WEALTH ENHANCERS CASE STUDY: Ian Calpin
He’s the brains behind the sales channel for the APAC region at Salesforce, is motivated by working with great people and has built a career on supporting and driving sales through his love of tackling big chunky questions and in his own words dealing with the “nerdy numbers”.
Born in the USA, he’s an Executive member of the Balmain Water Polo Club who is inspired by the Olympics and describes himself as a water-born human for his love of water sports.
With frequent travel on the agenda, you’ll find him either surfing some of the world’s best waves, having a few beers with his mates or just hanging out with his wife Ash and their English Bulldog Eggo.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Ian: It differs a lot. It’s mostly touching base with each of the different team members, trying to figure out what’s keeping them up at night and how I can help. Usually, through structured planning, market opportunity sizing and basically using numbers to develop a compelling story to sell back into the business. It’s deciding what they mean and putting plans in place to address them.
As my background and natural method of operation tends towards the facts and numbers, I’ve always found myself in roles where I’m the structured thinker and the analytics support behind a sales or marketing team. I really enjoy working with loud, sales personalities who operate mostly on feel rather than fact and adding a sense of balance to the team. I’d much rather have beers after work with the sales team than with a bunch of analysts for sure.
What makes you jump out of bed and why?
Ian: People are the biggest drivers for me. I love working with great people. As interesting as the job can be if you don’t enjoy the people you do it with then it’s really all for nothing.
I enjoy big chunky problems and figuring out what’s the best way to address them. Even though I like sales environments I don’t necessarily want to be standing at the front of the room giving a sales pitch. So my role gives me the opportunity to do what I love in an environment I enjoy.
By nature, the roles I’ve had involve being partnered with a senior person so I get a great deal of visibility as to how the broader business interacts. I get invited to meetings with people twice my age to discuss the strategy of the business for my region and I find that incredibly fascinating.
A salesperson working his way up and through would usually have to wait till his 50’s to reach that senior level required to be involved in these conversations. Whereas I get that executive level visibility and interaction in my early 30’s.
The access I get to seeing that level of operations helps me jump a few steps in terms of my own understanding of how a business operates and my work maturity versus trying to learn it from the grassroots up. Seeing how these experienced individuals, who have spent the last 20-30 years growing a business, approach problems is very valuable learning that I can adapt to my own career and that’s really exciting.
Can you share with us some of your core values?
Ian: Don’t be a dickhead! It’s simple. Treat others the way you would like to be treated, that’s how I was raised. And if you don’t like somebody, avoid or cut them out of your life. You don’t need to be unkind.
Also give a bit more than you take and be true to people. Both through being your authentic self and the words you say.
At what point in your entrepreneurial journey were you introduced to WE?
Ian: A colleague of mine Troy put me in touch with Finn around the time he and Sarah were starting We Love Numbers. At that point, I was planning my exit from my previous role at Vodafone and was trying to wrap my head around what to do next. I spoke with Finn about their business, what their plan was moving forward and what roles they were considering. During this discussion we started chatting about WE and at that point I was making enough money to look past just spending it every month, despite my best-laid plans of saving.
Finn explained WE focus was on individual goals rather than the traditional format of financial advisors. Who you are as a person, what you want to achieve, over what timeline and how important it is to start from a relatively early age to build a plan to achieve that. He then put me in touch with my then-coach Ryan, who went into more detail and everything just aligned.
What was the standout learning or realisation from your Goals & Values session?
Ian: The biggest realisation happened after we had set our goals, looked at our income and analysed our spending. When we saw what was leftover, versus what in theory we should have, it was just such a “where the hell is our money going?” moment. Having a really good look at what we thought we were spending compared to what was happening in reality. They were hugely different.
The session was quite confronting but in a therapeutic way. It really forced us to think about how we want our lives to be. And we realised how much our spending habits were working against that.
Since joining WE, what specific behaviours or habits around money have now changed?
Ian: We used to look at our accounts around the second week of the months and think “Oh we’ve still got $14K in there, we’re fine.” But we were forgetting about the mortgage and a whole range of other big payments yet to come out. We would go from feeling super rich to feeling very poor quite quickly.
Since uncovering the realities of our actual spending, I now only see two accounts. My personal one, where I get $150 per week for coffees, lunches, beers or anything else just for me. And the other for groceries or dinner out with my wife. Those 2 accounts are really the only ones I should ever be seeing or touching. It’s a lot easier that way. Everything else is automated in the background and it works incredibly well.
What has been your biggest accomplishment since joining WE?
Ian: Buying a new house. Seeing our net worth grow and being able to articulate that has been so rewarding. Plus achieving our annual travel goal, or over achieving it. I can’t count the number of times we’ve been overseas in the last few years since joining.
But mainly knowing we have a plan in place and are continuously goal setting. Sitting down, having that discussion and a formulated strategy is a great feeling. Having someone do checkpoints along the way to make sure that we’re on track is even better.
What would you say would be the highlight of joining WE?
Ian: For me, the most helpful part has been the big brother aspect, of having somebody else help keep you accountable to your goals. So when you buy that last round of Jagerbombs you know it’s going to come up on your monthly statement and it’s no longer just you who will see it. But also having that balance between advice and the fact that it’s ultimately your money. There’s no pushing. Having the options and risks explained to you but behind closed doors making your own decision.
Having someone to coach you through and answer any questions is so valuable. Christine (my current coach) is always quick and diligent in coming back with answers.
Also, I think the structure of hiding our money away from ourselves versus putting it into one account and thinking great I’m going to have x to spend, is a much better system. This way you still get your weekly spend and don’t feel like you’re going without while your other accounts continue to grow.
If a friend or entrepreneur asked you why they should join WE, what would you say?
Ian: Everyone needs coaching with their money. What you think your spending is usually very different to what you’re actually doing. We all need to develop wealth building habits. WE takes the stress and thought process away from you and just automates everything whilst still allowing you to live a comfortable life. It really almost forces you into doing what you probably should be doing already.
If you could give advice to a 10-years younger you, what would you say?
Ian: Pay for the taxis you ran away from and you probably didn’t need that last drink!
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Disclaimer: all information contained within this article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon when making financial decisions. Please consult a professional financial coach, advisor or planner (like us!) before acting.