Transcript continued from the Episode 017 Show notes

Podcast Clip from Seoul, Korea

It’s Mark Mason from MasonWorld.com and I’m sure you can hear from the background noise that I’m on location in Seoul, South Korea. Of course I’m not actually on location, it’s not like I came here to work on internet marketing. I’m here as part of my day job and I’m standing in front of the Grand International Hotel near the Koex Mall in Seoul, South Korea. It’s a pretty famous hotel and a pretty famous location.

Seoul is just absolutely beautiful. I think of it sort of as New York on steroids. It’s an absolute miracle to me what the South Korean government has been able to do with the city of Seoul since the end of the Korean War. It’s just a financial miracle, it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s a clean beautiful city with friendly people, lots of great food.

One of the things I love about the Korean people is they’re incredibly polite, but from a business standpoint they’re quite aggressive so they’re great to work with. They get things done in this country and it’s really fun to be here. I love Asia Pacific in general, but Seoul is one of my favorite cities in the whole world.

The neat thing about being on the go and having an internet business is you can do almost anything from anywhere. With a combination of Skype and Gmail and an internet connection, and in my case a Macbook Air, you can do anything. You can even record a podcast. And if you’re willing to tolerate a little street noise from the beautiful streets of Seoul, South Korea then there’s no limit to what you can do. It’s really one of the most amazing things about internet business.

Really the only thing from a location standpoint that effects you too much are local laws. I know the people in the United States that listen to this podcast that are affiliate for Amazon, they know this all too well. Sometimes things like tax laws can impact you. But, other than that if you’ve got an internet connection you can do internet business almost anywhere in the world.

You can make products on the go, you can record content, you can make blog posts, you can handle customer service, you can buy and sell ads, you can do whatever you need to do to run your business and it really doesn’t matter where you are.

As you can probably hear from the background noise, it’s time for me to go. But, I will catch up with you again, probably next time in Shinshu, Taiwan. Thanks, bye.

Back to Present Day America

Luckily, I’m not getting on an airplane for a 14 hour ride to Seoul – although, like I said, I really loved Seoul. It’s just really far from Dallas, so it takes a long time to get there. Today I’m just going to California and I’m headed out to the airport. It’s about a 45 minute drive from my house and, like I said, I’m recording on my iPhone. That’s fraught with challenges, I just got a text message from the airport valet letting me know that I needed to proceed to gate C21, so I’ll have to edit that out.

In any case, one of the things that I wanted to talk about today was this idea of how do you have a side business, what are best practices, what are the kinds of things you should be doing if you’ve got a day job and you’re worried about that conflicting with things that your current employer has you doing.

A lot of people are worried about this. As an employer myself, I can tell you that there are times when you want to be careful about understanding the relationship between your online business efforts and how it’s perceived by your employer. I don’t necessarily mean the actual impact either. Sometimes it’s important just the perception of these things and how they’re looked at by your employer. So here are some best practices from me.

Best Practices for Affiliate Marketing and Working a Day Job

Quick Legal Disclaimer: Now, understand I’m not giving you any kind of legal advice. If you’re in hot water with your employer over your internet business or you’re worried about something that has legal implications between you and your employer, or if you have an employment contract with your employer, I’m not giving you any legal advice.

I just want to share with you my experience and my ideas about what you should be and shouldn’t be doing with regard to your employer. If you need legal advice then you need to go get some, because I’m not a lawyer and I don’t play one on TV.

The first tip I would give you is consider whether or not it’s necessary to even worry about letting your employer know what you’re doing with your internet marketing business.

Let’s say, for example, your employer has some sort of business in the textile industry and you’re a manager or a worker at a textile plant, and you’ve got a blog about mountain biking and that’s your internet business. Your hobby is mountain biking and you’ve decided to create this blog about mountain biking and you have affiliate products on the blog and the result of that is that you get some residual income from those affiliate products.

Even if your dream is to grow that to a multimillion dollar a year multinational business, it may not necessarily be required, or even a good idea, for you to discuss it with your employer. After all, every employer with employees has employees with hobbies. Almost every person on the planet has a hobby.

Some of those hobbies are dramatically cash flow negative. Golf comes to mind, and employees spend enormous amounts of time playing golf and as long as they’re not doing it when they’re supposed to be working most employers are fine with that.

But, then there are other hobbies that can be cash flow positive. Internet marketing, blogging, and those sorts of things certainly can be those kinds of hobbies where you’re actually making a little bit of money while you’re doing it. I don’t know that that’s necessarily something that you need to let your employer know.
So that’s the first thing is to decide whether or not there is any really good reason to discuss this at all. I think this is particularly the case if you are operating your internet business in a way that it’s not completely obvious exactly who you are. If you’ve got a blog you may be revealing your identity on the blog, but if you’ve got some kind of ecommerce store where you’re selling bike parts there’s no telling who is running that thing usually in most cases.

If you’re in that situation I think it’s never going to come up with your employer and it’s not a conflict of interest, I don’t think there’s any reason you necessarily need to talk to them about it at all.

The second thing you need to consider, I think, is how much mixing you’re going to do with your day job and your internet business. My personal rule of thumb is I try absolutely to never, if I can possibly help it, do anything internet marketing related while I’m on my day job. Just like crossing the beams in Ghost Busters, I try not to do any internet business work while I’m at my job on their internet, using their internet access, using their computing facilities, etcetera.

Most employers have an acceptable use policy for things like their computers and their internet access and their telephones, and even the copy machine. Most of these acceptable use policies say something to the effect of it’s okay to use our stuff for your own personal use as long as what you’re doing doesn’t interfere with your job and as long as the things that you’re doing are appropriate for the work environment, ie there’s no offensive material in what you’re doing, and as long as what you’re doing doesn’t put too much of a taxing resource on our internet resources or on our copy machine.

Usually at most employers it’s okay to make four photocopies of your insurance card for your car, but it’s not okay to make 400 copies of a flyer for your garage sale next weekend. It’s just sort of common sense like that. So check out your employer’s policies and by all means my recommendation is to abide by them.

Now, in the case where you’re running a profitable business or trying to run a profitable business it does not make sense to me that you would want to use any of your current employer’s resources to help support your existing business. You need to be careful about this not only in the actual use of your employer’s resources, but also in the perception that you might be using your employer’s resources. You don’t want to let them think even that you are using their computer resources and their internet access for your internet business.

Again, common sense applies here. Is it okay to check your internet business related email during your own time at lunch using their internet connection? Well, you need to check their policy, but probably yes that’s just fine. Is it okay to send out a few tweets or other social media stuff during the day? That’s probably okay.

But, I wouldn’t do anything much more than that. And I would even try to avoid those things. There are really good tools available for timing your social media activity, like TweetLater and BufferApp and things like that. I think so far as you can avoid doing internet business things at your employer that you should.

So those are some things to think about with regard to working on your internet business in and around your employer. Basically it comes down to decide whether or not it’s an important conversation to have with your employer, make sure there’s not a conflict of interest, and make sure you’re limiting or eliminating any crossover between your internet business and your employer’s time.

Your employer is paying you for work that you’re supposed to be doing, when they do that you’re supposed to be working on their time and not working on your internet business. As long as you respect that relationship, in most cases I think you’re going to be okay.

Now it’s time to get into part two of the interview with Cliff Ravenscraft. If you’re just joining me for the first time on the Mason World Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast, the audio quality of this part of the show has been a little different than normal. I’m on the road and in the car headed out to San Jose, California. But, this interview with Cliff I did on Skype and so it’s got considerably better audio quality. I hope you enjoy part two of my interview with Cliff Ravenscraft, The Podcast Answer Man.

Mark: Wow. That’s awesome.

Cliff: We had that kind of impact. People asked me questions of faith. They would say, “Can you answer this question?” I would respond to their e-mails. I asked people, “Can I respond to this in a podcast?”

That’s why I created other podcasts. I created this show called “My Crazy Life.” I did a podcast episode called “Kim’s e-mail.” Kim asked me to explain how I found faith in God and how I trusted him.

I read her e-mail with her permission. I answered it. Two days later she wrote me back. She said that she had become a Christian. She had to leave work that day because she was emotionally overtaken by the experience.

She asked if I would help her find a church. Here I am. I was spending most of my day answering e-mails, communicating and having phone conversations with people from all over the world.

I’m having a positive impact in their lives. I’m not making any money from this but I’m having a positive impact in people’s lives in a way that I believe I’m being called and pulled toward.

Mark: At one point you were doing that from your desk at your family insurance agency, right?

Cliff: That’s where I became very depressed. You’re right. I believe myself to be a man of integrity. I was being paid by the family insurance agency to sell, market and service insurance policies and clients I was spending more than half my day e-mailing and interacting with people in my community that I’m building on the side.

I believe that I was stealing money from the business. I became very depressed about that. I felt conflicted.

Mark: This gets us to the most important, and my favorite, part of the story. When it became obvious, you tried to quit podcasting and you couldn’t. It’s a long story.

It’s amazing. This is my favorite part of the story. When it came time to make the change, what did Stephanie say? Stephanie is your wife. What did Stephanie say?

Cliff: I had this podcast. It’s now called “Pursuing a Balanced Life.” It used to be called “My Crazy Life. I was sharing with people, “I have this dream. I wish I could do this full-time. I know that’s stupid. No one can make a living podcasting.”

By the time I started dreaming about it I was making $1,000 per month from advertising. That’s about it. Some people were paying me on the side to teach them how to do things.

It was a little bit here and there. It wasn’t going to pay the bills. I’m dreaming out loud in my podcast. Everyone said, “You can do this.” I would tell Stephanie what they said.

I didn’t believe it. I went into what I would consider a deep depression. I did not want to get out of bed in the morning. I would stay in bed as long as I could. I would get to work and spend the day interacting with the community.

All I could think of was going to bed at night. I thought, “I just want to go home and go to bed. I burnt out. I’m sick of this job. I’m sick of everything.”

Stephanie said, “You have to quit your job in insurance. You have to do it. I believe you can make a living from podcasting because I believe this is what you’re being called to do. I have no doubt about it. We’ll do whatever it takes to make you successful.”

My wife had not worked outside of the home since our first daughter was born. She was eight months old when she stopped working outside of the home. She’s a stay-at-home mom.

We have three kids. She said, “If I have to get a job, I will so that you can get this thing off the ground. If we have to sell our house and rent for a while, we’ll do that. We’ll do whatever it takes. You have to quit your job. I want my husband back. The kids need their dad back.”

Mark: You realized that she’s really cool. I hope you’ve extended her to a long-term contract. She’s fantastic. I’m sure I’m telling you something you’re already aware of.

Cliff: You’re absolutely right. I’m quite aware of how blessed I am. I thank God for my wife every day. She keeps asking me to renew our vows. I said, “You don’t understand, Stephanie. The ones I gave you the first time have no expiration.”

Mark: They’re still good. Fast forward to Podcast Answer Man. That’s how I hooked up with you. I had several people like my friend Jason Van Orden recommend that I talk to you.

Pat Hag gave me the same feedback. He said, “You have to talk to Cliff.” I was complaining about the equipment I had. I wasn’t sure what to buy.

You were amazing. The crazy thing was the quality of the podcast. I don’t mean the audio quality, which is fantastic. I meant your capability to communicate these ideas in an entertaining way.

Some of the details of podcasting can get boring. I don’t know how many people want to understand how to use an aux send on channel three of their mixer. I’m fascinated by this podcast. We hooked up. Tell us about how you got into this podcasting podcast and what that’s meant to you.

Cliff: Stephanie tells me I need to leave my career. I decide that she’s right. The next day I put in my 90 day notice. I thought, “I have to figure out how I’m going to make money.”

The majority of what I do is producing content. There has been no real proven revenue stream. I thought,”I’m going to join some kind of network and let them sell some advertising for me. I’ll find some other way to make a living to support the content that I want to create for my community.”

I said, “I’m going to start podcast consulting. That’s what I’ll do.” I started that before I left my career in insurance. I started Podcast Answer Man in December of 2006. This was two years before I left my career in insurance.

I was already doing Podcast Answer Man. I had this pipe dream that eventually within five to ten years I might be able to podcast full-time. That was my goal.

I started podcasting in December of 2006 with a goal that within five to ten years I might be able to quit my job in insurance. Two years later, I quit my job in insurance and started podcasting full-time. That’s where it came from.

I was consulting a little bit on the side as a hobby. I remember freaking out charging $50 per hour for my consulting. I laugh at that today. I remember trying to convince people that I’m worth $50 per hour.

As of July 18, 2011 my rate is $200 per hour. It will go up to $300 per hour at the end of the year. Many things have changed.

Mark: Congratulations. You are now podcasting full-time. It’s much more than that. You’re a full-time podcaster but you’re impacting people full-time.

You mentioned you had a great job in insurance. It wasn’t that you were running away from insurance. It was that you were running towards something, right?

Cliff: That’s exactly it. December of 2007 was a dark time. I had anxiety, fear, nervousness and panic attacks. It was bad.

I woke up on January 1st, 2008 and I felt like a guy who had been in prison and set free. I could go anywhere I want. I was afraid. Do I have the self-discipline to make myself work?

Can I stay committed to this? I fell on the other end of things. I’m not happy about how I handled everything. For the first six months I worked 10 to 14 hours a day seven days a week. I am not too happy about that.

I wonder if I could have accomplished as much if I didn’t at the time. When I say that I was working 10 to 14 hours a day I want to point out that I could spend 20 to 30 minutes upstairs tickling my kids, playing around, going to dinner with them or visiting them at school.

I could do those things. When I say “work” I felt guilty for the first couple of months. I don’t feel like I ever worked. I worked 10 to 14 hours a day but it was playing around. I was having fun.

Mark: That’s the magic. That’s what I try to communicate to people. There will be times that you encounter obstacles in whatever you do. It’s a lot easier to deal with these obstacles if you’re working on something you care about.

It’s clear to me that in all of these angles of your business there is convergence. It’s purposeful. It’s fun to watch how enthusiastic you are about all of the different aspects of this business that you’ve built.

For the record let’s confirm that you’re doing something that you love. You’re making money online. You’re supporting your family. You’re not selling information about how to make money online in general. That’s not your business.

Cliff: That is not my business at all. I will confirm that. I have never made less money in my life than I did in the first year that I did this full-time.

I want to let people know that before I left my career to pursue this full-time I was building my brand for two years. I was building my brand for two years before I started this full-time.

Then in the third year of my brand and the first year of doing it full-time I went from $87,000 of income down to $11,000 of income.

Mark: Ouch.

Cliff: Yes. Mark, you mentioned you were going to link to the video I did at Blog World.

Mark. Absolutely. It’s awesome.

Cliff: If anyone is interested, it’s an hour long. I encourage you to hear the long story about my income and what we lived on. It was $11,000 of income for a family of five. This was not easy, my friends.

None of this was easy. There was a never a time that my wife and I didn’t both break down and cry when we paid our bills. Thank God we only did that once a month. Because my wife was totally supportive of my decision, it never once drew us apart.

By the grace of God it drew us closer together in our marriage. The financial struggles drew us closer. We both felt that we were sacrificing for the right thing.

We jokingly call it the “money truck.” One day God is going to send the money truck. We don’t know when. He’s going to send that truck. It’s going to pull up. It’s going to say, “Here’s the money.”

Mark: Is it a pick-up truck or an 18 wheeler?

Cliff: It was a Brinks truck.

Mark: OK, the Brinks truck.

Cliff: The money truck is coming. I want to confirm that today I make more money now than I’ve ever made before in my life. I’m not afraid to throw out some numbers. The most I’ve ever made was $23,000 in a single month.

Mark: Some of that $23,000 was mine.

Cliff: Thank you very much. The month that I made $23,000 was the shortest month of the year. It was February of 2011. In February of 2011 I was gone for 10 days on a cruise to the Bahamas with my family of five.

Mark: That’s another story. We could talk for three hours. I know the back story. I know you dipped into your savings to pay for that cruise.

You came home and here’s this money in your account. It’s craziness. People need to watch this video. I want to be respectful of your time.

There’s one thing that you and I have in common. It took us two months to schedule this interview. I don’t normally do things until my family is squared away with dinner and put to bed. You have strict balanced living constraints.

That’s another podcast worth checking out. You have serious constraints on your life to keep it balanced. It took us two months to schedule this. What would you tell people who have this idea in the back of their head?

They want this freedom. They have things that they care about. They have fear. They’re not sure where to go, how hard to push or what to do. What’s your counseling to people who need advice about what’s possible, what can be accomplished and whether or not to follow their dreams? What’s your thinking on that?

Cliff: There are a couple of different things. I will blast through these quickly. The good thing about audio podcasting is you can go back, rewind and listen to it again. I will share some things with you if I can think of them all.

There are five things that jumped into my head. I will share as much of it as I can before it leaves. Do you have passion for what you’re doing? Is this something you could do all day long and not get paid for it but you’d still love it and do it anyway?

Do you have that kind of passion and intensity? Is it the type of thing that when you do it the hours fly by? I’m not saying that you have to have that.

If you do, it’s going to help you in those difficult times when you’re not making any money. You’re doing it trusting and believing that things will happen. That leads to another element. I’ll get to that element last.

Do you really have talent for what you’re doing? You’re thinking, “I really like this.” The question is, are you good at it? Can you become so good at this thing that people would be willing to pay you to do it?

One of the quotes that got me is “Find something that you love to do so much that you’d do it all day long for free. Then become so excellent at doing it that people would be willing to pay you to do it.”

Do you have the raw talent necessary to pull it off? You may want to ask other people. Do some self-evaluation and strength finder tests. I’ve never taken one of those.

Mark: I have done that. I highly recommend Strengths Finder 2.0. It’s great.

Cliff: There you go. I’ve heard loads of great things about it. Do you have talent? Do you have passion?

Do you have determination? Do you want to know my business plan when I left my career in insurance?

Mark: Yes, lay it on me.

Cliff: Here was my business plan. I refuse to fail. That’s it. I had determination. To this day I’ve never set eyes on a business plan.

I listened to a podcast about creating business plans. I remember making a mental note to myself to go back and download their free PDF. I wanted to fill it out and create my own business plan.

I’ve been doing this full-time since 2008. My eyes have never even looked upon a business plan. I don’t know what they look like. I don’t care. My business plan is determination.

It is “I will not fail at this. I am going to make a living doing podcasting.” That was my business plan. Do you have determination? Do you have self-discipline?

I didn’t know if I had this. In my research, I read great material by Dan Miller of 48 Days to the Work You Love and No More Mondays. I heard that self-discipline is something that is absolutely critical if you’re going to start your own thing.

The good news is this is something that you can gain if you don’t have it already. There are steps you can take to build self-discipline. I was glad to hear that. I struggled with that the most.

The last one is faith. I am a Christian. I am a believer. I felt a calling to serve people through podcasting and sharing my life online.

I had this overwhelming faith that if I did the one thing that I felt called to do in the midst of all the opposition and the fact that this doesn’t make sense, I believed that if I worked hard and did all the things that I felt led to do that I would eventually find a way to make this pay.

I had that faith. Do you have passion, talent, determination, self-discipline and faith? If you are married, do you have the support of your spouse? If I did not have the support of my spouse I would not have done what I did.

Mark: There’s no question in your case.

Cliff: There’s one other thing that I want to share. Let’s say you decide to go for it. I am not suggesting that you go for it. You have to determine if you have all of those things yourself.

When you decide to go for it, don’t expect immediate success. Do you mind if I read a quote from Jason Fried’s book Rework?

Mark: No, I love that book. Please go ahead.

Cliff: This is the myth of the overnight sensation. I will edit one word. I’m going to change it to “butts” instead of the actual word.

Mark: It’s a family-friendly podcast so that’s good.

Cliff: He says, “You will not be a big hit right away. You will not get rich quick. You are not so special that everyone else is instantly going to pay attention to you.

No one cares about you, at least not yet. Get used to it. Do you know those overnight success stories you’ve heard about? It’s not the whole story.

Dig deeper and you’ll usually find people who have busted their butts for years to get into a position where things could take off. On the rare occasion that instant success does come along it usually doesn’t last. There’s no foundation there to support it.

Trade the dream of overnight success for slow measured growth. It’s hard but you have to be patient. You have to grind it out. You have to do it for a long time before the right people notice.”

I have lived every single word that’s in that quote. It is the truth. Mark, you noticed me. You’re one of the right people who have noticed who I am and what I’m doing.

You would never have noticed if Pat Flynn or Jason Van Orden weren’t some of the right people to notice who I am and what I’m doing. It’s amazing. It took years before people started to notice.

Mark: I’ll do you one better, Cliff. Not only did I notice you but I admire you. I admire what you’ve done. I admire the way you do it.

There are things that I do in my business that are influenced by the way you do things. I really respect you. I can’t thank you enough for being on this podcast tonight.

You’re the kind of guy I want to put in front of my audience to say, “If you’re going to build a business online or offline, this is the kind of approach you want to think about.”

Have passion. Be true to your values. Go for it. Help people. Have determination.

Don’t quit. These qualities make winners. Cliff, you’re a real winner. I appreciate you being here tonight.

Cliff: Mark, thank you so much. I know you wanted to get into the “how can you give it all away and draw the line.” If you want to schedule another time in the future, let me know. I can go into it right now if you want.

Mark: You captured me. You stumped the interviewer. I did want to get into that. Do you want to say a few words about that? Do you have time?

Cliff: I will. This is an important thing. I’m asked this all the time, especially as a consultant. I’m consulting people.

They ask, “Cliff, how do you build this community? I want to market. I want to sell things. I want to promote my business and brand. I want to create digital products just like you. I can’t give it all away for free. What do I decide to give away? What do I decide not to give away?”

My answer is always, “Give it all away for free. Don’t hold anything back, nothing. Don’t hold anything back at all.” I used to answer tons of questions related to podcasting via e-mail.

I would spend an hour responding to someone’s e-mail. I would give them the exact step-by-step instructions they needed to solve a problem. I wasn’t charging anything for it. I was helping a person.

Two weeks later, I’d get the same question. I’d dig out where I got it before. I’d rework it a little bit to fit their needs. I would adjust that. I thought, “I’m getting so many of these questions. I can’t answer them for free all day long.”

I always wanted to make sure that I had a method of answering people’s questions for free. That’s the purpose of Podcast Answer Man. I will not hide the fact that every week it is an infomercial for my consulting services and product tutorials. It hasn’t always been that way.

It wasn’t until about a year ago that I offered my first paid product. It is there to promote me. The number one purpose of Podcast Answer Man is to answer your questions. When someone asks me a question, hopefully I already have a podcast episode to point them to.

I can say. “Listen to this. If you have further questions you can call it in to our voicemail feedback hotline. I’m available for consulting currently at $200 per hour with a minimum of one hour. I have these tutorials or I have a group coaching class that’s coming up in a couple of weeks.”

I give those offers. If a question comes in and I don’t have the answer I say, “I’m at a place in my business where I cannot answer these questions via e-mail. Please consider calling my voicemail feedback hotline.

I’ll do my best to fit it into one of the upcoming shows. If you need an answer right away, I don’t have a product tutorial. Here is the list of products that I do have.

I don’t have a tutorial that answers this. I am available for one-on-one consulting. It’s the only way I can help you on a one-on-one basis. I’d be more than happy to try to squeeze your question into the next episode that will be out this Thursday.”

That’s how I’m doing things. When I answer people’s questions, I don’t give them 90% of the answer and say, “Call me to set up an appointment if you want to talk about the rest.” No way.

I would lose everyone. I try my best to not only answer their question but to go the extra mile and give them more information than what they asked for. I consistently do that. I make a lot of money from one-on-one consulting throughout the week.

I make a lot per hour. I schedule quite a few calls. My clients know this. I tell them this. I say, “You realize everything that you’ve paid me for today is available for free online. I have 217 hours of Podcast Answer Man. If you listen to all 217 hours, within them, everything you’ve asked me today is answered for free in those podcasts.”

I put this out there every week. I’m answering questions week after week and providing top notch high quality free valuable information. You will always have someone with a specific need.

They want to get up and running. They don’t have more than two or three hours to get it going. They want to schedule a consulting call. I get two or three e-mails every week like this.

This is almost word for word. “Hey, Cliff. My name is so-and-so. I found you about two weeks ago as a result of a Google search. I was searching for cameras. I saw this. I’ve been browsing your site. I’ve spent hours on your site. I’ve listened to seven of your podcast episodes. I need to hire you.” That’s it.

Mark: That’s awesome.

Cliff: They say, “I know who you are. You don’t need to sell me on your services. You don’t need to tell me what your consulting rate is. I’ve heard you mention it a couple of times. When can I get in your schedule?”

That’s almost always the initial contact I get from a new client. It’s not, “Can you tell me how you can help me?” It’s, “I want to get in your schedule.”

Mark: That’s the same thing that happened to me. It wasn’t, “Convince me that you know what I need to buy.” It was, “I need this equipment. Tell me what to buy. I’m ordering it.” It’s very simple. I’m a living example.

Cliff: Let’s say you had never heard of me before. Jason Van Orden says, “You have to talk to this Cliff Ravenscraft guy.” You put it off for a while.

You talk to someone else. You mention podcasts. They say, “You have to talk to Cliff Ravenscraft.” You think, “Who is this Cliff Ravenscraft guy?”

You e-mail me without investigating my site. You say, “Hey, Cliff. My name is Mark. I’ve had two people tell me I need to hire you. Can you tell me what you do and if you think you can help me?”

I would write back a personal message just for you. The essence of the message would be, “Do me a favor. Before you consider hiring me, listen to two or three of the most recent episodes of my podcast. If you are not 100% convinced that you need to hire me, you shouldn’t hire me.” That’s my sales pitch today.

Mark: Wow. I love that.

Cliff: That’s giving things away for free. I like to go to these things called “pod camps.” Podcasters and people in general like to go to become podcasters or talk with other podcasters and social media geeks.

I have people come up to me all the time and say, “I’ve been listening to you. I’ve never had to hire you. I listen to your podcasts. You give it all away for free.” This phrase comes out all the time. “I feel like I owe you something.”

Mark: That’s reciprocity, my friend.

Cliff: It is the theory of reciprocity. Give value to people and they will want to return equal or greater value to you. I’m not kidding when I say I put out a brand new digital product. I send it to my mailing list.

Immediately the sales thunder in. The reason is because I’m busy doing other things between products. I have a massive online community of people whose lives have benefited, not just in learning how to podcast.

Mark, you said there are things that you do in your business that you’ve been inspired to do differently. There are people who are debt free today as the result of a podcast that my wife and I shared a long time ago. I’ve lost more than 50 pounds. My wife has lost more than 70 pounds.

There are people who listen to us share how we’ve changed our lives. There are people who listen to us who have lost more than 100 pounds. People’s lives have been changed in a very positive way because we’re consistently looking for ways to help people.

We’re not looking at how we can get money out of it. When we offer something people can buy, they go out of their way to buy it if it has any stretch of being something they can use. We’re only creating products that we know or believe will meet a direct need of our audience.

Mark: It’s an awesome way to roll. You build trust. People come to you because they know you can help. I love it.

Thank you so much for spending the extra time to share that. You’ve met all of my expectations and more. I really do appreciate it. Thanks for spending the extra time.

I know my listeners appreciate it, too. I love the way things are going for you. The more successful you are, the happier I am. You’re killing it. I love it.

Cliff: It’s a blessing to hear those things from people like you, Mark. You can get stuck in the daily grind. Sometimes I get used to doing what I’m doing.

I forget that it is making a difference in people’s lives. I love doing these interviews and hearing those things. It blesses me. It is a blessing for me to be exposed to your audience. I appreciate the privilege and honor of being on your show.

Mark: I want you to do one more favor for me. I want you to say hello to Stephanie for me.

Cliff: I will do that. I’ll tell her right after we hang up.

Mark: Awesome. Thank you so much. You know where to find me if you need me. Have a great day.

Cliff: You too, Mark. Thanks a lot.

Mark: Thanks, goodbye.

Cliff: Goodbye. That was perfect. Thank you so much.

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