Cliff Ravenscraft is known by many as “The Podcast Answer Man”. He has been podcasting since 2005 and truly is the go to in the podcasting world. He produces a variety of shows and has incredibly useful tutorials available – some for free and others for purchase – on his website … you guessed it: “PodcastAnswerMan.com”. I am currently a member of Cliff’s incredible “Podcast Mastermind”, and I look forward to delving into the details of this venture and his vision for its future.
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- “Find something that you love to do so much that you’d be willing to do it all day long for free. Then, become so great at doing that one thing, that others would be willing to pay you to do it.” – unknown click to tweet!
- “Plans fail for lack of council, but with many advisors, they succeed.” – Proverbs [15:22] click to tweet!
- Cliff’s dedication to work almost killed him…twice! Cliff shares how you can be a workaholic doing the thing you love and an absolute failure all at the same time. This is a deep revelation.
Entrepreneurial AHA Moment
- One day, someone called and ordered podcast equipment from Cliff and he earned $350 in 20 minutes from it. He realized that he can just hire himself to sell equipment to people.
- Cliff was literally on his way to accepting a job delivering pizzas. This low point resulted in an incredible AHA moment that drove him to create a business that now generates over 28k a month in revenue.
- FEAR. Yes, we all know you have it. It lurks within us all. Cliff dives deep into the roots of this emotion and shares his beliefs on how to overcome it.
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John Dumas: Hire Fire Nation and thank you for joining me for another episode of EntrepreneurOnFire.com, your daily dose of inspiration. If you enjoy this free podcast, please show your support by leaving a rating and review here at iTunes. I will make sure to give you a shout out on an upcoming showing to thank you!
John Dumas: Okay. Let’s get started. I am simply thrilled to introduce my guest today, Cliff Ravenscraft. Cliff, are you prepared to ignite?
Cliff Ravenscraft: I’m ready to take this baby and do this thing.
John Dumas: Alright. That’s the second best answer I have gotten so far. So thank you for that [Laughs].
Cliff Ravenscraft: Wait. Wait, wait, wait! What was the best?
John Dumas: One of my interviewees said, “I am ready to explode!” That to me was pretty awesome.
Cliff Ravenscraft: Alright, alright. I’ll give him that.
John Dumas: So Cliff is known by many as the Podcast Answer Man. He’s been podcasting since 2005 and truly is the go-to in the podcasting world. He produces a variety of shows, has incredibly useful tutorials for free and purchased on his site. You guessed it, PodcastAnswerMan.com. I am currently a member of Cliff’s incredible Podcast Mastermind, and I look forward to delving into the details of this venture and his vision for his future.
So Cliff, I’ve given a little overview of who you are, but why don’t you really get into the in-depth part of who you are and what you do?
Cliff Ravenscraft: Sure. Let me give you the like 90 second version and just say that I used to be an insurance agent, working in a family-run insurance agency. I worked there for 11 years and I was extremely successful. I was successful financially, but I had never really enjoyed my job.
I was very much into technology and have been a geek since I was a kid. I took my first computer apart when I was eight years old. I basically have also had a great history in the realm of ministry. I used to be an associate pastor of a small church back in the early 90’s.
So add all of that together, into December 2005, I started podcasting about a secular TV show known as “Lost” as a hobby.
John Dumas: I love it.
Cliff Ravenscraft: I absolutely fell in love with the mystery of that show and created a podcast devoted to uncovering the mystery and doing research online and sharing – basically bringing the internet online community of fans together. Within just three episodes, we had thousands of subscribers and we knew that we had something, a hit on our hands.
So we absolutely catered to that audience for a while, and what happened over a very brief period of time, or very quickly for us, is I started to get emails from people saying, “Hey! I’m listening to this podcast with you and your wife and I get this strange sensation that you and your wife are Christians.” I would say, “Well, yes we are.”
Then they would write back these long 14-page emails explaining their history with the church, their faith, and the crisis moment in their life or whatever the case may be. What I found is I was doing ministry through email, and very quickly I realized that I was getting a lot of these similar questions over and over again and I decided to launch a second show where we could talk about family-related topics. Anything else that wasn’t Lost-related. Then I realized a lot of people wanted to talked about faith. So I created a third show, which at the time was called the About the Church podcast.
Pretty much it got to the place where this hobby – it started out being maybe 5, 10 hours a week of playing around. It turned into about 20 to 30 hours a week, and then this hobby turned into 40 or 50 hours a week. Mind you, bringing in hardly any money. Maybe enough to cover the minimal expenses that it takes to produce a podcast, which by the way is very low.
So what happened though, is over the course of a two year period of time, it got to where I was spending most of my day at my day job just basically answering emails. I might have actually got around to doing about two hours’ worth of work in a typical eight hour day there.
So I started to really feel disgusted with myself. The fact that I’m not pulling my weight, I’m not actually selling the things that I used to sell, I’m not even interested in picking up the phone and servicing anything. All I can think about, it’s all-consuming, I want to create content and I want to help change people’s lives for the better. I want to provide answers. I want to help them.
After the two years of building this audience, I had enough people who had heard me say those things. They convinced myself and they convinced my wife that we could do this. We could actually turn this into a fulltime career.
So naively, I left my job after 11 years. I put in a 90-day notice, the scariest time of my life. I thought I was going to die of a heart attack.
John Dumas: Oh.
Cliff Ravenscraft: [Unintelligible] all that other stuff. And let me tell you, I’m so glad I left. I’m so glad I left and I took the risk. I will say this because I don’t know if you have any questions that comes up with this. But I will say that I had zero business training as far as the marketing and the taxes and how to set up a business and business plan stuff. All of that stuff, I had no training in that at all. I’m a great salesperson because I’ve been in sales and I’m great at customer service and relations just because of my ministry and all my years in customer service.
So I’m good at those things, but I didn’t know the business side of things. The very first year that I was in business for myself fulltime, the entire year of 2008, I only brought in a total of $11,000.00 in personal income. So much so it was so difficult that I actually had to take out $14,000.00 out of my pension, paid $4,000.00 in taxes and penalties, just so I would have $10,000.00 to put food on the table during the end of that year.
So that was my first year in business, but things are a little better today. Maybe that will come up in this conversation.
John Dumas: Wow! What a story! As a little interesting side note, you started podcasting way back in 2005, which was actually the year that the word “podcast” was the Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year. So that’s kind of an interesting little tidbit.
We’re going to transition now into our first topic of the show. Here at EntrepreneurOnFire, we start every show off with our guest’s favorite success quote. It’s kind of our way to get the motivational ball rolling and get people pumped for the rest of the show. Cliff, what do you have for us for your success quote today?
Cliff Ravenscraft: I’m going to give you two because I can’t choose one over the other. They go together for me, and I believe that these things have so much truth in them that I have to give them both. So here you go, the first one – “Find something that you love to do so much, that you’d be willing to do it all day long for free. Then become so great at doing that one thing, that others would be willing to pay you to do it.” Alright? Of course, just basically by what I’ve just shared with you earlier, you can see how true that’s actually come in my life.
Then the next one is “plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors, they succeed.” That’s actually from the Bible. It’s Proverbs [15:22].
John Dumas: Wow! Well, it’s so obvious how that first quote resonates with you and the business that you’ve created. So that’s very cool. Let’s move into the second quote real quick. How would you say that you would apply that quote to your day-to-day?
Cliff Ravenscraft: Well, let’s put it this way. When I started this business, as I shared, I had no knowledge of LLCs, S-Corps, CPAs. All of that stuff. Getting your FEIN numbers [Laughs]. That stuff was all gibberish to me.
So what I did immediately was surround myself with about eight to ten men that I knew who had created their own business. Who actually have and operate their own businesses. I went to them and I said, “Hey, I would like to add you as a member of my board of advisors.” This is not some kind of official thing. There’s no contracts. I’m not asking you to attend meetings. As a member of my board of advisors, that just means that I’m going to come to you individually, or I may very seldom come to the entire group in a carbon copied email to everyone saying, “Hey, this is a big decision I’ve got in front of me and this is what I’m thinking about doing. Can I get your feedback?”
So that’s what I did. I surrounded myself with successful people. People who were further down the road, the road that I wanted to be at, at the destination of where I wanted to go. So I surrounded myself with those people, and it’s never failed me. The actual people who have been in that position as advisor for me have changed over time, and it actually changed as I changed my area of focus because there became a time where I wanted to actually get more into let’s just say the online marketing realm or the online business realm instead of the content marketing. So as I changed focus, I changed those who I actually sought advice from, and it’s been very helpful to me.
I do want to share one other thing. I think this could be valuable to your audience, especially aspiring entrepreneurs. That is that I learned that your income can easily be figured out by judging the average income of the people you do life with most.
So I guess the way that I would explain this is take the 10 people that you most interact with. The 10 people you most have conversations with about your business, your hopes, your dreams, your passions, and people who really speak into your life and give you wisdom and advice. Take those ten people, write their names on a piece of paper. Then if you can get them to accurately tell you what their annual income is, you add that up. All of them, their annual incomes divide by 10, and that should be a pretty good estimation of what your own annual income is. That’s something that I learned.
One of the things that I have made a determination for myself, is that by the end of 2015, I want my net worth to be a minimum of $1 million. So I want to be a millionaire by the end of 2015. Now, this is something for somebody who, by the way, in 2008 was still about $25,000.00 in debt. So I’ve come a long way. But when it comes to this, plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors, they succeed.
So the people that I most interact with today are all deca-millionaires. What that has done for me is I actually, when I approach problems or scenarios or issues that come up, I find myself not thinking about things and processing those problems the way that I used to, out of the mindset of scarcity, but I actually started to process and think about problems and issues in my life based upon the way that decamillionaires think about them, because when I have an issue or a problem that I’m facing in my life, I’m going to my board of advisors, most of the time individually one-on-one, but getting the same feedback from all of them.
It’s like, “Dude, that’s not a big deal. That’s just an opportunity for a solution. Here’s a couple of ideas. Have you thought about this?” and it’s like wow, I really didn’t need to lose sleep over that, did I? So yes, plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors, they succeed.
John Dumas: Very, very powerful stuff, Cliff. Thank you for that. We’re going to transition into our next topic, and that’s failure. EntrepreneurOnFire is all about the journey of the entrepreneur, and in every entrepreneur’s journey, they’ve experienced failure on one level or another. Most of us have learned from it, have grown from it, have taken different directions because of it. Let’s hear about a distinct failure that you’ve had in your past and the events that lead up to that, Cliff.
Cliff Ravenscraft: Sure. Well, I will tell you that my failure is that I’m a workaholic. So I actually ended up creating a career for myself that I absolutely love, that I have to force myself to go to bed at night and I have to keep myself – if I would accidentally wake up at [3:30] in the morning, that I don’t just jump out of bed and go get started with the day. I mean that’s the kind of job that I’ve created for myself. I love it! This idea of work versus play, it doesn’t mean very much to me because my play is my work, and my work, it seems like I’m playing all day.
The problem that comes with this is that I’m a workaholic and I – well, for the first nine months in 2008, I worked 14 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week nonstop, without a break, and it was crazy. Then right around September, my wife says, “Maybe you could take a day off?” And I’m like, “Okay, so I’ll take Sundays off.”
John Dumas: Yes.
Cliff Ravenscraft: So I took Sundays off and I still worked around the clock. December of that year, I ended the year by doing a 24 hour nonstop podcast marathon. Around hour 22, I just started to feel horrible, and I figured out I was just tired. It just felt like somebody was stabbing me in my gut.
Well, that pain never went away, and about two days later, I finally went to the hospital and they told me that I had massive, massive gallstones and they had to take out my gallbladder. It turns out that they had to do this one special operation that they told me that they needed to do, but they wanted to know whether I wanted to do it after a consult because there was only a 50/50 chance that I would make it through that surgery.
But they said if I didn’t do it, there was like an 80% chance that something else would happen and I would die. [Laughs] So I said, “Okay. Yes, we’re going to do that. I’ll take the 50/50 chance. It sounds a whole lot better than the alternative.”
Then all of a sudden, the nurse comes in at night and asks me to fill out this authorization form. Then the authorization form before I filled it out, I asked what it is, and they said, “Well, they’re going to take your gallbladder out tomorrow. I said, “No, they’re not. They’re supposed to do this other surgery that I’ve elected to do.” Then they said, “Well, just go ahead and sign it and we’ll fix it tomorrow.”
It turns out that they had everything messed up. Had I signed that form, I probably wouldn’t be alive today. So I say all of that to say that my biggest failure was not taking care of my health. Not having enough margin in my life and overworking myself. And I pretty much did most of all of that because I was trying to prove my value to everyone versus actually understanding the value that I already had to offer to people just from my experience at that point.
John Dumas: Cliff, thank you for sharing that. That truly is a very touching story. We’re going to actually take that now and move into our next transition point, which is the “aha moment.”
Now you’ve spoken on a lot levels as to how you’ve had an aha moment with podcasting when you transitioned out of insurance. As entrepreneurs, we often have small light bulb moments every day, every week, every month, but we have those a couple of times a year, once in every while. A light bulb that just comes on and we say, “Ah, this is great. This resonates to my audience. This is what my clients want.” Share with us an aha moment that you’ve had.
Cliff Ravenscraft: So here’s the deal. I left my career in insurance, I’m pursuing this new business, really not having a clue what I’m doing, and my wife told me – she says, “I’m so onboard with this.” She says, “You’re going to do this. If we have to sell our house, we’ll sell our house. If I have to go get a job, I’ll go get a job. This is the right thing. I know this is the right thing for us,” and we both agreed and it was great.
Now the thing is, is obviously in 2008, money was tight. I mean, you heard how ridiculously low my income was that year and the things that we had to do. Well, there was a point where my wife was about ready to go out and get a job. And I said, “Wait. I’ll tell you what. Instead of doing that, I’m going to go get a job delivering some pizzas.” So I figured I’m going to work 20 hours a month delivering some pizzas. That might bring me in, I don’t know, an extra $350.00 or $400.00 a month, going out and delivering pizzas 20 hours a month, or actually, I don’t know how many hours a week I would do it.
John Dumas: Right.
Cliff Ravenscraft: Anyway, obviously the income was going to be ridiculously small. Then right at that one day – it was the day I was going to go out and apply for a job delivering pizzas just to have some extra income – and right before I left, the phone rang. I happen to have my phone number on my website at the time. Basically, it was somebody who says, “Hey, I want to order some equipment from you. I understand that you sell podcasting equipment,” and I’m like, “I do!”
This person says, “Well, I just want to let you know, I’m on a tight budget. So I don’t have a lot to spend, but I need your help and this is what I want to do.” He told me what he needed to do, and I said okay. I said, “So tell me what your budget is.” He said, “I can’t spend any more than $15,000.00,” and I’m like, oh my gosh!
John Dumas: Wow!
Cliff Ravenscraft: I said, “Well, you don’t need $15,000.00. To be able to do that, you’re looking at…” I think it was probably about $3,000.00 or something like that, but what happened was when it was all said and done, when I looked at my profit on the order, I had spent about 20, 25 minutes on the phone with the guy and I made $350.00 in profit. In my mind, I sat there and I got off the phone and I’m like, no way. In 20 minutes, I just made what I would have made in an entire month of delivering pizzas.
I said instead of hiring myself out to somebody to just deliver pizzas for them and waste my time, why don’t I hire myself and spend 20 hours a week just devoted to repeating what just happened on the phone right now. That’s when all of a sudden it’s like before, equipment sales was something that I was just doing for my consulting clients. But then all of a sudden, it’s like, wait a second, maybe I should sell equipment to people and that’s another service I could add.
So I ended up starting to sell equipment. So far, I’ve sold more than $240,000.00 in equipment sales.
John Dumas: Wow! Almost a quarter million dollars in equipment sales. That’s impressive. Cliff, have you had an “I’ve made it moment” thus far in your career?
Cliff Ravenscraft: Yes. I did. I had that the first time I made $28,000.00 in a single month in income. I realized, you know what? I think I’m at a level now where I don’t need to worry every night where that next client is coming from, where that next sale is going to come from.
There was a time, and it was the very first time I made $28,000.00 in a single month that I’m like, “Yes.” When I look at my overhead, I only need $9,000.00 to get by. When I just made in one month what I need for three months, I think I’ll be okay. So yes, there was a definitive moment. That actually happened just a couple of months ago that it’s just like, wow, I really have achieved something that honestly I didn’t expect to achieve for the first 5 to 10 years.
John Dumas: Wow! Well, congratulations. That is a very impressive feat that you managed to pull off.
So you’re now in your current business. You’re rolling along, as evidenced by the $28,000.00 you very recently made in just one month. What’s one thing that’s really exciting you about your business today?
Cliff Ravenscraft: Oh goodness! There are a couple things. Number one. it’s the fact that I’ve actually got to a place where I really do believe that I’ve become, if not the number one person in my industry – and I’m certain that in the minds of thousands of people – but I’m certainly, worldwide in my industry, my name would come up in about 9 out of every 10 conversations related to the word “podcasting,” and that to me is pretty significant. So that excites me very much.
The other thing that excites me is that I’m creating content that I really do believe is changing people’s lives. I get letters and emails even still to this day, and I keep them. I print them out, I stick them up on the board, or if they come in the mail, I just pin them up on this board. We’re talking about emails where people say, “You know what? Because of what you shared, I’m completely debt-free three years after hearing that episode” or “Hey, because of what you and your wife shared, I determined that maybe I was wrong. I had left my wife and kids behind and I was going to pursue a life on my own. I decided to go back and reconcile with my wife, and now we’re back together. By the way, here is a picture of us where we rededicated our vows.”
I mean, those kind of things, that really excites me. The fact that I’m actually creating content. I’m not just teaching people how to do it, I’m not just making money from teaching people how to do a technical skill, but I’m actually teaching people how to do things that are passionate to me because I know that what we’re doing can literally change the lives of people around the world. That, for me, is pretty exciting. So those are just a couple of things off the top of my head.
John Dumas: Cliff, there’s a lot of mystery behind the word “entrepreneur” and entrepreneurs in general. Let’s, for the listeners, pull back the curtain and show them exactly what an entrepreneur will do during the course of a day. Obviously, your days are never exactly the same, but they do have certain commonalities. What are two tasks that seem to occupy a good part of your day every day?
Cliff Ravenscraft: Email is my number one task, and unlike many people, I don’t see a day where I want that to change specifically. Email is how I have a ton of interactions and take relationships to the next level. So I really do enjoy email. I probably spend a minimum of four to six hours a day in email. So I wake up at five in the morning and try to get a workout in for an hour, spend some time reading alone and stuff like that. By seven or eight o’clock in the morning, I get started. But yes, I will probably spend about four to six hours interacting on email.
I can delegate a lot of that stuff out, but a majority of the stuff I would never want to because it’s relationship-building and I’ve built my brand by personal relationships and word of mouth. I certainly experienced issues with scaling, but rather than cutting back on my emails, I’ve become better at creating basically guestbook templates, email templates for responses back.
It’s one of things I love about podcasting. I get the same email 40 times in a week, and now I can actually say, “Hey John, thank you so much for that, for your response, and by the way, congratulations on your new podcast. I went over to EntrepreneurOnFire.com and I looked at your artwork. Wow, this is looking really nice. Basically, that’s all I have to say to you, and you could have asked me a question about how do I record a podcast via Skype or something like that. Then all I have to do is type in four characters, and the next six paragraphs of that email are completely pasted by me typing in three or four characters on my keyboard.
To you, that seems like I just spent the afternoon [Laughs] responding to you. When in reality, what I did is I did check out your site, I did spend three or four minutes on you, but the rest of that paragraph that would have taken me about an hour-and-a-half to respond to, I actually spent – it was like probably a year-and-a-half ago when I first wrote that, and I spent about six hours carefully crafting that template, and I’ve just updated it over the past several months. So that’s one of the things that as an entrepreneur, I basically spend most of my time interacting with people on email, building those relationships.
The second most important thing that I do is reading. I do a lot of reading of books that inspire me, and believe it or not, not books in my area. I read books that are about mindset, and basically they inspire me to think big, to dream big, and to tackle life because there’s only one life to live and you only a chance to do it once and I want to make a big impact in a positive way on people’s lives.
So those are the two things that I do most. Then of course, I create a lot of content. So if you think I read – I said I read a lot – but I create a lot of content as well. One of the things that I learned early on – this is another quote, by the way – followers consume content and leaders create content. So while I do consume quite a bit, most of the consumption is high quality, high impact books. I don’t subscribe to a lot of blogs or anything like that, but I do read a lot of books. But then, I’m always creating a ton of content. And since December of 2005, I’ve personally produced more than 3,000 podcast episodes that are online that are available today for free.
John Dumas: Wow! That is an incredible number. Now, this next question that I have for you, I can’t wait to hear the answer. Let’s keep it under 6o seconds. What is the vision that you have for the future of Podcast Answer Man?
Cliff Ravenscraft: The future of Podcast Answer Man is more online training tutorials at a much lower cost than what you could get to hire me one-on-one. So basically, a higher quality training from me at a lower cost. An affiliate program is in my future so that people who are already in my community can go out there and start marketing my products and actually generate income for themselves as a result of doing so. Maybe some weekend boot camps where people would come for a weekend and specialize in a skill to take their podcasting or online business to a next level, and then public speaking as well.
John Dumas: Cliff, we’ve now reached my favorite part of the show. We’re about to enter the Lightning Round. This is where I provide you with a series of questions and you provide us with a series of amazing and simply mind-blowing answers. Does that sounds like a plan?
Cliff Ravenscraft: Pressure.
John Dumas: [Laughs] No pressure here. We’ll try to keep these at about 60 seconds each, keeping them very concise and powerful, as all of your answers are.
What was the number one thing that was holding you back from being an entrepreneur?
Cliff Ravenscraft: Fear. Absolutely fear. I was afraid to fail, and therefore hurt and damage my pride, and then I was afraid to succeed. I felt that if I succeeded, then I wouldn’t have the opportunity to crawl back into my comfort zone and live the life that I pretty much knew would be cozy and comfy, but maybe a little bit less enjoyable.
John Dumas: What is the best business advice you ever received?
Cliff Ravenscraft: Focus on doing only one thing that you love to do best and let everyone else do all the rest.
John Dumas: Man, that is powerful, and it rhymes.
Cliff Ravenscraft: [Laughs]
John Dumas: What is something that’s working for your business right now?
Cliff Ravenscraft: Podcast Mastermind. It’s an online organization where people come together and share basically their lives and journeys with each other for the mutual inspiration, encouragement of each individual’s personal and professional growth. Also, digital training tutorials and online group coaching for how to learn how to podcast.
John Dumas: I can honestly say that your Podcast Mastermind is so powerful. It’s so inspirational. Every other week, we meet and it’s something I look forward to and it really is just great having a community of other podcasters all working towards the same goal. So thank you for creating that.
Cliff Ravenscraft: I appreciate you being a part of it. I mean, literally, it is what it is because we all come together and bring our best to it. So I appreciate you being a part of the Podcast Mastermind.
John Dumas: Well thanks, Cliff. I’m going to throw something in here because I feel like you can off the top of your head come up with something pretty good. What’s the best business book that you’ve read in the last six months?
Cliff Ravenscraft: Absolutely, hands down, the single best business book that I have read – oh goodness! There’s so many. I’ve read so many. I’ll tell you what, the best one for me personally was “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by T. Harv Eker. E-K-E-R. It’s actually not business, but it’s more about mindset and it’s about money, but it really helped me in a very big way.
The reason why is because my average monthly income was right around $10,000.00, and I had a goal to double that to $20,000.00. When I wrote that goal down and started telling other people about it, I felt really weird and scared to even let people know that I was dreaming that big – doubling my income – and by the way, the other part of the goal was to work less hours.
I didn’t know how it was going to be possible, and this book all of the sudden came up as a recommendation of another member of my mastermind, and they said you should read this, and I’m like, okay. It radically transformed my mind about money and how I think about money and the things that I believe about money, and it really helped me understand about this idea of our programming as we grow up and how we actually – the thoughts that we have determine the way that we feel, and the way that we feel oftentimes determines our actions, and our actions always determine our results in life.
So there’s so much more that could be said, but that book right there radically changed a lot of things in my mind.
John Dumas: That book truly is mind altering. I had the same experience myself and I look forward to watching the principles at work.
Cliff Ravenscraft: Yes. Absolutely. It’s called the Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker. The guy’s a little pushy in the book, but man, it’s good. It’s got great information if you can really discern what you need to apply.
John Dumas: Great. I’ll have all that linked up in the show notes. So thank you for that.
This last question is by far my favorite, but it’s kind of a tricky one, so take a couple of seconds if you want to digest it. If you woke up tomorrow morning and you still had all the experience and knowledge that you currently have right now, but your business had completely disappeared, leaving you essentially with a clean slate and forcing you to start somewhere from scratch, which is where a lot of our entrepreneurs find themselves right now, what would you do?
Cliff Ravenscraft: Well, that’s hard for me to answer in a way where – I can’t imagine my business going away overnight. I mean, I can imagine maybe my house burning down or my computers and all that stuff going. I don’t know that I – my answer is I would do the same thing that I do every day. That is I would – I mean obviously, hopefully my email doesn’t go away. So I would spend four to six hours a day, every day, helping people, encouraging people, inspiring people through email. I would! Four to six hours of my day, every day, would be that.
And I would get on to my social networks. I schedule several hours a week to make sure that I’m maintaining relationships with those same people through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, building relationships. Then yes, you’ve got it, I’m going to continue to create a ton of high, high value can’t live without content that answers people’s most common questions based upon mostly the emails that I get.
So I’m going to continue to answer emails, I’m going to continue to build relationships, I’m going to continue to create content, and I’m going to continue to follow my passion, what makes me tick. I’m going to do the things that I do best, I’m going to let other people do all the rest, and I don’t live for money. Instead, I live for serving people. I believe that if your main goal is to serve people and you are following your passion and doing the things that you were most created to do, the things that actually make you tick, then I believe that if you follow your passion, the money will follow.
So business, not business, it doesn’t matter to me. The question is, is can I still serve people and can I survive on that.
John Dumas: Cliff, thank you so much for joining us today. You’ve given Fire Nation some great actionable advice and we are all better for it. Give us one last piece of advice as a parting shot, and then give yourself a plug before we say goodbye.
Cliff Ravenscraft: Alright. Here’s the deal. My number one piece of advice, and I said I think somewhere in here, and that is to focus. Focus on a niche area. Focus on something that you love to do most, and really, honestly, let other people do the other things. One of the things somebody told me a long time ago was, “Cliff, you shouldn’t be a podcast consultant. Nobody’s ever going to hire a podcast consultant. That is the most ridiculous thing you can do. You’re setting yourself up for failure. You ought to be a social media consultant because people are only going to want to hire you if you can help them set up their YouTube channels and their Facebook fan pages and their Twitter accounts and their LinkedIn profiles and you can coach them on how to create these groups, and also teach them how to podcast.”
I said, “You know, I don’t have any interest in YouTube, I don’t have any interest in Facebook fan pages. I love audio podcasting!” So in fact don’t even come to me if you want to learn how to do video podcasting. I can teach you, but I don’t want to. I want to teach you how to do an audio podcast because that’s where my passion is. Today, because I focused, my name is “the name” that comes up when podcasting comes up in conversations. So my recommendation – follow your passion and focus on one area, the thing that you do best.
Then a personal plug for myself – I’ll give you a free tutorial online. It’s the foundation that every podcaster ought to know about the world of podcasting. Learnhowtopodcast.com. Again, learnhowtopodcast.com. And if you want to take it beyond the hobby level, then podcastingatoz.com is my online training course.
John Dumas: Cliff, I am thrilled that we share the same passion of podcasting, and of audio podcasting. Thank you again for joining us. We will catch you on the flipside.
Cliff Ravenscraft: Thank you so much, John.