The Freelancers' Show 092 - The Key to Success with Dan Miller
The panelists interview Dan Miller of the 48 Days brand.
DAN: Hey, rock and roll! [Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at BlueBox.net.] [You're fantastic at coding, but do you have an action plan to take it to the next level? The upcoming book, Next Level Freelance will help you optimize your freelance busin`ess for happiness. The book is packed with actionable steps to make more money, case studies, tips to find more clients and exercises for you to establish your desired lifestyle. Extras include nine interviews of freelancers who make great money while enjoying great work-life balance, videos on strategies to find quality subcontractors, and videos on making more free time by outsourcing your daily tasks. Check it out today, nextlevelfreelance.com.] [This episode is sponsored by Planscope. Planscope is a project management and collaboration app built for freelancers and the way they work with clients. It makes it easy to price up new estimates, and once you're underway, helps answer the question, “Will this get done on time and under budget?” I've been using Planscope to do my estimates and manage my projects, and I really, really like it. It makes it really easy to keep things in order and understand when things will get done. You can go check it out at planscope.io. ] CHUCK: Hey everybody, and welcome to episode 92 of the Freelancers Show. This week on our panel we have Ashe Dryden. ASHE: Hi, everyone! CHUCK: Reuven Lerner. REUVEN: Hello, from Transylvania! CHUCK: Transylvania. [Chuckles] That totally threw me off! I was so ready to say Curtis’s name! We also have Curtis Mchale. ERIC: Is that really where you are, though? REUVEN: Yeah, yeah. Cluj is the capital of Transylvania. CHUCK: Awesome. ASHE: So weird. CHUCK: We also have Curtis Mchale. CURTIS: Hello. CHUCK: Eric Davis. ERIC: Hi. CHUCK: I’m Charles Max Wood from DevChat.tv and this week we have a special guest, Dan Miller. DAN: Hey, howdy! CHUCK: Now I have to say, I'm a big fan of Dan, so I'm gonna do an intro and then he can tell me what I missed. How’s that? DAN: Hey that’ll work. Keep it short and brief. CHUCK: Yep. So Dan is the author of “48 Days to the Work You Love.” He is also the author of “No More Mondays” or “No More Dreaded Mondays,” but I think the new edition has ‘Dreaded’ in there. He runs 48days.net and has a podcast at 48days.com – is that correct? DAN: Yup. That's all correct! CHUCK: And you live in Nashville or near Nashville, Tennessee. DAN: Just south of Nashville, about 20 miles in Franklin. ASHE: I know right where that is! DAN: Yeah, it’s a great place. CHUCK: I'm working for a client in Franklin right now. DAN: Really? It’s the intellectual capital of the world. CHUCK: Oh there you go. DAN: Yes. CHUCK: Yeah, you and Dave Ramsey. DAN: Yeah. Dave Ramsey, Mike Hyatt – we got a whole bunch of people hangin’ out here. CHUCK: Yeah, I listen to both of their shows too. DAN: [Chuckles] Alright. CHUCK: Anyway, we brought you on today to just talk about – well I have a little bit of a story to do a little bit of setup, how’s that? DAN: Okay. CHUCK: I got laid off a little over three years ago, and I was thinking, “Okay, well I need to find another job, and my wife’s freaking out. Where are we gonna get more money?” And so I went, and I bought your book “48 Days to the Work You Love” and I read it. I was like, “Okay, well I need to start doing this stuff.” So I started doing that stuff, and in the meantime I started doing work for clients. And it turned out that the work I loved, I did get a job offer and I turned it down because I was happy freelancing. DAN: There you go. I've heard that story again, and again, and again – losing the job turns out to be a blessing. CHUCK: Yep. So you tend to push people a little bit towards self-employment I guess when it fits with the lifestyle that they want to lead. Do you have some guideline that you tend to follow for people who should and shouldn’t go freelance? DAN: Well you just asked an hour’s worth of questions in that one statement. Great question, and you put a cabby out in there that's extremely important – ‘if it fits.’ And some people think that because of what I do and what I write about that I'm encouraging everybody to quit their jobs and just go do something crazy, entrepreneurial, freelance, non-traditional – not at all! There’s tons of people that I think are best positioned in a job; the key is, “What is it that fits you?” If you have the propensity and the characteristics that would make you good at doing something non-traditional, then fine, let’s figure that out. There are thousands of things that you can do. I had lunch with a lady just last week who has gone through our coaching program. She went through an unexpected divorce and so she thought, “Oh, I'm gonna coach other women going through the same kinda thing” and she did a beautiful job of positioning how she would work with them, the kind of thing she would address, got a beautiful website up. I went out with her, “Where are you?” “I'm blogging, I'm podcasting, newsletter, creating a social community.” “Get your name out there” and she’s like, “Oh I don’t wanna do any of that! I really just wanna, you know, maybe see people a couple of times a week, and maybe do some art, you know, kinda hang around the house.” I said, “Well gee, that's cool. What's your economic model? Show me how you're gonna make that work.” Well she doesn’t have anything. And I said, “You know what? My recommendation for you is to get a job. You don’t want to do the things that are required to be an entrepreneur – and that's totally fine! I'm totally cool with that.” I did not say that in a derogatory way; I was totally supportive in wanting to help her do what's best for her. She needs to get a job. Now she can do something that puts her in the artistic community. I mean, my gosh, she could work at Hobby Lobby. You know, you make 15 bucks an hour, 30,000 bucks a year – she can live on that – and be immersed in an artistic kinda community, connect with a lot of people, but not have the responsibilities that are required to make working for yourself work. So it’s not for everybody, but if you have those characteristics – my gosh! Let’s find something and rock and roll. REUVEN: It’s funny you say that, because I remember a few years ago when the recession hit and I said to my accountant, “You know, I see all these people in high-tech getting laid off. I'm sure that I'm gonna have a lot of competition now as a freelancer.” And he just laughed and he said, “No, no. You have to understand that just because someone is laid off doesn’t mean that they’ll be a freelancer. They might, but many, many people want the security of a full-time job.” They don’t want, as you said, the responsibility of running a business in addition to everything else. DAN: That's right. They want the security, but what they have is an illusion. But that's okay, we can deal with that every day. REUVEN: [Chuckles] That's true. DAN: If you are a freelancer and if you have 15 clients, you have a ton more security than somebody who shows up at work tomorrow morning knowing that one person can put him on the street before noon. That's not security. And a lot of people – I hear from people, especially this time of the year, companies are making corrections and adjustments and all that, and so they're letting people go. And I hear from somebody, “Jeez, those SOBs, after 26 years they just cut me loose.” I'm, “Well, what's unreasonable about that? You don’t have equity in the company; it’s not your company. They paid you as long as your efforts there surpassed what you were contributing to them. If that's no longer the case, they have every right to let you go. You don’t have any kind of a contract – you just had a job where they paid you, as long as it was workable on both sides.” CHUCK: Yeah, makes sense. One thing that I'm really curious about, and I was gonna let you kinda talk through some of the other stuff in your books, but I'm really curious and I can’t help myself so I'm gonna start asking questions. I really wanna understand a little bit more about how you run your business. DAN: Alright. CHUCK: So, just to kind of get started, most of your business is centered around products that you have out there. I mean you have Right to the Bank, you have the conference – I forget what it’s called – but you have people come out to the Sanctuary, which is his barn at the back of his house, to do training, you have the books, you have all of these other materials that people can buy from your website – how do you get there from, maybe, from closer to where we are to actually doing more along the lines of what you have for coaching? It would be nice to have a little bit more of that product sometimes to kind of offset a little bit of the risk where I have to go out and actually sell somebody on paying for my services. DAN: Right. Well, if you have to go out and get people to pay for your services, you’ve immediately established some pretty critical parameters. You are generating linear income for the most part, which means that you do something, you get paid once. That, to me, is a challenge. The only things that only appeal to me are what is it that I can do once and get paid 10,000 times? Those are the things that I look for. Now as a coach, as an example – let’s use that because that’s one of the things that I do. We know that 95% of coaches in America never make more than $40,000 a year. Wow! Is that discouraging? No. I simply have to ask, “How difficult can it be to put myself in the 5%?” All I have to do is look at the 95% of coaches and do things they aren’t willing to do. So that’s a no-brainer, and I can do that. But in coaching, if I'm going to coach somebody in career transitions, as an example, that means that I have a core message; I have core principles that I'm working with. Those things are going to be applicable to 95% of the people out there that are going through transitions – not just to that one person. So a lot of my work is gonna be redundant or repetitive in that it’s the same things that I went through with the last person that I worked with. Whoa! If I realize that, then what can I do to put it into a format where a whole lot of people could access it without even having access to me personally, or require my time? So that opens up immediately to e-books, audio, podcast, blogging, books, and a whole host of things where I take my core message, but I just allow people to access it in a variety of ways. That’s what I look for. Here’s another thing that you may find of interest: my rule of thumb is, if three people ask me the same question, I create a product for it. I mean, that’s literal. I really do that – I create products at a drop of a hat. Because if have three people that’d ask me the same question, “Wow, I know it applies to thousands out there,” I'm gonna create a product where people can access that. And they can access that and I can benefit financially from that, while I'm sitting on the beach with my wife. CHUCK: That’s amazing. DAN: One of the things I use as a model in my business is a Venn diagram. It may be a little hard to convey this in audio format, but a Venn diagram and its three circles that intersect. So if you kinda visualize that in your mind, you have two at the top, one at the bottom perhaps, and there's that one point where they all overlap. For me, that central core is my writing. Now it took a while for that to get there, but at this point, that is the center. That fuels everything else that I do. So the other things then are applications of that core message. So yes, I coach, I speak, we do live events here, we create a lot of products – those are all applications of the writing, thinking, compiling information to help people through these [inaudible] of transitions. But in doing that, in those seven distinct areas that are created by three circles that overlap like that, there's not much that requires my personal time. I mean, my wife and I just got back from Africa. We spent most of the month of November in Africa – that had nothing to do with my income. I mean, there was no change in my income at all. As a matter of fact, we had a pretty killer month last month, with me being out of the country. That’s because I'm not just a coach; I have my message available for people, any way that they want to access it. People say, “What do I choose? Should I do an e-book? Should I do a traditional published book? Should I do an audio? Should I do an instructional manual?” My answer is, “All of the above.” Let people access it any way they want it, keep repurposing content, and it will exponentially explode your income in time freedom. REUVEN: So you don’t feel like, if you put information in your book, you should not put it in your blog or if you put it in a speech, you should not put it in a book? You're okay with giving the same information in multiple media? DAN: My last book was with Thomas Nelson, major publisher, Wisdom Meets Passion. I got a contract from them in December. They wanted the manuscript the end of February. Now not a whole lot of people commit to doing a book in 60 days. I said, “Hey, no problem.” To put it in their timeline, where, when they wanted to stage the release like they wanted, I said, “Problem, because that book is essentially a compilation of blogs that I had done over the last two years.” I just pulled them together in a topical kind of sequence, there are some chapters that go together, but you can open the book at any page and get a complete thought. It’s not like you gotta start at the beginning and go through – no. More and more, books are going in that direction. Absolutely, the information that I've got in there was in blogs; I'd covered it in podcasts, in coaching sessions, in other kind of material that we’ve got, repurpose again and again. And we see all the leaders in this intellectual information space who have done that. I mean people like Tony Robbins, and Brian Tracy, and Zig Ziglar – they repurpose content. You see the same thing showing up again and again. I mean, I don’t claim to be that original for all the product that I create. My gosh, I just keep turning out there. Do we get complaints from people? “Oh wow, I read that in Rudder of the Day.” No, never. Never hear that. And we know that with success principles, the power of repetition is just incomparable. You don’t do something because you hear it once – you do something because you’ve heard it again and again and again. So I make no apologies for delivering the message in multiple ways, over and over and over again, and people accept that willingly – and pay for it! REUVEN: That’s fascinating. CHUCK: So, there's so much here. The Rudder of the Day is something that I've heard about, and it’s funny that – well let me back up for a second. One thing that you said really struck me and that was when you said repetition is really the key. And we’ve had people like Michael Port and a few other people on the show and they’ve all said the same thing, and it’s not till I heard it the third or fourth time from the third or fourth expert that it really sunk in. DAN: [Chuckles] I rest my case. REUVEN: How appropriate. CHUCK: It’s – oh my goodness, you know? If I had realized this two months ago I’d be way ahead, but it really does sink in .One thing that I'm curious about is that in your business, after listening to your podcast for a while, you mentioned that you don’t have any employees, that you only have contractors that do certain amounts of work for you. And I'm curious as to how that works out for you and I'm also curious as to what kinds of things you have them doing. DAN: Wow, I love that. Now that is not something that I just kinda hanged my head on: I’ll never have an employee. I've had businesses in the past where I had 40, 50 employees; it’s just in this particular one, I made that decision – again, that’s not something that I'm just trying to make a statement by. I just think it works best in that way. I'm not a good people manager, for one thing. So the way I've structured my business is a whole lot more about me, than it says, this is the right way to do it. It just happens to be that it fits me really, really well. So I have no employees, but I have --. Last year, we’re just going to [inaudible] 1099s again ‘cause we’re approaching the end of the year, but last year I think we had 33. That means that many people made significant money from my business, but none of them are employees. But as an example, my bookkeeper. I mean, wonderful gal; she knows my business inside and out. She comes in one day a month. She knows how I think; she can take my rough notes when it comes to writing checks and things and know how to categorize it. I mean, she just reads my mind; she’s amazing. I love her to pieces. She’s an independent contractor; there is no way that I could justify for having her on staff. If I did, as an employee, I’d be creating other kinds of things just to justify having her around 40 hours a week. I don’t wanna do that. I want to use a person’s absolute best area of competence, and have them do only that. So if somebody’s a designer and I need a new book cover designed, I want them to do that. I don’t want them making a product and putting shipping together – no! I want them to use their unique skill. Somebody’s a web designer, boom – that’s what they do. So I have a lot of people. I've got, right now, a team that’s doing some really innovative marketing things. Well, they're compensated, and I don’t pay anybody by the hour incidentally. I pay people for results – not for time. I don’t care if somebody’s designing a cover for me, I don’t care if they take 20 minutes, or 20 hours, I'm going to pay the same thing because I pay for results, not time. So these guys doing the marketing, I don’t have any kind of a base for them or guarantee. No. They're paid a percentage of net profit. Wow! If we knock it out of the park, they're going to make a lot of money. Here’s another example: I just put a course up on u2me which I'm just totally – it’s the ultimate advantage how to create your own mastermind group. So we put that out there. Now, there are eight videos – they're short, they total 60 minutes so they're six, seven minutes apiece – boy did all those videos, had a team come here set up, do the videos, they did the editing, they did all the technology to put it up there, all the bells and whistles to put in the functionality that u2me provides. I did none of that. I paid that team zero. Gee, how interesting. I said, “How’d you guys like to get 15% of the net profit?” They said, “Oh my gosh, we’d love it.” Now here’s the deal: if that sells, the money in [inaudible] in online courses is a whole lot different than traditional books. If I sell a traditional book and my publisher sells 10,000 copies, I'm going to make 15, 20,000 bucks. If we put a course up that we sell for $48, which is what we’re doing is this : we show it at $96, we give everybody 50% off, we sell 10,000 of that – that’s almost half a million bucks! So if we do that and they get 15%, you know they're going to get 15,000 bucks. If we sell 20,000, they're gonna get 100,000 bucks. What if we sell 200? You know they're gonna get about $500. But they're willing to get in the game with me because they believe in what I'm doing, so I have a lot of things structured like that with competent people who are adding value to what I'm doing in my business. But it’s not like some fixed overhead is going to bury me; everything is tied to profitability. And as long as you're profitable, everybody’s standing in line to do projects with me. CHUCK: That’s really interesting. DAN: I left everybody speechless. ASHE: Yeah, I was kinda amazed by just the – sorry, everybody’s all excited all at once. I'm just amazed by the profit model I guess. I mean, I personally have been working out and kind of going towards that model just to scale up what I'm doing, to reach more people, and that kinda blows me away, truthfully. CURTIS: I was just thinking about all the times where I've been offered equity as a developer in something or some profit on – I guess the idea has never seemed ultimately that feasible long-term. DAN: Well you have to choose carefully. If you did that on a bunch of losers, that could be a problem. CURTIS: Yeah, I’d be buying a new fridge so I could have the box to live in later. [Laughter] DAN: But if you believe in where that’s going –. I mean, I have a friend who’s a ghostwriter; he has written books for lots of popular people, celebrities and all that. For years, he’s just got a big fat fee on that, and I'm like, “My gosh, take a piece of the back end!” So if you happen to be a New York Times’ Bestseller, you'd make a ton of money. Well he wasn’t sure he wanted to take that risk, and so he had some books that consistently just showed up as New York Times’ No. 1 Bestsellers and all he got was his standard fee, and finally opened him up to the idea of, if you believe in this project, structure a way where you benefit from the upside as possible. CHUCK: Well that’s interesting. DAN: And here’s the thing: f I have somebody working with me and they say, “No, I don’t want to do that. I just want you to pay me.” Then it questions me their belief in what we’re doing, period. Why would they do that, rather than participate in the open-ended door? It must mean they don’t really believe it’s going to happen. And that would be a red flag for me. CHUCK: So, I'm kind of on the other end of this. I'm more of a service provider, what we all are, we’re all freelance developers in one way or the other. So, I guess the question becomes, how do you identify the winners? DAN: [Laughs] Boy, if we knew that we’d go to Las Vegas this afternoon, one-way. [Chuckles] CHUCK: It’s only a six-hour drive from here. DAN: Well, that’s a great question and obviously not an easy one to answer. How do you identify the winners? I'm in the writing world too, I mean, who could have predicted “Heaven is for real,” this little quaint book written by a daddy giving his kids thoughts that came out of a dream-surgery-illness kind of thing. Nobody would have predicted that would have gone on to sell millions of copies, or even like Rick Warren’s “Purpose-Driven Life.” I mean, good night! There's not that many believers in the country to account for $40 million copies! There’s a whole lot of people picking that up who never stepped foot in a church, whose beliefs don’t line up with his at all. Somehow that just hit a nerve. I don’t know – I wish we could identify those kinda winners. But you look at somebody’s track record. Look at what they’ve done, not just what they're blowin’ smoke about what they're going to do, but look at what they’ve done, and if you have a little track record to go on, then some of the results ought to be a little predictable. CHUCK: If not, then do we just go to the regular-pricing structure that we go with – hourly or per chunk of the project or however we structure that? DAN: Sure, yeah, there ain’t nothing wrong with that. And I have to admit as well, when I say everybody here is tied to results – I have web people who are on a monthly retainer, because they're just certain set kind of things. When I'm gonna send the newsletter out, or get my podcast up, or get the blog out to various places – those are just kind of systematic things that we’re going through. I don’t look at those and try to track revenue tied directly to those week-by-week activities, so I have people that are on just a month of retainer but what that means is I'm still not paying them hourly. I don’t know if it takes them 10 hours or 40 hours to do what they do, and it really doesn’t make any difference to me. I'm just agreeing to a monthly retainer, and they need to make sure that those things are done. I still love the agreement, and I don’t care if they're making $200 an hour, which I suspect, at times, they are. Other times, it may be different if we’re kinda launching something new. But I just have it structured in a way that makes sense for me where I don’t have to cringe when Friday rolls around, thinking, “Oh jeez, I have $8,000 in payroll and no money in the bank.” That just never happens with the way I have things structured. It can’t. And to me that’s a pretty robust way to build a business. CHUCK: Yeah, maybe you could walk us through – I'm curious now that you're talking about it, with your web people and your other sort of marketing channels, your podcast people. How does your marketing engine work? How does it run? DAN: I'm not sure I know exactly what you're --. CHUCK: So you mentioned the podcast, you mentioned the newsletter – what other avenues of outreach that you have and what's kind of the end goal of each one to bring people in to eventually buy a product or come to the Innovate conference or something? DAN: Okay, I'm not as strategic as what I’d like to claim to be. I'm just an old farm boy, and I just get out here and do a lot of things. There are a lot of things that I don’t track very carefully at all. In August of 2000, I started a newsletter. I said, “Hey, I'm just gonna send this out to people, just career tips, a little humor in there. If you like it, pass it on.” I sent that out to 67 people whose email addresses I had. 67 people, August of 2000. Well people shared – I've never done anything very strategic about that, but I had over 130,000 people signed up for that little newsletter. I just try to provide good, interesting, inspiring, encouraging content and it just seems to work well. Then when podcasting and blogging came along, I jumped on the bandwagon there, do those – those things work well for me. We started 48days.net as a social community for people who wanna turn their dreams into reality. We’ve got about 14,000 really active people there who are sharing ideas. So I just do lots of things. I mean, like this – doing an interview. Last month, I did 28 interviews. So I do a lot of interviews, and I don’t try to measure each thing, but the combination of the things I'm doing to be a player seem to work very well at keeping things moving. I mean, I have no idea – this is gonna really sound – I have no idea how many twitter followers I have, how many people actually subscribe to my blog. I mean, there are a whole lot of things I don’t track at all. I just continue doing the things I'm doing, and I don’t want to appear sloppy about it. And right now these guys I got working on the marketing, they wanna know the analytics [inaudible] but hey, I don’t know. Go find it, go figure it out. I don’t know. I mean, I just – I like to do things at the top end and let other people worry about the technical side. It’s not like I'm trying to measure every activity – how is this going to benefit me, how many books am I going to sell, what's the conversion rate – I don’t do a lot of that stuff. I just enjoy what I'm doing and the results continue to work pretty well. REUVEN: I don’t want to risk sounding a little skeptical or rude – you're obviously very successful in what you do, and I think all of us would like to emulate a lot of the things that you’ve done, the ways that you’ve done them – but if you're just sort of starting off, is it practical to just do lots of blogging and just get the name out there and not pay attention to the conversion rates? Is that a good strategy for getting ahead, or is it only going to work once you’ve already passed that threshold? DAN: Wow. Boy, that’s a chicken and an egg question, isn’t it? [Chuckles] At this point, I can create any kind of product and we know we’re going to sell a lot of it. I can go to any publisher with my track record, and they're gonna want to publish what I write. I mean, that’s a pretty cool place to be in. the interviews, the 28 interviews that I did last month – did I make outgoing calls? Not a single one! I mean, those are just screening and eliminating a whole lotta requests to do just that many, because I try to confine them to one afternoon a week. So, it’s a question that is reasonable to ask. But my advice to somebody starting now is still start with something that you're gonna do consistently. I answered a question for a lady this week who said she had been blogging for over a year, and I don’t have any followers, [inaudible] really worthwhile doing. Well I went and looked at her blog, there were months where she missed doing anything. And here’s another thing, I commented. You know what immediately came up her blog? “Your comment is waiting moderation.” I wrote to her and I said, “There are two things that’ll guarantee killing your blog success. One is being inconsistent, and another is moderating comments that come in. It turns people off! You're sending people away! If you wanna blog, then start blogging. Don’t track analytics; don’t be doing anything to measure your success for a year. Do it consistently for a year; I don’t care if it’s once a week, or three times a week – do it consistently. And then a year from now, let’s look up and see if we can tweak it to make it better.” So my advice still is jump in the game, be very active in a lot of things. I bet I've spoken at every rotary club within a hundred miles of where I lived. I don’t know how to track the benefits of that! But here’s an example: about three years ago, I had a company contact me. Their 47-year old CEO had just gone down on a single plane crash and killed him. They were looking for their next CEO. They had no succession plan in place; they contacted me, “Will you help us screen candidates and replace this very important position?” A significant-sized company. I said, “Sure.” I went through it, it was a very expensive process for them that I helped them through. And I said, “How did you hear about me?” The guy says, “Four years ago, you spoke to our new rotary group in Madison, Tennessee. When this situation happened, you were the first person I thought of.” “Oh you gotta be kiddin’ me.” So I could have never predicted that; I could have never connected the dots. If four years later, but the things that I'm doing – I'm benefiting from things that I did 10 years ago, but I'm also benefiting from things I did 30 days ago. You can’t say, “Well it’s too late” again, you just start where you are. Here’s another thing: I'm identified as a coach or speaker – coach and writer. Everything that people know about me has happened in the last 10 years. It wasn’t like I started when I was 20 years old and built this monolithic business – not at all! I did a whole lot of other things totally unrelated to what I'm doing now. And boom! When I was about 45 years old, when things kinda converged, some opportunities opened up, I said, “Oh, this is interesting.” So I became a writer-speaker, but it’s happened in a very short period of time. So my question to anybody is, “Alright, if you start now with nothing, without any of the momentum that I have, how would you like to be where I am 10 years from now?” And believe me, you can do it a lot faster with social media and technology that we have today than what I did. ASHE: Yeah, I think, I mean – I've gotten really lucky that a lot of the following that I have has happened in the past three or four years, but it’s been stuff that I've been working on for probably five or eight years. And a lot of the referral work that I've got has actually been from a lot of people that were around when I was first starting to do this stuff. DAN: Okay, sure. We’re so impatient today; everybody wants it to be instant and we assume – with twitter and instant messaging and all that – that everything happens overnight. It really doesn’t. There's a wonderful book that I recommend a lot written by Darren Hardy who’s the publisher of Success Magazine; his book is called The Compound Effect, and it just shows success usually happens over a significant period of time. And Malcolm Gladwell, in his writing, he talks about the 10,000 hour rule. You don’t see Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods or somebody who’s excellent in what they do who just showed up yesterday and decided, “Oh this is my passion; I'm gonna do it.” No, they put in the time. Nobody comes with their talents full blown. We come with the seed of a talent, and we need to water it, fertilize it, weed it, nurture it along, then it becomes something significant over time. And people today tend to be extremely impatient, especially in the space that we’re in, you know – information, technology. You know, “Man, I wanna make $50,000 a month starting next month, because I'm going to do something on the internet.” Well, it’s probably going to be a flash in a pan; if people figure out you're not really delivering, you're gone 90 days from now! That’s not the way real success is built. CHUCK: So I wanna ask you a couple more questions about some of the other things you talked about on the show. One of them is the Rudder of the Day. I've had that come up a couple of times. It’s funny ‘cause your rule of three - if three people asked about it, I'm going to make a product for it – for me if three people tell me about it, I go check it out. And that was one of them, so. DAN: [Chuckles] Alright. CHUCK: I'm just a little curious – can you just give us a brief synopsis of what's that about and how you approach it? DAN: Sure. Rudder of the Day is 91 newsletter articles that I did; that’s all that is. It’s a compilation. Here’s how that developed: when we came out, when my publisher published 48 Days to the Work You Love, I said, “You know what? I've got an idea for a little daily meditational that would go along with that that would be a great companion for that. Described it to him, they said, “Yeah, we think that’s a great idea.” They set me a contract; I think it has a $30,000 advance in it and said, “We’ll have this published in 22 months.” I said, “You gotta be kidding me! Why the delay?” But that’s how traditional organizations tend to think. “You know what? I can have these on the shelves in 30 days; I’ll just do it myself. Thanks, but no thanks.” That’s exactly what I did. My son did the cover graphic for that, this beautiful ship in the water, rudder of the day. It comes from an old Emerson quotation where he talks about the first hour is the rudder of the day. What you do in the first hour of your day determines the direction of your day. But I did exactly that – I pulled it together, had a layout editor do a beautiful interior design in each page. It starts with a little ship there and then it’s done and kind of an ivory color with some reverse print where I have a scripture reference and then daily application. That’s been a – I mean, we’ve gone through tens of thousands of that book, but that’s how it came about. I did it myself, but it was a companion piece to a traditionally published work as well. CHUCK: Yeah, that’s just amazing and I found that if I can make myself get up early and consume something like that, it really makes a difference for me. DAN: Again, it’s repurposed content. I didn’t sit down with a blank piece of paper and write that book; it was simply grabbing what I had already put out in another form. And the ironic thing that may seem counter-intuitive is that you could go on my website that have all those archives and the old newsletters, every single piece that’s in that book is already on the archives that people can access free. Doesn’t matter, you put it in a book form, make it look nice, people are still going to buy it. That’s been a hot seller of ours for a very long time. I've got a lot of requests for updated versions which would be easy to do. Rudder of the Day 2, 3, 4 and 5, whatever or different titles which I’d probably do – I just haven’t done that because I've been extremely busy, but certainly it has merit to put out new versions of that same content. CHUCK: So there other question I have and it’s somewhat related to this – I've actually started picking up my own content, you know, things I wanna learn, things that inspire me to kind of use at the beginning of the day. You talked a lot about reading books on your podcast and you actually have a list of books that you recommend to people. How do you select the books? How do you pick what you should be reading? DAN: When I hear three people recommend it. [Chuckles] CHUCK: That sounds familiar. DAN: It’s what you just said. If somebody says, “Wow, Malcolm Gladwell has a brand-new book out called David and Goliath, geez.” And I’d preordered that because I heard a lot of people talking about it; it’s just an amazing book. It instantly goes on my recommended reading list. Reading has served me really well. Now this is one of those things – well in that book, there's a kind of a neat segue, because in that book he talks about desirable difficulties. A lot of times the things we think are obstacles to our own success turn out to be our greatest assets. Now here’s an example: I grew up in a very poor little farming family in rural Ohio. We’re milking cows at 5:30 in the morning, throwing hay bails in the heat of summer; we didn’t have radio or TV in our house – nothing. That drew me to books. My reading of books opened a world of opportunities for me and continues to serve me very well today. I tell people all the time, if you wanna double your success rate in the next six months, the best way I know to do that is to read great books. And then what I tell them, of course, “You wanna know what I recommend? You go to this, you can send a blank email to email@example.com, boom! You get an instant, autoresponder, sends you right to my reading page. I have about 40 books there that I recommend and the reasons why I recommend them, and of course every single one of them are hyperlinks to Amazon! So once a month Amazon puts a nice little check in my account. Again, there's no secret about all of that. Yeah, I love – I love reading! You know, last year I read 74 books, I'm on track, probably do about the same thing this year. Anything that comes along that is of interest in the area that I am working in, I'm gonna grab immediately. Decisive – Chip and Dan Heath’s new book in how we make decisions – those kinds of books, they just don’t get past me. I'm gonna get them. And I scan a lot of books digitally, but as soon as I decide that it’s something I really wanna read, I order a physical copy. I still like to hold it in my hand. I've got my own system for note-taking, I use the little tiny post-it notes that are part of a highlighter that you just pull out of a highlighter, so my books are heavily highlighted and have little post notes on it so I can then put it on the shelf. Three years later I can come back, pull it off the shelf and go exactly to the things that were most important to me when I read it the first time. CHUCK: That’s pretty awesome. I've actually picked up some of these books on Audible.com. I find when I'm going to the gym, or things like that, I try and get up early and make it to the gym and when I manage to do that, then it’s nice ‘cause I'm working out and consuming great content. DAN: Absolutely. That’s a great combination of improving personally and physically at the same time. Audible, they're a steady sponsor of my podcast; got a great relationship with them, because we send lots of people there to get books. And each week I recommend specific books that they can go there and get. Great way to do it. CHUCK: Alright. Well I think we’ve pretty well exhausted the questions. I could probably sit and talk to you all day, but yeah. If I ever make it out to Tennessee again, I’ll see if I can work something out to meet up with you. I think that’d be awesome. DAN: Where do you live? CHUCK: I'm in Utah. DAN: You're in Utah! Well sure, that’s an easy flight over. CHUCK: Yeah. DAN: We have events, or you mentioned that, we have Coaching with Excellence which is a really popular event, and Innovate, which is just outrageous. I mean, that’s something I came up with. Last year, we just threw it out there and response has been phenomenal. Now we limit the size of our events because of the size of our location here. The Sanctuary only holds 60, max, so we have to cut that off every time, but we’ve done some just really fun things as part of that event. It’ll be to help people tap into their own creativity and then find ways to create an economic model to profit from that. So we do lots of fun things here. So yeah, show up here. We’ll take you on a tour of the property and introduce you to some other creative people. CHUCK: I thought about actually doing some events out here that are kind of geared towards the same kind of thing, but I mean, I don’t have a barn behind my house or anything where I can host it. Do you have any recommendations for getting something like that together and getting the word out? DAN: Sure. I'm one of these things to jump and hope the net will appear, so I don’t try to think through every possibility and talk myself out of doing things. I do a lot of things where I just get out there, get in the game. Having the advantage of having a building here in my property, so we don’t have the commitment of overhead in a hotel facility or a convention facility or something, I mean, that’s help. But there are a lot of places where I live here, and certainly where you live as well, that you can explore. An office conference area or something, a chamber of commerce has – I've done events at a chamber of commerce where, with no charge, they gave me access to their facility. There are a lot of places around like that. Structure something that’s simple without a lot of obligation up front, and just announce it. Promote the fire out of it, have fun with it. If five people show up, deliver the same value that you would if you had a hundred there, but just get in the game. There's not really much downside to this kind of thing. I've seen a lot of people who have just structured events and are now profiting from what they're doing with those. Or partner with a couple of other people, you know? Like you guys together here. Get three or four people together to do a joint event together where you all have a little time to present or whatever, invite in a couple of ringers in terms of speakers – I've always done that. I invite big names to our events and I have people standing in line, saying, “Gee, can I come and speak at your event?” And I'm like, “You know I'm gonna give you lunch as your compensation?” “I know, but I just wanna be there. I keep hearing about it.” If you create events that are that compelling, you'll have talents standing in line wanting to be a part of it. CHUCK: Awesome. Well we wanna be respectful of your time, so we wanna get ahead and get into the picks. Ashe, do you wanna start us out with the picks? ASHE: I do not have any picks today. [Laughs] CHUCK: Eric, what are your picks? ERIC: I just finished a book, it’s called Writing Your Way by Don Fry. It basically teaches you different techniques of how to write and different processes. It’s nice ‘cause you can sample different ways and figure out what works for you, I'm gonna take a couple of them and try to adapt them to my writing process and see if it improves things or makes it easier. But it was nice ‘cause it’s kind of a collection of things; it’s not a this-is-the-one-way-you-have-to-write. CHUCK: Awesome. Curtis, do you have any picks for us? CURTIS: Yes, I do. I'm going to pick the book, the 12 Years book - it is12 Years a Slave. It’s actually free online at 12years.org and it’s – I've been reading it for the last three or four days, and it’s very, very interesting. It’s not actually that long; I’d probably finish it tomorrow, or by the weekend at least. It’s very interesting to just to read about slavery and how they were treated – something totally foreign to any of us. CHUCK: Alright. Reuven, what are your picks? REUVEN: Okay. So I've got a few picks today. I've mentioned before that I enjoy MPR’s Planet Money, which is a podcast about Economics. They do a really great job of explaining things and going to depth and they decided about a year ago to do a t-shirt, and they did a whole kickstarter project that people could buy t-shirts from them and they said, “You're not just gonna buy the t-shirt, but you're gonna follow the making of this t-shirt – from growing the cotton to spinning into yarn, and so on. They're finally done with the project, and I have to say I was a little skeptical; it is unbelievable fascinating, both the radio reports they did and they did this whole multimedia presentation with pictures and movies and descriptions and explanations of the machines and places they were – truly, truly amazing to read through and to watch this and that. So I definitely recommend that. And two things that are sort of related to that; two books are related to that that I read a few years ago. One is called The Travels of aT-shirt, which was actually the inspiration for this journalistic venture that they did, where someone – I forgot her name. Pietra – ooh, I wish I remember her last name. She went and followed t-shirts: what happens when they are bought, what happens when they're given to charity, where do they end up in the end – really the whole life cycle of shirts. It’s fascinating to find out how one of our shirts can travel from beginning to end. Mostly things travel nowadays and huge amount of stuff that we buy and use travels by ship. And that’s all possible because of shipping containers. Now with my move to Israel, my move back to the US, my move back to Israel --. I had a lot of experience shipping things in these containers, but I was truly awestruck by the description of them in this book called The Box from a few years ago. It sounds, on the face of it, like it’s going to be an incredibly boring book about shipping containers, but it’s really written very well and it gives you an amazing appreciation for how things are moved from place to place nowadays. So, those are my picks. CHUCK: Awesome. Alright, I’ll go ahead and do some picks. I'm actually gonna pick a bunch of my favorite podcasts. One of them is The Rise to the Top with David Siteman Garland, that’s got some terrific content. He’s kinda taken a focus on ‘mediapreneurs’ lately, which I really enjoy, and I also bought his Create Awesome online courses class, and that is a stellar class as well. Another pick, and I know Dan is familiar with this one, is the Free Agent Underground Show with Kevin Miller, who’s Dan’s son, and there are some terrific content that he puts out every week. He lives out here on Colorado; I've actually been to the town that he lives in and they’ve got a community around free agency and stuff and it is spot on stuff that they talk about there. The last one is the Podcast Answer Man podcast. I have people asking me all the time, “What does it take to make a podcast?” I'm always telling them to listen to Cliff Ravenscraft about podcasting. I get to talk to Cliff every couple of weeks ‘cause I'm part of his podcast mastermind, but Cliff is a genuine person and he just knows his stuff. So I highly, highly recommend that one as well. Dan, do you have some picks for us? DAN: You know, I’ll just pick up on a couple of other things that you guys have already thrown out there. I loved the story about the t-shirts travelling around. We just got back from Kenya, Africa, in Nairobi and then down on Mumbasa, and it’s amazing to see t-shirts there. You see a guy beside the road, he’s got a big stack of t-shirts and you see The Freelancer’s Marathon, June 2013. And you know that they're just overruns from an event and probably got shipped over there in containers to give away, and somebody took it on as a business, created a little entrepreneurial business out of that. I'm intrigued by that, following those around, wow. If I were to do a pick, it would be Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, David and Goliath, talking about how we see things as a disadvantage that may in fact be our greatest asset. He talks about, you know, people like Robin Williams – he still sees words upside-down and in reverse. What happens to a little kid in the third grade when he has to stand up and read and he can’t read; he gets words all jumbled up? The kids laugh at him, becomes a class clown. That’s worked pretty well for Robin Williams. But he’s got a lot of examples of that – real people who had what would be difficulties, and it helped me kind of frame some of the things that I grew up with that’d be easy to frame as difficulties and yet, in retrospect, I see how they helped lead me to new opportunities. CHUCK: That’s awesome. Alright, we’re gonna go ahead and wrap up the show. We really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us, Dan. DAN: Hey, absolutely, my pleasure. I hope that our conversation, having fun together, will remove some cobwebs and bring some inspiration to your listeners as well. CHUCK: Mm-hm. Are you gonna be speaking or travelling anywhere where people can see you in the near future? DAN: Well as a matter of fact, I am. In January, I’ll be at New Media Expo doing a panel with Cliff Ravenscraft on podcasting, in Las Vegas. It’s like the 4th to the 6th. And then I think in March I'm doing the Launch conference – that’s a Michael Hyatt conference on emerging speakers. And then on April I’ll be doing a panel with John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire in San Diego at Michael Stelzner’s event, Social Media Marketing. Those are just a few other things, but I've got a very busy schedule for 2014 in addition to my writing deadlines, new products we’re launching – yeah, I've got a pretty busy schedule of conference and events. Now when I go to conferences like that, I don’t just swoop into town 45 minutes before I go onstage and speak and leave. Never! I soak up the entire event. I mean, I intend to gain a whole lot more than what I think that I’ll be able to give to other people, but meeting other people who are doing the same thing as I'm doing? Man, I love that process of sharing ideas and resources and all going to higher levels of success. CHUCK: That’s amazing. New Media Expo, if a big, bald guy from Utah comes up, don’t be afraid. I apologize in advance; I'm just a little excited. DAN: Well I look forward to that, would love to hang out together. CHUCK: Yeah, that would be awesome. Alright, well like I said, we’ll wrap up the show. Thanks again for coming. we’ll catch everybody next week!