2 Cent Dad Podcast

From kite boarding to board meetings, there seems to be no activity that Dan Martell won't include his kids. Multiple entrepreneur and Celebrity of SaaS, Dan shares his entrepreneurial journey (spoiler, it doesn't start out easy) and some of the many ways his kids are his world and his wife is his best friend. 

Show Notes

Where you can find Dan:

(Content is summarized and paraphrases. Timestamps are approximate.)

Mike Sudyk:
Dan Martell,
- Multiple entrepreneur
- Multiple exits
- Celebrity of SAAS


Mike Sudyk:
You’re married with two kids

Dan Martell:
- Yes 6 and 7. They’re my world and my wife is my best friend.
- We live a crazy life

If you follow Dan on instagram you’ll know his kids do everything with him.

- Board meetings
- Kite boarding
- Car racing
- 100 flights at this point in there life
- Multiple schools, because we travel a lot


How did you arrive at that? Tell me about your upbringing. On your website you list all your failures instead of pounding your chest about your successes…

- Yeah I call that success theater, that’s just not me.
- I’m an open book, and I’m a product of a ton of incredible people who support me.
- At 17 I found myself high and drunk driving a stolen car, trying to get away from the police, and with a gun sitting next to me. If the police caught me I was going to pull the gun so that they’d shoot me. They caught up with me, but the gun got stuck in my bag. They pulled me from the car. I woke up sober in a jail cell wondering what my life was going to look like.
- Served 5-6 months. Did rehab. Spent 11 months in a 6 month program. Spent a lot of time working on myself, and my values, and learning to love myself and having any level of self worth. It saved my life.
- At rehab I discovered JAVA.
- I got fascinated with computers. Computers became my addiction, and entrepreneurship my personal development program.
- I’ve built 5 businesses since then.
- It’s been a slow change.
- For 15 years I didn’t tell a soul what I had gone through as a kid. I did a talk about the entrepreneurial journey, and started with that story. It was the most amazing experience after to have people I knew come up to me and share their thing. Afterwards I thought, I want that openness with everybody.


I’ve heard your story a few places. My question is, the journey you went on…a lot of entrepreneur dads feel like they’re stretched in a million directions and feel like they’re hitting a breaking point. It’s not ever bad enough where they make a drastic change. What are some things, having gone through that journey, what are the fundamental things you have to change to get out of the valley?

- There’s different things at different stages.
- When I was 28 I came home one day, and my fiancé at the time broke up with me because I was working too much in the name of success for her. But she never asked me for any of that.
- Your kids and your wife never asked you to kill yourself working.
- Here was my problem: if i’m so good in business, how am I so stupid in relationships?
- So I asked myself, “Who do I need to become to achieve the next level of outcome?”
- I mapped out who would be the perfect person for me, and what kind of person would attract that quality.
- The process of being successful can apply to any aspect of your life.
- I do quarterly board meetings with each of my boys, an idea I got from my buddy Jim in The Family Board Meeting
- Me and my wife do quarterly retreats where we discuss goals
- Me and my wife do a weekly meeting where we score ourselves on 5 different dimensions, and if we don’t do well enough we need to reevaluate.
- It’s all the same as a business.
- Do you ever run into scenarios where you’ve got something to talk to your wife about, and there’s never a good time and it’s going to piss her off? We have a time and place for that now.
- These times help us reconnect


- We have a playbook for our family
- We have people who support us, and we have processes for when we go on vacation, or starting at a new school.


What do you think the processes are for that? For some reason we don’t bring business processes into our marriage.

- I think there’s a belief that it shouldn’t be so hard. If I need to schedule a weekly meeting with my spouse it means something is wrong…
- You need to build habits. Being an athlete, being in a marriage.
- If you want to have a life of mediocrity, fine, if you want to see if there’s another level, then go there.
- I coach ambitious entrepreneurs, and there’s this problem they often have where they’re growing and their partner is not.
- As you climb the mountain you’re going to want to pull your partner with you, but they may not be there yet. You’re going to suffocate the relationship if you try to pull them up. They’ll feel inadequate. Instead of pulling them, support them.
- It’s just the discipline of saying one night a quarter, we’re going to turn off our phones and spend time together.
- People throw up a resource complaint issue, but you can scale anything back to make it work.


We do a family night once a week, and we keep it religiously. It’s not rocket science.

- I’m not a fan of holidays or the world’s rhythm for life. I am a fan of rituals. Let’s make it our own.
- When the kid turns 13, what’s the adventure I bring them on that signals the transition from boyhood to manhood?
- How can I be the best father out there?

We did a ten-year-old trip with my dad. It wasn’t rocket science, it was a Sudyk thing.

- That’s so cool. There’s an opportunity to change…my dad is one of my best friends today. I put my parents through shit. It wasn’t easy, but no pressure no diamonds. I wouldn’t change anything.

But you being around, how are you not spoiling your kids?

- LeBron James says, “I don’t want the best for my kids, I want the best from my kids.”
- We don’t buy our kids toys. They earn it.
- I would change some things, like the verbal and emotional abuse I received growing up.
- I believe that chaos shapes us. Obstacle is the way. I was worried that my kids would grow up soft.
- If you let the world interact on your child, there’s enough chaos.
- When your kid is old enough to learn how to zip their jacket and tie their shoe, you are never doing that for them ever again. My kids eat their meals and clean up their plates.
- I’m not here to be their best friend. I’m here to be an example of what it means to be a great human being.

- What does it mean to be a Martell…they’ve been hearing me ask that question since they were two.
- We do hard things, we have a growth mindset, we give to others, we are always kind…
- In these moments of challenges, I just say what does it mean to be a Martell, and I don’t have to tell them what to do next.
- Every person is going to have their issues, I would just hope that my approach doesn’t create too many of those. I’m trying to give them the tools to know that when life gets hard, get around the people who support you.


The family identity thing is huge. Like core values within the professional world. But beyond that their identity is shaped by the world, which doesn’t have their best interest in mind. The concept of identity is huge even as an adult.

- I coach ambitious high performing guys. We ask, what kind of person would achieve the results they want. Once we do that, their morning mantra is I am ________.” Your outward ambition has to start in your mind.
- That’s why I love CrossFit. If you compete everyday, you’re an athlete. If you can stick with it, it has incredible impact on your life.
- People come to me because stye built big companies, but they know they’re not the best leader. They’re either going to have their team quit, or they’ll be fired by the board.
- Even Steve Jobs got kicked out. He changed his approach, and came back.
- It’s like, a vegan doesn’t need willpower to not eat meat everyday. Because they’re vegan. It’s identity.
- You create an alter ego to get a result, and one day you wake up and that’s just who you are.
- I’m not going to be the same person a year from now as I was today. I’m not the same guy I was a year ago. I’m not the same guy I was at 17.
- If you believe that your IQ is fixed, that’s just not true.
- It’s not faking it, you just have to wait for the world to catch up to who you believe you are.


And it all stems from identity and identifying where you want to go.

- Your history does not predict your future. Which is great news.
- When I was 34, it occurred to me that in the previous 10 years I became a millionaire, exited the business, invested in 32 companies, built 2 venture backed companies, and exited those.
- At 24 I never would have believed that would happen.


You wouldn’t have dreamed when you were 24, but what set you off?

- It was the growth mindset, and hundreds of other things.
- Once your belief system expands, you can’t contract.
- We live in the middle of nowhere Canada, but I can be here and still work on billion dollar ideas.
- Everybody out in this town think I’m weird because I’m intense. They’re uncomfortable with me because they know my expectations for myself are so high, but I don’t judge them. There’s no judgement there.
- You can be both ambitious and empathetic, and have big dreams.

  • Fatherhood
  • Quarterly retreats
  • Entrepreneurial journey
  • Ambition
  • Empathy
  • Family Values
  • Identity
  • Goals
  • Family night
  • Growing up years
  • Travel with young kids
  • Marriage, counseling 

What is 2 Cent Dad Podcast?

Intentional fatherhood while living a life of purpose. Hosted by Mike Sudyk. www.2centdad.com