AJ: (00:06) [Inaudible] RV: (00:06) Hey, welcome to the recap edition of the influential personal brand podcast, breaking down the interview with our friend Michael Hyatt, who got real and totally transparent with us about his personal brand journey and his business. And just awesome. So I’m going to turn it over to my wife and our CEO. AIJ and give us your thoughts. What was your, what were your three big takeaways or your first, AJ: (00:33) Well, one, I love Michael Hyatt and I enjoy all interviews with Michael Hyatt. He is such, he has such a depth of knowledge and a real life expertise and experience that he is just, he is one worth learning from so always really excited to listen to anything that Michael does. But I’ll start with my, I’ve got my three points here. So I’ve been really good about taking notes. I’m doing them. Okay. Number one, this is the, this was important for me, cause I felt like you just don’t hear enough about it these days is that nothing is more important than your email list. Nothing. And I feel like so many times in today’s social media driven world all we hear about is how many followers do you have or how many fans do you have and how many likes and what’s your social engagement. AJ: (01:26) And not that that’s not important, but we talk about this a lot at brand builders group is that social media is rented real estate. And the only really way to own your virtual landscape is through an email list. And if you don’t have an email list, if the algorithm changes or the platform changes or the platform goes away, or the government says you can use the platform or they get consolidated or merged, all of that means that all of this work, that you’ve done all of your content, all of your, your audience just poof vanishes into thin air. And I just, I love it. It was, it was clean, was simple, straightforward, but does not get enough credibility anymore. People think that email art marketing is old school. No, it’s not. No, it’s not. So nothing is more important than your email list. That’s my number one. Yeah, RV: (02:22) Those big. And I, you know, for me the biggest thing, it’s interesting because he was promoting, you know, vision-driven leader. So that’s his new book that’s out. And then we were kind of, I thought my biggest takeaway was just seeing that applied to the personal brand business and hearing him tell his journey of how he started with just like basically himself. And then they’ve grown that into a huge team doing major revenue. And if you’re curious, he shares on the interview, he shares like you got to go listen to it, but he shares his revenue numbers. Yeah. AJ: (02:57) How many staff they have the total staff RV: (03:00) And the size of their email list. He’s he shares it. And you know, he didn’t talk about this in the interview, but we were with Michael at Blackberry farm a few years ago. And I, gosh, I wish I could remember this, but you, what you said made me think about it is that basically he was making the case that the amount of revenue that you do every year is directly tied to your email list. And I want to say it’s something to the effect of a dollar per month per email. So if you have a hundred, I think this is it. If you have a hundred thousand people on your email list, then you typically that company is going to generate about a hundred thousand in revenue a month. Okay. So that’d be a $1.2 million a year. So for every hundred thousand people on your email list, you grow that by a million dollars a year in revenue. And you know, so I was thinking about the relationship he was sharing between their numbers and where they’re at now and, and that, and just kinda what you were talking about. But that was powerful for me is just to go like, this is how you do it. And, and, and you can build and build and build by just starting small. And, and just knowing though that if you follow these principles, there’s a huge business available to you and right in front of you. So that was my first big takeaway. AJ: (04:25) Yeah, no was so good. And that’s like, if you look at all of Michael’s social following, cause they have good followings, but their email list is so much bigger than their social followings. And then the revenue of their company is very reflective of their email list, not per se their social platforms. So I just think that’s really important for all of you who sometimes get hung up in the outwardly appearances of social and be like them. Then though you need to be focused on the inwardly. Who’s on my email list. And I just think that’s a great reminder. We’ll have that. Okay. My second thing was that the vision should change in the midst of chaos or the vision should not change in the midst of chaos, but the strategy has to, yeah, the vision should not change, but how you get there. The strategy is something that needs to be flexible that needs to be able to bend and mold to the times. AJ: (05:21) And he gave this great example as we are we’re we’re in the midst of a pandemic, things have changed, right? Things have changed. And that doesn’t mean the vision has to though the strategy changes, but the vision doesn’t have to. And I think that’s a really big deal in terms of just paying attention to where do you want to end up and how you get there may look a little different, but the, the longterm vision, the longterm goal doesn’t have to change in order for the path in which you take to get there. And he used this great example and I’m not going to go through all of it right now. It’s you should go listen it. But he gave the great example of Slack. And I thought, what a great example of what’s, how Slack started as a company and how it started as a company. And then actually what you know it today as is Slack, right? It’s this communication tool that is not what it started as, that was not its original intended use, but that’s what it is today with a billion dollar valuation. I think that’s a really big deal to pay attention to, or the, the vision didn’t change. But the strategy changed in order to meet that vision in the midst of chaos. I think that’s very relative to what RV: (06:35) Well, and I would say brand builders group has been interesting. You know, we, we, we had a vision for our events this year and we had to immediately go to all virtual events. And that was a, I thought a real life example of, of how it affected us internally was how many events did we do in this year, 21, 21? We had no plans to do a virtual event and then all of a sudden they’re all, they’re all virtual and we may never do a live when again, it’s been awesome. I mean, everybody has loved it. And that leads to kind of my second takeaway, which was along the same line of vision. And I really liked the distinction that he was talking about between vision and mission and values. Yeah. So, you know, the vision is where, like, where are we going? The mission is, is Y and then the values are sort of like who we are and who we’re becoming. And I liked, I liked that. I think of you know, I just think that the idea of where we’re going is, is a really good illustration. And yeah, I mean that, I don’t know what else to say other than that was really clear for me AJ: (07:42) And clarity around what is vision, what is mission? What are core values and how do they all connect? I think that was, that was very good, RV: (07:48) Complicated. I mean, I remember being in grad school and being like, why is this so complicated? What the difference is? And that was just, that was super simple. And, and Hey, by the way, you personal brand, like if it’s you one person solo preneur, you need to have these things. Like, you need to have vision, you need to have a mission and you need to have core values. Even if it’s just you brand builders, we’ve got seven core values. And you know, we’ve, we’ve had to do these, these things that like, it’s a big, big, hairy deal. AJ: (08:18) Yeah. I think that’s important too. Cause he talks a lot about how vision is, what guides you it’s like your North star. And if you don’t have vision, then how do you know where you’re going? And he said, the challenge is, is most people don’t. So they get sidetracked and pulled in all these different directions and they’re plagued by distraction without ever making real progress towards this one, you know, uniform vision. And I think that’s a lot of, to what you’re saying and not getting that confused with mission and core values. It was, it was a, it was a great conversation. Okay. I could digress. This is a good topic, but this is my last one. Right? So I’m going to read this exactly. This is how I wrote it. When I listened to the interview that it’s never too late to reinvision your company or your brand, you don’t have to give up on the vision, you just have to change the strategy. AJ: (09:04) Right. And I think that was the part, I think that’s kind of connected to my point too, but it’s like, it’s never too late to reimagine reinvision and reinvent your company or your personal brand. In fact, I think the whole concept of reinvisioning reimagining reinventing speaks to the point of like, now that happens all the time, it can happen all the time. It’s never too late. It’s always the right opportunity to do that. And I know that for us, we hear it. We hear so many people say, it’s like, well, I’ve just been doing this so long. Right? I’ve been at this for this many years, or I’ve already invested this much time or money or resources. And I say to you lovingly, so what, so what, right. Those were great experiences and great learning. And you have taken from that to create what is next, right? You would not be able to create what is next, if you hadn’t been through what you have been through, but it’s never too late. And I just, I really love this concept of living forward, not living in the past, RV: (10:06) Which is another book title of Michael Hyatt living forward. There’s another book. Yup. AJ: (10:12) But I think all of those are just very not synonymous with the time that we’re living in of like, if you’re, if you are not reinventing today, you’re in trouble. Like that is not an option re-imagining and reinventing yourself. And your business is not an option today. It must happen for you to evolve and change with the changing landscape that we are living in. Right. That’s just fact, and I just think it’s never too late, which means that it doesn’t matter if you’re five months behind or 50 years behind, you can still do it. RV: (10:42) Yup. Well, you touched on the vision and distractions there. And that was my third, my third takeaway, which I thought applies both to your personal brand and just to life in general, is that the difference between opportunities and distractions can be very deceiving and that a lot of times opportunities or distractions show up on your doorstep disguised as opportunities. And so like when you were saying, you gotta have that vision and be super clear on what you’re going for and go after it. I mean, gosh, the more we do this and the more we’re working with personal brands, the more I become convicted that the reason people don’t succeed is not because they’re not smart enough or they’re not good enough. It’s because they’re freaking distracted. They get pulled by some ad that they saw that, Oh, they should be launching a membership site now. RV: (11:38) Or their buddy says, well, I made a million dollars doing a challenge. And so now I gotta launch a challenge or, you know, the path of glory is a coaching program or like they just get pulled. And it’s like, yeah, the reality is you can, you can be successful in any model, as long as you drive that one model to success. But if you’re trying all these different models, like you, you can’t work when you have diluted focus, you get diluted results. And to hear Michael come out and just say that so clearly it’s like, gosh, that’s it. And preach it. And just lock in on a model, lock in on a message lock in on an audience and go serve them and make it successful. Quit dancing around looking for things that you’re dipping your toe in. Hoping you find something that works out and, and make it find one thing and make it successful. That’s the way to get there with focus. Focus is power. So yeah, (12:41) Rory got excited. (12:42) I got excited about that one. I got excited. I always get excited. And like you said, any time Michael Hyatt speaks and we have a chance to listen. We’re like always, AJ: (12:52) Why’s so such depth to his experience. And that’s what I love. And it’s like, if you guys don’t know Michael, or you haven’t listened to the interview, like this is just scratching the surface. He is someone who has been on both sides of the coin. He has done it. He is living it. He’s got a team he’s gone from personal brand to full blown a company. And it’s like, again, it’s he is one to follow. Like if you were really wanting to turn your personal brand into an eight figure business, he is one to follow to say, how did it start? And then what, and then what, and I just, again, if you haven’t listened to the interview, go listen to it. So much depth, so much wisdom. RV: (13:33) And I want to do a plug on that note because we’ve interviewed him twice. We interviewed him. If you go to influential personal brand summit.com, you can watch a video interview that we did with him. Like not so much just about vision in the business, but how he built his whole personal brand from scratch. And you can go listen to that influential personal brand summit.com, check it out, tune in and follow Michael. And thanks for, we’ll see you next time. Speaker 3: (14:05) [Inaudible].
Ep 23: Understanding the Seasons of Business Models and Personal Brands with Michael Hyatt | Recap Episode
RV: Welcome to the Influential Personal Brand Podcast. This is the place where you’ll learn cutting-edge personal brand strategies from today’s most recognizable influencers. We’re going to teach you how to build a rock solid reputation and then how to turn that reputation into revenue.
I’m your lead host, Rory Vaden, head founder of Brand Builders Group, Hall of Fame speaker, and New York Times bestselling author of Take the Stairs. Welcome to the special recap addition of the Influential Personal Brand Podcast.
In just a minute, you’re going to hear myself and my wife and business partner, AJ, do a debrief, recap, and summary of our most recent interview with our big takeaways. But before we dive into that, I just wanted to let you know that people often ask us what is the first step to building a personal brand. If that is you or someone you know, then you have come to the right place, because we have put together for you a free video short course to help you get started. Just visit firststep.brandbuildersgroup.com to get access.
In it, we’re going to walk you through what exactly is the genesis of a personal brand and the six key questions that every personal brand must be able to answer but that almost none ever do. So go ahead and visit, again, firststep.brandbuildersgroup.com to get started, and we’ll see you there. Now, on with the recap.
[00:01:52] RV: Hey! Welcome to the special recap edition of the Influential Personal Brand Podcast. This is Rory Vaden, joined by my wife and my beauty and my business partner, AJ Vaden. We’re breaking down the Michael Hyatt interview, which is just tremendous. To get a chance to learn from somebody with this depth of experience is absolutely extraordinary. We’ve talked about a lot of things author, but the first thing that jumped out to me was when he said that you need to be willing to let go of different revenue streams in order to grow one. That was somewhat a little bit maybe surprising to hear from Michael. I thought that was really key, because in our phase one experience we talk about what we call your PBM, your primary business model. We help people get clear, both in the short-term and the long-term. What is the number one revenue driver of your business? The one thing which all others should point towards? I don’t think most people know about it and most people certainly don’t do that. So it was edifying to me to hear Michael talk about that.
[00:02:58] AJV: Yeah. We call this our three and three, the top three tips that Rory got and the top three tips that I got. I think in conjunction with what you said in terms of you have to be willing to let things go, I think the very first thing that I got from Michael is the fact that you should treat every endeavor like an experiment. I love that because as you listen to the interview, which you should, it is chock-full of really important industry tips if you’re a speaker, author, podcaster, influencer, or whatever. But he’s done a lot.
[00:03:30] RV: A lot.
[00:03:30] AJV: He’s done live events. He’s done coaching. He has done online courses. He’s done physical products, speaking.
[00:03:36] RV: Keynotes, books, the planners. His number one thing is planners now, the physical planners.
[00:03:42] AJV: This is my turn.
[00:03:43] RV: Sorry.
[00:03:44] AJV: My turn. I loved what he talked about in terms of his approach, because he said, “Our team looks at this as we might do what we may not. It may make money. It may not. It may succeed. It may fail. But we’re going to treat every single one of these new business models as an experiment to figure out where should we land, what makes the most sense for my brand and what we want to be doing.” I love that, because having so many people go all in and be like, “This is what I have to do or this is the only thing,” and that’s not the case. Sometimes, you have to do something to realize it’s not your thing. I think a lot of us have to go through the pains of that, because you see what everyone else is doing, and we think you have to do it. Then when it doesn’t work, you think it just wasn’t meant to be. The truth is your message was meant to be the vehicle to share it. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be –
[00:04:36] RV: That’s a great way of saying it.
[00:04:38] AJV: I think that’s really important. So this whole idea of experimentation and experimenting was really powerful. Don’t get so attached to just thing. If that doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean your brand isn’t going to work. It just means that wasn’t that one tiny part of it, so now on to the next thing.
[00:04:55] RV: I love that. It could be the right message, the wrong vehicle, which is really great. So another thing that he talked about, you hear content is king, content is king. We definitely agree with that. I mean, you have to be putting out valuable content. But he said, content is king, but platform is queen.
[00:05:14] AJV: And you have to have both to rule the kingdom.
[00:05:16] RV: Yes. You have to have reach in the reputation formula. We say that reputation, results times reach equals reputation. Well, reach is the platform, and that word platform – I remember the first time that we were trying to get our very first book deal and the literary agent said, “We could never work with you. You don’t have a big enough platform.” I didn’t even understand what the term meant, but just think about it as your direct access. What is the vehicle that you have that directly accesses your audience and how many people can you directly get a message to that you are in control of getting a message to? That is your platform, and there’s a lot of different avenues for platform, but you have to have a platform. It’s got to be as big as possible, and it needs to be growing, growing, growing, growing, and you need to focus on your reach as much as you’re focusing on your content. That was a pro tip for sure.
[00:06:10] AJV: Yeah. I love that and I loved how he said it. It’s not one or the other. It’s both, and they rule together. But you have to have content and you have to have a platform, which is such a good segue into my second point. It’s almost like we planned this or actually talked about what we were going to say, which we did not. So my next one was is he talked a lot about the publishing industry, which from someone who is a CEO of a very successful publishing company –
[00:06:38] RV: Huge publisher.
[00:06:39] AJV: And then as an author, it’s really fascinating to get the internal and the external perspective from the same person who’s done both rules. He talked a lot about – He gets asked all the time. Should you traditionally publish? Should you self-publish? Now, you have all these hybrid models. What’s the best way? He talked about the traditional publishing path, the self-publishing path. They kind of have gone back and forth. What’s the best? What’s the best? They’ve really settled on, which is a lot of what we talked about, it depends on what you want to do it for.
[00:07:11] RV: Yeah.
[00:07:12] AJV: He still says, “If you still are trying to hit the list, the New York Times or The Wall Street Journal. But if you’re trying to hit the list, a traditional commercial publisher is still probably the best way to go.
[00:07:24] RV: It’s the way to go.
[00:07:25] AJV: Here’s what I loved about what he said that most people don’t talk about when it comes to self-publishing. It’s a lot of work.
[00:07:33] RV: Tons.
[00:07:34] AJV: It’s expensive.
[00:07:36] RV: Especially if it’s not going to look like chintzy. If you’re going to do it right, it takes a lot of work.
[00:07:42] AJV: So I think one of the questions that we usually don’t propose to people but I’m going to start is, yeah, it totally depends on what you want to do it for. Is it to make money? Usually, when people say that, I’m like, “Well, I don’t know.” Is it for notoriety and credibility or do you actually just need to get your ideas out there and make money? Usually, that really – I propel that into commercial, traditional, or self-publish. But now, I’m going to add in another question, which is do you have a lot of money to spend on it? Because if you don’t, self-publishing probably isn’t the way to go. Or if that’s still what you want to do, you need to start saving those dollar bills.
But as you said, but if when you think about it from the time that it’s going to take you to write it, then you need to get an editor, then you actually have to have graphics design, and you actually have to have it printed, and then you have to have inventory, then you have to have distribution, it’s like, “Oh!”
[00:08:30] RV: Writing the book is like 25% of the whole project.
[00:08:34] AJV: That’s a lot of money. If you’re not a great writer and you actually need a ghostwriter, then you’ve got content editors, copy editors, graphics people. Then you’ve got the print and the layout and the inventory. It’s like, “Yeah. Those are things that most traditional publishing people were thinking.” Like, “Oh! I don’t want to go with a traditional publisher. They’re going to take all my money.” They don’t realize, well, so does self-publishing. It still takes all your money. It’s just are they going to take it in the beginning or over time?
I think that’s just a really interesting perspective and view that is completely separate of why do you want to do it. It’s the actual money behind it. It’s do you have the upfront investment to make it worthwhile or do you want to forego that upfront investment and then just make less long term? But it was really, really insightful from an insider.
[00:09:26] RV: Love that. Yeah, you can make money doing both models, but both models are also going to cost you money. So it’s just about like what do you need.
[00:09:33] AJV: Where are you going to give it up?
[00:09:34] RV: Over time as this question has come up, I have thought more and more. It’s like when you traditionally publish, it’s like the rule of thumb I use is when you feel confident you can sell 20,000 units. Like when you can move 20,000 units of your book, that’s when it’s like you can go to New York, get a great agent, get a great book deal. What do you need to do that? You need a platform. You need a big reach, which is what we were talking about.
How do you build a great platform? That leads to my third point, which is just creating amazing content that serves your audience. I wouldn’t say that this was an original idea from Michael Hyatt. It’s not original when you hear it from us. It’s not original when Jay Baer talks about it. But it’s important that you hear how consistent every bestselling author in every huge personal brand talks about this and what Michael said, which was super practical. Ask yourself every day, what does my audience need to learn? What does my audience need help with? Then answer that question for them and do it over and over and over and over.
That is the content strategy. There’s nothing more than that. You just have to do it consistently and as loudly and as many places as you can for as target of a niche as possible. Then hopefully, it’s aligned with what your primary business model is. But how can I serve my audience? How can I serve my audience? How can I serve my audience all day every day? Brand builder, that’s what you should be thinking about.
[00:10:58] AJV: All right. That leads to my third point, which actually has nothing to do with that. So completely separate of that but this was such a good reminder to me about perseverance and persistence. The reason it was such an aha isn’t just because he was a first-time author. But this was the CEO of a publishing house.
[00:11:18] RV: After he was the CEO.
[00:11:20] AJV: After. Again, my turn.
[00:11:23] RV: Hey! Sorry. Team, marriage. Marriage is a team, babe.
[00:11:28] AJV: But, yeah. This is so fascinating. I’m not going to get the number as exactly right. So I may be lowballing. I may be totally exaggerating. But it was something like when his first book, he was launching it. He got turned down like 24 times. So 24, 27 times. Y’all, this is somebody who had been turning down people for decades. That was like what he did was, “Nope, nope, nope.” He knew all of the other publishing houses. They all knew who he was, and he got turned down like 20 something times for his first book.
Then it went on to be a raging success, because his literary agent didn’t let him give up. They kept going. They finally got someone to agree that it was a good idea. Then it turned into a bestselling book with hundreds of thousands of copies sold. Now, that was interesting and inspiring enough. But then four books later, after he was already a New York Times bestselling book, after he already had a huge platform, after he had already done all of these amazing things and written three previous books, same thing. Got tuned down like 27 times, and it was like this last ditch effort to get this one book deal. Then it sold 200, 000 copies.
[00:12:46] RV: Boom!
[00:12:47] AJV: Just because some one weenie.
[00:12:50] RV: Person.
[00:12:51] AJV: Didn’t like your idea doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea. Just because one person said no one’s going to buy it doesn’t mean they’re right. Just because one person said you don’t have a big enough platform or that message isn’t exactly what people want to hear today or that book won’t sell or whatever nonsense people are saying, that means nothing. If you’re convicted in your message, then you need to stay the path. Do not veer from the path, because no one’s going to believe in it more than you do. So you’ve got to be the one that stand up and say, “No. This is going to happen.” Now, I just have to find the person to go on that journey with me.” It may take 20, 22, 25, 27, 29 times, but the point is somewhere amongst between 20 and 30, there’s a winner. You just got to find the right person who believes in your message as much as you do. It doesn’t always happen right off the bat. But it’s your job to persevere and to keep going, as if don’t get off the path.
I think that’s where most people fail is they give up too soon. They let one person dictate the validity of the power of their message and that’s not up to them. That’s up to you.
[00:14:04] RV: Yup. Many personal brands die on that road of patience and perseverance. It’s just follow through. Absolutely love it. So there you have. That’s our three and three recap from Michael Hyatt interview. Go listen to it.
[00:14:16] AJV: It’s really good.
[00:14:17] RV: It’s really phenomenal. Leave us a review. Share this with your friends, and we’ll catch you next time on the Influential Personal Brand Podcast. Thanks, everybody.
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