S: Welcome to Episode 111 of Marketing Speak. In today’s episode, we’re going to talk a lot about podcasting, also how to build a personal brand, and be a more conscious marketer. My guest today is Cliff Ravenscraft. Cliff produced more than 30 of his own podcast shows with over 3,600 of his own podcast episodes devoted to business, technology, entertainment, family, and faith. In December 2006, Cliff launched podcastanswerman.com where he has since helped tens of thousands of individuals and organizations successfully launch a podcast through one-on-one coaching, his Podcasting A to Z online group coaching course, and his digital training tutorials. If you were to look up the top 100 podcasts in the business category of iTunes, more than 50 of these shows were created by clients who worked with Cliff. Cliff, it’s great to have you on the show.
C: Stephan, I am so honored and delighted to be here. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to be in front of your community.
S: This is a real honor. You’re the Podcast Answer Man, I would be remiss to not start by talking about how can somebody take their podcast to the next level. Let’s just that get that right out of the way and start talking about podcasting.
C: I started podcasting as a hobby back in December 2005 about the TV show Lost. I had one of those very unusual stories where I showed up at the right time with the right subject matter. By my third episode, I had an audience of 17,000 subscribers, which by the way, just for full transparency, that does not happen for hardly anyone ever in the world of podcasting but it did for me back in December 2005. I grew that audience to 60,000 people around the world. The kind of stuff that my wife and I got to talk about, about this TV show Lost, there were episodes titled All Good Cowboys Have Daddy Issues. Of course, as you can imagine, my wife and I each had a few of our own daddy issues that we could relate to so we got to share some personal stories related to that. There was an episode called Tabula Rasa which is starting over with a clean slate. We talked about how we’ve had opportunities to move beyond our past and create the future of our dreams. We got to talk about living debt free, marital issues, there was an episode titled The 23rd Song where they actually misquoted intentionally The 23rd Song. It got us an opportunity to talk about faith. Through this podcast about a TV show, we were actually getting feedback about how our conversations in this podcast was having a radical, profound, positive, and powerful impact in the lives of the people who are listening. After the course of about six or eight months, this thought crept into my mind. Stephan, it was a thought that, to be honest with you, produced a ton of fear and anxiety. That thought was, “I wonder what life would be like if I could do this for a living instead? Creating content that entertains, educates, encourages and inspires other people around the world.” I didn’t wanna speak that thought out loud for the longest time but then eventually the dream would not go away. I started talking to my wife about it, I started talking to some other people about it. Eventually enough people convinced me that this is what I should be doing with my life. After a certain period of time, even though I had a very successful career as an insurance agent for 12 years in a family run insurance agency that I was due to take over, it became clear to me that this is what I should be doing with my life. My hobby of a podcast turned into a full time career in January 2008. Since 2008, I’ve been known as the Podcast Answer Man. I’ve trained tens of thousands of people around the world how to successfully launch a podcast. More specifically, the thing that I love is taking people who have had their message out into the world realizing that, “I wonder what life would be like if I could do this for a living.” Now I’m helping them transition out of the unfulfilling day job into a profitable online business doing the work they feel most called to do in the world. That’s what podcasting has done for me.
S: I love your story. I never get tired hearing about it, I’ve heard you speak several times and you do share that story. I love it. People wanna hear your story of struggle, they don’t wanna just hear about your successes. Brendon Burchard talks about this, you just have to share the real and the raw, in his case the car accident and almost dying that night. Have you heard Brendon tell that story?
C: Yeah. He wrote a book a while ago something about the millionaire messenger or something like that. That story was in there.
S: It’s a powerful story. In fact, storytelling is really, I call the cornerstone of podcasting. If you are an excellent storyteller, you know the expression that facts tell, stories sell. We’re all selling something, we’re selling a better, brighter future for ourselves or others or for the world, maybe products and services and consulting. To do this through a podcast is so much more powerful if you’re a good storyteller than just writing landing pages and creating lead magnets and so forth. Those things can work too but I just found podcasting to be the ultimate, for me, as a storytelling medium in a way to enroll the audience, the listeners in this compelling future.
C: I agree with that. The one thing I will say for me is that there might be some folks that hear that and they feel a little intimidated thinking that, “I hear all of this thing about the power of storytelling.” I know for me personally, Stephan, I’ve heard people give talks on the art of how to tell a story correctly. When I start hearing other people out there talking about what goes into telling a good story, being a great storyteller, if I haven’t “taken” time to investigate all the things that they teach about telling great stories, if I have not looked into their methods, if I’ve not mastered their skills of telling the story, it’s an opportunity for those who are really excellent at telling stories, I get a little intimidated by that. I would actually say that I’m probably a really great storyteller but I’ve never really studied storytelling. Even for me, I hear that and say, “I don’t know. Am I a good storyteller?”
S: You are, you are. Trust me.
C: Thank you. I believe that. I think it comes naturally to me. Here’s what I will say, I will agree with what you said but for those who are listening who think, “I’m not a great storyteller.” Here’s what I will tell you, I think a podcast is a perfect way for good people, people who have a good heart, who have a desire to serve others, I think a podcast is an opportunity for anyone out there to be real, authentic, and genuine, and express who they are and their desire to serve and help make the world a better place, to give a story of hope or to just share a message of hope. Even if you’re not an excellent communicator, even if you don’t even know what elements go into a story, it doesn’t matter. All you have to do is get behind a microphone. Here’s the key, just be yourself authentically, transparently, be who you are but offer valuable content that makes a difference in people’s lives. Whoever you are, whatever your area of expertise is, whatever your experience is, simply say, “This is who I am, this is where I’ve been and what I’ve experienced and here’s what I’ve learned as a result of those experiences. By the way, I’ve had plenty of failures that you’re gonna learn from as well. This is who I am today, this is where I am right now, these are great things that are happening for me, these are the obstacles I’m currently facing. Here’s my dreams, my hopes for the future, these are the things that I’m going after. Some of these things I have plans for, I’ll share those with you. Some of these things I have no idea how I’m ever gonna get there, it’s a stretch for me, do you even think I can do it but for whatever reason I feel compelled to go after it but this is where I’ve been, this is who I am and this is where I’m going.” It’s an opportunity for you to get behind the microphone and just share authentically who you are. I think there’s nothing more powerful than a human voice. Actually I think there’s something more powerful about an audio podcast than any other platform that’s available today including a YouTube video, a Facebook Live or Instagram story or any of those other platforms which by the way, they are all amazing platforms but nothing delivers the benefits of an audio podcast when it comes to having people listening to your voice, subscribing to your show, and being willing to listen for up to even an hour, sometimes more. There are two different podcasts from Leo Laporte that I subscribe to, they’re called MacBreak Weekly and This Week in Tech. Both shows are approximately 2 to 2 ½ hours every single week, I have never missed an episode since 2005. Here’s what I will tell you, an audio podcast will give you the opportunity to share your heart and your message with the world through your voice where they will be listening to every syllable of every word you speak. After coming to hear you week after week after week, being influenced by your thoughts, by your stories, being influenced by your journey, they will come to know, like and trust you. Remember, I started out by saying if you’re a good person, if you have a good heart, if you have a desire to serve, a willingness to help others, a desire to make this world a better place through your products or services. I think a podcast is amazing. I think that it offers something that nothing else can offer out there. It’s true, your voice in sharing it on a consistent basis that people come to know, like and trust you. Once they know, like and trust you, as long as you’re there within your target audience, your ideal customer and your product or service solves a problem that they have and you have a solution, then selling things becomes absolutely easier. It’s the easiest sale in the world.
S: It’s a foregone conclusion. I agree with you completely that podcasting is the superior platform for sharing your authentic self, I really do. I know there are some video-based podcasts but the vast, vast, vast majority are audio only and I think that’s a good thing. You have a different bonding experience with an audio only message versus audio plus video.
C: The things is that Leo Laporte turned both of the shows that I just mentioned into video podcast several years ago, that’s 9, 10 years ago. It is more difficult to consume that content than any other podcast that I consume. I still do, even though it’s a video, I use the Pocket Casts application on my phone for podcasts. It’s the one podcast player that allows me to subscribe to a video and I can close the app or turn off the phone and it does not pause the video where I have to go in and restart it so that it plays back audio only. I listen to about 98% of both of those shows that I mentioned from Leo in audio, but occasionally he’ll mention something, they’ll show something, it’s like, “For those of you who are only listening to the audio, here’s what you’re missing.” I feel like I have to pull out my phone, sometimes I’m washing the dishes and my fingers are wet, I can’t get the thumb ID, the fingerprint ID to open my phone because it’s all mashed up from the water. I’m like, “What is he showing?” I hate that. The benefit of an audio podcast is that no screen time is required. That means I could be driving down the road and not being distracted by the screen, that means I can be washing the dishes and not have to worry about if I’m looking at. As a matter of fact I use Apple airpods now. It’s so funny that because I have these wireless Apple airpods, there had been a number of times where I’m walking through my house, both upstairs, downstairs, wherever throughout the house and I’m listening to a podcast. I don’t even realize it but my phone that’s actually playing the podcast, it’s in our room but I have no idea where it’s at.
S: I think it’s important though that people understand that you need an angle. If it’s just a show about everything and anything, everybody has podcasts, everybody and his dog has a podcast. We gotta stand out and we have to build relatedness with our audience. You had a great hook or angle, it was all about the show Lost. You guys all commiserated and bonded around that TV show that you loved. That opened up all these opportunities to talk about things from faith to philosophical existential issues and all sorts of stuff. This podcast that we’re on right now is all about marketing. If it were about anything and everything, then what’s the angle? I think you need an angle in order to have an effective podcast.
C: I definitely agree with that. We started out, it was the Lost Podcast, then my wife and I, believe it or not, I did with my wife a Grey’s Anatomy Fan Podcast, a Desperate Housewives Fan Podcast, The Hunger Games Podcast, The Twilight Saga Podcast, we did a ton of entertainment-based podcasts, we did the Heroes Fan Podcast and even the Doctor Who Fan Podcast for a while. We’re totally into the niches. Not only that but with some other friends of mine, I created other shows like Business Tech Weekly where we talk about technology tools to help increase the productivity and profitability of your business. We would talk about tech tools, different software applications, all that stuff that you could use in your business. I did another show with another friend called Social Media Serenity, how can you actually have a great social media strategy but not spend your entire life on social media. We did another show called Help I Got A Mac, it was for people who have lived the life working on Windows-based computer or all the way back to MS-DOS in my days and even basic with the 8088. Commodore VIC-20 for me was my first computer.
S: I had one too!
C: I remember when I switched over to the Mac, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I thought this was awesome but it really sucks.” I created a podcast called Help I Got A Mac. I eventually fell in love with it. It was actually a podcast devoted to helping other people navigate the transition to the Mac platform. I’ve had the Virtual Assistant Podcast which you can imagine what that’s about. When I created my business, I created Podcast Answer Man. With that being said, I will tell you that today, my number one, my biggest podcast is called The Cliff Ravenscraft Show. For the first 398 episodes, or actually it might even been more, it might have been in the 400 that I changed but it was Podcast Answer Man for the first 10 years. I changed it to The Cliff Ravenscraft Show. You might think, “That goes against this whole idea of niching down.” The reality is that I’m making a major shift, a major transition in my branding these days that for the past 10 years I’ve helped tens of thousands of people successfully launch an audio podcast. I got to the place two years ago where I got bored of teaching the technical side of podcasting to be frank, I am actually still gonna be Cliff. The thing is I got bored of it. Over the past two years, I’ve been making a transition. Recently, about three months ago, I decided, I will never teach someone one on one how to hook up a mix or for Skype mix-minus or any of that stuff anymore. The reason why is because I have a greater passion for taking people who have created a platform out there whether it’d be a podcast, a blog, a YouTube channel, if they’ve written a book, but people who did what I did, put a message out into the world and then all of a sudden discovered that that message is having a profound, powerful, positive impact in people’s lives and they said, “I wonder if I could create a fulltime career out of this.” That’s what I’ve been working on. I’ve successfully helped thousands of people do that over the years as well. That’s been my focus. Today, the podcast is no longer called Podcast Answer Man, it’s called The Cliff Ravenscraft Show which you might think, “It’s The Cliff Ravenscraft Show, that could be anything.” My very specific target audience is this, it is somebody who has lived a lifetime as an employee but has now decided that they want to become 100% full time self-employed, transitioning away from the unfulfilling day job into doing the work they feel most called to do in this world. But here’s the key, but they wanna do it, they want to build a business that is responsible and extremely profitable that allows them to live the lifestyle of their dreams.
S: For those who are not familiar with your definition of responsible, what does that mean for you?
C: Forget that, let’s just be authentic and transparent. When I left my career in insurance, I was making over $90,000 a year. Actually it’s about $87,000 but then there is a bunch of other benefits. I was making a bunch of money. I live in Northern Kentucky, cost of living is really low here. Those people in California, I know you just heard that and that’s not a bunch of money to you but trust me, if I came to California, it would translate well. Here in Northern Kentucky, I was making lots of money, my wife is a stay at home mom, we have three young children at the time, my oldest child was eight at the time. Here I am, I’ve got this great career, we had just become completely debt free except for our mortgage. All of a sudden I’ve got this crazy, wild dream, what if I could do this hobby thing as a fulltime career? That dream wouldn’t go away and all of a sudden I decided, actually my wife was the one who really pushed me. She says, “That’s it, you’re quitting your job, you’re putting your 90-day notice in tomorrow.” 90 days later, here I am, January 1st 2008, I’ve got my own business. I have no experience running a business, I’ve lived an entire lifetime as an employee, I’d never made more than $27 as an hourly wage and here I am as a coaching consultant charging people $50 an hour and by the way, feeling guilty for it, because number one I have never been paid in my entire lifetime for something I absolutely love. I just got off the coaching and consulting call and I feel like I should’ve paid them because I enjoyed it so much, if you know what I’m saying. The reality is that I thought $50 an hour was a lot money, that’s more than twice that I was making over doing this other stuff but then all of a sudden it took a while to realize that if I booked myself 40 hours a week which by the way not only will you not do that, you should not do that. You can’t have a consulting business and book yourself 40 hours a week. The reality is, even if I did 40 hours a week at $50 an hour, that is not a responsible business. What I’m talking about as a responsible business is a business that “puts” food on the table, that pays all of the bills and keeps your family from actually experiencing the financial downfall of you leaving a lucrative, successful, secure job. The big problem that I find is a lot of people who are willing to leave their unfulfilling day job, that unfulfilling day job is paying some bills, it’s putting some food on the table. I’ve seen so many people who are trying to transition out of that or have transitioned out of that and what they have is an irresponsible business. I just did a call with somebody, a mentoring call about two weeks ago. During the call I said, “How long have you been 100% full time self-employed?” He says, “For five years.” I said, “Are you married?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Do you have any children?” He told me yes, he had multiple children. I said, “How much money is your business generating on a monthly basis?” This is just gross revenue coming in. Granted, his business had a very little overhead but still, gross revenue, how much are you generating on average, consistently? He said $2500. I said, “Oh my gosh. You’ve been doing this for how long?” Of course his wife is trying to help make ends meet by doing some tutoring out of their home in addition to the homeschooling that she’s doing. This is not a responsible business. My desire is to take somebody like that who’s getting paid something for doing what they’re doing, he’s got clients, he’s been eking it out. He lives in an area where his cost of living is way lower than ours but still, I don’t care where you live. If you live in The United States and you’re generating $2500 per month with your business and that’s your full time self-employed career, I hate to tell you that’s not responsible. Something has to be done to fix it. That’s what I do, I go in and I help them with their mindset around pricing. Just to give you an idea, I just asked about five different questions. I got to the place where I knew 10 different things he could do that would take his income from $2500 a month to $20,000 a month. Do you know what happened? He broke down in tears and began to tell me all the reasons why there’s no way he could see himself doing that because he doesn’t feel worthy.
S: The biggest blockages are always between our two ears.
C: Stephan, that’s what I do for people. Number one, my greatest passion, my greatest joy is when I can work with somebody like that and change their beliefs about who they are and what they’re able to achieve.
S: I have a little different paradigm on responsible. I just learned this last year and I love this. This has been a game changer for me. Responsibility is not about duty or obligation, it’s not about blame or credit, it’s actually just being cause in the matter. This is a terminology from Werner Erhard, the founder of est which later became Landmark Education, Landmark Forum. Being cause in the matter is where it just needs to get done so you do it because that’s who you are, that’s how you operate in the world. If it’s not me, then who? If it’s not now, then when?
C: Stephan, I gotta tell you, you just totally made a connection in my mind. We’re not on video so you did not see, my jaw just dropped to the floor.
S: Tell me more.
C: I love television, if you haven’t noticed. I have watched every episode of every season of The Americans. I did not watch it when it first came out but this past summer, I totally got hooked on, I don’t know if it was Netflix or whatever or Amazon Prime. I was working out everyday and I was watching one or two episodes a day of The Americans. In this show, it’s a 1980s set era of television. It’s a recent show but it’s set in the 1980s. It’s this Russian married couple who are spies and they’re pretending to be an American family. The husband, throughout this entire series is all of a sudden going to these est meetings and how it’s changing his mindset. It’s basically helping him get rid of some of the programming from his Russian upbringing. It’s causing him to have a lot of internal conflict about what he does for a living and how he views the world. It’s so funny because I had never heard of est before but they make a huge deal out of it in the show. I was interested enough that I did actually do a research to see that the book that they talk about on the show is real and this organization was real. The funny thing is I have a friend of mine that I met several years ago when I first got started in business. I gotta just tell you, he was a little bit crazy overboard on his obsession with Landmark Forum. His obsession was almost cult like, is what I would say. It just turned me off as much as he wanted me to get into it. When I saw est on this thing, it reminded me of what this was about and you just connected it. You just now put the connection in my mind that est actually is Landmark Forum.
S: It was the precursor to Landmark.
C: Is that something that you’ve participated in? Have you gone to some of their Landmark Forum stuff?
S: I have not, my wife has gone. You met Orion, she’s also a podcaster at Podcast Movement where we met. She really enjoyed Landmark, the thing was that it’s a pretty hard sell to get other people enrolled. It could really make it hard for you to not make phone calls and start proselytizing to your friends the benefits of Landmark and that you need to participate. That was very uncomfortable for her. The technology and the philosophy behind it, very, very powerful, game changing for her. I learned about this new paradigm for responsibility from somebody who is trained directly by Werner who is the founder of est. He’s in his 90s now, he still occasionally teaches stuff. If you have an opportunity to hear him speak, he’s amazing. The person who taught me this new paradigm of responsibility was trained by Werner.
C: That’s awesome. I understand enough to know, from the TV show, about est and what they teach and what I actually researched about est from the 80s era. I’ve heard enough of Landmark Forum from this friend who would not stop relentlessly trying to pitch me on it, it was the AmWay. I was like, “I do not wanna buy your soap.” The thing though is I know enough to know that there are some great things that they teach. The thing is I love improvement. Just to give you an idea, my vision of the future is I actually want to operate at the level that Tony Robbins operates. I actually wanna do what Tony Robbins has done for the generation before me and my generation, I actually wanna do at that level from my generation and the next generation after me. What I know is that so much of that are these principles, these truths, universal laws that we can put into practice in our lives that will help improve who we are, help us achieve our greatest performance, if you will, to help us to achieve at our highest levels, help us radically eradicate limiting beliefs that are holding us back, just all of that stuff. I’ve actually developed a lot of respect for Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, folks like that, and of course Tony Robbins as well. I have been to a Tony Robbins event. What I love about that is I never have felt that this is a multi level marketing where I felt compelled and have been brainwashed to try to convince every single person I know to drink the Kool-Aid, if you will.
S: I’m a big fan of Tony Robbins as well and of the whole personal development world. I never got to hear Zig Ziglar or Jim Rohn speak in person who I know were amazing in their day and of course they both passed away. Tony Robbins, I had the pleasure of attending dozens of his events. I was really big into that for a few years and it was life changing for me. It actually helped me breakthrough my very first Tony Robbins event where I walked on the 2000 degree hot coals, Unleash The Power Within, that was in 2009. I was going through a divorce, I was having a really hard time in my life. I was not feeling very good about myself and I was unable to get a date, I was a wreck. I did not look appealing to the opposite sex. I completely remade myself, I did a life reboot. That’s my other podcast, it’s sharing all the strategies and tactics around doing that life reboot in all areas, not just physically but mindset and peer group, intimate relationship, and spirituality, all of that. All the amazing people that I met through that journey, I had a lot of them on my podcast, that’s called The Optimized Geek, that’s my passion. I really wanna change lives through that, that’s the desire, the fuel that whether you have a project or some sort of life mission or whatever, if you got desire, that’s the engine that keeps you going. I have that engine with this self-development side of things. In fact I’m gonna release a self-help book next year.
C: Just to give you an idea, I went to Unleash The Power Within in June 2016. I know there is something bigger that I’m meant to do in this world than just teach people how to connect cables to a mixer and setup a podcast RSS feed. I apologize for using the word just, trust me, I understand the absolute awesomeness of what I’ve done over the past 10 years helping so many people get their message out into the world. The number of lives that have been changed is astounding, not just the people that have listened to my shows but if you think about tens of thousands of people like John Lee Dumas, how many people has he reached and I taught him, Amy Porterfield, Pat Flynn from The Smart Passive Income, Michael Hyatt, Michael Stelzner, I’ve taught all of these people how to get their message out there.
S: It’s like the hall of famers of podcasting.
C: I taught every single one of them how to podcast. Trust me, I don’t discount that but what I knew is that I felt like in spite of how much I’ve already accomplished through that, I feel like it’s just scratching the surface of what I was put on this Earth to do. I went to Tony Robbins Unleash The Power Within in June of 2016. I walked away from that event, four days later, completely different. I walked away and said, “What Tony Robbins just did, that’s what I wanna do.” I don’t know how I’m gonna get there but I walked away with a confirmation that one day I will actually host stadium events where 25,000 to 50,000 people will come to my event so that I can have that kind of transformational, life changing event for them so I can provide that same transformation in their lives. I came back, I’ve been doing Next Level Workshops here in my studio, teaching people how to take their podcasting or their online efforts and create a profitable business around them. It’s had an amazing, profound impact in people’s lives. I’m actually going back to Unleash The Power Within with a couple members of my mastermind group this July in Chicago. The reason why I’m going this time is because in September 7th, 8th, and 9th, I’m hosting the Free The Dream Conference in Franklin, Tennessee. This is my three-day event, it is my version of Unleash The Power Within. I’m doing my very first event for 300 to 350 people because you gotta start somewhere, right?
S: That’s a great start, 300 to 350 people, that’s impressive.
C: I started 14 people here in The Next Level Studio with these workshops. I’ve seen the transformation there. The next step is 300 to 350 and then after that we’ll see where we go from there.
S: Dream big, I love it. Aim higher, you’ll do better. I learned that in 1995 when I attended my very first paid seminar, it was Karrass Negotiating Seminar. I learned about it from one of the magazines on an airplane. I’m like, “Who is this Karrass guy?” I just started my business, I really should know how to negotiate. That was what really stuck the most, aim higher, you’ll do better. That true with negotiation, it’s true in life and in business, in relationships, and everything.
C: If you think back and you look at things like Benjamin Franklin, he had a mastermind group he called the Junto. The Junto got together in a local club, I think it was in Boston or whatever. This group of business guys got together on a consistent basis and they just dreamed big about different things. As a result of that, we now have public libraries, public firehouses, we have interstate highways, all of that came out of this one group lead by Benjamin Franklin called the Junto. My favorite Steve Jobs quote, I never saw it until after he passed away and it’s a couple months after he passed away, it’s 1984 or something like that and he was being interviewed and it was called The Lost Steve Jobs Interview. I can’t set the entire stage just perfectly. He’s sitting in his office, he obviously can see outside, there’s a window that he can see outside and he sees all of these big, huge, gigantic multimillion dollar skyscrapers. He goes, “The day that things changed for me is when I actually looked out and I saw the city. I realized that all of that at one time never existed until somebody who was not even as smart as I am decided to make it so.” Of course I don’t know about you, but I go to places. There are certain architectural landmarks and there are all these other things and you just look at it and it just eclipses you and you think, “This is bigger than life.” To think that that all came initially from the mind of an individual. The resources were always there, it’s just the desire had to be there for that to actually come into existence. We are capable of so much more than we could possibly imagine. The only thing that limits what we’ll be able to do and what we can achieve in this world and how many people we can help and how many people we can serve, how many lives we can touch with our products, our services, our business efforts, whatever the case may be, the only thing that limits us is our own mind.
S: Abraham Hicks said that within us is the power to create world. We have within us the power to create worlds, not just to do amazing things in the world but to create worlds. That’s the same energy that creating world is inside of us yet we choose to anesthetize ourselves and play small, do the bare minimum, just sit in front of the TV all the time. I love TV but I know that that’s not my highest best use. I spend very little time in front of the TV, I do have my favorite shows that I’ll enjoy, I’m getting into Mr. Robot right now but that’s not my highest best use, that’s not what I’m here on the Earth for.
C: I have heard that so many times. I spend a minimum of 10 to 15 hours a week watching television, minimum. I believe it is among the highest use of my time.
S: You found a way to turn that into your angle, that’s the way that you connected with people and made a difference for them and built that relatedness and many people just anesthetize themselves.
C: In the early days you’re right. Watching Lost and all these other shows. Today I don’t talk about these television shows in anything that I do. What I’m watching today, I don’t talk about on a podcast anywhere. I’ll share with you if you’re interested why I say that. By the way, one of my greatest heroes in life, his name is Dan Miller. He shared a quote a long time ago on Facebook that I took challenge with and he says, “If I walk into the house of somebody, I can determine what their bank account is like by whether or not I see more books on a bookshelf or televisions in the house, how big their screen is.” The thing is I have 7 or 8 60 plus inch televisions in our home. I’m totally into television. Here’s what I would tell you, for example, right now, I am currently on season 7, episode 13 of Deep Space Nine. I am so engrossed, I watch a minimum of one and sometimes two or three episodes of Deep Space Nine a day. It is one of my highest views of time because what I’m doing is the people who are writing these stories, these shows, are writing about the human existence, the human condition. So much of this brilliant storytelling is asking questions of money. For example in Deep Space Nine, it’s all about the ferengi who are greedy, money hungry, people that only lookout for themselves. The reality is that those people are essential and business is not bad although the federation seems to think that the business is bad. This is a major problem in entrepreneurial mindset at people. There are a lot of people who struggle with money issues, they’ve been taught and trained from our culture that if you are pursuing profit then you are greedy, money hungry, and you’re taking away from others. I love a television show that is consistently hitting on this things. Are the ferengi really bad people or is there a redeeming value to who they are and what they offer to the world? I love watching these shows. My wife and I used to joke around because she was really into the relationships. Forget about the relationship crap, the relationships and the stories and the elements of these shows, it really broadens my mind. As I’m actually hearing the stories of these fictional characters that are being told by brilliant, well-researched, well-educated writers of these television shows, it just broadens my mind and helps me think about things in whole different perspectives like what’s going on in my business today? The conversation I had with a mentoring client, how does what I just seen played out between these four characters in this show, how does that help me think about and see from a different perspective what that mentoring client was sharing with me on the phone the other day?
S: You come to this with a sense of curiosity, this is just a guilty pressure. It’s like I’m sitting down eating Twinkies. That helps you elevate your consciousness and your thinking. Just this idea, the ferengi, I’m a big fan of Star Trek, I have seen pretty much everything, all the different Star Treks. I probably missed maybe a couple dozen episodes across everything but that’s it. I think Deep Space Nine was the one I enjoyed the least.
C: I was told that. I was not a Star Trek fan throughout the whole thing. I started back in November 2014 when I made a commitment to working out six days a week every week for the rest of my life. Back then I started with the original Star Trek series and then I went through all of Star Trek: The Next Generation which I did watch that on television every now and then when it was on. Now I’ve actually seen every episode of that. When I finished Star Trek: The Next Generation, my very close friend, Mark Mason, says, “Listen dude, if I were you I’d just go ahead and skip Deep Space Nine and go straight to Enterprise.” I’m like, “You don’t understand how Cliff Ravenscraft works. There’s no way I can skip. If I’m going to say I’m a Star Trek fan and I’ve seen everything in Star Trek, I can’t go outside of the order these things were released.” He says, “Okay. I warned you.” The first season or two, it was touch and go. Stephan, I will tell you that right now, I only have 12 more episodes or 13 more episodes of Deep Space Nine. I am going to be sad when it’s over, it is my favorite series of Star Trek. It’s 18 times better than Star Trek: The Next Generation. I absolutely love it. The characters I hated the most are the ones that I love the most now in season 7.
S: The lesson you shared about the ferengi, that reminded me of another thing I learned from est and Landmark through this friend of mine. He was a guest on the show, in fact, it’s a great episode, Ephraim Olschewski is his name. He’s got an amazing episode on Marketing Speak here, and then on my other show, on The Optimized Geek, he was also a guest. We talked about really mind blowing stuff in both shows. This was another thing I learned from him, is when you characterize, you collapse all the possibilities of that person into one. You create the reality of who they are for you. If you believe that that person is money robbing, greedy and only cares about money, you will create that reality for yourself in that person, they will show up that way for you. That’s, I think, the way that the federation characterizes the ferengi and makes that reality real when there’s so much more depth and breadth to each individual no matter what race, religion or species that person is.
C: The interesting thing is I’ve picked up a great deal of insight into marketing and sales as a result of watching Deep Space Nine. Watching the business practices and by the way, the roles of acquisition, when it comes to their guiding principles, when it comes to how they go about business. I know it sounds crazy and cliché or whatever but I just love the idea of taking something that on face value seems so “wrong” or out there but allowing it to challenge your belief about what was just said and exploring the good and the bad side of each and every single one these principles that are being shared in these episodes. It’s incredible. Here’s what I will say, I will say there is education to be found everywhere. By the way, I read a lot of books as well. Just in the past month, I purchased about $700 worth of Tony Robbins audio training programs. I listen to about 20 hours of podcast episodes per week from people who teach success principles and stuff like that. I’m a personal development junky.
S: You have to listen to The Optimized Geek then, you will get a ton of value out of that. I’ve had amazing guests on there like Byron Katie, start with that episode. I think it boils down to this, the intention is everything. If you show up to a family reunion with no intention, you’re just like go every year and it’s fun, I get to see people that I haven’t seen for a while, family members, then that’s what you’re gonna get out of it. If you have the intention to, for example, tell somebody who you haven’t seen for a year and they’re getting older and your family member and you have this strained relationship and you never said to that person I love you and they’ve never said it to you and you would feel awkward saying it to that person because you’re just not that kind of person, it’s time to do it. You go with that intention and wow, what a different experience that family reunion is. You go and sit in front of the boob tube and watch TV, just surf channels to find something to anesthetize yourself, that’s what you get out of it but you turn on a show that you have the intention to learn something new, to find ways to apply this in your life and to elevate your consciousness, then that’s what you’ll get out of it. Case in point, you were watching The Americans and you learned all about est and you didn’t stop there, you researched it online and now we’re having this conversation about est that has a lot more meaning for you because you are open, you have that curiosity.
C: It’s so much more out of The Americans that I learned is the fact that we live in such a global world. Prior to the internet, I realized that just how much my conditioning as a child was American egocentric, if you will, that we’re better than anyone else in the world and if we’re ever at war with somebody, then they’re obviously enemies and they’re bad people. The internet changed everything for me. I remember, was it called NetMeeting, Microsoft NetMeeting was the very first voice over IP service out there. I think it was. I’ll never forget getting on NetMeeting and actually having an internet voice over IP call with somebody from Australia. This is back in the very late 80s, early 90s. I’m going to say something that is gonna be very authentic and very transparent and it’s gonna show me in a very bad light but I’m just gonna be who I am and who I was. I’ve grown a lot since then but I was absolutely shocked that anybody with an Australian accent had access to the internet because I thought everybody was Crocodile Dundee. I’m not kidding you. Where does that tie into the Americans, is the whole idea of the Cold War and spies. I think there might still be one more season, there has to be one more season because the way they left off this most recent season, it does not satisfies a series finale and it’s a very popular show. What it’s done for me is it helped me to give a different perspective of how the spies from Russia actually feel like they’re the ones who are right and what’s their mindset of this. In this show, it seems odd but the writers actually want you to feel and relate to the main characters who are the Russian spies and you’re actually “rooting” for these people who are actually doing things to murder Americans in the 1980s. Yet, seeing them grow and struggling with what they’re doing as they’re starting to experience that Americans maybe aren’t as bad as what they’ve been taught. I love this, it’s a whole way of expanding your mind about how you think about things, your preconceived ideas and most important, your preconditioned and preprogrammed ideas a result of the environments that you’ve grown up in.
S: I appreciate that so much more now that I’ve lived in a foreign country, I spent almost eight years living in New Zealand. What a gift that was, also to raise my children there for a period of time when they were young. It was just mind blowing to see that other side, from outside of the US, you get so ethnocentric in your viewpoint to experience from the outside looking in was powerful.
C: I gotta tell you, New Zealand is the best place on this planet. The Highlands of Scotland has to be the number two most awesome place on this planet. I spent 10 days in New Zealand, I stayed in Auckland for most of my time but I spent two days in the South Island around Queenstown and I can’t ever say it correctly but [00:55:16], all that stuff. I told Stephanie, if we ever really go to places where things could potentially go and we’re able to do the things that we wanna do in this world and we could have a vacation home, if we’re ever those crazy, super insanely, crazy rich people that we could build a castle, I wanna build a castle on the South Island of New Zealand.
S: I’m gonna check in with you on that and make sure that you did it. I loved New Zealand. It’s a paradise on Earth. I had this dream, I had this vision. I’d never even been there, I need to live in New Zealand, I don’t know why, I just have this intuition. I applied for residency, this was back in 1999 and I got in. I convinced my wife at the time and my kids, let’s do this.
C: Where did you live?
S: Four years in Aukland, just North of Oakland in Hibiscus Coast. Three and a half years on the South Island in Christchurch. Some of that time was actually on a cliff overlooking Governors Bay, it was stunning. The Lord of the Rings movies, it was like that. It was incredible. What a gift that was on so many levels. The point of this is that aim higher, you’ll do better. Anything is possible. People just get this mindset that I wish I could do that, they’d actually tell me that, I wish I could do that, I wish I could pick up and move halfway around the world, you can. You just have the desire to do it. If you don’t, you’re gonna stay stuck. If you want it and you want it bad enough, you make it happen. I wanted it bad so I made it happen. I took a chance, I figured well, a 50/50 chance that my agency at the time that I founded NetConcepts will survive this, will survive the founder moving halfway around the world and still maintaining our US based clientele. We have clients like Birds Eye at the time, I don’t know if I can keep all these clients if I’m halfway around the world and we’re down to a skeleton crew in our Madison office and I’m hiring a bunch of people in New Zealand, I don’t know if the business will survive that. It did and it thrived. I eventually sold in it 2010. What a gift. I know we’re up to time here but I just wanted to have you share your top three things that you want our listeners to get in terms of their personal brand. Early in the episode, we’re talking about your landmark show, the one that you have the most passion for, it’s The Cliff Ravenscraft Show. That has your personal brand associated with it, it has a certain clientele or audience that you’re targeting, it’s not like it’s for everybody. You’ve picked your personal brand to be paramount in that situation. I think it’s super important for people to realize that that’s the brand that they take to the grave. You have your companies, you found your projects, your information products, they’ll come and go but your personal brand, for you, it’s Cliff Ravenscraft, you take that to the grave, you have it your entire life. It’s really important to not neglect it. I love that you’ve chosen that as the name of your show. What would be your top three tips for people to elevate their personal brand?
C: Number one, be true to who you are and be your authentic self, don’t feel compelled to try to live up to anyone else’s expectations of who you should be and how you should show up in the world. That’s number one, just be yourself. Number two, I want you to understand that no matter what you believe about yourself, and trust me, I believe all kinds of really big things about myself. Even that, as big as you might be able to dream right now, understand this, you’re still playing life small, you’re still playing it small, you’re still playing it safe. I just wanna encourage everyone to understand that wherever you are on your personal brand and who you feel that you are, you’re capable of so much more. I encourage you to surround yourself with people that will always stretch your mindset so that you will always expand in your own understanding of you are and what you can achieve in this world. That’s number two. My third principle, it goes back to the Junto. Find yourself a mastermind group. A mastermind group is something that was first introduced, I believe, from Napoleon Hill. He talked about it in his book called Think and Grow Rich. In a mastermind group, it’s this idea and this principle where everybody comes together and everybody within a mastermind group is completely solely dedicated to the success of every other mastermind group member. When you are part of the mastermind group, you get to borrow from the education, experience, and even the resources and capital of every other member of the group to achieve your own personal desires. There is nothing that has elevated me further or higher or moved my life and my business forward more than my participation in a mastermind group. That would be my third thing, is to get involved in a mastermind group.
S: That’s so true. You stand on the shoulders of giants. Thank you so much, Cliff. For our listeners, take the next step with subscribing to Cliff’s show, The Cliff Ravenscraft Show. Check out his Next Level Workshop. Just start to follow what he’s doing because he’s doing some amazing stuff in the world. You heard it here that he’s gonna potentially become the next Tony Robbins. Hopefully, you’ll be maybe one of those 300 and some that goes to his next seminar. Thank you, Cliff. Thank you, listeners. We’ll catch you on the next episode of Marketing Speak. This is your host, Stephan Spencer, signing off.