Episode 42- The Thank You Tour

The Thank You Tour

So, the thank you tour, I got a bunch of messages about this. I been asked about these many times. what was the story behind the thank you tour for the launch of my first book Freelance To Freedom? It came down to a bunch of reasons. So, here’s what happened. I don’t like doing things the same way everybody else does it and I really don’t like doing things by a mass plan that everybody else follows. If you give me a step-by-step guide on how to launch something or step-by-step guide to success, I will crumble it up, I will throw it away and I would rather fail doing it my way than doing it the standard step-by-step way. 

So, the logical thing to do when you’re releasing your book is to try to do some type of book tour or book signings and all that type of stuff. And I’ve been to enough book signings. You wait in line to buy a book, you go to the author, the author looks up at you, they say a couple of words. They sign your name. Maybe if you’re lucky, he talks to you for little bit and then get the book and you walk off now. I’ve been to book signings for big-name authors and I’ve been to book signings for very small name authors, beginning authors and never has it been exciting experience for me. Waiting in line for somebody to sign a book for me does absolutely nothing for me. it’s just like I’ve been in the sports world forever. I’ve been a sports fan, but I never really cared about autographs. So, I said I’m not doing that. I’m not doing book signings. I’m not doing a book tour. The book tour would be all about me. They will look at me, look at what I am doing, let’s go get some promotions and sells some books to make money. I didn’t want to do it. 

What I wanted to do though is I want to thank as many people as I possibly could that helped us. I had this in my mind for a long time and there were different plans on how to do it and we finally came up with something that was somewhat solid but was very flexible cause that’s the way we need to do it because were going on the road with three kids and it’s kicking off on New Year’s Day as the book launches. so, we packed the car with all of our stuff and our books, and we hit the road. To be honest with you, what always driven me crazy about people that I’ve known who have written books and if you’re one of them, I’m sorry. I am just kind of weird this is kind of things that just drives me bananas. It is the self-promotion of hey buy my book, buy my book, buy my book 3 weeks to the release date, five more days. Three more days, buy buy buy, share share share.  I said we are going to do the opposite. Just like Seinfeld we are going to do things the opposite. 

What we did was right before the launch, in celebrations as a thank you, we gave away different prints of my sports photographs to friends online as a thank you and celebration. We hit the road on January 1st, the day before the launch. We wake up the next morning, we were in Cleveland Ohio after visiting my in-laws. It was so cold that the door of our van didn’t open. We got everybody packed in and we made our way to Columbus Ohio. We met with our friend Joe Kessel and his family on our way to Covington, Kentucky, we’re spending the night which is the first night of tour. And we got to the hotel and the kids were giddy. They want to go swimming. And then we are going to go to dinner where we will go to the Hopper House and get a great German meal to celebrate the book launch. And when we said that, I was oh my goodness, I never even posted on social media about the book launch. It is now 5 or 6 o’clock at night and I probably should post something about it. The launch is today. So really quick, while the kids are getting their shoes and their jackets on, I went to Facebook app. I posted to the effect of, oh by the way, today is the book launch for Freelance To Freedom. If you want to buy it today, that’s wonderful, if not it will be available for the rest of your lives. And I said that because this wasn’t about me. This wasn’t about how many books I can sell today. I really tried my best to strip as much ego away from this as possible. As hard as that is when you’re publishing your book, I want to strip that all the way. I wanted this to be a thank you. So, if you want to buy the book today, Wonderful. But you don’t need to buy the book today. It’s going to be available. So, if you want to buy it next week, or maybe I’ll send you a copy for free whatever and going back to yesterday’s episode, there is no expectation. 

And I got to tell you, it felt so good. And the weird thing is I have seen so many people launch books on social media, and they will finally post Hey it is out and there’s crickets. and there’s a handful likely to have a comment. I’m not sure what happened. Maybe it was my joke about hey it will be available forever, but there were so many comments. there were so many likes. There were some people that went out and bought the book There were so many shares. I can tell you how many people shared that post because I think they just like the fact that it wasn’t pushy and it wasn’t selly and there weren’t expectations. 

So that set the tone for the trip, that set the tone for the tour. We spent three months on the road, and it was just so gratified. We got to meet with so many people. People in our mastermind that helped us out, people that had read the book and reviewed it and shared with their friends. We got to go to Dan Miller from 48 days. We get to go to his house, meet with him and JoAnn Miller to give them a copy of the book for the help he did for us. We got to go to Dave Ramsey, which is a huge part of our book. We got to go to his studio, got to give him a copy of the book, and he looked at me and he slapped the book and he shook my kids’ hands. He looked at me as he walked towards the studio and he said this is the big deal. This is a really big deal. He said this is how it all started for me and he walked into the studio.  And to get his approval, if you read my book, in the first half of the book is kind of an ode to Dave Ramsey. So, to have that was really just quite amazing. So, the book tour for me, ego wise, was complete there. But along the way, we got to sit down and have coffee with Pat Flynn at Starbucks in San Diego. He got to meet our kids and got to meet Elizabeth. We sat for an hour and 1/2. We just sat down drinking coffee and talking just about life, nothing about business, about family, about kids. It was wonderful. To give the Jolly Dumas, who I’m now in a mastermind with. You heard my story about gold dust from a couple weeks ago in the podcast in terms of that was part of the tour and finally Seth Godin what he had done for us and so many others in between. 

So, the thank you tour was just all about gratitude. It was all about wanting to become the generous person that I wasn’t earlier my life. Instead of soaking this all in as an ego trip which is very easy to do, and trust me, that came over me a lot of times. it really at its heart and soul was about Thank you and gratitude because all these people did something for me that they didn’t have to do and they were great help to me, to my family and to my career. So that is the story behind the 2018 Freelance To Freedom Thank you tour and what’s fun is I’m working on the next book and we have a really great idea for how we are going to launch that one in a different, fun and generous way. So, thanks a lot for listening and I will be back with you tomorrow.

Episode 41- What Seth Godin Taught Me About Marketing My Book Part III

What Seth Godin Taught Me About Marketing My Book Part III

Okay. This is the third and final episode about what I learned from Seth Godin about marketing my book. By the time the book was launched, we had over 125 reviews on Amazon. We have endorsements from people like Seth Godin, Pat Flynn, Johnny Dumas, John Rulen, Dan Miller and a host of other incredible authors and influencers. Instead of doing a book launch and a book tour, going to bookstores, we decided to flip everything around and do a thank you tour. I’ll talk about it on tomorrow’s episode.

During this thank you tour ,we were out in Oceanside, California for a month as a family. So, the thank you tour was built around thanking the people who helped us with this book launch. It wasn’t about selling the book. And it turns out, with no expectations of this, that we’re in Oceanside, California for a month as a family, renting a condo on the beach. I see that Seth is good in Newport Beach California being interviewed for behind the brand with Brian Elliott. Not only can we get a ticket for this, they also have a Q&A that happened before this. So, I figured while this really comes full circle. It all began with a Q&A with Seth in New York and then we go coast-to-coast we get to wrap up the whole thing on the thank you tour on the Pacific coast, with Q&A with Seth the month after we launch the book. 

So, I was fortunate that my friend Don Wetrick was giving a presentation out in California and he was going to it as well. He runs a startup at a podcast, an incredible podcast about changing education. We went for Mexican food before we caught up and we just chatted about everything going on in our lives, about our families and we went over to the hotel for the event. And I had with me a copy of my book and three thank you notes that our three boys had written out the Seth because his endorsement that went on the cover of our book was vital to getting attention for the book. So many people took it more seriously for a first-time author, because Seth Godin went out of his way to give an endorsement. So, each of my boys spent the afternoon writing out a thank you card for Seth Godin. It has purple cows on it. Drew a little drawing of Linchpin. It is really cute the way that they did it. 

So, we walked into the event and I see Seth is in the middle of the aisle. This is probably an hour and 1/2 before the event starts and he’s greeting people. He’s just having conversations with people, just being the generous person that is, and I’ve emailed him about a day before to see if I could get a little bit time like I should give him the book. I want to make sure that I hand him the book as a thank you. So, when he saw me, he said hey. I give the book and he asked me if I could sign the book form, which as you know, crazy for me. I’m signing my book for Seth Godin and I give him the cards that my kids gave him, and he seemed happy to get them and we took our picture together. It was great. And then he looked at me and this was the final lesson that I learned in this path from Seth from start to finish. I hate to sound like a just a fan boy with this, but I just can’t let this go unnoticed. How much this man helps me and how much she helps me when there was no need for him to do this. There wasn’t something he was getting out of it. He talks often about generosity and the need for more generosity and he lives it.

So, he has a big smile on his face. I gave him the cards and he looked at me and asked how the book launch go and I said it went great. I have no expectations. Because I truly have no expectations. Now it is the most fun part about it. I didn’t have expectations from friends, from family, from the publisher, for book sales. None of that really mattered to me. It really was oh my goodness I got to do this, and we get to help people with this and whatever happens from it happens, but there weren’t expectations. Some people might have been checking the book sales and seeing how good it was and It wasn’t meeting their expectations. I have a lot of people saying how is the bookselling. I said I really don’t know. So, I really just did not pay attention at all to book sales. I know we’re doing good. I was being ranked up here, you I checked the rankings a little, but I had no idea how many books were selling. I’m sure to my publisher disappointment, it really didn’t matter to me that much. It wasn’t the reason why I was doing this.

So, I said to him, the launch went great. I had no expectations. His face got really serious, and he looked at me and he said that’s perfect never have any expectations when releasing a book. And I was like okay this guy had written 18 best-selling books. He’s got 19th on the way and for him to say never have any expectations when releasing a book, he’s done so much more than I ever will in his realm and what it did is it solidified the approach that he taught me and the path that I took. It solidified the approach of like I didn’t have expectations for reviews or sales, or what people going to do for me, it was up to me to get the word out and to do something worth spreading, to make something that other people want to talk about because it’s good not because they feel guilty because I release the book and they need to promote it. I would never want to put out something that subpar, but asked people to promote it because it’s me and I need them to help me. So, the having no expectations part was huge. I hadn’t thought of it that way until he said that, but I realized that was the key. I had no expectations. So, it all is wonderful. Every bit of it was bonus. So, I thought that was the end of it. I thought wow, that was the ending of the story right here and now we move on to the next chapter. 

So, I gave him the book and I sit in the front row with Don as I always try to do, sit in the front row and he put my book under his chair. I pulled out my phone because oh my God, my book is sitting underneath his chairs like that’s how close we’ve come to this. Literally, the book that he inspired me to do, the book that he endorsed is sitting underneath his chair while he was being filmed for his presentation. So, this is how it comes full circle and is how it shaped me from that day forward. And I am a different person because of it. I raise my hand to ask a question. Now he had answered probably about 20 questions that day, and I’m not sure if you knew anybody’s name, but he never called anybody’s name. I raise my hand and he looked at me and he said Vincent and before I could say anything, he said tell us about your new book and he went back to his seat, picked up the book, raise the book up for the crowd to see and for the cameras to see. I said thank you but that’s not why I’m here. And he said I know; I am just trying to get you some product placement. I went to ask my question which wasn’t about business. It was about homeschooling and his take on it and I was just stunned by it  because his message is about generosity. It is about how we all need to be more generous. 

I thought about that night as I drove back from Newport Beach to Oceanside. I am like, He put that book under his chair, and I wonder was it for reason that he sees a possible opportunity to be generous and he was waiting for it. It’s just the way somebody like that thinks. Now he didn’t ask me oh you give me this and I will promote your book. There was nothing for him to get out of it, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized he’s a disciple of Zig Ziglar which is you can have everything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what they want. So, he’s not looking for anything. he just knows that being generous is the way to make the world a better place and good things come back to you when you do that. Everything on the surface it’s not like what you are getting out of it, but the truth is he gets a ton out of it. The reason why is I can’t stop telling that story. I’m telling the story here. I tell that story when I go on stage for keynotes. I tell that story almost everywhere because of the generosity of it. 

So many people have expectations. What are you going to do for me before I do this for you? And he did the exact opposite. He’s generous first with no expectations and I can’t stop spreading the word and not just me but all those people in that room. And that’s the night of the book tour came full circle from that day in New York. Not only was that wrapping a bow on the book in the book tour, but it really shaped me for the next stage of my life. The words never have any expectations for a book launch. I cut the end of it out and I tried to live by the never have any expectations. I could tell you the elevation of this part of our career has gone on for nearly 18 months since that night has been astounding and it simply because I’ve kept putting that into my head to live without expectations. If you do the right thing for the right reason, the results will be there for everybody. So, this wraps up the trilogy about Seth Godin and how he has help me so much in my life, come back to you tomorrow with the idea in the process behind the thank you tour. You got a lot of questions about that. I will talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 40- What Seth Godin Taught Me About Marketing My Book Part II

What Seth Godin Taught Me About Marketing My Book Part II

This is part two what Seth Godin taught me about marketing my book. So, Ken and I left the fashion Institute of technology in New York City that cold December day and we were just abuzz. We just talked about what we just went through for the entire evening, at dinner and back to the hotel and we were just ready to go. We both got something completely different out of it, but it was insanely valuable for both of us. 

So, I began crafting my plan. Okay. Don’t count on Morgan James to market the book for me that’s the first one. I’ve seen so many authors blow this from start to finish and beyond, where they think because they’ve got a publisher, that the publishers go to do the work of marketing the book for them and they’re not. Especially for first-time author. And then first-time authors that get really big deals like my friend Grant Sabatier who wrote Financial Freedom. One of the reasons why they sign you because they know you have a huge following and they’re counting on you going to your audience and distributing the word and getting them to buy. They’re not gonna put the money and the time to marketing your book. You’ve got to do that. So just that cold water splash of they’re not going to do that work for me really allowed me to put the work boots on and get dirty and say this is all going to be on me. And I think I knew that, but hearing it from him there just solidified it for me because I couldn’t go back in two years and think I didn’t know this, like Seth Godin told me to my face just a couple feet away from me that this was going to be the case and this guy had written all the books you can imagine. he published in every way possible. He knew what he was talking about. So, heed the warning. Don’t count on your publisher to do the marketing for you. So, I didn’t. 

When I went back and forth with the people for Morgan James and we’re talking about the launch plan, I told him what I was doing. I told him how I was going about and they were so happy to hear it because they still get so many people that believe that they’re going to do all the marketing for them when they’re publishing the amount of books that they’re publishing, they cannot put the time, the effort or the money into marketing each of our books. It’s just not possible. It is not profitable for them and it is not going to work out. So, they want people either with the following that’s gonna do it or somebody that is going to put the work in to get the word out. 

So, to the other part get the book into 10,000 people’s hands. So, what I’m not sure of is how quickly he wanted me to get into 10,000 people’s hands because I hadn’t built up a social media following. I hadn’t built up an email list. I’ve never blogged. I don’t have anything to distribute this book through. I don’t have a social media child to do it, but I have also seen how other people would market their books and I wasn’t a fan of some of the methods. What I wasn’t gonna do was hound all of my friends and family to buy my book. That’s what I wasn’t going to do. There are few things that drive me batty than right now when somebody has a book launch or a podcast launch or a blog launch and they just really just hound their friends and family to support them. Because they’re asking for something without giving anything. And it goes against so much of what I believe in. Something that was taught by Seth Godin in terms of how to do marketing. They’re literally going to the bank. They’re looking to withdraw money without actually depositing money first. And they’re not only doing that but they’re doing that with people that are close to them. People that they have friendships with. They’re quite literally, damaging so many of  those relationships only because they want a short-term game of this launch. I am going to talk about that in an upcoming episode. 

So, I took a radically different approach of reaching out to friends, to colleagues and having conversations with them, having personal conversations with them. And one thing I’ve done well is reaching out to friends and connections and people within my network, really about their life, about how they’re doing. Nothing to do about me. I have been doing that for years. I reach out to just see how people are doing,  check in on them. It’s part of what I call the hour of giving, which I wrote about in my book. This is with the hour of giving that I’ve done for years really paid off for me professionally. Because I have been in touch with so many different people. I’ve been checking up on them. I been connecting them with other people. I been sharing information and advising articles. Things that can help them with no benefit for me. I been doing that for a long time. So, when it came time for the book and I was still doing that, they’re obviously asking me how I’m doing. They’ve obviously trusted me because we been going back and forth for a long time. I casually mentioned to them that I’m writing this book, and one by one by one they all asked. Oh, can I read the book? I’m really interested in this. 

Now if I would just reach out to them after not talking to them for months or years and then just mention my book, I would have lost a lot of trust to a lot of people. I don’t do that. All these people wanted to read the book. they were interested. they want to help. they asked how they can share it. So, anybody that asked me, I sent them a PDF of the book. Now this was months and was almost a year before the book was to launch. The book wasn’t even done like so many people say I can’t share. It is not finished yet. I didn’t care. There were times I sent the book when I was half done. There were so many typos. There were so many things that weren’t done. But it wasn’t about being perfect, it was about the message getting out to other people would be even interested in what was about. It was about that. It was about is this book any good? Are you interested in reading it? If it’s any good, these people are going to tell me if it’s not good. Hopefully they can tell me, and I can tweak things. But I’m not going to hold it close to the vest and then put it out there. Once it’s all done and then feel like Ha it is okay. 

I got a lot of great advice while sending this book out. Sam Lynch who I just had a connection with, I send the book and he said to me I really love this and sent me 5 pages of notes that he wrote. But he said one thing that change the book. This is somebody that didn’t buy the book. This is somebody that was reading it on his own voluntarily. He said you got the story about your dad, and it’s buried like halfway through the second part of the book. If that story was near the beginning of the book, you have a lot of impact. I looked at it and I said, he’s absolutely right and I change that around. I can tell you when I got to choose the five podcast a while later, Jonathan Mendonca said to me was that story about your dad in the beginning of the book, I was hooked from that moment on. That only happened because I gave away the book to a lot of people and asked them for the responses. 

So, I didn’t get to the 10,000 books that Seth Godin mentioned within the first year, but I’ve given away hundreds of physical books once the book was published. Before the book was actually finished to publish, I had given a PDF of the book out to over 500 people. And the thing that happened was 125 of those people wrote me reviews back during that year so without any type of promotion, without any type of list, without any type of following, before the book was officially launched. When I was just prelaunch on Amazon, we pre-launched over 100 reviews on Amazon which catapulted in the rankings. It made it more attractive for Amazon to promote then it winds out getting emails from Amazon saying you should check out Freelance To Freedom. I said yeah, I know I wrote it. Those were emails that are coming into our inbox because they were promoting our book because of that. And that all came from the advice that Seth had given in terms of get the book into 10,000 people’s hands and if it’s good it’s going to spread. I wasn’t planning on doing this, but story keeps continuing so I’m ending it here and come back with you tomorrow with part three, about this because there’s still a lot more to the story to be taught. 

So, I’ll see you back here tomorrow.

Episode 39- What Seth Godin Taught Me About Marketing My Book Part I

What Seth Godin Taught Me About Marketing My Book Part I

So, without a doubt, one of the main influences in my career over the last decade and a half has been Seth Godin. If you’re not familiar with Godin, go listen to his podcast, go buy his book Linchpin or his new book This Is Marketing or any of the 19 best-selling books that he has written. he is widely considered one of the greatest marketing minds of this generation. and I first heard of them, Ironically, while listening to the Dave Ramsey show about 14 or 15 years ago. You talk about serendipity or luck, but I heard his interview by Ramsey just weeks after we decided to start our first business. So, the timing was perfect because I knew nothing about marketing. I knew nothing about business. I probably would’ve been influenced by a lot of people that would not have taken me down the same path as I did from following Godin. When I listen to him speak, I realize the generosity, the authenticity, the intelligence and the incredible amount of knowledge that this man had. I knew this was somebody I am going to follow. 

So, this was at the point that we are broke and desperate. We do not run a business. We were struggling with our jobs and I hear this guy that sounded so eloquent and yet at the same time so down to earth, so I went right over to the library in Evansville Indiana, a downtown library just hoping that I’d find a book from Godin. I realize there were at least eight books by him staring right at me. And I’m thinking, how did I not know this guy? The books are in the library. Apparently, New York Times best-selling books. I guess I wasn’t paying attention. So, I woke up, kind of from a stupor two weeks later because I was so much in the library so much over those two weeks that I had read five of his books just sitting there. I am feeling a little guilty that I hadn’t bought any of his books yet. I was reading for free at the library, but I guess that is what the libraries are for. 

As each subsequent book came out, when he wrote Tribes in 2008, Just Consume It and then Linchpin around 2011, 2012, which completely reshaped my mind on business and marketing until his most recent one, This Is Marketing. In my opinion it tops Linchpin with that one. I am not a fan boy over many people, but this is one of the few people that I felt almost like a rock star like when I was a kid. like this really real person. Is this for real because so much of what he said resonated with me in good times and in bad times. But I never had the opportunity to meet them. So ironically, Dave Ramsey hired Elizabeth and I. He hired our company to do photographs for his company when they came to Pittsburgh for a couple of live events. And at that conference, I met a man named Chris Medford who generously gifted me a ticket for the Business Gets Personal conference that Dave, Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk were doing together in October in New York City. They gifted me a VIP ticket and what I didn’t know was they gifted us two VIP tickets. I only thought they’re giving us one, so I made the trip to New York and Elizabeth is home with the kids. I had a VIP ticket for her, and I didn’t realize until I got to the Rose theater that day that there were two tickets for us. So, I frantically called a couple of friends in New York. None of them can get out in time to get to the conference. I had to eat that one ticket. 

At that conference. I got to hang out with Dave, Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk, asked them questions and go to the VIP dinner, the whole thing. It was a couple years later where Seth offered a live Q&A in New York City. It was $1000 ticket. And in blink, I bought the ticket in a heartbeat, got a ticket from my friend Ken ____ who desperately wanted to go as well. We went to New York City together because I have one question that I wanted to ask him. That’s the reason why I went. 

So, Ken and I got there early. We sat in the front row because it is a rule of mine when I go to conferences and Seth started the Q&A. And I honestly missed probably about 1/3 of what he had said because I was so busy trying to frame my question the right way that I was daydreaming and thinking and trying to figure out what’s the best way I can ask this question because it is my one chance to ask this. And as you hear, it is a vital time for me to ask the question. 

Now this is in December. My book was being published a year from then so his advice was going to weigh heavily on how I approached that year in terms of marketing the book and getting the word out and what I should do what I shouldn’t do. And I’ve done my research, I know about Seth, so I knew that he was good friends and had a great deal of respect for Jay Conrad Levinson who wrote Grow Marketing. I also knew that Jay was friends and he is going to work with David Hancock for Morgan James publishing. And Seth talks about freelancing all times. It was actually part of my book when Seth compares freelancing to entrepreneurs, and I put a lesson that he taught at that conference in New York couple years earlier in my book. I put that story in there. So, I knew freelancing was something Seth talked about a bunch and had a feeling that he might have an understanding of who Morgan James publishing was. 

So, when I finally got my chance. I try to take advantage of every moment that. I said Hi Seth, my name is Vincent. My book Freelance To Freedom is being published by Morgan James publishing next January. Then I asked him what mistakes am I gonna make now that three years from now I will wish I didn’t make? He told me that it was a good question which totally ease my nerves and he said there’s two things you’ll do now that you wish you would’ve done. One, you will wish you didn’t count on Morgan James to market your book for you and two, you would’ve wished that you would gotten the book into 10,000 people hands. And I don’t remember if he said to give it to them for free but there was no indication that he said you need to sell 10,000 books. It was, you need to get this book in the 10,000 people’s hands because if it’s a good book and if it resonates with those 10,000 people and they tell 10,000 people and then they all tell 10,000 people. Now you got something. And just like that, I got exactly what I was hoping for out of going there and so much more. The money that I spent for those tickets was now just an absolute bargain because he allowed me to completely reshaped with a bit in my head, and he allowed me to actually create a plan for what I can do for the upcoming year to prepare for the book launch. And for the next 30 minutes, people asked question after question and I didn’t hear any of it. I didn’t hear one question. I didn’t hear one answer because I sat there with my pad. I sat there with my pen and I daydreamed. I took the information that he gave to me and within that time I was sitting there, I devised the strategy would be for the book launch going forward.

I am going to stop right there ad come back to you tomorrow with part two of this and explain how his advice and his suggestions led to a different approach to marketing the book, led to an approach that built the grassroots campaign that fueled our book launch. I’ll be back with you tomorrow with that story.

Episode 38- I Wish I Would Have Done It Sooner

I Wish I Would Have Done It Sooner

One of my missions is to raise the unemployment rate. Whenever I say that in a group or on stage, I get chuckles and laughs and kind of confused looks. Here’s where I’m coming from with this. I meet so many people that can’t stand their jobs. They’re. absolutely miserable. They get up in the morning, they shower then commute to work either driving, by train through this job. The soul sucking job is the word that I hear more often than anything. They commute back home. They get home, they’re exhausted. They have no time with their family. When they are there, they’re checked out. I just want to do something entertainment wise to dull the pain. And they go to their kids’ games on the weekends and they start all over again. 

When I asked them what they really wanted to do, they have this other thing that they’re passionate about. They doodle on their notepads when they’re at work, on the train or with their spare time. This idea that they want to work on this business that actually they’re building somewhat, but they can’t put very much time into it. What’s really fun is watching these people actually grow this business, grow it on nights and weekends, grow it in the morning before they go to work and grow it when they’re tired. I can relate because this is what we did when we start our first business while being employees. We had to grow it in the off hours and it’s hard to do when you have kids and it’s a big sacrifice, but I can tell you when you come out the other end it is so worth it. 

So, I started talking people into quitting their jobs about eight or nine years ago. I remember the responses that I’ll get back. Some people were way easier to convince than others. Some people have it lined up. They were actually making more money in their side business than they were in their job. They hated their job. What they just needed was permission and a good kick in the butt. And literally I’ll get an email I just quit and a week later they were making even more money and have more time freedom. The more I saw that, the more I started saying a certain phrase to the people that were on the edge and they were listening to me. And I would say to them, you’re gonna come back to me and you’re going to say I wish I did this sooner. 

I am not going to say his name, but I mentioned this to him before I recorded, but he was one of them. He was in a full-time job. Things were going well, but he was scared to leave even though he built the business up. And I said to him that you would come back to me and you are going to say that I wish I would’ve done this sooner. In about eight months later I got a text and it’s that I just said it. I said what do you mean? He said I just said I wish I would’ve done this sooner. I did a fist pump and was like Yes. It just keeps happening over and over again. So, when you’ve done this yourself and you guided a whole lot of people doing this the same way, you start to gain an understanding and the trust that this method actually works, and it works very consistently.

Last September we held a one-day mastermind in Tampa Florida. It was 10 of us in a room, overlooking the water, just doing a full day mastermind, letting all the fears and all the dreams and all the honesty out for everybody to understand and to see and to help. And those things are magical. I absolutely love doing them. A guy by the Greg Tosi was there. Greg and I had known each other but I don’t think we met in person before. I invited him to the one-day because he lives in Tampa and Greg had a full-time job that he despised. He couldn’t stand it but, on the side, he was building his business, helping people run Facebook ads to grow and expand their business. So, when it was his turn in the freedom zone, we dove into it and it was so much fear in terms of what could go wrong. So I asked him the difference and what would happen if he left his job? And every example he gave was something that was going to be negative. So, we start looking at what could be positive. Once we start looking at the positives, more time with his kids, no commute, more time to work on his business, less stress, not dealing with the boss. Quickly, the positives overtook the negatives.

And then we got to the money part of it now. I am not going to divulge numbers, but I asked him how much money did he think he needed to get by a little bit more? How much he needed a month? And he gave me a matter of fact number. I asked him where’d you get that number from? And he said I don’t know. I just kind of came up with it. That’s what so many people do. So, we sat down. Nick Elkins was there; he is a financial expert and we’re doing the numbers. We were writing down his expenses and write out all the different things he has to pay for. And once it was all settled, we look to the final number and it was around half what he thought it was. So, here’s the exciting part. We started talking about the income that he was making from his side business. The income that he was making from his side business was 75% of what he needed to live with the new numbers. 

Now this is one of my favorite parts of these one days that we do is that look on his face when he started to realize what I’ve been telling myself all this time might not be true. When that situation arises, I love to go in for a little bit of an uppercut at that point, I have been reeling and he is on the ropes. We might be getting towards unemployment. We are that close to getting the unemployment rates to a little bit higher and I said to him, if you can make 75% of what you need while working mornings and weekends, with a wife and a son and little baby on the way, you’re telling me you can’t make 25% more if you got rid of your job and freed up to 60 hours a week that you devote to getting showered, getting dressed, commuting, working, commuting back. and then the exhaustion at that, you can’t make 25% more when you’re already making 75% on the side? And I was so happy to see that I really thought that that uppercut had landed. And there was a lot of fear going forward. A couple months later they have some issues with their house. The thing is, he had a supportive spouse. Kristin, his wife was so on board, believed in him so much and I remember her saying I wish you would just go for it.  So many people do not have a spouse that feels that way. So, I was extra excited about him making this move. 

So, after a whole other issue that came up over the winter. Greg put in his notice. Greg quit his job. Greg is now full-time, doing his dream and now when we get on the calls. He’s got the smile in his face. He got this energy. He’s got this focus, and it is not always easy. Entrepreneurship is not always easy, there’s ups and downs. But he says it himself how much happier he is and how he wishes he would’ve done it sooner and how now he wants to help other people do the same, which is just so much fun. So, together with linking arms we are going to all start one by one, helping raise the unemployment rates so we can get people out of the jobs that they don’t want to be doing and into the work they do want to be doing. Not just for the work part of it but just for the fact that you can wake up, do what you want to do, have lunch with your kids, go to the park with them when you want to do it and live life on your terms. Way too many people aren’t doing it so I’m telling you, if you do this the right way and you have the guts and the courage to actually make that move toward your dream, you will come back to me hopefully and point to this episode and say I wish I would’ve done it sooner.

Episode 37- It’s The Little Things That Matter

It’s The Little Things That Matter

I’m titling this one It’s The Little Things That Matter. It is truly the case and I have a story behind it. There was two people I want to talk to you about today. One person is Jennifer Harshman. She is a writer. She does copywriting. She edits books. She helps other people write and edit books and she just a fantastic giving helpful person. The other person is Eddie Storch and he does a ton of things and talent development space. He runs a talent development hotseat podcast and they’re running their own talent development think tank conference later this year in Sonoma, California. Andy has been doing the talent development podcast for a while and he’s talked about doing a book. One of the things I consider to be part of my job and my business is connecting the unconnected. Connecting people that I know that don’t know each other that really do need to know each other. 

So, Andy was talking about I really want to do a book off of the content from this podcast I been doing. He has always great interviews and he has always great tips. It is so great to curate that into a book for this industry. I said well the first person you should talk to is Jennifer Harshman in terms of the book. So funny story happened from that. So that connection happened. They get connected on zoom, having a call and talking. From what I hear, they have a fantastic conversation and a lot of details are ironed out, lots of ideas are brought up in terms of what he can do and how Jennifer can help him and what can work out, how this book would help his business and help his conference grow and all these type of things. After the call, Jennifer messaged me, and she thanked me for the connection and then she asked me for Andy’s address. So, I give Andy’s address ans she wanted to send him a gift. 

It turns out that when they finish the phone call, Jennifer said to him, how can I get a hold of you? What would be the best way to get a hold of you? He said oh you know the normal phone, email, text, carrier pigeon. It is what Eddie said. I guess a signature line that he says all time. Something he just throws out there just randomly. Jennifer goes ahead and asked me for his address, and I send it to her, and I didn’t think anything about it. A couple days later Andy sent me a message and he gets like the coolest gift in the mail. He said he got a stuffed carrier pigeon in the mail from Jennifer Harshman. Not only that, like it is his kid’s favorite stuffed animal now. 

So, he got it there on his desk, and I knew Jennifer was special, but right there, I really knew one of the reasons why she’s special. Because I’m sure, you know, how often you could be in conversation, you could say something, and nobody pays attention to not only long swats of what you’re saying but little details of what you’re saying. So, for him to just kind of rattle off carrier pigeon. And I don’t even know how it went through Jennifer’s mind, but for the fact that she hears that, and then takes that to look up a great stuffed animal, the pigeon and then to go and send that to Andy as a gift as just a thank you for the conversation. That’s the way we want our minds to work when it comes to this type of stuff. 

I have to admit, when I heard that, I was so excited that she did that but at the same time I said to myself how many of those opportunities have you let slip away? How many little things have people mentioned in phone conversations or in person that I could’ve went, not even the extra mile but like the extra couple steps and just done something small but really meaningful? Small but really thoughtful to let them know not just I’m just giving you a gift for gift sake but what she let him know is she was really paying attention. She really listens to what he said. 

Now, if I’m hiring somebody that can edit my book, the number one thing I want to know is that they’re paying attention to the things that I’m saying. So, to earn trust, pay attention to the things that matter in your industry. Pay attention to the things that matter to your clients and then show them that you have an attention to detail to those type of things like Jennifer just did. So now when Andy looks at his desk and he sees that carrier pigeon, every time he sees it, he’s going to think about Jennifer. And what she also has done is if he is looking at other editors, if he’s looking for other people to work with, she is just elevated herself tremendously. I don’t know how much this carrier pigeon cost. It could’ve been less than $10. But it’s just the thought of going the personal touch of what she did by doing that is going to help her stand out not just with Andy, but just in general in life and in business of paying attention to the small little things that other people talked about, that other people care about and that other people notice. And to show that you actually notice them and not only that you noticed it but you will actually go and take action to do it for their benefit and to just let them know that you care and you’re thinking about them, it’s an invaluable trait that you can develop for yourself. That even though it’s a small thing, it’s a small thing that over time lead to enormous results. 

So, kudos to Jennifer for her thoughtfulness and also to Andy’s support him in terms of writing this book. It is going to be so important for him, for his customers and for his business and just remember to pay attention to the small things because those are the things that really get noticed.

Episode 36- The Photograph That Got Away

The Photograph That Got Away

So, from 1995 until 2016, photography was my primary income source and the primary income source of our household between Elizabeth and I, both being a full-time photographer. That shifted a bunch for two to three years in terms of what we’ve been working on. So, the photography part of our career has dropped way down as the masterminds, the coaching, consulting, and the books has risen up. But I get asked all the time, is there a photograph that got away? Is there a picture that you really want to make that for one reason or the other just didn’t happen and there is a story to it ? And there’s obviously a ton of those. If you think about how many times it happened. So I may do a segment every once a while for the photograph that got away and tell the story about it. Let me tell one particular one right now and shoutout to my friend, Indian native Josh Brown who I told the story to and love it. Gary Brackett, a guy who is a friend and who plays with the Indianapolis Colts, who is a part of this is as well. So, here’s the story in terms of this photograph that got away.

I grew up as a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I won’t go deep into that, but it was my team. It’s always been my team. And then I got the opportunity, for many years, to photograph them. I’ve lived in Pittsburgh and I photographed their home games, tons of their road games, lots of playoff games. But before we moved to Pittsburg, occasionally I’ll get the Steelers assignment from out-of-town game. We lived in Indiana, so I’ll cover them in the playoffs versus the Titans or sometimes in St. Louis versus the Rams or around the country. I was photographing the Indianapolis Colts in 2015 and this is when they were probably the best team in the league. There were 13 and 0 and they’re on their way to what seemed to be an inevitable Super Bowl win and possibly undefeated season. But they lost after 13 games. They want to get by the first round by the playoffs and the Steelers win the wildcard game and Steelers were not supposed to make the game that year. They came back, won 4 games in a row, one wildcard game and all of a sudden, they were the lowest seed going to Indianapolis playing the highest seeds in Indianapolis Colts, and that was my gig photograph. 

So, I am torn here because I’m a Steeler fan. I want to see the Steelers in the Super Bowl for the first time in 25 years, but the same time if they lost, if they happen to lose which I will be so bummed about. I still get the photograph of the Colts go on to the championship game and probably the Super Bowl. So, I showed up to the RCA dome in Indianapolis and I photographed the Colt – Steelers game maybe about two months earlier on a Monday night game and the Colts destroyed the Steelers. So, nobody gave the Steelers a chance this game. I show up and for good luck and nobody knew this. I wore my Antoine Randall L jersey underneath my sweater as good luck for the Steelers. See now, you’re journalists and you are supposed to be impartial, but I had to have that on, you have to support my team. So, I was outside the Steelers locker room before the game started and the doors come busting open. The first one out his Antoine Randall and he yells “Were back!” I knew at that moment, I think they have a little different attitude than the last time, and from the very beginning you get the feeling that this is different type game. The Steelers took the ball at the kickoff drove right down the field scored the easy touchdown drive just seamless. They stopped the Colts and the next drive, came right down the field again scored another touchdown 14 – Nothing. Steelers midway through it lose midway through the first quarter and all of a sudden, this place is stunned. Everybody is stunned and they can’t believe it. I don’t think the Colts been losing hardly at all that season. Now they around 14 – Nothing in the first quarter at home and the Steeler is like a totally different team. So I’m jacked up. I never thought of being jacked up to not be able to shoot Super Bowl, but this is my team. That’s what I really want to have was the Steelers to win. So, I kind of stayed steady for the first half. I think it was 14 – 3 the Steelers are winning the half time and everybody there was nervous. This was the end. 

Some point the third quarter; the Steelers drive down. They scored another touchdown. It is 21 – 3.  I got a picture of Jerome Bettis spiking the ball right in front of me as they scored the touchdown and the same frame that I got, the guy with the Sports Illustrated was next to me, got almost the exact same frame. Mine went to _______ press and his went to the cover of Sports Illustrated. So, talk about opportunity lose. I got the same picture, but I didn’t get the same play. It was pretty cool though me having the same exact image. It was 21 – 3. It looks like a definite Steelers victory at this point, but then at the end of third quarter, Peyton Manning finally comes alive, he hooks up with Dallas Clark for the tight end for like 50-yard touchdown I think was. Again, right in front of me. I was in the end zone. It is 21 – 10 Steelers and now the Colts have life. 

The 4th quarter was just the most bizarre like gut wrenching quarter I remember photographing because it was so emotional. The crowd, the noise, just attention that building I photograph everything you can imagine, and I was up there. That was top 10 in terms of just emotional, tense moments, 45 minutes that I remember and shooting. What happened was about 10 minutes left in the game. I really think this game is going so slow. Now I’m a fan at this point. I just want the Steelers to hold up and to win this game. I do not want to shoot the champions game. I want to be watching on TV next week when the Steelers play the Broncos because I was so ready for the Steelers to move on and roof over the Super Bowl. I am not sure what the scores at this point, we’re about six minutes left. Peyton Manning was trying to drive down the field and one of his passes were deflected and ______ look like he got an interception from it, I scoop it up and the game is over at that point. If he makes that interception, the Steelers run the clock out and they do this long review. They review that and it was non-interception of the ball. It hit the ground somehow. Colts retain possession and there was a lot of controversy about this play while the replay says that it never hit the ground, but so be it. Now the Colts have the ball and they quickly take that momentum. go down, score the touchdown. They then give two-point conversion. All of a sudden, we got ball game, it is 21-18. Steelers only up by three, and the momentum is totally on the cold side. So, I’m really nervous at this point, as are most of the Steeler fans that are in the crowd. While they’re watching it slip away. 

So, the Colts kick off the Steelers. The place is a madhouse and I believe they stop the Steelers at 3 and a half as they had no chance the momentum was completely gone. They kicked off to the Colts. The cults have a chance now to either tie the game or to win it and have one of the best comebacks in playoff history to my sadness. But what happens, the Steelers just dominated on defense. They just sacked Manning a couple of times. And on 4th down, sacked Peyton Manning right near the end zone and it appears like the game is over. 

There’s two minutes left, I believe, and so the game is essentially over. And I get the picture of the sack. I think it was Joey Porter on top of Manning. That’s the picture that is going to be the cover. I have it all planned out my head how it was gonna work in terms of layout on the paper for the next day. So, I am the only photographer shooting this game. Steelers still have the ball at the goal line and are up by three. So, my job now as a journalist is to get color, meaning they’re going to kneel on the ball then on the clock, I want to get these fans because there’s Colts fans crying. They’re Steelers fans going back and forth, and it is really tremendously emotional about that point. I’m on the sideline and I’m photographing the fans. I’m right next to the Steelers bench. I’ll never forget. ______  the corner of the Steelers stands up on the benches waived a terrible towel and he’s taunting the Colts fans, and I put my long lens down and picked up my wide lens. I’m photographing him waving the towel, taunting the fans. So, while the Steelers go to run the clock out in my mind because I forgot that the Colts have no timeouts left. So, the Steelers running a real play. They were kneeling on the ball. They’re about in the 2-yard line. Ben Roethlisberger hands the ball off to Jerome Bettis and Jerome cuts to the right, towards the end zone and all the sudden I’m not even looking at that because I was photographing Ike Taylor and I hear this boom. This crazy noise and I look up to the scoreboard, I see a guy from the Colt with the ball running in the opposite direction and the crowd is going berserk. It is as loud that I have ever heard the crowd. And on the screen, I see him running past all the Steelers players and realizing oh my goodness he’s gonna go hundred yards for the winning touchdown here. This were gut instinct for me. 

So, I was on the sideline, about the 35-yard line next to the Steelers. The whole Steelers bench goes silent and staring, and Nick Harper from the Colt is running down the sideline right towards me. Now this is a classic moment. This is if you’re a football fan, you remember, this was a classic NFL moment. He’s running down the sideline and I’m there with this historical NFL moment about to happen right in front of me and I’m staring. I see Nick Harper running down the sideline and Ben Roethlisberger are backpedaling. Roethlisberger is Steelers quarterback and is the last person that can stop Harper from going from 100-yard touchdown. As Roethlisberger is backpedaling just 15 yards away from me, I never picked up my camera. I never even thought to pick up my camera. This is my only job. The only thing I need to do is get this picture, but I became so caught up in the moment which is never ever happened before or since my entire career. I was so caught up in that moment that when Nick Harper cut to his left to go around Roethlisberger. This was the moment where either he going to stop him or he is gonna go for the touchdown and without even picking up my camera, I just screamed tackle him and Roethlisberger reached out and just got a hold of Nick Harper foot slightly. Nick Harper tumbled onto the ground and he made the tackle around the 50-yard line. You might imagine at this point; this place is just going absolutely out of its mind collectively. And I realize not only that this game is over, they can tie the game, or they can win it right now and I shook off the cobwebs, grab my gear off the ground, my 400mm lens. I was just sitting on the floor while this classic moment happened. At that point, you don’t know the classic moment because the Colts could just win the game. I go running to the end zone and a guy from CBS, the cameraman from CBS was right next to me and I looked, and I said what happened and he looked at me, took his headphone off and he said Bettis. I don’t even know what he meant Nobody meant but  Jerome Bettis who was a potential Hall of Fame running back. This is going to be his last season. Literally to build up, this is his final season. He’s never won a Super Bowl this is going to be his run for the Super Bowl. The whole Steelers team is doing this for Bettis, and he winds up getting the ball knocked out by Gary Brackett and fumbling at the goal line that could potentially cost them not only the game but the chance of the team Super Bowl or for his first championship. And having got to know Jerome a little bit from shooting some of the games, my heart just sinks for him and how his career is going to end. 

I remember ever thinking he cannot retire now. There’s no way you can end your career on that plate if they lose right here. So, the Colts come driving down the field and I am just sweating at this point. I’ve never felt this exhausted during shooting, and I wasn’t playing the game, I was just shooting the game. So, the Colts are coming on the field and Peyton Manning threw a perfect pass to the end zone to Reggie Wayne, the wide receiver. Wayne stretches out. Looks like he’s gonna bring the winning touchdown. I get the picture of it but one of the Steelers knocks Wade. McFadden from Steeles knocks Bill the last minute. They stopped the Colts and the Colts inside the field goal, the tied the game. They tried to tie the game and bring it into overtime. So, I can relax a little bit like okay I didn’t really miss anything, they’re going  to kick a field goal. We’re going to go overtime and then the moment ,whatever the moment is going to happen later. I didn’t miss it. 

So, Mike Vanderjagt is the kicker from the Colts, and he walks up to the line to kick the winning field goal and the Steelers called timeout. And I’m looking through my lens, I photographed Vanderjagt like every home game that season and he never looked nervous. Not one time that he looked nervous but I’m looking through the lens I’m talking to another photographer at the sideline. I was looking through my lens and I said he looks nervous. I’ve never seen him look nervous before and you could just see it in his face. But as he lines up, he snapped the ball. This is the moment if we were going to overtime or the Steelers to win. And he kicks the ball and as soon as he kicks it, you could just tell it is way off. Not only way off but it was so far to the right that before the ark of the ball even hits its peak, the Steelers players are running onto the field because you knew it was over. He hit the ball so far to the right and I was so far to let the end zone that the ball was actually coming right towards me and went right over my head as the missed field goal before it was even over. So, you knew with the kick of the ball that it was a miss and the Steelers were to win. 

So, I stormed the field with the rest of the photographers shooting all the celebration, all the emotion. It was the wildest games I’ve ever photographed. The Steelers win. The Steelers going to the championship. My dream of photographing at the Super Bowl with the Colts are over at his point. I’m remember seeing Matt ____ the photographer of Indianapolis Star at midfield. He’s just shaking his head. I lifted up my shirt and I showed him my Randall L jersey and he just give me a fun push and shook his head at me. I sat down the sideline and I could not even do any work for about 1/2 an hour because I was so exhausted from the way that game went. And he just sat there in silence thinking about what happened and I’m getting so many buzzes on my phone. So many text and phone calls asking Are you really there? Were you really at that game? 

Not until I went back to the hotel that night and I watched the replay over and over again what happened that I realized what happened to me. What happened to me was I was there on the field for a classic all-time NFL playoff moment and I missed it. Not only did I missed it, I did not even lift up my camera shoot I was so caught up in the moment that time that I just yelled tackle him to Roethlisberger instead of picking my camera up and shooting the picture of the classic tackle. Ironically, a couple years later we moved to Pittsburgh and it was the second day that we lived here that really hit me what happened. Our entire family went down to the strip district down here in Pittsburgh, which was the classic area with old shops, outside markets, it was a great cool area. So, I am in the strip district. we parked the car. we walked down to just do a little bit of sightseeing and browsing and the first person I see walking towards me is a guy with a white T-shirt with the big picture on the front and it is the picture that Michael Conroy the photographer of the Associated Press took of Ben Roethlisberger tackling Nick Harper with his arm out. Harper going down and underneath it, it just says The Tackle. That’s what it was known for. And I’m looking at this picture on this guy walking past me, just shaking my head. That was the photograph that got away. 

So, if you’re not a sports fan, this will probable bored you and tears right here if you are a sports fan or Steelers fan. You probably enjoy that if you are a Colts fan probably hitting that but that was just one of the many photographs that got away in my career. I just want to bring that to you. Hope you enjoy that. I’ll talk tomorrow.

Episode 35- Pay To Get To The Front

Pay To Get To The Front

So, I have a question for you. Do you pay to get to the front? I’ve never thought about this before. I never thought in these terms before. A guy named Bill Convey who I was with a mastermind with a few years ago, he said something, he told me a story that really made me think in terms of am I thinking the right way? 

We always think that we’re doing okay. We got it figured out just keep doing what we are doing. He said something to me about waiting in line. He said I never waited in line. What do you mean you never waited in line?  No. I go to a game, I go to a concert, I never wait in line. My time is too valuable. I said what do you do? He said what I do every single time is this and I’ve copied this from him since then because it’s his idea and I’m giving him all the credit here. So, I don’t wait in line. When I go to a football game, I see a long line of people in the concession stand. I go to the front of the line and I asked people what they’re getting. I will buy you your food if you order me what I want to, and they always say yes. Okay, this is pretty brilliant. Why haven’t I thought this yet? So basically, he just goes to the front of the line and he pays for the people in the front and he gets to skip that entire line and he gets to the front and he gets on with his life because his time is too valuable. 

But most people don’t think about that because they don’t want to spend the money, or we don’t really value our time. We fot nothing else to do anyway so we are going to stand in that line and kick peanut shells around. But bill has a different purpose and a different mindset. His time is valuable, and I was not about just getting in the front lot of an Ohio State football game. It’s about the mindset of thinking my time is too valuable to sit here waiting. When I could just go to the front line pay a little bit more. Hopefully they’re not buying 86 hot dogs and 42 beers that would could cost you thousands of dollars. But if it is a couple of hotdogs, whatever it cost, it is worth your time than waiting for 1/2 of your time that you could be spending with your kid walking on the stadium or telling a story, or whatever it is. But when you think about that in terms of life, when you think about that in terms of how many people do not pay to get to the front of line. 

For example, I am in a mastermind with a guy named Johnny Dumas who runs Entrepreneur On Fire podcast, one of the most popular podcasts in the entrepreneur world. I mean totally crushing and sewing different ways and I get to pay to be in the front of the line. So every week we get on the call and as I develop the podcast, as I develop the membership site or the mastermind or the audiobook, it was his idea on the mastermind and said why don’t you record the audiobook and give it away? And I hadn’t thought about that and that has been explosive in terms of growth of what we’re doing here. Now giving a book for free was not on the top of my mind to do. Like I worked really hard in this book and you sell the book. And he said no give the book away and it’s going to get more attention to the book, which can lead to all the other stuff that you have going on around you. And more importantly more people get to read the book and get helped by it and that’s what you wrote the book for. You didn’t write the book so that certain of the people can read and nobody gets their hand on it. if you really want to make an impact with your book, record the book, give it away. 

I was like so I’ve done that. That got me to the front of the line. But so many people are not interested, willing or will have enough of a growth mindset to think this money that I have is way more valuable to be used on my growth and on my advancement that it is just to say. Trust me. We went through it, you know, we went through really tough money times. We went through the debt payment. If you listen to my book, the audiobook which you can download our website for free. if you want, go to the top right-hand corner free book right there. The first half of the book is how we cut everything to the bone and if I would’ve written the book over again, knowing what I know now, I would’ve written it differently. If I would live that life again. Knowing what I know now I would not have been so incredibly intense on paying off the debt. 

Now people listening to the book and said oh my God you change the story I would. I would change story because we didn’t invest in ourselves enough. We did not pay to get to the front of the line. And if we would’ve done that, if we would’ve gotten around like Johnny Dumas, people like Dan Miller who helped me out so much in my growth, we would’ve gotten to where were at so much farther and so much quicker. We went the slow route because we’re really cheap with our money. I am just being completely honest that we can’t afford to do that, and I look back like we couldn’t afford not to. Now I continue to invest and we will talk more about that in future episodes. But what Bill taught me, which is one of the best line is pay to get to the front and when you find people who are doing it, when I find Johnny Dumas that can help me get to the front and I can pay to get there, it is so worth that. 

So, I use that now. I go to games and I always make sure I’m ready so that if there is a line and there’s someone in front of me, I just walk to the front and offer to buy their food. Can you get me two hotdogs and whatever we need? Absolutely. If you are going to pay for my food, why would they not? Just add a couple more things to their order and it just makes so much sense, and these are the things you learn when you get around people who think differently than just everybody else. So, Bill, thank you for your awesome advice. I’ll make sure to tag you here and you get the credit for this because this is all you and I appreciate it and I will talk to everybody next time.

Episode 34- The Naive Way To Build A Network

The Naive Way To Build A Network

If you know anything about me, you know that building a powerful network around you to me is one of the cornerstones of not only building a successful business, but building a successful foundation around your business and your life so that each business that you build after that gets stronger and stronger while you lift up all of the people with in your network so they can raise their heights as well while giving credit to the people who have taught you. The people that are above you in your network, the ones who you have mentored through, the ones you have learned from by giving them the credit for what you learn from them. The failure to build a powerful network around you I believe is one of the key reasons why so many people with great content and great ideas and great thoughts don’t get very far because they don’t have a network built around them. 

So, I’ve learned this from some of the greats in the business world and it’s a cornerstone of what I work on daily on top of the content and the connections that I make. But there was a time that I did it the wrong way and I cringe when I think about the ways I went about it at certain times and when I see people who are still doing it the wrong way which the way so many people just see networking is in terms of what can I get. What can I get out of my network? What can I pull out of it that I need? And what I learned and so many people unfortunately learn going forward until they figure this out is that people don’t really care about how they can help you if you’ve not been a help to them and those around them to begin with. And it’s not a keeping score thing. It’s a thing when you’ve built up a following. You built something up. You generally trust the people who’ve been with you. You trust the people who’ve invested in you. You trust the people who have taken what you’ve taught them and actually did the work to make it successful. As opposed to the person that just reaches out and turns like hey can I use you? They don’t say it this way but they kind of mean it. Can I use you and your platform and your success to get what I want? And if you are around enough with these people, you would know how often they get pitched or asked to use their platform to make that person successful. And it doesn’t work. 

Now there are your random times. I am all for being bold. I’m all for taking chances, but that’s the shot in the dark, but to do it the right way, to do it with generosity, to do it with a give first mentality is the way to build a powerful network. But so many people don’t do it. Either they don’t have the patience, or they don’t really get it. But I’ll give you a story about what I did way back as a young ambitious photographer, the one that wanted to connect and learn from the best. 

When I was interning at Newsday in New York, I was consciously picking the brains of the photographers and who are the best photographer that you know? Who should I learn from? Dick York was one of my mentors in Newsday and he was a funny, outgoing, just always had a great time in the job and always was there to help me. He was one of the guys. He was always there giving me advice. I think he saw a lot in me and him when he was younger, and he was really doing his best to guide me because I really didn’t know what I was doing. Even though I kind of thought I did. It’s amazing how many times I see somebody that is starting out, and he has the. I got it figured out attitude and they are not really open for new advice. So, I really don’t go there any longer. I don’t really try to convince those people because I can tell that their eyes aren’t open yet to it. Hopefully someday it will be. But he was one of those that he saw what I was going to, he saw that I was trying to learn, and he did his best to help me out. And getting incredible mentors in your life is so valuable. 

I said to Mike..who are the three photographers that you would follow if you are me. And this is before social medias so you can’t just type their name in and follow them Instagram. I need to do research and figure out who these people were. And he names the three and one that he named is Eddie Adams. In the photojournalism world, Eddie Adams is an icon. He runs the Eddie Adams workshop that every journalist wants to get into. It is a hand selected intensive workshop that he ran for years and years.

He is one of the most iconic photojournalists in the world. He was well known for his portraits of celebrities and politicians. He had photographed 13 wars. But what he is best known for the photograph he took in 1969 and it was the execution of a Vietcong soldier in the Vietnam War, which he won the Pulitzer Prize for. So, I had heard that he is one of the photographers that I need to get to know. I didn’t realize his status. I didn’t realize how big-time Eddie Adams was, but I just want to connect with the guy, and I want to see if I can ride along and work with him. I just thought that he was just some really great photographer that I could reach out to. 

So, I went back to my apartment in Queens and just doing my research like I normally do, and I went inside to go to the phone book. Remember the phone book? Remember those things? I went back to the phone book and there were a couple of people named Eddie Adams. So, I start calling them, out of the phone book. The first couple ones that I call wasn’t that Eddie Adams, so I finally found one. I saw the address and I just thought this is him. So, I called him up and a woman answered. She is his daughter and I asked if Eddie Adams is there. She said who’s calling and I said this is Vincent and Dick York told me that I should connect with him and she said okay, hold on a second. A few seconds later there is man’s voice in the phone, and he sounds confused and said hello. I said “Hi Mr. Adams, this is Vincent. I am an Intern in Newsday New York and Dick York tell me how great of a photographer you are and that I should really try to get to learn from you. And he just sounded really confused and he said okay all right. I said well I was wondering if it would be possible if I could just ride along with you or spend the day with you and just learn from you. And he said well Vince, I tell you we are really busy, you know we got a flight, we are going overseas in a couple days and really kind of busy so I’m not sure if I can help you right now. I said okay and I thought I just give you a call and ask you and Good luck in your trip. He said alright thanks and he hung up all confused and I went on about my business. Okay, at least I know I give it a shot. 

I went to the office the next day, and as were sitting down on the photo lab I said to Dick York that I called Eddie last night. And he stopped and turned his head and said what? I said I called Eddie Adams; I called his house last night to see if I can do a ride along with him. There were around three or four photographers in the room, and they all turned around towards me. He looked at me and he goes “you called Eddie Adams at his house?” and I was like yeah. you know, you said he is one of the best. He said you just don’t call Eddie Adams at his house. Do you even realize how big-time Eddie Adams is? And I said no, I’ve never heard of him before you mentioned him yesterday, so I figure I just call him, and they just had the greatest laugh about that because he had been running his workshop for years. He is an internationally acclaimed photographer. There are all these people just trying to get near him and learn from him, signing up for all the stuff, really kind of exclusive and I just picked up the phone naïve as I can be, called him in his house while they’re making dinner just to see if I can hang out right along with him. 

As you might imagine, I never got a call back from Eddie Adams. I never got to ride along with him. I never got to meet in person, and he passed away unfortunately in 2004 I learned some really good lessons in that. Now I am all for being bold. I’m all for taking chances, but I probably would’ve got that ride along with Eddie Adams if I went about it differently. if I were a little bit more patient. If I were to talk to Dick York about it. If I would ask, possibly for an introduction. If I would’ve done things to support what Eddie Adams is doing. If I would have taken more time and thought about more about how I can help Eddie as opposed to how you can help me, I probably would’ve gotten that experience with him. But that I went about it so fast and so furious and so impatient, it gave me a really funny story and a great three minute conversation I had with the iconic Eddie Adams, but it never got me to where I can actually meet the guy and learn from a guy in person. So, there’s a lot to be said for taking action. There is a lot to be said for going after stuff, but there’s also a lot to be said about being patient and having a plan and building a network the right way. Building a network for the long term, as opposed to being shortsighted and going all in at once to get what you need to get but the chances are you are going to crash and burn when you do that and you are going to be left with no experience but just a funny story of you being a little bit too bold. So, as you hear in a future episode, patience and persistence is the key to success not only building a powerful network but in building a successful business. That story if you listen to it, it is in my book, Freelance the Freedom. We have made the audiobook free for you. We love for you to download it, consume it, get a ton out of it. If you want to find it, it is in our website. It’s totallifefreedom.com/F2Fbook and just go there download the book for free. I hope you enjoy it. I will talk to you tomorrow.