Roland: It’s hard to stay motivated and you don’t want to jeopardize your first business. When I signed the contract with Hill House the American publisher, it was three years ago, I wanted to prepare to build a little bit my platform in English so I could sell a little bit the book. But I didn’t want to spend too much time because of these reasons. So, I was like, “Ok, how can I delegate this and automate this?” So, I basically asked my team to translate my most successful blogs in English. So, right now it exists, it’s called “Books that can change your life” and I also want to create a YouTube channel, but I don’t want to spend the time to create original content in English. So, what I did is, because I was already doing interview in English, with people like you for example, I think I have two interviews of you on my channel, my French channel. It was easy to just take these videos and put them, because they were already in English, on the English YouTube channel. That’s what I did. But obviously, you don’t get the same kind of results that if you really go, like completely all in like we do, in you Portuguese and me French. So, right now, maybe, my audience in English is one percent of what I have in French. It’s a bit like a catch 22. You don’t have a lot of leverage.
Erico Rocha: Because you don’t have a lot of, it’s hard to get motivated.
Olivier Roland: Yeah, and because of that, you don’t put a lot of energy. And because you don’t put a lot of energy, you don’t create more leverage. And you know, it’s like… Right now, I will take the opportunity of the book being published in English to try to build my audience in English a little bit more. I have a system in place, my team is already doing stuff. And hopefully, I will try to explore this and I will put more energy than before to promote the book. So, it’s going to be a try, a test, an experiment and we’ll see how it goes. But obviously, I will still spend most of my time and energy creating and promoting content in French because that is my core market.
Even though, I have to say I’m very happy about this book being published in English. I think the English-speaking market is obviously one of the best in the world, if not the best, in terms of popularity and the number of people you can reach. And, it’s like the lingua franca today like the language… We are speaking English even though it’s not our first language, right? And I have to say… I mean I’m sure you felt maybe the same thing but I have so many friends who don’t speak French and maybe you have a lot of friends who don’t speak Portuguese either. It can be very frustrating sometimes because you explain what you do but they cannot really see your content. And I had this book, I was so proud about and as my friends who don’t speak French, they could then get it. So now, finally, they, at least, can have a glimpse of what I do and that is very satisfying.
Erico Rocha: Do you have it in audio?
Olivier Roland: Yes.
Erico Rocha: As well or not at the moment. In English as well?
Olivier Roland: Yeah, in English in audio, Audible.
Erico Rocha: Awesome! Okay. Now that we talked a lot about the book, I’m going to ask a couple of questions that I want to ask myself.
Olivier Roland: Okay.
Erico Rocha: What kind of content have you been following that you suggest I should follow? What is your kind of favourite content you consume at the moment?
Olivier Roland: I consume. I still read a lot of books on my Kindle. I know you like to listen to audiobooks, but…
Erico Rocha: You’re a reading direct?
Olivier Roland: Yes. I was listening to a lot of audiobooks when I was driving before, but now I don’t have a car anymore. I take Uber all the time, which means my hands are free and my eyes also. So, I just love to read and the Kindle for me is like the best thing ever because I just can read it on my Ipad and even my Iphone. Since I travel so much, having physical books, for me, it’s a burden. So, that’s how I like to consume. I’m watching a few videos on YouTube, I’m checking Instagram. Instagram is the only social media I like personally. I don’t know for you but I don’t like Tik tok, I don’t like Facebook.
Erico Rocha: I used to like Instagram but I recently unfollow everyone, even you.
Olivier Roland: Really? Even me. Oh my God, my heart is broken.
Erico Rocha: No. I mean I unfollowed everyone. I left a couple of people from the family and stuff because I want to see their pictures, but I unfollowed everyone just to… Sometimes, I am the opposite of you in the sense of I like to burn the ships or burn the bridges. So, I said “Okay let me start from scratch again”. So, I’m looking for people to follow, to consume, but it’s… I’ve been longing for someone that could… There are some people I love, but they don’t produce as much content. For example, the FBI negotiator. Have you ever heard about him? The guy that wrote Never split the difference.
Olivier Roland: Yeah, yeah, I read the book.
Erico Rocha: Yeah. I mean he has great ideas but he doesn’t publish too much, right?
Olivier Roland: There are a lot of authors like that.
Erico Rocha: You have great ideas. I wish I could but you know… You don’t publish in English, of course, because it’s not a core market and I understand fully. So, usually when I meet some of these smart people, I said, “Dude, what Instagram should I…”
Olivier Roland: Well. Oh, okay. So, Instagram, I understand you, but …
Erico Rocha: Can you recommend? Some people ask you, what are good books? But I don’t read.
Olivier Roland: But you listen to audiobooks, right?
Erico Rocha: I did. I do.
Olivier Roland: Yes, okay.
Erico Rocha: So, if they’re very good, I do. So, I’ve been listening to Taleb, for example. You guys have been speaking to about Nicholas Taleb and stuff.
Olivier Roland: Yeah, I’ve just read The Black Swan. I finished it one week ago and I was blown away by it.
Erico Rocha: It is right. It’s a book to read several times, right?
Olivier Roland: And you were working in finance so, it’s even more interesting for you.
Erico Rocha: Well, I’m very unlocked from finance itself, but that said… Strange, right? My background’s so far away from me, so far away. It’s like your IT skills from your IT company for you, maybe.
Olivier Roland: Yes, we have a new life now, but it was such a long time ago when you think about it. But it seems…
Erico Rocha: What are your new projects? Yes, it’s not so long time, maybe it’s not long time because we haven’t seen each other. How did Covid affect your… I mean traveling?
Olivier Roland: Business? Oh my traveling.
Erico Rocha: Business, not! The business should have gone up, I guess.
Olivier Roland: Yeah, absolutely. For us, it was good because we were already on the internet, so. Yeah, I mean the travels were like a bit disrupted last year. Basically, it was the first time since 2010 that I spent more time than one month in a place. So, yes it was different. I mean I spent 8 months in a row in Dubai and it was good to the…
Erico Rocha: Eight months in the same place, oh no.
Olivier Roland: Yeah, just first time in ten years. I was like “Ah, why not!” It’s also an experiment for me to stay eight months in a place. I really liked it because I took the time to really explore Dubai and now I have friends and I know a lot of good places. If you come to Dubai, tell me, and I’m sure we’ll have a blast. Just don’t go, don’t come in the summer. Don’t come now, for example. It’s a bad idea. But I really liked it. And, when I started to travel again like mid-June, I went to Portugal, and I didn’t want to leave Dubai. I was like, “Ah, but I love Dubai too much!” But now that I have been traveling for two months again, I’m back again.
Erico Rocha: And now, it’s life back to normal: the travels like Istanbul, the Covid and stuff. How is life there?
Olivier Roland: Well, not completely. You still have friction like you need to fill out stupid forms before you take the trip.
Erico Rocha: Did you decide to get vaccinated?
Olivier Roland: Yes. I got the vaccine. Yes, it’s just simpler for a lot of destinations, if you have it, or if you are vaccinated.
Erico Rocha: Sure.
Olivier Roland: But you still have to do PCR tests…
Erico Rocha: I got it. I got it as well.
Olivier Roland: Yes, okay. All right. You need to do PCR test. Some countries they don’t accept if you’re not a citizen so, you need to check a little bit more. There are still frictions, but you can travel I mean I’ve been to Portugal, France, Dominican Republic, Panama, Mexico and now I’m in Istanbul. So, definitely you can still travel.
Erico Rocha: Are you on the way back to Dubai now?
Olivier Roland: Yes. Maybe I will stay one week or two more here, and then, I will go back to Dubai.
Erico Rocha: It’s interesting because Dubai is so far away that you always have to stop by somewhere, right?
Olivier Roland: Well, from Istanbul it’s like maybe three hours flight.
Erico Rocha: From Dubai and so it’s really good. Ok, so you don’t consume much of your content from the Internet. You usually consume most of your content from books.
Olivier Roland: Yes, I do. I think books… I mean I like to watch some people on YouTube and I do. I try to… I have in my to-do list, my daily to-do list, to try to see at least one of your videos so I can improve my Portuguese also. I like to learn it. It’s interesting, and also I listen to your podcast too.
Erico Rocha: So, Portuguese in Spotify, which platform do you do?
Olivier Roland: ITunes. I listen to them on my apple podcast, right? I listen to them on my phone when I do sport usually. I mean it’s a great way to learn the language, but basically…
Erico Rocha: As for me, it was one of the first years that I stayed the whole year in Brazil, as well. So, I didn’t travel of course for Covid and then, I start loving it actually.
Olivier Roland: Yeah, I understand. I felt the same way.
Erico Rocha: I’m in a place which is … just look at that. So good!
Olivier Roland: It’s nice.
Erico Rocha: It’s nice. I took on kitesurfing as a skill. So, for the last maybe eight weeks, I’ve been kiting for two or three hours a day, I mean like down winding. So, I went from liking big cities and this stimula that you get from the big cities from… Just like I haven’t worn shoes for a long time. So, I’m like shorts and shoes, I’m working a lot and can you share…? Yeah, man. Yeah, oh look! Yeah….
Recently, I have been testing something, a philosophy. It’s called “done by one”. Have you ever heard about “done by one”?
Olivier Roland: No.
Erico Rocha: Like I’m testing and I’ve been successful at it for a couple of weeks already, but not for years. So, I stop working at one, like for real.
Olivier Roland: 1 p.m..
Erico Rocha: And if you know me, stop working, if you have a mobile in your hand, means I don’t purchase content, I don’t… Maybe I do a story of this beautiful place when I feel like but… 1 p.m..
Olivier Roland: But a story is not really work.
Erico Rocha: Yes. That’s why we can’t do much of our interviews so much later because it’s… If you want to do “done by one”, I start at five. Today, I’m a little bit hangover from the French, yesterday, French parties. But from five to six, I put just content or creatives, yes.
Olivier Roland: It’s fun because I spent in France the national day is the 14th of July, and I spent … So, it’s like a lot of parties and I was in France. At that time, I was invited to a Brazilian party in Paris to celebrate this, and they…
Erico Rocha: I saw you in a rooftop or something, right?
Olivier Roland: And it was brilliant. Everyone was wearing white clothes because it’s connected to the New Year in Brazil, but this is for the national day. It’s funny. It was with French-Brazilian people on the rooftop in Paris. They did this and you did like a French party in Brazil!
Erico Rocha: Yes. So, I’m experimenting with this and I used to kid myself that I was the nine-to-five guy because I had an office and I went to the office.
Olivier Roland: We were making fun of you with that, yeah?
Erico Rocha: Yes, you must update your jokes. You have a five-to-one guy, I’m the five to one, but I’m feeling…
Olivier Roland: You’re start at 5 a.m, it’s crazy.
Erico Rocha: Yes. I have kids and I don’t have a TV, and I don’t work later. So, I’m more productive in the morning and I kind of like it. Some people prefer the other way around, but it’s kind of my biological clock works very well, and I love this.
Olivier Roland: What time do you go to bed?
Erico Rocha: It will scare you, but sometimes 7, sometimes 8.
Olivier Roland: Seriously! Oh my God,
Erico Rocha: It’s crazy, right? Think about a guy that’s a misfit. Every time I say this to someone, I can say that I’m an intelligent rebel. But I’m asking you, I’m telling you as a strategy because what other strategies have you been doing that I don’t know of? That you have been trying, been successful in your productivity? Because I know productivity is very important for you. You are the personification, the incarnation of the 80/20 rule. So, what have you been trying? I mean “done by one”, for me, is just like being awesome. What is it for you the classical thing that is working? Because I know you test a lot of things.
Olivier Roland: Well, I think you are very good too. I mean you’re a good example of someone who is smart and delegate most of things. I would say what is the most important thing to me, and I see it again because I’m traveling again. It’s counter-intuitive, but a lot of people, when they want to be more productive, they’re learning productivity strategies or they learn to delegate or automate. And the problem with that, if you don’t know how you will use the time you are freeing, it’s usually you do that all for nothing. Because, if, for example, you gain two hours a week and when you have your free time, you are in front of your computer, and you don’t know what to do, by default, usually, you will just try to find new work or you will just watch a cat video on YouTube. Do you know what I mean?
Erica Rocha: Netflix.
Olivier Roland: Yeah. You will not fill your time with really fulfilling stuff. So, it’s counter-intuitive, but the first step to be more productive is to find something in your life that makes you excited to close your computer.
Erica Rocha: Like me for kiting.
Olivier Roland: Yes, exactly. Kite, yes. For me, it’s traveling. When I travel, I’m in Istanbul right now, I want to do one billion things beside working. I want to explore the place, try the food, meet the people, do activities. So, I’m super motivated to do my work as fast as possible, as efficiently as possible. I’m not going to watch videos of cats, okay. I want to close the computer as fast as possible so I can explore the place. For you, it’s kite surf, maybe wake surf too. I think it’s important for people to find these kind of things. They need to explore these.
Well, when you start your business, let me add some subtleties, yeah. When you start your business, you want to have your knife between your teeth, like this, and go all in. Yes, you want to give everything you have, to start the business and make this successful. This is better when you reach the stage where you have already enough success that you can take a step back, see what is going on, and reflect, have more balance in your life. When you do that, it’s important to have these kind of activities that really fulfil you outside of work. And when you have that …
Erico Rocha: So, the first step should be, let me just summarize because this is a counter-intuitive idea. The first step in your way to be productive is to have a very good reason to want to be productive because if you don’t have a good reason to want to close your computer, you keep looking at it to get distracted, let’s say.
Olivier Roland: Yes. You want to fill the void.
Erico Rocha: You want to fill… No one… There is a next… Oh… I saw in Youtube, there was an experiment where they… I give you the… I saw in a channel called Veritasium, it’s a kind of… It was a scientific experiment, but I don’t know the source, but it’s not fake news. This is the real thing. They put people in a room and said, “You’re going to stay… how many minutes, I don’t know, but it’s a white room. But you can get out anyway if you push this button. And if you push the button, you get an electric shock like an uncomfortable electric shock. And people could push the button anyway and if they stay the whole time they get more money. So, if they push the button they get a shock, they don’t get the money and yeah. And believe me or not… So, basically, they ask people to be bored, for how many minutes. 25% of the women press the button, and 65% of the men press the button.
Olivier Roland: Ah, interesting! So, women are more resistant.
Erico Rocha: The title of the video, if you want to watch it, it’s a good video, by the way good video for creative people, it’s called “white bored room,” it’s good for you.
Olivier Roland: Okay.
Erico Rocha: Which is counter-intuitive and first establishes the thesis that we hate to be bored, like we prefer electric shocks than boredom. But anyway, it is tied to your thing that we hate to be bored. So, if we are done by work and then, we are bored, then, we will go back to working or make our work last a little bit more. So, maybe the most productive thing I’ve done in my last eight weeks is to have, and this is a project, where I want a kite from Fortaleza which is a city you probably know it, in Sierra, to Atins. Have you been to Atins? Have you ever heard about Atins?
Olivier Roland: No. I’ve been in the area, but just in Jericoacoara.
Erico Rocha: Atins is 600 km from Fortaleza. So, I’ll be kiting 600 km and that’s…
Olivier Roland: That’s a lot!
Erico Rocha: That’s the Instagram part, but if I’m tired I actually go in a pickup and do the rest. That part I mean it’s not like for the challenge, it’s not a challenging thing. So, I have a pickup nearby that I can go in if I get tired, something like that. But I know the cities where I will be, but it’s a project that I’m running with my wife. Julian is kiting as well. We kite every day, we’re doing everyday 40 km. And everyday, we have to learn a new skill that’s useful for a down wind.
Olivier Roland: That’s awesome.
Erico Rocha: I didn’t think about that but that’s a good decision. I’ve been “done by one” and it’s been crazy good. I’ve been producing a lot, even lives and stuff, but thank you, thank you. Well, Olivier, first of all, thank you for your generosity of appearing here at this crazy time which is the crazy time I have to blog to do interviews and stuff like that. Now, I understand.
Olivier Roland: Thank you for inviting me, man.
Erico Rocha: And well done for your book.
Olivier Roland: Thank you.
Erico Rocha: And yes, it was really nice to talk to you about different ways of thinking I think. And I must say for the record, I prefer the first title.
Olivier Roland: Okay, interesting.
Erico Rocha: Interesting because when you said the first title, I had an internal wish to read the book. So, if you ever launch in Portuguese…
Olivier Roland: I hope so one day…
Erico Rocha: I think it’s “not everyone has the luck to fail in school”. It’s interesting!
Olivier Roland: I think in Portuguese it can work. We will see but I think it can work.
Erico Rocha: But “the rebel intelligent,” it was a more philosophical title so it needs explanation, right? So, the subtitle is very important for the English book, right?
Olivier Roland: It is.
Erico Rocha: And for the French book, we call “the curiosity killed the cat”. Have you ever heard about this expression? Do you have this expression “the curiosity killed the cat”?
Olivier Roland: No, but I mean I understand what it means, but I understand it’s about curiosity. It kills the cat because the cat is always trying to explore and sometimes…
Erico Rocha: Yes. I don’t know why we use that, but apparently one cat died for curiosity. Anyway, dude, it was nice to have you here. Thank you very much! And guys, if you’re listening to me and you speak English, you should check his book out because one thing that I know for Olivier is that he is the real deal for several years, the real deal like the personification, the incarnation… Because we have a lot of people that pretend to be the real deal, like looks like the real deal, but is not really the real deal that really travels, really lives through this philosophy. But I can tell you, from knowing you for maybe eleven… seven – eight years, I guess, he’s the real deal. Eight years? How many years have I known you?
Olivier Roland: Dude, I think we met end of 2010, actually. So, it’s like almost
Erico Rocha: 11 years…
Olivier Roland: 11 years, yes. We joined the Jeff Walker’s group the first year.
Erico Rocha: I know the guy for 11 years and he’s been true to his philosophy for 11 fucking years. So, he’s the real deal. Thank you very much Olivier. Bye-bye.
Olivier Roland: Thank you Erico, Ciao.