The Sales Podcast
Wes Schaeffer: Jeff Putnam, author of "Empire Divided" and "The Perimeter," one of the few guests that have more kids than me. Welcome to The Sales Podcast, man. How the heck are you?
Jeff Putnam: Man, I'm good. Thanks for having me on.
Wes Schaeffer: Fellow Southerner, I grew up in Baton Rouge and in Houston, so I appreciate you coming on. I saw you on Twitter. I don't even know how I ran across you, but there was some kind of post. Like what, you're like 35, is that right?
Jeff Putnam: Yeah.
Wes Schaeffer: And so some like I'm 35, nine kids, two books, hitting the gym; what's your excuse? I was like, oh, holy hell, who's this guy? [chuckles] So thanks for leading by example.
Jeff Putnam: Hey, that's all we can do, right? You've got to be the change you want to see in everybody else.
Wes Schaeffer: Yeah, but not everybody does it. You know, they talk the talk. They don't walk the walk. You know, so our listeners may not know who you are. I mean, what brought this
about? You know, were you an investment banker wearing penny loafers and Dockers and just had a change of heart? Were you a prisoner and broke out and changed your name and lived free?
Like, what's going on, man? What's your history?
Jeff Putnam: I'm blue collar through and through. I've been -- I've done everything between project management; went to construction, rebar fabrication. At one point in time, I was swinging a sledgehammer, making 56 bucks a day, breaking concrete in the desert to recycle into gravel.
I started my flagship company, Rugged Legacy Grooming Supply, back in 2019. I was working at a factory where we made the seats for BMW and for Volvo and a couple of guys were just
walking down on the dock one day, and I looked at him and I kind of overheard their conversation, talking about how they'd been there for 30 years. I thought, holy God, I can't. I
can't be here for -- you know, at that point, I think I've been there for three and a half, four years. Like, I can't do another 25, 26 years in this place; like, I can't.
So I just started looking at what I could do to start a business and I've always had long hair, always had a beard, but I could never find any products that I liked at the big box stores. And so
I had gone on Google and Pinterest and looked up different recipes for the homemade stuff and I got really good at making them and people were always asking me, that smells incredible. Oh,
man, how do you make your beard do that, da, da, da? Oh, it's just stuff I make at the house.
And so I just kind of ran with that idea and I started a small website that I made on Wix. It looked like a blind two-year-old made it. But that's why I joined Twitter back in January 2019,
was to get free promotion of my business. You know, tweets go everywhere, so if I can just spam the heck out of it with links to my store and the upcoming business and all this other, I might get some clicks.
Well, I took off and then it took off better than expected to where I couldn't keep up making it
myself, ruining my wife's pots and pans in the kitchen. And I end up having to set up a contract deal with a manufacturer, third-party logistics company. And then now two years, little over two and a half years later, I'm completely hands-off from the business. It runs itself. I have a team in Utah that makes and ships and takes care of everything. So it was probably that flash in the pan. If I didn't jump on it when I did, I would still be trying to struggle and build it, because I know I'm definitely the exception to the rule when it comes to businesses working out the first time around.
But it did, and then I got bored as I started getting further and further away from being involved in the company, so I branched out and did some other things. I do some online coaching with
potential entrepreneurs and people who want to start learning online money, things like that. So I do that. I've got several clients that sustain my lifestyle now.
And then I was still bored with that, so I launched a podcast. I had some really cool guests come on there; I got bored with that. So I launched a different podcast and the different podcast came
out -- the second podcast is called "The Perimeter." It came out right about the time I finished my second book. That was January 1st when I started writing my first book and I had it on Amazon
by the end of February. And then I wrote the second book; it was just released on the 1st of this month, June; and now I'm writing a third and hopefully that will keep me busy for a while, I won't get bored and need to jump into something else.
Wes Schaeffer: [chuckles] All right. So a lot to unpack here because a lot of people are very good at making excuses. "Oh, I'm just a blue collar guy. I don't understand this technology. I don't understand online sales. Who am I to start a podcast? Who am I to write a book?" You know, how did you overcome that? Was it like fear or disgust, dread of those 30-year guys and going, okay, I may not know what I want to be, but I know what I don't want to be. You know, would you say you were moving towards something in the beginning or more maybe just moving away from something and then and slowly found your way?
Jeff Putnam: There's a little bit of both as far as overcoming it. I just had to make the point to myself that -- and I remember the conversation distinctly with my wife, I'm going to try this, and
since I'm slow, I'm not all that bright -- I barely graduated high school; I dropped out of college -- I'm going to give myself 10 years to figure it out as I go, and I figure that's a decent enough grace period. If I can't make it work in 10 years, I definitely don't deserve it and I'll just be content to stay here at the factory forever because I gave it a shot. But I think it's going into it, it was more of a, this will either work or it won't, and it definitely won't work if I don't give it a shot anyway.
Wes Schaeffer: Well, the old "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take."
Jeff Putnam: Yeah. Like Gretzky said. That's one of Gretzky's famous quotes right there.
Wes Schaeffer: And so when you say "make it work," it was the grooming products or just being an entrepreneur in general?
Jeff Putnam: Just being an entrepreneur in general.
Wes Schaeffer: And so you're working at a factory, right? So when you say to "make it work," was it like, hey, I must spend two hours a night, tinkering or what? Because you didn't make like
a big shift right away. I mean, you didn't quit your job and jump in. Would you consider yourself a dabbler or would you like still fanatic on the side, basically investing all of your free time on trying to make it work? So did you dabble in it or did you jump into it?
Jeff Putnam: Oh, there was no dabbling. I had to go all in it with everything I had. I took every last dime out of our savings to get it started. I remember the day I paid that very first invoice for everything. That was the final one between the business license, the website, just everything. I paid the graphic designer for the logos and the little Pantone files that came with everything that I needed. I remember my wife saying, just don't tell me when you click pay because I want to
Wes Schaeffer: But this was -- I mean, you were making this stuff on your own -- you were
making it for yourself, right, and then enough people asked you about it; so when you say you
wrote this check with all of your savings, I mean, you already had some demand, though, right?
Were you making sales, like one off? Like, I would just make you some stuff and sell you a jar
Jeff Putnam: No. My idea was it's not real if I sell to anyone I know. If I can convince a complete
stranger to buy it, that doesn't know me, that's never heard of me, but just sees it on the little
website online and goes, yeah, I'll buy that, then it's real. So I made it a point for as long as I
possibly could that no one that I knew was going to get the link to my website. It had to be
someone that I've never heard of, that's never heard of me be the first person to buy it. Because
otherwise it could be like, oh, I recorded an album and my mom bought 35 copies of my CD. It's
not real. And so that's I just wanted to make sure that it was legitimate. It was going to be
something that people actually wanted.
Wes Schaeffer: All right. So I'm trying to unpack this. I don't want people to have any excuse. So
you've made something on your own for yourself. Some people are -- were friends and family,
were you selling it to them like here and there?
Jeff Putnam: No. The very first one that I ever sold was to a complete stranger in New York City
Wes Schaeffer: Okay. So you're making this on your own. People are complimenting you on it.
You think, all right, maybe there's something here. Did you, like, make your website first? Like,
did you do a few things on your own for a week or a month or a year and then write the big
check? Or did you go, okay, I need a website and e-commerce and product fulfillment, blah-
blah-blah -- like, here's all the money, and then you launched?
Jeff Putnam: Yeah. I paid for everything up front -- the business license; the subscription to Wix
Business that they had. I bought the business mailbox and all that other stuff.
I paid a load of money to a graphic designer that -- he was living in Berlin. We went to high
school together. We grew up together. He just moved over there as an expat. So I'd known him
for probably 20 year and I was interested in a lot of the work that he had done. He had a very
nice portfolio. But I was like, I have to do it all myself because I can't afford to pay other people.
And I'm still working 7:00 in the morning to 7:00 in the evening, five, six days a week at this job.
And so before work, I've got my laptop in front of me; after work, I've got my laptop in front of
me. I'm making it all as fast as I can while I'm off work. And then I'd go to work, orders would
come in on the website. I'd text my wife, hey, check the site, orders came in. She would pack it, I
would come home on my lunch break, pick up the box -- because a lot of the money went for
bulk shipping supplies and a shipping label and Stamps.com and all this other.
And she would pack up all the orders. And I had a big ol' huge deck of handwritten thank-you
cards, and she would put one in each, seal it, pack it, print out the labels, mark it fulfilled, insert
the tracking number on the website for me. I'd come home on lunch, pick up the big cardboard
box full of them, stop at the post office on the way back to work, shove them all in the box and
then go back to work.
She would be packing more orders while I was still at work. And then I'd come home, make
more, pack more -- because, I mean, I wouldn't make pack the ones I made that day. They were
the ones that had been there. But as I'm selling them, getting rid of them, I'm just basically
playing keep-up, right? And that went on for probably six months.
And I started realizing I've got a pretty good thing going here. I need -- and I can't keep up
because I've made like 300 units when I launched pre-orders on March 10th of 2019, and then
March 23rd or 24th, I believe it was, I realized that I had pre-orders for about 315. It was like, oh!
Wes Schaeffer: How did you market that pre-launch, the preorder -- how did you get those?
Jeff Putnam: I just tweeted like crazy. That's all I did. I was just tweeting out content, interacting
with bigger accounts. I knew nothing about Twitter. I'd never had a Twitter account before. I had
a Facebook account which had maybe 50 friends that I knew growing up and relatives and all
that other. But I'd never done like anything big on social media.
And so I just started tweeting, hey -- a lot of it was based around the virtues and the ideals of
positive masculinity, because it was kind of perfectly timed with the Gillette-P&G thing of toxic
masculinity in that ad. So I centered the culture and the identity and the ethos of my company of
Rugged Legacy as the antithesis of what P&G was touting as "men are bad," da, da, da. Basically
it was, "Hey, you don't like Gillette, screw them, buy from me. Real men don't need to shave
anyway," that kind of stuff. And it was in that perfect moment in time when that was very
Now, I didn't do it just because I knew that that would be popular, Then and now, I still believe
very much in all that. I'm an advocate for men behaving like men, being men and being good
fathers and being good husbands and things like that. But I realized there was a gap in the market
for a company that was proud to say those things, and people would follow that and people
would identify with that. And the people that did identify with it would be my customer base,
and the ones that didn't would be that whole "Negative press is still good press. You're going to
hate me, but people are still going to find it because you're crying about it."
And it just kind of worked out all that way. But when I started realizing I can't keep up and keep
my job, but I'm not making enough to quit my job -- I had to spend a decent amount of money
with the manufacturers so they could make it, and it was back and forth with their chemist and
the ingredients list and where they could source them from and how quickly they could fulfill so
forth and so on. But I finally got all that squared away in November of 2019.
Wes Schaeffer: So how did you even know to do this? Is it a bunch of YouTube and Google
Jeff Putnam: I Googled everything that I know and what I didn't know, I just tried something.
And if it didn't work, I'll try something else. And if it did work, I'll just keep doing it. Because
I'm not business-minded at all. I'm not tech savvy -- I mean, I can run a cell phone or a
smartphone and podcast and edit videos and stuff like that, but because of just trying as I go --
well, that didn't work; let me try this instead -- that's how I got there. I've got no experience
working in the tech field whatsoever. I mean, I can build you a house, but I can't reset your
router without pulling it up Google.
Wes Schaeffer: [chuckles] Right. That's cool. Seems to be working.
Jeff Putnam: I mean, it's working good so far.
Wes Schaeffer: So you start outsourcing some of the manufacturing. Who was the first person
you hired? And I know you've got an outsourced team now in Utah; do you have any employees
Jeff Putnam: I have a team that I keep. It's kind of like leasing labor almost. I have a contract
with the manufacturer where they make other people's products too. But there are a certain
number of their employees that basically just report to me and they handle everything that I need.
And then I've got some customer service VA people.
Wes Schaeffer: Mm-hmm. Cool. How -- so basically you've been going now a year and a half --
well, two years since your preorders, right? So it was March 2019?
Jeff Putnam: Mm-hmm.
Wes Schaeffer: You hit your stride by November and then COVID hits. Were you small enough
that you could still grow? Did you have any kind of hiccup with that?
Jeff Putnam: No. The only thing that COVID had any effect on was my ability to get bottles
because everybody was buying them and all these companies -- I even had companies email me
asking if I could sell them bottles for hand sanitizer and things like that. All of our stuff, it comes
in these amber bottles because it's made with essential oils, all natural ingredients, and the amber
bottles preserve those much better than clear bottles because it blocks out a lot of the UV light
that people have coming in through their bathroom window and things like that.
And I had to switch to cobalt blue bottles for a little while. But that's really the only hiccup that
COIVID threw at us because I mean, there in Utah, Utah is probably one of the most based states
out there. They do not care. There was the shutdown order and we just said all in one big
consensus, no, we're not going to shut down. The people who need a paycheck don't want a
shutdown, I don't want a shutdown; so we're not going to shut down. And that was pretty much
how it went.
Wes Schaeffer: So walk me through back in the beginning. You know, is your wife telling you
your beard's too rough, it doesn't smell good, fix it; or was it you? I need to know this, man. I
need you to get my wife to let me grow the beard, man; okay? How did you do this? And how
did you start cooking up ingredients and testing it?
Jeff Putnam: Well, the ingredient part, that just came from Googling it, "how to make your own
beard balm," "how to make your own beard oil." And I just started playing around with the
essential oils in the sense because there's a wholesale place not far from here. But as far as your
wife letting you grow the beard, just remind her it's not her face.
Wes Schaeffer: [chuckles] Look, man. I might have to turn off the recording, we're going to a
conversation. There's some things I could say.
Jeff Putnam: Hey. I told my wife. I said, look, if you don't like the beard, don't look at it. You
know, eventually it'll grow on you just as much as it's growing on me, you know? [chuckles]
And I told her, I said, she's like, oh, I hate your beard. "You'll learn to like it. I want my beard;
you'll learn to like it." And it's kind of a running joke. But I always remind her, I said, if you
were the type of woman that would have left me because I didn't shave my beard, you were the
wrong woman anyway.
Wes Schaeffer: Good point.
Jeff Putnam: And she just looks at me like I'm going to hit you. But we've been together quite a
while; nine kids. Our 17-year-old son shipped off on the 1st of this month to army basic training.
She's been there with me through the thick, through the thin, through our brief bout with
homelessness, when we're living in a motel because we lost everything because of some stupid
career decisions I made. She stuck with me through that; I figured I'd stick with me through a
Wes Schaeffer: [chuckles] Good point. Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm projecting. You know, after
three weeks, man, I don't know. It gets to that sticky, sweaty, wet point, and I'm like, I'm cutting
this thing, but anyway, I don't know. I'm just not tough enough. I'll get there. I'm working. I'm
drinking milk. I'm going to get there one day.
Jeff Putnam: Oh, that's terrible.
Wes Schaeffer: [laughs] Actually, I'm not drinking milk. It's on a commercial, come on; makes
your body coagulate. [chuckles] So what led to the book?
Jeff Putnam: I think it started with -- I Googled somewhere back when I was still kind of getting
Rugged Legacy off the ground, that a great way to get free traffic is blogs and things like that.
And I wanted to write about things that were related to the culture of the company and that
people could identify with. And I had followed, what is it, -- The Art of Manliness; read their
blogs; Order of Man, his blog, Ryan Michler, who ended up being a friend of mine now; Jack
Donovan, also a friend of mine. I've read all of his books.
And I've always -- even when I was a kid, I wanted to be the travel writer. I just travel all over
the world and have that sexy Hemingway thing going where I'm just sitting with the machine
gun on a boat off the coast of Cuba writing a book and cussing at seagulls. I wanted to be that
guy. And that didn't come to fruition. But I've always liked writing.
I've written several small e-books. I've ghostwritten some blogs and some emails for other people.
I don't know; although with the way things are going culturally in society, I felt like I had a lot to
say, but I needed a place where I could say it all in one spot. So I just sat down and started
writing. And I'd made that decision in December of 2020. I said in 2021 I'm going to have a book
on paperback for sale. And I started writing at the beginning of 2021 and now here June 1st I
have two paperbacks and Kindle books on Amazon and writing a third -- which this third one is
getting 00 I don't know, this one is going to be probably a very long process. Like, it hurts to
write it; it's that point.
But yeah. I had a lot to say, and so I had to have somewhere to say it. I guess that's the thing with
all writers. I got something to say; I need to say it.
Wes Schaeffer: Yeah. When do you write?
Jeff Putnam: I usually write when I get back from the gym. I come back home from the gym
about 5:00 a.m.
Wes Schaeffer: Okay. For an hour? Do you have a set number? I'm going to write a thousand
words; do you write until you lose the inspiration?
Jeff Putnam: Or usually I don't worry about inspiration and I don't worry about motivation. I just
have to get the word vomit onto the page and it doesn't have to look good as long as it's there. I
can go back through one of the 14 edits and then make it prettier.
But I have a goal every day of no less than 1,000 words, and sometimes I can sit down and
pound out 6,000 words. But typically I'll write from the time I get home from the gym to maybe
7:00, 7:30 in the morning. I just sit there on my patio, Tiki torches lit, smoke my pipe, drink
some coffee and write.
Wes Schaeffer: Who does your editing?
Jeff Putnam: I've gone through a couple of private guys. I've done everything from send it to my
other author buddies to editing it myself, to where I'm running it through Grammarly, okay, that
worked; and then I run it through Hemingway App, okay, that worked, and then I read through it
again, and then I sent it off to someone else. It's just a back and forth thing.
I want to do my writing very much like I did Rugged Legacy; do it as much as I can by myself
until I can't anymore. I mean, I outsource the cover design and the formatting and all that other.
But as much as I can do by myself -- and maybe this is like an artistic thing; it's not mine
anymore if someone else touches it.
Wes Schaeffer: Yep. I'm the same way.
Jeff Putnam: It's just the way it is.
Wes Schaeffer: Yep, I'm the same way.
So then you jump into the podcast and the podcast -- some people would say, you got to stick
with it, too much bouncing around it, you're not getting momentum;you're not diving deep. But it
sounds like we're a lot alike and I got to jump in and start doing -- okay. I mean, I already told a
guy yesterday who was considering some CRM software. I'm like, dude, you get to write this
stuff down what you need. And even if you buy the "wrong tool" up front, all the planning and
the preparation, everything you're doing is going to pay off, even if you have to switch. But it's
like, I'm not going to let you buy the absolute wrong tool. It'll be a little tweak and then you're
you're off and running. So would you consider those stops and starts, is that just how you are;
you just got to do it?
Jeff Putnam: Well, no. There haven't been any stops. I never stopped doing any of the things.
Wes Schaeffer: Okay. You just added on.
Jeff Putnam: I just added on, just trying to secure as much digital real estate as I can, you know?
Wes Schaeffer: How do you if you're spreading yourself too thin?
Jeff Putnam: I'll know when I get there. I haven't reached that point yet. I still write every single
day. I've added on YouTube to the podcast, so where now I just run the podcast show live, and
then I'll just download the audio from it; upload that onto the audio-only format, which it's on
iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, all of them. Pretty much every major podcast platform I've got all the
RSS feeds set up for all of those. But yeah. I get bored when things get easy, so I have to add
something else to do.
When I add, it doesn't take off anything else. I still very much handle the administrative and
overall oversight of Rugged Legacy, but I'm just not involved in, "We're going to make this and
you're going to do this. You're going to email this customer." I don't do any of that anymore.
Still writing; I still have have my clients that I coach every single week. The blog is still going.
I'm starting to kind of get into some photography stuff now just because I've always kind of been
interested in it. Like I said, still writing the books. I don't know; it doesn't feel like a lot to me.
Wes Schaeffer: Mm-hmm. Did you start the podcast in the books and coaching? I mean, does
that feed into Rugged Legacy? Like, did you have this grand plan where things are cross
promoting or was it, hey, I just want to do this to to get the word out? Because you mentioned
you've got coaching now, and I don't know if you'll sell sponsorship on your podcast -- are you
trying to create multiple streams of income or you have a bigger plan beyond all of this, or are
you just going with the flow and monetizing things separately if it presents itself?
Jeff Putnam: Well, I'm a big proponent of trying to pay things forward. And so when people
were congratulating me on my success, I definitely want to see other people succeed. And so
that's why I started taking on clients that wanted to get into it, because I had to jump into it with
zero knowledge and other people are doing it the same way. And if I can show them the
shortcuts that I learned along the way and help them get to where they want to be faster than I
got there, that makes me feel good. And so it's kind of self-serving in my coaching. Yes, they
pay me; they pay me a pretty good bit of money to coach them.
But the coaching aspect is very independent of The Perimeter. It's very independent of Rugged
Legacy. That's just you're talking to Jeff, and Jeff's going to help you with your business and
your marketing and this and that and the other. Rugged Legacy feeds on its own now because my
my evolved content that I call it with The Perimeter and the two books, it's controversial. A lot of
people don't like the points of view that I take on a lot of things; one of those being I'm a big
proponent of tribalism, but not very much in the sense of whether it be race-based, ethnic-based,
geographical proximity-based, things like that.
It's more of a value-based tribe. The people that share my values, that seek to be better men,
good fathers, lead their families and inspire and mentor other men to do the same, those guys are
my tribe -- the ones who were out there doing good versus the one that are trying to bring about
this moral ambiguity that seems to be plaguing every facet of society today.
You know, but people always say tribalism gets a bad rap because it's rooted in whatever -ism or
-phobe or the other and then there's the identity politics that goes into everything. I don't identify
with any politics. If it's wrong, it's wrong. I narrow things down into noble and ignoble. But
there's a lot of people out there who are very one-dimensionally set in their way of thinking; you
have to be a leftist or a rightist. I can't stand leftist or rightists, so I don't want that involved with
And that's fine. Rugged Legacy does fine on its own without me having to say or do anything
with it. But with the media storm that I'm trying to create as far as the content media, with the
books, the blog, the podcast, I'm more interested in creating a cultural movement, kind of a
renaissance of the way men carry themselves and present themselves and see themselves versus
the defamation of masculinity and men in general and traditional family values that you see
being just being pushed every time you turn on the phone or the TV or the radio.
I would much rather shift people's way of thinking and get a huge paycheck, if that makes any
sense. I can go get another job. I'm the kind of guy that digging ditches sounds like fun; okay?
I'm not worried about it. If I get paid for my work, awesome. Yeah, I love it when people buy my
books. But I have my books on KDP Unlimited, which means you can read it for free if you're an
Amazon Prime member. I get paid $0.005 for every page someone reads.
But if they can read that and they become inspired to work on themselves and start embodying
these exemplary and paradigm-based values of what men used to aspire to with a more pure
idealism rather than the hedonistic and nihilistic cycle that everyone seems to be on, then that
means more to me than someone says, hey, you hit a bestseller spot.
And so the income is great, but I coach to maintain my income. This other stuff is more of a
Wes Schaeffer: Mm-hmm. When did you branch off or add on the coaching side? Because a lot
of people, a lot of entrepreneurs, pricing and program and product creation is tough, they
undercharge; they leave money on the table; they don't create those multiple streams of income.
How did that come about?
Jeff Putnam: I think it happened by accident. Someone sent me a DM on Twitter. "Hey, could I
pick your brain?" And that's always the question, right? Can I pick your brain? It's always the
one. "Can I pick your brain about this? I want to start this. I want to start that. And I know you've
done this and that and the other; mind if I pick your brain? I'll compensate you for your time."
You mean people would pay to talk to me? Oh. Okay, cool. And it just went from there. And I
think I was charging like $150 a month to these people because I mean, I was still in the "nobody
in the online as that kind of money. You know, they're not going to want to pay a whole lot of
money to talk to me."
Wes Schaeffer: I thought you were going to say like $150 for like a 30-minute call or something.
Jeff Putnam: No, no. Now it's like now if you want to talk to me for an hour, that's a $300
Wes Schaeffer: All right. Now we're talking. [chuckles]
Jeff Putnam: Yeah. And now I have clients that pay me anywhere between $2500 to $5000 for
eight to 10 weeks. But back then, I was still in that 9:00 to 5:00 mindset -- I just needed to have
to pay my bills. And now I'm like, I could get so much more because there's people out there that
really want to pay for knowledge, and I was undervaluing what I had learned as I went much
more than I thought I was.
Wes Schaeffer: For sure. Everybody undervalues.
Jeff Putnam: It's hard, right? Because you think if -- self-promotion alone is cringe until you get
used to it.
Wes Schaeffer: Yes.
Jeff Putnam: And now I'm like, everybody, look at me. But before it's like I wasn't even the kind
of guy that took a picture of himself, like, ew, selfie. I was never that guy. I was like, what kind
of dude take selfies? And now I'm taking selfies and videos of doing all these cool stuff in the
gym or whatever, put it on Instagram or hanging out with with really cool people that
everybody's like, hey, you know that guy? Doing all that, taking pictures and stuff with them.
And it's still in the back of my mind that, you're like a selfie chick. It's hard, but then I've got the
circle lights and the the tripods and the filters and all this -- yeah, but I got to make it look good.
So it's just a really big adjustment.
Wes Schaeffer: Look, man, you have a very nice beard, right? It's selfie-worthy.
Jeff Putnam: Yeah, that's what people say, so I said I'll just go with it. I'm not going to
undermine that -- I'm not going to undermine your compliment there. I'll accept it.
But it's really weird with the self-promotion thing. And then you try to say, well, I'm worth X
amount of money for X amount of work. And when you've been told, well, you're only going to
make $25 an hour for 40 hours a week, you think that's where you're valued at. And you're not.
Value is completely subjective to the person who wants it. Somebody would think a call with me
is not worth $300, and I've had people that have a one hour call with me that says I should have
paid you $3,000 for that call. "Well, I can send you another invoice if you want."
Wes Schaeffer: Yeah. Well, I mean, what's the ROI, right? If I need my lawn mowed, I don't care
if it's Mark Cuban that shows up. You know, I'm not paying three grand. It's a small yard. I can
do it myself. I just don't want to.
But that's not -- like real estate, the best and highest use. Mark Cuban doesn't need to be mowing
lawns. So you're coaching if you help. If you give me an idea, if you inspire me and I go launch a
million-dollar business, then maybe it was only 30 minutes and it was worth $3,000. We have to
charge according to the value that we helped create in the hearts and minds of our customers. But
if we don't charge -- I just stopped giving free advice because it -- just a waste of breath. Nobody
Jeff Putnam: Free advice is a plague. And I get people ask me all the time for advice. Well, I
used to; now I just ignore these people. But they would ask for advice and I give them very
valuable, very actionable advice and then they would not take it. And I started referring to those
people as "ask-holes." And I'm like, okay -- I mean, because no one values anything for free.
They didn't have to invest anything of themselves.
But my clients -- one of my clients, 24 hours after our first call, landed his first gig as a freelance
project manager, making £400 a day. That's $15,000 a month. That was his first gig, less than 24
hours after our first call. You ask him and he'll tell you that I undercharged him.
And like you said, it's based on the value and people are willing to put skin in the game and what
it nets them on their return of investment.
Wes Schaeffer: Yep. Amen. Very nice, man. So you got another book coming. You've got
coaching. You've got -- I'm linking out to your website, and it's JeffPutnamAuthor.com. Linking
to that; linking to your Rugged Legacy. When will the third book be out?
Jeff Putnam: That I don't know.
Wes Schaeffer: Is it more of almost a memoir in a way, or it's just deeper?
Jeff Putnam: No. This one is deeper. "Empire Divided: A Modern Man's Path Back To His
Tribe." It lays out nine noble virtues of masculinity. And in it, I've painted -- within each chapter,
I've painted a contrast between postmodernism and that virtue and the transmogrification of
those virtues, where now everything is courageous when it isn't, and everything is brave when it
isn't. You know, heroes are not your masta [sic] -- grocery baggers. Those are not heroes. They
haven't done anything heroic because they went to work.
And it was a breaking down of what -- what modern man's ancestors would be ashamed if they
saw their descendants doing today. And while I don't think -- and I say this in the book. While I
don't think that there's any reason whatsoever to go back; people always say, oh, I wish I could
go back to live in X decade or X century. I like plumbing and running water and electricity. I like
those things. I don't want to go back there.
But instead of trying to go back to an older world, I think as men we can create a new world that
we want to see. And so that was the idea behind "Empire Divided," because I look at modern
society as one global empire with a bunch of small factions that are always trying to fight and
kill each other while being told that you're supposed to love and accept and tolerate and whatever
each other, and it's physically and humanly and biologically impossible.
And it's also dangerous. You shouldn't tolerate or accept people that want to destroy you. I mean,
don't give money to people you hate; don't invite people that want to destroy your way of life
into your home; don't treat them with kindness. You can treat them with disregard; you don't
have to hate them because that's not the same thing. You can treat them with disregard and focus
on building up your tribe, your people, the people that share your values and your beliefs and
that believe that the pursuit of ideals and paradigms is still worth it, even though you can't ever
Just because you're not going to be the greatest doesn't mean you shouldn't strive for greatness.
Those kind of people are the ones that I call my tribe. And that was the whole entire idea behind,
like I said, "Empire Divided." "The Perimeter," that just came out, is a follow-up to that or it
dives deeper into the more human psychology side of it. It's not so much a self-righteous
indignation rant as Empire Divided sounds when you read through it. The Perimeter dives a little
more deeper into explaining why we feel the way we feel when we deny what we are on a
biological level as men. We've tried to deny that we're tribal. When we try to deny that violence
is good, when we try to deny that caring about other people more than you care about these
people over here is not a radical idea. It's a natural idea.
You care more about your family than you care about me. I take that to a grander scale. I care
more about the people of my tribe that I care about the people who are not in my tribe. And
everyone does that. They just don't pay attention because it doesn't sound nice, and altruism is
this -- we're the age of the virtue signaling, right? "Oh, I started a nonprofit for this indigene tribe
in the Amazon so they can get iPhones. They don't have electricity, but because they're so cut off,
it makes you feel better that you're trying to give them something that they don't need; and the
more exotic or the more disenfranchised or the more perceived oppression you see them having,
the more virtuous it makes you.
I don't care about those people. I can't see those people. Those people don't affect my life. Does
that make me a bad person? There is a level of morality that's called into question. Am I immoral
because I don't care about what's happening to some people in some country that I'm never going
to meet are never going to go to? No. It makes me human. But saying that alone make people
think that you're a bad person. And that is The Perimeter.
This new one, it's a follow up, but it can also act as a standalone, and I wanted to make this a
three-book series. I'm focused now on the more personal and internal side of everything, rather
than the external that is Empire Divided and The Perimeter. The idea of The Perimeter was that
with your tribe you build that campfire and your tribe gathers around it. That campfire's your
values and your home -- your home base. That fire casts a little ring of light, and everything
within that ring of light is safe and is brought to order and it's lit up and everybody there can feel
It's when you branch out beyond that perimeter, outside that ring into the darkness where there's
chaos, there's people whose values want to destroy you, there's people out there wandering in the
dark looking for a tribe. There's people out there who are one podcast, one blog, one phone call,
one tweet, one post away from changing their life and becoming what they were always meant to
be. You can bring them into your perimeter and grow and strengthen your tribe. You can venture
out into that darkness and you can create new outposts, build new fires to light up that darkness
out there. But it takes a certain mentality and a certain personal philosophy to be able to really
see what that's worth, and that's what I'm going into with book three, which is focusing on "life
And I first came across life artistry a few years ago when I was going through this phase of
reading really weird books. I read this little obscure novel by Chuck Palahniuk -- he wrote "Fight
Club" -- and one of and one of the things he said in that was your life is just a story; and when
you realize that you don't like the story that you're writing, you can tear it up and start a new one.
And that sounds great, and I followed that idea for years, but in reality it's not really a story: it's
a painting. You can write all those pages, but you can't tear them up in life, you can wipe them
out, but those words are still on the page. And like in man and life, it's much like a painting.
There's more and more applications that add layers and thickness and texture and depth and
feeling. But everything that was there first is still buried under there, and it makes the
masterpiece at the end beautiful. It makes it an actual masterpiece, rather than how we see these
modern artists that have all forgotten how to work with layers and they try to finish the piece
with one big thick layer and it looks flat and less lively.
And that's how men are today. They're flat. They're less lively. They're plunged in this deep
malaise because they're living a life that their heart tells them isn't the life they should be living
in. They're chained to a phone and a couch and they're miserable and they've lost that thymos,
that Greek fire of life within them because they're told, oh, you're good enough to just skate by,
pay your bills and and forget about what makes you a man. And that's heartbreaking.
I want to inspire as many men as I can out there to become more of what they are. People always
fuss about toxic masculinity or toxic femininity. I don't believe in either of those things. We as
men are not born inherently masculine and women are not born inherently feminine. We're
upright monkeys. We just do what we do. You know, fostering masculinity in young men and
fostering femininity in young women is making them more than just mere humans.
It's a lofty goal to try to embody this paradigm that sits up there that you'll never fully get to, but
the journey on the way there is what adds those layers and the depth and the feeling. So at the
end of the -- when you run out of time, you have a masterpiece painted on this canvas.
And that's it's a lot deeper that I can really go into for another nine hours, but I'd rather do that on
the page than have a nine-hour episode.
Wes Schaeffer: Yeah. Very cool. That's good stuff, man. As you know, it's needed. You know,
the old adage is it doesn't matter what the truth is if you get people asking the wrong questions.
Jeff Putnam: You know, I don't think I've ever heard that, but I really like it.
Wes Schaeffer: Everybody's asking the wrong questions. You know, C.S. Lewis talked about,
the devil's smart; he doesn't just give you right and wrong. He gives you two wrongs. And
everybody's fighting about the lesser of two evils; "I'm going to vote for Biden; I'm going to vote
for Trump. So, yeah, he's not perfect, but the lesser of two evils."
So everybody is defending the lesser of two evils instead of like, well, what's ideal? What is not
evil? Can we get a candidate that is not evil. And it just applies to everything. It's like, take a step
back. Are we fighting over things that just don't matter? And everybody's just spooled up and
worn out. And then - you know, in the military, I always tell people this, they're always surprised
-- like the purpose of the military, the goal is not to destroy the enemy. It is to take away his will
So if that requires me destroying you, okay, I'll destroy you, but maybe I just have to blow up
some bridges and cut off your water and just put you under siege and then you surrender. Okay,
good. I get to go home now. You've surrendered. We had our way; sign this peace treaty; I'm
going back home. You know, people don't realize that.
So whatever -- all the food, the chemicals, the numbing -- I call it pot, porn, and playoffs -- we're
just numbed and we've taken away taken away our will to fight. So you just take whatever comes
down the pike and it's like, no, stop accepting that.
Jeff Putnam: Yeah. What was it, bread and circuses, right?
Wes Schaeffer: Bread and circus.
Jeff Putnam: They took away -- men need to fight each other. I mean, you're wearing a jujitsu
suit -- I mean, a shirt, for cripes' sake, man. You get out there and you roll, right?
Wes Schaeffer: Going right after this.
Jeff Putnam: And it feeds something in you, correct?
Wes Schaeffer: Yeah.
Jeff Putnam: Well, you've got these guys that are sitting on the couch because they've forgotten
about their brothers, they've forgotten about their tribes because they've been told that, well,
you're hanging out with a bunch of dudes -- that gets looked at negatively like it's some kind of
bromance or it's homosexual or whatever. No, I love my friends. Like I tell my guy friends all
the time I love them, because I do love them.
You know, what was it, Henry V, "Any man that would lay down his life or shed his blood with
me today is my brother." And that's a bond you can't break, and brotherhood is needed for men.
But they live vicariously through the porn, through the playoffs, through the pot. They live
vicariously watching other men do battle on a screen, and watching other men be with other
women on a screen, and that just satisfies that need for just a little bit. But it's like a junkie. If
you need more -- and it gets to the point where you're watching porn and sports all day long; the
fix isn't doing it for you so you have to up the dosage.
It's a Band-Aid on an arterial hemorrhage, when in reality, when I started -- because I was that
guy. I had no male friends. I went to work, I had my friends of association that I worked with
that I haven't spoken to since I left that job because we were only friends in proximity and we --
we're here to do this one thing so we might as well talk. Once I started making real connections
with friends, everything just gets easier.
I have a tribe of brothers that I can say, hey, man, I'm having trouble. Or, hey man, have you ever
felt like this? Hey, man, let's go hiking, let's hop on a plane and go to Florida and hang out for
the weekend just to not talk to each other and fish. You know, guys need those things, but they
end up sitting there because they've been lied to, that being the lone wolf is cool and sexy and
whatever; and they just sit there and they feel miserable and they hate their lives.
And no man should ever hate his life. He has the power to create the life he wants. He's just got
to get out there and do it, and it's scary, but that's the whole point. You get busy living, so you
forget about even dying. And like you said, they live vicariously through watching ritualize
warfare in the form of football or MMA while sitting there scratching themselves going, "Oh
man, I would have put Connor McGregor in a headlock and won." No, you wouldn't have. All
right? Go out there and do something. Like, I don't care if you go and play Dungeons and
Dragons together; just have a group of friends that you can rely on.
Wes Schaeffer: Mm-hmm.
Jeff Putnam: We're social creatures. We're not meant to spend it alone. And men are better men
when they have other men to measure themselves against.
Wes Schaeffer: Mm-hmm. Yeah, they don't do that. We've redefined masculinity and strength.
Jeff Putnam: I hate that word. I hate the word "redefined." Because when people say redefined,
all they mean is act more like women.
Wes Schaeffer: Yeah, exactly. If you cannot hurt a fly and you do not hurt a fly, you were not
virtuous, you're just --
Jeff Putnam: Impotent.
Wes Schaeffer: -- you're just impotent. You're incapable.
Jeff Putnam: If you have the capability of destroying the world but choose not to, then you're
Wes Schaeffer: Right. I mean, between jujitsu and I've had my CCW for nine years, the average
room I walk into, I can kill everybody in that room, but I don't. You know, so am I weird? Am I
violent? Am I a sociopath for having the ability? Or are you weak, for not having the ability, for
placing your trust and your livelihood and your family's well-being in the hands of someone else
that you hope just isn't having a bad day? You know, it's like --
Jeff Putnam: And that's part of what I covered in The Perimeter. Nietzsche talked about two
different types of morality. He talked about master morality and slave morality. Now, those are
not indicated in the way that most Americans would think of masters and slave.
Slave morality is utilitarian morality. "Well, if it's good for absolutely everyone" -- which
nothing is good for everyone all the time; if something is good for someone, it's going to
inevitably be bad for someone else -- well, then, it is good, according to Nietzsche's description
of slave morality. And master morality is, "If it's good for me and it's good for my people, then it
is good; if it is bad for me and bad for my people, then it is bad."
Slave morality pushes the guilt and the shame onto those who say, well, it's good for me, so it's
good. If I win the lottery, that's good for me. It didn't do anything for anyone else, but it's still
good for me. But the ones who say, well, you won all that money, but you should just give it to
everyone else to help everyone else, that is the slave morality. That is the utilitarian. Well, let's
get has to be good for everyone or it's just bad.
And now, you being able to defend yourself because you have a gun, you being able to defend
yourself because you've trained jujitsu for X amount of years, well, you could potentially hurt
everyone, so your strength and your skill and your mastery of a firearm are all bad because they
don't benefit me if you get upset or you have a bad day.
It takes away my power to be completely, and feel completely safe around you. So I'm going to
guilt you and tell you that you're being strong, you carrying a gun, you being able to defend or
attack as needed is bad because it might eventually hurt me if I'm on the wrong side of you. Well,
no, you're not going to be on the wrong side of me; just leave me the hell alone. I don't lift
weights so I can be -- I don't train boxing or whatever to beat other people up. I do it to make me
better. But because it's not beneficial to someone else -- because it's like the body shaming. "Oh,
you're going to the gym, so you promote fat shaming." No, I promote fit lifestyles. I'm not
against fat people; I just don't want to be fat.
I'm not against weak people; I just don't want to be weak. But the whole social justice idea is that
of slave morality, where instead of rising to the level of those stronger or more successful or
whatever than you, you manipulate their morality to start seeing the things that they have
accomplished as bad and negative to bring them down to your level. Social justice isn't about
raising up the oppressed or the disenfranchised; social justice is about bringing all of this
successful and fit and strong down to the level of the oppressed so everyone is equally screwed.
And that's what you saw with the the the fall of the Roman Empire. When the master class were
convinced that they were inherently wrong, they started shifting their morality and shifting their
standards and lowering them to where the weak came to power because they held the "moral
And there was no morality there, it was, well, everything is permitted, debauchery and that --except for the things that I disagree with. And it was all about this revenge based thing to get
back at those who were always richer than them, who always had more power and more authority than them. It was like a vengeance against those that have always been more successful
to them. And then they ate themselves at the top because it's just like you see on the left now with, oh, well, you're not woke enough. Or, we're all on the same side, we're on the left, and now the left is eating each other. We're all on the same side on the right; now the right is eating each other because of one arbitrary difference of opinion on something. That happened, and you see an entire empire crumbles because it became divided.
Wes Schaeffer: Yep. The pigs within will destroy you sooner than the sharks without.
Jeff Putnam: Yeah. I would much rather get stronger, or as strong as I can to match those that are stronger than me or as close to those that are stronger than me, then spend all my time trying to weaken them down to my level. But that's the opposite of what social justice is.
Wes Schaeffer: Oh, yeah, yeah. All right, man. You got me thinking, I got to get a pipe, start writing.
Jeff Putnam: Peterson of Dublin is where you go. Peterson of Dublin is the best pipe brand that I've ever owned.
Wes Schaeffer: Peterson of Dublin.
Jeff Putnam: They're all handmade, too.
Wes Schaeffer: You know, Father's Day is coming up, so I'll send it to my kids real quick.
Jeff Putnam: Have them get you a church warden model. That's the one with the really long stem, so you look like Gandalf.
Wes Schaeffer: I got to grow the beard, though.
Jeff Putnam: Get on it. Just stop shaving.
Wes Schaeffer: That'll be my one year anniversary, to get the Gandalf pipe.
Jeff Putnam: It's not hard to grow a beard. Just stop shaving.
Wes Schaeffer: Oh, it's not. I mean, I shave about once a week, so I'm already almost practically there, you know what I'm saying?
Jeff Putnam: Yeah, yeah.
Wes Schaeffer: All right, man. Well, speaking of jujitsu, that's where I'm headed. We're linking to you. I'll include links on the on the blog post here. But JeffPutnamAuthor.com, they can find
you there. Here you link to all of your pontifications -- your books, your podcasts, your products, your coaching. So I appreciate you taking the time.
Jeff Putnam: I appreciate you having me on, man. It was awesome.
Wes Schaeffer: Well, you know what? Go sell something, all right?
Jeff Putnam: [chuckles] I can sell ideas for good.
Wes Schaeffer: All right, man. Thanks for coming to the show, dude. Have a great day.
Jeff Putnam: You as well, brother.