144: Mental Illness is An Asset: Create Predictable Income Using Checklists, Life Mission Statements, and Tribal Connections with Mike Veny
Mental health speaker and drummer Mike Veny from TransformingStigma.com and Unleash Your Groove, who was hospitalized three times, expelled from three schools, and attempted suicide by age 10, gives us simple exercises we can use to become more focused, free up aggression, and become the person we really are. Mike has battled depression, anxiety, and OCD -- and talks to us today about how he's using drum circles to empower people connect authentically with each other and form a mission statement in life. He also tells us how he uses operations manuals and checklists to keep his businesses running smoothly.
Mike Veny: I'm doing wonderful. How are you Robert?
Robert Plank: Better than ever. Just getting kicked back on this Monday morning. Ready to do some of the entrepreneurial life style stuff.
Mike Veny: Cool, and hello to your listeners out there.
Robert Plank: I'm super glad that they're listening and that you're here. Could you tell us about yourself, Mike, and what makes you different and special?
Mike Veny: What makes me different and special ...
Robert Plank: Oh yeah.
Mike Veny: I'm Mike! That's what makes me different and special. No, I am a mental health speaker and I'm also a drummer and I have a very unique business that really helps people who are struggling with mental health issues, a big topic in this country right now. At the same time, I work with corporate America with drumming to teach adults how to work better together in the workplace like me.
Robert Plank: Interesting. Cool, so I mean out of all the stuff you've listed, the drumming sounds like super crazy and out there, which is something I love, so can you tell us about that drumming stuff?
Mike Veny: Well, I started playing drums in the fifth grade and the reason I started drumming was because I heard it on Sesame Street and I always just liked the sounds of the drums and for some reason I was struggling with mental health issues and behavioral health issues. In fact, I was hospitalized three times in a psychiatric hospital and expelled from three schools for behavior problems and actually tried to take my own life at age ten. Drumming was the only thing that calmed me down and made me feel good. It worked better than the other medication they were giving me. I decided to become a professional drummer, not just because it is cool. I mean, it is pretty cool if you're a drummer, but also because it was my medication. I'm thirty-seven years old and it's still my medication that I use and what I love about it is, I'm able to share it with others.
I do a very advanced form of what we call drum circles, and a drum circle is typically when you have people in a circle drumming and jamming along to grooves, but I have created a lot of activities and games for adults to use with drumming to not only play great music, but to learn some lessons about working with each other.
Robert Plank: That's awesome. Did I hear that right that you don't medicate or anything like that? It's all just these drumming exercises?
Mike Veny: Yeah and when it comes to mental health, and for any of you listening out there, seek the guidance of a doctor whenever you have any kind of issue. I worked with my therapist and just basically came to the conclusion that I was going to try what we call alternative medication, which is exercise, meditation, good friends and music.
Robert Plank: Cool, so instead of maybe like the short cut way, which seems easy, but seems to have these other side effects, you kind of found your own way to make this thing work.
Mike Veny: Yeah, can I say something about that? That we, as a society, are short cut people sometimes. If we're single and we want to be in a relationship, we can just quickly download a certain app and just start swiping away at different profiles and I'm learning more and more that in order to move forward in your life, sometimes things involve real difficult work and you have to see certain things as a process, not a destination. Such as building your business or building your career.
Robert Plank: Let's talk about that because you took us up to about eight to ten or so and you discovered this drum circle thing and I mean obviously it's been a couple decades since that. How did you get from point A to point B I guess?
Mike Veny: Well, in my mind, I think ... my vision when I was sixteen was that I just wanted to play drums in a jazz club with drunk people in the audience. That's what I wanted to do. I told my parents that and I think they really were very concerned, but they still supported me. They understood and supported me. When I started drumming and playing professionally, I also started teaching privately and there was an organization that asked me to come in one day and work with a group of kids. Said, "Can you teach drums to a group of kids," and I said, "Okay, I'll see if I can figure it out," and I did that and it worked so well that they started asking me to work with adults. I thought, "This is weird."
Then, more companies started asking me and I realized that I had a problem on my hands that I could either surrender to or run away from and a lot of times ... What I've learned Robert, is that when we have opportunities in life, sometimes we can surrender to them or run away from them, but if you let your ego get caught up in, "This is how I want to look to the world," and don't allow yourself to surrender to opportunities, sometimes that can be a lost career changing thing in your life. I surrendered to it and next thing I know, I was booked doing interactive drumming events around New York state and now I'm doing it around the country. In fact, I'm going to be in Haiti in October doing it with a company, so I'm loving it.
Robert Plank: That's awesome and I know that we kind of have two sides of the coin to talk about today. There's the part of the business that you've built and then there's this message you have and these techniques you have for solving this problem. The thing I like about that and I guess the common thread I keep hearing from entrepreneur after entrepreneur is that they kind of have some kind of an idea of what they want to do and they kind of like do it and they put all their energy into it and then it leads to this next logical step, it leads to this next logical step, but it's one of those things where it's like you wouldn't of ... like you said, you wouldn't of come across the becoming a public speaker or teaching this drum circle stuff to adults if you hadn't first just tried it with kids. Even that wouldn't of happened if you hadn't first had this dream of being a drummer and stuff like that. Is that right?
Mike Veny: Yeah, absolutely and I love that you just said that because it's like literally you take you and me right now. We're doing this podcast interview. Next time in California, I might ask you to meet up for coffee, we go to a really cool coffee shop and discover that you and I both want to go into the coffee business and building a coffee business that's even bigger than Starbucks. That's just kind of how life works, but you and I would both have to surrender to that at some level if it were to happen. The other thing I want to bring up is the importance of mission statement in life. Mission statement is a thing that sometimes, when people are building businesses, they see that little spot in the business plan and struggle to find powerful words that can go in there.
A mission statement is so important to life and it's something that you discover with time. It's nothing you can go out and get tomorrow. I discovered that my mission life was to empower people to connect authentically. That's, if you hang out with me as a friend, that's when I work on the mental health stuff. I'm empowering people to connect with themselves and when I do the drumming, I'm empowering people to connect. It's actually really just one theme that I basically express in several different ways.
Robert Plank: Is there a reason why the drum circle stuff works? Or do you have a theory on that? Is it a matter of like people having a way to express themselves? Is it some kind of a outlet? Is it the group aspect, is it a focus, is it in the zone aspect? What do you think makes this drumming thing work?
Mike Veny: Well, it's everything you just said actually. My initial thought was, "It's 'cause drumming is just cool!" That's why it works, but no, it works for several reasons. One of the things that I'm learning is that people are tribal. We all are tribal people and even if you're listening to this right now and you are an introvert, we still have a need, at some deep level, to be part of a group. When I do a drumming event, every single person involved is part of that group and we all get to bond. The other thing that happens is when you have people in a circle, it really allows people to take off their mask, their social shell and just be themselves. If you think about kindergartners, how they sit in a circle and do things. They get to just kind of be themselves.
Even twelve step programs like alcoholics anonymous are very successful because people are sitting in a circle. It makes everyone an equal and it immediately allows everyone to feel good. The other thing is the pent up aggression that we all carry. I mean all of us have stress, different issues that we're walking around with and to be in a safe environment where you can just hit stuff and make noise and act like a fool is something that people just never get to do at all. That's some of the short answer as to why I believe the drum circles are successful.
Robert Plank: Even when you describe that, it almost sounds like kind of with the drumming, it's almost like going back to that kindergarten kind of age when things were simpler or you were happier and all the weight of being an adult didn't kind of weigh you down. You know what that reminds me of? You know what I always wanted to try was that thing where you pay five bucks and you get to have a bat and you get to beat the crap out of a car. It's almost like that kind of thing-
Mike Veny: Yep.
Robert Plank: ... But safer I guess, because you're using drums.
Mike Veny: Yes, no absolutely and that's the thing. Think about the world we live in. With all the news around violence. How many people are living with pent up aggression that they need to let out in a healthy way? That's why I think it's just important for all of us, whether it's drumming or something else to find healthy ways to let out your aggression, especially if you're an entrepreneur building a business. Because you know what? It's a lovely thing to be an entrepreneur, but really difficult to get your project off the ground. Really difficult.
Robert Plank: Let's talk about that. What are your thoughts about that? What have you found that ... out of all your years of entrepreneurship, what do you think people need to be doing differently? Not just as far as like their actions, but also as far as their inner game and their inner voice and all that stuff. What should people be doing differently as entrepreneurs as opposed to just employees?
Mike Veny: Wow, that's a great, great question and I'm going to try to answer this as quickly as I can out of respect for everyone's time. There's two things. Number one, talking to the people who are listening, who are just thinking about starting a business or in that beginning phase. One thing I always suggest to people starting out is to not spend much time talking about your idea, but executing your idea. Because a lot of times in today's entrepreneurship world, people really just get caught up in the idea of just going to business plan competitions and just talking about their idea to their friends, but very little time on action. Action is uncomfortable, action is difficult. Action makes you feel vulnerable, you actually have to go out and sell whatever it is that you are trying to make. I think it's really important to do that.
For those that are in business like myself, one thing I suggest that has really helped me increase my income, is the importance of writing down all of the processes in your business into an operations manual. This way, you can run a business from a checklist. My business is very easy for me to run because I just go to the checklist. My assistant goes to the checklist. Everyone on my team has a checklist. This way if I'm not around, there's a predictable way for this machine to run and so a lot of people never get to that point because they say it feels too corporate or it feels like they're in the regular job that they were trying to leave, but that actually is one of the reasons that a business like UPS is so successful, because all of the drivers have a checklist for different things that they have to do. That's why they are, I'm going to say, predictable for the most part with delivering what they deliver. It's very important for entrepreneurs to hear.
Robert Plank: Do you have a specific checklist you can kind of walk us through that you use in your business?
Mike Veny: Absolutely. One of my favorite checklists to use is my budgeting checklist. Each month I have to deliver a budget for the upcoming month. I have to do this on the twenty-fifth and if it's not done by the twenty-fifth, believe it or not, my assistant has a checklist item to email me and remind me, because we have to upload that into Quick books because there needs to be a budget before the first of the month for the following month. Part of that checklist and making a budget includes listing all the income that I project coming in, but doing that on the conservative side. Because a lot of times when we project income, we get all excited and like to put what we hope the income will be and one thing I've learned, as a business owner, is it's really important to yes, have goals, but also be realistic.
At the same time, with expenses, be very aggressive looking at worse case scenarios and this has allowed me to make the finances of the business actually very predictable for the most part, which is a very important goal that I achieved.
Robert Plank: Instead of flying by the seat of your pants, you actually are treating it like a real business, a real machine, not just something where you're playing around as a hobby.
Mike Veny: Absolutely, absolutely. You have to treat it like a real machine. You know what? If you don't, you're not going to make money from it. One of the things that I've learned the hard way, and maybe you've experienced this too with people that are just starting out. A lot of people start businesses because they want to get out of the corporate world. They don't like feeling controlled or held down or like they have to be under someone else.
When they get into business, they get really excited, but they eventually discover that the only way to grow their business is to actually become more corporate like in the sense that you have to run things with predictable systems and processes and policies. That's just very painful, so for a lot of you listening, what I'm saying might be very, very painful, but I promise you, for those of you that really make an attempt to develop these processes, you are going to see an immediate change in your income.
Robert Plank: I think that that was a pretty tough lesson to learn. For me, it took many, many years to have that realization and I think that a lot of us, or a lot of people who are employees, they want to just quit and have the freedom and they just want to wake up and stay in their pajamas all day, click the button and the money comes out of the computer and it's like, if only it worked that way right? If only there was a way to do that. We both kind of laugh about it, but I think at some point or another, we have kind of all secretly hoped that was true right?
Mike Veny: Absolutely, and one of the reasons for that, I believe, is television and what we see in the media about business. There's so many shows out on television about business and Shark Tank. A lot of times, we are creatures of what we see in society. We develop skewed perspectives about what business is. One thing I always tell people, if you want to see one of the most successful businesses in the country, go down to your local laundromat. It's one of the most successful businesses in the country, is a laundromat, but most people don't even think of that because it's like, "Oh, that's boring." A lot of times we get caught up more in the sexiness behind the idea and our idea versus just running a solid machine.
Robert Plank: That's pretty powerful because if you think about it, it's like which would you rather ... The whole point of having your own business is to make money, so which would you rather have? A really sexy idea that makes zero dollars or a boring idea that makes a good amount of money.
Mike Veny: Yeah, I'm going to take the boring idea.
Robert Plank: Yeah and there's so many stories like that of people who they had a really good idea in the back of their head and they went ahead and created the money making business first and then they were able to go ahead and do the dream. You look at your Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk or something. They all kind of did the ... I don't necessarily want to say practical, but they did the, like you said, the unsexy path first and once they were able to get that running, then they could go and play around and have fun.
Mike Veny: Yes, no absolutely. Can I just actually circle back to the mental health thing for a moment?
Robert Plank: Let's do it.
Mike Veny: I still live with mental health issues. I struggle with depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. I actually struggle with it so painfully that my entire body is affected by it. Yesterday, I couldn't move practically because of the depression. I really wanted to move, but I just couldn't. I'm not being lazy, I exercise and all that stuff, but having the checklist in place made it so much easier to get certain things done when I was depressed. The beautiful thing about process is, is that if you're a person like me who struggles with mental health issues it actually makes it a lot easier to get your work done. Even if you're not in business for yourself and you're just working a regular job, creating processes for yourself is going to make your life easier.
Robert Plank: I love that and the whole thing about those checklists that I found is that as I'm creating them or if I do that, I feel like it's almost kind of a waste of time until those days when there's just so many things to do. Like my focus is so split or there's such a deadline where I have to get a bunch of stuff done. For those times when I'm in a rush, there's all those things that I intuitively think I could've handled, but I always end up missing steps or doing something in the wrong order. Or like you said, I think that's pretty cool that even if you can't show up or you don't show up on a certain day to get a certain thing finished, then someone else can just kind of pick up that checklist and do it for you.
Mike Veny: Exactly, exactly, and I agree with you so much too. Setting them up is a pain. I get stressed out setting up these checklists. It's like why am I wasting my time thinking through this? But when you have days where there's a lot of things going on, you will feel very grateful for this simple, ancient form of entrepreneurial technology. The checklist.
Robert Plank: Whoever invented it, I mean, they are centuries, thousands of years dead, but what a genius, whoever that person was.
Mike Veny: Yeah.
Robert Plank: Cool, so kind of along those lines of your business and checklists and stuff like that. Could you tell us about everything that you do from the ... I know that you do, you have like a podcast, you do speaking, you have some websites. Can you tell us about all that cool stuff you do?
Mike Veny: Sure, I have a podcast. It's called the Mike Veeny Show and it only has three episodes, but it's people like yourself that are inspiring me to get a little more disciplined in that. Actually, I need to revisit my process for that. Producing the podcast to make it a little smoother to fit my life. In addition, I write for a website called Health Central. I write a lot of mental health articles that are there to help people. I write for Corporate Wellness magazine and I also have two websites. One is called UnleashYourGroove.com. That is my interactive drumming website and the other for mental health is called TransformingStigma.com. I invite anyone to just reach out to me if they ever have any questions about any of this stuff.
Robert Plank: Awesome, they should definitely do that and I want to thank you Mike for coming by and telling us, in our little compressed window of time, first of all, how you were able to overcome this common and kind of scary and sometimes even life threatening problem. That was cool and also to tell us about just like your philosophy and this whole checklist thing and how you have the mission statement and operations manual. It was all very helpful so thanks for coming by and sharing all that stuff. One more time, just to make sure that everyone for sure 100% has it, where can they go, what website, to find out more about you? One more time.
Suzy Prudden from IttyBittyPublishing.com has been on Oprah and is responsible for many books becoming bestsellers. She tells us that your book is a business BUILDER, not a business card, and that you can create an "itty bitty" book in just 15 pages to market yourself.
Suzy Prudden: Robert, they are fabulous. They just keep getting better. The older I get the better they get.
Robert Plank: That's what I like to hear. Everyday is the best day of your life because every day is better than before, right?
Suzy Prudden: Yes. I had a friend of mine say to me one time we were are a party. I said to him "I'm having the best time ever." With annoyance, he said "You always say that." I looked at him and I said "Yeah, I do." Then he realized that it was the best time ever. It didn't mean that the other days weren't any good, it just meant that this was the best. If every day is a best day, you're having a best life.
Robert Plank: That sounds like an amazing message. Can you tell me- You sound like an interesting person- Can you tell me about yourself and what it is you do? And what makes you different? Besides the obvious. Where to begin?
Suzy Prudden: Do we have an hour? Do we have three hours? Basically, I started my career when I was 22 in 1965. What happened was, my mother told me I couldn't date the boy I was dating, so I ran away and married him. That was when I was 19 and then I had to support him because he went back to school. At 22, then I decided to have a baby. Nothing made any sense, you have to realize.
I started a fitness school because my mother was the nation's foremost fitness authority. I became extremely successful and I've written nine books on fitness, two books on body/mind. I've done television, I had my own show on NBC in New York as fitness reporter for the Today Show. Had an amazing career. In '81, I divorced him. In '83, I sold my business and I retired at the age of 40. Then I had to figure out what to do with my life, but I didn't know who I was so I became a workshop junkie. Then I started making up new thoughts, programs, and body/mind programs. I just kept making stuff up and it kept working. Then I became a hypnotherapist and a body/mind technologist.
Everything kept leading me forward to the place where I am now, which is taking all of my skills and helping entrepreneurs create seven figure businesses starting with writing a small book which we call Itty Bitty Books. Which started with when my sister took my name off of a book that we were writing. When I saw that my name wasn't there, it meant that I didn't have to write the book anymore, but I could have authors write books and that's what I'm doing now.
An author writes an Itty Bitty book, which is the 15 steps to whatever their expertise is. Then we help them create a business which will help them make between six and seven figures within three to five years. It's exciting.
Robert Plank: It sounds like it. That's a pretty crazy story. I love how one thing kind of lead to the next logical step as opposed to not necessarily drifting around, but one kind of thing ran its course then it transitioned you into whatever this next stage was.
Suzy Prudden: Then I forgot to mention that eight months after doing Oprah, I ended up homeless because I didn't pay attention to my money. I spent it all. I took ten months- I never lived in my car, but it was a very educational experience. I knew it would change my life and it did. This was in the '90s, 1990. It caused me to have a different viewpoint on life and the importance of paying attention, of being present. The secret tells everybody you can ... There's a genie out there, wish for something and it will come to you. Yes, that's true and only if you take action. If you sit back and wait for it, it's not going to happen.
I am an action oriented person. I get an idea and I act on it and that's why I'm successful.
Robert Plank: I like it.
Suzy Prudden: That's why my authors are successful. The authors that I have that take action and do what I tell them make a lot of money.
Robert Plank: Imagine that.
Suzy Prudden: Exactly.
Robert Plank: They realize that they are an expert in a certain area, but their skills might be limited. They go to you as the expert, listen to what an expert says to do, it works. Pretty simple.
Suzy Prudden: Very simple. I have three coaches. I spent the morning with one coach- I'm so excited about the stuff that I'm doing with this particular coach. I believe in coaches. When I lost everything, I didn't have a coach. I didn't have a team. I was kind of winging it. I was successful, but I wasn't strategically successful. It was hit or miss. Now I am strategically successful. I have a team. I have coaches. I have people who keep me on track, who support me. I'm going to tell you something funny. I actually have someone who comes in once or twice a month and cleans my desk because I hate to do that. I'm looking at my desk right now and it's piled high with books, and tapes, and files. She's coming tomorrow and we're going to spend the whole morning cleaning my desk because I will not do it.
A lot of entrepreneurs believe they have to do everything themselves and they don't. I don't clean my house, I have somebody clean it. I change the cat box because it's kind of awful if you don't, but I do have someone who cleans my house. I have someone who cleans my desk. I have someone who makes my appointments because I don't have time because I'm doing the appointments. I'm out there getting authors, I don't have time to then hound people to say "You gave me your card, do you want to talk to me?" I have someone else do it.
Entrepreneurs, it is extremely important that you delegate because if you don't, you can't run your business in a way that's going to garner you the kind of income that you want. You'll be working. If you are an entrepreneur and you do everything yourself, you really just created yourself a job that has more hours than if you worked for somebody else.
Robert Plank: You just end up overworked and burned out. How do you tell the ... How do you, first of all, get the right people on your team, and how do you know when to do something yourself and when to delegate it? Like you said that you know to somewhat delegate cleaning of the desk, but then something simple you know to clean the cat box. How do you figure out those two things? Who to have and which to do yourself?
Suzy Prudden: It's very simple how I figured it out. I won't clean my desk. I have not been able to clean my desk since my very first career, that was in 1965. I have not changed. I am not going to change, I'm 73 years old today- Day before yesterday, a few days ago.
Robert Plank: Happy birthday.
Suzy Prudden: I won't do it. Thank you. I won't do it. If you have something that you won't do and you keep waiting to do it, it's not going to get done so just pick someone to do it. When it comes to the cat box, I could wait for my housekeeper to come, but that could be one or two weeks because she doesn't come every day. She comes once every week or once every two weeks depending how much time I'm spending in my house and how messy I make it. If I wait two days to clean the cat box, it stinks and I don't like the smell so I clean it. It's that simple.
Robert Plank: Why make it more complicated than it has to be?
Suzy Prudden: I do my dishes too because I don't like leaving them in the sink. The night before my housekeeper comes, I don't do my dishes because she's going to do them the next morning. That's strategic. That's so simple, it's ridiculous. I also have someone who makes my calls. She just had surgery this week, so she can't make my calls. I'm finding time to make those calls because she can't. That's just common sense. You've got to bring in a lot of common sense to business. You have to pick up the phone. If you're in business you have to pick up the phone. You cannot not pick up the phone, the money's in the phone.
When I'm talking to people, I find out what they need and then I strategize with them to help them get it. And because I'm a hypnotherapist, if someone has a phone phobia, I just hypnotize them to stop it.
I have a wonderful new company which is able to help people get in front of people, it's called Itty Bitty Publishing. You can go online and take a look at it, www.ittybittypublishing.com, Itty Bitty Publishing. We take experts and help them write a 15 step book on whatever their expertise is. Then we have a business builder program, that we just started recently, to help them turn their itty bitty book into a business that will give them six or seven figures depending on where they are in the moment. Some people are not at six figures, so we help them get to six figures. Some people are already at six figures, so why not make multiple six figures? If you're at multiple six figures, why not then make a million? It's all doable. It's all strategic. You have to keep it simple, but you need help.
How do I choose the people to work? If they're good at their job, I keep them. If they're not, I let them go.
Robert Plank: Once again, super simple advice. Why make it anymore complicated than it has to be? I guess you have these people that you work with and you have somewhat of a period of time when you're just trying them out and seeing how well they do.
Suzy Prudden: Yeah. You really have to look at if it's a fit, it's a fit. If it's not, it's not. Usually it takes about three months to know for sure. Be very careful hiring friends, very careful. Don't hire family.
Robert Plank: Good advice.
Suzy Prudden: My business partner happens to be my sister, but I can't do what she does and she can't do what I do. It's a perfect combination.
Robert Plank: Your sister is a partner, not an employee of yours.
Suzy Prudden: Not an employee. She was an employee in my other company, I had to fire her. It's much easier for her to be a partner.
Robert Plank: I like the idea of this itty bitty book and this 15 steps. I'm looking at the site and there's 15 steps to weight loss, 15 steps to traveling, cool stuff like that. Could you walk us through a case study of one of these clients you had, one of the books you-
Suzy Prudden: I'll give you my favorite. I have two favorites right now. Anthony who wrote a book the Little Black Book of Sales. I met him at a conference last year when we were only a year old, our company is only a year old. We have over a hundred authors so far. I met Anthony at a conference, I talked about Itty Bitty at lunch. He said "Let me have an application." He signed up a lunch, I never saw him before, he got the concept, he wrote the book, and he said to us over and over it changed his life. His book- He signed the contract in March. His book came out in June of last year. He's probably close to half a million dollars. Because of it, he uses his book as ... He's a sales coach for the automotive industry for car dealerships. He goes into car dealerships, he'll give a presentation. They hire him for a year to help their salesmen. He's gotten contracts anywhere from $18,000 for the year to $54,000 for the year. They send him to Dubai this year to speak for two weeks. He's probably close to half a million dollars because he has an itty bitty book. It's positioned him as an expert in his field and creates him as an automatic authority. That's one favorite.
The other one is [Cat Bonback 00:14:05] who wrote the book on marijuana. This is one of my favorite stories. When I spoke to her last year, last summer. I think it was in August. I met her at a conference. When I called her and spoke to her, I said "What do you do?" And she said "Well, I'm a full blooded gypsy." I went "Okay." She said "I'm a disabled vet." I said "Okay." She said "I'm a spiritual coach." I said "Okay." "And I'm a marijuana dispenser." I said "Okay." She lives up in Washington state. I said "What do you want to write about?" She said "I don't know, spiritual coaching?" I said "Cat, what's the low hanging fruit?" She said "I don't know." I said "It's pot." She said "Really?" She told me later she was afraid to tell me that she was a marijuana dispenser, but she took a chance.
I said "Yes. How about you write the book, you're amazing marijuana book, 15 ways to use cannabis for healing?" She said "How did you do that?" I said "That's what I do. Your next book is going to be 15 ways to talk to your children about cannabis. Your next book is going to be how to use edibles correctly. You're going to create a coaching program and you're going to teach people how to teach people how to use cannabis so they use it wisely. Go find out if cannabis coach is available," it wasn't. I said "How about the cannabis coach," it was. I said "buy it." I said "Buy the cannabis, US cannabis coach, national cannabis coach, and cannabis coaching certification program." She did. Then she said "What about Mary Jane?" I said "I had forgotten Mary Jane was a term for marijuana." She said "I want to do Mary Jane parties. I want to do them like Tupperware parties where we sell cannabis paraphernalia at parties." I said "Go buy Mary Jane parties." She did.
She started teaching her cannabis coaching certification program this past March. She was in a conference recently where she sold 61 places in her cannabis coaching certification program. In one day they made $92,000. That's a nice day.
I just got off the phone with her this morning. She's going to be doing one in Los Angeles either late this year or early next year. I told her she had to raise the prices because my coach told me I had to raise my prices, so I told her she had to raise her prices. Instead of $1,500 to become a cannabis coach, it's now $2,500 to become a cannabis coach.
Now she will take this business and there will be 50 cannabis coaches who are doing Mary Jane parties. They have to be licensed through her, they have to be certified through her, she gets money. They do the parties, she hooks them up with all the vendors. The vendors make money, the coaches make money, and she makes override.
Robert Plank: That's crazy. Your model works in just about any niche it sounds like.
When I'm hearing about the Itty Bitty Book and the 15 steps, how big of a book are we talking about? 15 steps comes out to how many pages in this model?
Suzy Prudden: Every chapter is one page.
Robert Plank: Super short.
Suzy Prudden: It's an itty bitty book. Here's how to look at it. Dummies came out in the '80s and they were the quintessential what you need to know book, but they're 350 pages. You have to read a Dummies book with a yellow highlighter. Itty Bitty Books are the yellow highlights. What we've done is taken the information that people need and simplified it so succinctly that it takes 20 minutes to read an itty bitty book and you can mark the pages you need to reference. On page one of each chapter, it's the information. Page two of each chapter is a bullet point to more information that you can then send them your website, "To reach more about this go to here." Then you can have a white paper on your website or a workshop that you're doing. You're sending people from your Itty Bitty Book back and forth to your website, to your book, to your website, to your book. You're constantly creating streams of income from your Itty Bitty Book to your website, from your website to your webinar, to your seminars, to your products (whatever it is you're selling). Or you can send them to somebody else, or some other information, depending on what the information is that they need.
Yes, it's an Itty Bitty Book so you can handle it, but it's much bigger if you choose to go further. In other words, you don't have to weed through a lot of information to get to the piece you need. You get the piece you need and then if you want to expand on it, it has a link. If it's a digital it goes right to their thing. It's paperback, on Amazon then you have to put the information into your computer. All the Itty Bitty Books are on Amazon and they're on the digitals.
We've done nine best selling campaigns so far and we have nine best sellers so far. We have another best seller- A best seller campaign every month. Every Itty Bitty author has the opportunity to become a best selling author. It's so exciting, I get speechless with excitement because it's giving so many people an opportunity to do so much more with what they had in the past. Now they have a further reach. They're all of a sudden international because they have a book on Amazon. That can operate on a lead generator to their business. We also have a whole thing on our website where we have a directory for anyone around the world can sign up in our directory. We send them leads when people click on their information and put in their information that they want to talk to this person about whatever product or whatever service, like Anthony has sales. If someone wants to learn from Anthony, they can contact Anthony. Then we send Anthony the lead. It's very exciting.
Robert Plank: That's pretty cool. I'm looking at your directory right now and I'm looking at Anthony's listing and that kind of stuff. What I like about the way that you've laid it out is that these people that you come in contact with who have a really good idea, they can get the book done quickly while also excited about it. Maybe before they met you, they've been struggling. Maybe some of them have half a book made and they thought it had to be 300 pages.
Suzy Prudden: So many of them have been writing their books for the last eight years. This is what we do. When you say yes and you give us some money, because we are a pay to play house, we send you a how to write an Itty Bitty Book book. We send you an Itty Bitty Book and we send you the template. If you read the how to write the Itty Bitty Book and you write it the way we tell you to write it, and you use the template, we've had people write their books in two afternoons. We also send you an agreement at that time. Then we have a long conversation about the agreement so you have a legitimate publishing agreement where you own the copyrights, we own the publishing rights. It's your material, you can do what you want with it, you just can't do it in the Itty Bitty format. It opens the door for you to do more.
Then we also have on our site, you'll see there's a thing there that says "Tell your story." Let's say you have a story. You can write your story, you'll send it to us, we'll put it up. We'll send your link to your story and we won't charge you. We'll put it up on our website. We will send you the link to your story so you send your story now to everybody you know. You ask them "Please send my story to every-" Then you have them link back to you. It's a way for you to get your stuff out there, it's not an Itty Bitty it's like a page. People have stories they want to tell.
I have a wonderful story that I tell about ... I can't tell it now, it's too long. It's about an experience I had during the days where I didn't have my own home. It's a great story. It takes three minutes to tell on stage, it would take a page and a half to tell in a written. It's not nearly as compelling written as it is when I speak it. I could put that story up, send it to everybody. People go "What a great story, I think I'll send this out to my friends." Then they contact Suzy if you want to write a story. I've got an opportunity for a million people to write their stories on my website.
Robert Plank: Cool. Why make it anymore complicated than it has to be?
Suzy Prudden: It's not complicated, that's correct. Then I can send them to, if they want a website like my website, it's a phenomenal website. There's an opportunity for them to contact my web person and say "I want to talk to you about a website." She's amazing and not at all expensive. I would highly recommend speaking to her. She's totally amazing. I don't know how this happened, I honestly don't. It's like magic happened when my sister showed me that cover, and after my ego got up off the floor because she took my name off it, I saw it as a multi million dollar business. Now working with my coach who is in Myrtle Beach and I'm in California. I go there, not every day, not every week. We talk mostly on the phone. I probably go there like three times a year. My company is growing exponentially. I saw that that would happen when I was at a conference last May in Las Vegas. I went "Whoa, this is the company that's going to grow my business." And it is.
Robert Plank: I don't want to keep you for too long. As we're winding this down, could you tell us out of all the clients you deal with and the people you work with to make their Itty Bitty Book and to get their coaching programs set up and stuff like that- What's the big number one mistake you see all these people making over and over again?
Suzy Prudden: Not finishing their books.
Robert Plank: Pretty simple. You're saying that these people who maybe if they've tried publishing in the past, or if they've gone through all the run around and all that stuff. What they should do is instead of trying to make it complicated, get an Itty Bitty Book, hire you for coaching, and make one of these 15 page things that has all their knowledge compressed and simplified so that people who want to know about whatever topic. About websites, or about marijuana type of stuff, they don't have to read the 600 page manual. They just get the condensed cliff notes version.
Suzy Prudden: Get the condensed version that will give them more information if they want it. If you've got an idea- I don't take every idea. I will tell you ... I don't take every idea that comes to me because know that some ideas would not fit into this format. That it would not serve the person. I only want to work with people that I know that I can help them really expand their careers. I will work with people to massage it into something that will expand their careers, but if I see that this book would not do that, I won't take them as an author. That's doing them a favor.
Robert Plank: That's cool. I've noticed especially lately as books have had the ... Since books are now on Kindle and a lot of books have had these internet resources where they say on such and such page, if you want to know more about that go over to this website. I like that a lot more as a reader because now it's more of a choose my own adventure. Now I don't have to only go with one chapter, I can pick- I can get the whole big picture really quickly. On let's say Chapter four or page four, if I want to go and take that deeper, now I have the choice to but I'm not forced to.
Suzy Prudden: It's up to you. The other thing, I had an idea just a second ago. You very often hear people say your book is your business card. It is not. It is absolutely not your business card. Your book is your business builder. We tell our authors to have business cards that are ... Just a second, what's the word that I'm looking for ... They're like bookmarks. Your bookmark is your business card, your book is your business builder. I don't like it when people give me a book that I don't want. I am very respectful of books, so I don't throw it away. Now I have to find it a home because it's cluttering up mine. I don't want it. Give me a business card, don't give me a book. I'm clear about that because people have tried to ... Please don't give me your book. But it's a good book, I'm sure it is. Please don't give it to me. If I want it, I'll buy it.
Robert Plank: I like that mentality behind that where it seems almost like everyone has it backwards. The average person says "I'm Robert or I'm Suzy, I do this stuff. Let me make a book about that." What you're saying is it's better to have this book that solves a problem so people are actually looking to solve that problem, looking for that book. They get it, they solve the problem as opposed to just reading it for the heck of it.
Suzy Prudden: People won't read it. I've been to seminars where the author, the seminar person, has done what I have done in 2006. Which was buy 2000 of my book, now I have to sell 2000 books. You end up giving them away. I walk into a seminar and especially with compilation books, and I'll see on every seat is a book. That author doesn't know what to do with them so he gives them away thinking it gives him credibility. In my mind, and I'm a snob because I was a best seller before the internet, that's when you actually had to buy the book. You don't have to buy books anymore to be a best seller. You can do a campaign on Amazon, be a best seller. You don't have to sell a lot of books to do that. If you want to be a best seller on the New York Times now you hire a company, you pay them $135,000 and they'll make you a best seller. When I was a best seller, you had to go into the book store and buy the book. I'm a snob.
You want to use your book, as I've always said, as a business builder. You don't want to put it on every chair in your seminar because what if somebody doesn't want it. Now they have to do something with it.
Robert Plank: How bad would that look or how bad does that look if all the books laid on all the chairs, and after you give your talk and everyone's on break all the books are left in the chairs. That sounds like a disaster.
Suzy Prudden: It's a little embarrassing. There are places where speakers speak where the person who hired them to speak wants to give the books to their participants. That's a whole different thing. Then that speaker sells the books to the person who is putting on the talk. That person gives them as a gift. It's different than if you "Take my book. Take my book. Take my book.." I don't want to take your book. I know it's a good book, but I'm not interest in your topic. Don't give it to me. Give me your business card.
Robert Plank: There is a much better way. I really like your thinking Suzy. I like your business model and your structure, your template. Could you tell us about where people can find Itty Bitty Publishing along with any other websites you want to mention here?
Suzy Prudden: The best way to do it is go to IttyBittyPublishing.com and get all the information. For your listeners, if you want to send in your stories, send in the story. Robert, why don't you send us a story? We'll put it up.
Robert Plank: About what? What do you want?
Suzy Prudden: You. How did you start this? How did you start doing these interviews? What's the story behind your interviews? How has it helped your career? How has it helped other people's careers? You see what happens then is you send it out and other people want to contact you and be interviewed by you. Now your business grows.
Robert Plank: Simple but it sounds very effective.
Suzy Prudden: Very effective and then you'll be part of the Itty Bitty family.
Robert Plank: IttyBittyPublishing.com. Thanks for being on the show, Suzy. Thanks for sharing your unique but clever, and at the same time simple, insight on how everyone can get that book finished that might have been on their back for five or ten years. Then also some of these cool strategies for getting these books sold. Getting it all promoted. Thanks for stopping by.
Suzy Prudden: Thank you for the opportunity.
142: Creativity is Your Biggest Resource: Get Published, Find Your Flow State, and Prevent Burnout with Spiritual Business Life Coach Tracee Sioux
We all tell ourselves three lies: that we don't have time, that we're low on money or priorities, and that we're not good enough. Luckily, nothing could be further from the truth and Tracee Sioux from TraceeSioux.com stops by to set us straight. She tells us how her strategy of content creation (books, CDs, and workbooks) and an online platform (site, social media, and newsletter) has helped her and others build a list and land public speaking gigs.
She has some great advice for aspiring and successful writers including:
- write at the same time every day
- structure, deadline, and smaller pieces (you can't force your creativity)
- take time off to recharge
She won the Utah State Newspaper Association Best Photograph Award and the Utah State School Board Association Award for exceptional journalism and she's a featured essayist on PunditMoms, Mothers of Intention. How women and social media are revolutionizing politics in America. How are things today, Tracee?
Tracee Sioux: They're fantastic. How are you?
Robert Plank: I am better than ever. What are we talking about today? What is it that you do? What are you good at? What makes you stand out? All that good stuff.
Tracee Sioux: Okay. Well, I'm a spiritual business and life coach, and an author, and I own a publishing company called Sioux Ink, Soul Purpose Publishing. I help other authors publish their work that feels like their soul calling. That's pretty fun. I love it. What am I good at? Words. I love words, I love design, I love art. I really just get to play all day. It's pretty awesome.
Robert Plank: That's what we're all looking for right? The dream job that's not a job.
Tracee Sioux: Yeah. I believe you have to create your own dream job that's not a job. I help a lot of people do that through my business and life coaching. Yeah, I don't know that this ever was a profession, but it is now because I made it.
Robert Plank: Cool. Even if it did exist, why go the same path as everyone else. Why do the same, old, boring stuff? You've got to be your own person. You say you help people find the book that's within them or whatever. Could you walk us through a case study of someone like that who maybe they just needed some help and you helped them out?
Tracee Sioux: Yeah. I have a pretty full-service operation from concept to finish in terms of basically making a person a personality or an expert in their field. I have one client I've been working with for about 4 or 5 ... This is going to be the 5th year. When we started, she had a dream. She wanted to be a healer.
She was a massage therapist. She wanted to have digital products. She wanted to make a name for herself in the industry, and make money doing what she was gifted with which was energy healing. The first step we did was create a online platform. Websites, social media, newsletter, get the branding together, make sure that all of her marketing materials had all of her right information on it.
That was the first year. We established a platform. Then, we began creating content. We did a project over this year where she created basically 2 major content. One, books and CDs and that sort of thing. Audio books on Amazon, eBooks on Amazon, print books, work books, teaching program that we created this year. We're going to launch by Thanksgiving. We're going to launch her book and CD mediation set.
Then next year it's going to be publicity, publicity, publicity, publicity. It's gone through the whole entire process of getting a hold of her dream. What does she really want to do? What does she want that to look like? That's from a soul-deep level. I often find that people think they know what they want, but if you get deeper, it's something else that they're afraid to do.
We work to get what is that? What do you want it to say? What do you want it to look like? Who are you? Is this going to make you happy? Is this going to make you money? Let's put a business model around it so that you can make money at it. We start from there and then we begin to build a platform so that people will begin to know who they are. Social media, blogging, website.
Then we begin to create a significant amount of content that's good enough to be made into a book or a product, an audio product or a video product, that they can sell online at speaking engagements, which leads to, of course, more speaking engagements, more radio shows, more media, more press because now you've got this book that you can say, "Hey, I'm an expert in my field. I've written this book or I have this whole program or class."
Then you sell stuff at the back of the room. You sell it online, and you begin to really grow your tribe that way. My company does all of those things and along the way, there's a lot of spiritual business and life coaching.
What I work on with people a lot, especially ... Oh my gosh, entrepreneurs are so bad at this, is not being a workaholic, not letting your business eat your life. Making sure that you do have enough time to be this hyperproductive. It's a lot of work, but it doesn't have to take all your time and energy. There are ways to manage things and make priorities for yourself that matter.
You'll notice I didn't say, "And in one year, we created the whole entire website, all the branding, all the content, and the book," because that would just overwhelm any person and make them crazy and set them up for failure. We took it one step at a time so that it could be reasonably accomplished, very good quality, and still fairly quickly.
Robert Plank: Dang, so when you were saying that you do start to finish, you weren't kidding.
Tracee Sioux: I'm not kidding.
Robert Plank: It sounds like there's almost a lot like 3 or 4 parts to it right? There's the book part and then that leads to the speaking part, and then even like a little bit before that there's the getting deep down into their what they really want to say part and then there's all the content in between, I guess.
Tracee Sioux: Yeah, and the platform building is really important too. When people say, "What should I spend my money on?" You should spend it on your website. You should spend it on looking like an expert, looking like a professional. If you're going to just slap up a WIX page, people visit those pages and check out whether you're credible.
You should spend money on marketing and branding. Then it pays off in the end if you really do my plan. If you really follow through, miracle things can happen.
Robert Plank: Along those lines, as far as the building of the platform and making the content and stuff like that, one thing that I'm kind of curious about is ... I don't know. It's one of those things like if I write all these blog posts or I write a book myself and stuff like that, it's almost like it takes so much time.
I'm worried that I won't finish as opposed to anytime I've tried to do a shortcut, like I've tried to throw money at the problem and have someone else write the book like me, it doesn't sound like me. You're already laughing, but if I get it transcribed, I have a lot of cleanup to do. What are your thoughts on all that stuff?
Tracee Sioux: Blogs, I think, are different than a book right, unless you're making a blog compilation book. If you're reusing content, that's great, and it can come in a different format. What I tend to do is ... Oh gosh, that's a big question. You want to give yourself deadlines and you want to give yourself enough time.
For instance, this client that I recently told you about, she did sections of 11 ... It was like an 11-day meditation with chunks over the year. For 12 months, that's what she did. By the end of the year, we have 132 of those. That's a lot of content. That's enough for a book, like a journal, workbook meditation thing.
Then she's going to read those aloud and create an audio book. There's going to be several products brought up from that. She's going to get a book, she's going to get an audio book, and then we're going to get an email class that goes annually and delivers automatically through email. Thee ways to market that content.
She didn't sit down and write a book because she's just not the type of person who really could do that on a realistic ... It would just be too overwhelming to her. Often when I'm going to write a book, I make a goal like 1 chapter a day. Just write it. One chapter a day, it doesn't matter how good it is. It doesn't matter how bad it is, just get the one chapter a day on the page.
Then further down the process, it's one chapter a day of editing. Then you have broken it down into pieces that allow you to, every day, be like, "Hey, I did good. I did my one chapter today. I edited it or I proofread it or I wrote it." It's not like taking on this ginormous, intimidating, scary project.
Then also, I strongly suggest that people hire professionals. If you are publishing a book, you need a professional editor and you need a professional designer. For one thing, Amazon won't publish work that sucks. They won't publish work with excessive, grammatical errors. They won't publish work that has bad formatting, bad covers. They're a legit retailer which means they have a legitimate expectation for quality.
Also, if your name is going on a book and you're the writer, you need another set of eyes to look at that, give you suggestions, give you creative feedback, and fix whatever mistakes are in there. I've been writing as a professional for 20 years, but I have people edit my work before it goes out there.
Robert Plank: We all make mistakes. It's almost like if I'm looking at anything that I write, then I tend to skip over it because I think, "Oh well I've already seen this because I wrote it." It's like just having the other set of eyes helps so much, I think.
Tracee Sioux: Oh it's true. It's called, "Refrigerator blindness." When you open the fridge and you're like, "Where is the ketchup? Where is the ketchup? Where is the ketchup? Where is the ketchup?" It's right in front of your face.
Robert Plank: It was there the whole time.
Tracee Sioux: Yeah, and when you're writing, I don't care how good you are at writing, that's going to happen right? You're going to see it so just even when I proofread for myself, even before I get it to an editor, I've gone through 3 rounds of proofreading. Then by the time I get it ... One of the steps that I do when I'm proofreading is I take a break for a couple days.
I'll proofread it, I'll take a break, then I'll come back to it and I see new stuff. Then if you put it in different form, that's why you want to proofread a proof, a print proof, of your book because the second that it's on the page and it's not on a computer screen, you're seeing it totally differently and you're going to pick out even more mistakes.
Then by the time you get it to the third eyes, hopefully you've got most of it, but you won't have caught all of it, especially the third eyes are so important ... Or, third eye. Second pair of eyes is so important when looking at content, and flow, and structure. You may have a lot of really great ideas, but they're not put in a way that the reader can really grasp it.
One of the things that I'm constantly getting on my clients with is they're experts in their field. They have an incredible bounty of knowledge. They want to start where they're at. You can't do that if you're writing for an average reader.
You can't do that. My energy-worker client, she has this vast knowledge and she's just aching to deliver that vast knowledge. What I've really worked on with her, especially in the last content that we created, is not everyone's at your level. In fact, almost no one is. Let's break it down to what I call, "Kindergarten level," so that the beginning person in this can understand what you're talking about.
I have another client. Huge, spiritual, brilliant mind and he's writing a memoir spiritual scholarship piece. Same thing with him. I'm like, "Okay, I get what you're saying because I've done a lot of study in this and I understand the context, and I understand theology because it's also one of my hobbies. If you don't have that background, no one's going to understand what you're saying. We have to break it down."
An editor, a publisher, they're excellent resources to help you do that so that when someone picks up your book they're not like, "What? What? What is going on? What does that even mean? I don't understand that."
Robert Plank: Isn't it called, "The curse of knowledge" or something like that? I think that's an actual term. You know so much, it's like you have to stretch yourself to make it like 5-year-old level.
Tracee Sioux: It is a huge stretch for them and that's one of the things that I can do to serve them well, even in their marketing and their blogging. If you're just surfing the web and you're interested in spirituality or energy work, or whatever it is you're interested in.
I have one client who's doing Airbnb Investing. If you're just interested in it and you're not an expert in it, basically your target audience if you're the expert, the idea is that you know more than they do. You can't give them the information that you know now, you have to give them the information that you learned before.
That's really hard for people. It really is. One of my talents is to break that down for the average person. I have 20 years of journalism experience. What they teach you to do in journalism is write at an 8th grade level because that is the average reader's reading level. The average person walking around, that's their reading level.
The idea is to break complex ideas down into layman, approachable language which is one of my gifts. It comes in handy enormously with everything. With content, with branding, with writing books, with publishing books, with making eCourses, with the whole thing. If you are an expert in your field and you publicly want to be an expert in your field, that's critical.
Robert Plank: Thinking about all that kind of stuff, when any kind of writing's involved, I think a lot of people either get burned out or stuck or frustrated. Do you find yourself, even with all these years of journalism experience, do you sometimes get stuck in your writing mode?
Tracee Sioux: I never have writer's block, ever.
Robert Plank: Wow. I've got to hear the secret on this one then.
Tracee Sioux: The secret is that I've trained myself to get into flow. Flow is ... It's a state of being that you get into to where you're really just receiving information and letting your body serve as a conduit for it. If you think of these creative geniuses out in the universe and they're like, "Ooo, we found an open portal. Let's give her all these awesome ideas."
If you train yourself to do that ... In journalism, oh my gosh, you can't even believe how many blogs I've written about carpet cleaning, and tomato seeds, and pipe fittings, and newsletters. I have done this for a living for so long that I trained myself so that I can enjoy myself while I did all of that less-than-awesome work to just get in a flow and let it come through me so that I could have a good time.
If you are a writer, or a painter, or a dancer, you know what that feeling is. Even if you're writing computer code, you know what the feeling is because that's why you keep coming back to the work. That's why you love it is because you're reaching the state of flow. If you have writer's block, your job is not to make yourself, "Okay, now I'm going to push through." Your job is to learn how to get into flow instantly.
Some of the ways that you can do that is write at the same time every single day. Then your body, your brain, and the universe is trained to deliver at the same time every day. This is just what we do. It's a habit. We don't write when we feel like it, we write at 9 AM, after the kids go to school or whatever your plan is.
I believe that the structure is the key to creativity. Putting structure around your work with deadlines, with goals, breaking that down to smaller pieces and deciding, "Okay, I'm going to get into flow at this time every day."
That said, I do take periods of time off because if you are a creative person and you are pumping energy out of you to such a degree that you're like, "Oh my gosh, I just wrote a book."
I wrote a book in 2 days once and I was so flipping high and vibrating so fast when I did that, after I did that, it was like this incredible spiritual high, but it was also overwhelming. I had to bring myself down form that back to planet Earth back to walking through the planet with the mortal humans.
I had to go away for a little while and take a little vacation, and regroup, and get some grounding time. When you are an artist or a creator or an innovator, you have these bursts of energy. I believe burst working. I am a creative.
That's how I work. Most of the people I know that are creatives work that way. I will sit down ... This weekend I put together 2 books from content that I had already created. I sat down for the weekend and I did it. I was like, "Awesome, great."
I can't do that every day. I can't write a book in 2 days every day. There has to be some space between those kinds of huge, ginormous energy expenditures, or else you will burn out. We see artists all the time who burn out and they try to ground themselves with drugs or alcohol. They go a little off the rails. They get a little bonkersville. A lot of that is because they're not resting between their bursts of energy.
Robert Plank: It sounds like what I'm hearing from all of this is just like you can't force it. I'm glad you brought up the computer programming thing because I hadn't even made that connection. I'm a computer programmer and I get stuck the same ways. Any kind of writing, like I'm writing a blog post, book, whatever, it's the same kind of being stuck in the programming kind of thing.
It's like I can get jazzed up and I can have those long sprints where I get those things done, but you're right. If I try to sustain that every single day then it would just be this burn out that I don't think I would even see coming.
It would just kind of sneak up on me and next thing you know, now it's like all this extra work just to get back to that place that you could have gotten back to easier ... more easily if you'd just had a little better system right?
Tracee Sioux: Oh absolutely. I have burned myself out. I released a book called The Year of Yes in 2014. Man, for 6 months I worked my tail off like you would not believe. Guess what happened 6 months after that? For the 6 months after that book came out, I was exhausted, I got Leaky Gut Syndrome, I mean I was a mess. I finally went away with my kids to Mexico for a month to try and recover.
Burn out's a real thing. It is a biological response because that energy's flowing through you. If you're like in the zone and you're programming and you don't take a break until you finally break, you're going to pay for that later. If you say, "Okay, today I'm writing one chapter," or "Today I'm programming this piece." Then you're like, "Okay, and now I'm going to go hang out with my kids or go ride my bike or take a kickboxing class."
If you create the rest and you create the structure and the regouping period in that, just take a freaking nap man. A nap will change everything. A nap is a huge cure for creativity block and getting stuck. I think it's really important that you ... Here's how I think about it. I think about my creativity as my biggest resource. It is the thing that I make my money on. It's how I express myself, it's what I need for my sanity.
It is something I protect as the most valuable thing that I have. To protect that, I need to not burn it out. I need to make sure that I'm taking care of my body. I need to make sure that I'm keeping to reasonable schedules. I need to make sure I have a social life, that I have a relationship with my kids.
If I don't have those things, if I'm not getting enough rest, if I'm eating like crap, if I'm just working all the time, I'm going to burn out and then what have I lost? My most valuable resource.
Robert Plank: Interesting. I hadn't thought about that. It's like treating creativity like anything else. Normally we would think of it as some abstract concept, but you could think of creativity in the same way that you think of your blood sugar or your cholesterol or something like that right?
Tracee Sioux: Even your house. It's the most expensive thing that I own and I don't go around trashing it because it's the most expensive thing that I own.
Robert Plank: Without that, everything else falls apart.
Tracee Sioux: Yeah, without that, I've got no place to live and then what am I going to do? My phone and my MAC are huge resources because that's how I make a living. I don't go tossing my computer across the floor. I make sure that it stays in good condition and I handle it with care. You're creativity is the same thing. Even a child or a baby, you don't go throwing those thing around because they're highly valuable to you.
If you think of your creativity as the way you make a living, the way you live your life, the way that feeds your soul, the thing that is so valuable that without it you couldn't do those things, you're going to want to protect that. You're going to want to take care of that. You're going to want to nurture that.
Everything that you do that's self-care is going towards that, is going towards protecting and enhancing your creativity. I consider getting a massage like a business practice. Touch is critical and meditation is critical, and what better way to do that than getting an awesome massage. I consider that time, work time. It's like this is for my business. This is for my family. This is for my abundance to get this massage.
Same with kickboxing. I get so many great ideas when I'm kickboxing. It's great for my body, it's great for my brain. I consider that something like fundamentally critical that I do for my own success.
Robert Plank: Would you say that with your client that you help out, would you say that the ... Is there one big thing that stops all these people, that holds them all back? If there is, would you say, is it this burn out thing, is it the lack of having a life? Is it lack of structure? What would you say is holding back all these people that you're helping out?
Tracee Sioux: There are 3 things. There are 3 lies that your ego will tell you to keep you where you're at, to keep you stuck. My clients and everyone I've ever met, has one or all or some variation of these 3. Time, "I don't have enough time. I am too busy. I'll do that later. Some day I'll write that. Some day I'm going to do that."
Money, "I don't have enough money." We're the richest country in the entire world in the history of the world and I don't know a single person who is like, "Yeah, I've got enough money." It's like some kind of mental ... It's like a collective mental health problem that we all think that we're totally broke.
What I find with a lot of people, and this isn't true for everyone, sometimes people just really don't have enough money. For most people, they have money, but they're spending it wrongly if this is their priority.
If you have money, and you've got an iPad and a closet full of designer clothes, but you don't have enough money to write your book or hire a publisher or a coach, it's not that you don't have enough money, it's that you're spending your money in a way that does not support what you try to do.
"I don't have enough money, I don't have enough time," and the last one is, "I'm not good enough. Who am I? I need another certification. Who's going to read my book? No one cares what I have to say? My parents told me I would amount to nothing or my spouse doesn't think I'm good at this."
Those are the 3 things I see over and over and over and over. As we work together, that piece gets less and less strong because they have more and more experience to prove that that's wrong. At the beginning, I've got to tell you, I considered it a ginormous success when one of my clients went and visited her sick mother for 10 days.
The only way I could get her to do it is say, "This is an entrepreneurial experiment. What happens if you remove yourself from your business and actually let the people who work for you do the work?" She made more money.
Of course she did but she didn't believe that that was going to happen prior to the experiment because she had always believed, "I don't have enough time, and if I don't do this for myself, and not really allow the people who work for me to actually do their jobs, then my whole business is going to fall apart. This big catastrophe is going to happen. No one's going to call me anymore. Everybody's going to be mad."
I'm like, "Okay, it's 10 days. You could go on vacation, that's what they do. They go on vacation. You will pay these people. Let them do their job." When she came back, what she discovered was that her employees really, really, really appreciated being allowed to do their job and not have her getting all up in it and micromanaging it.
It's changed the way that she works. She works less. She makes more money. She's happier. That was a huge struggle for her, huge, enormous struggle for her.
Robert Plank: What I'm hearing, not only from that story, but from this whole call is that it seems like we all kind of wish that in a perfect world, that we could kind of turn on the switch, flip the switch, and always be in that flow state 24 hours a day and just be a workaholic, but it sounds like for you, what's really important is that time spent away from the computer, away from the business to get that clarity, the focus, the "Aha" moments, all that cool stuff.
Tracee Sioux: Yeah. Think about yourself. When you're programming, do you get your best ideas while you're doing it?
Robert Plank: Usually what happens is I'm stuck for 8 hours. I take a 10-minute-break and then I instantly figure out what's been blocking me for 8 hours.
Tracee Sioux: Now you know that, right? If you got stuck and then 5 minutes later you were like, "I'm going to go take a nap or take a walk around the block," your insight would happen faster, which would make you more productive right? You wouldn't have wasted that 8 hours. Long, lone, long time ago I realized that if I did not try to finish a deadline at 11 PM, I could wake up the next morning at 6:00 and I could jam that sucker out in 45 minutes. It would feel great and it would be good work.
I had already tired my brain out by 11 PM and I could sit there for 5 hours and just stare at that computer and not be able to create a coherent thought. If you know this, if you're like, "Hey, every time I run, I get great ideas," or "Every time I take a nap, I wake up and I know the answer." If I sleep on it ... That's why people say, "I'm going to sleep on it," that's actually extremely great advice.
When you sleep on it, your brain and your soul does all this stuff in there and then when you wake up you're like, "Oh, I don't know why I didn't think about that yesterday, but that's a great idea." Just do it before you waste the 8 hours. Just make it a part of your system.
Robert Plank: That's good advice and that's been a hard lesson. That's been kind of a slow road for me over the last few years to slowly retrain myself. As you said, it's not an overnight thing and it's almost like a blow to the ego almost.
It's like I tell myself, "But I have to put in these 8 hours of so-called hard work," when if it can all just be solved in 10 minutes, it's almost like ... You know what I'm saying? It's almost a blow to the ego that I thought it was supposed to take me 8 hours of suffering but then it turns out there's a 10-minute shortcut.
Tracee Sioux: Right. You're exactly right that it's the ego because in our culture our egos are trained to think that if we're busy we're going to get richer. Totally untrue. If we work all the time, then we're cooler and make more money, which is also totally untrue. If we get the Doctorate degree that we're going to make more money and get higher positions. Also totally untrue.
The facts do not bear these things out. We live in a culture that makes it really easy for the ego to make you feel guilty for finishing your work and going to the pool at 2:00 or taking a month off to go travel with your kids. I took my kids to New York City this summer and it took me about a week to stop feeling anxiety and guilt about getting away with it.
Like not having my business go to crap during this period of time was some kind of miracle. The thing is I have set my business up like that on purpose with intention. I've set up ... I've worked my tail off before. I work my tail off after. I met with clients over Skype. My business did not suffer one single bit. My family benefited. I benefited.
It took me a minute of doing it that I was like, "I can't believe I'm getting away with this. Is this even allowed in America? Should I be doing something?" It's training and it's ego. Ego loves to use that and it is a little bit of a challenge to get the ego to hush up so that you can enjoy the time that you're taking.
Robert Plank: What the heck else are you doing all this for?
Tracee Sioux: Yeah. That's kind of where I was at when I started taking these month-long vacations with my kids. Why am I an entrepreneur? I'm an entrepreneur so that I have the freedom to be able to spend with my family. I'm an entrepreneur and I don't have to go to an office every day. Well, why, why, why is that important to me? It's so that I can travel and go have some adventures right?
Robert Plank: Right. Work hard and play hard.
Tracee Sioux: Work hard and play hard. If that's not why you're working, we might want to have a conversation about why the heck you're working.
Robert Plank: That's a great place to kind of transition a little bit into if someone is out there and they need help. They realize that they need that extra set of eyes, or the third set of eyes, or the third set of the third eye. Even just someone to help them get to where they need to go, can you tell us about you and your websites and your coaching and your services and all that cool stuff?
Tracee Sioux: Sure, yeah. I'm very reachable at TraceeSioux.com. You can email me at email@example.com. I'll get right back to you and we can schedule an appointment to have a chat about where you're at and what you want to do, and how I can help you with my services, whether that's for coaching and getting clear on what you want and mapping out a path, or whether it's you need a marketing platform to create the brand that you are or whether it's you're ready to publish a book and let's get on it.
Robert Plank: Awesome. Whatever they need you give them the whole package. Cool. I'm excited for anyone who's headed your way and thanks for coming on the show, Tracee, to share what you have to say about ... It sounds like we talked about everything right? All the life stuff, all of the important stuff. Thanks for coming by.
Tracee Sioux: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. It's been great fun.
What does success look like to you? What if you had three wishes, how would your business change? What small wins could you experience in your business within the next 90 days or less? Scott Hansen from SuccessHackers.net and IWantMoreLeads.net tells us why he started his online presence, and how he's built up his podcast devoted to cracking the entrepreneurial code.
Scott Hansen: Ha-ha. Thank you, Robert. Great to be here, man. I'm fired up.
Robert Plank: Cool. I am, too. Could you tell us about who are you, what it is you do, and maybe, I don't know, is there some kind of area where you're the number-1 top dog?
Scott Hansen: Wow, now you're really putting me on the spot. I think my wife would say that I'm the top dog, but I don't know about anybody else.
Robert Plank: As soon as you step outside, all bets are off.
Scott Hansen: Yeah, exactly right. No, as you said in the intro, over the last 2-1/2, almost 3 years, I was able to quit my corporate job and pursue something that I always had a passion for, which was coaching and teaching and training and speaking and breathing life into people, I call it. As you mentioned, I work with entrepreneurs in 3 facets, helping them generate the leads they can handle. I help them increase their overall client base and, obviously, increase their sales and productivity.
That's more of the tactics and strategy side of things. A business owner will come to me and say, "Scott, I feel stuck. How do I get to that next level?" We coach them through that. Then, of course, a lot of it I call it the 75/25. Twenty-five percent of any business is strategy and tactic. The other 75 is mindset. That's what keeps a lot of people stuck where they're at, so we work on both facets in my coaching program.
That's who I help. I think that one of the things that separates me from a lot of people that do what I do, I guess, is I really branded myself, I think, in a pretty good way. I've been hustling my butt off the last 2 years to build the Scott Hansen brand. Like you mentioned in the intro, I've been featured in some pretty cool places. I also write for Entrepreneur magazine and have one of the fastest-growing podcasts in the business space called Success Hackers that I think we're about downloaded in 65 or 68 countries. We're doing a lot of cool things, reaching a lot of great people and trying to help and serve as many people as I can to really play bigger in life and business.
Robert Plank: Awesome. Is that how you would say that you differentiate with everyone else, that you focus on the mindset as well as the action? How do you stand out from everyone else who does the coaching and fixing people's businesses and stuff like that.
Scott Hansen: Yeah. Listen, there's a lot of great people out there, so for me to say that I'm the world's best at X would be a lie, because I think we all have our own niches and we have our own greatness. I think for me, one of the things that I do with my program is when I do work with business owners, my, I call it market-dominating position, is what, as you said, it's what makes you stand out from everybody else that does what you do as a personal, as a business, etc. For me, what I do is I help small business owners find at least $10,000 in untapped revenue in their business without them spending $1.00 on advertising.
Right off there, as you can hear, I separate myself from everybody that says that I just coach people. I actually go in and find them a boatload of untapped potential in profits in their business, and I do it in a very Ninja-like way, but it really opens some people's eyes to say, "Wow, how did you do that?" Then my close, my hard close in my coaching program is pretty simple., "I just was able to find you XYZ amount of money. Would you like my help implementing that over the next 12 months?" That's my big close. That's how I separate myself. A lot of people can't do that or don't have the tools or the strategies to do that. That's how I separate myself.
Then, like I said, a lot of people do a lot of cool things, but one of the things that I said was, when I got started, "How do I separate myself from everybody else that does that?" I started the podcast, which I mentioned, and I have a best-selling book. I've been featured on some of the outlets that you mentioned and write for Entrepreneur and been in Inc., etc., etc. To continue to brand myself and build my brand is also something that I take very seriously as well.
Robert Plank: Cool. I like that. That kind of got my interest going, that whole thing where you go to someone's business and you find $10,000 of untapped. Could you give us an example of that, some time that you did that?
Scott Hansen: Yeah, I do it every day. I literally do it every day. In addition to that, what I do is ... I'm also writing a book, a second book, and I'm actually working on case studies. For example, I will approach a business owner, a chiropractor, a dentist, etc., plastic surgeon, and I'll say, "Listen, you know, I'm putting together some case studies for my book, and I would love your help. Would you like some help with that?" Once I tell them exactly what the program is and how it works, most people are like, "Yeah, I would love that. I'd love to help you with that." In addition, then I help them back, because I actually showcase exactly what I did and then we uncover a boatload of money for them.
As you know, with a lot of business owners, the old saying is they're very good at doing their business as a technician, so a very good baker is a very good baker, a very good chiropractor is a very good chiropractor. A lot of times these small business owners, they get into business because they're passionate about it, but they don't know how to generate leads on a consistent flow, which then, of course, turns into clients, which then turns into revenue, which then, hopefully, turns into greater profitability. They don't know that aspect of the business, the business-building. That's when I can come in and do that and help them out.
Robert Plank: Nice. What you're seeing mostly is then, it's like a E Myth kind of situation where they're good at their craft, but they're not actually business people?
Scott Hansen: Yeah, and I'm glad you referenced The E Myth. It's funny, I'm reading that for the second time as we speak, and even the second time around, I'm gathering a lot more information. For any of your listeners, of course, The E Myth by Michael Gerber is like the bible for small-business mindset strategies. I'm not talking about woo-woo strategies. I'm talking about real life tactical strategies and how to think of your business differently than you're thinking about it right now. Again, what I love about it is it's stuff that I apply not only in my own business, but also towards my clients. Yeah, so to answer your question, that's exactly what I was talking about.
Robert Plank: Yeah, that's one of my probably top 5 books, and I haven't read it in probably ... I only read it once 5 years ago, and all the time I see little things and I think I need to go back and kind of read it again. You mentioned all these outlets that you're on, especially Entrepreneur magazine. How did that come about? It's just a matter of asking or knowing the right people or did you leverage the podcast or something else? How did that happen?
Scott Hansen: Yeah, great question. I'm a big believer in that when you're dialed in, when you're in a space that you feel really passionate about and purposeful around, whether you're a lawyer, whether you're a gardener, whether you're a mailman, whether you're a chiropractor, whatever business you're in, if you feel really good about what you do and then you take the necessary steps to open yourself up to receiving great things, great things come your way.
What I mean by that ... I know that sounds a little bit kind of fluffy, but it's the truth. I'm a huge believer in law of attraction, that what you put out comes back to you, but you can't just sit in the couch and then just meditate and hope that a million dollars falls in your lap or a new client falls in. You've got to go out and hustle, but when you're in that space, when you're on the track, when you're on the right path and you do open yourself up for more opportunity, to meet new people, etc., that's when it happens.
Funny enough, when I first created my podcast, I was actually in partnership with another company and in about 90 days after that, they didn't want any more part of the podcast, but in that interim, they introduced me to an editor from Entrepreneur.com. Met the editor over line and we talked a little bit and they basically offered me a contributing-writer type situation, and that's how it all came to be.
From there, I've been able to leverage ... It's interesting, because I know a lot of people that use a lot of their stuff as lead-gen. Maybe being a little bit naïve or just wanting to add as much value as I possibly can, I never took that as, "Oh, great, I'm a contributing writer for Entrepreneur. I'm going to leverage the hell out of this for business and for lead-gen." I just wanted to, and I continue to want to just give, give, give and serve, serve, serve to the highest level. When I write content for Entrepreneur, it's not about, "Oh, I can't want to see how many leads I get from it." It's me pouring my stuff into the article to say, "If one person takes this article and has a breakthrough, that was worth the entire thing." That's how I came to be a contributing writer for Entrepreneur, and it's been just absolutely great.
Robert Plank: Nice. It's a matter of you look at extending your reach not just in the mindset of gimme, gimme, gimme, but let me extend my reach and use it to help more people?
Scott Hansen: Yeah. I try as much as I can. Listen, everybody likes money. I like nice things. I like nice clothes. I like to take my wife out to nice dinners. If you're not focused on revenue and money, then you shouldn't be in business. Let's not confuse that, but in addition to that, I believe that if you have a servant mentality where it's how can I serve today rather than what can I get today, it's a completely different shift. It was a completely different shift for me over the last 6 months, where it was if I go out every day and I want to serve someone so highly, whether that's the person in line for coffee, whether that's one of my clients, whether that's writing an article, I don't know what happens, but it's a mindset shift. When I came from a place of, "I don't care to get. I come from a place of serving," the getting naturally started to happen.
Robert Plank: I like it. As far as getting in the mindset of the giving, that's cool, too, because then you're not waiting for anything to happen. I don't know, anyone who has that scarce view or that kind of take-whatever-I-can-get kind of mindset, it's almost like they say, "Well, I'm going to write my article and then I have to wait around for the leads to come in, and I've got to do something else and wait for that." What's cool about the giving, it's like, "Well, who cares about that?" You can move a million miles a minute and look back later and see what that produced, I guess.
Scott Hansen: Yep, exactly.
Robert Plank: It's cool, because then it turns into almost like a when-it-rains-it-pours kind of situation, sort of like how things worked out with the entrepreneur writing gig and stuff like that. Sometimes there'll be weeks where just all this crazy stuff happens, and I say, "Dang, where was this 5 years ago? Where was this 10 years ago?" You said this all happened because of the podcast. Could you kind of tell us what led you to making the podcast and kind of what's your strategy with that?
Scott Hansen: Yeah, great question. It's kind of a funny story. When I first built the bridge, if you will, made the leap, jumped out of the plane, whatever term you want to call it, into entrepreneurship and the coaching and speaking and the pod, one of my mentors said to me ... He at the time, which is a few years ago, he had a podcast at the time for about 7 years, and I think he had a half a million followers and just super successful guy and very charismatic and very passionate about developing the mindset around entrepreneurship and being an entrepreneur and living life on your terms, etc.
He said, "You know, ..." He told me about his podcast. I'm like, "Oh, that sounds amazing." He goes, "Yeah, and I get so fired up because I scream into my computer and I'm talking about leadership and mindset and the right strategies and it's just me. This is insaneness to me, and I get so fired up and inspired and I get the chance to inspire people." I'm like, "Oh, my God, that sounds amazing. That's exactly what I want." He goes, "Yeah, you should do it yourself," and I'm like, "Great. What's a podcast?"
Robert Plank: Nice.
Scott Hansen: He goes, "What do you mean you don't know what a podcast is?" Hand to God, I did not know what a podcast was. He goes, "Dude, you got to be kidding me." I'm like, "No." Literally, 2-1/2 years ago, I didn't even know what a podcast was. I started it, and I started kind of doing the same thing and I got really fired up and it was just me, and I met a gentleman who over lunch, who owned a huge company, he's like, "You know, I heard your podcast." I'm like, "Oh, I didn't even know you listened or I didn't know you were even online."
He says, "Yeah, I clicked on one of your links to your Facebook post and you're really good at what you do." I'm like, "Oh, I appreciate it." He goes, "You know ..." I won't name the company, but he said, "Our company needs to be in the podcast game." I said, "You know, I'd be happy to consult you on that and give you some feedback." He goes, "No, I don't think you understand. We want you to be the voice, the face, and the name of the podcast." Sure enough, he and I worked out some kinks and moved ahead on the podcast, which now he's no longer part of, and it's just me.
I share that story with you, Robert, and the listeners to simply say 2-1/2 years ago, as stupid as this sounds, I didn't even know what a podcast was, and here we are in 2016 and the podcast has reached 65, now 68 countries and listened to by over 230,000 listeners a month. We just got picked up by iHeartRadio, which has 3.5 listeners a day. Just a lot of really cool things happening. I share that with anybody in your audience. I don't care if it's podcasting, creating a video, starting your own business, learning how to speak, don't worry about where you're at today. Today absolutely matters, but focus on where you could be in 2 years, because you're listening to a guy right now that I mentioned a few times I had no clue what a podcast was and now we've had some pretty good success, not in 12 years, not in 15, in 2-1/2 years.
Robert Plank: That's pretty encouraging. They don't have to wait a good chunk of their lifetime for it to pay off. You kind of joked about yourself a little bit that you didn't know what a podcast was 2 years ago, and I'm sure that there are people out there that know every little nook and cranny and detail about podcasting that don't have their own podcast. I'd rather be the guy that doesn't know a lot or doesn't know everything but takes a lot of action.
Scott Hansen: Yeah. The old saying is, "I'd rather be," what is it, "ignorance on fire versus knowledge on ice." I was always the ready, fire, aim guy. Just hurry up and get out there, make things happen, and there's something to be said about taking action rather than to wait, but I always find that there's a middle ground that is really the sweet spot. There are people that get out there and they just start making things happen.
Then there's the other extreme, people like you said earlier, that just wait and wait and wait and wait and they never get anything off the ground. If you can find the middle ground where you have a little bit of both, where you have some clarity, when you have some things in place and then you take some action and then you come back to the drawing board and maybe tweak it, and then you do it again and then you fall on your face and you do it again, I would rather be that person than the person that just gives it great lip service about starting their own business or learning how to speak or getting on stage or whatever versus the person that just, like I say, just goes after it.
Robert Plank: Interesting. It's best if I take the best of both worlds. You don't want to be a student all the time, but you also don't want to be a full-of-chaos, flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, no-plan kind of person.
Scott Hansen: Yeah, because I was that person that you just mentioned in the latter, which is just go crazy and go do it and do a million things. Even though that's cool when you have a lot of stuff going on, but at the end of the day ... This is even like a coaching moment for me as I'm on your show, and I teach this to all my clients. It's so funny. I just met with a guy the other day that has all these cool ... and I'm doing air quotes ... all these cool things that he wants to do and he wants to have the Internet TV show and he wants to line up sponsors and he's got media partners and he's got the right lighting and the right camera and the right mics, and he's got all these different things.
I asked him one simple question. I said, "That's all great. That's amazing." He said, "Yeah, I want to have these thought leaders on here in my city, and even if it's not my city, we do it over Zoom and we have ..." Just like a lot of people are doing now, but he goes, "I want to really make it perfect and it's going to be amazing and I have all the sponsorship." I said, "That great." I go, "Have you thought about ... I just have one question for you." I said, "What about traffic?"
He goes, "What do you mean?" I said, "Well, that's all great that you have the greatest set and the greatest things and you sound great and you're taking all this coaching on how to be a better speaker and a better interviewer, etc., etc." I'm like, "What about traffic? Where is the traffic going to come from? Because if you have the best product in the world and no one knows you're out there, trust me when I tell you this, you will stop. You will be frustrated in less than 6 months, because it takes time and money." He was the same way.
I tell people all the time. I said, "Yeah, it's great that you want to build content and it's great you want to be on TV or on the Internet or do your own podcast or do your own this or do your own that, but before you do any of that, start with the end in mind." Most people don't want to go to this because deep down in their belly, they don't have a clue what the answer is, but I always tell people to reverse-engineer anything you do. I don't care what it is. Start with the end in mind. When it's all perfect ... Here's a coaching session for your listeners. When it's perfect in whatever you're trying to build, what does the end look like? Is it revenue? How much and how is it coming in?
Then you build from the back and move forward, and then you can do the nice lighting and the mics and the color and all whatever it is you're trying to build. Too many people, they get all excited about the sexiness, the appeal, the shiny objects, and the newness. Then what happens is they never think about the back end. The most important thing as a business owner is the obvious, revenue. You don't have any revenue, I don't care how great you are in front of the mic, I don't care how great you are in front of the TV camera. If you don't have people watching it or seeing the sponsorship for money, then you will fizzle in 6 months and then you're going to have to start from scratch.
Robert Plank: Kind of a scary thought, but also kind of a hard message that people need to hear, too. As you're describing it, it almost sounds like because there's no end goal, there's nothing that they're building towards. The procrastination creeps in, the fear of success creeps in, all that bad stuff and all the patting yourself on the back. I'm a computer programmer and I call that going down the rabbit hole. Right?
Scott Hansen: Yep.
Robert Plank: You say, "I just need to make a website. Oh, I got to figure out FTP." Oh, well which program you going to get? Oh, I'll upload WordPress. Okay, well, how do I unzip a zip file?" The next thing you know, it's like you've gone down this whole path of 200 different things. Then you're totally off track.
Scott Hansen: Exactly.
Robert Plank: Along those lines, would you say that what you just described there, is that the biggest mistake that you're seeing with your client or is there something even there?
Scott Hansen: Yeah, I think that that's part of it. I think that not having a plan on paper is part of the problem. Even though that sounds so obvious, "Well, yeah, I have a plan," it's funny. When I sit down with business owners that have been doing it for a long time, these aren't start-ups. These are people that have been doing it for 3, 4, 5, 10 years. I say, "What does success look like for you?" When I start working with a client, the very first thing that I will do, before we get into strategies and tactics and everything else, I will say, "You know what? What does success mean to you? Not to your husband or your wife or your kids or your mom or dad, what does it mean to you? If a genie were to literally come down and give you 3 wishes and those 3 wishes could materialize, what does your life, not your business, not your health, not your spirituality, what does your overall life look like from a success standpoint?"
"Well, I'm working 30 hours a week. I'm able to travel. I'm able to do things over Skype. I'm able to do this, this, and this. I have a team in place. I have virtual assistants." Okay, great. "Well, I don't have any of that yet, Scott." I'm like, "That's okay. That's okay. That's where we're building towards. Remember, I just said you're going to reverse-engineer it. Okay, so that's kind of the end goal. Now that you have what the vision looks like, then we continue to work backwards. In your mind right now, what is the dollar amount revenue you need to be produced on a monthly basis or a yearly basis in order to get the things you just described?" Then we spend some more time on that, and then we get crystal clear.
Then we continue to work backwards in the equation so that when we get to the tactics or the marketing or the sales conversion or the website or any of the stuff that's the tactical part of the coaching, then they're more excited because they can see that at the end of the tunnel, at the end of a year or 2, 3, 4 years, they're actually working towards something rather than just being a hamster on the wheel saying, "Every day, I wake up. I got 75,000 things coming at me. I get inundated. I get overwhelmed." Then the days, the weeks, the months go by, and nothing from a revenue and from an overall vision standpoint gets created.
That's what most small-business owners ... Like I mentioned a few times, they're so working hard in their business, the day-to-day stuff, they never stop and think to say, "Am I going the right way?" You live in California. I live in Chicago. If I were to fly out to you in California and you and I hop in your car and you're going to say, "You know what? Let's drive to New York." I'm like, "Yeah, that sounds great, Robert. Let's do it." I'm excited; you're excited. We've got everything packed and all of a sudden, I say "You know, do you have a map or a GPS?" You're like, "No. Hell, no, jut hop in. We're just going to go, man. We're just going to flow." I'd be like, "You know what? I don't think so."
Even though that sounds hilarious right now, you'd be so surprised as business owners, they don't have the GPS. They don't have a plan. Then they wake up 3 years later, 5 years later and they're kind of where they were 5 years ago, but now, now they're more frustrated and now they have more overwhelm. That business that they started 5 years ago ain't as sexy as it was 5 years ago. That's because our brain is like a heat-seeking missile.
When you give it something to do and a goal and a stretch goal, even though it scares the shit out of you, which it should, by the way, you're actually giving it a target. When your brain has a target ... Like Tony Robbins says, "The most successful people on the planet are the ones that are always progressing to something new." They're always in the mode of progressing, learning, growing, expanding. The ones that are frustrated, pissed off at the world, woe is me, my life stinks, are the ones that don't have a goal to go after.
Robert Plank: Like you said a few minutes ago, it seems to simple, but so few people do it. Even just in the last 4 or 5 days, what's been going across my mind is that it almost takes more brainpower to think in simple terms than in the complicated stuff. As you were saying what you were saying, it kind of brought me back to when I was a kid and I was in Little League and if we were doing a practice kind of thing, then usually the practice would be ... One of the coaches would just hit fly balls over and over again, hit grounders over and over again, just to get that mastery on the fundamentals and stuff like that.
The other thing that I've been hearing from your personal kind of coaching is that you're all about the quick win, not necessarily put a bandage on the problem, but it sounds like you're all about the get-excited-first. That way, it'll kind of carry you when times get tough later. Like you said, when you have a new client, you find 10 grand just laying around in the business of something they're missing and you have them make that plan. That way, later on when they hit a roadblock, they can kind of look back and realize what the plan is, what the goal is.
Scott Hansen: Oh, yeah, you bring up a great point. Think about it like this. Think about it as a cross-country runner or a marathon runner. Think about it like, okay, if you and I were to just start running like Forrest Gump, we just ran for days and days, I would look at you and I'd say, "What the hell are we doing? Why are we just ..." "Oh, no, no. We're just going to continue to run." "Well, what's the end goal?" "I don't know. We're just going to continue to run." That would suck. The marathon runner actually has a target, 26.2 miles, and my goal is to be the best, to be number 1, to do that. They have an end goal. They're not just running 26 miles just for the sake of running 26 miles.
As a business owner, for anybody who's an entrepreneur ... I don't care if you're in the corporate space, if you're a business owner, when you have a win, an end goal, a light at the end of the tunnel, that gets you way more excited than, "Well, I'm just going to go to the gym every day." "Well, why are you going to the gym?" "Well, because I want to lose some weight." "Well, how much weight do you want to lose?" "Well, I have no idea."
"Okay, do you have a succession plan?" "Well, no. I'm just going to keep going every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday." "Okay, great. What is the point of you going?" "Well, I want to lose weight eventually." "Okay, great. Well, how exactly are you doing that?" "I have no idea." "Oh, so you paid the $60.00 a month for your gym membership and you're going every day. You just spent $200.00 on a new outfit to go to the gym, but you, frankly, don't have an end goal." "Well, yeah, I want to lose weight." "But how are you going to do that?" "Oh, I have no idea."
That's why people get in this rut. They don't challenge themselves, whether it's through fitness, through health, eating the right things, relationships, business. When people set goals ... I don't want to sit here and sound like I set a goal for every frickin thing I do, because that would sound just boring, because I don't. I'll give you a quick example of what I'm doing right now in my life. I'm 43, going to be 44 in a few months, holy crap.
Now I've worked out in the gym and worked out since I was 17 years old, but you get older and things don't bounce back as quick as they used to, etc., etc. What I started to do was say, "Well, I don't have the time to spend an hour and a half in the gym like I used to, so what can I do differently to tighten my body and tone my body up?" I would just go down to the gym and I would just get on the treadmill and I would do some things and I'd come back home. That's just boring.
What I started to do was say, "You know what? In 90 days, here is my goal. I want to juice 4 times a week, have a juice drink 4 times a week, a healthy juice drink. Then I want to go to the gym at least 4 times a week, and here's the key. I don't want to spend any more time than 30 minutes; 30 minutes, I'm maxed out." In that 30 minutes, it's non-stop, high-impact training. You go down for 30 seconds, you stop for 30 seconds. Your heart rate is consistently through the roof, and it burns fat all day long. Guess what? I am so much more excited to now go to the gym because I have a whole new strategy and a whole new vision of what I want my health and my body to look like over a 90-day period rather than just showing up to the gym because that's something I have to do.
Robert Plank: That's awesome. I like that. Have a real concrete, maybe even like a number base goal or something that isn't some crazy pie in the sky, but does still kind of stretch you so that you have to kind of do better to get where you want to be.
Scott Hansen: Yeah, it's the small wins. That's where we get turned on by human beings. We get turned on by small wins, the attaboys. If I hit this revenue goal, then I get to take my wife or my boyfriend or my husband out for a dinner, or I get a chance to maybe buy those new Nike shoes I wanted that are 150 bucks. If I hit this revenue goal in the next 60 days, cool. All that kind of stuff. You'd be surprised, a lot of people think they have to set 3-, 5-year goals. That is so much of a myth. Forget about 3-, 5-year goals. How about setting a 90-day attaboy win or a small win, 90 days. If I hit this, I get to reward myself with that. You're going to be more apt and more excited to continue the journey that way than, "Well, in 3 years, if I hit this number, then that will be great."
Robert Plank: Nice. I like that. Yeah, instead of going for years ahead of time, just 90 days and, again, something simple, but so few people do that. I really like that idea there. Kind of along those lines and as far as the advice and the knowledge you have to give, could you tell us, Scott, about where people can find your podcast, where people can find your coaching, and whatever kind of websites, whatever kind of cool stuff you're working on these days?
Scott Hansen: Yeah, I appreciate it, Robert. It was great chatting with you, man. You're doing some great things in this world as well. I appreciate the opportunity. First of all, I would say that if someone wants to check out my podcast, SuccessHackers.net. Success Hackers is the site. We have a lot of really great guests on the show talking about big thinking and entrepreneurship. One of the things that I train on and teach my entrepreneur business owners is how to get more leads and generate more leads. I actually have a free video actually that I'll give to your listeners. All they have to do is go to iwantmoreleads.net. Just type in iwantmoreleads.net, and there's a free video. It's pretty awesome. It'll absolutely revolutionize your business.
That's about it. They can follow me. I'm on Twitter, Scott Hansen. Facebook, Scott Hansen, obviously. I always reach out. If someone hits me up, whether it's through the podcast or through my coaching or whatever, I'm always ... I know a lot of people have their virtual assistant answer their e-mails. I don't. I answer all my stuff, so I'm very in tune with my tribe and my audience. I would love to connect with anybody that wants to connect with me. If someone does want to connect with me, again, you can go to SuccessHackers.net. There's actually a way to connect with me via e-mail that way as well.
Robert Plank: Awesome. Yeah, like you said, SuccessHackers.net and iwantmoreleads.net. Lots of awesome stuff today. I appreciate everything that you shared with us, Scott. Thanks for stopping by.
Scott Hansen: Thanks a lot, Robert. Have a great day.
140: Find Fulfillment: From Invisible to Influence with Conscious Warrior and Freedompreneur Nick Pereira
How do you prevent burnout and enjoy everything you do? That's what Coach Nick Pereira (from HangoutWithCoachNick.com and the Freedompreneur Club on Facebook) stops by to answer for us. He tells us how to get into that flow state, start small and grow, PLUS go from invisible to influence with his five step model:
1. invisible (an idea in your head)
2. emergencence (cashflow and clients)
3. chaos (where you have more business than infrastructure)
4. systems (save yourself time and energy)
5. stability/influence (normal operations, scale)
Nick Pereira: Fantastic, Robert. Just an awesome day. Just got back from the gym so I'm feeling good.
Robert Plank: Awesome, feeling pumped and all that good stuff.
Nick Pereira: Yeah.
Robert Plank: Cool, I'm just coming in from a walk myself so not quite the same thing but same idea, right? This, that and all that stuff.
Nick Pereira: Yes
Robert Plank: Cool. Could you tell us about who are you, what you do and what makes you special?
Nick Pereira: Yeah sure. Well, those are loaded questions. As far as what I do, I help entrepreneurs become freedom preneurs which simply means helping entrepreneurs create their business in such a way where they can work when they want, where they want, wherever they want, whenever they want, with whoever they want doing the things they love to do. You know, as I know and any entrepreneur knows that if you're building a business, there's parts of that business that bring us so much joy or that are expressions of our joy. Then there's parts of the business that don't bring us joy and I help entrepreneurs create their business in a systematic way to allow freedom.
As far as what makes me special, I don't really know the answer to that but I think the best people to ask are the people that work with me. One thing that I would say that the Freedompreneurs club has done, what I think is special and what I think is done very well, is we've created a real community. We've created people so when I'm working with people I don't put people on contracts. I don't make anybody give me time commitments. That's one of the things I guess that's special is many coaches and trainers will ask for a specific time commitment. I don't ask for time commitments, I simply ask for value.
If I'm providing you value and you're getting value, you're going to stick around. It's a simple as that and I'm about to celebrate three-year anniversaries with certain people inside the Freedompreneur club and we have tons more that have already celebrated a year and two year anniversaries. I think what's special about what we're creating is people are sticking around, but they don't have to. There's no contract. There's nothing that says they have to, so we're truly creating a community of people that want to be there. I think that's what makes the Freedompreneur club really special.
Robert Plank: Awesome. Along what we're talking about and as far as, you said that you're all about like the whole package, I guess, not just the business part of it but also people having the lifestyle they want, live where they want and all that good stuff. What are your thoughts on like, I guess because there's two extremes on the spectrum. On one extreme, you and I have both probably been to events where people talk about lifestyle and time management and then the focus is on just taking time off, which I guess is okay but a lot of these people they just say, "Oh, I just took two weeks off, three weeks off."
I think, "Well, great," but what did you do for your business and the other extreme is like the Gary V and the Grant Cardone kind of stuff, which "Love what you do and hustle and do all this work and stuff," but then at the same time, I look at that side of the spectrum, and I'm just thinking, "That's way too much." What are your thoughts on that, I guess like the slacker side of things versus the workaholic side of things?
Nick Pereira: Yeah, yeah. I hear you with that and there is a lot of messages. I guess my thoughts are you got to find what works for you. What I have found that works for me is having a nice balance between what I'm doing, what I love to do and incorporating other things into my life. Now I guess here's the big distinction. I don't see a difference between my business life and my other ... I just see life as life, so for me, there is no distinction between "Am I working or am I playing?"
I love what we're doing right here, connecting, chatting. This is, I could do this all day long. So am I working right now or am I playing? I don't really know. I'm just living my life and what my life has become purposefully and consciously is just an expression of the things that I enjoy. I've learned to incorporate well-being into the Freedompreneurs club, entrepreneurship into the Freedompreneurs club, spirituality into the Freedompreneurs club. The Freedompreneurs club is truly an expression of just the different aspects of who I am. I've learned to do it in a way that's all-encompassing so I don't know where I sit on that spectrum other than live life in such a way where life pays you for being you.
Robert Plank: Interesting., but how do you go down that path and how do you kind of live the life that's meant for you without kind of going in a directional sort of way?
Nick Pereira: Yeah. Well, I think you're going to find a balance. Look, I've been the Gary V type, "Hustle, hustle, hustle. Get up, morning till night," and what I found is that I burned out because I wasn't doing it in the space of enjoyment, so I have nothing ... I could spend the entire day, my day yesterday was a day like that. From wake up to sleep, I was working and I was engaged in the Freedompreneur club and activities in the Freedompreneurs club so I worked really hard yesterday.
Today I'm doing this interview. I've got a few calls this afternoon and then tonight I'm hanging out with family, so it's just finding a flow that works for you and that, I believe, is going to work differently for everybody. I also believe that you start small and you grow, meaning even with Gary V, I don't know him personally, and I know his story just a little bit, but he didn't start off as who he is today. He started off with winelibrary.com, I believe, and he started it off as an Internet thing and he said, I believe I was listening to something, and he said, for 2, 3 years or however long time ... I don't want to, don't quote me on any of this. It's his life, but he spent just building his brand on social media and building the winelibrary.com.
I think now 10 years, 20 years, whatever it's been for him, he's evolved where he can get up because he's so well trained and oiled. I think that we should not lose sight, it's easy to watch someone from stage and I've met a lot of successful people who have spoken to thousands upon thousands of people and it's easy to look at them and say, "Wow, they get up from morning until night. They're just in that flow," but what we don't see is that they've spent 30 years getting to that point.
They didn't start that way. Many of them started off part-time jobs doing it on weekends, squeezing it on their lunch time so they definitely had a work ethic that was more than the average individual for sure, but from my experience and my interactions and associations meeting tremendously successful people, no one started that way.
Robert Plank: I agree with that and I think that the people that I talked to had all those ups and downs and ups and downs and they kind of had to like put in however many hours or however many weeks in a row just to get past all that stuff.
Nick Pereira: That's right. If Malcolm Gladwell, I believe it's his book "The Tipping Point" or "Outliers," I'm not sure which one, both of them are fantastic books. He talks about this idea of 10,000 hours to master anything or to become a master at anything is you have to spend 10,000 hours. If you broke down 10,000 hours into a five-day work week, eight hours a week, that's five years and then you're hitting about that 10,000 hours.
In entrepreneurship, there's that five-year hump. If you make it past the five years, you've got something so I think that anybody listening to this, wherever you're at in the journey, especially if you're more at the beginning stage of the journey, just remember that there's no such thing as overnight success. Overnight success is 5 to 10 years minimum, and I think that we forget that and also remember that everybody starts at different points and under different circumstances and situations.
Where I started my journey and where you started your journey is two different places, so for us to say that there is one singular way of being in a business that creates success, I think that's very limiting. I think a more realistic way to look at this is to say, "You as an individual must find the path for you. You must find what is success to you."
Gary V's life is, from his videos, seems awesome but that's not my path. That's not success for me. Success for me is much different than what he's saying. Now, I like Gary V. I'm not saying, and I listen and I take the lessons and the business lessons and I apply them to my business and to my life but I also have enough wisdom and everybody should have enough wisdom for their own selves to decide for themselves what is success for you. That's freedom preneurship. That's what we're talking about inside the Freedompreneur club is we as a club don't define success for you. You come to the club and say, "This is what success," and then we say, "Great. Let's support you to get that."
Robert Plank: Nice. I like that. Everyone has their own path and I agree with that about a trillion percent. Right now, at your point in life, you have a lot of stuff figured out, you have it together, but was it always that way or did you have a starting point? Did you have like a point where things got so bad something had to change? What's the journey been for you?
Nick Pereira: Oh my goodness. Most of my life has been rough. Not really, I say that. I say that, but I laugh because I'm like, "Not really." Look, I come from a great family. I come from, I'm a very blessed to come from loving parents and a great family and I lived in a safe neighborhood, so many of life's challenges that are presented to certain, to other people, I didn't have that but I have my own challenges and for sure. There's times in the entrepreneurial journey, I dove headfirst. I didn't start part time.
I quit my job and I said, "I'm going to do this without really even having a business," so I did it that way, which caused tremendous amounts of pain and suffering because there was myself and Sarah, my girlfriend of seven years now, she's been with me through the whole journey, we have times where we didn't eat or it was $.99 noodles. I remember the first time we bought a $10 meal. It was a big deal. It was like, "Wow. We're living it up."
Absolutely, everybody has a story. Everybody has struggles and that's another thing that I really want to share with people is that we look at all, whether it's Gary V, Tony Robbins, whoever it is, we look at these successful people and we think, "Oh, wow. That's so nice," but we don't know them personally. I don't know Gary V personally. Look, I shoot videos too. I don't know what his life is actually like. I know what he's telling us his life is like, and I know that I can tell that he obviously is very knowledgeable, has tremendous amounts of material success and has reached certain insights.
I think we can all learn from that, but I also don't know him personally so I make no judgment of whether his life is successful or not. I just simply listen to the information. Same thing for me, listen to the information. Yes, I've had tremendous amounts of struggles and pains and failures of businesses. Most of my businesses haven't been successful and it's only in the last 3 to 4 years and I would even say in the last year and a half that we've really hit a stride that has created a lot of success and that's growing and it's fabulous the way it's growing but it doesn't mean that I don't wake up every morning like everybody else with some little anxiety about this or little worry about that.
Over time, what I'm noticing is that those anxieties, it's a process. Over time, those anxieties, those worries, those doubts are being replaced by that faith, that optimism and that realistic thinking or that, what I call, clarity so I'm not positive, not negative, but just clarity. This is what it is and once we can discover that this is what it is, then we as individuals become much more equipped to navigate through the world.
I think that should be everybody's main focus. My main focus is in building a big business. It's creating my own well-being and becoming better me, a better version of me them. I say "better version" no different than a seed blossoming into a flower. Well, a seed has all the potential of being that flower but it needs to be nurtured. It needs to be put into the good environments. It needs to have the right amount of sunlight and the right amount of water so that's what the Freedompreneur club, that's what we are. We are the right food, the right water, the right nutrients, the right associations to allow whatever is meant to come out of you to blossom.
That can take five years, that could take 10 years, that could take a lifetime. Depending on your belief systems, it could take multiple lifetimes and with that knowledge, there is no destination, there is no success. There is simply growth. Am I expanding or am I contracting? As long as I'm expanding, then things are going well. I hope that answers your question.
Robert Plank: Yeah, it does. It's like all this like really deep stuff. It's almost like I'm talking to the Buddha about enlightenment. With all that and stuff, would you say that what's ... Is there any one thing that's helped you the most? It it a matter of just like the consistent daily action like you're talking about or is it the right mindset or tools or this community? Would you say it's one thing that's helped or is it a collection of small things?
Nick Pereira: Definitely a collection of small things. It's a process, so with ... There has been moments of transformation, so whether that's, I've done many seminars, courses. I've gone to many healers. I've spoke to many different mentors and coaches and so all of them have added into my life. Just like coaches and mentors, just like what you're doing with this show, you're adding into people's lives. I've listened to tons of podcasts and things like this as well and all of it is compounded into a thought process with the moments of transformation but don't strive for those moments of transformation.
Those moments of transformation happen when the timing and the environment are right. We don't know when they're going to happen. You talk about the Buddha. The Buddha didn't know when enlightenment was going to happen for him. It was just, he put in the work. If you know the story of the Buddha, Siddhartha, he put in 11 years of living as an aesthetic studying from spiritual masters, living as a Yogi doing all of these sort of extreme sort of practices to find enlightenment and still couldn't find it and it was only when he sat under the Bodhi tree and he surrendered to the moment and said, "I'm not leaving here until I know the truth," did he then receive his enlightenment.
I say he received it because he himself didn't cultivate it. He put in the work and then it was the right time, the right energies, the right situation where he could then pop. No different than again, I'll use the example of a mango tree, so a mango tree is growing and if you didn't know it was a mango tree, you would just see a tree. In fact, if you took some bark from that mango tree and tried to bite it, you would be like, "Uck, this is nasty. This is bitter," but what you don't see is inside that mango tree is striving. It's putting in the work. It's getting the nutrients from its environment and it doesn't blossom in the winter because it's not the right time but the right time comes along in the spring and all of a sudden, there you go. You have mangoes and you have sweetness and you have beauty and you have all of this.
That was a process, so nothing just happens. Everything is a process and I think that the more that an individual understands that, the more they can be free in their life because they don't put this unrealistic expectations on themselves about, "What's going to happen tomorrow?" or "I got to make something happen today." Don't make anything happen today. Just simply cultivate yourself as such a way where making things happen becomes easy for you.
Robert Plank: I like your way of looking at it, especially because the conversation we've been having as far as like, "Should I be working super hard or just relaxed and let it happen?" I remember when I first got started, I was thinking, "Okay, what's the line graph going to look?" I was thinking, "Is it going to be like shoot straight up, like win the lottery almost or is it going to be like this slow, slow, slow rise," and it seemed like for me, and I think for you and I think a lot of people, it seemed like it was a matter of these milestones.
We had those first couple of tough years but then the light at the end of the tunnel was that it's not always going to be that way. You put in the time there and then the way that you've been kind of relating this to your group and the stuff with the tree and stuff, it's almost like, "Well, most of it is out of your control," and these things will happen to you, but you have to be almost ready to accept it because it's not just like, "Okay. Well, if my business is going to take five years to take off, I'm not just going to wait five years. I'm going to be working my tail off five years so when that opportunity comes along or that joint venture or the stars align or I get the traffic figured out or a good launch, then now I'm prepared for it, I guess." Is that right?
Nick Pereira: Yeah, that's exactly it. Even think about what we're doing right now. If we were born 50 years ago or 100 years ago, the timing for us to do this, we would find different means in different paths, but the timing, you see, the environment has allowed certain new expansions to happen with the rise of the Internet. We now, everybody has their own media channel. Everybody can have a voice. Everybody can share their expression much easier than it was 100 years ago, so that's what I mean by the timing of it is that the world is shifting and right now the world is shifting in such a dramatic way, in such a fast way, that it's almost impossible to predict what it's going to be like in five years, so I don't know what the world is going to be like in five years.
I don't know what the Freedompreneurs club is going to be like in five years, but what I do know is what I'm going to be like. That's all I have control over. What am I going to be like in five years? Well, I know that I'm going to be joyous, happy, peaceful and abundant. Why? Because that's the commitments I've made to myself and that's all I work on is the commitments that I've made to myself and those commitments then have a natural result to it, so if you're thinking, "Oh, man. How much ..." if it's like, "How many hours do I gotta put in," don't count the hours.
If I counted the hours, I probably would may be depressed. I'm not saying I don't work hard. I want to make it very clear to everyone listening. I work hard. I have just found a way to work where it doesn't feel like work because work, if I could just chalk up to what feels like work is when I have to knock something off my task list. Work is a task list that I have to get through. Work is something that we have to get through and that's why it doesn't feel good.
However, if you become more of an expression of a creation where I'm not just getting through the Freedompreneurs club. It's not something that I'm just going to check off my list. "Okay, created the logo. I'm done." No, I'm creating it like an artist would create it like "Oh, how can we do this? Oh, doesn't that look beautiful? Let's make it like this," and you see, there's no timeline for me. There's just simply a creation process and as time goes on, it is evolving and growing and it's becoming more than even what I thought it could be because that's just the natural process of things.
Understanding how things grow, then you can apply that same knowledge to your business and understand how your business is going to grow. In fact, I've got a model that I take everybody through that works with me. It's called the "Invisible, the influence model". It's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, I'm looking at it, so it's six steps in this model. The first step is "invisible," so take that as it's an idea in your head. If you're listening to the podcast right now and you're thinking, "I've got a business idea," well, great. You're in the stage of invisible.
Then eventually you're going to launch out. You're going start your Facebook page or website, whatever it is. You're going to launch out. You're going to get a few customers on the go and now you're in the emergent stage, meaning you're merging in the marketplace. In the invisible and emergent stage is you're still thinking a lot about cash flow. You're still probably in the mindset of, "I need more clients. I need more cash flow," which is a natural process.
Most businesses fail within their first year. We know this. Why? Because they don't understand the process. They think, "I've been doing this a year. What's going on?" A year is nothing. A year is like you're still like a little idea in the womb. You're not even a real thing yet, so basically you got to move through the process. You go into emergence and then what we call "chaos" comes next, and chaos in this context is not a negative thing. It's actually quite positive. It's where you begin to go, "Holy smokes. I have more business than I have infrastructure, meaning I can't handle the amount of business that I have," which creates a whole new stress.
By the way, when we hear stats, about 90% of businesses fail within the first 10 years, this is the stage of the process where they normally fail, chaos. The reason they fail or what I think is even worse is they never get past this stage is because it is a different way of thinking to get you to the next steps and processes so entrepreneurship provides a way to think differently. Chaos, you get through chaos by implementing systems and systems stands for "save yourself time, energy, money."
All of a sudden, through creating income, you get to buy back your time through the investment of infrastructure and systems. Then you move into stability or normal operations and when you're hitting this stability and normal operations, then you can scale your systems up, leveraged to abundance and then influence, so your Gary V's, your Tony Robbins, your whoever, whoever you're looking at. These people are in the stage of influence because they're 30 years in the game. They've got systems. They've learned the skills. They've learned the mindsets. They've put themselves in the right environments. They've connected with mentors, teachers and coaches and now, they're sort of enjoying the fruit. They're the mango now, right?
Robert Plank: Right. They planted the tree and it finally grew. Now all these years later, they can use it.
Nick Pereira: That's right. Right, so I like to share that with people so that you understand, first of all, identify where you're at in the process. Am I in invisible? Am I emergence? Am I chaos right now? Am I in stability? Stability, a lot of people in stability actually draw a boredom. They become bored with their business because it no longer challenges them, and this could be a dangerous place because I've seen many business owners that are in stability put themselves back in chaos because it's more exciting for them.
Always remember that a business is not a place to go to fulfill your needs. A business is there to for you to grow to provide value and to provide a life for yourself and for family and maybe causes or whatever it is that you're into. Stability, in that stage, you see a lot of business owners never go beyond that stage simply because they don't recognize that they're still in the growth process. For me personally, I don't know. I don't strive to be at the top of the ladder. I just continue to follow the process of where I'm at today.
Robert Plank: Interesting. With all that, how do you ... We're starting to run short on time but with all that, how do you avoid the 1 foot on the brake kind of thing? You kind mentioned that trap a little bit there, how some people get to the part where everything is kind of calm and running smoothly and they have everything in place and the tendency is with entrepreneurship is to throw that out and start over. How do you avoid the getting complacent and stagnant and not reaching your full potential?
Nick Pereira: I think you only, if you're in the mode of creation, then there's no end to that so therefore there's no breaks. I know what you mean because I've done that. I've put the brakes on myself, "Okay. All right. Too much," and that type of thing is coming from more of a deep-seeded fear that may be going on, the fear of success, the fear of what it means and the fear of change. If you truly move through the process, your life is going to be different. Your life is actually going to be different. Your relationships are going to be different. The interactions you have with people are going to be different. Who you're hanging out with is going to be different. What you're engaged in is going to be different and often we fear that change. If you notice that, "Oh, I'm putting the brakes on," then I would go a little underneath that and ask, "What are you scared of?"
Robert Plank: Interesting. This is a pretty cool system you have here about going from invisible, emergent, chaos, systems and then stability and it sounds like there's there somewhat of a minefield where a lot of people either if they don't have a plan or they don't have any kind of course correction, there's always these little ways to get stuck on something silly, something silly can get a lot of us stuck and waste years and stuff like that. I really like how you've grown this community, like you've said, and you have your blog and your podcast. Can you tell us about what it is that you have set up and your websites and this club and all your cool stuff like that?
Nick Pereira: Yeah, sure. What we've set up, if you go to HangoutWithCoachNick.com, it's a central place where you can connect to everything that I'm involved with there. Also, if you just look up Freedompreneurs club on Facebook and you can ask to be part of our private Facebook group where a lot of our interactions happen. It's a great way to connect with other Freedompreneurs, connect with myself and other like-minded people and other people doing some pretty cool stuff on the planet.
That's a great way to connect with me and inside the Freedompreneurs club, there are different levels so there's a free membership and then there's a paid membership. The free membership, you get access to the Freedompreneurs club Facebook group, you get access to all the trainings and stuff that are available to get you started. Then the paid membership has access to our 52-week e-learning system and this is our curriculum. This is the recipe that we've put together in collaboration with other coaches and trainers that help people become a freedom preneur.
We have applied this system to coaches, to trainers, but as well as brick-and-mortar businesses. Right now currently I'm supporting a mechanic shop, I'm supporting a cleaning supply company, a network marketers, speakers, trainers, a preschool and they're all using the Freedompreneurs system and they're just tailoring the system to their business. What we really teach is the foundations and the principles and the marketing principles that work and then we help you through our support system to gear it and tailor it to your specific business.
Robert Plank: Awesome. That's a bunch of cool stuff and could you state one last time, or one more time, the URLs just to make sure everyone has it.
Nick Pereira: Yeah, absolutely. You go to HangoutWithCoachNick.com and you could check out my hang out show and different things that I've got going on there and on Facebook you can just search Freedompreneurs club and you can ask to be a member and we'll bring you in and you could check out all the things we've got going on right now. Our club has grown. We had, it's a brand-new club as far as the Facebook aspect of it, like we're really bringing it out to people in a bigger way now. Just this week alone, we've had 50 new people join so right now we're exploding.
There's a lot of great momentum and there's a lot of great opportunity to network and to meet other entrepreneurs that are doing again, some really cool stuff. Inside the club, I believe we represent 11 different countries right now, Tokyo, Bhutan, Australia, New Zealand, Nigeria, places in the UK, US and Canada are all represented with active members, so we're a global club and we truly believe in global community.
Robert Plank: Awesome. It sounds like every entrepreneur, every business owner needs this kind of stuff. It's cool how the way you've explained this today, it all connects the business and the life part. I want to thank you so much Nick for being on the show and sharing all your wisdom with us.
Nick Pereira: Thanks so much, Robert. I so appreciate it.
139: The Wisdom of Walt Disney: Live a Great Story and Control What You Can Control with Jeff Barnes
The expert on everything Disney, Jeff Barnes from TheWisdomOfWalt.com and author of "The Wisdom of Walt: Leadership Lessons from the Happiest Place on Earth" tells us how to live a great story. He shares how Walt Disney succeeded despite all odds, previous failures and existing competitors to create a superior product and experience.
Jeff Barnes: Hey, Robert. Things are great. How are you?
Robert Plank: Super fantastic. I feel like I should say it's magical or wonderful or whatever the proper Disney term is, but I have to admit I know almost nothing about Disney despite living in California.
Jeff Barnes: We're doing the interview on a Monday, so let's just go with "happy, magical Monday."
Robert Plank: Perfect. Happy, magical Monday. I'm going to start using that one every Monday.
Jeff Barnes: Exactly.
Robert Plank: Is there one of those for like every day of the week or am I just stuck with the one day of the week?
Jeff Barnes: "Magical Monday" is pretty popular. "Have a terrific Tigger Tuesday" is another one that you'll hear every now and then. I like "wonderful Wednesday," which sort of goes back to the Wonderful World of Disney. Yeah, I mean, if you're really, really deep, you've got one for every single day of the week. I typically stick with "magical Monday" and then trust the rest of the days to take care of themselves.
Robert Plank: Okay. Yeah, they'll all fall line after that.
Jeff Barnes: Exactly.
Robert Plank: Cool. It seems like there is this whole crazy, like subculture that's really cool, brands called ... this Walt Disney stuff that you happen to be in the middle of, so can you tell us about that and about yourself and all that good stuff?
Jeff Barnes: Sure. 33 million people a year in the United States alone, Robert, go to Walt Disney or Disneyland and, within that pocket of 33 million, there are people who are just fanatics and obsessed and cannot get enough of it. Within Southern California, there is a love and a passion for Disneyland as a local park that beats almost anything I've ever seen to include love for a sports team, love for one's city, town, community, you name it, and part of that is the 61-year history of the park here in Southern California. I think a lot of it has to do with, in Southern California, everybody's from everywhere and there isn't any central place in Southern California, to include downtown Los Angeles, and so, over the years, Disneyland has sort of evolved into the public square for Southern California, and it really is the one place that all of us share together and, sort of like a narrative thread, it becomes the 1 place that sort of holds us all together as well.
Robert Plank: What's pretty crazy about all this Disney stuff, because it's seems like there's no dark side to it, there's no one, anyone like saying anything bad about Disney the same way that like a sports team or any kind of usual theme park like your Great America or your Magic Mountain or something like that?
Jeff Barnes: Disney is not perfect and they certainly have made their mistakes over the years, but, by and large, people are in because they love it and it is something very special and very magical and it really echoes back to I think a connection that starts in childhood. As I have gone around Southern California and really around the country in the past year promoting the wisdom of Walt, I meet people. Their family moved to Southern California in 1956 and all they could think about was, "Wow, we're going to get to go to Disneyland," or you meet someone else and their dad worked on the construction crew that helped build the park in 1954 and then you meet other individuals, their first date was at Disneyland and then, fast forward to now, you've got an entire generation that grew up with Disney in their home by way of the video cassettes, whether it was the classic films, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, you name it. They have that sort emotional connection and, now, they're bringing up and raising their own children and they just keep coming back over and over and over again.
Robert Plank: What did Disney do right that no one else seemed to do right? Was it a lot of little things? Was it good marketing? What was it?
Jeff Barnes: First of all, the whole idea for Disneyland started when Walt took his 2 young daughters, Diane and Sharon, to what was a local amusement park in Griffith Park near the studio in Burbank and, as they were riding a merry-go-round, he's sitting on this park bench and he begins to dream of a place where parents and children could have fun together. It took him some 15 years before he began to actually take action on that particular idea and that particular dream, but it sort of grew into this thing that no one had ever seen or heard of before which, ultimately, became a theme park.
As he began to talk to other amusement park operators and they heard he was going to spend all of this money on this theme park and all of this money on landscaping, he was going to have a single entrance in by way of Main Street and a single exit out, and they thought he was absolutely nuts. They literally thought he had lost his mind, but as Walt was going around to all of these amusement parks around the country and around the world, he was really learning what not to do because he genuinely sensed that the American people in 1955 were ready for something new and radically different in outdoor entertainment. He knew what we wanted before we even knew what we wanted.
You talked to a single person who was there on opening day, they'll tell you 2 things. One, they'd never seen anything like it anywhere in the world and then, secondly, they had never walked into a public place that was so impeccably clean, which I think is fascinating because, when he went home on that Saturday in the 1940s, having spent the afternoon with his daughters and he said to his wife, "Lilly, honey, we're going to build an amusement park," she thought he was nuts and said, "Oh, Walt, no, we, we don't want of those. Why, why those places are filthy." He kept it impeccably clean really as a promise to Lilly who never believed in his dream.
For me, the whole core idea is he's got this vision. He has this dream and he has enough courage to actually take action on it even when everybody around him thinks that he is nuts, thinks that it's crazy and thinks that it will never work.
Robert Plank: How did that work out, because, as you're describing that to me about this really smart guy who goes around and sees, like you said, sees what's not working everywhere else and has a better solution and goes and has all this attention to detail? I can't help but think about all these like Las Vegas casinos where they just pour in all kinds of money, have this huge vision and then it would just completely flop. I mean what's the difference there?
Jeff Barnes: Walt was very attentive to quality. When they opened the park, it was in fact a failure. July 17th, 1955, which we celebrate some 61 years later as Disneyland's birthday, was actually a day Walt never really wanted to remember again because everything that could go wrong actually did go wrong. The press, which had predicted it was never going to work to begin with, when they saw the disaster that was that black Sunday, they were labeling it "Walt's nightmare," or "Walt's folly," but he took responsibility for every single thing that didn't work and he ignored the elements like, for example, there was like a 105-degree heatwave the day that they opened the park. There wasn't anything he could about that. He couldn't change it, and so he focused on what he could control and changed it and fixed it and upgraded it, and the things that were out of his control he simply ignored them and moved on.
Over time, it just grew into the dream that he had always envisioned that it ultimately would be. Again, it took time. He didn't just step up from that bench and get to work on it immediately, and it wasn't an immediate, overnight success. He had to stay true to that dream and true to that vision and stay attentive to it and focused on it until it ultimately became what we know it to be today.
Robert Plank: With all that, how did he make it all function, because I mean it's 1 thing to say, okay, he has ... He focuses in all of these things or he controls what he can't control, but I mean I can't even imagine like a park like Disneyland how much it costs to run it every day, how many people have to be involved? I mean, what's the secret there?
Jeff Barnes: He built a phenomenal organization. He had people who were willing to literally go through walls for him because he had this insatiable, contagious vision, and that was true for Micky Mouse back in 1928, it was true for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was the world's first full-length animated feature film in 1938 and, now, it's true all over again when it comes times to build Disneyland. Even though Walt liked to control things, he wasn't a micro manager, and so he empowered his team to help make his dream come true.
I think, first of all, he was smart enough to hire people better than himself. This was true when it came to artists and animators and it became true when it came time to build Disneyland and, ultimately, when it came time to run Disneyland. He hired a gentleman out of Texas who had done training in the aerospace industry, and he said, "Look, we're going to build something very unique, very special and very different here. I need you to be responsible for the training," and, ultimately, this would come to be known of as Disney University. The training really only consisted of 2 core elements. First of all, Walt said, "I don't want to deliver the same, you know, shoddy service that I get everywhere else," and then, secondly, he empowered that trainer and, ultimately, every single cast member to create happiness.
People ask me all the time, "What's the secret? What's the magic? How do they get the pixie dust?" as if it's more difficult than it actually is. Walt's mantra was "treat people the way you want to be treated and empower the folks that you hire to actually make that happen." That is still true even till today. We'll go to Disneyland for dinner and someone, for whatever reason, stuff happens and our reservation gets lost. Rather than going through policies and procedures and managers, the cast member on the spot is empowered to say, "Hey, we're really sorry about that. We're seating you 5 minutes later than scheduled. Um, pick an appetizer. Pick a dessert anywhere off the menu. It's on us."
I think there's a real business lesson there. Hire the right people and then trust them to do exactly what you need them to do.
Robert Plank: I've heard of little tidbits like that. As I keep saying, I'm not a very knowledgeable Disney guy, but I've heard something maybe like a couple of years ago about something like there are these little touches on like, for example, Main Street where there ... I guess there's no garbage cans or like, the cast members, there's something where they have to pick up any piece of garbage or something like that just to make sure it's super clean. Is that a real thing?
Jeff Barnes: Walt paid attention to people and he figured that, on average, will walk about 30 steps before we have to get rid of the trash that's in our hands, and so they made sure that there was a trashcan themed to the environment because they don't want to break up the narrative or the story. There's a trashcan approximately every 30 feet in Disneyland. They make sure that the restrooms are cleaned spotlessly every half hour, and then, when it comes to cast member training, like Walt never wanted to be called anything but Walt. He didn't want to be called Walt Disney. He didn't want to be called Mr. Disney. He only ever wanted to be called Walt.
He really was, Robert, the very first undercover boss, if you will. He'd get up on a Saturday morning and he would walk every inch of that park, making sure that it was ready for the guests, and then he would stand in line just like everyone else and would experience the attraction just like you and I were experiencing them, always taking notes and encouraging his leads and his executives and his cast members to enjoy the experience so that it was something that we would go home as guests and rave about.
Even today, when Disney hires executives, whether it's a CEO, a president, a vice president, one of the first things that he'd do is set them loose in the theme park and they have to go around and pick trash.
Robert Plank: Nice. That's pretty cool. It sounds like, as far as Walt's attitude, he was very, very ... trying to look through things from the point of view of that customer even to the point where ... I mean, just knowing to clean the bathrooms every half an hour and not every 2 hours, not every 20 minutes, knowing that it's 30 steps to every ... before you need to get rid of the trash, not 40, not 50. It sounds like that's a pretty good eye for detail without getting too bogged down in the details I guess.
Jeff Barnes: Yeah. There's this great story. He was working with one of his Imagineers who helped build the park, a fellow by name of John Hench. They were up at the studio and finishing out what would become the very first attraction installed at Disneyland, which was the old frontierland stagecoach line, and John could not the leather strapped on that stagecoach right to Walt's liking and, finally, in frustration, John threw the leather strap up in the air and said, "Walt, it's a stupid leather strap. No one is ever going to notice. No one is ever going to care," and Walt stopped him and said, "John, you're underestimating people, but he will notice. They will care. Every time they come to Disneyland, they're going to see something that they've never seen before, and that's what's going to keep bringing them back over and over and over again." Some 61 years later, some 650 million of us have come back over and over and over again.
Robert Plank: I'll hear a little bit about something like that. Every now and then, I'll just see some list on the Internet or something that'll say like, "Did you know there were these hidden whatevers in the, you know, on the ground or these hidden things and whatever?" I think that's pretty cool that there's always some kind of Easter egg to find on any return trip.
Jeff Barnes: Yep.
Robert Plank: Let's talk about you a little bit. It sounds like you have a lot of, I mean, so much knowledge, so many stories about Disneyland and Walt Disney. What got you into all of this stuff?
Jeff Barnes: I actually grew up in Florida, and I can remember I was 10 years old and we took a family vacation to Walt Disney World in 1974. I knew, Robert, the second that I stepped on the Main Street, I was just blown away. I was like, "Wow. This place is super, super cool." As I grew up, whether it was middle school or high school, if we were going back to Walt Disney World either as a family, band trip, Boy Scouts, you name it, I was typically the kid who was most looking forward to it. I was typically the kid who was counting down the days until we were back at Disney World.
It actually wasn't until 1988 when I was a grad student up in the Bay Area of California that I made my first trip to Southern California and my first trip to Disneyland and, truth be told, I write about this in the book, I hated it. It wasn't what I remembered from Florida and I think, worst of all, we got up on a Sunday morning in August and took our time getting there, arriving on Main Street at 10:30-11:00 in the morning. Back in 1988, the big, new E ticket attraction was Star Tours. We walked down Main Street. We turned right into Tomorrowland.
The good news is we were in the right place for the ride, but, unfortunately, in the wrong place for the line, and so a cast member directed us back to the start of Main Street, and it wasn't until 3 hours later that I had finally experienced my first Disneyland attraction and, of course, by that point, it's the middle of the afternoon, it's hot, it's crowded. By the end of the day, I was done. If you had told me, "Look, you're going to fall in love with this place. You're going to end up teaching a college course on its history. You're going to write a bestselling book about Disneyland," I would have said that you're absolutely crazy.
Fast forward 3 years later, I was bringing a group of young people back down and we were going to Disneyland again. By that point, I'd lived in California long enough to know, wow, these people are really into this thing called Disneyland. I must have missed something. That's when the historian in me came out. I started doing the reading and the research, and that's when I discovered, just like you and me, Walt wasn't born successful. He certainly didn't start out as a success. In fact, he went bankrupt in Kansas City at the ripe old age of 21 and, even when it came to Disneyland, he didn't just speak the magic words and his magic kingdom would appear out of an orange grove in Anaheim. He faced all sorts of adversity and all sorts of obstacles to make his dream come true.
It was in learning that story that I came to realize, wow, that is the ultimate example for each of us in terms of how to make our own dreams come true, and so I brought those young people back and I fell in love with it and I've been in love with it ever since.
Robert Plank: Yeah, it sounds like there's all kinds of little life lessons and business lessons and all kinds of little things that I'm picking up from you when anything about Walt Disney or abuot Disney in general kind of comes up. I understand that you have, like you mentioned, this bestselling book out called The Wisdom of Walt. Is that right?
Jeff Barnes: Correct.
Robert Plank: Can you tell us about that a little bit?
Jeff Barnes: I can. To back up a little bit, I am dean of students success at California Baptist University in Riverside California, which is about 33 miles from Main Street, USA. We've lived here for about 5 years now. My wife and I, we've been to the park 350-plus times in the last 60 months. Again, we really, really, really love it. Along the way, early on, I had this idea of, wow, our college students don't know anything about Walt and they don't know anything about the history of the park. They just think it's always been here because, in terms of their lifetime, it always has been, so I started dreaming of a course that would teach students about Walt and about Disneyland, but, most importantly and most significantly, we'd use Walt and use Disneyland as a vehicle to inspire and motivate those students to see their own dreams come true.
I sat on that idea for a while because I didn't want to be the faculty member who lost his job for pitching such a Mickey Mouse idea. Finally, I got the courage to go in and talk to the chair of our history and government department and, because he had worked as a cast member 30 years earlier, which I didn't know, the idea of teaching a course on the history of Disneyland, he loved it, and so, for the next year, we did the curriculum and the syllabus, the textbooks, guest lectures, field trips, you name it, and I gave the very first lecture on what had become my dream course, the history of Disneyland and then, Robert, the very next day, I was actually diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Robert Plank: Oh, no.
Jeff Barnes: The neurosurgeon said, "It's life-threatening, It's got to come out. Today is Friday. I want you back for surgery on Tuesday even if it's not cancerous," and I'll tell you now, fortunately, it was not, but, because of the evasiveness of the surgery, even if it's not cancerous, you're going to be out of work anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks. 6 to 8 weeks means I'm not going to get to teach my class. 6 to 8 weeks means my dream of doing a college course on the history of Disneyland dies, and I realized Disneyland tells great stories, but I also believe that it's challenging us to live a great story. All of us have conflict in our life. The conflict is there for a reason. It's enabling us to live a better and greater story. The bigger the dragon, the better your story.
This brain tumor happened to be the biggest dragon that I'd ever faced in my life. We put the surgery off for 2 and a half months, which, trust me, the neurosurgeon was not happy about in any way, shape or form. The idea that I would risk my life so I could teach a stupid college course about an amusement park seemed completely ridiculous to him. Again, I was in that instant that it became my passion because, again, 33 million people a year go to Disneyland or Disney World and rather than it being a place to escape, rather than it being the place where dreams come true, I genuinely believe we can make it the example, the example that it's showing us how to make our own dreams come true.
We taught the course. We had the surgery. I'm healthier now than ever. Because of the popularity of the class, we wanted to make the material accessible to as many people as possible, and so we turned it into what has, fortunately, become a bestselling book, The Wisdom of Walt: Leadership Lessons from the Happiest Place on Earth.
Robert Plank: Awesome. Yeah, I don't know about you, but like whenever I ... I don't know, when I'm looking for something new to read, I always come across like the business stuff and it's always just like, oh, here is more of the same stuff, yet another story about Steve Jobs or something. If I'm just looking for like some kind of creativity or guidance, the same kind of deal. I'm like, "Okay. Great. What's Oprah recommending?" or, "What's the, you know, the latest, latest Chicken Soup book."
I like this book. I like the idea of it in that, like you said, there's business stuff in it, there's life lessons in it, and it's all kind of disguised behind the entertainment factor. Right? There's all kinds of reasons to check this book out. You also get all these amazing, wonderful side-effects, byproducts from it.
Jeff Barnes: Robert, I didn't want to write another Disney business book because there's already great ones out there and I didn't really think the marketplace needed another one. Walt most wanted to be remembered as a storyteller. He built the park for the purpose of telling stories. I wanted to write a personal development book that told Walt's story, that tells the story of Disneyland, that explains the stories that we experienced when we're at the park, connect it to some of my stories and then, hopefully and ultimately, connect it to your own story as a source of motivation and a source of inspiration to see your own dreams come true.
I'm really proud of the fact that I managed to write the book that I truly dreamed of writing. A year later, I mean, I get 2 or 3 emails a week from readers thanking me for having written The Wisdom of Walt and they're working on this dream or they're working on that dream because the book did exactly what we set out for it to do.
Robert Plank: Awesome, so there's a bunch of layers to it, and just like how we can go back to Disneyland again and again and see something new, people can read your book over and over and get new thing from it.
Jeff Barnes: Yes. One of the favorite features for readers is every chapter has what I call a souvenir stuff. If you think about when you're on vacation or if you're at Disneyland, you always go into the stores and you want to bring something home, you want to take something back that reminds you of your trip to the park. Every chapter has a souvenir stuff, and those are your take-home lesson. These are the points that I want you to remember from whatever the lesson in that particular chapter was. It plays out sort of like a workbook. Whether we're talking about how the park teaches us to focus or how it challenges us to live a great story or how we can do a better job taking care of the teams that we're working with or we're working for, there's places to apply all of that again to your own life, your own dream, your own family and your own business.
Robert Plank: Awesome. That sounds amazing. Where can people go to find the book and to find out all about you and everything else that you're doing?
Jeff Barnes: Sure. Like all good books, it's available on Amazon these days. You can get hardcover, softcover, Kindle eBook, as well as an audio book. If you're looking for a personally signed hard copy, you can also find me at TheWisdomOfWalt.com. I also travel the country doing inspirational, motivational speeches. We also have leadership training programs as part of The Wisdom of Walt as well.
Robert Plank: Awesome, so all kinds of good stuff. I really like everything that you had to say here today, Jeff, not just the Disneyland stuff in general, but your story and your scary brain tumor thing and just everything that you've done to I guess get your knowledge out and get the word out from not just ... A lot of people have idea that they don't implement, but you have the course, the book, the speaking, all kinds of cool stuff, so TheWisdomOfWalt.com..
Thanks for being on the show, Jeff.
Jeff Barnes: Thank you, Robert.
Get back to basics and shorten those challenging times in your marriage! Meet Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo, from OneExtraordinaryMarriage.com -- the podcast they've been running for 6 1/2 years. The three of us discuss a lot of subjects -- not only how they repaired their marriage and others can do the same, but also how they developed this advice into a podcast, a series of books, and a coaching program.
Tony DiLorenzo: Excellent, Robert. Thank you.
Alisa DiLorenzo: We're doing great today. Glad to be joining you.
Robert Plank: Cool. I think we're going to have a lot of fun today. Could you guys tell me, I know I mentioned a little bit, but can you tell me what it is that you guys do and what makes both of you different and special?
Alisa DiLorenzo: Oh my gosh. Well Tony and I are tasked. We know our mission is to transform a million marriages around the world. That is something that we've discovered over the last few years and we do that through a variety of ways. We do it through the podcast, the One Extraordinary Marriage Show. We do through it, you mentioned, the books that we've written. We've written books such as the 7 Days of Sex Challenge. We talk about trust, we talk about communication, we talk about all those topics that everybody wants to talk about but nobody is. We peel back all the layers for couples out there to go, you know what? You can have a conversation about this and the world isn't going to fall off its axis.
Robert Plank: Interesting. You guys get right to the good stuff.
Alisa DiLorenzo: Absolutely.
Tony DiLorenzo: Yeah. I mean, our fist show that we ever did was called the 60 Days of Sex Challenge.
Robert Plank: Nice. That's a great place to start off, right?
Tony DiLorenzo: Let's start big or go home.
Robert Plank: Hit the ground running. Kind of along those lines, I mean, what has you guys excited lately in this topic. Tell me something I haven't heard before.
Tony DiLorenzo: Wow. What are we excited about lately? Man, we're excited about just impacting people's lives. As One Extraordinary Marriage has grown over the last 6 and a half years, our reach has just taken off. From the early days of the podcast where we would hear from folks here in the United States. I remember and Alisa does too, when we heard from somebody from Alaska and it was like, "Oh my gosh. We have somebody listening in Alaska." Now we have listeners in 160 countries around the world.
Right now, what gets me excited and what gets me out of bed are the folks who come, hear us, start to implement, they're intentional about their marriage, and they take action, ad they have these amazing testimonies. They come and they're like, "You guys wouldn't believe what we did. We were listening to you share this. We picked up your book, connect like you did when you first met. We started asking each other questions. We started getting deep. We started being transparent with each other. Guess what? We had the best sex we've ever had in our 10 years of marriage." If that doesn't get me excited to wake up in the morning and impact more lives, I don't know what will.
Robert Plank: You guys are teaching what you know, it sounds like.
Alisa DiLorenzo: Well we are because our marriage the first 11 years was really nothing to write home about.
Tony DiLorenzo: Nope.
Alisa DiLorenzo: The fact that we're still together and we actually, as of this recording, are just under 2 months away from our 20th wedding anniversary. We look back at those first 11 years that were rocked with pornography, rocked with crazy financial debt with more zeros than I care to count about, rocked with the loss of our second child. All of these things tear marriages apart and we found ourselves at that 11 year mark going, "Which way to we go?" The reason the very first show that we ever recorded was the 60 Days of Sex Challenge is because that's what we decided to do in hopes that something would shift in our marriage, otherwise we were going to end up as roommates. As a result of that shift, I mean, our marriage, I get to tell people all the time that my marriage coming up on 20 years is better than it's ever been.
Robert Plank: What changed?
Alisa DiLorenzo: We got intentional.
Tony DiLorenzo: Yeah.
Alisa DiLorenzo: We stopped taking each other for granted. We realized that this relationship between the two of us had to be the first relationship that we work on every day instead of the last relationship.
Tony DiLorenzo: If you want to see anything grow and flourish, you need to water it, right? If you want to see a rose plant grow, you don't just plant it and let the sun wither it away. You water it. You put fertilizer on it. You trim it. You cut it back in those seasons when it has to be cut back to see it bloom and blossom. It's the same thing that we had to learn in our own marriage and we teach others is that if you want to grow, you got to do something. Alisa and I had to do something.
Robert Plank: That makes sense. Am I getting the math here right? Was this 9 years ago or was this more recent that ...
Alisa DiLorenzo: 9 years ago.
Tony DiLorenzo: 9, yep.
Robert Plank: That you started the podcast?
Alisa DiLorenzo: We started the podcast 6 and a half years ago. We started our journey towards transforming our marriage 9 years ago. It as after we did that, we'd been invited to speak, to share our story, and after we did that, here we are. I'm standing up in front of a room full, I think it was 80 folks, give or take.
Tony DiLorenzo: 80 couples.
Alisa DiLorenzo: We're sharing our story and talking about how Tony threw out this idea that we would have sex for 60 days in a row. My immediate reaction the first time he proposed it was absolutely not. Our kids were 2 and 5 and the time. Are you kidding me? I'm covered in baby stuff all day long and art projects. The last thing I'm going to do is have sex with you all day.
Robert Plank: My thought when I first heard that was, of course it's the guy's idea.
Alisa DiLorenzo: Well a lot of people say that. It's not always the case.
Tony DiLorenzo: Hey, Robert. It was the Hail Mary pass. It really was. Where we were in our marriage at that point, it was the Hail Mary pass. I got to go after something that's so big, so crazy that it's either we win it or we lose it here. That's just where I was after 11 years of marriage. Our goal is hopefully that folks who find us don't have to do the Hail Mary pass. They're starting to listen, they're starting to gain wisdom and knowledge and taking action so they don't have to get to that point in their marriage.
Robert Plank: What's the secret? What's the shortcut? What's the Cliff Notes on this?
Alisa DiLorenzo: The Cliff Notes, I love not. We haven't used that phrase before, but that might show up on the One Extraordinary Marriage Show.
Robert Plank: Awesome. You're welcome.
Alisa DiLorenzo: Thank you. Thank you. That's why we love doing interviews because somebody always gives us a little bit more information or material for our own show. The Hail Mary, the secret sauce, is saying, you know what? What you did to get to the I do, what you did to get to the wedding day, you actually need to keep going and keep doing that for the next 50, 60 years. You don't spend all this time like, "Oh, I'll talk to you for hours. Oh, I'll take you on dates. Oh, we'll plan trips together and do all this kind of stuff." Then you have the fancy dress and the big party and everybody's like, "Yay! Kiss, kiss, kiss." Then the next day you're like, "Yeah, well, we've got the same last name. We're done." Right? I don't have to do anything anymore.
Those couples that say, you know what? The wedding is just he beginning of our lives together, the wedding is where we start investing, those are the couples that see transformation because they're not waiting around for something else to happen. They're saying, "I'm going to take responsibility for what I can do in the marriage and that's showing up to the best of my ability every single day."
Robert Plank: How do you get back to that point? You guys mentioned that, well it was one thing to say that but you guys had the kids to deal with and I'm sure your own responsibilities. How do you do that with all of the everyday stuff in the way?
Tony DiLorenzo: Man. Honestly, it's going to depend on where you are in your marriage, right? That's one of the most difficult tasks we face because so many people are in so many different places of their marriage, right? Some people have just grown apart. It's nothing more than life has gotten in the way and they haven't been intentional. Maybe for them, doing the 7 Days of Sex Challenge is the best thing they could do right now. They need to reconnect.
See, the 7 Days of Sex Challenge, everybody is like, "Ooh, it's sex." Right. We get it. Alisa and I having done our 60 Days of Sex Challenge and then eight 7 Days of Sex Challenges now, it's more than just sex. It really is. It's about that emotional connection. For some couples, that's what they need. They need to get back to basics. For other couples, they've gone through the ringer. They've been in the valley. They've been stuck in the valley and they're wondering, "When are we going to get out of this?" For those folks, a 7 Days of Sex Challenge may be something that they could do and yet it's not going to have the profound effect that it would have for the first couple. For them, they may do a 7 Days of Sex Challenge or maybe they would check out our course, He Zigs, She Zags. Get your communication on the path and parlay that with coaching with Alisa because they need more accountability. They need somebody to come up beside them and go, are you guys doing your work? Are you guys doing what you're saying? Because Alisa will hold them to task and hold them accountable to what they said they were going to do each and every week.
Robert Plank: Could you explain that a little bit? Is there a course someone can buy where it's not just the training but Alisa will actually follow and make sure they do what they say they'll do, or is that the coaching part of it?
Alisa DiLorenzo: That's the coaching part and we have a number of programs because over the last 6 and a half years, we've identified some very particular areas that we hear time and time again, couples are struggling with. Communication is one of the top ones. Trust. We created a program all wrapped around restoring trust in your marriage. Then we know that sexual intimacy is an issue as well. These are the 3 big ones. Then you have those folks that want to just do it themselves. They just want to get plugged into a program. Then you have other folks that are like, "You know what? We've tried and tried and tried to talk ourselves through this. We've tried to do programs, we've tried to do all this kind of stuff, and we can't do it by ourselves." A lot of those folks have heard about us either on podcasts like yours or even on our own show and they're like, "Wait a minute. I resonate with what she's saying. She sounds like me."
That's what I tell people all the time. I tell my clients, "Look. I'm not perfect. You listen to my show for more than one week, you'll hear Tony and I have incidences where we go back and forth and we still fight over things. What we figured out is how to shorten the challenging times in our marriage. They're still going to happen. We're human. He's not perfect, I'm not perfect.
Coming alongside a couple, what I do is I give them additional resources. I give them tools and I say, "You know what? I'm going to talk to you next week so you don't just revert back to your old behavior, what hasn't been working. I'm going to hold you accountable and we're going to keep equipping you until you have the marriage and the relationship as functioning at the level that you desire."
Robert Plank: Interesting. What kind of though process goes into some of the stuff? You said that there's those 3 areas, there's the communication and the trust and the sex areas, but how do you decide if you guys have an idea, if something should be a podcast episode or an audio program or a book, or do you just not care about the overlap when you say that you can restate the same things in different ways, I guess? What's the thought process with that?
Tony DiLorenzo: That's a good question. When it comes to the podcast, because I want to start it there because that's basically like our home base. For anybody who's listening, you want to go check it out, go to the One Extraordinary Marriage Show. Find that on iTunes, Stitcher Radio for you Android folks. When if comes to the show, that honestly has been something we've done for 6 and half years week in and week out. It is our life. It is what we deal with in our own lives with kids who are growing up with 2 adults that, like Alisa said, aren't perfect. We have blow-ups, we have mess-ups, and we also have successes. Throughout the week, we're always looking for cues and thinking of, how can we share what's going on or what we've heard or if there's reoccurring themes from folks that we're getting emails from?
You get it once, you're like, "Okay." Get it twice, "Hmm. Wonder what's up?" Get it a 3rd, 4th, 5th time, you better believe we're going to start doing some research, thinking about it, and then bringing it to a show. When it comes to a workshop or a course, we've found that, like Alisa said, the 3 main areas, so we dive deeper into those. Those are more hands-on. We do an audio and video sessions. We add cheat sheets, worksheets, so people can dive in deeper in those areas and pull it apart. That's where that comes up and yeah, is there going to be overlap? Sure thing. Some people will be able to listen to the podcast, all good. Other people, they need to pick up our books, 7 Days of Sex Challenge. Other people want to pick up our book The Trust Factor. For them, they need to go a little deeper. They need to write notes in their book and dissect it and then apply it to their own marriage.
Robert Plank: Okay. I mean, yeah, I like your thought process. It's almost like the podcast happens regardless, and then you might use some of these podcast episodes to kind of flesh out a bigger idea that ends up in a workshop or a book.
Alisa DiLorenzo: Absolutely. I mean, we are constantly interacting with folks who are telling us about their marriages. That's just ...
Tony DiLorenzo: Nature of the beast.
Alisa DiLorenzo: Really. People find out what we do and they're like, "Oh, let me tell you what's going on in my relationship." Which is great and we love having that interaction, be it with our listeners or with just people we meet anywhere. From that, we're able to go, "Okay, where are the needs?" Right? We know what the needs are in our own marriage. A lot of times the shows come straight out of, "Oh, Tony and I had this issue this past week." We know we did, but there's at least one other couple out there that's facing it. Let's bring these topics to the light. Then going across all of our platforms, because we're on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and all over, iTunes and Stitcher and whatnot. Taking it across the platforms allows us to reach people wherever they're at. They don't just have to come and find our website. We're out there, audio, video, tweets, and whatnot because we know that if you're having a crisis in your marriage, you're looking and we need to be where you're looking.
Tony DiLorenzo: Right.
Robert Plank: It makes a lot of sense. Be everywhere because otherwise, I mean, they're going to find someone else, if not, you guys, right?
Alisa DiLorenzo: True.
Robert Plank: Have you come across any of that? Have you come across having any difficulties differentiating yourselves or have you come across anyone else kind of doing something similar to you or even maybe someone who's kind of trying to ride your coattails, anything like that?
Tony DiLorenzo: No. You know what? We, having gone into the podcasting world when we did, we really were able to carve out our own niche. That has helped. Sure, have there been people who've like, "Hey, look what Tony and Alisa are doing so we're going to do the same thing." Sure. Go for it, man. Honestly, if you can touch marriages, by all means go for it. I know a lot of folks in the marriage niche. I try to reach out to many of them. I have some good friends in them so we do a lot of programs together or courses. If they're doing an online conference, we're usually speaking at them. In all honesty, it's a big world. Go after it. We're going to just continue to do what we know we do best and we're going to just continue to reach those couples and know that we're going to reach a million and we're going to reach more than that before our time comes to an end.
Robert Plank: Nice. Fair enough. Yeah, I'm scrolling through and I'm seeing you guys having all these TV appearances on all kinds of cool stuff like that.
Tony DiLorenzo: Yeah. Yeah, those are fun too because, especially here locally in San Diego, we've been featured on CW6 a few times now.
Alisa DiLorenzo: We've been on ESPN Radio.
Tony DiLorenzo: Right and they're all so great. For us it's, where can we reach people where they're at, right? I mean, not everybody's online. Not everybody's searching because their marriage is in a tough spot. Sometimes their just right there on CW6 and they want to get some fun, quick ideas about how to romance their spouse on Valentine's Day.
Robert Plank: Do you have any of those? You have either a really common problem everyone has that everyone should be aware that they can fix in their marriage or do you have just some really fun, quick tips anyone can use? Besides the 60 Days of Sex, besides the 7 Days of Sex, of course.
Tony DiLorenzo: Yeah. Yeah, here's a fun one that we found that a lot of couples, both male and female, husband and wife, have a hard time knowing how to initiate sex. It's something that we all think should just come naturally and yet we have difficulties with it. What does that look like? For a lot of us, media has really screwed us up at times and what that looks like, a typical 30 minute sitcom. If there's a sex scene happening would be a scantily clad woman coming in with high heels, maybe lingerie and the guy is in the bathroom shaving and she comes up behind him. Honestly, man, I've been married almost 20 years. I cannot think of a time when Alisa has come into our bedroom or our bathroom like that.
For most of us, we don't know what initiating looks like so we came up with a resource on how to initiate. If folks are interested, they can go to OneExtraordinaryMarriage.com/initiate and then get our free download there and it will help them to understand, okay, what does this look like for you? What does this look like for me? It gets that conversation started.
Alisa DiLorenzo: Just to add onto that, that's really where most couples need to have the resources, right? They need to know what the first step is, right? With this list of top 10 ways to initiate sex tonight or today, because we talk about daytime sex a lot, it's just that first step. It's getting them over the hurdle of saying, okay, you know what? Maybe we can talk about this. Just because we've never talked about it doesn't mean we can't. It just means we need to take the first step and that's really where One Extraordinary Marriage comes through for so many people is giving them that first step.
Robert Plank: Well cool. It sounds like, hearing about that and just hearing about all the little things that you guys do that all add up to a lot, it sounds like you guys take this subject that either some people just don't want to talk about it or some people think it's not fun, and it sounds like, especially the way you guys talk, it sounds like you've taken this thing and you kind of made it fun and brought it to light again.
Alisa DiLorenzo: Absolutely. I mean, Tony and I both grew up in homes where sex wasn't talked about, where it wasn't kind of the birds and the bees was the one and only conversation that either one of us had with our parents and that was about it. We realize, you know what? There are a lot of folks out there, that was their experience too and nobody said this is, we give all of this book learning but nobody says this is how you have to deal with a spouse. This is how you have to deal with a husband or a wife and these are the challenges you're going to face. How do you talk about finances? How do you talk about sex? How do you get on the same page in regard to the kids? We just said, you know what? We looked for it and couldn't find it, and so we said, you know what? Somebody's got to step into this space. If it's not out there and we know we need it, we're going to step into that space and that's really how One Extraordinary Marriage started and what it's grown into is a resource for couples literally around the world who are like, "We've never had that conversation. Well Tony and Alisa just did. Let's do it ourselves. Let's see what happens when we do it."
Robert Plank: That's awesome. I think that anyone at any niche can kind of takeaway from that, not just in the save your marriage niche. If there's something out there where you have a problem and you can't find the solution that you guys have just made the solution that you wish existed.
Tony DiLorenzo: Exactly. For anybody who's out there, it takes time. You know what I mean? One Extraordinary Marriage didn't grow to where we are today overnight. Everybody likes to look at us now and go, "Oh my gosh. That was an overnight success." No. It's taken hard work. It's taken years of just learning our craft and our trade and who we serve and continuously coming to our podcast, coming to our site, reaching new people, each and everyday.
Robert Plank: Kind of along those lines. I'm looking at the stuff that you guys have setup. I know that you guys have the podcast, you have these courses, you have all these freebies. Do you have something upcoming or some kind of cool project or some kind of cool area you're excited to get into soon?
Alisa DiLorenzo: Right now we're working on building out some individual group coaching programs. We've done a lot of stuff in the past where it's been targeted for both husband and wife to work on together and what we're looking at right now, what we've come to recognize over the last, probably 3 to 6 months, there are a lot of times that either a husband needs to work in an area or work on himself or a wife needs to work on herself because the fact of the matter is that a relationship is only as healthy as the two people in the relationship. We're in the process right now designing some group coaching programs that will be coming out probably September, October. We're still working on the release date for those of just equipping husbands and wives with the tools that they need to be the best version of themselves in their marriages.
Robert Plank: I like it. Mostly the husband, but not just the husband, right? I know that he's usually wrong.
Alisa DiLorenzo: No. Not at all. My couples, they will tell you and we hear this time and time again when I'm doing individual coaching with couples is that one of the things that surprises them is the fact that I'm able to just come in and really be that 30,000 foot view. It's not all his fault, it's not all her fault. It takes 2 people, with whatever's going on in your relationship, it takes both of you to have gotten there and takes both of you to get to the next level. It's not, the husband has to do all the work or the wife has to do all the work. You both have to work to get to extraordinary.
Robert Plank: Interesting. I like that way of thinking and I like all the stuff that you guys have built and what's cool about this niche, especially that you guys are in is that there's always some kind of new area, right? There's always some kind of new thing that couples need to be working on. It's not just something where someone has back pain, they take a pill, it's over with. There's always new ways to improve, I guess, right?
Tony DiLorenzo: There are many layers. It's just the way to think about it. Think of an onion. We're all so complex and there are many layers. Some people just live on the surface. All their lives, that's where they've lived and now they're married and they're like, "Oh my gosh. I can't live here anymore. I need to go deeper. How do I do that? How do I communicate in my emotional intimacy with my spouse?" Sexual intimacy, financial intimacy, spiritual intimacy. There are many different areas that we come in from and we look at it from different places and continue to just keep going around and looking at it and going, okay, how about this? How about that? How about this? Are you thinking about this?
Nothing is too small. We'll take and we'll dissect little areas and go, "Did you guys think about this?" It's amazing what can happen because that can actually have freedom for somebody. Somebody can break free of their thought process or where they've been or how they grew up, and that's what we just continue to go after.
Robert Plank: That's awesome and what's cool about what you guys have setup is if someone kind of has the personality of, they kind of want to go all-in, they could load up the truck with all your stuff, but even if someone is just kind of curious, like you said, just of solving a little problem now, they can just tune into one episode of the podcast or they can just grab one of the cheat sheets. That's pretty cool that people can just kind of pick and choose where they want to start with you guys and how deep they want to go with you guys, too.
Tony DiLorenzo: Right, exactly. I mean, I'm thinking about, you talk about that. We did a show and we have an article on it called The Ecotone Sound and Sleep Machine. Here is something that we introduced into our own marriage and it's a sound machine that we have in our bedroom that has like 10 different sounds and you can pick it up on Amazon for 99 bucks. We loved it because it allowed us, for us anyways, as our kids were getting older, it drowned out the sound in our room when we were having sex.
Alisa DiLorenzo: It's audio responsive so the louder you get the louder it gets.
Robert Plank: How funny.
Alisa DiLorenzo: Yeah, it's a nice thing.
Robert Plank: What'll they think of next?
Tony DiLorenzo: Right. You talk about just something simple. Something simple as that, Robert, can honestly shift a marriage like you would not believe and we've had testimonies after testimonies about that little machine that people were like, I had no clue. Well, Alisa and I didn't either and we got it, we tested it, we shared it, and now there are other couples and the one family who are like, "We use it all the time. Love it." There you go.
Robert Plank: Nice. They say we've somehow lived for decades without this and how do we even go one day without that thing, right?
Alisa DiLorenzo: That's kind of how we feel about it, yeah.
Robert Plank: Funny. Along those lines, along the lines of the things that you recommend and people finding out about you and buying from you, where can people tune into the podcast, get your videos, get your products, where should they go to find out all that stuff?
Tony DiLorenzo: Sure. Come to our hub, guys. OneExtraordinaryMarriage.com and you'll find everything there. You'll find the articles, you'll find the podcast. If you're on iTunes or you're on your iPhone, go to the podcast app. Just type in One Extraordinary Marriage Show. Subscribe right there and you can start listening. Our store is there. You can learn more about our products, our programs, and who Alisa and I are all about.
Robert Plank: Awesome. Well, I'm really glad that both of you, I got a 2 for 1 deal. I have both of you were able to stop by the show. I always like covering all those weird, random topics and it was really great hearing, not only about how you guys got your start and you were able to spread this message using the internet that you wouldn't have been able to without the internet and the thing is, on this show, a lot of time we talk to self-employed entrepreneurs. This is great for them too because if their marriage is in trouble then everything else suffers. A really great message you guys have. Could you tell us one last time, make sure everyone has it, that URL again.
Tony DiLorenzo: Yeah. It's OneExtraordinaryMarriage.com.
Robert Plank: Perfect. Thanks for being on the show, Tony and Alisa.
Alisa DiLorenzo: You're welcome. Thank you for having us.
Tony DiLorenzo: Yeah. Thanks a lot, Robert.
Do you feel that sometimes you plan too much and don't take enough action? Sasha Laghonh from SashaTalks.com has the solution for you. She shares her secrets to internet traffic, keeping your emotions in check so they help you, and how you can get that tough love alternate perspective.
Sasha Laghonh: Hi Robert, thank you for having me.
Robert Plank: Can you tell me about what it is that you do, what makes you special?
Sasha Laghonh: What makes me special? Well, I have two parallel career paths. My initial career path has to do with business, I have a Bachelors from Austen University with business and also an MBA in Global Management. I started out along my corporate career path where I do a lot of business development and research in the market. That is how I work corporate contracts, helping out executives streamline their business plans and help them with their corporate strategy. On the other side, I also initially started out Sasha Talks where I was selling special counselling services. You're doing the readings and it's more metaphysical work and then a common person would say, well those two interests are really polarizing, because one is really rational and judgmental and the other one is really fluid and it cannot be measured. It got to the point where Sasha Talks started growing at a faster rate than I had anticipated, that I had merged my business consulting businesses onto Sasha Talks, so I could standardize the audience and I wouldn't be chasing two different worlds at the same time.
Robert Plank: Okay, so how did any of this come to be? I know you said that you have this business background and you have this website. How did you get your counselling clients and things like that?
Sasha Laghonh: Sasha Talks was already a part of our ID in theory by the time 2008 came along. When the economy started going down, a lot of my corporate opportunities started getting down sized because of budgets. I told myself, what are some skill sets that I haven't fully capitalized upon. That's when Sasha Talks was launched and I went out, I was doing radio shows, pod casting and at the same time, I was employed by third party websites where you get to defend your services. Whether people are paying you by the minute or buying small packages to talk to you on the phone, or for online chat. At that time I was pressed in between 5 consistent platforms, which are websites owned by private owners. That was providing a form of income, but it got to a point where I said that, if I am going to be helping other people off of third party website, why can I not do that through my own.
At that time I slowly started marketing Sasha Talks and it picked up momentum through Blog Talk radio, BBS radio and basically building a lot of speaking engagements where you're marketing yourself out there. You're giving people samples of your work. You don't have to work for free, but you also have to encourage people to invest their resources in you. Slowly that picked up momentum and I've gotten this far because of word of mouth. The best compliment you can get is a referral. If people have tried you out and they've paid you for your service, they'll share the good news with other people, but if you have bad news, it will travel faster. You have to be mindful of what type of publicity are you attracting. Even though you cannot control the perception of the audience, at the end of the day keep at it and be consistent in what you're offering.
Robert Plank: Okay. That makes a lot of sense. I like a couple of things about that. I like that, first of all, when you saw the economic downturn and you saw people getting down sized, you said, well I have the skill, you're a good speaker or you can feel out someone's business. Now I'm going to change things up a little bit so that now I can replace these business clients that I'm using. The other thing that I like too, is your use of these third party websites. You said, word of mouth and then get traffic from having a Blog Talk radio show. Is there anything else that you look for as far as the traffic you send to your website?
Sasha Laghonh: Other than that, also when I ran Sasha Talks, I think Sasha Talks is composed of three different blogs up to date. The latest blog highlights all of the guests that I host on the platform. Initially the blog had to do with love and relationships because for some reason, a lot of women and men, men usually don't talk about it out loud, have this interest in exploring their love lives and they want to have that looked into. It's usually love and relationships, career and sometimes they want to know a little bit about their life path. Exploring about what goes on within themselves when it comes to the social services. Of course there is a grey area, because those readings fall under the entertainment realm. I'm not delivering a science, it's not a formula, there's so many different spiritualists out there that focus on different types of services, so I have to make that clear. Around the business aspect of it, before I started doing professional coaching, I was doing academic coaching. It gave me an opportunity to slowly merge different types of coaching that I'm doing and complement that with Sasha Talks. It's not completely entertainment, it's an entertainment platform, but it's also a very hands on practical tool that people could apply in their lives if they choose to.
Robert Plank: That sounds pretty cool and that sounds like something that can help a lot of people. Can you kind of walk us through, say someone, they hear about you from some other website or word of mouth and they say, okay, I want to hire Sasha to figure out my career path or something. What's the process someone goes through once they hear from you, they go to the website, what are the steps they take?
Sasha Laghonh: If they've gotten the contact tapes, there's a drop down for requesting a certain type of service and I will follow up with them, usually they hear back from me within 2 to 3 days max. Usually I try to do it within 24 hours. Then I ask them a couple of preliminary questions, to gauge their interest and if they happen to be the right clientele that I work with. I will only work with people who are ready to take action in their life, they're serious about it and they're not just fooling around because they're bored and they're just sending out requests to find out what services are available.
Even though a lot of people have money out there and they're willing to pay you, I'm not only out there for the money, but I want the satisfaction that they're making the right investment. When they walk away, they can say that working with Sasha was worthwhile, because I learned a lot and now I'm applying what she shared with me. Sometimes people are under the impression as, I hate my job, I want this to happen, how come I don't have love in my life, let me go to a coach or spiritualist, pay them and overnight they're going to fix my life. The fixing can only be done by the client. I can only provide you with the ingredients and the tools of how to go about fixing it, or how to find your perfect career opportunity. Or how to have a healthy relationship, how to attract money, how to build a business. Those are things that can be taught to a degree, but if the person doesn't want to apply it, it doesn't mean a thing to me and they'll be out of money.
Robert Plank: Basically, you have this initial meeting to figure out if they're coachable, and if they're someone that you'll actually feel fulfilled with by meeting with them I guess.
Sasha Laghonh: Yes, because I'm looking for results. Initially, when I started out, I think I was a bit more hopeful, but you are more invested in your clients' well being, but I would find clients that didn't care that much. They thought that I could just go to one person, have a one time meeting, pay them, and they'll fix my life problems. It doesn't quite work that way. It's more of an engagement, and it's a two way street. I am there to help you and there to coach you. At the end of the day, once they walk away, I want to make sure that they're able to sustain the level of success that they want once they achieve it.
Robert Plank: That makes a lot of sense, you can only kind of show them the way. You have this first meeting and then if you decide that they want to move forward, then what's the next step.
Sasha Laghonh: Once we decide that we'll be working together, then I give them a handful of questions and then we start our sessions, whether it's on Skype, chat or phone and then I work them through, what are their challenges and stuff that they want to learn new stuff about.
Typically, when clients come to me, lately the questions that I get have to do with entrepreneurship. How do I take the first step? Part of it that I usually drill into them, is that plan ahead of time. You can't go to work on a Monday morning if you're working corporate and thinking, I hate my job, I'm going to run out and just start a business. All that requires planning and a process. There's the other hand where I meet people where they plan so much to become an entrepreneur, but they haven't put any of the plan into action. It says they haven't taken any steps to move away from being dependent on, whether it's corporate America or any third party that's providing them with an income. You have to learn how to strike a balance, but also have to explain to people that want to make a change of why it's necessary to take action. I know a lot of people who will plan, but they will not take any action.
Robert Plank: What's the fix for that?
Sasha Laghonh: Typically, I ask them what is holding them back and what are the emotional blocks within them? It could be anxiety and fear, because you can understand anxiety, if you're getting paid bi-weekly, you're going to go from getting paid bi-weekly to whenever you make your first sale. The goal that entrepreneurship has to do with, not only working for yourself, but having the passion that will drive you to the point of creating consistent form of income. Unless they could answer those health questions, I cannot help them. It's one of those things, you could give a person who needs help, all of the resources out there in the world, but if they're not ready to take that leap of faith, it's as they haven't done anything yet. They need to feel emotionally secure to say, I'm going to take a leap of faith and no matter what happens, or what the outcome is, I can live with it.
Robert Plank: How does someone get to that point?
Sasha Laghonh: I feel that some of my clients get to that point with time. Not just time heals, because I think time accommodates. Once somebody brings your attention of what is holding you back, what do you fear and if some of you know how to plan and you have a contingency plan and you have the right support telling you, you have a good idea. This is the time to take those steps. If you have the wrong people surrounding you, whether its friends or family, or people who care for you, and you want to be an entrepreneur but your idea, I don't like to say, it sucks, a lot of people will hold their true opinions back and kind of set up a person to fail. They don't want to be that messenger. People are entitled to their opinions, it doesn't meant the potential entrepreneur has to agree with them, but you need someone to give you objective and honest feedback. At the end of the day, I don't have anything vested in there. I'm not investing money in them, I'm investing tools in them and I want them to do well.
Robert Plank: Would you say that that's a big part of what you do? Being that objective person and maybe not being mean on purpose, but also not just telling them what they want to hear?
Sasha Laghonh: Right and I will say my strategy is tough love, but I'm not someone who's loud, vulgar or into yelling or any of that. I do bring alternative perspective, where I ask them all these questions that say, what are you going to do if this, this doesn't work out? What is your backup plan if you get rejected for funding, do you have a business plan? Do you even know the market that you're selling to? All of these questions that they should be able to have an idea. Sometimes people are in love with the idea of starting a business, but they have no clue where to begin, which is okay. They have to do their own homework and paying a stranger can only get you so far, but on a bad day, let's say if you're working for yourself and the economy goes bust, and we can't afford all of the talent around you, you still need to know how to run your own home. You still need to know how to run your own business. Somebody has to come in and say, have you thought about these things? Of course, with everything that we do in our life, no matter how many years you've been working for yourself, there's always something new that we learn in the process. You can't depend on other people forever.
Robert Plank: Right. That makes a lot of sense. Out of everything we've talked about today, or maybe there's something else, but you have all these coaching clients and some of them are uncertain about transitioning out of a day job, or some of them have these missing pieces in their business. Do you see a common problem or like a number one problem that you keep seeing over and over with these coaching and consulting clients that you have?
Sasha Laghonh: One of my pet peeves is that usually they pay too much attention to what everybody else is doing that they jump on the bandwagon without even questioning, do I need to do what my competitor's doing, do I need to do what my friend is doing. My family member told me it works out perfect for them, so I should do it too. I want individuals to question things that they're exposed to. Question information that comes your way, question the source. People may mean well, but at the end of the day, if you're putting up your own resources and your own money and you run dry, you don't want to be standing there alone in bankruptcy court, blaming everybody else. I would say, just be accountable for the financial decisions you make, be accountable for the people that you bring into your professional path. We don't get to control who comes in or leaves, but be responsible for those who become part of your business. At the end of the day, you're the one putting the food on the table.
Robert Plank: I like that and yeah, I like that whole message. I think that it's really easy to get bullied and get pushed around by someone else's opinions that it's easy for them to make because it doesn't affect them, but it sure as heck affects you.
Sasha Laghonh: Yes, and even though it is a business, you should bring your passion and your energy into it, but keep your emotions in check. Sometimes people get so emotional, whether for better or worse, that we forget to be rational when you have to make these decisions. They get caught up in the moment and then they might realize, somebody goes to the bank and they end up walking out with a larger loan than they need and later in time they realize that I didn't need all that money and I don't have the resources to pay it back. Or they get excited with a friend doing business that they're not well equipped to navigate through the friendship when the times get rough, because this is getting in the way. There's so many different variables about balancing the rational and the emotional aspects of running a business and living your life day to day.
Robert Plank: Interesting, it sounds like a big part of this, it seems like there are a lot of things that can trip people up, but having that objective person to talk to and listen to, sounds like it's super important. I like the way that you explain your coaching, that you don't just necessarily tell someone what to do, but you kind of ask all the right questions and get them to think things through about their life and about their business.
Sasha Laghonh: Yes and I want people to know that even if they go seek out a coach, a spiritualist, whichever type of professional, to know that they are qualified to grant you guidance. To always question your source, it doesn't mean that it's a one way type of communication that they come to me. They could ask me questions about what my thoughts are, but at the end of the day, I always tell them, it's not what Sasha will do or what your friend will do, or what your family member will do, you are the one making the decisions and you have to live with the ramifications. You have to feel comfortable in your own skin. If you feel you're getting bullied by people, then chances are high that you need to change the type of people you are seeking information from, or doing business with. You're working for yourself and if you don't feel comfortable in your own home per se, then something is wrong.
Robert Plank: Oh yeah, it's hard to disagree with that one. Kind of along those lines as far as people who, if someone out there they want to make a change, they want to fix things, they want to get a coach, they want to read about what you have to say and they want to find out all about Sasha, where can they go and where should they go to find out all that information?
Sasha Laghonh: Sure, they're welcome to go to SashaTalks.com. Even thought they don't need a session or a package of sessions, because I'm not in the business of keeping people to become a forever client. I'm there just to help them and I always treat each client as if we are not meant to meet again, this is what I'm parting with so they know how to proceed forward. If they need a critique for their business or something, I am available again at SashaTalks.com.
Robert Plank: Awesome, so thanks for not only sharing what you have to say about people helping themselves, but I also like the little behind the scenes bit about how you kind of adapted yourself and kind of adjusted a coaching business so that it would continue to grow, even when the whole outside world changed on you. Pretty cool stuff, SashaTalks.com. Thanks for being on the show Sasha.
Sasha Laghonh: Thank you Robert, for having me.
Rodney Hughes, author of the book "Selling Domination: Your Blueprint to Selling More and Generating an Extraordinary Income" tells us how he helps companies all over the world, especially those who don't even know what business they're in! (The money getting business.) He also details the four steps you can take when looking to improve any business' profits in 90 days or less:
1. How you business handles obscurity
2. Missed opportunities
3. What's already working that you can enhance?
4. Where are you wasting time and effort?
Rodney Hughes: Hey, thank you. I'm so happy to be here.
Robert Plank: Cool, and I'm happy that you are here. Could you tell me about what it is that you do, and what makes you different and special?
Rodney Hughes: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. For the last decade, what I've been focused on is I create sales and marketing solutions for various different organizations. I've worked with the Federal Government, non-profit organizations. I've worked with many different private sector organizations and what I do is I pretty much go in, figure out where the gaps are in the business and create strategies to solve that. Whether it be online sales and marketing solutions or whether it's in-person sales and marketing solutions.
Robert Plank: Could you give us an example of that?
Rodney Hughes: Yeah, yeah. As an example, I'll give you my most recent one. There's a gentleman that I'm working with, that I just got finished working with actually, who owns a ... He has a barbecue company. He does barbecue sauces and things of that nature. One of the things we did for him is we created a lead generation website for him, so that he can start collecting the contact information of the people that are interested in what he's offering, as far as sauces and things of that nature. We're helping him and we helped create a strategy that we're trying to get him to have at least 5,000 new subscribers over the course of the next 2 years, so that he can have a basis for driving online sales.
Robert Plank: Awesome so you're making the whole website for him, an opt-in for him, traffic and all that good stuff?
Rodney Hughes: Yeah, all that type of stuff. Then also helping him come up with online and offline strategies to actually drive that forward.
Robert Plank: Like what?
Rodney Hughes: Say it again?
Robert Plank: Like what? What strategies are you using to get those 5,000 subscribers coming in?
Rodney Hughes: This particular gentleman, he goes to various flea markets and various different retail locations. While he's out, what I mentioned to him was that it's one thing to get that immediate dollar, right? Which you definitely always want to drive sales but the reality is that sometimes situations come up, either people didn't feel like buying right there in that moment or maybe they might want to buy a little bit later or whatever, and so what we did was we said, "Listen. When you have people and you're giving out samples, hey offer this irresistible offer right here that's going to intrigue them and make them want to actually jump on your list.
Then, once a week, you want to actually give a recipe of the week or just ... " I tried to teach him how to also do a little bit of video blogging as well, so that he can have other ways of actually engaging with these people once they get on his list. He's building his list primarily through when he's giving samples to people, he has an irresistible offer that he shares with them. They decide whether or not they want to jump on his list at that time.
Robert Plank: Interesting. Are you seeing, with these businesses that you're helping out such as like this barbecue man and stuff like that, are you seeing the pieces that are missing for a lot of these businesses, is it the really simple stuff? Or is it more like advanced and complicated stuff?
Rodney Hughes: 9 times out of 10, it's really the simple stuff. I'll tell you like I told him. It surprises me, just think about this for a second, think about how many businesses that you've been to personally, okay, over the last year that you had a really, really great experience. Maybe it was a new restaurant like have you gone to a new restaurant lately, that you really, really liked?
Robert Plank: In the past few months, yeah.
Rodney Hughes: While you were at that restaurant, at any time throughout that ... From the moment that you walked in that restaurant, did they try to get to actually engage with you and get you to opt-in to some type of either coupon service or anything along those lines?
Robert Plank: Opting in no but, if they had, I for sure would have opted in.
Rodney Hughes: Got it. I want you to really think about this for a second, okay? The average American comes in contact with, it's estimated, comes in contact with somewhere between 5 to 7,000 ads every single day. That might be shooting it a little bit short if they're in a huge market like Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles or somewhere like that. If they're coming in contact ... If the average American is coming in contact with that many ads, what that means is that, simultaneously, they're coming in contact with 5,000 to 7,000 different promises every day.
Because they're coming in contact with all of that, all of these promises, all of these offers and all of ... Just all the stuff, what ends up happening is it creates an environment where the average person is trying to block out a whole bunch of different stuff, right? As a business owner, if you do a good enough job, think about all the things that you have to do, that restaurant had to do to actually even become a blip on your radar to where they were even able to get you to come in and try their actual food. Now, they did all this work. They probably invested thousands of dollars in advertising.
Then when you come in there, you have an amazing experience but then, when you leave, they didn't even ask to connect with you. Now what ends up happening is, as a business owner, that forces that business owner to have to borrow on other people's lines of communication. That's really all you're doing when you're advertising. When you advertise it on the Superbowl, you paid millions of dollars because you're trying to borrow the Superbowl's actual line of communication with their end users, right? When you advertise on the radio, when you advertise anywhere, you're paying to borrow on the line of communication. Now you've done all this work to get a person to come into your establishment, and you're not even attempting to connect with them so that you can own your own line of communication.
Robert Plank: Interesting.
Rodney Hughes: That is what we call, and I'm not trying to be rude here, but it will, in business, that is penny wise and dollar foolish. What you're doing is you're doing a lot of work upfront to get them to come through the door so that you can make that immediate sale, but what about all the other sales, right? Is it possible that restaurant that you went to, that you would want to go back sometime, right?
Robert Plank: If I liked it, for sure.
Rodney Hughes: Yeah, if you liked it, yeah, you would want to go back. Guess what? Is it also possible that you're distracted with all kinds of stuff, stuff going on at the job, stuff going on in your family, stuff, just regular day-to-day habitual things that you do every day. Is it possible that you might not ... It might not cross your mind to go back there? If they would have been connected with you and would have found creative ways to stay in communication with you, you might have would have thought to yourself, oh man. It's been a minute since I went there, maybe I should go back.
Robert Plank: Would you say that with these businesses that you're helping out, is this one of the first things you look for? Some way for them to capture some leads and follow up.
Rodney Hughes: From my ... No, well yes and no. When I look at a business or when my company, as a whole, looks at a business, me and my team, what ends up happening is I train my entire team ... I guess you could say our unique selling proposition is that we help companies explode their sales performance in 90 days or less, okay? The way that we do that is we really focus on identifying 4 key things. Number one is how well do they handle obscurity, right? Here's the reality. If you're in a place of obscurity as a business, then you can have the greatest product in the world but I can't do business with you if I don't know you exist. Very first thing I look at, with any organization, is how well are they at overcoming obscurity?
The second thing is I look for missed opportunities. Where are you missing opportunities? This particular scenario that I just explained to you, that was a missed opportunity. Those are missed opportunities where he's not trying to connect, where he wasn't previously connecting with people who showed interest in what it is he had to offer. That's why we created strategies to take advantage of that, and to actually effectively address that situation, okay?
The third thing that I look for is, I look for what's already working in the business. I try to ... We try to enhance that. If you're knocking it out the park, selling a whole bunch of different sauces, how can we enhance that? How can we get people to buy more sauces or how can we get people to buy other complementary products or whatever?
Then the fourth thing that we look for is we look at where is the business wasting time and wasting effort? At the end of the day, there's no difference between your business and Microsoft. There's no difference between Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway. At the end of the day, every single business has 24 hours to get things done. If you're investing a lot of time, energy and resources into things that are not working, that are not getting you the results that you really need to get done, you're better off just eliminating those things. When we couple all 4 of those things together and take a look at an organization, it allows us to create a sales and marketing solution that can really drive things forward and do it in a very fast manner.
Robert Plank: Cool so it's customized to them, then?
Rodney Hughes: Yes.
Robert Plank: Just to make sure that I got your 4 points right. You look at these 4 things. Number one, how they handle obscurity. Number 2, the missed opportunities. Number 3, what's already working that you can enhance and then number 4, where they're wasting the time and effort.
Rodney Hughes: Correct.
Robert Plank: I mean something that you mentioned a few minutes ago, a little bit off-handedly, is with this particular case study that you're mentioning, you get .. In this case, what he was doing was he was going to these events, he was getting people on a list and sending them offers. You mentioned really quick that you had some creative ways to get people back to the business. Do you have any cool, just creative things you've been doing lately, that are maybe not the usual stuff, in order to help someone's business?
Rodney Hughes: Got it. I mean it really varies because something that is not usual in one industry might be completely usual in another industry, right? It's not usual to have an opt-in type of situation for a company that sells barbecue sauce. I think that sometimes business owners, they are trying to be super-unique with things and I think you can be unique sometimes just by looking at what's working in other industries. As an example, let's say the drive-through window, right? The drive-through window actually, at restaurants, actually came from the banking industry.
They got that from the banking industry and it allowed them to be very effective. The drive-through concept was not a new concept but it was new to an industry. They were able to implement it. Now, it's just almost a common way of doing business now for fast food industries. What I usually do is I look at other industries, see what's working very well and see is there any way that we can make that work for a particular business in a particular situation?
Robert Plank: I like that and that's pretty powerful. That makes me think of ... I mean I wish more businesses had drive-throughs, right? Or even I remember a few years ago, I was playing around with Domino's Pizza's website. I think I might have bought a Domino's Pizza one time and then, at some point, I ended up on their text blast list. I know for sure that I didn't unsubscribe from it but I might have just stopped getting the messages. I stopped buying from them, but I thought it was cool that they would not only be building this list of all these SMS subscribers but they would go and send a message right before lunch.
Rodney Hughes: Yeah.
Robert Plank: That's a cool thing. In any other industry that's not doing that, that seems like a pretty easy way to find the low hanging fruit there.
Rodney Hughes: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, at the end of the day, I think that ... See, here's the deal. One of the ways that I like ... In my book, the very first principle that I mention in my book is the 10 principles of selling domination. It says, "You're only in one business. You're in the money getting business and never forget that." The reason why I say that, the reason why that's the leading principle, is because the problem that a lot of people have is, number one, they have no earthly idea what business they're in, okay? Every single business, there's only one business on God's green earth.
Hey, guess what? Wells Fargo is in the exact same business as Walmart. Walmart is in the exact same business I'm in. I'm in the exact same business you're in and so on and so on and so on. We're in the money getting business and that's not about being greedy. It's about focus, right? What people ... If you don't understand that you're in the money getting business, then your focus isn't going to be right. If you understand that you're in the money getting business, now you maybe in a different industry, there are many different industries, many different products, many different services.
If you understand that you're in the money getting business, the reason why that will help you tremendously is because then you'll get to understand like, "Okay. If we're all in the same business, then I might easily be able to see what's going on in an industry that I know nothing about but that is working ... I see is working very well. I might be able to get something from that and make it work in my industry." At the end of the day, the goal is always the same which is to find people that you can serve, help and collect money in exchange for serving and helping them. Does that make sense?
Robert Plank: Yeah, it does. I think that's some pretty dang good advice because I think that, when I was younger, I would not really pay a lot of attention to other businesses. I think that once I started looking at these other businesses that seemed to be doing well and saying, "Okay. Here's what they're doing to get people in." I can guesstimate, "Okay they get this number of people in per day and they're probably making this amount of money." It helps to, instead of in the past I would write these other businesses off, to look at it from an outsider's perspective, almost like a reverse engineering perspective and just look at what it is that they're doing. It seems like if they keep doing it, it must be working for them.
Rodney Hughes: Yes, exactly.
Robert Plank: Would you say that, with all these businesses you helped, would you say that their big mistake is that they're not looking ... They're not comparing themselves to other businesses? Or would you say that there's an even bigger thing they're all missing out on?
Rodney Hughes: It's not so much about comparing yourself to other businesses. I think the biggest thing, some of the biggest things that people miss out on is that they ... I think sometimes people want this to be very difficult, okay? What I mean by that is there's a lot of things that are very, very simple but it doesn't mean that it's easy but it is simple, right? If, at the end of the day, if you understand that if you have a great product, service or solution, which I urge everyone to represent great products, services and solutions, but if you're not doing everything you possibly can every single day to get out and let people know about what it is that you're doing, you're not setting yourself up for success.
See, here's the thing. A lot of people, in business, a lot of people that I encounter in business, let's put it that way, a lot of people that I encounter in business, they fall in love with the business so much that they don't focus on the things that actually make the business work. What I mean by that is let's say you're a baker, right? First off, like I said, there's only one business in God's green earth. If you think you're in the baking business, then you're not going to perform nearly as high as another baker down the street that understands that they're in the money getting business.
This is, listen, this is 100% proven. Let's use McDonald's as an example. McDonald's is in the money getting business. If you look at just how they operate, it doesn't take long for you to understand that they understand they're in the money getting business. If I was in a room full of a million people and I asked a million people to raise your hand and say, "How many of you know who McDonald's is?" Almost everybody, if not everybody, would put their hands up. Would you agree?
Robert Plank: Yes, I would.
Rodney Hughes: If I was in that same room, right after I asked that question, and I say, "Hey. How many of you have had a better hamburger than McDonald's?" I'm almost sure that 100% of everybody would raise their hand and say, "Hey. I've had a better hamburger somewhere else." Would you agree with that?
Robert Plank: Yes, I would.
Rodney Hughes: Then I say, right after that I say, "Now let me ask you something. How many of those places that you had the better hamburger at can say 90 billion served?"
Robert Plank: None.
Rodney Hughes: Nobody's hands would go up.
Robert Plank: Interesting. What you're saying is you're seeing a lot of people who, they fall in love with the business or they ... You used the baker example. You could have a baker who they love baking but they ignore the business side of it. Or they don't focus on making it a machine or a system that just works really smoothly, keeps bringing people in and keeps making money. That's a huge problem you're saying.
Rodney Hughes: Exactly, exactly. There are too many people that have really, really great products and they invest a considerable amount of time into making sure the product, the service or solution is great. I'm not against that. I'm totally for that. I want you to have ... Represent great stuff because it really does help. I want you to focus on understanding business, you understand? You're good at what you do which is either if you're a chiropractor, you're good at doing chiropractic stuff, right? If you're an accountant, maybe you're great at crunching numbers and that's great.
I want you to be great at that but don't neglect being the business. The business is what's going to differentiate you. The business is what's going to ultimately lead to your great success. Doesn't it suck to have a great product, service or solution, you look down the street and you're getting your head beat in by somebody who has a far less superior product, service or solution in the exact same market that you're in?
Robert Plank: I mean that's a blow to the ego there.
Rodney Hughes: You see what I'm saying?
Robert Plank: Yeah.
Rodney Hughes: Guess what? If the person down the street understands hey, I'm in the money getting business. Then they're probably going to have way better sales results than you have, if you think that you're in whatever other business you think you're in.
Robert Plank: Cool so it sounds like that people, if they want, they can have the best of everything, right? They can have a good business that everyone knows about and they can be good at whatever skill it is that they're in.
Rodney Hughes: Absolutely, absolutely. I totally believe that you can be great at both things. I just feel that it's just a matter of focus and intention, you know what I mean?
Robert Plank: Oh yeah.
Rodney Hughes: If you neglect ... See, that's the thing. A lot of people neglect the business side of things. They neglect the marketing, they don't want to do that. They're just like, "Man I just want to bake." In that baker scenario, they're just like, "Man I just like cooking, period." If that's the case, then maybe that should just be ... If you're not willing to do the things to make the business grow big enough to where it would be happy for you, everybody doesn't want to be a millionaire, billionaire, whatever, right? If you're not willing to learn what it takes to get to the level of success that you desire from a business standpoint, then maybe that should just be a hobby and you should just get a job.
Robert Plank: I mean kind of harsh advice but I mean I think that a lot of people need to hear that.
Rodney Hughes: Yeah. I mean, at the end of the day, I'm not trying to be harsh. I'm just trying to call it how I see it.
Robert Plank: Be real, yeah.
Rodney Hughes: If you're not willing ... That's just like if you want to lose weight, you're not willing to work out and change up how you eat, well then you can't out work a bad diet. I mean I don't know what else to say to you. You can buy as many gym memberships as you want.
Robert Plank: I mean I agree with you there. I think that this is really important. I think that this is something that every business owner needs to hear, especially if they're maybe making things a little too hard on themselves. It doesn't have to be that way. Can you tell us about your website, your coaching, your book and all that cool stuff?
Rodney Hughes: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. If you ... My website is MarketingSS.com. I have a book called Selling Domination: Your Blueprint for Selling More and Generating an Extraordinary Income. It's a fantastic book. It's a short read. I wrote this book because I wrote the book that I wish I would have been able to have when I first got started in business. I want it to be a quick read that is really packed with value. Anybody that's in business, doesn't matter whether you're entrepreneur, business owner, sales professional, no matter what, this is a great book for somebody to have. Even if you're not even in business, because selling is such an integral part of success, period.
I don't care what field that you decide to go into, this would be a great book to have. If you wanted to pick up a copy of that, you can get it at www.sellingdominationbook.com. If you want more free just information from me directly, you like the way that I look at business and like to learn more, if you go to my regular website, marketingss and that's Sam Sam. It's short for Marketing Synergy Solutions. If you go to marketingss.com, you go to my video blog session section, you'll see I have tons of content that you can have access to. There you go.
Robert Plank: Awesome so lots of cool stuff, SellingDominationBook.com and MarketingSS.com. Rodney, thanks for being on the show and thanks for sharing what you had to share with us. I appreciate everything you have to say.
Rodney Hughes: Thanks for having me on the show. I hope that I was able to give some great value and I look forward to connecting with you in the future.
Robert Plank: Looking forward to that too, thanks a bunch.
Marc Hoberman from GradeSuccess.com, author of the book Search and Seizure: Overcoming Illness and Adversity, tells us how to reconcile both our positive and negative life experiences. He didn't let his eppilepsy diagnosis define him, and instead used this experience to keep him grounded. Marc shares his breakthroughs he experienced with his struggle, as well as how he makes money online with SAT prep and online tutoring.
Marc Hoberman: Doing very well, thank you. I appreciate it.
Robert Plank: Cool. No problem. I'm glad that you're here, so could you tell us a little bit about what it is that you do, and what makes you unique and special?
Marc Hoberman: I've been a teacher for 33 years, and I've had a tutoring business for about 25. I do a lot of tutoring in person and online. I have tutors who work for me. We do a lot of educational consulting for parents as well, for kids who are stressed out over school, and things of that nature. I've been in the camp training industry for many years, so I deal with a lot of children different ages, teens also. Because of an illness I had as a child. As a teen at the age of about 17, I was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 17 after having a seizure, grand mal seizure unfortunately, behind the wheel of a car, I wrote my book, "Search and Seizure, Overcoming Illness and Adversity".
Robert Plank: It sounds like because you've gone through it, you have these messages to help other people, too.
Marc Hoberman: That's exactly right. I started the book a while ago and stopped it. Then, about three years ago, my son came down with irritable bowel syndrome, IBS. That and a couple of skin issues, and he started getting a little depressed. I was very methodical about looking into it and fixing it, and finding him the right people. My wife said, "How come you're handling this so well? I'm a wreck." And I said, "You know, I think it's because I went through it, and I realized as a teacher, I could certainly help other people." A lot of times the emotionality of the illness is worse than the physicality of the illness.
Robert Plank: Interesting. As far as these illnesses and these things that hit us, is there a catchall or a one-size-fits-all, or a thing that we should all do no matter what hits us, or is it more of a case by case basis?
Marc Hoberman: It's a little of both. My big mantra in the book is I didn't let my illness define me. I defined it. I else didn't become who I am in spite of my illness, I am who I am because of my illness. You really want to embrace illness, stress, anything that you have, and deal with it that way instead of fighting it in other ways.
Robert Plank: As far as like what happened to you and what happened to your son, what happens to the people that you help out, do you look at it in terms of whatever gets in the way, is this something to be minimized, or do we roll with the punches? What happened with you from when you first came across this epilepsy thing into what happened now. what kind of breakthroughs and obstacles did you go through for that?
Marc Hoberman: Minimizing it, absolutely not. My hope is that in dealing with it a certain way, it minimizes itself on its own. Certainly not to minimize it, for the person to minimize it. To be honest, I'm 54 years old and until I wrote the book, there weren't 10 people in the world who knew I had epilepsy. I had family members who called in were shocked that I had this. There's a stigma attached to it, I was embarrassed, I did lose some friends, not a lot luckily, but there was so much more involved with it than just the illness.
I guess the turnaround was when I did open up about it, and I think that that's what you need to do, I think again - I'm an English teacher, so it comes with Julius Caesar. "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." Your illness, your issues that you have, that might be the enemy, but you have to keep that close. You have to embrace it and you have to deal with it. It can't be minimized, you have to deal with it head-on. You have to grow into who you are and realize that any stressful situation that you have, that's part of who you are.
Robert Plank: It's part of the adversity you're going through, I guess.
Marc Hoberman: Correct.
Robert Plank: You came down with epilepsy. What have you been doing about make it work for you, I guess, this thing that's part of your life?
Marc Hoberman: I will tell you that from diagnosis of 17 to 19, that was the awful time. I did not have good medical care in Florida. My parents handled things well medically as far as getting me help and moving back to New York where we originated. Found a great doctor, Eli Goldensohn, who was an expert at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital. Those two years were very rough Robert, because I was not controlled in the least.
First of all, I had a brand new 1977 Ford Mustang, which is on the cover of the book Search and Seizure, and everyone thinks, "Oh, search and seizure." They thought it could be about a drug bust because of the car, but the car is the car that I had the actual seizure in. To have a car for two or three months that was that beautiful, playing all the great music of the 70s, and being told I couldn't drive for six months was devastating for a teenager at that time. That was very rough.
There's petit mal seizures, which a lot of times people don't diagnose in time, because they could just be like dazing. Then there's grand mal seizures, and unfortunately, I had grand mal seizures always. A good thing quite honestly, was that I had petit mal seizures always preceding the grand mal, so my parents knew what a grand mal was going to happen because they could see me dazed and get very incoherent. I couldn't answer questions properly at all. I knew that being trapped in your own body, I knew that it was about to come on and I couldn't explain it or say anything.
Oddly enough, you see TV shows and you remember certain things. The only reason I started to watch Johnny Carson is that one of the medications I was on back in '78, dilantin, was too toxic for me. After about 9:00 at night, after I took it, I became so dizzy I couldn't walk. I wouldn't go to sleep until after my parents went to sleep because I couldn't walk into the bedroom. I didn't want to tell them, so I had to crawl back into bed for a good two months until we realized that it was too toxic for me. I wouldn't even be honest about what was going on because of what my parents were going through.
Robert Plank: That's pretty rough. Then what happened? Are you still unable to drive, or how did your life continue from that point?
Marc Hoberman: I was able to drive after six months. After that I was kind of controlled. When you have the seizure, at least for me, I start to remember two or three days later things that happened either during the seizure or shortly thereafter. This is in the book also. Although there is some humor in the book, obviously it was a very difficult situation. There was one time my father said, "You had a seizure in the doctor's office yesterday." I said, No I didn't." He said, "Yeah, you did," and he took out his wallet and my teeth marks were in it because when I went through the grand mal I was biting down, he put the wallet in my mouth, which is not something you do anymore. This is way back when.
Luckily, we moved to New York and I'm telling you, I walked into the doctor's office and talked into a tape recorder for 40 minutes, asked me at least 60 questions that I'd never heard before, gave me a new pill which back then was called valproic acid, which then changed the name to Depakine and Depakote. He gave me that pill and I never had a seizure after that for 28 years.
Robert Plank: Amazing.
Marc Hoberman: I would say maybe 10 or 15 years into it I was teaching in the Bronx, and he said, "Listen, you have no kids yet, we're going to experiment with taking you off, you may have grown out of it. If you can go about 18 months without a seizure, I think you're all good." Sixteen months later I had my worst seizure ever in the hallway of school, walking to class. It was in the Bronx, it was a tough neighborhood, they shut the school down because I fell, I chipped my tooth, I was bleeding. They didn't know if I was stabbed or shot or what happened. That was really bad, and I said, "You know what, if medication is going to fix it, I'm going to have to stick on the medication."
I have children I want to have, and things I want to do, and cars I want to drive, so I stayed on that medication up until actually a week ago. We just switched my meds, I had not an episode, but I had was called the perfect storm. I had an infection and I was on prednisone and I was on cough medicine, and I started to get incoherent. I really knew I was incoherent, which is unlike an epileptic petit mal seizure.
According to the doctors, they did an EEG, and they said there was no seizure activity so, they really think it's just that because I'm seizure-prone, it hampered my immune system a little bit, and manifested itself as almost like a haze, sort of like a petit mal, but they're not willing to call it a petit mal seizure. I guess since I started that other pill 28 years ago, they came out with a new pill. This is called Keppra. You don't have to test your blood levels. It's supposed to be a really good pill.
I must say, even as an educator and adult, I had to make a medical decision versus an emotional decision, because being seizure-free for 28 years is really quite wonderful and to know that I'm going to switch medications while I'm standing in front of a classroom. It's a humbling experience as I say in the book. Even though I was controlled, I speak in front of 300 people at camp conferences and reading conferences, at PTA meetings. It's in the back of my mind, what would happen if? That's something that's always there as well.
Robert Plank: In hearing about your story and your son's story and all these different things like that, would you say that - we all to one extent or another, we have that moment in life I guess, where something unexpected and permanent happens. Maybe for some of us it's not as drastic as having these lifelong seizures, but would you say we've all come across this point where there's something that came out of left field and something that will never go away? Something that we'll always have to manage and deal with. Would you say that everyone comes across that?
Marc Hoberman: Of course. Let's talk about parents getting divorced, the death of a loved one. An illness. Kids in school being bullied. Falling in love. All these things. There's no one who could possibly be untouched by these things.
Robert Plank: I guess that you brought up there, there's good and bad stuff, it's not just all unexpected, deaths, accidents, there are good and bad unexpected things coming across. Did you go through with both your situation with your parents, and then with your own son with his issues. Did you go through that point where you got the news, you know something's wrong, but you're uncertain about to do next? Have you gone through that kind of phase?
Marc Hoberman: Yes. Excellent question because luckily I've gotten many 5-star reviews and there's a company that gave me a 5-star review and he said that something my mother told me, this was two hours after I had the seizure in the car and I was back to the condo in Florida. She came in the room, very emotional woman, this is someone who was as I say in the book, cried at game shows. She sat down and said, "Look, this is the deal. You are a good-looking boy, you are funny, people like you, you're nice, you're kind, you're intelligent. This is something that's going to have to keep you grounded. This is something that's going to make you stronger and better, and we're going to deal with it together."
The reviewer I remember, wrote that this is - my mother's advice was advice that every parent should give every child at any moment of adversity. From that moment and discussion, that's how I moved forward.
Robert Plank: That's interesting. I like that, how this thing that might have been random, or it would be easy to take the victim way out, you assigned meaning to it. It's a thing that keeps you grounded.
Marc Hoberman: Make no mistake, there was a time period though, of victimization that I probably put on myself. More because of the stigma. Kids can be mean, and kids want intensely, to me a lot of people didn't know it, but I didn't want to tell my teachers. I went to school, I played in the school band, the clarinet and saxophone. The band director called me in and said, "Listen, your parents called. What should I do if you have a seizure?" First of all, I didn't know the answer to the question. Second of all, I was embarrassed that he knew, and I didn't tell very many people.
That part of it is that I didn't want it to define me, and I'm not going to lie. As a teenager part of it was the stigma that was attached. It seems a weakness, and I've learned through the years, especially as an educator for so long, that it's not me weakness, it's my strength.
Robert Plank: I like that. What's even more interesting about your case is that you grew up to become a teacher, so the same thing that you were worried about as a kid with the seizures, you're worried about again as an adult when you switching your medication or trying to get off your medication. There was the thing, ridicule possibilities there.
Marc Hoberman: Absolutely, and I don't care about it as much, I'd be lying if I said I didn't care at all, but that's not what I'm about any more. It was more about my own decisions. I said it was a medical and emotional decision as an educator, it should be a no-brainer. It should be, I'm doing the medical correct thing, but you have so many years, and such a history of freedom, you wouldn't know it, and I wouldn't know it if there was no side effects to the medication I was taking. There are side effects, I just never had them, thank God.
I had to make that decision, but there are so many kids that I teach who have diabetes, and some who do have epilepsy. Be it obesity, or any of these things, and the teen stress, and the teen suicides and so much going on. I really thought that this book would help a lot of the people, even the people that I tutor. I become very close with the families and I try to help with these issues.
Speaking from experience, even though it was a bad experience, I'd have to say at the end right now, it was a good experience. If I can help other people, that's a wonderful thing.
Robert Plank: Are you noticing with the people that you're helping, whether they have diabetes, or seizures, or obesity like you said, no matter what condition they have are the psychological parts - are there similarities, or are there some kind of steps that anyone could take, no matter what condition they see themselves in?
Marc Hoberman: I would say there's absolutely something they can do no matter what condition they see themselves in. I have what I think is a very powerful saying in the prologue of the book that after the seizure, it's like your own personal earthquake, but you have no memory of the seizure. It's a blessing and a curse. It a blessing because you don't remember, but it's a curse that you don't because I want to remember. I want to be able to embrace it and I want to be able to research it.
I don't know how old you are, I know you're a lot younger than I am, so I might a say a word that'll make you laugh, but microfiche. That' how I first had to research it because I was diagnosed 37 years ago. Now, you pop in the internet and forget about it. Side effects, and what can you do, I'm part of 15 groups, epilepsy groups, one of them is in Hungary, all over the place. There are so many lesson to be learned and if you can't learn from everything to me.
I gain strength from other epileptics. I am shocked and embarrassed that I only know now how many people are not controlled. I'm talking about babies, I'm conversing with people on the internet who it's beyond tragic. There's a light at the end of the tunnel. They're bringing families together, there's learning about your illness and saying, "Is it going to define me, or am I going to grow and be who I'm going to be because I have this."
Robert Plank: Would you say that it is helpful if someone researches and knows as much as possible about what they have?
Marc Hoberman: I would say 98% yes. Here's the only 2% no. When I first met my doctor in Columbia-Presbyterian, I said, "What are the side effects of this medicine?" He said, "Call me when you think you have something, because if I tell you ten side effects, you're going to feel nine." While it's true that too much information could be a little harmful, absolutely, positively research everything. You have to seek out the experts, you have to ask questions, but you have to educate yourself. I went to the library when I first was diagnosed and then read many books on it. Not so much the pharmacology, but just the illness itself.
The different tests, I took five tests when I was in the hospital. One was a CAT scan with contrast. No test showed that I had any seizure activity except for the EEG. The least invasive test, the test that hurt the least, that's the only thing that showed it. You're coming more knowledgeable about it, and about other people who have it now. That's your strength.
Robert Plank: I hadn't even thought about that, like there's two sides of the knowledge coin there, is that there's the medical part and all the facts, and there's also you mentioned, a little bit there, the stories and all about other people who you know you're not alone in this condition. That was important.
Marc Hoberman: I had two close friends in Florida, a close friend or two that I had left behind in New York, and they were very, very, very helpful. You don't need 50. You need whatever your support network is. Family, friends, doctor, whoever. You need that set number and you need to lean on that and embrace that constantly.
Robert Plank: It's not just a one-shot deal, you have to keep going back to that.
Marc Hoberman: Absolutely. This is your support staff, and your support system. It's as important as you being your own support. A lot of people are not their own support system, and that's where I think that I differ from some. My sense of humor comes across in the book a bit, and I try to keep that and that also helped me in my, I don't want to call it recovery, but in my management of my illness.
Robert Plank: Let's talk a little about that. Let's talk about you and your book and the things you do, because we mentioned the book a few times, and I understand that you also do online tutoring and cool stuff like that. Is that right?
Marc Hoberman: Right. It's funny. I only started to do the online tutoring because it was one year, four years ago where it snowed every Tuesday, and I lost all my Tuesday clients, and I was kind of booked and really had no place else to put them, so they started to get pretty upset. I found this online platform, and it's outstanding, because it's a live whiteboard and I write on it and they see it in real time. They write an essay, I see it in real time. My tutors being chemistry and math, they have pads that they use. It goes right online and they love that. I can seem them, they can see me. I
f you walked in the room with your eyes closed, you would think they were in the room with you. It really helps me also in my educational consulting because when I talk to parents about how to organize their children, and do successful studying skills, I can show them together as a family right online. It really has helped a lot. We do a lot of college advisement also. It connects me to people, it's not just about the tutoring, it's about the connecting to people and helping them.
Some people are great study skills, some have no organization skills and time management which many of the colleges say, that one of the major problems of the freshmen certainly, that come in, would be the time management. We help with all that, and I said I have tutors who work for me, so the internet has been a Godsend for many reasons.
Robert Plank: As far as the tutoring goes, is that just something where you get those students from local from you, or are you using the internet to get new people?
Marc Hoberman: It was local, and it branched out, because now people are be able to tell their cousins, who are in, could be Alaska. This guy's good with ACT prep or SAT prep, or he helped Johnny with this, or your cousin had very bad test anxiety and he's helped with that. I also have an expert I work with with test anxiety. I'm able to reach out more, which is the reason I'm doing the radios show, because I want to reach out to people that way too.
It started by accident locally, but I have local kids who were refusing to come back. They live a mile away and they said this is the best. It's technology, I watch you, I turn you off, I go back to bed. It works locally, but I really want to widen the reach, especially for educational consulting. I think that there's a lot frustration and stress on the parents.
I think some parents stress their kids, of course unintentionally, and I've been doing this a long time, and teaching a long time, so I've been a dean of students, the behavioral issues also for six years, so I feel it gives me an opportunity to help them along with their kids' growth academically.
Robert Plank: That's a really important thing it sounds like. Is there a place where people can find out about you and your tutoring online, is there a website for that?
Marc Hoberman: Yes. The website for that is www.gradesuccess.com. The author site for the book is marchoberman.com.
Robert Plank: Okay. MarcHoberman.com and it looks like the search and seizure book is right there. Is the book on Amazon as well?
Marc Hoberman: The book is on Amazon, it's on Kindle, it's going to be available on the iBooks soon. If people go online I could also send them an ebook form, so it's available in many different forms. Certainly Amazon is great, Kindle is instantaneous obviously.
Robert Plank: Yes. Search and Seizure looks a great bookmark, and what I've been hearing over and over from our talk today, the common thread that I keep hearing is that you found something that worked for you, whether that's the tutoring, or managing this illness that you did not expect. It's like in all these situations you find something that works good for you, and then you did a little bit of playing around, or experimenting, or research and it grew on its own, whether it was the speaking about the seizures, or it was about the tutoring, I think there's something really cool to that. To not have any of these big huge plans, but just get a handle on yourself, try some new things, and then grows on its own, especially with the way that this online tutoring has picked up for you.
Marc Hoberman: It's a lifetime commitment. I never stop learning, as i said I've been teaching 33 years. I'm coming out with a book in a couple of months teaching strategies and it teach other teachers. I still go into classrooms where I know teachers have great reputations and I sit and watch them also. You cannot stop learning. You have to always be open to learning and getting more information. Knowledge is power. Period.
Robert Plank: I agree about a billion percent. Thanks for coming on the show Marc, and sharing what you have to share with us. MarcHoberman.com and Search and Seizure is the book. Thanks again.
Marc Hoberman: My pleasure. Thanks.