Tom started from one up to 58 businesses of his own today. He has made millions several times. He is a personal coach in whom his clients generated $100,000,000 in sales and in dozens of different industries. He is also an International best-selling author, been interviewed in success magazines, hundreds of radios and TV shows across North America; share his message of business success and failures to more than a hundred thousands of people.
How to Turn Your Hobby Into a Business with Tom Matzen
Would it surprise you to know that one simple yet profound strategy can have you do good and make money at the same time? We’re lucky to hear from one of the most brilliant minds in the business industry. He started 53 businesses of his own and has made a lot of mistakes on his own businesses already than most people make in a lifetime. He has made and lost millions several times over. More importantly his personal coaching clients have generated more than $100 million in sales in dozens of different industries. As an international bestselling author and seminar presenter, he’s been able to share his message of business success and failure to more than 100,000 people on four continents.
He has been interviewed in Success Magazine, Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and literally hundreds of radio and TV shows across North America, sharing the secrets of business success learned from his business ventures and from his personal interviews with some 124 business leaders. Our next guest leads an emerging global enterprise with a mission to transform the world by empowering entrepreneurs to embrace the new norm in business of doing good and making money at the same time. He will share the one simple yet profound strategy to do just that. Please welcome serial entrepreneur, Tom Matzen. Tom, it’s so great to have you on the show.
I’m so excited to be here.
The reason I brought you on the show is because I want to help those who are in business who are doing okay but not quite there yet at their first thousand clients. I want to share with them some of the secrets of what it takes to get there. Give me an idea and go back to your first company. Tell me a little bit about that and how it started.
The very first business I started, I was sixteen years old and it was a deejay music service. It was what I would call a hobby business and it was an exciting venture. It was a lot of fun. It was back in the days for you kids out there when the MP3s were on a piece of vinyl called an LP. We would have several hundred albums and we would play music at events. We were deejays so we would do weddings and parties. For years, as I got better and better in business, I kept my very first business card because I wanted it as a reminder. Whenever I’m thinking I’m too smart for my own good, I would grab this business card and look at it. In marketing, you’re supposed to pick your audience and narrow your niche.
Everyone talks about that. I’ve even talked about micro niches at some point. This was the opposite. The company was called After Eight Music Services. We were a deejay company. We played after 8:00 PM and we gave out After Eight Mints. We did our little version of branding. The positioning statement, the slogan, the USP on our cards was “We play for anyone,” which was exactly what we did. We took any gig of any type anywhere. Country, western, rock and roll, weddings, bar mitzvahs, polkas, it didn’t matter. It wasn’t until years later that I realized just how foolish that first strategy is.
A big part of this podcast is to share lessons. I don’t care if you’ve got a business coaching, a haircutting business, a bricks and mortar, an online business, you want to find out who your ideal target market is. The more you can narrow that down, the more impact, the more influence, and the more income you can have. Counterintuitive. Everyone thinks it’s the other way around, “Be open to serve everyone.” A restaurant is a perfect example, “You should be able to serve everyone.” No. If you serve everyone you don’t stick out in the marketplace.
How old were you when you started this deejay business?
When you described it you said “we.” I’m thinking to myself you didn’t start this with a team of people. You started it by yourself as a teenager and then you got some work and people liked what they heard, and they started calling you. I want to understand that transition that you made from one to several and also what you did to promote your business even as a young man.
Two of us originally started it together and then we added a third partner to handle the volume because we grew rapidly and we couldn’t always be available every Friday and Saturday night. Although we didn’t have much of a life back then, we did have a bit of a life, so we brought in a third partner to handle that because it was a two-person event. The way we did it then was two people, one person getting the platters ready and one person doing the announcing. It was literally two right out of the gate. How did we get our first business? We would talk to anyone that was hosting an event anywhere all the time what I would now call a form of guerrilla marketing.
We didn’t have organizations that we went to but we did know enough to print up business cards. The big breakthrough for us was when we stumbled across the concept of referral marketing. We got 90% to 95% of our gigs from people that were at our dances, having a great time, and asking us for a card. We focused entirely on fulfillment, and from that, we averaged five invitation or five offers. We couldn’t always do it because we’d be booked up, but we would we would get five offers from every single event we did. Very quickly in three or four months, we were booked every Friday and Saturday night.
We have a lot in common when it comes to this. You probably didn’t know this about me but I started a rock band in high school and we grew to one of the highest paid high school rock bands that I could remember back then in the 1970s. We did it the same way you did it. We get somewhat complacent about marketing. We think that if we could just get posts on Facebook or a couple of extra tweets out, that we can build a business.
Realistically, the things that Tom and I did back then is we got on bicycles and we drove to the local restaurant and put business cards on the corkboard with a pushpin. After every gig, I used to have a clipboard and pencil in my van and I used to bring it right to the parent after they hired us and said “Did you like tonight’s show?” and they said, “We loved it. The kids loved it.” Could you write that down and make us a testimonial right now? They wrote a testimonial.
We missed capturing the testimonials. That definitely would have been a smart move, but I love that. That applies today. A lot of people think you need fancy elaborate marketing strategies, lead conversion processes. The reality is if you can find where your ideal target market hangs out and get in front of them there, you’re going to reach them. It could be as simple as a business card. I would do a business card with a call to action or even a counter rap card on the front desk, but the call the action part I learned later, giving someone a reason to call you in that simple marketing material, but even without it, it worked for you.
Let’s brainstorm a little bit for everybody how we would do marketing in today’s world if we had either zero money or $50 or less. What comes to mind?
The first step for me is getting super clear on your super high-value ideal client. What a lot of people do is they treat all their potential clients when they’re starting as equal value, and there’s always a category that’s higher value. For example, I call them key influencers, somebody that if they became a raving fan of you and what you did, it would have a profound impact on your business going forward. That’s where I would start. If it was the band business, I would focus and say “If this person hires me, who will that automatically lead to a whole bunch of other business?” In other words, don’t treat every new client as equal. In fact, do the opposite.
The second step I would do, once I identify that, I call up the ideal target market, some people call it the avatar, the next step is where do they hang out like grapes in bunches? That’s identifying where that audience gathers. In today’s world, that might be a LinkedIn group or a private Facebook group. It also can be a convention or a conference. It could just be a local watering hole, which nowadays could be a pub, it could be a bar, it could be a coffee shop. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a bar in the true sense of the word, but where do they hang out in bunches? If you’re targeting moms with strollers, there are coffee bars in every city in North America and around the globe that focus on moms with strollers and there are coffee bars that focus on self-employed entrepreneurs. Completely different audiences. Sometimes they will overlap but generally speaking, the coffee bars that focus on moms and strollers are completely different than the coffee bars that focus on entrepreneurs.
One of the things we used to do in the band is that every time we played a gig of any significance, we would send a note to the local newspapers. Without even editing it one word, they would print our notes. That later became the way I started my software company. I had no money when we started the company. What I did is I started to do PR because my answer was I didn’t think PR is good, I thought PR is free. I must’ve spent half of my time pursuing writers and publications trying to get them to write about us. It was very successful and that works today too.
In probably the middle phase of my entrepreneurial career, I opened up 187 coffee bars. During that time, we created a brand and we franchised it and we became the fastest growing coffee franchise in the world for two years.
You could have been Starbucks, Tom.
It could have been bigger than Starbucks but it had a nice tragic ending. As we were growing, it was growing faster than Starbucks at the time. It was in‑store roasting and it was all organic coffee and had a lot of cool competitive advantages. The key point is, echoing what you just said, over 90% of our franchises awarded came from articles that we solicited in local newspapers.
I am enjoying the fact that we can both have so much in common and can relate. When was the first time that you achieved your first thousand clients?
If I look at the phases of my business career in a given individual business, it would have been the restaurant businesses and then the coffee bars. The coffee bar business would have more lessons for your audience that they could apply to whatever business they’re doing because the restaurant business is very narrow and has 92% failure rate, so it’s a very narrow niche. The coffee bar business, I built 187 of them. I ended up selling 142,000 books on the subject. If you Google my name, there’s still a couple of 100,000 pages that come up on my name in coffee bars and I haven’t built a coffee bar in twenty years which is pretty impressive because that’s before the internet.
For me, it was building and opening coffee bars, coffee roaster retailers, we call them. That would have been the first business. It certainly was the first business where we generated over a thousand clients over and over again. A coffee bar needs about 200 clients a day which works out to 1,000 to 1,500 unique clients a month. Every one of them would accomplish that typically within 30 days, sometimes 60 days if it was a C location, so we did that over and over. There are a lot of lessons there that people could use, not just in the coffee business but in any business that would apply to them achieving that scale.
I know that the first time you’ve got a thousand clients at a coffee bar, the cost per unit is relatively low and it’s a consumable, so there will be a repeat business. What about the difference between the first coffee bar and the hundredth coffee bar? Can you walk us through that learning process? Even from the first one to the second one or the third one. I just love to understand that.
There was there was a huge leap between the first and the next five. I started most of my businesses with a partner. In the first one, because we hadn’t worked in that field before, we were struggling. My partner was doing some things that just didn’t make sense to me, but he was the coffee guy. I was the restaurant guy. I wasn’t the coffee guy, so he would take the lead on the strategy. He would sell muffins the next day, what is known in the industry as day-olds as fresh. I knew that was a silly idea and he was like “No, they’ll never know the difference, Tom.” I’m like, “I don’t know. I don’t think so.” He struggled for about three months and then finally my girlfriend and I persuaded him to step aside and let us take it over.
We said “Let us try it for a couple of months and see what happens.” In 30 days, we went from breaking even to making about $57,000 net on our very first month. It was a huge eye opener. First off, it opened our eyes to how much margin you can make in the coffee business if you did it right, because you could never do that in the restaurant business that quickly. The other thing was the fundamentals of great awesome business are what I learned it in that period of time. For example, creating a wow experience. Walt Disney talks about this. We hear it and we ignore the importance of it, but in any business, creating a wow is so much more than just smart customer service. When you create a wow, you create viral increases in the amount of referrals you get. When you create a wow, they’re more loyal when you mess up.
Clearly you didn’t figure out that “create a wow” in stores one, two, three or four. Tell us a little bit about the evolution of that. Where did that come from?
We actually did from looking at the mess that Serge was doing. When we looked at what we would do, my girlfriend and I sat down and we said “That doesn’t make sense.” It wasn’t so much that we were proactively coming up with what made sense, but we were looking at what didn’t make sense in the operation. Selling a day-old muffin and pretending it was fresh didn’t make sense to us. Most of these initial wow things came from that. The other thing, we were fortunate to be in downtown Vancouver surrounded by Starbucks. There were all sorts of Starbucks locations out there. This was in early days of Starbucks. Vancouver was the second city they expanded to and the first one outside of Seattle. This was very early in the coffee bar days. They weren’t the brand they are today or anywhere near it, but in downtown Vancouver, they were hot. They were everywhere where everyone went.
The second thing we realized was we could not compete with them on cache at all because they had that and we knew that was a fool’s game chasing them in that area. We had a look and say, “What could we compete with them on?” We could compete with them on better value, on better product, and on better service, for sure. We then created a little flyer which I remember to this day. Starbucks was green, it had the stars from their logo back then, and the headline said “Buck the trend.” We went right after them and our copy, we positioned what we were doing different than them. We weren’t fooling ourselves. We weren’t going to change their profitability. We just wanted to massively increase ours. At that time, we went from less than 50 customers a day to more than 250 customers a day in that month. In the coffee bar business, that is dramatic. That’s from struggling on cash flow to making a lot of money in that operation.
That was one of the things that we were looking at, saying “What do we have to offer?” For your audience, in your business, if you have a dominant competitor, that’s a good thing if you can provide a better option. It’s a bad thing if you’re a “me too.” It’s terrible. The Law of Category, number one’s 40% to 45% of the market, number two is 20% to 25% of the market, and everyone else fights over the rest. If you’re in the “everyone else” category, you’re dead. You don’t want to be that. You’ve got to be in number one or number two, and to do that sometimes you have to look and say, “What could I do?” You may not even know this. We did this all the time in our early businesses. We would look and say, “We don’t know how to do this better, but if we could, what would it look like?” I remember we opened up a fast-food restaurant in a public market, like Faneuil Hall out your way. It was a public market. We were doing sandwiches, and we thought, “How do you do sandwiches better than everyone else? How do you do that?”
We didn’t know. We just asked the question and then we asked our suppliers in this case because the suppliers of all the meat products knew why I would use this product instead of this and use this instead of this. The next thing, we were using sirloin tip medium roast beautiful grade A beef, and pure smoked turkey breast. We upped the quality of every one of our ingredients and opened up what was the first cheese steak operation in Western Canada, except you’re using super high-end ingredients. To this day, people from Philly look at that product and they think there’s no comparison. It was all real premium high quality but in a fast-food setting, and so it created a formula. The formula for us was you ask yourself how do you create that wow experience and how do you add more perceived value than your competition? Sometimes you don’t know. You’ve got to backwards shape it. Sometimes you know right away because you created this crazy competitive advantage from scratch and that’s great, but for most of us, we have to figure that out.
What was the wow experience in the coffee bar?
We started with exceptionally friendly service because that’s what we knew would make a difference. I was trained in McDonald’s and I knew that great friendly service would make a difference. That was the first thing. This evolved over the first ten locations, maybe fifteen. I started going to international coffee shows and I found out that coffee was the second most heavily sprayed food crop in the world, only grapes are sprayed more, and women bought 70% of coffee and coffee beans. They made the purchase decision on that. I thought, “Organic coffee ought to be a good idea.” This was like way before organic coffee existed as a category, let alone a trend. I just looked at that and I went, “Women care more about saving the planet than men do generally. If organic coffee has advantages in taste and product, then we could take that and have a unique distinction in the marketplace.”
Then I found out at one of the shows that the life expectancy of the crop picker, the person who picks the coffee cherries, was one third less if they were on a chemical coffee farm versus organic. Same country, same living conditions, everything one third less. That was huge for me because I knew from my own experience there wasn’t much chemicals left in the coffee by the time it got to us, so it wasn’t like organic coffee had a lot cleaner product in our mouth. When I found out the farmer and the lifespan difference, I knew that would give us a competitive advantage over Starbucks and over everyone else, and so we went 100% certified organic. We made the change on store eleven. We went to 100% certified organic and from that point on, I didn’t open a coffee bar that had anything but certified organic coffee beans in it. It was a massive competitive advantage.
On top of that, what I like about what you said is that you didn’t get your wow by looking at someone else’s company. You got your wow by doing some basic research into your market, by walking around the trade show, by getting out of your seat and going to an event, and getting to meet people and dig deeper into your vendors. This is the stuff that creates success.
The one competitive thing that any entrepreneur can do is strategic philanthropy. It’s consciously figuring out a way to do good and make money at the same time. I didn’t understand it then but that was my very first strategic philanthropy initiative because the customers could share in the success of that, and then we got good at educating our customers. We have pictures of the farmers up on the wall and then we would roast. We would learn to roast in stores so we could buy the organic green bean close to source and the farmers got a better value. It became fair trade and organic and shade-grown and all these other advantages stacked in, but it was the same thing. It was allowing us as North American consumers to share this beautiful coffee with the farmer in country getting extra value all at the same time.
I wish I could say I was proactive about it but I backed into it. I backed into it but I got my butt to that trade show. As it turned out, it was in your neck of the woods. It was in Boston, my first time ever visiting that part of the world, and it was one of these big decisions economically at the time. It was like “It’s going to be a few thousand dollars. I don’t know,” but we took that leap of faith and went there. That’s what I look for. When I go to a trade show, I don’t look for the stuff I know. I look for the stuff I don’t know.
I could tell the path you were on and how you got the first store up and running, and then the second third and fourth one. You saw it wasn’t working and then you and your girlfriend sat down and did the analysis, and then you went out there and got store number six through eleven. By that time you were clear. I know that we all make mistakes. What would you say were the rookie mistakes, the ones that you made because you were a beginner? Maybe you could help us understand how that applies today as well.
Two of them come to mind when you say that. The first one is I thought you sold on price rather than value in the very beginning. I thought I would compete with Starbucks by having cheaper coffee, not a better experience but cheaper coffee. That’s a fool’s game. Unless you’re Costco, Walmart, or Amazon, you’re not competing on price. Even those guys don’t. The greenest company in the world in a few years will be Walmart. The only people that deal with Walmart understand this but they are going to be the greenest company in the entire world. Why would they do that? It’s better for the world and better for their customers, and therefore better for their hip pocket. That was a rookie mistake that now I’m very aware of and have been for a while. Back then, I thought you can compete on price, you offer a deal, and you see this now online all the time.
People are offering a weekend sale or a special. I love the damaged goods sale when they’re selling electronic products, Black Friday sales, and they’re still selling on price. Even our new global learning platform that you’re involved with, one of our challenges is because it’s such an amazing deal, we don’t want to sell it on price. We want to sell it on value. For those that aren’t familiar with that distinction, you can offer a cup of coffee 50% off or you can say Buy One, Get One free. They’re both the same deal but one is value, one is price, a very dramatic difference in impact. There’s a lot of research on this. Kouzes and Posner in The Leadership Challenge did detailed research on this and what they found was a surprise. You have higher margins, you have more loyal clients, you have more referrals and all these things, if you sell on value. The opposite happens when you sell on price. That was the first one.
I just want to point out that we all make that mistake. When I started out in any of my businesses, first thing I did was come in at a lower price than everybody else. As I got good at what I was doing and as I got a name for myself, the price of my software even, which started at $99, by the end of the day when I was selling to corporations, that $99 product loaded on to a file server now cost $30,000. It’s all a matter of value. The earlier we learn that lesson, A) The more money we will make, and B) The more time we will focus on increasing the value and quality of the things that we’re doing.
That’s regardless of how much money your client is paying. It could be $3-muffin, or $30,000-piece of software, or $300,000-engagement contract. It doesn’t matter what the actual amount is. It’s how they’re buying it. Part of the market always buys on value, part of the market always buys on price, but 53% of the market, according to their research, buys on value or price depending on how we market it. That’s the first one. Second one is probably evolutionary rather than revolutionary, and that is there are only two things people buy. They either buy a solution to a problem or good feelings. A lot of entrepreneurs are not clear on what business they’re in. The coffee bar business, we weren’t in the solution-to-a-problem business. You could get crappy office coffee in just about every office around us. It wasn’t the caffeine. We weren’t in the solution-to-a-problem, “I need a fix.” That’s not the business we were in. We were in the good-feelings business.
Would you say this is the same as not just a good feeling but the experience of being involved with the product or the service? That’s the good feeling, right?
It takes many forms. If you’re a physical enterprise, absolutely, from how your staff look and how well turned out they are, their aprons, their hair, the facial hair, is their hairnet or a hat, how clean the place is, and how sparkling the glass is. That was one of the things that surprised us, how messy glass could get. We would come up with different ways to clean glass that were quick, easy, amazing, and non-toxic, because that was part of the wow. Disney was famous up until a few years ago. They had a squad, they dissolved the squad, but they built this squad to remove gum as a marketing expense rather than an operations expense in their parks. Think about that. That’s how smart Walt Disney and team work. They saw gum removal as a marketing expense.
What you’re doing is you’re starting to show us the level of detail it takes, the level of awareness it takes, to create a truly successful venture with longevity. It takes that level of detail, it takes that level of perception. Would you agree?
Absolutely. The good news is you don’t have to have that all inside your head. You can find it out as you go if you’re prepared to observe. My very first job was at McDonald’s where I was an employee, and early management would get paid to go sit in the lobby and have a coffee or a drink. I remember as a sixteen-year old, “Look at that lazy manager sitting out there having a coffee. I can’t believe Ron is having coffee. It’s his third coffee today,” but several years later when I became a junior manager they explained what that is and what that was.
It’s half the reason McDonald’s is number one, and Burger King and Wendy’s were ones. They invested in the experience of wow. It may be entry-level product or service but it still can be a wow. They made their managers every shift, twice a shift, get out there and sit in the lobby minimum and be a customer and observe it from the customer’s eyes. You don’t have to be a super genius business builder to figure some of these things out. What you have to do is sit and watch and then ask. It’s trendy today to survey your clients, but the good businesses have been doing that forever.
There’s another element to this too. This element is around the mindset of the individual. I know when you start a company, it’s stressful. Many people start companies without a lot of cash. They just take a risk. Sometimes they’re forced into it. Some people are fired from a job, and they have no other alternative but to start a company.
The accidental entrepreneur.
It’s the mindset that in many ways. If you could adjust that mindset early on and then work on mindset as you grow the company, you’ll find that, A) It’s more enjoyable, B) It happens faster, and C) You will start to attract much higher quality people. Have you had that experience?
Absolutely. In fact, I’ve got four notes of things that I learned in this early phase of scaling. The third one was to be constantly improving my knowledge. For me it became going to seminars, workshops, courses, events, conferences, and trade shows. I became what people call a seminaraholic. For me, that’s how I did that on the personal development front. Every month I would pay for something to improve my skills. For years, that was a big part of it especially as I got smarter in business and I started to realize there’s a difference between working in my business and working on my business. Most entrepreneurs are small business owners. I worked with Michael Gerber for a number of years, and he used to say “People were doing it and doing it right there in their business, doing it, doing it, and they’re not taking time to do what you just talked about which is “What about this? How do we do that?”
Tony Robbins and Chet taught that to me every day when we worked together listening to these guys. They were always focused on both, working in and on the business, and weighing the effect of what my time was used for versus what it could be used for. All this stuff around mindset makes a huge difference to a beginning entrepreneur because this can be the hardest thing of all to get. I have experienced this and I’m sure you have too, Tom.
There’s a book by Robert Kiyosaki. One of his many books is Why “A” Students Work for “C” Students. I remember seeing that when it first came out and getting very insulted because I was an “A” student all of my school life. I pushed it back and didn’t even buy the book when I saw it. I was a huge Kiyosaki fan, but it was years later when it dawned on me why is that the case that generally speaking, the most successful entrepreneurs are “C” students and the most successful managers are “A” students. Part of that is a “C” student will not think they have all the answers. They know they don’t have all the answers, so they’re going to ask their staff, they’re going to ask their customers. You see this in well-run restaurants all the time. They’re not just saying, “How is your meal?” They’re saying, “Mitch, how was your meal?” like they’re genuinely interested in how your meal was. They’re not asking it because it’s part of the checklist. They are genuinely wanting to know how was your meal. “C” students are awesome for that because they are not stuck in this mindset of “I got all the answers.”
The other thing is when I first saw a report of self-made millionaires, there was a survey by the American Entrepreneur Institute, and ironically it was published in Playboy Magazine. It was on the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs and some of the common characteristics around this. One of them was that when you got a degree like a normal bachelor degree or an MBA, the odds of you becoming a self-made millionaire went down. The highest category was partial university degree and after that, the odds went down. You know why? Because you get so smart, you know all the reasons some won’t work.
The other thing is that I’m a college dropout and proud. I can say I dropped out of some of the finest colleges in the state of Massachusetts. I have a little bit different thinking around this. I think people who graduate college are getting set up to take a job versus people who drop out of college are thinking about working and building something of their own. I could be wrong, but that’s the perspective that I have about college versus dropouts.
I was in my second year university. I was taking marketing commerce. I was doing marketing-finance double major and that meant I was on a fast track for IBM. That was the job, the job that everybody wanted. I was top of my class. I was giving it and I had good social skills, so when they were recruiting, that was who I was and that was my target. I looked at it I went “First off, I got to move to Toronto.” I have nothing against Torontonians out there. I love the people but the city. On a scale of one to ten, it’s about a two compared to Vancouver or Boston. Sorry, that’s just the facts. I didn’t want to move to Toronto.
The second part was the whole path was set our 20 or 30 years with IBM. That was the path, and I was like “No, I don’t want that.” That’s another advantage that “C” students have. “C” students aren’t going to the finest colleges and universities because they can’t get in. That’s a huge competitive advantage, so if you’re listening to this and you’re not an “A” student, which I now realize was a handicap in my entrepreneurial career, that’s a good thing. If you’re a “C” student, that’s an awesome thing. You have a huge advantage.
There are so many great lessons that we’ve talked about and I love hearing about your experience. What I want to know is where is your passion? What are you doing that is just absolutely exciting you every single day?
On a macro level, the next generations of entrepreneurs are all about doing good and making money at the same time. I call it the new norm. My personal mission is to empower entrepreneurs to embrace this new norm and look for ways to do good and make money at the same time. I’ll give you an example of the alternate way of doing it. The alternate way is Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. Mark goes out, makes $45 billion, changes the world and then commits $44 billion to his charity, one of the single biggest contributions to charity ever on planet Earth. Awesome, but that’s the old model. The old model is make a bunch then give some away.
Mark was very generous along the way so I’m not saying he wasn’t doing some of what I’m about to describe, but his model was a different model. The model that I believe entrepreneurs should model is build it in from the beginning. Build and find ways to do good and make money at the same time. That’s now what I’m committed to. My title is Chief Movement Maker because entrepreneurs hire me to help them take their idea or their business and turn it into a movement, not just sell stuff, but turning it to a movement. The only way it becomes a movement, in my opinion, is if you can do good and make money at the same time. You have to transform it.
It amps up your passion about serving others. When you’re in a place of serving others and you are first focused on delivering the best possible experience or product to other people, the natural law says that eventually, if not quicker, you should be successful.
That’s one of the things I admire about you, Mitch. I’ve gotten to know you over the last few years and you’re always focused on contribution. How do I contribute? I wasn’t even surprised at all when I got this invitation for the podcast interview, even though you don’t need more things on your plate. You’re a busy entrepreneur like most of us. You don’t need more things on your plate but I know you. You’re doing this because it’s one of the ways you can contribute, one of the ways you can give back to the world of entrepreneurs that have been so good to you and continue to be. The passion that comes from doing that sustains you through the ups and downs. Anyone that doesn’t think there are ups and downs has never been an entrepreneur.
We all have the experience of making payroll on credit cards and doing all this stuff. We could tell horror stories all day long about being in business. I remember when I sold my company, I thought I’m never going to have an employee ever again, but the bottom line is that it was my original passion and it was the same as you. Your original passion in finding a way to serve, and that ultimately brought us to the place we are today. Is there something that the audience can do to learn more about this or get involved?
I created a short six-video series on how to create your own movement. It’s one of my highest and best callings. I’ve set up a Bitly link that people can go to. It’s free. You opt-in and it’s six videos. It describes the six specific things that anyone of us need to do if we’re going to create a movement around our business. It’s Bit.ly/Create-Your-Movement, and I’m happy to share that as a gift for your audience. As entrepreneurs, we’re all creating a movement. Whether we realize it or not, we’re creating a movement. Some of us are just much better at it and we can learn from those people. We can model that. We can say “What is that person doing?” I would encourage you to go well beyond business when you’re modeling.
One of the best things I learned from one of my early mentors, Jay Abraham, was to look at other industries completely unrelated and say, “What can I learn from that industry and apply to this industry? What can I take from that area and apply to this?” As you as you know, I’m a US politics junkie. I’m a Canadian based near Vancouver in a small island but I love US politics. It’s early in the Trump era. The reality is he created a movement. Love him or hate him. As entrepreneurs we can learn from it. What did he do? How did he pull this off? The biggest upset in American politics history ever, there’s no question. Nothing is even remotely closer in American history and certainly one of the biggest upsets anywhere on the globe that I’ve ever seen. Ignore your opinion about him or some of the things he may have said or some of the policies that you may disagree with, as an entrepreneur you can still learn from what did he do? How did he pull it off?
This is the perfect setup for my grand finale question. You are the type of person who I can almost predict what your answer will be. What is it you are doing or would like to do that has the potential to change the world?”
We launched a brand new strategic alliance that is designed to change the world for entrepreneurs, thereby changing the world for the rest of us. Entrepreneurs are the force for good in the world. If you want a problem solved, you give it to an entrepreneur. It’s not going to get solved by government or a task force or an NGO. There are a lot of great NGOs and government and task forces, but that’s not where the problems get solved. The problems get solved with entrepreneurs massively making a difference. We created this learning portal. We call it internally “Netflix for entrepreneurs,” but the reason we created it was the way we consume training material. The way I did for decades was buy a program, go to a course, buy a program, and spent all this money. 80% to 90 % of us don’t finish the programs we buy. We created this platform because it’s time that we shifted. It’s not about the knowledge. It’s about the results.
Part of the problem is we’re buying programs when other people are selling them, not when we’re strategically ready for that approach. We’re literally changing the entire way people are going to consume information online in a subscription model rather than a page you go every time or buy it just in case you’re going to need it. As a friend of ours, Robert Mashon, said that the current model is just in case, like, “I might need Facebook ads one day, I’ll buy it just in case.” It’s a silly way to do it. That way, you can save your money and focus on applying your money in executing the strategies that make sense, testing, and measuring and doing that.
We call that brand Entrepreneur Broadcasting Company because literally we’re going to change the way that broadcasting is done. Your audience could go check it out. All the information is on EntrepreneurBroadcastingCompany.com. We’re super excited about that. This will reverse the failure rate of small business in the world. Right now, two out of three small businesses fail in the first six years. If you don’t know that data point, pay attention. Two out of three fail in the first six years. When I do live events, I number the whole room, one two three, one two three, and I get the ones in threes to stand up and then I have the twos look around and I say, “Twos, your it. Everyone else is gone in six years.”
Statistically that’s the norm. We can change that. It should be one out of three, at most, failing. There’s more information, there’s more knowledge, there’s more technology, there’s more advice, there’s more opportunity, there’s more need for problems being solved than ever before, but the failure rate has changed, because the model in which we consume and learn is broken. We’re buying this information based on someone selling it to us rather than what we strategically need.
Mitch, you’re a strategic thinker. You always look at strategy first. It’s a gift that you’ve obviously honed over the years, but for everyone, you want to think about that and say, “What do I need now? What do I need now strategically? What’s the single most important thing I should be doing the next 90 days, not the next six years, just the next 90 days?” Hone in on that and then go with it. This platform is going to be part of that because our members won’t have to pay every time they take another program. It’s the same price.
Ultimately, what we are starting to understand is that knowledge for the most part is free. What costs money is the implementation. If we shift instead of selling knowledge with selling implementation, then we’re going to bring a lot more people along with us to the to the golden age of success as we together as companies and entrepreneurs grow.
That’s how the world gets changed. It’s not the idea. Sometimes I see this that entrepreneurs are offended, but ideas are literally a dime a dozen. It’s not the idea. It’s the execution on that idea that changes the world in that field. It’s getting results done. Elon Musk had this idea of transforming the whole car world and gambled everything he had on it, then doubled down, then doubled down again and still hadn’t cracked the code. Then Model 3 comes out and he gets 200,000 orders in 24 hours which is billions in sales and the game has changed.
There isn’t even a car showroom on the planet that he needs any more. He could do the whole thing in a completely new and unique way and that’s his way. That’s what you’re doing too, and I love it. Thank you very much for sharing that.
You’re welcome and I love the question. It’s a great question we should all be asking ourselves regularly.
Tom, this has been an unbelievable interview. I knew it was going to be good but I am so thrilled that we had this conversation today. Listeners, if you liked listening to Tom and you felt like you learned something, by all means leave a comment, say something on iTunes or send Tom a note. Tell him how much you enjoyed the show. We both appreciate that. Thank you, Tom.
Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- Tom Matzen
- The Leadership Challenge
- Why “A” Students Work for “C” Students
- Jay Abraham