Welcome to the Eventual Millionaire podcast. I’m Jaime Tardy and today I’m excited to have Andrew Warner on the show. I’m really excited. He has actually interviewed over 700 entrepreneurs on Mixergy.com. I started listening to him before I ever started interviewing millionaires. I’m really excited to have him on. Not only that though, he also had a company that did $38 million in revenue, even before he had Mixergy. So we’re going to talk about a ton of stuff. I’m excited, because usually he’s the interviewer and today I get to ask him pretty much whatever questions I want. So thank you so much for coming on the show today, Andrew.
ANDREW WARNER: Thanks for having me on.
JAIME TARDY: So first let’s sort of set the stage, right. When you were younger you had a company that ended up doing $38 million in revenue with your brother. Tell me a quick synopsis of what that was like.
AW: We did a lot of different things but the biggest part of the business was online greeting cards. Essentially, a person would come to one of our affiliate’s websites, see a greeting card that they liked, hit a button to send the greeting card to their friends and as soon as they hit that button they would basically end up being on website. We’d ask them for their friend’s email addresses, their email address, so we could address the message and then we’d send out that greeting card.
The affiliate would get paid $0.25 for sending us that user and we, on the other hand, would collect anywhere from $0.25 all the way up to $7.50 from advertisers whenever one of those greeting cards were sent out. So it was a nice little machine that we built up for ourselves.
JT: So when you started it though, did you ever have that grand idea that you would be an advertising company instead of a greeting card company?
AW: No, I had this grand idea that I needed to make money and that I loved the internet. I know we’re not supposed to talk about money in life. We’re supposed to say just that we’re trying to create revolutions and trying to change the world and I have to say that that’s a good idea. Anyone who is listening to this should probably not talk publicly about money because it makes you look a little bit needy and makes you look a little greedy to some people. Anyway, don’t talk about it, but I’ll be open here and say that that’s what I needed.
I was tired of being a nobody in life, of living in New York City, in a city where everyone was a player, where everyone was autographing the skyline and I’m sure the person who is listening to us right now is saying, “I’m tired of watching Andrew on all these different interview programs. I’m tired of watching the Mark Cubans of the world be interviewed and blog and be quoted and looked at like they’re messiahs and I am nobody.” The person who is listening to us is probably feeling that way about the people who are legends today. I felt that way about the people who were legends when I was getting started and I said, “I want to be a part of that world and you got to buy a ticket.” So I was looking to earn my money to buy that ticket.
JT: See, I think that’s perfect. My whole site is all about becoming a millionaire, right. To me, it shouldn’t be taboo talking about money. We don’t have to be greedy. That’s a totally separate thing. Having money to me is not greedy, so thank you number one for saying that. That’s huge. The other thing though I want to ask, because I’ve noticed that you haven’t really talked about it very much. You’ve got it on your bio. What makes you not want to talk about your previous company publicly all that often?
AW: I’ve done a few interviews where I’ve invited people from the audience to come on and ask me questions about the Bradford & Reed days and to talk about why we even called it Bradford & Reed and of course the reason for that was not that there was a Bradford or a Reed in the business, but I wanted, when I called an advertiser to just get them on the phone and I said, if I was just going to be another dotcom they’d think another guy trying to pitch me, another guy needing something from me, but if I gave my company a name like Bradford & Reed, they might think law firm or something important. We’d better just deal with this right now before it becomes a big issue.
That’s why we called it Bradford & Reed and that gives you a sense of how determined I was. I did talk about it a little bit on Mixergy but what I want is to learn on Mixergy and I already know my story. I’m a little bit greedy too when it comes to the site. I bring on people to do interviews because I’m curious. I’m curious about how they built their businesses. I’m curious about how they made big names of themselves. I don’t want to sit in the audience and admire Tim Ferris.
I don’t want to read his books and admire him from a distance. I want to emulate the best parts of him, the parts that I admire. So when I have him on, I don’t want to talk about Bradford & Reed, I want to talk about, well how did you make a name for yourself? Who did you talk to? You know what, it has been maybe three/four years since I first interviewed him and I still do one of the things that he taught me in that interview. He said, “Look, I got to Robert Scoble, at an event, and I know that he is a big celebrity in our space and I know that if he talks about you, you’re going to get traffic and if he talks about your book, you’re going to get sales of the book. But he goes I also know that I’m going to be crowding him if I go when everyone else does.”
So he said to me, “What I did was I saw the people around him who no one was paying attention to but who he obviously cared enough about because they were close to him, who he respected, who he admired himself and I went and I made friends with them and I got to know them and through them, I got to meet people like Robert Scoble.” That works beautifully. To anyone who is listening to us today, if they get nothing else out of this interview but they go and try that, I promise they are going to see an impact in their lives and much easier way of building relationships. So that’s why.
I’m happy to talk about it a little bit and we have talked about it here, but I am just greedy for knowledge. I think that it’s important to learn. I think it’s an undervalued asset, this curiosity and determination to learn.
JT: So after 700 interviews though, I can totally understand, especially at the very beginning, you’re going like oh please tell me how you did it. But after 700 interviews, and you being an internet celebrity, you know what I mean, we’re internet celebrities, why are you still curious? Haven’t you heard it all by now?
AW: You know what, I bought a share of Berkshire Hathaway stock just so I could watch Warren Buffet, one of the top richest man in the world speak and I sat there for a whole day I think he just went and one of the things that I remember was him talking about how he still loves to read the newspaper and he still loves to learn. I remember even reading a book called Snowball about his life. He had this little money and he grew it like a snowball and even on his honeymoon he took stuff to read because he wanted to learn.
So from the beginning to today the guy still loves to learn. It’s not something that you stop. I admire Charlie Rose, as an interviewer, and I remember I think he had Bill Gates and his father on and he talked about like what is it that these people that you notice who are successful do and they started talking about and one thing that he agreed as a guy who has interviewed hundreds of people maybe even thousands and they agreed too was this curiosity that they still have. It’s just innate, you know? You can’t just turn it off and it’s a lifelong process and I still get high on it and also I still learn from it. I still get to use stuff from what I’ve learned.
JT: So every person’s story is different and you glean something new out of every new person you think.
AW: Just like saying hey you know what I want to be a runner, I ran three years ago, I don’t need to do it anymore.
JT: I love that. That’s awesome. That’s what I think one of the things is huge of the people that I’ve interviewed and probably the people that you have is that they’re constant learners. Do you feel out of 700 interviews you’ve sort of found that as a trait?
AW: Yes, absolutely.
JT: That’s awesome and good. So everybody, you know, you should totally keep learning. You need to listen to all of my interviews, all of Andrew’s interviews. Keep learning as much as you can. Tell me a little bit about how you started with Mixergy. Did you have this grand plan on this side of the fence going I’m going to interview 700 people and have this crazy good business that way?
AW: After Bradford & Reed I went on one of the funnest years of my life. I mean I partied in Vegas. I backpacked through Europe. I partied in Vegas. I ran with the Bulls in Pamplona. I hit on women who I thought were way out of my league in places where it wasn’t appropriate.
JT: I have to commend you for that.
AW: I just wanted to try everything that I wasn’t supposed to or that I put off and just like really dig into life and enjoy it and it was fun. I know I’m supposed to say well then I blew it all on coke and life stinks because you have to get back to work.
JT: Or I got sick of it. It wasn’t that fun.
AW: It was so much fun and it was so meaningful that I actually feel like today I have confidence because of the things that I was able to do, because I said to myself I’m going to go run with the bulls with Pamplona, that doesn’t just stop and it’s not a past experience. It gives you confidence. Because I was able to go up to women and say, “Hey” and just start conversation with them and maybe date them, maybe just get shot down even, I feel like I can approach an entrepreneur and ask him for an interview and that doesn’t faze me at all or approach someone and ask to work together and it doesn’t faze me at all.
But, at the end of it, I did say I want to do something that leaves a legacy, that leaves my mark on the world, because, when I think of the people who I admired, I didn’t grow up admiring people like I don’t know Kim Kardashian. I grew up admiring people like Andrew Carnegie. The Library of Congress, I happened to be living in DC right now. I was in the Library of Congress. There are pictures up on the wall of the libraries that Andrew Carnegie left behind and the impact that he had.
I read books by people like Dale Carnegie and his books still influence people to this day. Again, the Library of Congress, they are showing the book and they’re talking about the impact it had both on people who read it and other authors, but what I’m thinking is I want that kind of a legacy. When I was sitting there on the beach I said it’s time for me to create that and I thought hmm what’s the best way to do it and I foolishly went in the wrong direction. I started doing events and I thought through events people get to know each other and through that something good will happen.
I say foolish because I just didn’t have a clear structure for what those events would be or clear direction for how it would change anyone’s life or leave any legacy. Instead what happened was it then failed and one little aspect of it actually worked out well and I got excited about which was I saw all these incredible people come to my events and I said, “If only the rest of the world could meet the people who are coming to my events, they might want to create their own events or they might want to come out to my events too.” I started interviewing them and then interviewing them and go so into it that I remember doing one interview and at the end of it I went to Olivia, who I have since married, but back then was my girlfriend and I said, “I figured out what I want to do with my life.”
This is it. The woman who I interviewed was Roslyn Resnick, an entrepreneur who I was working with when I was building Bradford & Reed. We had tons of partnerships and I knew her story but by just shutting up and asking questions and shutting up and listening, I learned so much more and I got so excited about it. The way that I, I haven’t seen the latest Batman movie but I imagine that like any other superhero movie, people in the audience are like rooting for the hero and they are like cheering for him to succeed and I get that but really those are just images on a screen and Batman is just a guy in a costume.
I can’t help but root for her to succeed as she is telling me her story and I can’t help but say this is fun. This is exciting. This is my entertainment. So that’s where Mixergy became. That’s how I felt. That’s how I just kept going with interview after interview after interview after interview and a little at a time this legacy that I wanted has been coming together. Not nearly fast.
JT: Every entrepreneur says that ? not nearly fast enough. I have a question though, if you go back, did you plan on having a business model in that at all or was it just something that you were doing for fun and leaving a legacy?
AW: I intentionally didn’t want to bring revenue from it. One of the reasons the parties failed, the events that I did failed is because I paid for the drinks as much as possible. I didn’t have entry fees and I remember looking at Twitter and seeing people say, when they were talking about the events and inviting their friends out, they were saying things like who says you can’t have a free lunch? Well Mixergy is doing lunch in San Diego and I thought that’s all they want.
I wanted to give. I said I don’t need their money right now. I wanted to give them some impact so that I could have meeting and a live on forever in this legacy that I want to leave for myself. When I started doing interviews people would ask me to advertise, especially since I was doing entrepreneurs, the kind of people who make decisions on buying adds online. I kept saying no, no, no, no. What I found though was that when there isn’t a business model, business people don’t respect it. Just like my audience didn’t respect the events, of course they saw it as a lunch because they didn’t see a model behind it, because I was giving them so much.
They didn’t respect it. They didn’t feel like they earned it so a little at a time I added reluctantly some revenue to it. Many people who I have interviewed said that I shouldn’t be as reluctant as I was. Maybe they’re right. Maybe they’re wrong, I don’t know.
JT: I’m really surprised, because I noticed, I’ve been listening to your show for a very long time and I noticed the hesitation of asking for money or doing anything and you would sort of shy away which was very funny compared to what your story was at the beginning of going you don’t need money, you need hustle, you got to go, you can do whatever you want, money is good but you were shying away from it all. Why do you think you really did that internally?
AW: I think that I have a hatred for charlatans. I have a hatred for these people who sell get rich quick gimmicks by telling them how rich they are and the reasons why I wanted to do Mixergy is because when I was starting out I would see these guys and a lot of times I would get sucked into their hype. People would say I am a multimillionaire and I own 50 companies, like the number of companies is really an indication of success.
JT: I know, right? I got 12, it’s fun. No, they all suck.
AW: You should incorporate every single day. It’s not that big of a deal to own a company. I’d see these guys and I would say growing up, you know what, I didn’t get anything out of it but they clearly got something out of me, they got my money. Wait a minute, if this guy is really doing so well financially, why is he charging me for this? Why is he charging so much? A lot of them were just fakes and I just said they don’t know what it takes because they haven’t really built a business. What they do know incredibly well is how to sell.
What they do know incredibly well is how to speak and I wish I could speak like them. To this day I wish I could speak like them. So I think just as a way of distancing myself from those people who I don’t like, I’ve been reluctant to get too deep into revenue.
JT: So now you’re a little bit on the other side though now because you sort of started doing that. What sort of revelations have you come to? That it’s okay to be one of those people? I mean that’s the one thing I have to say. For anyone that doesn’t know Andrew, his stuff is ridiculously high quality and is quite inexpensive, which is great for people just starting off for sure but it’s one of those things where it’s like wow, how can you even survive with what you’re doing and that sort of stuff. Thank you number one but number two, what made you decide to go that route?
AW: I didn’t decide. I really just threw a price up. At first I just said hey I am going to start charging for some of my older stuff, you know, older interviews you have to have a membership for and I said pay what you want. I wasn’t sure what the number was. Some people paid $100, some people paid $50, some people paid $25. I just wasn’t sure. I knew to charge something and I don’t know how I ended up at $25. I have to be honest and say there wasn’t a scientific process that got me there.
I just said I want people to pay something because I felt that they would just feel more obligated to use what they learned, feel more value because they spent money on it but most were noticing that by charging less that people don’t value it as much as the more expensive. That there is a sense of, in my head I’m thinking well maybe Jaime says this is good for people who are starting out because I am only charging a few bucks a month. If I was charging more, she might think, you know.
JT: Well I forget. I am a premium member and I forget that I have it sometimes. I’m like oh shoot I should be using that. You know what I mean, but it’s only $25 so just let it keep going and I’ll use it when I have a chance instead of, just some feedback from me, charge me more and I’ll be like oh man I really have to use it. I really got to use it. So tell me about growing Mixergy, especially you started in 2004, 2005, something like that?
AW: Around there. Man, I don’t exactly know. I think Mixergy might have started 2008.
JT: Oh really? It said on your website that the mixers started in 2004, but I didn’t know when the site actually sort of came about. How did you grow it? 2008 was sort of the beginning blogs, not the beginning, of course, but blogs were still getting into stuff. Podcasting was probably brand new. How did you start building a following that way?
AW: I kind of wish that I did it sooner. I didn’t have the guts to even write publicly and leave it online because I thought what if someone sees it later on. What if it doesn’t come out right? I just didn’t have the guts to expose myself ? my writing, my ideas, myself in anyway online. Big, big mistake. You got to just put yourself out there and I just didn’t even realize that I was hiding from that, that I was too afraid to do it.
If I had realized that I was acting out of fear that I would have pushed myself to change it but I didn’t notice it. You don’t notice your shortcomings sometimes. But eventually I did realize that I wanted to do these interviews, that I wanted to start writing online, that I wanted to have a voice and I put stuff out there and getting to your question of how do I get an audience, one of the things that I noticed is that if you interview entrepreneurs that many of them today have followings. It’s not like followings. We’re still not talking about Lady Gaga territory.
JT: Isn’t that sad? Sorry.
AW: Absolutely I think it’s sad. Frankly, you can only listen to the same song over and over so much before your life is just committed to the musician versus listening to one of your interviews and then it starts to, the message starts to get you’re your body, even if you’re not actively writing down what you’ve learned. Even if you’re not actively committing to doing anything you learned from the interview, it just changes you, it happens. We’ve all had that. I still right now say “right on” at times, in conversation. I say where do I get right on? That’s like a 1970s something, I think.
JT: I say “rock on” all the time.
AW: Right on came from, rock on might make more sense than right on. I met this entrepreneur who came into my office back when we had an office in New York and he started talking, every time I’d say something, go right on. Right on. We met a few times and suddenly it stuck. You become the people who you are around. You become the experiences that you have and the experiences that you hear other people share with you. Anyway, so that’s why I think people should listen to, even if they don’t like me, your interviews. Even if they don’t like either one of us, they should listen to something that really, they should listen to the people they want to become.
So how did I get an audience? Well these entrepreneurs today do start having small audiences, small followings of their own. Not huge, like I said, but it’s there and when I interviewed one of them like if I interview Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos, he has an online following on Twitter and if he tweets out afterwards hey I was just doing an interview on Mixergy and if you want to learn more about my past or how I built this business, it’s in that interview. I know you guys have all been asking and I’m not saying enough, it’s in the interview. So his tweet gets me a little bit more attention.
Then I interviewed Tim Ferris who has a huge following and his tweet afterwards gets me more attention and then maybe I interview Jason Freed of 37 Signals who has a following and is a bestselling author and he links to my interview from his website and I get some of his audience. Most of these people come in just for the person who they came to listen to, but many of them will say hey I want more of this. Who is this Andrew? What other work is he doing and they will return and return and return and so that’s the first way that I grew.
The second way that I grew was by using a lot of what I learned in the interviews. It took me years, maybe not years, many interviews to hear people say go for email addresses. They’ll give you a better relationship with your audience. At first I said, “Nah.” Email is so 1990s.
JT: Which is so funny, because that’s what you used to do.
AW: We had like a 20 million email list database back at Bradford & Reed and so that’s partially why I said no. I thought that’s back in the Bradford & Reed days. We got to move on and something else.
JT: Some new technology. Come on, email is old school.
AW: What is out there? And you know what, you asked me earlier, why do I have to keep doing hundreds of interviews, because sometimes it takes awhile for things to sink it.
AW: We sometimes don’t even notice that that’s a prejudice that we have. I didn’t know email was a prejudice that I had and sometimes you have to hear it over and over again to even learn how to do it and to see that it is done often enough that we start to get some social proof. Anyway, so I started collecting email addresses. So now a person who came to my site and didn’t maybe like the first interview but didn’t like the second interview, didn’t like the third interview and maybe wouldn’t give me a shot again, I have his email address and I can keep pinging him.
I have got this new one. Or we’re doing this new approach or hey how about this, email me back and tell me what you hated about my work. That can help me get better. I started using what I learned in my interviews and that helped me grow and grow and grow.
JT: You work great with feedback too I just want to say, because you said tell me what you hate about it. At the very beginning, we’re so good at feedback and I kept giving you feedback because I wanted you to do the things that I want you to do. What made you decide to sort of start asking for feedback? That’s one of the sort of things that I hear a lot and you probably hear a lot in all your interviews where people get a lot of feedback so that way we know which direction to go. What made you go all right I’m going to try and get feedback for this and then get feedback for this? I’m going to just keep asking and asking for feedback.
AW: I know that a lot of the best interviewers out there are working for big TV stations and radio stations and they get all this advice and I don’t have any of it. All my friends are entrepreneurs. They don’t know how to ask the right question. They don’t know how to charm you into telling your story. They want their story told. So I said all right, if I don’t have that, and I don’t even know where to go and get those guys to teach me, then I’ll start asking the audience. I’ll start looking and seeing what is frustrating them and it’s really helpful.
I know that when people criticize me, some other people, my fans, want me to go in and just shout them down, but I can’t. I love it. In the early days, when I used to do my interviews, I used to breeze through my intro like (makes sounds), “Hey everyone my name is Andrew Warner, founder of Mixergy.com, home of the?” I don’t know where?
JT: I remember that.
AW: You do?
JT: Yes, I do.
AW: Then hacker news, news.ycombinator.com, this great hacker news site where people talk about entrepreneurship and they were ripping into me. People who I admired were in the comments and ripping into me and I said I am going to thank them all so that they know that they should keep sending me feedback. Not only did I look at that feedback and internalize it, but I started emailing some of them because you could figure out their email addresses. I mean I got obsessive. I said what’s their name here. Maybe I could Google them and find their email address somewhere and then I’d email them and say be honest with me.
I used that feedback to improve. I no longer shout that intro. I now take my time, as much as a I can, to give the better intro. I used to talk too much and now I get the feedback that tells me hold off. I used to take too long to get to the point, you know, and now one of the things that I do with an interviewee is I know my audience is looking for that big payoff, that inspiring story, so I talk to them before and I look for that inspiring story or I do my research before and then I ask them to tell that story. The one that I know my audience is going to love. The one that I know they’ve told so long that even if they’re nervous about interviewing, even if they hate the camera because they’re used to just writing and never talking on camera, they’ll still be good at it.
That gets the audience’s attention. All that came to me from feedback. That came to me from people saying, “Andrew, you suck.” That’s fine as long as there is a because afterwards. You suck because?
JT: Okay, so I definitely want to get into interview tips, because I know you have a lot and those were awesome, but how do you know, when you get feedback, how do you know what to take in and what to sort of set aside and also how do you not internalize it? That’s the thing, some comments, I was on CNN. You don’t read the comments on like some of the things because they are horrid. The other day I sent out a survey to my list and someone was like you talk too much, you laugh too much but put more pictures of you on your website because you’re cute. I’m like okay so what do I take in, what do I not internalize and stuff like that. How do you deal with that stuff?
AW: I don’t internalize any of it because I’m so eager to do better. There was one person who said, “That hairline is spooky on You Tube” and I thought mother but I looked at it and I still don’t have like the best design here. I don’t have a design eye. I don’t have patience for it, but when I first started interviewing, my camera was on this weird angle and I was on a weird angle and you know we have this fish-eyed lens, at least my old computer had a fish-eye lens. It was because of the way that I was sitting, my hairline, if you go back and look at the early You Tube videos, it was off.
It looked like I was wearing a wig, a toupee that was off to the side. It helped me to actually not be critical of him, but actually listen. I try not to dismiss any of it. It’s not an issue even that I have anymore, especially since you’re hungry for anyone to pay attention to you and you put stuff out online, there’s nobody there. When you open a store, you’re hungry for people to even come in. Even if they come in and they only buy shoelaces, at least they will come in. So that helps.
To get to your question of how do you know what to take, it’s still a real challenge for me. The problem that we have internally at Mixergy is there isn’t one clear metric that we’re going for. We’re working on that, but the reason that we want that is, if you know what you’re big goal is then you can say well I’ve got 20 different pieces of feedback, what’s going to get me to my goal faster? Actually, you know what, now that I think of it, we didn’t really articulate it but the goal was always to become an interviewer who can extract useful information from proven entrepreneurs in the tech space and so that is what helped me to understand what feedback I should take and whatnot.
So when people told me that I was shouting guests down or that I was talking too much, I used that feedback because that can make me a better interviewer. When they told me how to adjust my lighting, I waited a year to even care about that. I know that I looked bad back in the, when I was living in Argentina doing my interviews, but I said, “Hey I’m not looking to do the best design podcast or the best design interview program.” I’m looking to ask the right questions so I ignored all that.
JT: That’s good. I love hearing that.
AW: Sorry Davey and Koviak who actually did a video showing me how I can improve my lighting using just a simple $20 lamp I still have to say Davey and Koviak, I can’t do it now.
JT: All right, that’s good to hear, because we can’t do everything and it’s good to hear that you didn’t either, that you didn’t take in all the feedback and just sort of decided to change everything based on that. So how many employees does Mixergy have right now, because it’s not just you?
AW: There are zero employees.
JT: Zero, okay. Contractors?
JT: I said do you have contractors?
AW: I do. Yes, there are about 8 or 9 people and the reason I say that is it’s not so much to be cute or to say hey I found a way to not pay taxes, but I’ve been reluctant to hire people full time because at Bradford & Reed one of the challenges that I had was that I didn’t enjoy management. I didn’t enjoy having a staff of people who depended only on me for salary, because then I felt like if I needed to go in a different direction I still had to pay salaries, because it became, it felt like a burden to me instead of feeling liberating.
So I said I’ve got to hold back. I can’t, I can’t go back to that right now. By the way, I had an incredible team. The only reason we ever made it is because we had a great team. So I don’t undervalue them. In fact, I know that I wouldn’t be here if not for them. I do know that I don’t like the burden of all the responsibilities that go with having employees. I also don’t like having anyone in the office. I like to just be in this office by myself. I know that there is a great receptionist. It’s an office space where you pay to have some receptionist time, to have a kitchen taken care of. I like all that but I don’t want anyone in this office so I can focus on work, no chitchat.
JT: That’s awesome. I just assume you talk about your office, I just assumed oh and there’s people, you know what I mean, and you have stuff like that. So you usually don’t have people, contractors come into the office really at all?
AW: One is remote. I see them now on Skype and if there is an issue they would pop in on Skype, but no.
JT: That’s awesome. So tell me about what’s working for Mixergy right now. Are there any marketing techniques? What’s really working? What’s the current stuff that you guys are working on right now that’s working really well?
AW: I’ll tell you what worked to get us here. One of the best things I did was systemize. It’s so unsexy. I’d love to tell you that I found a color for a button that’s going to triple your sales and if you go do it right now you’re going to get it, but I found something that’s going to take a long time but will make your life so much easier and help you scale any idea you have and that’s just creating systems, for as much as you can, for the most messy things in your life, if you create a system you’ll be happy. I’ll give you an example of a non-business system and then I’ll go back and show you how systems allowed me to take a vacation last week, allow us to grow beyond where I was by myself so we can just super power the business.
Here’s one. I could never, for the life of me get up early, but I wanted to be the kind of person who would get up early, who would go for a run in the morning and who would have quiet time to think before the rest of the world took over my time. And as much as I tried, even though I had an interview, the first interview of the day would always be at 11:00 or the first meeting of the day would always be at 11:00, I’d always be in a cab paying extra money just to make it in by 11:00 and sometimes coming in at 11:05 and apologizing, which is a horrible way to start your day. I said I am going to try systems. So I created a system where I said, “I’m going to try to wake up” and I thought what do I need to do to get up early?
Well, I’ll go to sleep early. That didn’t really work so I said I’ll set an alarm. Well I had this habit over the years of hitting the snooze. I need a solution for it. Ah-ha. I hit the snooze, I don’t even pay attention. I’m mindless at that point of the day. I’m going to take my phone, which is my alarm, and put it in the other room so I have to walk over. So I did that. Then that didn’t fully wake me up so sometimes I might go back to bed and fall asleep. So I said what do I do? Ah-ha, I’m going to have caffeine right there for me. So I put a can of coffee, a can of Coke right by the phone. Anyway, I just kept working until I found a system including having my clothes out for running instead of my work clothes so that it’s so easy now that I can’t help but run.
JT: So do you have caffeine every morning?
AW: Every day and the system is really clearly in place. The alarm goes off, it’s in the other room and it’s going to go off so loudly it’s going to piss off my wife unless I get it and frankly I am now in the habit of getting it. Then I have a cup of coffee that’s pretty much ready to go. I just start drinking it. I read a little bit on the couch to wake me up and I do a few other things like shave and make sure I look handsome for the day and then my running clothes are laid out right there so I can just put them on and go for a run.
Sometimes I’m too lazy, I don’t want to do it, but I think well my running clothes are right there, my work clothes are packed in my backpack and ready for me to shower at the gym. If I know it’s going to be such a hassle, I don’t have the patience for it this morning, I’ll just run in. So the system makes sure that I get things done. Same thing for Mixergy. I was able to take a week off about two weeks ago. Didn’t have to check in at work, knew that interviews would be on the site. Sales would continue, even though I was completely disconnected and could just sit and read and literally we were on the beach and I would read or I would go for runs and it’s helpful to recharge.
I sat down and I journaled and I said what do I want out of life? Where do I start? You want to be in touch with that so that you’re not just being a cog in a machine that you created and you can’t extract yourself from. The way we did that was by systemizing everything. Today, if someone wants to be interviewed we have this, we use a software called Pipe Drive which creates a funnel. The left column of the funnel and then we just keep moving them down. I go well who should we interview? Well there are a whole bunch of potentials on the left column. I look at them and then the people who I think I should interview I move one column over where someone has to go and find contact information.
Then someone internally knows at that point they get an email, they have to go find contact information. They do. Once they find contact information they move them further down the funnel and then once they do that they email them and then they get them further down the funnel. Then the next step on the funnel is to do a pre-interview. Then the next step after pre-interview is to send them a link to do the interview. The whole thing is just so systemized.
JT: Thank you.
AW: One of the toughest parts is how do you make someone interesting whose job in life is not to be interesting. They’re just entrepreneurs. We found ways to do that too and it’s all systemized.
JT: Tell me that, because I am an interviewer so I need to ask you that question.
AW: A couple of things and I think anyone who is listening to us who says I am not going to be an interviewer so I don’t care about this question, I’m going to tell you that you may not ever be an interviewer but you might one day be up onstage giving a presentation and you want to grab your audience’s attention in a few minutes. You might think I am not a great speaker. Don’t worry, I interview people who are not good speakers and here’s what we do with them. In fact, let me tell you where I got it.
I said, “How is it that cult speakers, people who recruit for cults, get the audience to convert, in a speech?” What is it that they do in the beginning to win over an audience of people who are just freaking out? Who just say I don’t want to be a part of this. How do you get their attention? That’s a tougher audience than I’ll have and a tougher audience than anyone in our audience today will have. What discovered was what they do is they talk about the before. They say things like every night I’d come home and I’d have two glasses of whiskey and then I’d get upset with my wife because she’d ask me why I didn’t put the dishes away. I said, “I don’t want to do the dishes” and I found myself to getting into a stupid argument with her.
Then next day I’d find myself working at a job I didn’t love and it’s because I would just piss on everything that I did. They go through this negative stuff. I said, “Well, then someone told me this one thing and I tried it, just on one area, you know, and then I found this” you know, and then they start talking about how great it is. What they do is they use the before and after. What I like to call the cult hook. They hook you with their story to get you to pay attention at least to the cult’s message.
By telling you the before story, you start to feel like I thought my life was bad, this guy is worse. Maybe there is an accident here that I can’t wait to watch. Then you say well here’s the after and this is the life that the audience member thinks I would love that life. He can now talk to anyone. He’s now not only not drinking but he’s running every day. He’s not only not drinking and running every day but he tells me that he has got this office that he has this great chair and people admire him when he walks in the door and all that.
He’ll go well he’s so much worse than me and if he can go from there to here, way further than him. Let me pay attention to why this is and what he did and how he got there. So that’s what you do. If you’re up onstage somewhere, you want to start off, the thing most people want to do is they want to start off by saying, by listing everything that makes them great. To almost say to the audience believe me, I’m worthy of being up here. Yeah, you might want to say one or two things just to explain that you should be there but probably the guy who gave you the introduction will do that. We’ll say well here is a guy who has accomplished this and that and so on. What you want to do I think is start off by saying here’s the bad part. Here’s the part where life sucked and here is where I changed and that gets people’s attention.
So that’s one thing that we do and when we do a pre-interview, I used to do it myself, but now we have pre-interviewers. We ask them can you give me an example of your best moment and people are usually pretty good about that and then we say can you give me an example of your worst moment? What’s the challenge? Then we get that. When we do the interview we often will flip in.
JT: Thank you so much for improving my interviews. It’s funny, I was just listening to Nancy Duarte. I don’t know if you have ever read any of her stuff, but she talks about, I just heard that yesterday, talking about that stuff. So again, I’m hearing it again so now I have to do it, right? Or maybe it will take five more interviews before I’ll actually start doing it.
AW: You are where you want to go, where you are.
JT: Yes, that’s excellent.
AW: Do that and it works just fine. I’ve sometimes interviewed people who immediately want to just get to what’s great about them and we can’t persuade them not to and that’s fine. There’s some flexibility here but if you get the before and after in there early on, one way or the other, people will pay attention.
JT: I love that. Thank you so much. We need to wrap up. I want to have you back on. I tried to get you forever. You’re awesome. I love having you. Everybody should listen to his interviews and I’ll definitely link to everything and have you tell where we can find you on Twitter and Facebook but, for the last question that I always ask everyone, what’s one action that listeners can take this week to help move them forward towards their goal of a million?
AW: I’d love to say go listen to Mixergy interviews.
JT: I’ll say that. Go listen to Mixergy interviews. Okay, go ahead.
AW: The thing that’s even better than that is to not read books, not listen to other people’s stories. Those are great, but one step further is to say, “I’m going to go talk to the person who I admire and I am going to ask him questions specifically about my life and get feedback and suggestions specifically useful to me.” What I suggest is find someone who you admire. It doesn’t have to be the most admired person in your life, but someone you admire, and then go and ask them for a few minutes to ask them questions.
Now here’s the thing, if you do that, they’re going to say no because you’re probably a nobody and they’re obviously someone who is worthy of the admiration or else you wouldn’t be asking them. The reason they are going to say no is there’s not anything in it for them and there’s a whole lot in it for you and it’s going to suck up their time. So the way you get them to say yes is you offer to publish it somewhere so that they get something. So that if they are going to give you words of wisdom, if they’re going to give you encouragement, they’re not just going to be speaking to you. They’re going to be speaking to the thousands of people, maybe even tens of thousands depending on who you find who don’t have the guts to ask them the way that you just did.
I would say find the person you admire, ask them to do an interview, be selfish with the questions because other people are going to have similar questions and then publish it. If you don’t have your own blog, I went to Mashable when I didn’t have an audience and I said can I publish it on your site. Find someone out there who is going to let you publish this interview with someone you admire and you’re going to find yourself both learning directly and making a connection that could end up being a lifelong friendship or a lifelong mentorship and through the audience that then connects with what you’ve done with that interview, you’re going to find yourself reaching people who you never could connect with otherwise, will help you sometimes in ways that you can’t predict. That’s the goal. Go out there and do what I do every day, do what Jaime does every day. Don’t just watch us, do it.
JT: Yes! Because I think everybody should interview. You build relationships. You build so much and I get to ask you whatever questions I want. People say like well how do you know what questions we need. I’m like I just ask what I want and therefore apparently you need it too. It works out really well for everybody. So it’s definitely a win-win for you. It’s a thousand times win for you and a win for everybody that gets to listen to it too. Thank you so much for coming on. Where can we find you on Facebook, on Twitter, your site, all the stuff so we can make sure we link everything up. Promote whatever you’ve got. Raise your price right now, right?
AW: So here is what I am going to suggest, just one place where you can get everything. Don’t just go to Mixergy.com, M-I-X-E-R-G-Y. I still have an issue where I talk too fast, just to listen to my stuff. If you have never been there before, notice the first thing that I do, the first thing that I ask you is something that I talked about earlier in this interview and so you’re going to see in action something that I advised you, the audience, to do and you’re going to see one way that you can do it yourself.
Then of course go through the interviews. We have Nancy Duarte on who talks about how to tell stories. You might want to check that out or tons of the other interviews that I talked about today. Jaime, thanks for having me on here.
JT: Thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate it, Andrew.
AW: Cool. Good meeting everyone in the audience too.
Just to note, you can download the top 10 tips from these millionaire interviews on the blog.
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