Adam G. Force is the Founder of Change Creator Magazine for social entrepreneurs on iTunes & Google Play, regularly ranked in the top 10 in the app store for “Business & Investing”.
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3 Value Bombs
1) It’s not about the strategy, it’s about your story.
2) Opportunities are not a one-time thing — believe in second chances.
3) Use your strengths and your expertise to build bigger opportunities.
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(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
[01:07] – Adam has worked with WebMD for 10 years as Director of Strategic Marketing
[01:48] – His areas of expertise are strategy, branding, and social entrepreneurship
[02:15] – Share something we don’t know about your area of expertise that as Entrepreneurs, we probably should: Look at everything as a story
[02:38] – Don’t just get tactical, use your story to hook your audience
[04:07] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: When Adam started Change Creator, he was trying to book Billy Parish. One day, Adam was at a wedding where he’d had one too many drinks, and his phone started ringing—but instead of letting it go to voicemail, he answered it. Who was on the other line? Billy
[07:28] – Don’t feel like opportunities are a one-time thing
[10:33] – Pay attention to your audience
[10:38] – When you make a transition, be diligent and consistent
[11:44] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Adam was working in NYC before he moved to Philadelphia. He was getting burnt out with work, so his wife suggested they get away from the city and go remote. They went down to Costa Rica and stayed in a small villa by the beach. Sitting there in front of the ocean Adam thought about where he wanted to be in 10 years, and if his job was the right trajectory to help him get there. His answer was NO, and so he left his job.
[15:06] – You can take your area of expertise to bigger opportunities
[15:27] – “Play into our strengths”
[16:51] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Confidence”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “To make sure you wake up excited about your life every day”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “I work during my best hours of the day”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Drift and ConvertFlow
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Secrets of the Millionaire Mind – “this book changed my financial trajectory so much”
[19:45] – “Follow your heart and be authentic”
Adam Force: I certainly am. Let’s rock and roll, dude!
John Lee Dumas: Adam is the founder of Change Creator Magazine for social entrepreneurs, which is available on iTunes and Google Play, and is regularly ranked in the top ten in the App Store for business and investing.
Adam, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Adam Force: A little bit of background is I worked at WebMD for ten years. I was director of strategic marketing, so I made all kinds of big strategies for big companies, anyone from MasterCard to Tylenol and Wal-Mart, Walgreens, you name it. And today, this is my second company with Change Creator. I also ran a record label called AlterImage Recording, so I did that for several years as a producer and business owner. And here I am now.
John Lee Dumas: Well, I love it, and you’ve created an area of expertise, man. You have found your niche. You are dominating that niche, so talk to us. What is your genius? What’s your zone of fire?
Adam Force: I guess my real specialty or area of expertise is strategy development based on my experience and then branding, but I really have this passion for social business, and that is social entrepreneurship. That is something I’m very into, and that’s what Change Creator is all about.
John Lee Dumas: Well, talk to us about that. What is something that we don’t know, Adam, about your area of expertise that, as entrepreneurs, it would probably be pretty helpful for us to know?
Adam Force: So, one of the things regarding strategy, just with anything, I always look at everything as a story, and it’s really important, everything from when I started this business to creating a PowerPoint presentation if I’m trying to sell somebody a $5 million deal. And what that means, and I’ll just try to keep this in a bit of a nutshell, is you don’t just want to get tactical and say, “Here’s who we are, and here’s the cool stuff that we do.” Nobody’s gonna really attach themselves to that.
And so you want to look at the story, and the story always starts with, “Well, what’s the desired outcome, and what is the data out there saying?” And that data, you gotta get into the psychology of people that you would think are the potential customers, what are their attitudes, their behaviors, and then, when you look at everything, you gotta say, “All right, what is that one key insight that I’m taking away?” and you start creating this theme of how you approach what you’re doing around that insight.
Now, you can start saying, “All right, here’s the story. Here’s the rhyme and the reason, and then here’s the theme,” and now you’re gonna start looking at the tools, the tactics, and the steps you take in order to get to the desired outcome.
So, just as an example, when I used to put together a strategic pitch of some kind and it was in PowerPoint, I would be able to take my headlines from every slide, put them on a single sheet, and you can read the headlines only, and it’ll still make sense and tell a story.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, absorb that. How can you apply that to your life, those strategies, those tips, those tools, those tactics? That’s why we bring on people that are best in their niche, best in their industry. We can take away these golden nuggets, these value bombs.
Now, Adam, bring us to what you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment to date. I want to hear that story, brother. I want you to take us to that moment, and I want you to tell us that story as raw as it is. Take us there.
Adam Force: Two scenarios, if you don’t mind, I’m gonna run you through. One’s a little bit fun, but it was still an awful, awful experience for me at the time, and then, the other is more recent.
So, I’ll kick it off, and this was when I was really just getting started with Change Creator, and I was really hungry to get this one person on the second cover of the magazine. His name is Billy Parish. He was a student at Yale, and he dropped out of Yale after he was on an expedition hiking in the Himalayas on a glacier. Once he saw that climate change in action, he really felt it. He dropped out, and he started the Energy Action Coalition, which became one of the largest youth movements for climate change, and now he’s also the founder of a solar energy company.
At the time, there was no information out there for me, and that means like magazines, books, universities, and this was nothing about social entrepreneurship, but he wrote a book that was called Making Good, and he really broke down everything about all these different steps, and it was exactly what I was looking for. So, to me, he was a real inspiration early on, and to get him on the magazine cover was something of an honor for me, so I was fighting really hard to get his attention.
And so, one day, I was at a wedding for one of my wife’s friends, and we’re sitting there. We’re having a good time, and you know how these things go, John. You get one too many drinks and you can’t say no to a Café Patron. You gotta have some fun. So, then, my phone rings, and I’m sitting there going, “Oh, my god, I don’t wanna pass up this phone call because what if I don’t get back in touch?” And so, I took the call, and it was an awful, awful mistake.
Long story short, I got so nervous. I was already nervous to have that conversation at the time, and then on top of having drinks and stuff, it didn’t help. I couldn’t think clearly. I couldn’t speak very well. Not that I couldn’t speak, but I was just kind of nervous. So, I was like, “Hey, hold on a second.” I had to try to gather my composure. And so, I got back on the phone, and normally these intro phone calls about what we’re doing and how this will work, they take 30 minutes or so, and we get along, and they build a little relationship. I hung up the phone, and it was like five minutes, and I was like, “Oh, my god, that couldn’t have gone any worse.”
But long story short, it all worked out. We got him on the cover of the magazine. We did a killer cover story. And it was just a really uncomfortable situation. So, guys, don’t ever pick up the phone when you’re in a position that you’re not comfortable with because you’ll always get back in touch. So, lesson learned.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah, if it’s meant to be… The person’s calling you for a reason, and that reason’s because they wanna get in touch with you, so yes, you are gonna be able to get back in touch, Fire Nation, and you wanna be at your best because, especially the first impression, that’s gonna stick with you for a long time, but really any impression is. So, just make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. Always put yourself in the best situation to succeed, and again, if that situation isn’t currently the present one, then you push. You push it back a little bit until you are in the best situation to succeed, to be in that best light possible.
So, that’s my big takeaway. Adam G. Force, what do you want to make sure our listeners get from your story? What’s that one lesson learned?
Adam Force: Don’t feel like it’s a one-opportunity thing. And I think when you’re trying to network and you’re getting people involved with your business, if they’re interested, you’ll be able to get in touch. Don’t feel like it’s gonna be a missed opportunity. And you do want to be at your best, and the first impression is important. Because I will say it was good that we got them on the magazine, but they were probably not my very best relationship in the long run, compared to many of the others. So, I think it’s really important to make a good impression right off the bat there.
John Lee Dumas: Adam, let’s talk about another story in your journey. This one probably is not going to involve Patron. I mean, maybe it will, I don’t know. Patron does give you good ideas from time to time. There’s no doubt about it. Sometimes, you just don’t remember those ideas, but they’re really good ideas.
Adam Force: Well, John, before I jump into the aha moment, can I dive into my other worst moment I’ll share with you guys?
John Lee Dumas: Go for it.
Adam Force: So, the worst moment was more recently, and this is actually an important lesson for anybody out there listening that has an app. We do a lot of surveys with our audience, and we also run a program called Drift on our website, where we connect with people and they give us so much feedback when they land on the website. And I was telling John earlier, I would wake up in the middle of the night if someone’s reaching out, and I will answer their questions, I will make sure they get what they need, and that either builds loyalty or it gets a sale.
So, the feedback we were getting was that they want to be able to read the magazine on desktop, and they also didn’t like the fact that we had pinch and zoom with the current app that we had. So, we made the investment of moving the magazine over to a new platform. And so, this was a great idea, and it gave us the desktop access, and it gave us full responsive experience. However, during the transition, we had to make a big setup on the back end, and when we were during that, anybody with an app knows App Store optimization is absolutely critical to the success of the app.
The way it was set up, I had big disconnect. We were populating a bunch of information on the back end for the new app platform, but we didn’t realize that was gonna translate over to iTunes, and what happened was we actually got hit really hard with our App Store optimization. Within about 48 hours after we transitioned, we’re like, “Great, we’re on the new platform,” but when I looked at the data, I was actually like, “Are we even on iTunes anymore?” because our whole entire ranking just got trashed.
And so, it was gut-wrenching, and we have been fighting our way back up since then. We got everything back to where we need to be, but it is a hard climb. Once you get back down on the bottom, you have to fight for a long time to get back up.
John Lee Dumas: So, of all of that, what do you want to make sure that we get, our big takeaway, our lesson learned from that story?
Adam Force: I think the lessons learned are, one, pay attention to your audience, get the feedback, make those transitions, but when you do make a big transition, especially in the app world, be very diligent to make sure you stay consistent with the App Store optimization you’ve already made. That means all your metadata, profile images, localization, keywords, description, all those things. If anything gets lost, you’ll get crushed.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, the thing that I want to add here is do things that don’t scale. Adam was willing to have the one-on-one conversations. Those one-on-one conversations don’t scale, but guess what? The content that you learn from those conversations is epically scalable because it’s from your user, from your fans, your followers, your customers, your clients. Have those one-on-one conversations. Find out what their deepest, darkest problems are so that you can solve them, create that solution, and create a better overall experience.
Adam is passionate about user experience. That’s why he’s winning the game. Are you passionate about user experience, about customer experience? That is key, and you’ll find out that information through things that don’t scale, like one-on-one conversations, so make it happen.
Now, Adam, all that I said about your aha moment, take us there. Tell us that story.
Adam Force: So, it’s really an experience for me. This is probably the most important point of my life, which I’ll share with you, and I was working in New York City when I was at WebMD, and after a few years, we moved to Philadelphia. And when I was in Philadelphia, I had to take a train to New York four days a week, so that means an hour and a half there, an hour and a half back, and that’s just on the train. So, two hours total, that’s four hours’ travel a day. So, here I am at a high-paced hustle doing the city work, and I was just getting burned out.
So, finally, my wife and I – my wife is a doctor, so she’s working really hard, working 15-hour days, and we were getting spent. And so, we were like, “Let’s get away from the city. Let’s go on a trip, and we wanna go remote. Let’s just get away from civilization in a sense and do something different.” So, we went out to Costa Rica, which now we’ve been there many, many times, and it was out in Santa Teresa on the Nicoya Peninsula, way down near the south end, and you have to fly into San Jose. We took a small plane from there out to the peninsula. Then, we had to drive an hour and a half down dirt roads to get out to this little villa, and the villa was right on the beach.
By the time you get out there, we’re sitting out there, and our villa was in an almond cove right on the ocean, so you could hear the ocean, you could smell it, you could see it. There’s nothing else around, so it’s dead quiet, besides the sounds that are just naturally there, and you really feel like you’re on another planet. And it was at that moment when I was sitting out there just staring out at the ocean that I started asking myself, “Is the work” – like, I liked working at WebMD, but I started saying, “Well, is this who I want to be ten years from now, and is this the right trajectory of where I want my life to go?”
And right in that moment, I had a resounding answer. It was no. No, it’s not. And that’s when this whole new mission – it’s like a whole new Adam just started a new trajectory, and I was on this mission. I really was an activist at heart, and I started just taking these steps. As soon as I got back, that’s when my social entrepreneurship path started, basically, and I went through all kinds of stuff, John. I went through many, many iterations of different ideas, businesses. Had no idea what I wanted to do until, finally, Change Creator came about, and I’m gonna play into two more aha moments, basically, which is mass collaboration and also the idea of playing into your strengths.
One of the struggles with a lot of the businesses like deforestation, plastic pollution, all these things, none of these were my expertise, and I wasn’t leveraging my expertise. I was doing guest writing, I started blogs, all these other things, but I didn’t have expertise in those fields. And so, I decided, hey, I’m a strategic development and branding expert. How do I play that into social entrepreneurship? And that is where Change Creator was born.
And the idea of mass collaboration is if I can get many people who feel the way I did to start a social enterprise where they’re creating a business that solves a social or environmental problem, then together, we are more powerful and will solve more problems. So, that was the idea, and that’s where it came from.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, why do you think I start every one of these episodes by asking my guests what their area of expertise is, what their zone of fire is? It’s because I want you to start thinking of what your area of expertise is, what your zone of fire is because guess what? You can take that and you can apply it to bigger problems, to bigger opportunities, and you can learn and grow and expand from there just like Adam has done. So, Adam, that’s my takeaway from your aha moment. One sentence, what do you wanna make sure our listeners get?
Adam Force: Play into your strengths.
John Lee Dumas: Play into your strengths, Fire Nation. What are you most fired up about today, Adam? Break it down.
Adam Force: Honestly, I’m really fired up about Lumen5. Do you know it?
John Lee Dumas: No.
Adam Force: Lumen5 is a program that you can go in and you can take a link to a blog article, and you put it in. It takes your whole article script, so you can grab sentences, and then you actually just create videos out of it. So, it takes the images from your article. It offers you a library of stock footage and other things. And within 15 minutes, you have a professional video. It’s amazing.
John Lee Dumas: Wow! How do you spell that? Lumen5?
Adam Force: L-U-M-E-N-5.
John Lee Dumas: Loving it.
Adam Force: This just came up to me because I was looking at people to develop video. We work with some VAs and stuff, and I was looking at some specific video developers, but it gets really expensive. And so, we found this, and I was like, “Wow, this just changed my world.”
John Lee Dumas: Rocking the world. And, Fire Nation, that’s what it’s all about: finding out new things. How can you apply it? How can you repurpose? How can you make it a big impact, a positive impact on your life?
And these value bombs that Adam’s been dropping, they’re gonna continue in the Lightning Round when we get back from thanking our sponsors.
Adam, are you ready to rock the Lightning Round?
Adam Force: Sure am.
John Lee Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Adam Force: Confidence.
John Lee Dumas: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Adam Force: To make sure you wake up excited about your life every day.
John Lee Dumas: And what if you don’t?
Adam Force: You’re gonna be miserable in the long term.
John Lee Dumas: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Adam Force: I work during my best hours in the day, and that’s why I’m up usually around 4:30 or 5:00.
John Lee Dumas: Recommend one Internet resource, obviously besides Lumen5.
Adam Force: I highly recommend Drift, which is the chat on your website. I’ll throw one more in there for you: ConvertFlow. Guys, that program is insane for collecting emails and doing user experience funnels on your site.
John Lee Dumas: Recommend one book and share why.
Adam Force: I gotta go with Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, and I know you interviewed T. Harv Eker. God, for some reason, that just changed my financial trajectory so much. It’s not as much about money, as you know. It’s really about human behavior, your blueprint around money, and once you start realizing that, you can consciously change your habits and behaviors.
John, that book, just real quick, I literally took the wealth principles, and I made sticky notes, and I put them all over my hours: my mirror, my walls, backs of my doors. My wife thought I was a complete nut, but at the end of the day, it helped me change my thinking and change my habits, change my behavior. And finally, my savings has been going up ever since, so I really do attribute it to that book.
John Lee Dumas: Absolutely. Fire Nation, you gotta recognize we know, consciously, that we’re all scared of failure. That’s just a natural human reality that we all have. It’s innate. We’re scared of failure. I get it. No one wants to fail. It’s scary, it’s terrifying, and it can be dangerous, not so much today, but it was 60,000 years ago. If you failed, you might die. Not so much now, but we have that innate in us. But a lot of us don’t understand, we have this subconscious fear of success, and the self-sabotage that happens subconsciously, not even knowingly, it’s scary. It’s terrifying.
And Secrets of the Millionaire Mind breaks that down so well. The interview I did with T. Harv Eker, go back and listen to it. Just type in H-A-R-V in the search bar. Listen to that episode. And of course, if you want to listen to the audiobook of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, it’s a great one, and if you’re not an Audible member, you can get it for free today at EOFireBook.com.
Now, Adam, I want to end on fire with you giving us a parting piece of guidance, sharing the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Adam Force: The guidance I would give people is to follow your heart and be authentic. That means pursuing something that is meaningful to you because it’ll be sustainable for long-term success. You’ll be excited to wake up. It gives you that Christmas effect where you’re excited to wake up in the morning, and you’ll be successful because it’s going to motivate you. So, really, do something that’s meaningful. And as Tony Robbins said in our interview, play for something bigger than yourself.
And then, you can connect with us at www.ChangeCreator.com. We just got that new domain, so we’re pumped.
John Lee Dumas: Whoa! ChangeCreator.com, that is a dope domain, a way to make it happen.
And, Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with AGF and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Type “Adam” in the search bar. His Show Notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz. There are timestamps. We have links galore.
And, Adam, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Adam Force: All right. Thanks, John.
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