Transcript of Interview with Michael Gebben
Dan: Welcome to another episode of Shoulders of Titans. This is Dan Lok and today I have the privilege of bringing you another entrepreneur; a very creative entrepreneur, also a fellow YouTuber and just an overall –I think we’ll have a lot of fun — a creative guy, so I think we’ll have a lot of fun having this interview today, so Michael welcome to the show.
Michael: Dan, I appreciate you having me on, I really do, this is going to be fun.
Dan: Michael, before the show started, we kind of briefly talked a little bit about your story. Maybe just take us back a little bit. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into what you do today.
Michael: Yea. You know it’s fascinating, the more I’ve started to do some of these podcasts and everything, the more I’m trying to fine tune the story, finding out that I’m a fairly long winded person, so trying not to go for forty-five minutes and then you’re like, well, the episode is over, so now what do you do.
So anyways, that being said, from living in a little small town here in the Midwest — I was just telling you my dad worked at a cemetery, and that’s what got me — well, him working in a cemetery is what got me into my company that took off, which was my video production side of things. Because I started doing funeral slide shows for somebody that passed away. So they gave us photos and we threw those on a DVD and made a slide show back in 2005 and 2006. And that led me, still living here in the Midwest, in a town of about 26,000 people, being able to work with some incredible titans, such as Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss and I’ve been to Richard Branson’s Neca Island four times, and it’s been pretty crazy. I actually just ended up getting a house here. Because I moved out when I was 19 and pretty much have — I had an apartment kind of studio place, but not really a house, and I owned that and we sold it in 2015, and then I moved into an apartment with my wife and then we just now got a house.
But definitely staying here, here in the Midwest, and I’ve been able to travel all over the place. And people think they need to move to LA or New York or this or that to achieve “success”, I think it’s all dependent on what you really want. But for me, it’s been quite a journey because I’ve been able to identify, even just in the last year, that for the video production — so I’ve kind of got two things, just so people are clear on that as well: I’ve got my video production company and then whatever version that you want to call it, people call it consulting, coaching, mentoring, whatever, but helping businesses really on the mindset side of things.
Because what I found for me, my biggest breakthroughs weren’t when I bought — like in my video production company — it wasn’t when I bought another fancy camera or better editing software or any other technologies, it was really all mental. And being able to deal with some of the highest performers there are. You know, being on Neca Island with the number one doubles players in tennis, the Brian brothers, and getting to interview them and ask them: how much of it is mental versus talent? And he’s like, 90, 95% mental game. And so, for me, being able to focus on that side of things, and even just recently recognize like, oh my god, people really weren’t hiring me first for my video production skill set, they were actually hiring Michael Gebben. And not maybe in the very, very beginning when I had zero reputation, but when I started to be able to work with some of these incredible names, I started to see, well, there’s amazing people in New York City. Like, they’re flying me to New York. Why would they need to fly me in and pay for flights and hotel and all these extra costs? I know my work is good, but I also know it’s not necessarily the best and there’s plenty of talent in New York. And so not really recognizing that my self-worth, which I think is a big thing as I talk to a lot of people, self-worth is something a lot of people struggle with but not a lot of people talk about.
And so, for me, I was recognizing my self-worth was wrapped up in the people that I’d worked for and the work that I was doing. Like I was always pointing the spot light at something or someone else. And so, in video production, it was like, well it’s the video. You like the video? Okay, I can do that for you and of course I’ll talk to you about it and I’ll come do it or I’ve got people now that can do a lot of that all for me, where I can more delegate that out, and I’ve got incredible people who are more talented than me.
But then, when I started my video production company it was the 19-year-old kid going, “Well, who’s going to give me more than $500?” And I’m just some young punk, whatever, these things, it’s impostor syndrome.
By 2011/12 when I got to work with Tony and I got to work with Tim, that really started to shift. But I also shifted, wanting to really help people have these same breakthroughs that essentially, I was having. But the funny thing is I was a super confident video guy and then I was not a confident consultant or coach.
And so it’s been a journey, and the thing that we’re doing now, is that I find that a lot of people are shoving their one size fits all formula or framework onto people, irregardless of how someone’s wired. And so what happens is, if you fit into that person’s box, you probably can have some great success, but if you don’t, you’re going to lose. And so when I started video, I didn’t have anything more than, my mum gave me a DVD to look at somebody’s wedding. And that’s what I modeled. I couldn’t go on YouTube and watch 300,000 different wedding videos.
But when I got into coaching and training and consulting, I had every Tom, Dick and Harry on planet earth who was a coach and consultant and trainer and course creator and whatever else, influencing me and let’s just say that dragged me down some major shiny object, rabbit trails that didn’t really help me.
And so, in the last year I’ve had these breakthroughs, or really, in the last few years, that have allowed me to not only help myself do what I call the ‘my way’ decision — in 2010, overwhelmed, overworked, stressed out, I was doing alright financially in my production company, but was mentally a mess, personally and professionally. I was nine months behind delivering people’s wedding videos, and I decided to do what I call now this ‘my way’ decision. So I was going to edit, shoot, speak, dress, do everything my way. I didn’t give a — I don’t know if you can curse on here —
Dan: Oh you can curse. Trust me, it’s okay.
Michael: I didn’t give a shit what anybody else thought because I was about to just give up. And I thought, “What do I have to lose?” And lo and behold, within those 12 months after that, is when I worked with Tim, when I was able to work with Tony, you know, all these different people that I was able to work with because I now became this specialist who was great; knew what I was great at. And I say this scenario of all you can eat buffet versus a sushi chef. You don’t go into a sushi restaurant asking to make a supreme pizza, they will not do it for you. But so many times in business, especially creatives, if they’re capable, if they’ve got a camera, if they’ve got the software, if they’ve got whatever, the client says x, y, z they want, in their mind they go, “Here we go again, another one of these pain in the asses.” And out of their mouth says, “Yea I can do that for you.” And then they bitch and moan and take a long time and don’t do a great job. And that was me, so some of the work ended up being the sweet spot, while other work wasn’t. But when I found my sweet spot and stopped paying attention to the gurus in my industry were telling me to do, I differentiated myself and stood out.
And then the same thing’s happened in the last few years here is, I was following every guru for coaching and consulting, they’re all telling me to create courses and all these things and I was finding no major success. But then I was doing a few things that I’d get great results with people, but nobody was telling me to do that. And I thought, well, I guess that’s not it. And then finally I said, ‘screw it’ again, I’m going to do it my way. And in the last year it’s been that same shift and we’ve been getting just incredible results with people who are so stuck trying to fit into other people’s boxes. And so helping with the behavior and personality side of things and finding out how people are wired so they’re not a head of lettuce trying to hammer nails.
Dan: That is awesome. Because I can see anyway, like —
Michael: I’m going to stop there and let you drill me.
Dan: I love it, I love it. Because there’s a saying: ‘the definition of a coach is someone who is unemployable’. A lot of people out there — because I work with a lot of coaches and consultants, it’s just one of the markets that I serve — so I can see a lot of people, they buy a course, they take a seminar, they go to a three-day thing, and then, “Oh yea, now I’m a coach, I’m a consultant.”
Michael: Of course.
Michael: And they’re not great at it at all, they’re learned the weekend warrior type of thing. And they’ve got that same guys telling them they’re going to make $90,000 in the next 45 days and just follow this step by step. But some people, depending on what the prior five, ten years of their life looked like and the effort they put in, can have overnight “success”. But not the plumber. The plumber guy is not going to turn into a high paid Facebook ads consultant in 30 days, you know? And I think that that’s where there’s some disconnect that’s out there right now.
Dan: Definitely. And I totally agree with you, about now there’s so many programs out there and systems and courses and all of these — all making all these promises. Versus when I work with coaches and consultants, it’s to help understand them individually. And knowing what works for one person might not work for another, and also even, as you know, within the coaches, consultants, that industry there’s so many different types of coaches and consultants, right? People in what I call the business and money category, people in the relationship category, people in the personal growth category, you have people in the spiritual category, right? And they can all make a very good living doing that, but again, it’s a different niche. Now it’s very interesting. Because people listening to this, they might be thinking, “Well Michael, how do you get in touch with Tim Ferriss and Tony Robbins and Richard Branson?” How do you even get these gigs? What do you do? Do you know someone, do you have some marketing secret? Like, what do you do?
Michael: Yea, well, I mean, that’s the funny thing is: that I think that what you see out there even now is literally courses on how to be an influencer, how to act a certain way to get a certain result and follow these things again. And the interesting thing is, what I found is — and I’ll go deeper into this — but the reality is, I am not being a certain way to get a certain result. In fact, when I was doing that, I didn’t get very good results because I was trying to act and be something I really wasn’t.
And so, for me, when I finally — you know that whole my way thing — when I said, “Screw it.” Then I just became who Michael Gebben at the core really was and then every year since about 2010 that has shined brighter and brighter and brighter and brighter and I became more and more and more confident.
But really, in 2010, Tim Ferriss was the first one. And basically, what had happened was — this ability to: how did I get in touch, what connections did I have, what special tactic did I use? Well really, the reality was, is that I my video company I used this over and over and over again, not as much at all today, because of the reputation, but I still — we still use it. I just had a buddy who just did what I’m about to say, and he went from something for free, which is really the tactic, to a $25,000 job. And a lot of people don’t, they poo poo all the time on free work.
And so I had actually done a — I had mainly been doing weddings, and essentially did a free video for a company in St. Louis, Missouri, that had an agency that had a big Halloween party with 900 people. I filmed it for free. That alone led to about $80,000 to $100,000 worth of work with that company. But I sent that video to Tim Ferriss’ assistant. There was a comment in the blog from Tim that said, “Email Charlie at the four-hour body and he may be able to get you taken care of.” Which was taking care of these two kids that needed refunds because they weren’t 21. And I thought, “Screw it, what do I have to lose? The worst thing that’s going to happen is I get a ‘no’ or I don’t ask or I don’t try.”
So the only time there’s opportunity for something good to happen is if I try. And so I sent this email, said: “the books changed my life, I love what you guys are doing, I’m going to be in New York anyways.” Which was actually kind of a lie, I’d only bought a ticket but really didn’t know if I was going to go. And basically sent the email and said, “I’d love to do this, this is the kind of work I do, and I could do one of these for you guys for free.” And within one hour, Charlie reached out to me, said “Tim loves it.”
And I believe a number of the situations I’ve had in the very beginning, like Tim, were sure just pure timing. There was a timing element. Is it reproducible? I’ve had people now that say — I mean, I’ve had friends who’ve paid $80,000 to do a book package with Tim, they still can’t barely get a hold of him. So, depending on what’s going on in some of these celebrity or high profile people’s lives, if they’re doing book launches and things, your probability of getting a hold of them and getting something to do for them is very high, but if not, it’s very difficult at times.
But I’ve also found, everything that I’ve done is in a giving first mentality with no expectations. And people have asked before, “Well, you really don’t have any expectations?” I’m like, “Well, of course I’d love it for something to happen.” But if I went around every time I did something for somebody and then just went and pointed a finger and said, “What are you going to do for me?” I really believe, looking back at everything that I’ve done and accomplished with this kind of model, I don’t think I would have accomplished it.
Because I’ve started to learn even recently, there’s some weird invisible force field out there with energy and everything else, that I’m only just recently getting into, and starting to accept and be open minded about. But there is stuff that happens that is unexplained and invisible and I believe intention and alignment and these things are all behind all of that. So I believe that I put an intent out there when I do something that people can feel, on a weird subconscious level, that people recognize that I’m not out there to take, that I’m out there to first give. And if something happens, fantastic, but I’m first going to give.
I did it for Tim, I did it for Tony, I mean, yea I did it for Tony. I was going to say I did it for Richard Branson, like I’ve done it for these people and they turned into things and some didn’t. Like Tim as a collective whole directly, never resulted in any financial compensation, like directly with Tim. But I can say hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in connections and income have come as a by-product of making that decision in 2010 to do that video for free for Tim.
Dan: You’ll love this Michael, because I teach a concept called ‘stupid giving versus strategic giving,’ right? And a lot of people, sometimes even coaches and consultants, entrepreneurs, that they give and give and give, and they give to the wrong people, first of all, or they give the wrong thing that people don’t want. Or they try to push their stuff with having an agenda. Versus strategic giving, that you know that, say in this case you’re giving to an influencer. You’re basically adding value before you ask anything in return. And like you said, sometimes it turns into something, sometimes it doesn’t. But it doesn’t matter because I see that as almost you’re depositing money into your future bank account.
Michael: Right, and I would say Dan, sometimes it’s interesting and what I’ve started to recognize through life as — I mean one of the things we’re doing currently with the coaching and consulting is with the self-awareness side of things, is that I’ve had an intuitive, accidental strategic giving. So for me, in the beginning, what I recognized, and I don’t think I was fully aware until the last few years of what was going on, it was just this intuitive thing that I would do. But I started to recognize that when I did things for free for people who reached out to me, and were like, “I’ve got this thing and I’m going to hook you up and I’ve got all these people and da da da da da”. And they’re telling me how amazing my business is going to be after I do this free project for them, that that never worked out.
But when I reached out, I mean, every one of the people I reached out to, it was strategic but it was also very selfish. Like I just wanted to meet the people. And I thought I have a gift and a talent that can provide value to them so if that skill set can provide a value that can get me VIP access or whatever else, then great.
You know, because people ask me all the time, “Well, who should I reach out to?” I’m like, “I don’t know!” That’s the funny thing about this, all of this is so custom. What we do with people is so custom and personalized, which is what you’re saying sounds very similar, it’s not this one size fits all, canned, like, well just reach out to x, y, z and your business will change overnight. It’s like, who do you really want to connect with and how can you provide them value?
I didn’t just reach out to random people that people had told me to reach out to. I reached out to people who honestly indirectly or directly, however you want to look at it, through their books, through their videos, whatever, had provided massive value to me. And I thought if I can give value back, awesome, and on top of that, if I get to meet them or something that would be really cool. And then, yes, it morphed over time where it became much more strategic.
Yea some random Joe blow, you know, just randomly reaching out to do a free project, like what I’m telling you about with my buddy. It was very strategic. Like, he knew ultimately, they had money. And yet, I’m actually seeing that what’s happening is, in certain industries, is that they’re so saturated, and there is so many scam artists out there, that people sound and look amazing on the surface and what’s happening is that people are getting screwed over, so by the time someone good comes along, they don’t even know what to trust. Because they don’t know if — you can still sound like that person who just screwed them over. So what’s happening is we’re strategically doing almost teaser projects at times for people that are low cost, and low investment cost, but also time and effort on our side that’s allowing us to plant that seed, experience what we’re like to work with, get a win and then of course there’s a lot more that can be done from there. And then that makes it a win win for both, and then that’s what’s allowing — so they kind of know the value, it’s not going: I’m going to discount this thing and do it for — you know, you see the stuff, this stuff’s value, even in the online marketing space: this is valued at $97,000 and I’m going to give it to you for $100. Are you kidding me? It’s still valued at $25,000, we’re just going to do this as a test project for you. Not as a discounted from $25,000 to $500 or $1000. And I think that — so there’s subtleties there that make a huge difference, because I see people left and right complain about doing free work or things of that nature.
Dan: Yes, and then it’s about a strategic thinking, and I think a lot of entrepreneurs, they don’t know how to think strategically. They just do, versus — at an early age, even when I was 21 years old, as a copywriter, I was trying to get clients, writing copy. And I thought to myself, “Who could I get if, I get that one guy who could help me get everyone else?”
I spent all my effort trying to get that one guy and eventually I approach Jay Conrad Levinson, who passed away a few years ago, who wrote a book “Guerrilla Marketing”, it sold 20 million books worldwide. And I just approached Jay and I said, “Hey Jay, I looked at your copy, I looked at your page” — at the time he was selling a membership, Guerrilla Marketing Association. And I basically rewrote it without him asking, I just sent him the draft and said use this. And they loved it so much and gave me a testimonial and from there that got me into working with all these business owners, overnight. And so I learned that early on.
Michael: Isn’t that the key though, Dan, like that’s what people forget. Like, we’re all in this permission marketing mindset sometimes. It’s like 99% I believe, of, especially on the online world, you don’t need permission from anybody to do something for someone. And then, like for me, if you film something, when it was that world, like I kind of had to get a little bit of permission to run around with the cameras at times, but like designers, writers, there’s so many professions out there, you can just do it. Don’t even ask them if you can do it. Just do it.
Dan: 100%. And think about all these influencers and successful people. Most people approach them, you have to understand where they’re coming from. Either they approach them for money or they approach them they want something form them or they want a job or whatever. Not a lot of people approach them with adding value, and say, “Hey, here’s some” — not even talking about adding value. You just add the value and say, “Hey, here you go.” So that would get anybody’s attention. And like Michael said, if you’re timing is right, meaning they’re launching something, they’re launching a new book, something, if the timing is right, you will be able to get in touch.
Dan: And you’d be surprised how many people don’t do this. But funny thing is, the funny thing is, all the guests that I have on this show, most of them I can tell you — that’s why I love doing the interview — because after that, the interview is always the beginning of a lifetime relationship. I get to talk to all kinds of people like yourself, entrepreneurs. Guess what? After the interview, almost without exception, because usually they stay a couple minutes after the interview, guess what they ask? “What can I do for you, Dan?” Or I ask them, “What can I do for you, is there anything you need help with?” It’s fascinating.
It’s not about, “Oh yea, you do something for me.” It’s, how can I add value? And immediately, just like last interview that I did, a couple weeks ago, immediately my friend needs some help I say here’s some contacts, talk to them, and he asked what else can I do for you and we just talk. So, exactly what you said, Michael. I couldn’t agree with you more. Now let’s talk about YouTube for a second, because this kind of ties back to giving value. To me YouTube or all these social media, it’s nothing more than a platform: why did you get into YouTube> Like what inspired you to set up a YouTube channel?
Michael: Well, you know, when it came down to it, it’s one of these things where people ask, “How do I become a speaker? How do I become ‘x’? How do I become y, z, coach, consultant, trainer, writer, dadadadada.” And the thing is, you do it. Like you start to do it.
I have this concept I talk about all the time, MIA, Massive Imperfect Action. And for me nothing is perfect, ever. Because you could think it is and show somebody and they’ll prove you wrong real quick. But you can show somebody else and they’ll think it’s the most amazing thing on earth. But literally, I had that awakening to me: I was wanting to help, inspire, do all these things, and somebody’s like — actually a friend of mine they have — his name is Alex Ikonn, he has a company called Luxy Hair and they’re doing seven figures a year, killing it and they’ve got I think three plus million subscribers now.
Dan: Don’t they have a YouTube channel?
Michael: Yes, they do.
Dan: I think I’m a subscriber.
Michael: Yea, sure. So, I’ve become really good friends with him and he was just like, “Man, you need to get on YouTube.” And so, on my birthday, September 4th, 2013 I believe, I put my first video up and just put one video up a week. And it was just that. Each time I do one of these podcasts, each time I would do a YouTube video, each time I talk, I got better, I got more confident, I got more clear. And I find that clarity and confidence doesn’t come from listening to podcasts, it doesn’t come from reading books, it doesn’t come from any of those things. Those things can help give you an awakening, give you ideas, but not until you execute do you really know what you’ll actually — like, what I’m doing now in the coaching and consulting world, like, that was — or speaking, it was zero on my radar. I would have a heart attack in high school to talk in front of my class of ten kids.
So I never — people say follow your passion. I know that — I’ve even said that in my past and its total bullshit, because the reality is, this was not my passion. It was not on my radar, it was not something I would have been like, “Oh yea, that’s what I need to pursue.” You know, it was like some things accidentally happen with people seeing my work, and then they said, “How can you train me?” And I was like, “I don’t know! You can spend a few thousand dollars and spend a day with me, like, I don’t know.”
The interesting thing is, the irony, Dan is that that was — in video my sweet spot was — I shot at a wedding that day and showed the video that night: company still does that at a lot of events and workshops and conferences. But then when it came to what I — what my company Jumpstarters — it came from the fact that these people who I spent one day with, went on to build six figure plus companies from that one day interaction.
Yet, I went so far off the beaten path with people telling me to create a course and do this and do that, step by step your information of how you help them. I’m like, I don’t know how I did that! I know that — I went through stuff, but it was so personal that I’m thinking how would I package that up and sell it to thousands?
Now, not to say that could never happen but I only did that with 12, 15 people, and like 98% of them had amazing success. Yet once I decided I wanted to do this I started looking for people to help me and they all dragged me down this ditch that wasn’t anywhere near doing any of that. They’re like, “Well, you don’t want to talk to people, you don’t want to call people. You can’t leverage your time doing that.”
And although those things could be very true, I think that again is that person, sometimes giving that advice is because they’ve already had five thousand one on one coaching clients and they’re so sick and tired of coaching people one on one that they’ll tell everybody that one on one is the worst thing on planet earth. And yet, I needed to go through that process to then either get to that point; and know, yea, I don’t want to do that anymore. Or two, to also gain that clarity, gain that confidence in my ability to even help people. Because I thought they were flukes, I thought they were accidental. But I did that in video production, I just kept hustling and hustling and doing it and doing it. Even when people wouldn’t pay me I’d do it and I’d do it. And yet, when I went this other route I thought, well I got really smart people now, I’ll pay attention to them. Well, those really smart people, now I learn on certain levels, aren’t potentially as smart as they may be positioned to be.
Dan: They’re very good at looking smart.
Michael: Exactly. I find that a lot of people are — not all, I’ve made some incredible friends and there are incredible people out there — but I do find that there’s a lot more people who paint a really great picture online, but what you see isn’t what you get.
Dan: Yea, and I think a lot of — unfortunately a lot of start-up entrepreneurs, like, just beginner entrepreneurs, they can’t tell the difference. I think for someone with experience, like you and I, if we talk to somebody, you can see just the way that they think, the way they talk, if this person has depth.
Dan: And I always like to talk to guys who has — like you can talk about this and talk about that, but if you ask a few penetrating questions, you know if this guy has depth.
Michael: You’re right.
Dan: And I love talking with people who have a lot of depth, a lot of experience. And usually those guys, they’re not afraid of talk about their failures and mistakes. Chances are if they are incredibly successful, they probably have a lot more failures, right? But people don’t ask, but if you ask, usually they’re very open.
Michael: Well, and Dan, I don’t know if you’ve found this, but I’ve found that some of the most successful entrepreneurs, business owners, are also not simultaneously the loudest. And what I mean by loudest, and not all again, there’s always an asterisk, right? There’s always that fine print. But what I found is the louder and prouder and more flamboyant they potentially are on all social media platforms, of how amazing they are, like they’re self-proclaiming how amazing they are, and all that they do, that when you get to that word depth that you’re talking about, it’s not there. It’s all marketing on the front end but when you go deeper there’s nothing there, there’s no substance.
Michael: And I’ve seen that play out in people that I’ve — either with Facebook Ads or different people that I’ve hired with companies –the louder they were online publicly, then when I got in there I’m like, “Oh my god, you’re not even delivering the results that you’re really claiming.” Or, yes you did that, but this person had an email list of 450,000 and so that little tweak made a huge difference for them, but then when it comes to helping a smaller one, of course that won’t have the same impact, but simultaneously, you don’t even know how to help them. So you only know how to help — it’s like you’ve forgotten where you came from.
Michael: And so, I have some of my friends who make the most amount of money, you wouldn’t even know who they are. And you probably experience that same thing.
Dan: 100%. And also it depends on their business model. If their business model, if they’re selling some kind of product or software, that they don’t necessarily need to be the spokesperson or the personal brand for the company. Those guys are very secretive right. You have guys — if like, what we do, that we have to be more in the spotlight.
Michael: In the spotlight, 100%.
Dan: Because we’ve got to promote our personal brand, that’s a bit of a different thing. But absolutely correct. It’s interesting your comment about following your passion, that it’s bullshit, because I totally agree with that. Because a long time ago I had a conversation with a good friend of mine who’s an international sales trainer. Very successful, goes to all these big companies and trains the sales guys. And we were having this conversation, and I was asking him, talking about following your passion. And he said, “Dan, you know what I love to do? I love to just stay home with my kids, watch a basketball game and eating my pizza. The problem is I don’t think I could get people to pay me to do that. So that’s my passion. So before I can do that I need to get the role and train and speak to these corporations and make money so I can have the free time to do that.” And it’s a lot of that.
Michael: I love that, and I think that, and hopefully he talks publicly about that, because I think that’s where things get hidden sometimes. We put up these personas, but like, not that he doesn’t love what he does, but there is that reality sometimes, where there’s this fine line of riding where — yea I mean I love hanging out with my wife and going out to the movies, that’s a passion. Now doing this kind of stuff and firing somebody up and getting them excited, getting them to act, take action and be able to live a life where, what they do get to do, they love and they enjoy, but it doesn’t mean it’s everything. And I think that that’s where we get confused sometimes.
It’s just acting like, this thing just steers us exactly in the face and yet we’re going everywhere else but that, and it’s like well just follow that and that’ll make you all this money. And like you said, there’s a lot of things where people, they’re not going to turn it into an income. So stop trying to be fed this ‘follow the passion’ thing and it’ll all just work out —
Dan: Just spend ten years meditating, trying to find their purpose, right.
Michael: Not going to happen. But there’s the thing, right? This is the thing: that’s why I joked earlier about, well what has happened in someone’s prior five or ten years. We had a guy once who for ten years was dabbling in a production company, and never really making much money. He was going down all the wrong paths because everybody’s telling him: do this, do this, do this. And nothing was really aligning with him.
And we spent the day together, and within five months he got a $50,000 contract. The guy had never made $5000 in ten years. He had jobs he didn’t really enjoy and all these things. But he had a foundation. Like, he built the frame of the house and he did a lot of the hard work ahead of time to know: I want to do this, I want to do this, and I want to do this. But yet he knew it inside. I asked him, “What would you do if you didn’t need money.” In the world of potentially business, right? Not the: “Well, like, I’d stay home and whatever.” He said, “Poker runs.” And the interesting thing is poker runs are these boat races, but nobody told him he could make money with boat races. So they were telling him to film commercials, film weddings, film this, film that. And none of that was in alignment with him. And so how much effort, how much imperfect action are you going to take towards something you don’t really want to do at all?
You’re like, if I get 30 weddings I’m going to blow my brains out. And so, if that’s what I think I’ve got to do because some mentor or coach or something online told me I’ve got to do it, I might go through the motions, but it’s kind of like a rocking chair: it’s not moving forward it’s just moving back and forth. It’s not making progress.
And so for him, having that ability to just have permission that he could go after that. So he took MIA and he goes, “Those three letters, man, changed my life.” He reached out to 200 poker runs in the United States and Canada and it was a numbers game. They didn’t all reach back, but then that was what allowed him to get a $50,000 contract, then a $10,000, then an $8000. Now he sends me pictures of boobs and boats and babes. He loves it, but it’s like, he made quick progress because he already put in effort. He didn’t just dream about it in his house every day, and look at pictures and visions and everything else, he had taken action. And that’s what’s so important.
And that’s the difference between “overnight success” and this happened in 90 days for someone. Yea, they had a great foundation that allowed the right person to come into their life with the right information and the right mental shift, to have them have that quick turnaround, versus like taking the plumber guy who’s been a plumber for 30 years and now he’s going to be a Facebook Ad consultant in 45 days and pulling in $10,000 a month clients? You show me that person and, awesome, but that is such an anomaly: a human being that done nothing online marketing, nothing online courses, no personal development, no nothing, they just been banging nails and doing that for their whole life and then they take a course online and in 45 days they’re getting ten $10,000 clients and making $100,000 a month? Like, that is not happening.
Dan: Powerful, powerful. And I always like to use sports metaphor and martial arts metaphor, because I’m a martial artist. That you don’t think about — it just only happens in business world, it’s funny how this works: no one in the sports world is like, “You know what? I want to be a champion. Well I’ll just go to a two-day training, a two-day boot camp and I’ll be a champion.” No.
Michael: Dude, they said Michael Phelps freaking trained 365, seven days a week, every year.
Dan: That’s someone who’s got talent, who’s got skill, right? But somehow in business, and that’s something I learned from my mentor, people doesn’t practice. And they take an online course, 30 days and they expect this miracle and this success. And that’s not how it works. And business is no different, and I always believe business is the most competitive sport out there on the planet.
Michael: Yea, man.
Dan: Because every single day, every single hour, someone’s trying to kick your ass, right? Someone’s trying to take market share, someone’s trying to take your customers, someone’s trying to copy your ad. Whatever that’s working, someone is trying to kick your ass.
Michael: Yea exactly. Once you’re out there, once people see you’re getting great results, it’s game over for you if you’re not innovating, if you’re not moving forward, if you’re not shifting your game. And otherwise you’ll get run over. I remember in my production company back in the day, people were like — I go to the meeting, back in 2006, and these guys were light years ahead of me and they’d been doing it for 20 years. And then three years later, I’m speaking at their freaking event and they’re like, “How are you getting more than like $2000, we’d have to give our whole studios away?” And I’m thinking — but then they keep going, “I been doing this for 20 years.” It’s like, time doesn’t matter if you’re doing the wrong thing, or you’re doing the same damn thing for 20 years, it’s no wonder it doesn’t work anymore. Especially today.
Dan: Correct. And if we think about it, entrepreneurship, by definition it’s about innovating, it’s about thinking outside the box. It’s about filling that needs in the marketplace that people may not be aware of. It’s not about cookie cutter, three step to this, five step to that, this blueprint, that road map. It’s not about that. Entrepreneurship: it is about getting out of the box. It is about creating different solutions. Now Michael, talk to us about, so with the YouTube channel, you’ve been doing this for some time now. How has this affected your business? I’m curious.
Michael: Well, you know it’s fascinating, because there’s been a few things that have been huge for me, for Jumpstarters, and one was YouTube. But also, interestingly enough, it’s been Facebook Ads, have been huge, and then simultaneously, being in front of other people’s audiences, like this. Those things — cos what I’ve found is, is even today, versus when I started, it’s much more important now to collaborate than it’s ever been. Because what’s happening is, especially if you start YouTube or whatnot today, it’s getting so saturated that no matter — you got to be so crazy, out of the box sometimes to now be normal. I mean things that — I mean think about it, I walk with my grandpa in the morning at the mall when I’m in town and stuff, and interesting enough it’s like, you didn’t watch TV shows with people cursing, they didn’t do any of that stuff, that would have been sacrilegious. And now there’s — I know ten year olds who curse and it’s ok! Like, it’s ok. I mean when my brother was able to curse, he’s ten years younger than me, and say some curse words — you know we’re not sailors or whatever cursing up a storm — but like say ‘shit’ or say some words or whatever, ‘damn,’ and like, it’s so funny. If I said anything, like hell when I was like 22, 23 still around my parents, like, I wasn’t too good, my brother saying these things when he’s 15! It’s like no big deal.
And so I think that everything’s shifting. And so, you can’t, to be sticking out now isn’t just: do something a little bit different and now you’re like — oh my gosh, because now there’s already — it’s like I said, when I started my production company back in the day, I got a DVD from my mum who cleans houses. Now, you can freaken go and there’s 300,000 videos online. And so, for me, the differentiator now for what we’re doing, is this ability to actually –I mean, I think everybody is going into courses and books, and automation and non-customization and personalized and specific. It’s like, let’s take it and scale it to the moon. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but for me, I’d rather have more high end clients, or less perse, I guess you could say.
Michael: Clients that I can go deeper with and really get a transformation result. Because I think that it’s, not that I’m saying it’s bad again, for anybody that does this, but for me, I see it as much more self-serving. Even if the stuff can be transformational to sell 50,000 copies of whatever, more than likely, 98% will never go through and get a result. Now you can say that —
Dan: Taking imperfect action, right?
Michael: Right. But there’s say, but the owner of it can say, “Well, that’s their problem not mine.” Well that’s true, and I’m not saying don’t sell it. But for me I just believe that — I think that less and less people are going through it. Like, going through the e books, going through this thing. So if you’re not already known, how can you stick out? And it’s either, one: be on audiences of other people and become friends with these types of people, or two: go deep and get real, massive results for people. And through that things will spread, and people like yourself will go, “I need to talk to Michael Gebben” or “I need to talk to this guy.” Because you went deep. Because I think it’s harder to just do some kind of broad stroke thing now, and stick out.
Michael: So for me, it’s just go deep, get massive results with people, so those people talk, share those results on places where people are listening. Because if I just go on my Facebook page and go on Facebook live 20 times a day, like, it doesn’t mean I’m getting in front of any new people. Putting up YouTube videos even now, just putting them up consistently, that used to be a thing. My friends I’m talking about here, Alex Ikonn, Lexi Hair, all they had to do was put up consistent content, that was it, nothing else. And it could be good, and it could be not so good, but if you were just consistent and you started 2009 or 10 — now people can still blow up today, but it’s just not the same.
And so, recognizing these patterns in the market and being able to shift and bob and weave and evolve and do things a little different, that aren’t what everybody else is doing. If you’re a carbon copy of everyone else, good luck.
And I think that’s what I’ve even found Dan. I don’t know about you, talked about being a personal brand in these things, is that everybody’s being taught to throw logos on their site and to do this and to do that, that gives you credibility and x y z. But the thing is, is that that’s becoming everyone is doing it, so who do I trust now? How do I know? And how do I know this person is legit because I talked to five other guys who looked and sound and smelled just like you? And so, how do I know?
And so I think that having this ability to be able to offer and do things to get someone a result. I think the results driven marketing and business in all industries right now –short of widgets right, you’re selling something for super cheap and you got, whatever, like those spinner things that came out or whatever. Right, there’s super cheap things like that — but when it comes to a service, that should be giving someone result, it’s like how can you give it to them so that they can see that this is real and not a bunch of smoke and mirrors.
Dan: I agree. And I’m all about the high-ticket model, charging more money, serving fewer clients and get them good results. So, I totally agree with that and that’s why myself I don’t have courses and all that. I don’t believe in that. We’re on the same page for sure. Now it’s interesting, because with YouTube, maybe I’ll share a quick backstory that: when I started it was difficult. I started about three years ago. And I just put up — basically take some speaking footage that I have and I have it on these files, may as well put it on YouTube and see what happens. Well nothing happened first of all, and it took me to get the first 100 subscribers, I was getting my friends to subscribe, I had two google accounts, I subscribed to myself. Trying to get a couple of people. Oh man, it was a bitch. The first 100 it was hard. Okay, the first 1000 it took me like six months or something. It was hard. And then the first of 1000 to 10,000 is hard. And to this point, now three years later — listen to this Michael, you’ll love this –only recently that I have finally last month had a one video that kind of went viral. That within 30 days it got over about 150,000 views, right?
Dan: Thirty days, right? And it’s a martial art video, it’s not a business video, by the way.
Michael: The irony.
Dan: The irony. And it went viral and now people are asking, “Dan, you’ve got a video that went viral, how did you do that?” Well. Did you see how many freaking videos I’ve made? 500! I’ve uploaded 500 videos and more until I have one that went viral, right? And now it’s seriously — so, from now, before and I don’t mind sharing these numbers, we’re close to around 30,000 subscribers, right? In the last thirty days I had over 5000 new subscribers.
Michael: Wow, look at that. And that’s what people just — god.
Dan: Right!? Usually people just think about, oh yea — no before I was getting maybe 1000 somewhat new subscribers per month, suddenly now it’s a big jump, right? Because I tested new things, and maybe also now I have enough videos on YouTube, the algorithm or whatever, something that’s working. I don’t know what. But something that’s working.
Michael: And then the key word there as well, is the consistency. And that’s what so many people give up so soon on. Is the consistency. They put up five videos and it’s like, “Oh well, it’s not working. Such and such said put up videos and tag them this way and titles etc. and then I’ll win.” It’s like, if only!
Dan: If only, no. And same thing with like podcasts when I started a few years ago. My friend James Martell, who helped me put this together and advised me on how to do this, and he said to me day one; he asked me, “So how many shows do you want to do?” I said, “I don’t think about that.” He said, “Well good, because you’ve got to go into this you want to do this long haul. You don’t want to do like five episodes and say oh forget about it. No if you’re going to commit, you commit.” And now I’ve been doing it for a few years and he’s exactly right. Like the first ten, twenty episodes, not a lot of traction. Now all the traction comes, I’ve had more traction from the last ten episodes than a lot of the episodes before. I can see the momentum building. But if I would have said, “Oh, forget it I’ve done twenty episodes; this thing doesn’t work.” Then you would have given up.
Michael: I’m sure the same thing with your podcast here as well
Dan: Same thing 100%. And so, but that’s why people I think they don’t take enough MIA, Massive Imperfect Action, or they give up too soon or —
Michael: Or they’re doing it for the wrong reasons.
Dan: Wrong reasons. If you love it. This actually I love, because I always tell people, this is like, I have this platform, almost like an excuse to interview and have these great conversations with all these entrepreneurs, like, I would pay to do this, right?
Michael: Yea, Dan, I told the people that helped me also get on a bunch of these shows. I said — you know what’s interesting, after I’ve started doing this, I was totally blind to the fact that the actual cake, let’s just say that it’s a cake here, you’ve got the icing, you’ve got the whole stuff in the middle. The cake itself is really this: me getting to interact and meet new people; and the second: the icing on the cake is actually the fact that whatever happens when you actually air this thing, that’s wonderful. But now I’m finding really that the meat and potatoes is actually me being able to meet and connect with the hosts, more than it is whatever happens after the episode goes live.
And I think a lot of times it’s back to that: how do we see life? How do we see things? And when you see it through the wrong lens and filter, you take something that can be working well, but because you’re doing it for the wrong reasons or you thought it was supposed to be this or that and it’s not.
Like, I had, in my video production company that I had lost, a passive income business. But because it wasn’t exactly how the gurus were telling me it was supposed to be, and online and this and that, I sabotaged the whole thing and lost it. And so again, that’s one of the things, helping people like — really, the things I’m helping people do is the failures and mistakes that I had gone through, that I’m seeing a lot struggle with. And one of those things is sometimes you have something that’s great right in front of you, but because whoever has painted a picture that that’s not the right thing, and it’s not this amount of money or this, it’s not online — like mine was offline, like I had a video production company where I had people in place doing everything for me, making money, and yet I was naïve. I was still — I’m pretty young, I’m 30, and I was like I don’t know 24, 25 and I really wasn’t mentored by anybody, so I was accidentally falling into all this. So that’s the thing, is I think that people are doing things for the wrong reasons, which then lead them down paths that are wrong for them.
Dan: I agree. And people sometimes — it goes back to self-worth, that they don’t believe their vision, they don’t believe in their own ability sometimes. So some gurus say, “Oh, you should do it this way.” “Oh okay, alright, fine I’ll do it that way.” Although, like you said, you have something that’s working perfectly fine but oh, maybe it’s not good, I could have something better, right? All of these things.
Michael: Fast. Everybody’s looking for fast. I think they’re looking for quick fixes and because they’re doing things for the wrong reasons and the gurus know how to sell fast and do this and do this, and then they get the money and then it doesn’t work fast for maybe their situation, they give up. Because they don’t want to put in that effort. And the effort like — neither me or you or probably like 98% of the people that you’ve had on your show would be where we are if we hadn’t put in the effort and put in the time and put in the 500 videos to get to the one video that blows up.
Dan: Yes, and what’s interesting is I actually now more matured, definitely now I’m 36, I’ve been in business since high school now. So I look at that as a plus. I like the fact that it’s a bitch. I like the fact that it’s — so good, because new people come in, you’re going to make 500 videos, that’s going to eliminate 99% of people.
Michael: Well dude. Today, just in this market anyways. The reality is it’s a billion times harder because the barrier to entry is so low from a financial investment, typically, for most businesses, that every Tom, Dick and Harry on planet earth can get into it. But yea, they’re dropping as fast as — I believe they’re dropping as fast as they’re getting into it. And a lot of people who are not — I mean I’ve been selling since I was a little kid. I had a paper route when I was 10, I had a candy machine business in high school, I’ve always been selling. So when I hear somebody who’s been your normal joe, nothing against them, and not that they can’t do it, not that they can’t make transitions. But it’s not as easy as people are making it sound, so to get into it. And they’re losing because really, they’re better off being the second to some main person: the seller, the entrepreneur, than they are being the entrepreneur themselves.
Dan: 100% Now, Michael let me ask you, I ask all my guests this question, it’s a deep question: now, if you could travel back to one of your start-up days and have a five-minute conversation with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired, with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and headaches, what would you tell yourself?
Michael: Well, shameless plug here: what I’m doing right now, this ability to have self-awareness and clarity about how Michael Gebben is wired. Recognizing my strengths and weaknesses, recognising what areas to focus in and what areas to stay away from. For me, I’m a people person. My one buddy says to me, “Michael’s making money when his mouth is moving.”
Dan: I love that.
Michael: Therefore, you put me behind — like, I spent my beginning years in video production, technical. Shooting, editing, let me buy another camera, let me learn how to edit better, shoot better, I thought it was about all those things. And when I finally recognized it wasn’t, and I started focusing on business, still not even really personal development or mindset; I just started focusing on the business side of things, things got better. But in the last three years I still went down — I didn’t recognize it before, and people weren’t helping me recognize it, so I went down in the coaching and consultant area, I went down the same area, which was letting others influence me into thinking I should do x, y and z, when it wasn’t against my wiring. So I was doing technical things that I would procrastinate on. Endlessly. And not do because it wasn’t me connecting — I mean me and you, we can sit here and talk — I know we’ll have to end here soon or whatever but like we can sit here and talk for the next two or three hours.
Michael: And have a ball. But people weren’t telling me to do that. They were telling me to not pick up the phone and talk to people, to not meet people, to not interact with people. And so, for me, if I don’t have that component, I’m losing. And so, in life, I would tell the twelve years ago me: just focus on people, do not do technical things, leave that up to other people who love that. Because one person’s blessing is another’s curse. And so for me, I have blessing and a curse, it’s mostly blessing, but is the gift of gab. This ability to talk and when I would talk to people in my company, they would see the passion, and they would feel that. And now I recognize the power of that. And so I stay in that role and if I stay in that role I’m winning big. If I get out of that role I’m losing big.
Dan: That’s basically your — I call that your brilliance, right? We all have that. And if you operate most of the time in a business in your brilliance, things will be fine. Just will be fine. Now Michael, maybe share with us any final thoughts and your contact information, so if our listeners want to learn more, if they want to subscribe to your YouTube channel, or learn more about your work.
Michael: Yea I’ve got all my axis kind of on a simple page where — and I’m the big giving before taking and there’s all sorts of ways to be able to connect. But takemia.com which starts for ‘take massive imperfect action’, but: takemia.com will have the ability for people to connect with all the different social platforms and whatnot and find my YouTube and everything there as well.
But there’s an ability to take an assessment. It’s kind of the first step that’s one of the biggest things that I wish I would have had somebody to do a call with a long time ago. Because I had taken different personality assessments; they’d always just spit out a document and essentially, maybe you make some sense out of it, maybe not. But for me, I had a call with kind of a personality consultant that was able to go over one of these assessments back in 2014 and it was life changing. And now that’s one of the components that we use to really go deep and help people identify those sweet spots for them. So there’s the ability to take that assessment there on that page, and other ways to get in touch. So that’s really the best way to contact me.
But, I mean, any closing words would really just be: there’s a lot of people, including us on this show, giving advice and saying things and trying to inspire and trying to give tips and tricks. The biggest thing that has helped me personally and the people that I’ve been able to see some big personal breakthroughs with, is just recognize that a lot of times, with a lot of people if they’re not self-aware enough, the advice is coming from a place that: we don’t see others as they are we see them as we are. So if you start to look when people say things, like, even yourself, you go, “God, I can’t believe why is that person doing that.” It’s because you wouldn’t do that. You don’t like that. And so what I’ve found, sometimes when people are giving advice, it’s typically what they would do, not what they would do if they were you, but they would — well it would be if they were you, and they were still them, not if they were you in your brain, in your mentality, in your situation. And that’s a big shift. That’s been the big shift for me, even in my life, recognizing when I’m giving advice and opinions, am I giving both sides of the coin? Am I giving what I may do but also try to come from the place that is who they are, and — what I might do is not what they should do, because how they’re wired they’re going to lose big trying to do what I do in that situation.
Dan: Makes a lot of sense. I’ll wrap up with a quote from Bruce Lee, it’s: “Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is eventually your own.” So thank you so much Michael, it’s been a blast, we should do this again, its’ a lot of fun, thank you so much. I appreciate it.