A great way to elevate your status in the eyes of your prospects and the industry is to get media appearances, especially on TV morning news shows. Who am I to be a pundit on TV, you might ask? Well, to paraphrase Marianne Williamson in one of my favorite quotes from her: “Who are you not to? Your playing small does not serve the world.”
My guest for today is media expert Chris Winfield. Chris is a contributor to Inc. and host of a show for Entrepreneur Magazine. His writings have also appeared in Business Insider and TIME. He’s been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, NBC’s Today Show, USA Today, ABC News, Fast Company, Fox Extra, Forbes and over 200 other media outlets. Chris has shown clients – including people from companies like Disney, Virgin, and Intuit – how to leverage their connections with the media and influencers for credibility, authority and profit. Chris is co-creator of the Be on TV Bootcamp, which is currently open for registration. I even have an affiliate link for you: beontvbootcamp.com/stephan. Feel free to pause this recording and jump on that landing page to sign up, if you’re so inspired.
In this episode, we talk about getting media, getting speaking gigs, the differences in writing directly for media outlets versus being a source or cited expert for their journalists, the power of intention, and how our darkest hour is great fodder for powerful storytelling.
In This Episode
- [00:20] – Stephan introduces his next guest, Chris Winfield, a contributor for INC. and host of a show for Entrepreneur Magazine whose writings appeared in Business Insider, TIME, Buffer and other top-tier publications.
- [01:48] – Stephan wants to know the origin of Chris’ interest in SEO and the lessons and epiphanies in his journey.
- [06:43] – Chris gives examples of the direct benefits of being a celebrity status being on TV, and getting media coverage.
- [10:59] – Stephan and Chris share their thoughts about the difference between writing or being a contributor and being covered as a subject matter expert.
- [15:28] – Chris talks about having a client who was pretty terrified of being on TV and eventually started to accept interviews and became responsible for delivering his message out to the world.
- [19:51] – Stephan shares his concept of HOPE, Help One Person Everyday, and shows up with that intention.
- [21:26] – Chris shares about his events: Unfair Advantage Live and the Be On TV challenge is now which is called Be On TV Bootcamp.
- [30:00] – Stephan shares the concept he learned from James Schramko called mediocre or mildly impressive case study and asks Chris for a more relatable case study than the guy who completely knocked it out of the park and now is America’s life coach.
- [38:54] – Stephan shares his embarrassing life story and the lessons he learned along the way, which gave him perspective.
- [44:21] – Chris also shares his story about his company Blueglass that failed, which led him to realize to be connected with people and be of service to them.
- [52:30] – Join the Be On TV Bootcamp, Chris Winfield’s exclusive 5-day challenge designed to help book TV appearances in less than five days.
Chris, it’s so great to have you on the show.
Great to see you. Great to be here. I’m excited.
I’d love to start with your origin story. How did you go from SEO, because I’ve known you for decades, and pivot to where you are now? And what have been some of them, I don’t know, lessons and epiphanies along the way?
So the first thing to be clear, I was never meant to be an entrepreneur, get into SEO, web design, or any of that stuff. I grew up in a small town in upstate New York, with every person in my family working in a school system. And my only real goal in life, like I wasn’t very driven, was to not work in a school system. Because I hated school, I got in trouble in school all the time, and I just wanted to get a job like a normal job.
I always believed in media, and I always liked two things that grew my companies – media and speaking.
Out of college, I got a job at a web design startup. It was right towards the end of the .com days. And like Razorfish, you remember Razors; it was like trading at like $6 billion or something. And the guys who started it all, like their whole goal was to take this company public and like a lot of them were from like the stock world. I later found out that one of the guys was like the number six guys, Stratton Oakmont, The Wolf of Wall Street, like all this stuff. And none of that materialized, not even really none of that materialized at all. Like the company ran out of money, they stopped paying me, and I eventually left; it wasn’t even right away. I wish I could say that as soon as they stopped paying me, I still believed in the dream.
But then, one day, I was just like, “I’ve had enough. I don’t want to ever rely on somebody else for my paycheck again.” So I started a company, web design and SEO company, because they have been charging a lot of money for these web designs. Like $150,000 for just a web design, it was built on ColdFusion, and they couldn’t do anything; nobody could be found even for their names online. So I was like, “Alright, I got to figure out a way to get people in.” So I figured I started learning everything I could about search engine optimization, which you’re an expert, obviously.
I was doing okay, like barely enough, and I’m okay. I mean, I barely could eat and survive in New York City. One day, I was watching TV, and I was watching CNBC. I see this guy on there. I’m like, “Oh, wow, I like this. I want to buy whatever this guy is selling.” And then I’m like, “I want to be that guy.” And then I realized that TV and media had that effect where you see somebody there, and all of a sudden, something changes in your mind – that branding, trust, and authority. So I was like, “What if I could do this for myself?”
So even back then, this is how I was going to differentiate myself through media. So I started to learn the way I learned everything about SEO that I could. I started to learn everything I could about media. And I have gotten a New York Times article that mentioned my company that I was so proud of. I put that on every like my website ‘as seen in New York Times, blah, blah,’ all these different things. Then the next year, I got into the USA Today article that led to my first multimillion-dollar client, division of Virgin.
The interesting thing was I always believed in media, and I always liked two things that grew my companies – media and speaking. That’s how we know each other from speaking at different places and referrals that would come out of that. So that’s kind of where my road led through a lot of ups and downs but to this whole thing around teaching people how to get in the media and how to leverage that.
Do you remember the person on CNBC that you’re enamored by?
No clue. I have no clue. I wish I did. I was trying to think of it one day, but I’m like, I don’t even remember that at all.
Yeah. Jordan Belfort. Not the movie. But yeah, it was a cool interview. He got a lot of energy and is really smart. I found him to be quite different from the portrayal of him in the movie.
He’s down there in Miami with you now too.
Is he okay?
He just moved there.
Yeah, I had to drive to his location in LA. I was in LA at the time. So it wasn’t a big deal.
He did all his podcast interviews in person. Anyway, let’s talk about some practical applications of developing this celebrity status by being on TV and getting media coverage. What are some of the direct benefits that our listeners would expect to receive? Maybe give a few examples of things you’ve gotten in your experience.
When I started, I had no money and no connections. I hadn’t networked when I was at that job. And I went to like a school in upstate New York, and I hardly was there and all these different things. So I had no money and no connections. And then there were like a million zillion other web design companies and search engine optimization companies out there. And so what I was thinking about, and why I wanted to leverage the media back then, this is like 2000 to 2003, because I wanted to stand out from everyone else.
If you think about it, if you’re looking at two different people, two different consultants. Let’s say two different SEO consultants, and there’s Person A. You look Person A up online, and they have their website, and they have some testimonials and stuff like that, but nothing else. Then you go to person B. Person B, you see all these different news clippings come up for them, you see that they’ve been featured on CNBC, they’ve been on Good Morning America, they’ve been on all these different things. You will pick Person B; like all other things are the same. You’re going to pick Person B because they have that trust, and they’re that recognized expert from the media. So that’s one of the things that is still so unbelievably powerful.
So people thinking about it, bringing it up to today, it’s easy to get lots of followers on social media all these different things, but it’s not as easy to get verified. What do you take to get verified? Well, most of the time, it takes being in the news. So it takes that you’re a noteworthy person. And that’s the way that they can judge that. When you’re thinking about it from that perspective, that is so unbelievably powerful. Because then the other thing is, you see this all the time with like people’s landing pages, or their ads where it’ll show like the Forbes logo and said, “As seen in Forbes,” or it’ll have something that the writer called it, “The most innovative product of 2022.”
It’s really around building up your credibility and showing that you have a body of work around being a subject matter expert.
What happens when somebody is looking at that ad, or when they see that on that landing page, something happens. It’s much more different than if that company themselves have said, “We have the most innovative product of 2022.” All right, of course, you’re going to say that, but then with the inherent even with all the craziness like around the media but there’s still that inherent trust and inherent authority that comes along with that. That stands out. That helps to inform a buying decision helps gain more trust and authority. And also, if it’s just a person, it helps to become that recognized expert.
It is a huge credibility booster. It’s a way to provide your prospect with social proof because then they don’t have to do so much due diligence on you. If the New York Times thinks you’re awesome, then you’re probably pretty awesome.
Exactly. I just want to give you one of my favorite examples of a friend of both of ours. Neil Patel. Neil is one of the best marketers out there. And definitely, when it comes to direct response, he is being very smart with how he does things. If you go to neilpatel.com and look at Neil’s bio, I think it’s approximately four lines long. In the first two lines, he mentions four different publications – New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Entrepreneur Magazine. Why is Neil Patel, somebody who invests so much in ads and content, doing that? Because he knows that if somebody hasn’t heard of him, there’s a lot of people that they are going to have heard of those different places, and they’re going to think differently about him.
So Neil, by the way, was on this podcast a couple of times. So what’s the difference between writing for an outlet, let’s say, Forbes or Entrepreneur, and being covered in there as a source or subject matter expert? There’s a big difference in my view, but I want to hear from you.
Sure. So the way I look at writing or being a contributor, there are many things around that. So it’s really around building up your credibility and showing that you have a body of work around being a subject matter expert. For example, when I have started a new business around productivity and personal development, I wasn’t known for either of those things. And I had to do things to get known for them and build up my expertise. So one of the things that I invested heavily in terms of my time was writing for all these different places and not doing the easy thing, which would have been writing about marketing, SEO, and all these things that I had already done.One day, I decided I didn't want to ever rely on somebody else for my paycheck again. So that's when I started a company. Click To Tweet
On top of that, I am also getting ancillary coverage so other coverage from people to write about me. But I think it shows the authority; it shows that you are a subject matter expert when you are a contributor and when you can consistently write what you’re talking about. Do you know what I mean? Like that somebody can go and see. It also becomes a great thing for prospecting; it becomes a great thing for closing sales. I also found it a great thing for building my list because I could always answer I’d have somebody answer a question.
I’d get so many questions. So I’m just like, “Hey, check out this article I wrote on Ink on this subject.” Now, that does a whole bunch of cool things to somebody in terms of moving them faster into your orbit, into your trust because they’re like, “Wow, alright, he answered my question. And he’s a writer for INC. And he knows what he’s talking about here.” So what’s your take?
Yeah, so my thought about this is, if you’re contributing on an ongoing basis, as a columnist, that gives you a certain air of expertise and authority, maybe not as much celebrity status but an authority and a go-to person on the topic. If you’re a one-off contributor, that might be a fluke, it might be calling in favor with somebody or something, right? So it’s not as big of a deal.
You have a responsibility to get your message out there into the world, whatever way that is.
Being a subject matter expert referenced in somebody else’s article gives you the ability not just to mention, as seen on and whatever the publication has. But actually, quote from the article itself, which you wouldn’t be able to do when you’re the contributor of the piece of content. So if the New York Times said, “Chris Winfield best guy slice sliced bread,” or something like that. I could use that if I’m you, I could use that on the website and credit that to the New York Times. So those are some of the things that come to my mind, off the top of my head.
Yeah, and one of the other things just for people. There’s also a great connection building as a contributor, as somebody being – you’re meeting lots of different people. And it’s the same thing with a podcast; it’s a great way to go deeper with connections, it’s a great way to network. So it’s very similar in that regard if you’re somebody who’s going to be looking to interview people, looking to get quotes which I would recommend.
That’s a great point. I had powerful conversations with folks who have a full schedule, who would never take a call or an email even from the CEO of an SEO company or whatever. But because I have a podcast with all these big-name guests that I’ve had on, like Tim Ferriss, Dave Asprey, Seth Godin, Jay Abraham, Dan Kennedy – I can name drop some big names depending on whatever what the topic is, whether it’s health, or business, or SEO, or whatever. So that’s really cool.
One thing that that I would love to hear from you is if you’re focused on TV and you have a fear of being on TV. Like no problem getting in front of a camera for a YouTube video or a podcast episode, whether you’re the guest or you’re the interviewer. But some people are pretty terrified about being on TV, especially if it’s live. So can you talk about that?
Yeah, so a couple of things that we help people with this. So with our agency, my partner, Jen Gottlieb, my fiancee in real life. Outside of work, she’s also my partner. Her title in our company, she’s co-founder and CMO, Chief Mindset Officer. What we found is that it doesn’t matter who it is, like everyone has struggled with a lot of the same things. She used to be a host on a VH1 show where they interviewed like the top rock stars in the world. And she said the main question that they would ask her when they got done with the interview was, “Was that good enough?” Here are people that are making millions, hundreds of millions, every play out in front of these 1000s of people in concert, and still worried about, “Oh, did I come off good enough?”
Here are a couple of ways that we help people with this. One, I actually just posted about this today; it is the idea that you have responsibility. You have a responsibility to get your message out there into the world, whatever way that is. For many people, the way that they’re going to find you is through TV.
Let me give you an example of this. We had this one client, a very successful doctor. She had a practice, and she had a product company. She was also a mother of six adopted kids – this is like a superwoman. But she also had a deathly fear of being on TV. So she had come to one of our events because she kept hearing about us. She started working with us. And I remember when we first got her booked on TV the first time, she literally made herself sick. That got into her mind so much that she called out and said, “I can’t do this interview,” and have to cancel the interview and all of this.
Finally, through working with her, getting her to understand like, “Alright, listen, it’s not about you, like, bah, bah, bah.” She started to do interviews. And she said, the one day that all completely changed for her was she got a message from a mother. The doctor went on TV talking about how different foods affect the brain, and she got a message from this mother, and the mother said, “I have a suicidal teen. She tried to kill herself multiple times. I just never heard anyone talk about that. Can I bring her in to see you now?” She literally saved this girl’s life. The girl is not suicidal anymore. She’s thriving in school. She said right then it hit her like, “It’s not about me. It’s not about my fear. It’s about my responsibility to get my message out there.”
The way that we make this is easy for people to remember. And I think about this all the time is four letters, H-O-P-E, so Help One Person Everyday. If I get up and I go to speak at somewhere, let’s say I get on stage and I’m like, “Okay, I got to make sure every single person in here loves me, and that they all leave thinking it’s not going to work and there’s going to be somebody hates me, there’s gonna be this.” But if I think about, “All right, I just need to help one person. One person out there needs my message.” So then you take that same exact idea. So same exact thing to TV, you don’t make it about you, you make it about the person you’re going to help.
Now the cool thing about this is like then tying this in with your responsibility because if you don’t then they’re going to go, they’re going to buy, or they’re going to do something with somebody who’s not as good as you, who doesn’t care as much, and who’s not going to be able to get them the results that you can. So they’re your responsibility. When we flip it around like that and make people realize, “Wow, alright, it doesn’t matter. I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to try to be like some talking head. I can just be myself, get on there, share my experience, share my hope, and share my message.” Boom! That changes the game.
God speaks to me and through me.
I love that. That’s not too dissimilar from the concept that I apply in my life. I love this idea of HOPE, Help One Person Everyday, and just show up with that intention. My intention in everything I do and keep reminding myself that because I’ll forget, I’ll just go into autopilot, just like all of us. But the intention for me is to reveal light. To reveal light in this podcast interview, to reveal light when I get on stage to give a speech, when I go on TV, when I interviewed on someone else’s podcast, when I’m meeting one-on-one with a client or meeting with a prospect. How am I going to reveal light? Usually, or at least just have that intention to reveal light and the “how” usually just shows up.
I love that; that’s my takeaway for the day, the entire day. I’ll reveal light. It’s very, very simple. I’m going to remember that. A mentor of mine once told me when I was getting ready to speak to all these finance guys and a couple of billionaires in that room. And it was something I just started speaking about, and I was really nervous. And this mentor of mine told me something that I always say as well, and he said, “Here’s what I want you to say right before you go in. ‘God speaks to me and through me.’” Very, very simple. So it’s the same thing with revealing light. I love that so much.
I learned about revealing light and that concept and all the how-to have it from Kabbalah classes. Love it.
Now, let’s talk a bit about your events. You mentioned that you’re doing these events, this woman was one of your students, and she made herself sick, and then you helped her get through that. But what goes on in these events? Is this media training? Is it getting them to put a perfect pitch together that they can put in front of TV producers? Is it they’re rehearsing, getting their pitches in front of the TV producers? Is that all the above? Like, how does this all work?You have a responsibility to get your message out there into the world, whatever way that is. Click To Tweet
All right, so there are two different sides. So one side and where this company we grew out of with something called Unfair Advantage Live is an event that we do here in New York City. And literally, this is where this all came from. So I was in a small mastermind, still am, it is called The Dad Mastermind. Is me, a guy named Jonathan Fields, who you probably know through the podcasting world. He has a very successful podcast called the Good Life Project. A guy named Todd Herman, who wrote a book called The Alter Ego Effect. He is one of the best performance coaches in the world. And the guy named Ryan Lee has a supplement company called Rewind.
Anyway, we would meet once a month, and we’re all dads, and we’re all entrepreneurs. And one of the best things about surrounding yourself with people that can see things that you can when you surround yourself with the right people. So they looked at me one day, and I was doing this company, it was a personal development productivity company, it was doing well. But I didn’t absolutely love what I was doing. It was just something that I had gotten really passionate about.
And I was like, “Alright, I’m going to build a business around this.” So they looked at me, and they said, “Chris, why are you not teaching people what you know best?” And I’ll say, “What do you mean by that?” Like, “Well, anytime that we describe you to people, we call you our unfair advantage.” I was like, “Well, what does that mean?” They said, “Well, you could take out your phone, you could text somebody and like to get media, to get a book agent, to anything like in 30 seconds, and it would take us like six months.”
And I was like, “It’s really interesting,” and it was all around like just relationships and connections, and everything like that. And really the part that Todd keyed in on was around the media part. And besides, I’d been doing some of that as well with people helping them. And I realized that it’s like one of those things where if it’s you too close to it, you just figure everyone’s good at it. Everyone knows how to create those connections. Everyone knows how to message for, write a pitch, or whatever.
That’s a real gift. It’s a real gift, and you have it. It’s like, what’s the expression? I don’t know who discovered water, but it wasn’t a fish.
Exactly. I helped Todd a lot with an event that he had without expecting anything in return.
In fact, you spoke at the one that I attended a few years.
Yeah, so I’ve helped him with that one, getting lots of people in there, all this stuff speaking. So he’s like, “I got to repay you, let’s do this event together, Unfair Advantage Live.” So he had this, he had a mastermind that met on a Monday and a Wednesday, so they would come in once a quarter. So he said, “Let’s do it on a Tuesday.” And he’s like, “I’ll promote it to my list. I got other people that promote it.” And it sold right from the beginning it was a fairly premium price the ban, like at one day was like $3,500, or something like that.
One of the main things people want is to be on TV, which is like a goal for many people.
And I was doing this without thinking, “Alright, here, there’s a business behind this or anything.” I’m like, I’m just following the flow of life here. So did this, taught people just like the basics, also brought in experts, and then at night brought together all kinds of different people from the media to make connections. Crazy things happen from their like connection, people got into media, all these things. Everyone kept saying, “What can I buy from you?” I was like, “There’s nothing to buy.”
So I just then decided to do another one. That was two days. And that that one, people kept saying, like, “What can I buy?” “I’ll do a VIP day with you.” So eventually, after the third one or before the third one, I realized there’s something here. People keep asking, one of the things that you – if you listen to customers, they’ll tell you what they need. So I created a program around this; I hired somebody, I actually hired Jen’s best friend, I poached her away from one of the big PR agencies. She still runs our agency to this day.
Then eventually that summer, Jen and I decided, let’s get together. We’re going to create an agency, this whole company around it that became super connected media. Now, we start so up until 2019. So 2019, like about 80% of our revenue came from live events. So either the three live events that we did that year or speaking at like about 550 other stages.
Then in 2020, this thing called Coronavirus comes. And we have our event scheduled for May of 2020 in New York City. So, May of 2020 in New York City is not happening anywhere, so we had to think about, “Alright, what are we going to do to change that?” Because that’s a significant hit. So what we did was we created this bootcamp at the time; it was called the Be On TV challenge is now the Be On TV Bootcamp. You can check it out beontvbootcamp.com/Stephan. There are some cool things on your page.
That’s my affiliate link too. Ka-ching!
Yeah, the beontvbootcamp.com/stephan.Opportunities begin to pop up because of the law of reciprocity; If you're putting it out there, it's going to come back to you in some way. Click To Tweet
Alright, so anyway, what we did was we started to think about, alright, what are people really like, when they come to us like what’s one of the main things that they want from us, and so we listed all these things, talk to a lot of different people, customers, etc. And one of the main things that people want is to be on TV, which is like a goal for a lot of people. There’s a higher barrier to entry than getting into an online publication or something like that. So, what we did was we just sat down, and we’re like, “Alright, if we had five days and five hours to teach this to somebody, what would we do?”
So the first day deals with mindset. The second day deals with getting clear. The third day gets clear on their own messaging. Like the third day alone is like it blows people’s minds. The fourth day is to give them an actual pitch, pitches that we use for our agency, plug and play like Mad Libs. Then on the fifth day is how to bring it all together and use your network to get booked. And from the beginning, the results were just out of control. So like people were getting on TV before it was even over, there was like this one doctor. I remember like, on the fifth day, she was like, “I was on the TV yesterday.” I’m like, “We’re not even done yet.”
In a cool story of this one guy, Dr. Stephen Lovegrove, the previous year, he had paid a PR agency about 60 grand, and his only dream was being on TV. Like he knew he could be an amazing media personality that could help him grow his business. He was a life coach; it still is. And the 60 grand that he pays to this agency, they get him nothing at the end of the year. They’re like, “Alright, you’re the problem. You’re going to have to change if we’re going to continue to work together. You’re going to have to change how you show up; we can’t book you because it’s on you.”
This exercise helps people realize how absolutely amazing and powerful they are and look at their accomplishments.
Now what we always say is the opposite; like we say, “Be the most you. Don’t try to be like anyone else.” Anyway, he was broken. He heard about our bootcamp through somebody like Scott Oldford or somebody and wound up going through it. He didn’t say a word the entire time; that weekend got booked on his hometown. Then the following weekend, he got booked on CNN. Then in that first year alone, he got booked on like 250 different media and TV appearances, including his dream to be on Hallmark Home & Family, became a recurring guest there.
He just did his own event, where it became his own media event. So, he had over a billion impressions like it was covered by every single outlet, you can imagine, and he’s known as America’s life coach, and like that trends, and it’s just wild. So, that’s the bootcamp. We do it all virtually; it’s all done right through Zoom and Facebook, and all this. And it’s absolutely amazing.
So there’s this concept I learned from James Schramko. He’s one of my coaches, and he calls it something like the mediocre or mildly impressive case study. So if somebody here’s a case study where this person went from nowhere to like, billionaire, nowhere to being on Good Morning America, then the listeners or the viewers, often thinks so, “Good for them. You know, that’s not me, though. I could never do that.” Yeah, wildly impressive, or just kind of mediocre case study. Sounds like, “Oh, they got a 30% increase in sales. Like, I could probably do that too.” “Like, what were the techniques that person used?” Right. So do you have a less amazing, more relatable case study than this guy who completely knocked it out of the park, and now is America’s life coach?
Yeah, let me share a completely different way. So one of the things is that we always say that we’re a PR agency, but we’re secretly a personal development company. We just use media as the gateway. So let me give you a different example.
There was this woman, Brenda. She had been in the army, and she had been sexually assaulted in the army, and she also was a black woman. She started to have major PTSD during everything that had gone on with George Floyd. At the same time, her husband also asked for a divorce after 20+ years. And Brenda was ready to end her life. She called the suicide hotline. And she talked to a guy on the suicide hotline, and he convinced her, and the thing that he persuaded her to stick around with was, “Just look for something tomorrow that piqued your interest and just do it, regardless of what it is. Just jump into it.” So she’s like, “Alright, I’ll give it one day.”
She gets an email from somebody who had been through our program, this guy named Neil Gordon. And she clicks through to the links, and she sees me and Jen on the pages, and she’s like, “Oh my God, these two happy people I hate them, but I’m signing up anyway.” She’s like, “I don’t want to be on TV. I don’t care, but it’s something for me to do.” So she shows up on the first day. She talks about this all the time now. She like had her camera on because we always want people out there camera and she’s like, “I didn’t have my hair done, anything! Like I just like hey, the thing they get on there, so like shiny and happy and blah, blah…” She’s like, “I wanted to hate them but something kept me listening.”
And then we had this great exercise that we had people do on that first day. And she did it for whatever reason; she actually did it. Often, people won’t do stuff, don’t follow through, she did. And this is an exercise that helps people realize how absolutely amazing, how powerful they are, and look at their accomplishments. And for whatever reason, that just completely changed her life. So she started bawling.
She said she was in her driveway, reading this and what we always ask people to go on Facebook Live talk about this. So she goes on live on our actual page; I think it was maybe the first time she’d gone live. For many people who come through and do the bootcamp, that’s actually quite normal, where they’ve never even press go live on Instagram, Facebook, or anything like that. So she goes live, and she’s like bawling, and you know, just like, because she feels like she got her life back. And she realized how much of a badass she was.
And so here’s where it always gets interesting because it’s not about that one person. So it’s amazing, like, yes with her. But what happened was, she got a message the next day from a woman who said, “I wanted to thank you. Because this morning, for the first time in four years, I got up and made my kids breakfast.” She said, “You see, four years ago, my son committed suicide, and I haven’t been able to get out of bed.” She said, “I saw your Facebook Live, and it completely changed how I was thinking. It made me stop pitying myself, it made me get up and my kids. I want to thank you because my kids have their mom back.”
Now, when I first heard that, like, when she shared that at the end of that first bootcamp, you know, that just like that, that blew me away, and I won’t even go tell you all the things that she’s gone on to be able to do. Because just from that stuck jumping-off point. But that’s also the stuff that happens, where because one of our core values, our company is called Super Connector Media is connection. And right now, especially more than ever, people need connection. People need safe spaces where they’re able to connect, where they’re able to be themselves, where they’re able to express their gifts. And that’s what we also provide.
That’s amazing. I love that story. Thank you for sharing it. One thing that comes to my mind, as you recall everything that happened with Brenda, is that when you’re in service to others instead of focusing on yourself, that’s when you can break out of the depression or suicidal thoughts because you’re focused on others. And it’s tough to be self-absorbed when you’re focused on others. And it sounds like that catapulted her into that service mode what you did for her.
Exactly. And so interesting, too, because that’s one of the things that we talked about in terms of entrepreneurs especially are so bad at asking for help. But they love being of service and love helping people. And the reframe I’m asking for help is like, don’t deprive other people that give. So like, if it’s somebody that you know cares about you in some way, like ask them for help, like be able to do that. And it’s a great reframe.
And when you’re not showing up powerfully, people are dying, which could be literal. In your case, if you had taken a different tack and not show it up powerfully, not taking the risks that you took and gotten back on the horse time and time again. You didn’t have Super Connector Media, and you didn’t have your bootcamps. Brenda’s life may have ended. You’re essentially an intervention for her.
And you’ve mentioned Jonathan Fields earlier; he’s in your Dad Mastermind. Something he shared that was really profound, raw, and vulnerable of him to share. He talked about how he was suicidal. I don’t know if you know this story or not, but the tinnitus the ringing in his ears was getting to him so badly that he wanted to end his life. And whatever he tried, he couldn’t get rid of it. In fact, to this day, I believe he still has it. So what happened, he tried one of the many things, he tried was mindfulness meditation. And through that, that was the gateway. The tinnitus was the gateway to a big spiritual awakening and opening for him that he quotes Joseph Campbell.
Joseph Campbell said, “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life, where you stumbled there lies your treasure, the very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for. The damn thing in the cave that was so dreaded has become the center, you find the jewel, and it draws you off” So beautiful. Tinnitus for him was the jewel. It didn’t look that way when he first experienced it. It got him to the brink, almost to the point of taking his own life, but he didn’t. Beautiful things have happened because of tinnitus and in his experience, and how he’s shared mindfulness and these kinds of epiphanies that he’s received with his audience.
And were you aware of that story?
Yeah. One of the things that we only say is your message. We think that if anyone knew about this, they would think so much less than me or whatever. Those are usually the things people identify with and relate to, and that’s a great example.
I just want to learn again; I want to connect with people. I want to be of service.
Some stories come to my mind to have what things I would be unwilling to share, making me uncomfortable to share. But then I loosened up and became more vulnerable and found that it was really helpful. And one of those stories for me is when I landed my first two big clients was where I put myself out there. And I embarrassed myself essentially, with well, let me just briefly share what happened. And then you tell me if it’s something that I should have hidden because I have never spoken about it for 20 years. And then, in the last few years, I decided, “You know what, there are some good lessons in this.”
I got my first two big clients by talking my way into a conference back in 1995, called How To Market On The Internet. And the speakers were really big-name people like GM McConnell, founder of Motor Media. And I was a lowly volunteer. They gave me the job of mic runner. And I remember, it was a panel. GM was one of the speakers on the panel and a few other big-name folks. And I was this cheeky 24-year-old at the time, and I had the mic, and I’m running around, and I’m decided I can actually chime in and help answer these questions, which I did. And I didn’t feel inappropriate. I was just a cheeky 24-year-old who thought that I was adding value. And I was, I got a huge stack of business cards from doing that. And two of those ended up being worth half a million dollars in customer lifetime value each so that was a million dollars from me putting myself out there. And I was also disinvited from day two of the conference by the conference organizer. The speakers were so pissed at me.
Oh My God! I love that. I’m sorry. I mean, I think there’s nothing to be embarrassed about with that. I think that’s how so many great companies’ origin stories start. So I love it.
Oh, my goodness, I was so mortified. I had no idea this was coming. When I was disinvited by the conference organizer, I was devastated. I felt alienated.
Yeah, of course.People need safe spaces where they're able to connect, where they're able to be themselves, where they're able to express their gifts. Click To Tweet
I mean, it was just, it was a huge ego hit. And yet, what a gift. All of it was a gift. Being disinvited was a gift because that gave me perspective. And it gave me the ability to tell a story where sometimes you put yourself out there, and you get smacked, but you do it anyway because it serves the greater good. It serves your higher purpose and mission.
Ironically, the same conference organization that put that event on contacted me a few months after and invited me to speak at How to Market Educational Programs on the Internet. And I chaired that conference, it was a much smaller event, but I chaired that. I did a general session, so I spoke, and I did a post-conference workshop. So I was like a big headliner for that particular conference. And clearly, the two conference organizers didn’t speak to each other. Like, “Oh, no, don’t get this guy…”
He was so good.
To be invited back, right. So that was a fun. I don’t know if it was coincidences in the maybe the right term, more of synchronicity that happened that it was the same conference organization, it was kind of like, a thumbs up from the universe saying, “It’s all good.”
You did good. Just put yourself out there take risks. So yeah, kind of gets back to the original points of how you got started and made a big splash through media and speaking, and speaking was how we ended up meeting, and I’ll tell you, I was a terrible speaker. Terrible. When I chaired that event, that was one of my first speaking gigs. And I was awful at speaking, and I was even worse at sharing. Because chairing, you have to be really on it, like, great transitions, keep track at the time, keep people’s energy up. That I was a terrible chairperson and also a really bad speaker. But it galvanized me to just keep at it.
One funny thing that happens when you’re a speaker for one big organization, in this case, it was like EPC; all the other competitor organizations start poaching you as a speaker for their events. So I got calls from IIR from all these different organizations. And I just said yes to everything because I knew I had to keep at it until I was really good. Because I would suck if I just gave up, I have to keep going. If you’re going through hell, keep going.
Sharpens steel. Keep going. Exactly. I love that.
Do you have any crazy stories like that that I don’t know?
I’m a million different ones, wherever you want to go. For me, the one that you’re familiar with, we had this company Blueglass that I was a co-founder of and a bunch of other companies. And it looked great on the outside, it was a mess on the inside, and a spectacular failure. And I put so much money into that, and time, and also you talk about ego, really define myself around that. And when that failed, one of the things, and this amazing thing happened to me. I was on a call, it was like a Saturday, late afternoon, and I’m on this call, and I forget who I was talking to with something about this, and trying to figure shit out, and blah, blah, blah is like the most important call in the world.It's easy to get many followers on social media, but it's challenging to get verified. Click To Tweet
And again, like if you gave me $10 million right now, I couldn’t tell you who I was talking to or what I was talking about? So it’s like such a great reminder about how things like that aren’t as important as they seem. And that and I was very disconnected from people and like I really, like more focused behind my computer and just not feeling connected at all, and it was obvious. And my daughter, who was the most important person in the world to me, was three at the time; her name is Vivian.
So I’m talking on the phone, she walks down, and we’re living in Tampa, Florida at that time, it’s an office down there, and she walks in. She’s like, “Daddy, I’m hungry. Can you…” and I don’t know how well she said it. But I’m like, “Just one minute.” And she’s like; she knew that that one minute it was more of like 5 or 20 minutes. So she says it to me again. She’s like, “Daddy, I’m hungry.” And I was like, “One minute, one minute.” And so she’s like, alright, so she goes over the refrigerator. She like opens it up. She grabs a piece of pizza that was on one of those lower shelves, and she looks at me again, like, “Are you gonna let this happen? Are you going to be okay with this?” And I’m like, very engrossed in the call, but like now like, halfway, just like just paying attention to her.
Your ego is not your amigo.
So she goes over, gets a chair, pushes it up to like the counter gets played out, moves it over, and pushes it up to where the microwave is. And she likes pressing a bunch of buttons, like, puts a pizza in there. And she’s literally like cooking her dinner. And she’s three. And I, for whatever reason, probably 100, things like that, it probably happened in my life up until that time with her. But for whatever reason, at that moment, that just hit me because I was like, “Alright, if this is the most important person in the world to me, and she feels like, she can’t count on me, she feels like she’s not connected to me, like, how am I showing up in life.”
I literally hung up that phone call in the middle of it, and I just sat down; I was like, “There has to be a better way. I have to change everything about how I do things.” And so one was around my relationship with her; we have such an unbelievable relationship now.
I just want to learn again; I want to connect with people. I want to be of service. You talked about getting outside of yourself; when you’re in your worst time being of service is the easiest way to do that the most effective way to do that. So I started this experiment where I promised myself. I’m going to meet one person every day, whether that was a meeting in person, or phone call if it had to be, or Skype. Zoom wasn’t around at the time, so there are three rules; to meet one person every day, be open, honest, and vulnerable with them.
Up until that point, I never would have said like, “I was scared about this or didn’t know how to do that, or whatever.” My ego was always in the way; your ego is not your amigo. And then the third thing was just figure out how I can help that person. So without even asking them, just like figure out what I could do to help that person. So I started doing this and did it every single day. I think for like 727 days, I don’t even know something crazy. And I met with people like Arthur Sulzberger, who owns the New York Times, or Jonathan Tisch, who owns Loews Hotels. But I also met with people who had nothing and like everyone in between, which started to change my life.
All these opportunities started to pop up because of the law of reciprocity. I don’t even know about this; if you’re putting it out there, it’s going to come back to you in some way. And like my favorite quote of all time is the Steve Jobs quote, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backward.” So I didn’t know that all these things like that would happen. And I didn’t know that now like I would be known as a super-connector, the company called Super Connector Media, doing all this, but it all started from there. It started from being at that spot where I was just like, “I don’t know, like, I’m so disconnected.” I have nothing like, let me just be of service to people. Let me just be curious about people. Let me just be open, honest, and vulnerable with people and see what happens.
That’s great. Now, you mentioned Steve Jobs. You know, Steve Jobs, his favorite book, he gave it to everybody that came to visit him, you know about that book?
Autobiography of a Yogi or Yogananda, have you heard of this?
Yes, I have heard of it. So it’s funny because I’m not a huge Steve Jobs fan or anything. And like, I just love the quote so much. It’s from 2008 commencement speech at Stanford, but I have heard of that book. Have you read it?People need safe spaces where they're able to connect, where they're able to be themselves, where they're able to express their gifts. Click To Tweet
I’ve read bits of it, and I intend to read it. But I have also learned a bit about Yogananda from visiting his self-realization center in the LA area and watching the Netflix documentary. I think it’s called Awake. It’s really good. So I’ll include the show notes; it’s pretty amazing. What’s in that book is about Babaji, for example, somebody you’ll learn about in the book if you read it. Autobiography of Yogananda.
So that’s what popped in my mind about Steve Jobs. And another thing that popped into my mind, when you were talking about your three-year-old, interrupting your all-important interview, or meeting, or whatever was happening on Skype that reminded me of the infamous BBC interview of Professor Robert Kelly getting interrupted by his two children and then the babysitter running after though.
I love that. See, here’s the amazing thing about that, like where people are so worried about something like that happening, but that humanized him that, he’s more known for that than anything else ever in his life.
Well, he would have done much better to have welcomed that child with open arms rather than pushing the child away. And so he did get a lot of bad PR for a while for that, but then he was kind of just, I don’t know, an example to put out there of like media interviews gone wrong. If everything you do, going back to something I said earlier, is focused on revealing light, then getting interrupted by your child during an all-important media interview on Zoom or whatever, is not going to lead to the bad example of Professor Kelly.
It’s going to be like, “Okay, Come here, honey. We’re live in front of millions of people.” But you’re going to operate from a place of open-heartedness and loving-kindness. And so I think that’s kind of the moral of the story for pretty much everything that you do. That’s it. Now, I know we’re out of time. If our listeners or viewers are interested in taking the bootcamp on How To Be On TV, where do they go? And also, if they’re interested in using your agency’s services or just following you on social and learning from the stuff you put out there, where should they go?
Yeah, so for the bootcamp, here’s what I would recommend doing. Go here right now, don’t delay, don’t put it off beontvbootcamp.com/stephan. And if you want to connect with me, I’m at Chris Winfield on just about every social platform, and we’d love to love to connect and meet Stephan’s audience and community.
Awesome, and Super Connector Media, where do they go to learn more about your agents?
Superconnectormedia.com or same thing Super Connector Media is pretty much in all social media. Awesome.
Thank you, Chris.
And thank you, listeners. This is inspiring and vulnerable, and raw, and just good stuff. So be like that in the world. And we’ll catch you in the next episode. I’m your host, Stephan Spencer, signing off.
Facebook – Chris Winfield
Instagram – Chris Winfield
Twitter – Chris Winfield
LinkedIn – Chris Winfield
YouTube – Chris Winfield
Dan Kennedy – previous episode
Dave Asprey – previous episode
Jay Abraham – previous episode 207
Jay Abraham – previous episode 8
Neil Patel – previous episode
Seth Godin – previous episode
Tim Ferriss – previous episode
Todd Herman – GYO previous episode
BBC interview – Robert Kelly interview
Wolf’s Den Podcast – Stephan’s interview
INBOUND Bold Talks – Jonathan Fields
Your Checklist of Actions to Take
Set myself apart from the competition and boost my authority by getting featured on major media outlets.
Curate an outstanding pitch that showcases and highlights my expertise. Make sure to include my short bio, talking points or interview topics, contact details, as seen on logos, and client testimonials.
Aside from media appearances, get booked for speaking gigs as well. Find appropriate statewide and nationwide conferences in my niche and pitch myself as a guest speaker.
Keep widening my network and improving my connections. Saying hi and engaging in small talk at events isn’t enough. Be intentional in my conversations and make the experience worthwhile.
Boost my social media presence. Follower count plays a huge role in discerning one’s authority but getting verified is another level. Work to obtain a blue check beside my name.
Write for major content websites. Being a contributor on sites like Huffington Post, Medium, Inc., Forbes, etc., will emphasize how I’m the subject matter expert in my field.
Hold events aside from attending them. Amplify my reach and strengthen my credibility by organizing my event. It can be a mastermind, retreat, or workshop.
Take note of the mantra, HOPE, aka Help One Person Every Day. Having this in mind is a good reminder that it only takes helping one person daily- I don’t have to conquer the world in 24 hours.
Don’t be discouraged if things don’t seem right at the start. It’s ok not to excel on the first try. But don’t let this be a reason for giving up, and just keep polishing my skills.
Join the Be On TV Bootcamp, Chris Winfield’s exclusive 5-day challenge designed to help me book my (first) or next TV appearance in less than five days.
About Chris Winfield
Chris is a contributor for INC. and host of a show for Entrepreneur Magazine. His writings have also appeared in Business Insider, TIME, Buffer and other top-tier publications. Chris has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, NBC’s Today Show, USA Today, ABC News, Fast Company, Fox Extra, Forbes and over 200 other media outlets. Chris has shown clients – including people from companies like Disney, Bai Brands, Virgin, Intuit, Cali’Flour Foods and countless high profile entrepreneurs & authors – how to leverage their connections with the media and influencers for credibility, authority & profit.