Episode 29: Boni & John Wagner-Stafford – How To Build Your Business While Sailing The Ocean

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Gold Nuggets

  • Boni and John now live in Mexico – sometimes on land, and sometimes on a boat. All while running a successful business.

    “We do not like to stay in one place for very long.”
  • “While we were driving to our corporate jobs in downtown Toronto, I did the math on how much time we were spending in the car in our commute to work. Not including sleep time (factoring only productive time), we were each spending 8 weeks a year in the car.”
  • Boni and John got rid of most of their material belongings, leaving Canada with 4 suitcases, their 2 cats, and a guitar.

    “As entrepreneurs we’re all familiar with the necessity of embracing risk. There are still shades of grey: every entrepreneur is not comfortable with the same degree of risk.”
  • “We are material creatures. Giving up that material connection is probably what keeps most people from doing what we’ve done.”
  • “Our business matches the life that we want, as opposed to the other way around.”
  • “If you set your mind to doing something, you can pretty much do anything.”
  • “The act of thinking about, and going through the process of writing a book, about your business, is incredibly clarifying.”
  • “Embrace the creativity in all aspects of the entrepreneurial journey.”
  • “Don’t ever let someone tell you that you cannot do something. You’ve got a dream, you’ve got to protect it. When people cannot do something themselves, they are going to tell you that you can’t do it. You want something; you go get it. Period.” – Will Smith in Pursuit of Happyness

Meet Boni and John Wagner-Stafford

Our guests are Boni and John Wagner-Stafford, co-founders of Ingenium Books, a hybrid publishing company – an alternative to both traditional publishing and self-publishing. After downsizing their lives, and packing up all their belongings, they left Canada with 4 suitcases, their 2 cats, and a guitar. Since then, Boni and John have been running their business while also traveling and living the life they want to live.

Smart Man, Smarter Woman References

We talk about a lot in each episode; however, we don’t want you to miss a thing! Here are some key items were mentioned if you want to take a closer look.

Website Recommendations:

Book Recommendation:
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, by Stephen R. Covey

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Steve Loates (00:00):

Hi everyone. And welcome to the podcast. Smart man, Smarter Woman. A podcast for all entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs. And thank you very much for joining us today. I am Steve Loates…

Juliet Aurora (00:14):

And I am Juliet Aurora.

Steve Loates (00:16):

And we are your co-hosts. And before I introduce today’s special guests with an S, let’s hear from our wonderful cohost, that smarter woman herself, Juliet. How are you doing today Juliet?

Juliet Aurora (00:31):

I am excellent. Thank you. And normally, I take a couple minutes to chitchat with you and say something maybe humorous. I’m not going to do that today, because I think that the guests that we have on today’s show, are living my dream life. So, I want to spend as much time as possible, learning how they did that. So, I don’t want to talk about anything else. So over back to you Steve.

Steve Loates (00:55):

Okay. So, that was a hint for me not to be so long-winded this time and just get straight to it. Is that what you’re saying?

Juliet Aurora (01:01):

A very subtle hint. Yes.

Steve Loates (01:02):

Perfect. Okay. Well, I did get the hint, that’s great. Well, as Juliet said, we have a great show for you today with another one of our two for one deals. Where we’ve got a husband and wife and business partners, Boni and John Wagner-Stafford, and they are the co-founders of Ingenium Books. But that’s not the reason we got them on the podcast. They actually have a great story. I don’t want to get too much into it yet. So, let’s bring our guests onto the show, Boni and John. Welcome guys and thank you for joining us today for Mexico.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (01:40):

Hey, you’re welcome. It’s super good to be here. Nice to be talking to you guys and nice to meet you.

John Wagner-Starfford (01:46):

Thanks for having us.

Steve Loates (01:48):

Our pleasure. So, as Juliet said, I’m really looking forward to today’s conversation. As I mentioned, not only did Boni and John have a great story that I think we may all be just a little bit jealous of, but because we’re going to talk about, first of all, one of the challenges some entrepreneurs have, and that is getting the book published. But we’re probably going to get to that a little bit later. Maybe let’s start out before we get to that. If Boni and John you could maybe share with us, who you guys are? What you do? Who you help? And even maybe where you do it from? It’s all yours.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (02:29):

Perfect. Yep. That sounds great. So, I’m Boni Wagner-Stafford and…

John Wagner-Starfford (02:33):

I’m John Wagner-Stafford.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (02:37):

We both have double-barreled last names because when we got married, however many years ago, that was 10 coming up 11, I don’t know. We each took the other’s maiden name, and that was John’s idea, it wasn’t my idea. So, my maiden name is Wagner and John’s is Stafford, and so, we are both Wagner-Stafford. That tells you a little bit about the partnership mindset that we have, which I think really helps us both in our business and in our lives. So, Ingenium Books is the publishing company that we are co-founders of. And we are a hybrid publisher of outstanding nonfiction. And we specifically empower professional women to bring more meaning to their lives by helping them write, publish and market their books so they can grow their influence, create more impact and enjoy a greater sense of accomplishment.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (03:35):

So, one of the next questions we usually get is, “What the heck is a hybrid publisher?” And just to get that out of the way, there has been a huge evolution in the publishing industry over the last decade and a half. And there’s self-publishing options all over. Authors have never had so many options and choices in front of them, and that can be very empowering or can be very overwhelming. So, you can do it yourself. You can look for a traditional publisher with that wonderful notion of getting an advance. And then all you do is write your book and the publisher does everything else. And then maybe you’ll get a royalty check a couple of times a year, and that’s increasingly a pipe dream.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (04:18):

And then there’s hybrid publishers in the middle where we are a little bit of both. We publish professional quality nonfiction, in a partnership where the author invests a little bit upfront for a greater share of the returns on the back end. And the books that we publish are indistinguishable from anything that’s traditionally published, in terms of the quality, both the editorial and the packaging and sales. So, that gives you a little bit about the company and what we do. How we got here is quite something else awesome altogether.

Juliet Aurora (04:56):

Yes. And we definitely want to hear your story of how you got there. So, Steve wasn’t going to allude to any of it. So, I’m going to just jump in, so that we can jump into this story here, because it’s an amazing story. So, you both used to live in Canada?

Boni Wagner-Stafford (05:11):


Juliet Aurora (05:12):

And now permanently full-time live in Mexico?

Boni Wagner-Stafford (05:15):


Juliet Aurora (05:16):

And live as a combination between Mexico on-land and Mexico on a boat.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (05:22):

That’s correct.

Juliet Aurora (05:24):

And I’m sure our audience is like, “What! What do you mean?” And you are still running a thriving business?

Boni Wagner-Stafford (05:31):


Juliet Aurora (05:32):

And made the decision. So, how long ago did you make this big life change?

Boni Wagner-Stafford (05:38):

Well, the departure from Canada was at the end of August 2015, but the preparation started probably a good two years in advance. Although, it started probably even a couple of years before that, when we were thinking, “Okay. We don’t want to be in the winter anymore.” My knees are short, I can no longer downhill ski. So, that was essentially the end of my pleasure with snow, and shoveling just wasn’t cutting it. So, we were like, “Why don’t we try to figure out how we create a scenario for our lives where we can be six months, somewhere warm, when it’s cold in Canada and then be in Canada the other six months.” So, we started sort of the downsizing journey then. And that “Aha” moment happened after we had come back. We were on a vacation in Mexico, and we’re looking at one another going, “Why aren’t we living here?I don’t understand.”

Boni Wagner-Stafford (06:38):

We didn’t want to go back home. And then after we got home, within the first week, we were in our commute in the car, drive an hour and a half each way. And so, as John was driving and I had nothing to do again. Well, we’re commuting to our corporate jobs in downtown Toronto. I did the math on how much time we were spending in the car, in our commute to work. And not including sleep time, so factoring only productive time. We were each spending eight weeks a year in the car.

Juliet Aurora (07:18):


Boni Wagner-Stafford (07:18):

Yeah. And I had just turned 50, and I was like, “No way, do I have eight weeks a year to spend sitting in the car. There’s no way.” And we immediately, that was at the end of February and we downsized out of our big house in Vaughan three months later, moved into a very tiny condo in downtown Toronto. And then within a couple of years, we actually left Canada. And the decision to come to Mexico was partly based on, we had done a couple of other trips to see what it felt like, we were in Costa Rica, and Mexico just had a better feel about it. It was a little bit cheaper. It was close enough to Canada, to still get back to see our kids.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (08:02):

So that was the reason that we chose Mexico. And originally we thought we were coming to Mexico to buy a cheap little beach house. And then, we were thinking at some point in the future, we would buy a boat. And that was going to be part of the future plan. And then when we first got to Mexico,…

John Wagner-Starfford (08:21):

On the Atlantic side.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (08:22):

On the Atlantic side, over on the Yucatan Peninsula, we had spent about six weeks. We looked at every piece of property within the budget range that we had set. And we actually had an offer in on one little place, and cost of real estate rules in Mexico are very different than they are in Canada. And so, we had no response at all from the property owner. Two weeks went by, we had no response to our offer and we’re going, “Oh my God, what’s happening?” And it was wonderful that we did not have a response, because what we realized as we waited, is that we were now tired of this area, and we kind of went, “Oh my God, what are we doing? We’re just about to exchange the same property ball and chain that we had in Canada for another property ball and chain. We don’t want to be tied to that.” And so, we kind of went, “Oh, we have to switch this up. We have to buy the boat first.”

Boni Wagner-Stafford (09:19):

So, we withdrew our offer. And John, of course, he’s always looking at sailboats. And we looked at several sailboats before we left Canada. So, John said, “You know where? We are we going to go to San Carlos on the Pacific side, that’s the best place to buy a boat in Mexico.” So, we gathered up our two cats and our guitar, and our four suitcases, which was everything we left Canada with. And we flew across, and arrived in San Carlos and bought our sailboat about three weeks later.

Juliet Aurora (09:46):


Boni Wagner-Stafford (09:47):


John Wagner-Starfford (09:47):

I want to interject here and kind of stay in the spirit of entrepreneurship and helping entrepreneurs out. One of the important things that worked well for us in this process and the very first stages is that, we recognized who we are, what type of people we are. And what we recognized is that we do not like to stay in one place for very long. And today, five years later after moving from Toronto to Mexico, we still don’t like to stay in one place for very long. So, by recognizing that early, in this decision-making process, it has played out in a way that has benefited us tremendously, because we’ve made all the right decisions, or the decisions have turned out to be good decisions in hindsight, because of that.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (10:38):


Juliet Aurora (10:40):

One of the things that you said, was that when you started thinking about this journey, you were thinking of doing six months somewhere warm and six months in Canada. Which is typically the way that most people will address it, and most people will try and formulate their lives. So, how did you make that switch from, “let’s find somewhere warm to go for six months a year” to, “okay, let’s move somewhere permanently for 12 months a year.”?

Boni Wagner-Stafford (11:08):

That’s an excellent question. And I can’t think of any other way to answer it, except that it was economics. So, we did not have and did not want to have a piece of property that we were still tied to in Canada. We wanted the complete flexibility. So, I think it’s fair to say that when we left Canada, that 1st August, we actually didn’t know whether we were going to come back in six months. And we were kind of leaving that open but as John said, “No grass grows under our feet ever, anywhere, and really never has.” I’ve moved more than 50 times by the time we made this move. So, I’m just used to in my life picking up and trying something new, going [inaudible 00:12:02]

Juliet Aurora (12:02):

Wow. I think I’ve moved four times.

John Wagner-Starfford (12:05):

There’s a book in that by the way. Moving 50 times in 50 years. Not many people have done that. So, there’s a book.

Juliet Aurora (12:12):


Steve Loates (12:14):

Absolutely. And you guys probably know someone who could help public. [inaudible 00:12:18]

Boni Wagner-Stafford (12:18):

Yeah. We probably do. But this speaks to one of the things that we were talking about just before we started to record, which is, as entrepreneurs, we’re all familiar with the necessity of embracing risk. And as entrepreneurs who embrace risk, there are still shades of gray in there. Every entrepreneur is not comfortable with the same degree of risk. And I think that John and I are simply more comfortable with a high degree of risk in many areas.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (12:58):

So, leaving Canada. One of the reasons I think people come back for six months, it relates to social services, health coverage. And you’ve got to have a passion for the summer times in Canada, which are arguably gorgeous. And for us, it was like, “Okay, we want to create something different. We want to have a different experience. And so we’re just going to let that happen.” If that makes.

Juliet Aurora (13:28):

Okay. Yeah. Definitely…

Steve Loates (13:33):

Go ahead Juliet.

Juliet Aurora (13:34):

So, before we get into what the benefits are, or what the upside is. Can you tell us what maybe was one of the most difficult things about making this decision?

Boni Wagner-Stafford (13:47):

Yes. Excellent question. So, I think this is why people might not do this. This is the kind of thing that is arguably very difficult. So, one of the things, we got rid of all our furniture and we had two pianos, and we’re musicians and we sang in the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. And we had all this stuff. And we had the leather reclining furniture in the living room and the car. All that stuff. So, we had to get rid of and we chose to get rid of all of our material possessions. I mentioned, we left Canada with four suitcases, our two cats, and a guitar and that was it. And we left nothing in storage. My son had a couple pieces of art that I didn’t want to part with, and that was it.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (14:38):

But one of the things that I had to do that was extremely difficult was, I had to go through and get rid of a steamer trunk full of photos from my mother, who had passed away about 15 years prior to us leaving. And she was young when she died and it was traumatic, as anybody who’s lost their parent can attest to. And so, I had all these photos. I spent about seven hours in one weekend, looking at every single picture, putting them in one pile. This is the pile for digitization, and this is the garbage pile.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (15:16):

And I took three garbage bags full of my mother, out to the cab. And what I had to and I chose to, what I realized is that my mother lives within me. The memories of my mother can never be taken away. My mother is not the photo. My relationship with my mother is not the photo. And so, that was part of that process. We are material creatures, thanks to the society that we’ve created in North America and Western society. And giving up that material connection, I think is probably what keeps most people from doing what we’ve done.

John Wagner-Starfford (16:05):

Yeah. Absolutely. I would agree with that.

Juliet Aurora (16:09):

I can’t even imagine packing up our life into four suitcases. I can’t even imagine

John Wagner-Starfford (16:15):

One thing that comes to mind when Boni is talking about that is, another part of the decision-making and the journey that we went through in the early stages of this, was believing in the universe and having faith that we know what we’re doing, we’re taking a decision, and we’re happy with having trust in ourselves, and trust in the universe to allow things to play out as they will, and will in turn, allow us to react to things as they come forth.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (16:48):

Yeah. We knew where we wanted to go without having to know what every little detail was going to be.

Steve Loates (16:55):


Juliet Aurora (17:00):

And I guess for most people, if you were to think about it, what is the worst that could have happened? You hated it, and you went back to Canada?

Boni Wagner-Stafford (17:08):


Juliet Aurora (17:09):

And you bought a house?

Boni Wagner-Stafford (17:10):


Juliet Aurora (17:13):

I would never think of it that way. For me, it would be, “Oh my God, I’m selling all my stuff.” But realistically, I can buy it all again.

Steve Loates (17:22):

Yeah. I think you have to reach a point that it appears that it is just stuff.

John Wagner-Starfford (17:30):


Steve Loates (17:31):

The problem we have, I think for many of us, and I’m certainly guilty of it, is we get too attached to stuff. That’s why it becomes difficult as Juliet said, to imagine packing up our lives, because it’s packing up our stuff into four suitcases. And I think, probably, one of the first things that has to happen is, you’ve got to get your head past that. That it is just stuff. And like you say, have faith in the universe, that your happiness is not tied to that stuff. But I think that that is a very difficult thing for many of us to do.

John Wagner-Starfford (18:19):

Yeah. There’s a financial component to hearing that some of us might think, “Oh gee, all the money that we would spend on flights and this and that to have it just turned around again.” Is a negative, is not the right thing to be doing. But you can also consider that was the way to test it. And if it’s that cost to test what might’ve been the best thing in your life, why not? And it ends up being not that very costly.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (18:50):

Yeah. And I was going to stay that your happiness isn’t tied to your stuff, neither is your identity. And I think that’s actually more. Its our identity is tied with our stuff, whether it’s happiness or misery. It’s our identity. So we don’t have much on that.

Steve Loates (19:12):

Well, I think you’re right, Boni. I think that’s exactly what it is. We’re guilty of that. That our identity becomes connected with stuff. Becomes connected for a lot of us. With our business. We are what our business is, which really is nonsense. It happens particularly with entrepreneurs.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (19:36):


Juliet Aurora (19:37):

And you did say one statement before we started. Before we went live, that I would like you to share with our audience. Because I thought it was so important as to why you started your business and how you started your business versus building your life around your business. So, if you could share that, I think it’s very profound for our audience.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (19:56):

Happy to. So, now we have a business that supports the life that we want. We don’t have a life that works around the business. And it is because of that decision-making process that we went through, leading up to our departure from Canada was we want to create this kind of a life, and our business was created after we left, to fit the life that we want. As opposed to coming up with a business idea, and then making our lives fit around the business idea. And I know some fantastic entrepreneurs, serial entrepreneurs who create these fantastic businesses, and then say, “Oh man, but I want to be doing more of what you’re doing.” But they can continue to create these businesses, that have bricks and mortar and the requirement to be in a physical space…

John Wagner-Starfford (20:49):

And are very successful and are making a lot of money.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (20:52):

Exactly. But they still have that, “Oh, I want to be doing what you’re doing.” So, our business matches the life we want as opposed to the other way around.

Juliet Aurora (21:03):

And that is so rare. Because most entrepreneurs build their business and then fashion their life around what their business needs. Especially, as they’re building it.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (21:14):


Juliet Aurora (21:14):

And even though you started your business after you made the move, you did it the other way around, which I think…

Steve Loates (21:21):

I do have to ask the question. Why publishing? Why did you choose the business you chose?

John Wagner-Starfford (21:30):

Great question.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (21:30):

Yeah. That is a fantastic question. So, I’m a former journalist. I spent 15 years as a television and radio reporter, largely in Western Canada. And then, the next little over a decade, I was with the Ontario government in communications. Always responsible for editorial projects. Story and working with words. Editorial stuff has always been a fabric of who I am. And when we left Canada, I was ghostwriting books for other authors. And it was kind of like all that’ll be a little bit of income that comes in, and I can keep doing that, and we can keep doing our other things. And John is a serial creative entrepreneur. You want to talk a little bit about what you did..

John Wagner-Starfford (22:20):

Yes. Just briefly with me, I’ve spent most of my entrepreneurial days leading creative teams in the television and entertainment business. And video games, as a producer of sound. And so, I was leading teams of 11 people or 160 people with all varying budgets. Producing the soundtracks or film television advertising and video games. And from that, I’m just going to pinpoint something here, one of the qualities that I possess, which allowed me to do that, in that entertainment business in the time is that, I find solutions to problems. And Boni has just recently renamed me the “Solution Superhero”…

Boni Wagner-Stafford (23:05):

Because I create problems.

Juliet Aurora (23:10):

Perfect. That’s a perfect combination.

John Wagner-Starfford (23:12):

Yeah. And so, my background as an entrepreneur, is in that managing projects and teams and getting the job done for higher power producer or the owner of the film or whatever.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (23:28):

That was our background and we worked together on a business between those corporate jobs in downtown Toronto. We made a finite time commitment to help another business set up franchise systems. And so, we did that and when that was finished, it was like, “Okay, now what?” That’s when we said, “Okay, off we go, here it is.” And we left Canada. So, I was doing this editorial stuff and working with other authors on their books. And part of the experience that I had there, was these authors and I, would work very closely together and we would end up with these fantastic manuscripts. In my humble opinion.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (24:09):

And I’m not saying that to blow my own horn, but to demonstrate the part of the challenge that faces any entrepreneur or anyone else who wants to write and publish their own book. So, we would end up with these great manuscripts and then the authors would go away and embark on their self-publishing journey. And I watched them fall flat. Be disappointed, not be happy with the results. The learning curve is too steep. The technological basis is continually changing. And they, for one reason or another, didn’t have the experience that they wanted.

Steve Loates (24:46):

To get the book successfully held in front of their audience?

Boni Wagner-Stafford (24:51):

Right. So, John and I were kind of, “Oh. Well, instead of just doing ghostwriting or just editing manuscripts, we can help with this.” By this point, written and published our own book, Rock Your Business, for people just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey. All the nuts and bolts and the basics that you need to know.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (25:11):

So, we had just published our own books, self-published of course. So, we did the whole thing and we were like totally see why it catches people up. We didn’t have anything else that we were busy doing while these other people were busy running their counseling practices or their mortgage broker business or whatever else they were doing. So, we started to help authors with that self-publishing journey. And we were a service provider. So, you give us a fee, we’ll do the service and off you go. And we did that right up to the point of publish.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (25:44):

So, they would still manage the uploading to Amazon and other distributors. And they would still do all of that. We would just get them to publish. And we watched the same thing happen. For example, I would spend three to four hours live with each client, walking them through how to get their book up on Amazon and how to get their book up on IngramSpark. And we’re like, “This is crazy.” So, I’ve done it a bunch of times, and they’re doing it for the first time. So, instead of having them go through all that X, so we now do all that. And we’ve totally gone into the hybrid publishing where we do all of that stuff including support for the all-important marketing bits. But we want make it an easier point of entry, and so, we split the royalties with the authors, have being invested in the front end.

Juliet Aurora (26:52):

Excellent. So, the last question that I have is, I did ask what you found was one of the hardest things of making the decision. What is the biggest reward that you guys have felt over the last five years? I’m making this decision to change our lives.

John Wagner-Starfford (27:11):

That’s a good question.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (27:12):

I’m going to say exhilaration. For me, I love the freedom. I’m looking out on this beautiful ocean view right now, and when we’re done recording here, I’m probably going to go and take a dip in the ocean, because it’s still warm enough. We’ve got another probably three weeks, where we can still swim in the ocean. And two years ago, we made a decision to get off the boat for a little bit of time and when we went and spent seven months in France. I had never been to France. And we continued to work. We took our business with us. So, it’s that exhilaration. I feel completely alive, connected with the universe, connected with who I am. And I can’t really imagine another way of doing things.

John Wagner-Starfford (28:10):

Yeah. And it’s a demonstration to me about, if you set your mind to doing something that you are really passionate about, you can pretty much do anything, obviously within reason. But we set ourselves up to go and live in Mexico. Great. And then we decided to go to France for seven months. Who would be crazy enough to do that? We did. And it was easy. Things get easier and more fun. Great benefits.

Steve Loates (28:37):

Yeah. That’s fantastic.

Juliet Aurora (28:39):

Very inspiring.

John Wagner-Starfford (28:39):

I could talk to you guys for probably the rest of the day, but Boni needs to go and have a dip, and I respect our audience.

Steve Loates (28:50):

So, that brings us to the part of the show where we ask all of our guests. We have six questions. We ask all of our guests the same questions. And it’s usually kind of fun and I’m sure it will be this time. So, if you guys are ready, I would like to begin our Smart Man, Smarter Woman version of James Lipton’s Q&A from Actors Studio. So, are you guys okay with that?

Boni Wagner-Stafford (29:18):

We’re ready.

John Wagner-Starfford (29:18):


Steve Loates (29:19):

Perfect. First question. What one word best defines an entrepreneur?

Boni Wagner-Stafford (29:26):


Steve Loates (29:28):


John Wagner-Starfford (29:28):

And my word is opportunist.

Steve Loates (29:31):

Okay. A fearless opportunist?

Boni Wagner-Stafford (29:34):


Steve Loates (29:38):

What profession, other than your own would you like to attempt?

Boni Wagner-Stafford (29:49):

There isn’t one. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Steve Loates (29:54):


John Wagner-Starfford (29:54):

And I’ve done so many different things in my life. I think I’d be happy to go back to being a musician and working in the music industry.

Steve Loates (30:05):

Awesome. What profession would you like never to attempt?

Boni Wagner-Stafford (30:10):

Medical doctor.

John Wagner-Starfford (30:11):

Oh. That was mine. Medical doctor, lawyer…

Boni Wagner-Stafford (30:15):

Lawyer, medical doctor, accountant. None of that.

Steve Loates (30:22):

Okay. What sound or noise do you love?

Boni Wagner-Stafford (30:29):

Didn’t see that on the list. I love the sound of the ocean on the beach. Actually, there’s a more specific sound. I’m sorry. Did I just steal…

John Wagner-Starfford (30:38):

No, go ahead.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (30:38):

When you’re standing on a rocky beach and the waves are coming in. When the water goes out, the rocks all hit on one another and it makes this unbelievably gorgeous, crackling sound. It’s beautiful. I would say that’s my favorite one.

John Wagner-Starfford (30:59):

For me, it’s crashing waves.

Steve Loates (31:02):

Okay, perfect. What book would you recommend every entrepreneur should read?

John Wagner-Starfford (31:11):

I’m going to start with that. Once I read this book, when I was I think 15. Stephen J Covey, Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. Amazing book, had such a huge impact in my life. And I still refer back to it every day, every week. Some of the principles in that book.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (31:33):

Yeah. And my answer is that it is the one they write. And the reason for that, is that the act of thinking about, and going through the process of writing a book about your business or about your life, but in particular about the business or related to the business, is that it is incredibly clarifying. You identify, in a very concrete way, your audience. You identify in a very concrete way, the problem you solve for them, and you identify and articulate in a very clear way, the solution to their problems. And I can’t think of a better way to improve your business or the offering that you have for your clients.

Juliet Aurora (32:22):


Steve Loates (32:23):

Okay. And last question, when your own entrepreneurial journey is completed, what do you hope your legacy is?

John Wagner-Starfford (32:33):

My answer to that, when I was reading that just earlier, my first reaction was I’m never going to end my entrepreneurial journey, [inaudible 00:32:40]. And then, I had to take that to the next level and say, “Well, there’s a couple of levels of a legacy.” And one of them is a familiar or a family legacy, or what people think of me, what they would say about me when I’m not doing this anymore. And I hope that people would say that I always did the right thing, as an entrepreneur or as a human. And then on the other side of things is, what would I like to leave behind? I’d like to know and leave behind that I’ve touched as many people as possible in a positive way about their entrepreneurial journeys and their lives, in a positive way.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (33:23):

Excellent. And my answer is probably not thinking big enough but when I read the question and reflected on what my answer to that is is quite probably basic. I want to leave behind, and like John, my entrepreneurial journey isn’t going to be over until you’re sprinkling my ashes out in the ocean. But at that point, I want to have created something meaningful for my sum and for John’s kids. And that meaning, it may be economic or financial, or emotional or lessons. And maybe it’s a little bit of all of those, but I want to make sure that I leave my son and our kids better for having us than not.

Steve Loates (34:15):

Awesome. Those were awesome answers guys. Thank you. Now for those in our audience who would like to connect with you. They’re ready to write their book, and they need to connect with you. What is the best way for them to get in touch?

Boni Wagner-Stafford (34:28):

Probably by email. My name Boni is spelled funny, it’s B-O-N-I. And that is because my name is actually Bonita, which causes the Mexicans all kinds of grief, because Bonita means beautiful. Nobody’s name is Bonita down here, but anyway, so Boni@ingeniumbooks.com.

Steve Loates (34:52):

Ingenium is I-N-G-E-N-I-U-M?

Boni Wagner-Stafford (34:57):

Correct. Yes.

Steve Loates (34:59):

Awesome. Do you guys have any final thoughts before we conclude our episode that you would like to share with our audience of entrepreneurs?

John Wagner-Starfford (35:11):

Ingenium. Creative thinking, creative mind. That’s the meaning of the word ingenium. And how we came up with that was because we were working in the creative realm.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (35:26):

And we needed to bring creative ideas to the very practical matter of what do we want our life to look like. So, I would say embrace the creativity in all aspects of the entrepreneurial journey.

John Wagner-Starfford (35:42):


Steve Loates (35:43):

Awesome. And what about you Juliet?

Juliet Aurora (35:46):

My wheels are spinning as to when we’re moving.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (35:49):

Right now.

Steve Loates (35:51):

We’re starting to pack our way tomorrow?

Juliet Aurora (35:53):

But not pack yet, but working out the logistics of how we can do this.

Steve Loates (35:59):

Okay. Terrific. And that brings us to this episode’s, Words Of Wisdom. There were so many that I thought of, that would be appropriate but then I came across this one, and I thought this is the one. And this is a quote that actually Will Smith said when he was playing Chris Gardner in the movie, The Pursuit Of Happiness, which was a great movie if you’ve never seen it. I think he was talking to his son when he said this, “Don’t ever let someone tell you that you cannot do something. You’ve got a dream. You got to protect it. When people cannot do something themselves, they’re going to tell you that you can’t do it. You want something, you go get it, period.” I thought that was appropriate.

Boni Wagner-Stafford (36:52):

I love it.

John Wagner-Starfford (36:53):

Great quote.

Steve Loates (36:56):

So, again, thank you very much guys. This has been awesome. The time has flown by. I’m sure there’s much more we’d love to chat about. Thank you very much to my awesome co-host once again, as you know, I could not do this without you. But most importantly, thank you to you, our audience for tuning in and for giving us a listen. We hope you found some value here today, and I’m sure you did. It’s probably got your wheels spinning a little. If you liked the podcast, please subscribe. You can find us in all the regular places, iTunes, Spotify or go to the website, smartmansmarterwoman.com. So, thank you until next time. Take good care of yourself and those that you love. Bye for now.

Song by Adam Vitovsky / CC BY 3.0

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Episode 29