Marketing podcast, PreneurCast, is for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs. Each week, author and marketer Pete Williams and digital media producer Dom Goucher discuss entrepreneurship, business, internet marketing and productivity.
Pete talks to Jon Acuff, author of Quitter about his new book, Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters. They talk about entrepreneurship, chasing your dreams, personal branding and many other topics.
Pete talks to Jon about personal branding and chasing your dreams
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Getting Started with Jon Acuff
Pete Williams: Hello, everybody. Pete Williams here with my usual partner in crime and co-host, Dom Goucher. How are you doing, buddy?
Dom Goucher: Pretty good. Hello there. Hello, everyone.
Pete: Hope everyone’s had a fantastic week since our last episode, got a bit more clarity and got some clear direction on where they’re heading, which was what we spoke about last week on the show.
Dom: Got some great feedback about that, by the way, from some people I’ve spoken to that listen to the show. Really resonated with them, as we thought it would, because you picked that out of those consulting sessions that you’ve been doing.
Pete: In fact, I guess it resonated with a lot of people because yesterday was the biggest download day of the podcast in about three or four months, which is super exciting in itself.
Dom: Excellent, excellent. Well, as they say, what you measure gets managed. That’s excellent. Thank you everyone for being our listener and downloading the show. Before we get into this week’s topic, which is an interview that Pete did recently, I’m going to oversell this, but it’s one of my favorite interviews you’ve done in a long time, Pete. It’s with a guy called Jon Acuff, who we’ve mentioned quite a few times. He’s the author of the book Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters. I love that title.
Pete: Very cool subtitle.
Dom: It is fantastic. We’re going to get into that in a minute. But as usual, just to have a little bit of rundown of what has been going on in our world this week. Pete, what have you been working on this week?
Pete: A few different things actually. Continuing on with the SEO focus on Infiniti [Telecommunications], in our projects there. Actually speaking to Davey J [David Jenyns], who we mentioned a number of times on the show here. He’s going to be a guest on the podcast in a couple of episodes’ time. He was sharing with me a very savvy little backlinking strategy that he was employing in his own business and for a few of his clients.
I’ve done two things with that little tidbit of information: 1) started to replicate it in a slightly different way in our business to generate backlinks for the telco. It’s not a thing people socially talk about or share, or voluntarily write blog posts about. Phone systems aren’t that sexy. So, we’re doing what he’s done. But also, we’ve been focusing on ramping up the blog for this year. I’ve got some pretty big goals in terms of unique views for the PreneurMarketing.com site.
People who have been listening to the show for a while, they probably know that the blog itself was a bit neglected. It just is the place where we have all our episodes of the show, the show notes and things like that, and that gets a lot of traffic. But there’s not a lot of regular contributions and publishing on the site. So we’re working on a good way to get some team members involved to add to our staff of writers and contributors, and really ramp up the blog with two or three posts a week of amazing content.
One of the series that I’m going to be doing, for want of a better term, is a lot of case studies of cool marketing tactics implemented: how they were done, and how you can swipe and deploy them yourself. First one of this series, which should be out in a couple of days’ time, is Davey J’s little savvy backlinking strategy where he breaks down exactly what he did, the results he got, and how everyone can do it themselves in a swipe-and-deploy manner. That’s going to be one of the very first posts in this new series.
Make sure you start checking out PreneurMarketing.com on a regular basis. It’s going to be some in-depth, evidence-based, data-driven marketing advice and tactical type of content on the blog, on a regular basis, from me, the team, and some guest posters as well.
If you want to write for the blog, or you have a really cool marketing tactic you’ve employed that you want to share and let everyone know about, reach out to us: support [at] preneurmarketing [dot] com. We’ll get you in touch with one of our team, and we’ll write up your amazing tactic as a case study. Maybe you’ve implemented a 7 Levers strategy and got a really good result, and want to share what you’ve done. That could be a perfect example for the case study section on the blog.
Dom: Definitely, folks. We’d love to hear from our audience, as you know. And this is a great opportunity to be featured on the Preneur Marketing Blog, so do drop us a line with that.
Last week also, we talked about you having some slots in your consulting calendar, Pete. How is that going?
Pete: Yes, it’s been good. Had some great conversations. One person actually booked two hours of my time yesterday. So a double session, for two-and-a-half hours. It was really cool to break down his business. He had a couple of his team members on the call as well. We looked at where his friction points where from a marketing perspective, and from a systems and implementation perspective. Had some really good calls. I’m enjoying this kind of thing. It’s very invigorating for me, talking to different people and seeing how we can make big shifts in their businesses.
If you know anyone who’s interested, need a bit of information about those strategy sessions, I’m going to start doing a couple a week. I’m making time in my diary, two one-hour sessions a week. So if you’re interested, either jump back to last week’s episode and understand a bit more about them, or just e-mail support [at] preneurmarketing [dot] com, and our team will give a whole bunch of information about how these strategy sessions work. We’ll dig deep in your business and give you a framework, a foundation, and a plan for at least the next two to four months in your business to go about implementing those 7 Levers. Those calls have been fantastic.
Now, Dom, you’ve been spending some time in London this week.
Dom: Yeah, I’ve been all over the UK this week, just ramping up the consulting that I’m doing. It’s more face-to-face than what you do, Pete. You take those calls over Skype or phone, wherever you are in the world. But I’m doing a lot of face-to-face work with clients. This week, I’ve just been all over the UK, not just in London. I’m a little bit here, there and everywhere. And the other thing is, we’re looking at a new venture.
This is something that I took from you. We’re real-world businesspeople. You have a number of businesses. I’ve always focused on my one primary and core business. Somebody brought this opportunity to me that’s partly consulting, where it’s a business I can absolutely tell you that I have no knowledge of it whatsoever. I have nothing to do with it at all. But it’s an interesting business opportunity where they’ve asked me to help them, partner with them on the marketing and promotion of a product.
It’s one of those things. We always say that — you always say, certainly, that knowing exactly how to do the thing or knowing a lot about the product: A) isn’t necessary sometimes, and B) can get in the way. So I thought I would give it a try and see how we’d get on with that. I’ll let you know how that one’s going. That’s going to bring a lot of the things that we talk about. It’s a good, real-world experiment really, just to see how we’d get on.
Pete: I’m intrigued on this one, mate. You haven’t even told me about this.
Dom: Ah, you see? I’ve got to keep it fresh, mate. I’ve got to keep it fresh.
Pete: It’s intriguing me as well. I love it. Alright.
Books — I haven’t been reading and listening too much this week. I’ve been in the trenches still working and doing a whole bunch of things, not really training and kind of having a week off. No training for me means less audiobooks. But what about you with your travel? Have you been listening to anything at all?
Dom: I have. And it’s one of the great things about the travel. You can use that time to get a lot done. Somebody recommended this book to me. It also turned up in the interview that the folks are about to listen to.
People who have anything to do with marketing on the internet may have heard of the guy called Gary Vaynerchuk. Very famous for Wine Library TV a few years ago. Now he’s basically famous for being famous. He’s very knowledgeable in the social media space, which always a buzzword. He’s released a book recently called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. It’s the week for odd book names.
I hesitated to use this term because it sounds a bit fluffy, but it’s a ‘blueprint.’ It really is a blueprint for the right way to use social media. One-third of the book is the background and the theory. But two-thirds of this book, two-thirds of the content of this book is Gary and his team going through the social media campaigns of international brands on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Instagram.
Facebook, I think a lot of people have got a grasp of. But these other platforms, I think, a lot of people are a little bit not sure really how to make the most of it from a marketing or business development point of view. He goes through these campaigns. It’s a great little game that I’m playing with a friend of mine. It was, I’m going to cover up the summary, we’re going to look at the campaign snippet, and see what we think — whether they did it right or not. Then underneath is a little write-up about what was good about it, what was bad about it. It was like this huge pile.
In [Preneur] Platinum, we’ve done Spotlights, and certainly in your consulting, you look at people’s businesses and you say, “Maybe look at this, maybe focus on that over here, over there.” He’s doing this. There must be something like 150 examples in his book.
Pete: Impressive, isn’t it?
Dom: It’s just a great, great way of getting up to speed on these platforms, especially if you’ve not got a clue. So, I strongly recommend that. I read the print version. But Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk, I strongly recommend that.
Pete: Awesome. A number of his books are available on our lovely sponsor, AudibleTrial.com/PreneurCast is where you can support our sponsors and get a free audiobook download. It could be one of Gary’s earlier books or any other books that you hear. And as I mentioned numerous times on the show, today’s guest Jon, his book Start has to be one of the best narrated audiobooks of all time. So if you haven’t been an Audible subscriber yet, I strongly suggest you check out Jon’s book. AudibleTrial.com/PreneurCast is where you can sign up for the free trial and download Jon’s book for free.
Dom: Absolutely. I highly recommend and support your recommendation there, Pete, with Jon’s book. With that, as I said, I just wanted to say again, this really was one of my favorite interviews for a long, long time that you’ve done. So, I think we should get into it.
Pete: Sounds good.
[Pete’s conversation with Jon Acuff starts]
Pete: Jon, thanks for joining us, buddy.
Jon Acuff: Thanks for having me. Looking forward to it.
Pete: This should be great. Now, there’s a lot I want to talk to you about today, but I don’t want to begin with starting. I want to go back and start with quitting, talking about quitting and how that sets you on a bit of a trajectory. I know Quitter was your third book really, but your first big business career, personal development book. Is that a fair comment?
Jon: Completely, yeah. The first two were much more about satire. So, yeah, it was definitely a departure.
Pete: Let’s talk about that. What’s the book about, for those how haven’t read Quitter?
Jon: Well, the book is basically about the idea that we’re becoming the ‘I’m, but’ generation. When I talk to people and ask them what they do, they say, “Well, I’m a teacher, but I want to be a musician.” Or, “I’m a stay-at-home mom, but I want to start a business.” There’s this huge gap opening up between who we really wish we were, and who we are right now.
The book is a look at why do we quit, how do we quit the right way, how do we work on our dreams. Everything from, if you have a stable job, it’s an amazing time to dream because you’ve got essentially a really big client that allows you to do some stuff on the side. I took a look at that whole idea, especially in the States. “Oh, I don’t like my job. I haven’t liked it for 10 minutes. I’m going to quit.” I quit, I had eight jobs over the last years, I guess nine now that my last one has ended. So, I’ve had had that story. It changed my life by being deliberate. That’s what the book’s about.
Pete: From the outside looking in, a lot of people will say, if you’ve had eight or nine jobs, or people are quitting to try and find greener pastures, do greener pastures actually exist? Are you better off trying to stick around for the gold Rolex, which doesn’t happen these days? But finding that balance, not just jumping from green pasture to green pasture to work hard at something as well, how does that fit into everything?
Jon: The whole point of the book is don’t be an idiot. You and I meet so many would-be entrepreneurs that say stuff like, “Hey, I want to open a coffee shop. So we’re going to mortgage our house, we’re going to sell everything we own, and we’re going to go forth.” And I’ll go, “Could you work part-time at a Starbucks first for six months and see if you hate coffee and people?”
Pete: Do an apprenticeship.
Jon: If anything, the book’s about how do you hustle on the site. And by site, I mean get up half an hour early, grind in different ways. You don’t have to go all in. The worst thing that happens is, when you go all in without really knowing what you’re doing, you lose the ability to say the most powerful world an entrepreneur needs, and that’s the word ‘no.’
Let’s take photographers as an example. Here in the States, everybody wants to be a photographer. So my friends quit, and they have to say yes to every wedding, every weekend of the year. And by the end of the year, they hate photography, they hate brides, they hate their dream, and they’re burned out. They have this idea that there’s some perfect job that’s going to save you and make you happy 100% of the time. You get that. You have to do a lot of things you don’t like so that you earn the right to hear the things you love.
Jon: So true, so true. Yeah, you’re absolutely right. And I see that so often. People go, “I want to be a photographer” (it’s a great example), and they jump in feet first. Congratulations for having the courage to do that, it does take a lot of balls to make that leap. There’s positive stuff in that in its own right. But you’re right. If you don’t have some sort of understanding, some experience with lead generation in business, you are having to bend over a little bit and take every job you can get just to pay the mortgage. Then that just burns you out and kills the dream as well. So, there is a fine balance you have to master.
Jon: Yeah. We tend to romanticize the person that just went for it and stepped out, “Oh they did it!” We have two stories we tell. We celebrate when they leave a job. People throw a party. You kind of give everybody that didn’t leave the middle finger. It’s like, “Look at the brave person, all your losers that are still going to work here.”
Then we talk about the successful people. We go, “And that guy’s name was Steve Jobs, and that could happen to you too.” Or that guy’s name was Jeff Bezos, or that guy’s name was Mark Zuckerberg. We hold up the rarest of the rarest of the rare, as if that’s going to be the norm. Then I get to see the entrepreneurs who get divorced, who lose everything, who hate everything. It’s just — there are smarter ways to do it.
Pete: I completely agree. A lot of people I talk to, I say to them: don’t try and be Mark Zuckerberg. He’s the one percent of the one percent. Don’t try and start a business that’s going to IPO at $3 billion. The chance of that happening is ridiculous. Start a business that’s going to give you $200,000 a year, working four days a week from 10am until 3pm. That is a reasonable goal that you can achieve if you’re smart about it. But trying to shoot for the moon is just silly.
Jon: My question to you is, are you a subscriber to, you’ve got a bunch of passive income that’s coming in right now? Do you have products?
Pete: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve been working hard for 10 years. I’ve got a couple of companies now. I get to work three days a week. I get to stay home and enjoy my one-year-old and have that.
I was talking to someone recently. I’m working on a new book. My first book came out 11 years ago, and it took me five years after that book came out to be considered an author and be considered that kind of success, if you want to use that as a bad word (and I’m off-tangent here a little bit). But yeah, it t takes time. There’s no such thing as an overnight success. You’ve got to work hard at it and it’s possible. But you’ve got work your ass off.
Pete: I want to ask you this question. I know you’re a big social media guy, which I love. This is something that plays into exactly what you’re just talking about, in terms of trying to be the next Zuckerberg. Facebook is getting this bad rep.
I was having this conversation recently that everyone is just showing the best side of themselves on Facebook. So, people’s view of what the other side of the fence is (‘the grass is greener’ analogy), is getting more warped every single day. It’s harder to be content with a small goal or a realistic dream where you are. Because all you’re seeing is everyone’s highlight reel.
Jon: I think there’s a tremendous opportunity with that. Case and point, today I wrote a blog post about having nightmares when you chase your dream. The last six months, I’ve had a ton of nightmares. I went through a big job transition, and people ask me about it. There are embarrassing parts of that. That part people don’t talk about. The opportunity is that millennials want honesty, and they have a marketing radar better than any generation previously because they grew up on it. They eat and breathe marketing. They can tell when you’re being fake.
Old-school leaders only share two types of stories: the ones where they succeed, and the ones where they failed 30 years ago and it doesn’t hurt anymore. Forget that. I stand out when I go, “I had a fight with my wife yesterday. It wasn’t five years ago and now we’re perfect. It was yesterday. Here’s what it was about.” And you share it. The way I look at it is, when you go first with your story, you give everyone in the room the gift of going second. That, to me, is community.
Pete: I like that. That’s a powerful thought. I like it. Very cool.
Let me ask you this. I want to talk about Start a bit because that’s a book I fell in love with. We have our awards show every year. It’s awards season right now. We do our awards on the podcast every year: Best Books, Best Tech, and so on. You’re a very close winner. Unfortunately, you were beaten by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall book, in my opinion, so I apologize. But your book was second.
Jon: So, his was good?
Pete: I loved his book. It was awesome.
Jon: Really. Was it honest?
Pete: Um, I think so. I don’t know a whole lot about him, so I can’t say how honest it was. I found it really interesting in terms of how much there was to Arnold Schwarzenegger beyond being a movie star. It had things I loved about it which I didn’t know. He had a direct-response mail business back in the day. He was a huge developer of Santa Monica real estate. He had his hands in a lot of pies and did night school during the movie days so he could get a degree in business. It was interesting to see that side of him, how hard he actually worked and how dedicated he was to everything but acting. I found that interesting.
The reason I was saying that is, your audiobook, I loved. It was definitely the Audiobook of the Year. Your articulation and the way you narrated Start, which I want to get into. But you touched on your career path. I am interested. Do you want to share your story of how working with Dave Ramsey? I find that intriguing, about why you went that direction, how you got that position.
A lot of people know Dave and he’s a big brand, for a want of a better term, in the US particularly. How did you go about getting that job? Quitting, taking that job. What was the role? How did you experience that? And now, you’re transitioning to something new, on your own two feet.
Jon: It started just like a lot of things start. I had a blog. One of his employees saw the blog. One of the great things Dave does is, every Monday there’s a full staff meeting. All 360 people, for an hour, get together. Talk about a way to communicate core ideas to a team. Then on Wednesday, they have another one, where it’s more like a learning session. They’ll bring in a speaker, an author, a musician, whoever, who’ll give a speech or do a performance. They invited me to come do that.
Pete: So you sang?
Jon: No, no. I spoke. I’m awesome at singing. I’m huge in the States. It’s weird that you don’t know that. I know you have Taylor Swift there, but…
So I ended up doing that, and I do it a second time a year later, and then I do it a third time. He bought a copy of my first book for every staff member, which is super awesome. Dave, after that time, sits down and says, “Hey, I really like the way you do what you do. I’m trying to build other brands in my company. We’d like you to be one of the first ones.”
For my wife Jenny and I, it was a great opportunity. We moved our whole family up in the summer of 2010. I felt like I got a PhD in how to be a brand, how to be an entrepreneur, how to hustle. I think for me, I got to a place where I was telling people to do stuff I wasn’t doing. By that I meant I felt called to be an entrepreneur, and I was at a 360-person company.
I was daring other people to be risky, and I was pretty safe. There are great things about that safety. For three years, it was awesome. My hope is that I won’t denigrate it, because good grief did I benefit. When people say, “You wouldn’t hit The New York Times list without Dave Ramsey.” I say, “Amen. No kidding. That’s why.”
My hope is that if Dave ever heard this, he’d go, “I appreciate that you’re not trying to criticize me because good stuff happened.” And that’s the stuff I want to focus on. So, in September, we got to a place where we felt like it was time for a discussion, and we ended up deciding that this was the time to do it on our own.
Pete: I do find it interesting, and I hope you don’t find this question too personal, that Dave was trying to build up other brands. Not brands in terms of Coca-Cola, brands in terms of people. I find that a very interesting dynamic to try and build. No doubt, not from an ego perspective, but as you build your own personal brand, there’s going to be a very strong calling to go out and do your own thing. You weren’t ghostwriting for Dave, I don’t think. Was there anything like that? Was it all about you working for Dave, building Jon?
Jon: No, he does his own thing. I think what you’re heading at is right in the sense of, if you blow up somebody’s personal brand and teach them how to do it on their own, the natural evolution is to go, “You gave me amazing flying lessons, I want to go fly now.”
The other thing about him is that, he’s an infectious entrepreneur. There are entrepreneurs where even if you’re not an entrepreneur, just being around them makes you want to do it and try it. And that’s who he is. For me, that was a natural evolution of, “Wow, I want to do it on my own.” Not just be one of the five he works with, but be my own and make some decisions that might be different than the decision he’d recommend.
Pete: It’s exciting, mate. Congratulations.
Jon: Yeah, it’s fun. We’re having a good time with it.
Pete: Just quickly, the blog you were writing, was that the Stuff Christians Like blog?
Jon: Yeah, that was the first one. I first wrote a blog in 2000, 2001. But there was a seven-year gap between the two. Then I started Stuff Christians Like, and it got really big really quickly, which was fun, and certainly not because I’m cool. There were a million factors. Now I write Acuff.me, which is my entrepreneur blog, where it’s hustle ideas and challenges, and stuff like that.
Pete: Which is absolutely worth subscribing to, putting to your Feedly or your reader tool.
One of the things I’m interested in is what are the two or three big things? I know a lot of our community here have their own blog in various niches. I am intrigued. What were some of the big things you can think of that made that first blog get to the size it was, get on Dave’s radar, and become big enough to have a book deal that successful on its own right? What sort of stuff can you think about, looking back, that made that successful? Was it just writing regularly, and then just letting people know? Was it guest posting?
Jon: I’m really handsome. Like that…
Pete: Yeah, but there’s no question about that.
Jon: Although, dude, if I had an Australian and British accent, oh, I could charge so much more. Like every time I hear Marcus Buckingham speak, I’m like, “That is the accent I need.”
But no, I would say, back to the honesty thing, I think it was honest. I think at that time, there weren’t a lot of people going, “Hey, it’s weird when we Christians do this. This seems dumb.” And I wasn’t poking a finger at anybody but me. So, it was honest, it was consistent. You meet the same people I did. They go, “Ah, I’ve been working at this so long.” You go, “What does that mean?” They go, “Four months.” You go, “Four months? Whole four months?” That’s like 16 weeks. That’s exhausting.
I was consistent. I wrote five or six posts a day for the first month. I was like, “I’m going to kill it.” Then also I think it was the timing. Sometimes we do entrepreneurs a disservice where we pretend that timing doesn’t matter. It does matter. There are times where you’re too early for an idea.
Tom Peters for example, wrote one of my favorite books about being a brand. It’s called The Brand You . I read it probably in 1999, and I think it did fine. But it didn’t blow up like I think it will blow up now, in that a lot of people get that. If you have a Twitter account, you’re a brand. If you have a resume, you’re a brand.
Sometimes you’re too early. Sometimes you’re too late, where you’re late to market and it’s really hard. Sometimes you’re just right at the right spot. And for me, the timing was there weren’t a lot of people doing it. So I think it’d be incredibly egotistical for me to say, anytime I release it, it would be huge. A lot of it did have to do with the idea that I released it at a good time when a lot of people hadn’t written that same idea.
Pete: That definitely plays into a lot that people [take for granted]. This is why entrepreneurship is about continually trying new things. Something’s going to stick because you’re going to get better or the timing is going to be right. And possibly and most likely, a mixture of the both.
Jon: I didn’t write Christian satire until that blog. The way I approach it, people are like, “Why did you choose that?” I said, “Because I had 50 hooks in the water and that’s the one that got bitten and then I leaned into it.” That’s the other mistake entrepreneurs make. They think their idea has to be perfect. Again, I didn’t have a perfect concept and then launched it. I launched a bunch of stuff, and lo and behold, this one took off.
For me, being an entrepreneur is like knowing somebody to get you in the party. Stuff Christians Like got me past the bouncer. Now I have to kill it inside. Once you get past the bouncer, you can’t still drink. Some people who will not pay for drinks set off the fire extinguisher.
It’s the same thing with Dave. The relationship with Dave opened so many doors for me. Now, if I am a horrible public speaker, the door gets closed pretty quickly. What helps with that is that Dave opens it up and hopefully I work hard enough to earn the right to do it a second time.
Pete: Absolutely. That’s what you’re trying to do now on your own two feet, which I’m very excited to see what happens.
Jon: Yeah, you and me both.
Pete: Let’s go back to Start. This is the thing that I love this year. As I said, one of the best Books of the Year for me. I really encourage people to listen to the audio version. The way you narrated it obviously came through because of being in your words, and then you can articulate it as you see fit, which I thought was fantastic. Really engaging. Let’s talk Start. What’s that all about?
Jon: Start came out of a conversation. You’ve probably heard the same things I’ve heard where people say to entrepreneurs: don’t come up with the solution, go find a problem to solve. I think the evolution of that is find the person with the problem to solve. I think the way you stay connected to an audience is that you find somebody and you really try to help that person.
For me, that person was an older woman on a plane. She is probably late 70’s, early 80’s. I gave her a copy of Quitter, and she read it on the plane. She kind of leaned over and said, “What do you do when all your excuses for not chasing your dreams are gone, all the fears that held you back? What do you do?” It was really sad. Because in a way, it felt like for the first time she was looking back on her life and realizing life had passed her by. I think that’s what happens.
You and I both have friends that they took a job that was supposed to last for six months because they’ve got bills to pay. Four years later, they’re still there. Or they’re in a dating relationship. We both have friends that what should have just been one bad date, turned into four years together. They’re giving away their only resource that matters, which is time.
Life moves quickly. So I started to go, how come a guy like Dave Ramsey is successful? How come so and so is successful, and how come some people aren’t? What I found was that there were some consistencies. I really use this metaphor of that there are two roads: there’s the road to average, which is easy because all you have to do is nothing; and then there’s the road to awesome, which has five different steps.
The steps are you first go through this time of learning. You’ve got 50 hooks in the water. You try a bunch of different things. And then the next phase is this time of editing, where you go, “Stuff Christians Like is working, and this other blog is working. I’m not even going to look at this other 50 URLs that I did.” Then you go through this time of mastering, where you really lean in to what you’re doing and hopefully get better at it. Then you go into this time of harvesting, where those decision come home. I’ve never met a farmer that said, “I planted watermelon but corn came up.” Harvesting is this time of starting to see returns. Then there’s guiding. Guiding is that idea of, “I’m going to help other people do what I do.” Those are the five stages.
I think the book resonated because it’s a pretty simple concept, and you could easily go, where am I right now? I know for me, I would say I’m learning about who I want to be as an entrepreneur. I would say I’m maybe editing how I am as a public speaker. I’ve done it a couple hundred times. I’m by no means a master, but I am starting to go, “I don’t need to do this type of humor,” or, “I do need to focus on this.” That’s what’s the book’s about.
Pete: I think it’s a fantastic read. The one thing I found interesting, talking to people, a lot of start-up entrepreneurs, they want to jump. They want to jump straight into mastery. They read the sales letter that said ‘buy this course and you’ll make $100,000 next week in your underwear on your kitchen table.’ They’re not willing to go through that apprenticeship, which is probably another term for learning. I would assume you…
Jon: Oh my gosh, yeah.
Pete: Also, going back to what we were talking about before with this Facebook, social media thing, where everyone shows their highlights. Once someone posts on Facebook once a week the highlight of the week and don’t mention the other 45 hours where they were slugging away doing hard work, no one on Facebook is saying, “Working hard at 11 o’clock at night.” It’s like, “I’m having beers at two in the afternoon.”
Jon: Entrepreneurs like to show the Instagram photo of them at the beach and they say, “Today this is my office.” You’ll go, “This guy’s at the beach everyday.”
Pete: Yeah. And this is the hard thing. How do people (I don’t even know what the question is here) — what do you say to people who get stuck by that kind of shiny object, ‘I always say the good thing, I want to jump past apprenticeship and get that magic bullet and go straight to mastery?’
Jon: Well, I think part of it is we don’t want to be bad at things. Everything in life is instant. It makes sense that people want instant success because your smartphone trains you 12 hours a day to demand and expect instant. That’s the challenge. Anything you practice 12 hours a day becomes rooted in you. So, the idea that you have instant access to all information ever, trains you to think everything should run at the same speed.
First thing I’d say is it’s about patience. The second thing I’d say is sometimes it’s about fear. We don’t want to be bad at things. The hardest part at becoming good at something is being willing to suck at it first. But you should. In other parts of our life, we understand that.
If you said to me, “I’ve never run before. I’m 25 pounds overweight. But I think I’m going to do a marathon tomorrow.” I’ll be like, “Well, you’re an idiot. Why would you run 26 miles a day after you ran zero?” But if you said to me, “I have a goal of running a marathon in six months. I’m going to run half a mile tomorrow, and then I’m going to build on it.” We get that with our bodies. With our dreams, we don’t understand that.
Pete: There’s a big disconnect. Absolutely right. Very interesting.
I want to break down these five steps that make up ‘starting’ in your book. Learning, what’s the big takeaway? What’s the goal, if you want to use that term, for the learning phase of starting out?
Jon: Learning to me is about quantity. Editing is about quality, learning is quantity. I want you to try a hundred different things. I want you to have fun with it. You’ve seen this before. You see this sometimes where people think they have to have the perfect thing before they take the first step, and that kills you.
Again, I didn’t know Stuff Christians Like would take off. We are worst judges of what’s going to be a good idea. Steve Jobs said that the Segway was going to change the world. That architects would build whole cities around it. He was Steve Jobs. Learning for me is about trying a lot of different things in a lot of different ways, and being patient and being brave enough to try.
Sometimes learning is just giving somebody the permission to dream. A lot of us think that dreaming is just for entrepreneurs or musicians. We don’t think that moms and dad get to do it. To me, that’s what learning is. It’s a research stage. It’s you ingesting a ton of different fun things, and giving yourself the permission to not have it perfect. That’s to me what learning is.
Pete: I think that is absolutely one of the most important things that any entrepreneur in any phase of life really, need to accept and be willing to do. If you’re going to go and become a carpenter or a plumber, you understand you’re going to go and get crappy pay, probably get abused by your boss for two to three years, stuff up all the time because you’re doing an apprenticeship and you’re listening. People accept that when they’re going into the world of a career and a job. But when they’re going to go and do something on their own, they’re not willing to invest that time, effort, sweat, tears, frustration to go through that on their own two feet. It is something that I think people need to get themselves permission for, as you said. Absolutely.
Jon: And you’re right. But I would say, culturally, maybe across the world (there are still some countries that do a good job at this), we’ve lost the value of the apprenticeship. We don’t appreciate that. There’s a movie called Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It’s [about] a sushi master. The first level, you spend years learning how to boil rice correctly. Boiling rice is your whole life. He would say, “I’ve been doing this 60 years. So if you want to be a master, this is the path.” But I think a lot of our culture, again, goes, “No, I want to do one blog post that goes viral, and then I want to be on Big Brother Australia edition.”
Pete: Exactly. They want to use some microwave for that rice rather than working hard at it.
Jon: Yeah, good luck. I’m fine if they want to do that. It makes me just hustle even more.
Pete: Yeah, it leaves that room for the rest of us.
Jon: It does.
Pete: Once you’re going through that learning phase and now you’re editing. This is where you’re refining your skills, finding your voice, that kind of thing?
Jon: Yeah. Editing, to me, a lot of people don’t really know what they want to do. Here’s an example. I have a friend who said he wants to open a restaurant. My wife and I are talking to him about that. We said, “What’s your favorite part of that?” He said, “I just want to have a room where they get a VIP experience where normal people get treated really specially.” We came around and said, “I don’t know that you want to start a restaurant. I don’t hear anything about sales. I don’t hear anything about food. I hear everything about experience. Maybe the right thing for you is to not try to raise capital to do a restaurant, but to find a restaurant in town that you can create this space in. Maybe if that’s your passion, maybe doing it with 10 different restaurants would be so awesome for you.”
But again, for me, editing is removing all the good stuff to get to the, “This is what I like to do.” For me personally, there’s a lot of stuff I thought I’d like to do, but I’m learning one of the things I really loved to do was to help entrepreneurs be a brand. I get a lot of people, “I want to do what you do.” I always talk about the three things it takes to be a brand are: ability, audience and ideas. I meet a lot of people that have two of them. They’ve got an audience somehow, they’ve got some ability to deliver an idea, but their ideas are horrible. They’re boring, they’re flat. Or I meet people that they’ve got no audience, they don’t even understand platform. But man, their ideas! And man, their ability! If they could just get some eyeballs.
I know that in my editing phase, I removed that and go, this is the thing I really care about. A lot of editing is getting down to what matters. The story I tell in Start is the girl at the Apple customer call center. I said, “Do you hate your job?” Call centers are hard work. She said, “No, I love it,” and that surprised me. She said, “I love it because I learned a while ago that my two favorite things to do are figure out problems and help people. And I get to do that everyday.” In editing, I want you to try to get closer to that.
Pete: Cool. Okay, so once we’ve gone through that learning phase, we’ve edited it out, we’ve found the needle in the haystack that is what puts us on that path to awesome, and then mastery is the next step? How does that work?
Jon: Mastery is about one word: reps. You need to do repetitions. It’s repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition. For me, the way I like to say it is, you are in a season of yes. Every opportunity is yes until proven no. By that I mean, you go, “Yeah, let’s try it out.” And then maybe down the road you realize this isn’t the right thing.
Here’s something I did the other day. A website that puts together meet-ups, e-mailed me and said, “Do you want to speak at Vanderbilt University?” Vanderbilt’s a great school in Nashville, considered an Ivy League of the South, and I’ve never spoken there. So I said, “I’d love to do that.” They said, “There’ll be 60 people there.” I show up and there’s five, and it’s at the Barnes & Noble Starbucks. Super awkward. There’s just a mike in the Starbucks. Everybody is quietly drinking coffee. They’re not there for me. I stand up and go, “What’s the deal with dreaming?” Ninety percent of the crowd leaves, and like mad leaves. They’re looking at me as they pack up their stuff. I speak for half an hour, 45 minutes, and I answer as many questions as I can.
There happens to be a professor there that wasn’t planning to be there. She e-mails me and says, “Would you ever speak to my class?” And I say, “I’d love to.” So then I speak to the class, and I tweet that I spoke to the class. One of the coaches on the football team sees I did that and says, “Would you like to speak to the football team?” They’re a nationally ranked football team. They’re a great team. So I go and speak to the team. And the head coach tweets out, “Jon Acuff’s a beast,” which is a huge recommendation for me.
He now leaves and goes to Penn State, one of the Top 10 American football schools in the history of the game. So I’ll probably end up going up and speaking at Penn State with those guys because I have relationship with them. And it all started because I did the rep. So, mastery to me is all about going, if I want to be the best at whatever it is I’m trying to be the best at, where am I finding a practice space? Where am I finding a place to do repetitions? It’s all that kind of stuff.
Pete: I’m guessing from that, moving on to harvesting, the fourth phase, that’s where everything comes home to, in terms of you start getting the ridiculously large paid jobs in speaking, if we use that analogy, and that’s where you start to pull that corn out of the ground.
Jon: People think it’s the easy stage, I think it’s a hard stage. I’ve seen more entrepreneurs fail in success than they have in failure. Success brings out the worst in people. You want to mess something up? Throw some money at it. To me, harvesting is about maintaining your ego. How many times have you seen an entrepreneur who gets a little bit of buzz and they just become a jerk? It’s about ego and character, and consistency. You can see the finish line. Don’t stop now. When you’re on a marathon, you don’t lay down at the one-yard line. You cross the finish line. That’s what harvesting is to me. It’s about still working hard on all those things.
Pete: Very cool. The final phase?
Jon: The final phase is guiding. I would argue that the best entrepreneurs, it’s never just about them, it’s always about helping other people. You’ve interviewed or you’ve seen people. When you do something awesome, it’s a natural by-product that you want to help other people do it. It starts to bother you when you see other people that are having miserable careers and miserable lives. You think it’s possible, I did it.
I always say it’s like finding a rope swing into a river in the woods that nobody knows about. You go, “Hey, this is a really fun thing right around this corner. It might feel hard to get there, but it’s awesome.” To me, that’s what guiding. Guiding is about giving back. I always say that figuring out your dream leads to selflessness not selfishness.
Pete: I like it. Very cool.
On your journey, you mentioned what you consider the learning and editing phases in certain things. You’ve quit Dave Ramsey and going out on new adventures yourself. Where are you headed? What are your goals? What are you working towards? What sort of reps are you trying to do now?
Jon: For instance, I spoke yesterday for free to a roomful of folks looking for jobs. They’re all job folks. It was so encouraging to me because I got to connect to other people, I got to give them real social media advice. The rep to me is, the reason I said yes to Vanderbilt is I want to be a better speaker.
I had lunch an hour ago with the founder of one of the largest speaking bureaus in the country, and spent time asking him, “I’m 38, these are the pieces I have in play. What do I need to do to get better? What do I need to be careful about? Who’s another 38-year-old you saw that fell off the map because he did these decisions, or she did these decisions?” I just have wise people in my life that are kind enough to answer questions. I’m learning that way.
The other thing is I’m creating new things. I’ve got ‘30 days of hustle‘ challenge that I do on the side. There’s a bunch of new fun things that I do to try to grow my social media platform. I kind of got lazy at social media for a little while. So now I feel like I’m back — I started at Tumblr yesterday. I’m always trying to experiment, figure things out.
Pete: 30 days of hustle sounds interesting. Enlighten us.
Jon: At the beginning of the year I said, “I’ll commit to writing 30 days of unique content if you commit to reading it.” I gave people 48 hours to sign up. We had 6,200 people. I created a private Facebook group, and then I created content. The content was very specific. It wasn’t flowery or like, ‘believe in yourself.’ It was, today I want you to do this. Day 15, I think, I dared them to cut their goal in half. Because I knew the majority of them, their goals are too big. We’re so prideful. I’d rather you cut your goal in half and crush it, and use that momentum to grow the goal the next month, than have this huge goal that fails and it kills you, and you don’t try again. That’s why diets don’t work. It was very specific.
Now today, today’s the 30th day, and I’m going to start a new wave in two days — February 1st. I’m opening it back up for enrolment. But I asked them to fill out a survey of what they did. I’m going to have the fun job of adding up all the weight they lost. I guarantee, Pete, they lost 2,000 pounds together. I guarantee they wrote 5,000 pages of book. I guarantee some started a business. For me, it’s a way to give back.
Here’s the thing I like to think about. When you stand up and speak to an audience, the audience learns but you don’t. You deliver. When you sit down and speak to an audience, everybody gets to learn. For me, something like 30 days of hustle is, I got to learn too. Those are the kind of things I’m working on right now.
Pete: Very cool. What’s the biggest takeaway you’ve had so far from this group that you took away?
Jon: The biggest takeaway I had, I guess it would get back to, I really love Start. But I feel like the flaw of Start is very simple. And the flaw of Start is that it simplifies a really big leap. I had somebody tell me that, “You go from average to awesome,” he said. “It needs to be average to better than average. And better than average to I’m doing okay. And I’m doing okay to I’m doing better.” What happened was a lot of people, the curve from average to awesome was so steep.
Some people need a book before Start. They need a prequel where I go, “Maybe you need to work on some stuff, or heal from some stuff, and be okay with some stuff, before you go, ‘Here you go. It’s time to go tomorrow. You’ll be amazing.'” I don’t want to ever be that kind of author. I don’t think I did too much of that in Start. But I’ve had people come up to me and go, “I would love to read Start, but I feel a million miles away because I spent 10 years at a job,” or, “my boss told me I was worthless.”
I’ll read you a comment I got today that summarizes for me, and it was one of those things where — you know how it is. You can sit in your cubicle, sit in your office, sit at the beach and come up with ideas of how you think you need to help people. And then a real person says something that makes you go, “That is true.”
This is from Michelle. I wrote about nightmares, because I had one last night and got up and wrote about it. She said, “Let me tell you what is a nightmare. The company I worked for closed their doors at no notice in December. No notice. Shows up at work, doors closed. It was a place where I was sleepwalking my way through life. Now I’m 42 years old and I have no job. That is not the nightmare. The nightmare is this has caused me to realize I have no dream. I spent so long being numb that I don’t even know what I want to do. So here I sit at a crossroads and don’t really have any idea which way to go. Now would be the perfect opportunity for me to do something, but I really don’t know what. I would give my left eyeball for a dream.”
If I showed up to Michelle’s life and said, “Here’s a book about being awesome,” it’s too soon. She needs a ‘start over’ book before she needs Start. That’s something I’ve been thinking about lately.
Pete: Very cool. So that might be one of the upcoming books or at least a series of blog posts?
Jon: I’ll definitely have some ideas sorted.
Pete: Nice. Speaking of new books, your wife [Jenny] that you talk about a lot with a lot of passion (which is very exciting to see, some people don’t have that sort of passion), she got her book [How to be Married to a Dreamer] coming out soon.
Jon: Yeah, her book will come out in April. We’re excited about it. We’re going to self-publish it because Jenny does not want to sell the book, like with a book tour or anything. We feel like if we went to a traditional publisher and said, “Give us money,” and then she didn’t sell it, that’s very unfair. And it’s a great way to experiment. I’m going to get a crash course education in self-publishing here in a minute.
Her book — the number one question I’ve gotten in the last five years are: how to be married to a dreamer, and can you put together some sort of coaching thing? I’ll work on the coaching thing. It took us eight years to learn how to talk together about dreams. And it’s not just for women. It’s for men and women. It looks at the idea of, in a lot of marriages, the first thing you have to do is just get visible. There’s a lot of spouses who are invisible, where the wife comes up and goes, “Hey, I quit my job,” and they tell you after the fact. Or, “Hey, I bought a new laptop,” and they tell you after the fact. They don’t even know how to talk together on decisions.
Then when you get from there, the next stage is, you’re visible but there’s only one type of feedback you can give. Jenny and I’s marriage, I thought she could only give me encouraging feedback. If she criticized an idea, I felt attacked. That really put her in an unfair position. The book walks through the step-by-step how do you get to the point where your wife or your husband is a partner in what you’re doing. I’m a big believer in that one plus one equals a million when it comes to spouses working together.
Pete: Very exciting. I’m keen to see how that’s going to come together and be marketed. You’ve got a huge community around Acuff.me, which is awesome, so that’s going to help drive a lot of it now too. Any particular unique things you’ve got planned for the launch and promotion?
Jon: We joked, here in the States, I don’t know if they do it there, when we grew up, say we’re in middle school. We would go to roller-skating rinks and they would have what they’d call ‘couples skate,’ which is only the couples could skate then. Jenny wants to do a book launch event where we launch the book at a roller-skating rink and it’s all ’80s music, and it’s called Couples Skate. I think that would be hilarious.
Pete: Yeah, that is awesome.
Jon: I grew up, by the way, loving INXS. He was the consummate rock star.
Pete: Very cool. He was, wasn’t he?
Jon: Yeah, like the hair, the attitude. His story is so tragic. Such a tragic situation, but yeah, that was my jam growing up. Like the album Kick? It’s just brilliant. I still love their stuff. Imagine us at the roller skating rink, and we’re skating around to Never Tear Us Apart by INXS.
Pete: Love it. Oh, mate, they’re having a big resurgence here in Australia at the moment. There’s a pretty heavily promoted and backed telly movie about INXS’s story and mostly about Michael [Hutchence]. I think it’s about two or three weeks away. I’ll work out getting a copy for you and send it across.
Jon: Yeah, I would love that. I’m serious. They were my first cassette I ever bought.
Pete: Very cool, mate. Rock Star: INXS, the reality TV show, to me, was probably the best reality TV shows of all time. I loved that series. When they found a new lead singer in JD Fortune, I think he was the best replacement. One of the sad things with INXS (and I don’t know how this fits in, I’ll be keen to hear you take on this), is that they tried to keep the legacy alive, which is fair enough. The other band members still love the music, are still passionate, and choose to be able to play as the band even though part of the team’s unfortunately not with us.
But they’ve had so many lead singers over these years, trying to figure out what they’re going to do. It kind of tarnished the brand a little bit here in Australia to a certain extent, unfortunately. I loved it when they had JD Fortune as their lead singer. I thought he was — I was going to say ‘adequate’ or a good replacement for Michael (obviously, you can’t replace him). But he was probably the best they’ve had. What’s your take on that, trying to keep a legacy alive, whether it’s INXS or something else?
Jon: My take is that it’s awesome but super dangerous when your company or brand is so tightly tied to one person. For me, my long-term plan is that I’ll grow my personal brand but I’ll have an idea that you know it as. And I’m not there yet. I don’t have the idea yet. But I think that’s the way you get to grow it and spread it out.
For us, for instance, Chick-fil-A is this big fast-food place in our country. They have a very charismatic leader named Truett Cathy, he founded it. But he’s not the brand. Nobody goes, “I go to Chick-fil-A because I love Truett.” They go because they love chicken. I’ve watched them really successfully hand the reins from Truett to his son Dan, and it’s been a good hand-off. Where take Wendy’s fast food, their brand was Dave. “Hey, I’m Dave. I’m white-haired. Come to Wendy’s.” When he passed away, they kind of lost their way.
So I think whether you’re a band or a business — look at Apple. Apple was Steve Jobs, and that comes with great wins during those years. But how do you transition? It’s almost impossible to for the follow-up leader to have similar success. It a problem — or it’s a challenge I’m currently thinking about. I feel like I’ve got some good personal-branding things going. But at the end of the day, what if I want to have three other people with me do the same thing? That’s the only way something’s scalable. Individual human personal brand is not scalable.
Pete: Yeah. With a lot of the consulting that I do, that’s one of the big things I say to a lot of people very early on, work out not what your exit strategy is, but just have that in mind in terms of decisions you’re making right now. You want to have something that can be bigger than you. How can you have that passive income if people want to buy your time on stage or in group consulting and things like that? What can you do that you can deliver that is bigger than you, that is separate from you, that can have more longevity than you? That’s a big decision a lot of people aren’t conscious of too early that I think you need to be.
Jon: Well, you see that with restaurants. You see that where, there’s one guy who’s, “Oh, it’s Big Tony!” For the restaurant to work, he has to be in the restaurant. And that’s a problem. You want him to be able to step out for a month and nobody bats an eye because the food is so good.
Pete: Exactly. Absolutely. And this is what I think a lot of people miss, and it’s very important.
So Jon, let me ask you one final question. This is a question that we ask every single guest. The question is, what question haven’t I asked you that I should have?
Jon: I don’t know, I think you’ve asked a lot of them. I think my favorite question is, where can people buy everything you have? No, I’m just joking.
Pete: Absolutely. That is the greatest answer. Being a marketer myself, that is the question you need to ask.
Jon: No, the only thing I’d say is, I always love when people go, “Why should I buy your book?” I always say, “Maybe you shouldn’t.” Because then you’ll go, “Here’s the free chapter.” It’s not for everybody. I hate when authors go, “My book is for all humans.” I can’t stand when they go, “It’s not a book so much as a revolution.” Ugh, good grief.
Pete: It’s a manifesto.
Jon: It’s a manifesto! Everything’s a manifesto. Yeah, we love the word ‘manifesto.’ I’m disappointed it’s in Australia too. I was kind of hoping that Americans have cornered the market on that nonsense. But that’s the branding aspect.
But my big thing is, follow me on Twitter [@JonAcuff]. There’s millions of words online I’ve written for free. Have fun. Don’t ever feel pressure for me like you’ve got to buy something. I’d much rather you enjoy what I do online and we get to connect and all that. That’s fine.
I would ask you: who’s the most famous person you’ve interviewed on the podcast? Have you had Arnold on?
Pete: Haven’t had Arnold, reaching out to Arnold. The most famous probably is our guest Tim Ferriss, really. He’s got a pretty big brand. So, Tim’s been on a little bit. Robert Greene, who ties into a lot of stuff you talk about.
Jon: I love Robert Greene, Mastery.
Pete: Rob’s awesome, yeah. He’s really cool. We’ve caught up a few times when he’s been in Melbourne.
Jon: How is he? Is he pretty legit?
Pete: He’s awesome. Yeah, we’ve had dinner a few times. He’s a really cool bloke. Really, really cool.
Jon: Because I’ve read a bunch of his stuff. He’s fascinating. What is it, The 33 Strategies of War?
Pete: Yeah. The thing that freaks me out is the amount of research he does for his books. It’s just insane.
Jon: Everybody else is writing books that are just really long blogs. He legitimately writes books. Have you had Gary Vee on?
Pete: No, we’ve tried to schedule up a few times. We’ve had e-mails back and forth, and trying to just get schedules right. I think his latest book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is definitely something to talk about, particularly for our audience and our community.
Jon: It’s so practical, it’s a textbook. But yeah, Tim Ferriss — those guys, guys like Ferriss, guys like Greene, they’re on a different planet as far as the stuff I’m trying to do. If anything, I’m doing my best Tim Ferriss impression right now.
Pete: I think that’s what most people try to do. Everyone’s trying to imitate him because he’s doing such a great job.
Jon: He’s so smart at it. Just absolutely brilliant. So yeah, hopefully Gary Vee will come on the show. Michael Hyatt would be good one to have. He’s good at all that stuff.
Pete: Awesome, man. I think we should start wrapping up. As I’ve said, probably in four or five different episodes of our show over the past 12 months, literally Audible.com, check out Start the audio version. I haven’t read the physical book, I haven’t read the Kindle book. I just found the audio so engaging, I couldn’t stop. It was fantastic. Great work on the book, but also on the narration. Was that hard? Being a public speaker is probably easy. But to read you own words out articulately, did you find that interesting?
Jon: Yeah, I would say it’s hard. I would say that it’s a craft that I’m not good at yet.
Pete: See, I reckon it was one of the best narrated books I’ve heard, and I listen to a lot.
Jon: I think a lot of it has to do with the person you work with. I had a guy named Joe Lesch, who is from Nashville. The benefit of Nashville is there are so many brilliant sound people here. Joe is just such a natural. He makes it feel easy, makes me feel comfortable. The way he works, a lot of people will say, “Just read it. We’ll go back, we’ll record stuff, we’ll edit.” He does one take. It’s one take.
Say I’m reading and I make a mistake, I just have to start at the line before and do it again. It’s a really fascinating process. But I think I’m getting better at it. In this particular case, I definitely say, the sound guy was gigantic to me. And the only reason I know that is the first time I did Quitter, I had to record it a second time because I did so poorly. I tried to do it on my own without an expert. I learned quickly I need an expert.
Pete: You need a team. Definitely need a team.
Pete: Awesome, Jon. Thank you so much for being on the show. Really appreciate it.
Jon: Again, I wish I had an Australian accent. That would be a help a lot right now.
[Pete’s conversation with Jon ends]
Dom: I think with that, Pete, it was probably a good job that I wasn’t on the call. I probably would have gushed all over the guy. I listened to that avidly, and I scribbled piles and piles, and piles of notes. He just had so much to say on so many different topics. He’s really just quite a well-rounded guy, isn’t he?
Pete: Absolutely. Yeah, he’s a really cool guy. We chatted quite a bit before and after the show as well. We’ll definitely keep him in the Preneur Community world on some level. He’s a fantastic guy. He has a great blog. It’s very entertaining. It’s a good mix of wisdom and comedy, I think, is a nice way of putting it.
Dom: Folks, before the interview, Pete commented you can get this book on Audible from our sponsor. And if you haven’t got an Audible account, you can get a free trial by going to AudibleTrial.com/PreneurCast. I’m saying this again not because it’s our sponsor, but because as Pete has said time and time again: this book is fabulously entertaining in audio form. So, strongly recommend you try it out on Audible and just get some of that wisdom that Jon had in this interview, expanded and more detail of it. It really was just great. Pete, I think you did a great job as an interviewer, but he’s such a fascinating guy as well.
Pete: Appreciate that, buddy. I couldn’t agree more.
Dom: Okay, folks, as usual, I just want to talk to you about our competition. This week, even though Jon was on the show, we’re continuing our competition to win copies of SPIN Selling, which was my Book of the Year, SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham. If you want to enter this competition, go to PreneurMarketing.com, to the PreneurCast section of the blog, and look for the awards show and leave us comment on there. You’ll see people who have already done that. Quite a lot of people have already done that. Leave us a comment about your awards for 2013 or what you think about our awards for 2013. Let us know if you think we missed something. And we will, at the end of this month, choose three people by random, to send a copy of SPIN Selling to. Even if you don’t want to enter the competition, folks, we love your feedback.
At the start of the show, Pete asked you to join in the content drive for Preneur Marketing by letting us know what you’ve been doing in your marketing. Any comments you’ve got at all, do let us know. You can get hold of us by going to PreneurMarketing.com and leave a comment below each blog post for each episode. There’s also a little audio feedback button on the site, you can leave an audio message, which we may feature on the show. And we haven’t done one of those for a while, Pete, actually. Somebody please us a voice message, and we’ll feature you on the show in the slot. Feel free to mention your business, if you want. We could even call it shameless plug, Pete.
Dom: We could have people do a shameless plug for their business. You can also leave us comments on iTunes and SoundCloud, and all the other platforms that we’re publishing on now. Just let us know how we’re doing, folks.
Pete: Absolutely. Just really quickly, I want to talk about next week’s show because it ties perfectly with our contest funnily enough, which ends at the end of this month. So, next week’s show will be the last show of February 2014, and we’re going to be doing an episode on SPIN Selling and how it applies to the 7 Levers of Business. We’re going to be getting granular again and back to our framework we speak about so much, the 7 Levers of Business. It ties in with SPIN Selling because that’s the contest. It ends at the end of next week. It’s a beautiful bow at the end of the month.
Dom: You love to do that, don’t you?
Pete: I do.
Dom: Tie everything up with a nice, neat bow.
Just to close the show, folks, just to remind you, Pete very kindly has offered to continue those consulting call slots. Pete, do you want just let everybody know how they can get a slot with you if they want?
Pete: Absolutely. Flo, our wonderful support person here in the Preneur Group, is available on support [at] preneurmarketing [dot] com. Reach out to her, and then she will get in touch with you with all the details about how to book one of these sessions with me. They’re about an hour long, quite often go over a little bit. We delve into your business, look at each of those 7 Levers for your business, working out where you’re at, what’s the lowest-hanging fruit, what is the easily implemented big wins that you can work on over the next two weeks for that lever. Then we work on the next lever. And you have fundamentally a 14-week plan you can go off and work through your business, and increase each of those levers by that 10% goal, which at the end of the day, will double the profit of your business. It’s a fantastic profile, framework, direction, mind map, blueprint, whatever term you want to use. A lot of people have got some huge value out of it already, which is so exciting to see.
Dom: They definitely have. We had some fantastic feedback. And as you say, this week, you even had somebody sign up for a two-hour session. They found so much value in what you had to say, they just had to keep going. That’s awesome.
Folks, thanks for joining us this week. Do join us next week for that SPIN Selling wrap-up. Do leave us a comment wherever you can. Give us some feedback, and we’ll see you all next week.
Pete: Sounds good. Cheers, guys.
In honour of the 2013 Awards, we are giving away 3 copies of SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham (one of Dom’s Awards Choices).
To enter this competition, just visit: http://preneurmarketing.com/preneurcast/preneurcast124-2013-awards/ and leave a comment on the post for the awards show. Tell us your vote for any of the categories we listed this year, and feel free to tell us about a something we missed!
Jon’s Blog – http://acuff.me
Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters – Jon Acuff
Audible – http://preneurmarketing.com/startaudio
Amazon – http://preneurmarketing.com/startbook
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook – Gary Vaynerchuk
Amazon – http://preneurmarketing.com/jjjrhbook
You can try out a lot of the books we recommend in audio format with Audible:
http://audibletrial.com/preneurcast – Free trial with a free audiobook download for PreneurCast listeners
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