Forbes is one of today’s most accomplished Entrepreneurs, a highly sought-after spokesperson, motivational key note speaker, and life coach to celebrities and CEOs.
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John Lee 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 Lee Dumas: Okay. Let’s get started. I am simply thrilled to introduce my guest today, Forbes Riley. Forbes, are you prepared to ignite?
Forbes Riley: Oh baby, I was born on fire! Yes, I’m ready for it!
John Lee Dumas: Oh, I love it! Forbes is one of today’s most accomplished entrepreneurs. A highly sought after spokesperson, motivational keynote speaker and life coach to celebrities and CEOs.
I’ve given Fire Nation a little overview, Forbes, but take a minute. Tell us about you personally. We want to get to know you. And then tell us about your business.
Forbes Riley: I’m one of the ultimate stories and one of the things that I preach now is that you really are the sum of all the obstacles that you overcome. I’m actually at the moment at the 10th week of a 10 week challenge, my first one, where I’ve gotten more than 30 people to lose a little more than 750 pounds.
John Lee Dumas: Wow!
Forbes Riley: It’s interesting because it’s allowed me for the very first time in my life to put all my philosophies, all my training. I talk about health, wealth and happiness, and everything has been put into this program. One of the things that I come up against a lot is people have all these obstacles, and how we overcome them, the grace with which you handle your life and what your mission is going forward, really dictates everything. There are so many times I could have stopped. So what’s interesting about me, I started life in a middle class. My dad was a printer, my mom was a homemaker. When I was eight years old, I got hit in the face with a baseball bat and my nose grew off to one side of my face. A big kind of weird lump. Terrible buckteeth. I had braces for eight years. A little overweight because we lived on McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Not that my mom – we just didn’t know back then. Frizzy hair and not much of a social life. I was kind of a loner. But I was smart and I knew it and people in school knew it. I ended up skipping a year of high school and actually graduating college with two degrees in three years. I was a bookworm and very antisocial. Hard to believe now, I know.
John Lee Dumas: Yes!
Forbes Riley: I was so seriously, I thought, and I actually was if you look at some of the photos I have online, that all I wanted to be was pretty. It was unbelievably shallow, but I was kind of fixated on that. I would go to the movies by myself all the time and doing dancing with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly and how beautiful the women were in the gowns, and that’s all I ever wanted to be. So lo and behold! My dad put his hand in the printing press when I was about 15 and ended up in the hospital for three years, fifteen operations. I spent all my high school time, when I wasn’t doing theatre and studying, I was in the hospital with my dad. So I never went to football games or baseball games. I didn’t go to any. Really, it was bizarre.
But when all that was said and done, the doctor in the hospital said, “We can fix your daughter’s nose. We can actually make her breathe better.” It was more of a less vanity and more healthful. He did. The nose got fixed, the braces came off, the hair got cut, I lost a little bit of weight. I don’t know if I really noticed the transition about who I had become, but my mom calls me one day and she says, “Look, we don’t have a whole lot of money for college for you, but there was this pageant, the Miss Teenage America pageant.” I’m like, “Mom, a beauty pageant?” She said, “No, no, no. It’s not a beauty pageant. Don’t worry.” To which I was like, “Really?” She said, “No, no. It’s really about talent and personality and you have all of those, and you need the money to go to school.”
So I remember signing up and going through the whole process, and there was a gown involved but no swimsuit. Well, I believed that I could win and I wanted to do this for my dad. I wanted to be on television with Bob Hope on NBC and they were shooting out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. I [Unintelligible] my head and I won! The next thing you know, this little dorky girl is actually on TV, tap dancing with one of the idols that I grew up with this man. I thought, wow!
You know what? Here’s something funny. Just recently, I was telling my story to a group of women and I was talking about some of these crazy accomplishments. I mean I’ve stood on television next to Jack LaLanne for eight years, the guru of health and fitness. I’m on TV with Montel Williams. I’ve worked with Jake of Body by Jake. I’ve shaken most of the presidents’ hands who’ve been alive and I’ve lived a life that’s bigger than I’ve ever imagined. I don’t say this to impress you but to impress upon you guys listening that change and dreams are possible. So I’m telling these women this story. The next morning we’re all sitting at this [Unintelligible], about 100 women, and the woman next to me says, “Oh, that silver necklace would look so good around my neck.” I said, “Oh yes. Okay.” And then they call her name. And she turns to me and she said, “Wow! I “Forbes” it!”
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Forbes Riley: To “Forbes” something means to manifest it. To manifest your dreams even when there’s no possible way or no belief that they could ever possibly happen, but you believe. And that, in fact, has been my entire life. I believed in things more than anyone would ever let me that was [Unintelligible]. People would say, “Oh, you [Unintelligible]. Why would you do that? You cannot tell them [with this degree].” I’ve never listened to anybody ever and I’ve created miracles because I Forbes them.
John Lee Dumas: That is so powerful, Forbes, on so many levels. A big book that is always talked about at EntrepreneurOnFire is “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. That is just one thing that he just says over and over again, is that your mental thoughts will form a mental sheath, and so I just love where this is going. We’re going to delve more into this later in the interview, but before we do, let’s start off with a success quote, something that you just love, a mantra that you live by. Share that with Fire Nation.
Forbes Riley: Well, I’ve got a bunch. One is simply “leap and the net will appear.” John Lee Dumas: Yes.
Forbes Riley: Because if you really thought about what you’re getting yourself into so many times, you would never do it. I just listened to Les Brown, who by the way came to my studio. I’m now sitting in my own 5,000 square foot TV studio that I built based on a product that nobody wanted. The irony is it kind of seems like my life is okay, Forbes, you get to dream something so big, it’s not possible, and then you make it happen, and I have to keep doing it again and again. The crazy thing – and John, this is the honest truth – every time I have to do one of these projects, I sit here thinking, “Oh, I don’t know how to do this. What makes them think I can do this?” I have that moment and then I have to slap myself around and go, “Leap! Just leap! Just go forth, believe, have an action plan and a vision, and then just let life go and take it where you will.”
And then the other one too because I really do enjoy my life is “you only live once, but if you live right, once is more than enough.”
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Yes.
Forbes Riley: I mean seriously, after the death of both of my parents in the early 2000’s, I then got pregnant with twins that I had wanted forever. I had always wanted babies forever. I was 42 when I finally pushed out my two 7 pound healthy babies.
John Lee Dumas: Yes. Congratulations!
Forbes Riley: I have a life now that actually is what I dreamed. I dreamed so big, and I think that’s what I come to see in most people. They just dream too small. In the early days, I was in a seminar and they said write down what your annual salary, what you’d like it to be. I remember looking at the guy next to me write down $30,000 a year. That’s probably more money than he had ever made. Do you know I’ve made $30,000 in a day? And now I’ve made $30,000 in an hour. Because I wrote down like $300,000, and I thought I was being wow, how cool for me. And then the guy said, “Add a zero to that,” and we all, everyone in the room had that “Huh! Oh my God! Forbes, that means $3 million you’re going to earn!” He had $300,000. All of a sudden, you start seeing things that are bigger and bolder than you’ve ever imagined. Well, Jim Carrey tells the story that he used to sit up at Mulholland Drive and dream, and at one point he wrote a check to himself on a real check for $10 million, and when his dad passed away he stuck it in his dad’s coat pocket and made a promise to him. Well Jim has made more than $10 million many times.
John Lee Dumas: Yes.
Forbes Riley: For a broke comedian, that’s a ridiculous amount. So one of my questions to everyone listening is do you dream big? Big enough, bigger than anything you’ve ever imagined? That separates people. It’s really about being a visionary. So I don’t know how much people know about me. You can certainly go to ForbesRiley.com and see some of the television and video. I started out being an actress and a dancer, and my biggest dilemma was I was always overweight. When you’re an actress – I worked with Julian Moore and a couple other famous people like Meg Ryan on soap operas. They were always a size 0 or 2. I was a size 12. So on paper, that sounds like a big number. In reality, if you looked at me, you’d go, “Well you’re kind of fine.” But it didn’t work for people on television and they always made me feel really bad about my weight and it was a huge, constant issue. So what did I do? I went on every diet, I did all kinds of research, I did some crazy pills, I did the Fen-Phen thing and almost killed myself, and it would fluctuate. But by default, I became an expert. And so I’m an expert on the ugly person that wants to be beautiful. I’m an expert on the fat kid who’d like to be fit and thin. I’m an expert on somebody who’s overcome death and tragedy. My husband’s little brother was murdered. I’ve experienced two other murders in my life. Not just death. Death is understandable. Murder by gun is pretty tragic.
John Lee Dumas: Yes.
Forbes Riley: And I’m still here. Then the other thing of the story I tell is that on the morning of September 11th, I was not on Flight United 93 even though I held an airline ticket.
John Lee Dumas: Geez!
Forbes Riley: The night before after my parents had passed away, I was in New York. I was supposed to be in Washington to fly home to California, and the woman behind the counter said, “Well, why are you going to fly it from there? You’d have to sleep overnight in the airport. Why don’t I just reroute you through Denver?” I’m here because of that woman behind the counter whose name I don’t know. I remember the next morning when we saw what had happened and then I realized that that was the flight that I was supposed to be on, that things needed to change and I needed to take stock of what it was that I planned to do with the rest of my life. I love being an actress and a TV host and I love being onstage and doing comedy and I’ve done so many jobs. I mean I was the host of the X Games, I have my own national talk show on TLC. I’ve hosted 114 national infomercials. I had some crazy, wonderful opportunities and I’ve fulfilled a lot of them, but what dawned on me at some point back then is that a lot of that had been very self-serving.
I think I woke up out of this phase to A, be grateful for all I had, and B, say, “Wow! If this is the only chance I get, if I had been given a second chance, how can I give back? How can I motivate other people to live their dreams and what is my legacy?” When you start to think that big about what do I get to leave the planet, again, your whole focus shifts. One of the things I’m very passionate about is women. Their self-esteem, their health, their bodies. At 52, I am now fitter than I was in junior high school, and for the first time I have a body that people look at me and they kind of wonder. They’re like, “Wow! Look at your arms, look at this!” I’m like, “Okay, I figured it out. All the things that we had been told, so many of them were just lies.” Everything from a diet soda being a lie because it really doesn’t help your system to low fat and non-sugar. All the crazy things that we hear. I met a man named Jack LaLanne and one of the things he said to me was if man made it, don’t eat it. Well that’s your answer to a lot of those questions. Can I have pasta? Do you think I should eat white things? How about this and how about that? If man made it, don’t eat it.
John Lee Dumas: Yes.
Forbes Riley: I’ve kind of worked on that philosophy, and then the craziest thing happened, John, and I don’t know how it all happens to entrepreneurs. I’m not an inventor. My dad is. Bless inventors. They’re crazy, wonderful people who see things that are not there yet. But I found this little handheld fitness device. Now have you seen SpinGym?
John Lee Dumas: I have.
Forbes Riley: Okay. When you first look at a SpinGym, you think, “Oh, it’s a yoyo there, Forbes. What’s the deal?” But you got to remember who I am. Again, I talk about overcoming obstacles. Let me diverse for a second. In 1982, I got mugged in Los Angeles. I was coming out of a theatre, it was 11 o’clock at night. I turned the corner to [Unintelligible] by myself. A couple of teenagers jumped out of a car passing by, threw me down, kicked me. It was a horrible experience. It was so traumatic for me that it took me four years of being in a karate studio, of kicking and punching a taekwondo bag, to get past my anger. And then during that, my friends said, “Hey, Forbes, you know how lucky you are? You just got beaten up. You didn’t get raped.” And I probably had 10 girlfriends who admitted they had been raped, and I’m like, “Are you kidding? You guys all live with this crap in your heads?” and I was furious.
Well that sounds very traumatic, and that led me to three other martial arts. I then studied taekwondo, aikido, wing chun. All came out of that what we’d consider a horrific incident. Well years later, when the SpinGym was put in my hand for the very first time – something like the SpinGym, it was not quite that product – I had the knowledge of being a martial artist for almost 25 years. I had broken my knee at some point also. Not a very good thing. I stopped my acting career to get my massage therapy license. At the time, it all seemed kind of tragic. I also had been a Broadway dancer and I took all of that knowledge that lives inside of my body and I felt this product and thought, “This is one of the greatest fitness things I have ever experienced. This is finally for me in my life going to tighten and tone my arms.” I had been a dancer so I had strong legs, but really crappy, flabby, icky arms because I hated pushups. When you hold this thing, it works on your core. It works on your arms, it works on your back and your chest. There’s nobody on the planet who would have understood how well to use this but me and it became my vision and my mission three years ago to get one of these in everybody’s hands.
Well, John, the miracle started to flow in. I’ve got guys who are quadriplegics. They’re online. If you look up Mac Gray and SpinGym, you’ll see this amazing man who got hit by a drunk driver. A quadriplegic, he can’t hold even a fork or a knife, but he SpinGyms and he’s overjoyed by it. I’ve got Christine who’s got cerebral palsy who’s in therapy every day and she benefits from it. I’ve got people who’ve lost 50, 70, 80 pounds adding SpinGym to their daily routine to boost their metabolism, and I’ve been sitting back lately and thinking, wow! It’s been a long – almost four years. Certainly not easy. I wrote a check to someone in China and never saw that money again, I’ve made lots of bad mistakes, and I turned a little yoyo into a multimillion dollar product that is now affecting millions of lives. We’ve actually sold half a million of these to date, almost 280,000 on HSN alone, and we’re just beginning.
John Lee Dumas: That’s incredible, Forbes, and that is part of the journey of an entrepreneur, are the mistakes that you make, the lessons that you learn. One thing that we really focus on at EntrepreneurOnFire is that aha moment. You brought up that you had this aha moment. Really take Fire Nation down to the ground level about when that aha moment had, and then specific steps that you took to take that aha moment and turn it into the success that you’re now experiencing.
Forbes Riley: Well, you asked me about my motto. I think maybe that my motto needs to be when somebody tells me no, I go.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Oh, I like it!
Forbes Riley: When somebody tells me no, I go. If someone says you can’t do something, that is more motivation than all the applause in the world. Forbes, you can’t do that. Really? I’m going to show you!
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Forbes Riley: Like what happened with SpinGym. So in a nutshell, I’d bring this little product home. I actually found it. I didn’t invent it. Somebody did 2,000 years ago in China. Some magician in England turned it into kind of like an office relaxation product. I found it, it wasn’t doing very well. When I said, “This is an amazing fitness product,” he said, “Forbes, you’re a fitness person. You’re in the national fitness hall of fame. You’ve been doing fitness your whole life. You sold products for all of these companies.” I made a living with Body by Jake. I had a TV series called “FitTV” for five years and we sold every fitness product. He said, “Here, if you give me a small royalty, you can have the patent, the rights. Everything.” And he did. I brought this little thing home and showed it to my husband. Remember, it fits in your hand and it doesn’t really do very much unless you do it. I said, “Tom, I’ve got my dream!” and he was like, “Really? Why?” I said, “Well it does this, this and this,” and the first couple of months people just laughed at me.
Okay. I had a vision, I did all my research and development, I put my exercises together, and then lo and behold, I got on a television show, not unlike Shark Tank, but it was called “PitchMen.” They followed me around for five months. We shot the infomercial, we did A, B, C and D. Now what’s interesting to note, and I’m going to just give this gift to all my female listeners, is as a woman, you see things differently than men, and men had been designing stuff for us for years, everything from bras to high heels. Really women, would we wear a bra and high heels if we designed them for ourselves?
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Great question.
Forbes Riley: So flabby arms is a female thing. You guys don’t even think about it.
John Lee Dumas: No.
Forbes Riley: Women’s self-esteem is tied up in these horrible bingo wings. Most women have no upper body strength and they don’t do pushups and pull-ups and their upper arm is horrific. And so they’ll wear cover-ups and shrugs and sweaters and try not to deal with it, but I’ll tell you what, I’ve hugged enough women across this country who eats away at their self-esteem. Kind of like your belly does as well. We all know about abs and thighs, but no one really talks about upper arms. Put a halter or a wedding dress on when you’ve got saggy, icky arms. Think about the fixation we have with Michelle Obama’s arms. We rarely see beautiful arms a lot in this world. Okay. So I go on this TV show all run by men. Now it’s not a bad thing, it’s just a thing. The two hosts of the show are men, the producers are all men. They didn’t really get it. They didn’t really enjoy a strong woman, I don’t think, and in case you noticed, I talk a lot.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Forbes Riley: We did this for about five months. The show finally airs and they basically declare my product a complete failure. I lost. And sent me home crying. That’s another thing women do that men will never understand. When all else fails, we just cry [Laughs].
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Right.
Forbes Riley: For women, an excellent technique. I should have to write a book, John, on things I’ve gotten just by crying, out of parking tickets, getting what you want in an airplane. You just cry a little bit. You get what you want. That’s another story. And so at the end of this, I literally in front of the world, I got my head handed to me. And they also edited it not completely true. So there were things that were not even real and it was very unflattering and very upsetting. A normal person would have said, “Okay. You know what? Everybody’s right, Forbes. You’re wrong. You should go home. It was a stupid idea. Everybody knows it except you, and who are you?” Ever had that moment, that thought?
John Lee Dumas: Absolutely!
Forbes Riley: Yes. Well most of us do. I sat with my husband – and God bless him for believing in me – and I said, “No. I know I’m right. I make a living on home shopping. I get the phone to ring because I know what women want. I am a woman.” I mean I’ve done 114 national infomercials, and when I added up how much money I’ve grossed, I met $2 billion in sales.
John Lee Dumas: That’s a lot of zeroes, Forbes.
Forbes Riley: Hey, don’t tell me that I don’t know what people want. So I said, “I think they do, but here’s what it’s going to take. It’s going to take us mortgaging our house, our cars, our kids’ school account and everything that we owned just to order our first round of inventory in China.” I don’t know if I told you at the beginning of the story, but one of those checks I wrote never became anything and I lost a fair amount of money. But I decided to gamble in a way that I’ve never gambled before. And that was the start. It was an aha of going if this is going to get done, it’s up to me and there’s no one in the planet but me who can do this. I’ve stood here, John, for the last three years and I’ve watched my peers, people in the infomercial industry, come up and say, “Wow! I’ve never seen anybody stand for so hard and so long and take so many arrows but keep standing.” It’s because I’m on a mission. I truly believe. I’ve watched it. I’ve watched how women get their self-esteem back. I’ve watched them. Their bellies get tight. I’ve watched them lose weight by not even changing their diet. I have a whole system that I talk about, this 10 week challenge that I did. It’s a program called “e.a.t.” It’s a journal for what you eat and for what’s eating you and how you change your life, but it’s from your mind and not from the hours you spend in the gym. I do it. I tell people to SpinGym five minutes a day, three times a day, and that is changing people’s bodies. It’s been miraculous.
But that aha was very crystal clear. One, when I first found the product, and two, when I said, “You know what? Damn it, I wish there was a magic wand.” One of the biggest problems I have is I loved Walt Disney growing up, and Walt Disney promised me that a white knight was going to come and save me and that my mother should be dead and my stepmother should be mean, and I should have long, flowing hair and a tight dress. And he lied because my mom was great and she didn’t die. I don’t even have a stepmom. My waist is what it is, and unfortunately, there was no white knight coming to save me. I’m 52 years old and everything that I’ve done has been with the support and admiration of those around me, but I haven’t taken a dime in investing yet.
John Lee Dumas: So Forbes, let’s talk about SpinGym real quick because you went out on this limb. You got all this inventory on your own accord. Was there an inflection point that just took it from ground level to where it just took off or was it a slow, gradual growth? Explain that to us.
Forbes Riley: I have a little bit of it in that HSN noticed me.
John Lee Dumas: Yes.
Forbes Riley: But based on the TV show and said, “Forbes, we’re not going to put this on.”
John Lee Dumas: Right.
Forbes Riley: That was when I got the inventory and I thought I had it in. So get this – and if you repeat this story, I’ll have to kill you, okay?
John Lee Dumas: Oh, I’m not going to repeat it. I promise [Laughs].
Forbes Riley: Because this is a phenomenal – this is when everything’s down and everyone says no. It was a European shopping channel that came over here to film at HSN’s studio. I went up to them and said, “Hey, I’ve got this really cool product.” They’re like, “That’s not the protocol. You don’t just show a product. You have to go through…” I said, “I need your help. I have inventory. Would you give me or could I buy two minutes of your airtime?” They said, “We don’t really do that.” I said, “I appreciate that you don’t really normally do this, but could you?” And one of the differences between me and everyone else is a program that I created called “Redefinitions.” When you redefine words, they act differently. So one of the words I redefined was diet. Most people think it’s deprivation and starvation. I consider it to be “Decisions I Eat Today” – DIET. When you make certain decisions, your body changes.
John Lee Dumas: Yes.
Forbes Riley: The other one for all you entrepreneurs out there, the word “no.” If I asked you whether no means stop or go, most of you would say it means to stop. Of course it does. No, you can’t do that. Well, I learned a lesson a long time ago that no stands for “never ending opportunity.” So if somebody says no to you, you realize you either asked the wrong question or the wrong person. Try somebody else and ask it a different way. If that becomes your motivation, you wait for the no, and then you go, “Okay, great. She said no. Now I got to try a different way or a different person.” So when they said no, I said, “Well, but can I do this?” And I just keep asking enough till somebody just kind of gives up. So they said, “I will give you two minutes. We’ll order 25, and then will that just make you happy and would you go away?”
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Forbes Riley: So I get on air, and guess what I did, John, in two minutes? I sold out all 25. The next day, I put a press release out that Forbes Riley sells out her debut launch of SpinGym. I never said how many.
Forbes Riley: Oh, that would be my cell phone. That would be my agent calling to say, “Hey, we’ve got another deal.”
John Lee Dumas: Forbes, you’re just a busy woman! I love it!
Forbes Riley: Yes. You know what? Crazy busy, but I’m going to turn that off because you guys are more important and I know we have a very limited amount of time.
John Lee Dumas: Oh, that’s special. Thank you.
Forbes Riley: And I love this story.
John Lee Dumas: So your sold out PR, you took out the PR and you said Forbes Riley has sold out. Continue.
Forbes Riley: Correct. I sold out on my launch of SpinGym, and so people kind of took notice. I got a couple of local gyms who were curious and a radio station that was interested, and a TV station called and said, “Hey, so what’s going on here?” The next thing I did was that when they came back, this European shopping channel, they ordered 200 of them.
John Lee Dumas: Wow!
Forbes Riley: Well, I mean 15, 20 minutes. Anyway, I sold out all 15, 20, but in that amount of time, I had the chance to do what I do best. I love selling on television. It’s open to all of us. By the way, if you’re listening to this, you probably, whoever you might be, can’t actually pick up the phone and get to HSN, but I can. Kind of like Barbara Corcoran is a great connection to Shark Tank, I’m a great connection to Home Shopping. If, in fact, you have a product and had done your homework and believe that it could really sell on Home Shopping, I’m a great resource. John will know how to get a hold of me and say, “Hey, Forbes, let’s see if we can’t make this happen.” I take a meeting a day probably, either on the phone or in person. I just had one this morning for a very exciting new product that I’m going to do. There’s two ways that happen. You’ve got a product and I can help you just get it on air, and there’s so many pitfalls and reasons why you should and shouldn’t do a home shopping environment, or I will let somebody else take it. It may be someone that I sign on as the host or that you go on, but that’s one of the things I’m building, is how to teach what I know. The same thing with doing an infomercial, doing a two minute spot. That is a phenomenal way to market. I’m not really a retail expert, but I am an expert – 25 years on Home Shopping and 114 national infomercials, 40% of which never went anywhere. So I probably learned more from my mistakes than I did from my successes, but how you market on TV, I mean let’s get real. Who thought a blanket with arms would be a $300 million hit called a Snuggie?
John Lee Dumas: Snuggies!
Forbes Riley: I mean think about it. A Chia Pet, the Shake Away. There’s some really odd products that have made it.
John Lee Dumas: The Pet Rock.
Forbes Riley: Yes, the Pet Rock. But I happen to be a very good resource. I’m sure you’ll say some of my websites, or maybe even on Facebook. I mean I’ve got 52,000 fans on my Facebook.com/ForbesRiley fan page. If you go to that, that’s a lot of people. If you wanted to comment or say, “Hey, Forbes, would you look at this?” I’m very transparent. One of the things I think that separates me – and maybe when I get so successful I won’t be able to do anymore, but probably not – I love people. I will never forget where I came from and how hard I struggled. I’m going to start to cry here. But there were no answers. There was no radio show like an EntrepreneurOnFire. I didn’t have a real role model. I just had dreams and I hit my head against the wall a lot. I don’t like to see people fail. I don’t like to see people getting hurt or screwed over. That’s what a part of business is. I talk to so many mom groups, women groups. There are ways to make money using your talents right now that you never thought of. It breaks my heart when people say, “Oh, I can’t find a job.” Hey guys, I’ve made millions. I’ve never ever had a job. I don’t work for people. I don’t know how to work for people. I’m terrible in an office situation because I want to be in charge.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Forbes Riley: But I’ve always found unique ways to create income. I exchange talent for money as opposed to time. That’s always been my motivation, and now with the Internet, I mean you’re doing it. You’re doing a podcast. You’re doing something creative you love to do. So I’m always excited, and I would love people to come to my member site and see where I am speaking next because I speak about health. Yes, I can bore you to tears with why you should add raw food, barley juice, enemas and colonics. I’ve got every piece of information when it comes to health and fitness. And have a SpinGym everywhere. You should have one in your desk, one in your car and one by your bed, and at under 25 bucks a piece, definitely have a SpinGym. But how many fit personal trainers have you seen who can’t pay their rent? So for me, it’s health, wealth and happiness. If you don’t have the first two in synchronicity, you don’t get the happiness part.
John Lee Dumas: Forbes, this is so powerful and you’re being so generous by offering to Fire Nation to reach out to you if they have an idea, if they have a product. I mean , that is just so powerful, and that is exactly the reason that EntrepreneurOnFire, my passion, was created, because I wanted to allow a medium, a platform where people like yourself who are so passionate, so inspirational and have such great stories, to reach people all around the world. That’s what EntrepreneurOnFire does. We’re in 100 countries, over 100,000 unique downloads every single month and we’re in people’s ears while they’re driving to work, while they’re exercising. So you are really having an intimate connection right now, Forbes, with a lot of people. So thank you for being so generous. I’m going to be extremely respectful of your time and your schedule because you have been so generous with us. So we’re going to move into the last segment of the show, which is the Lightning Round. This is where I get to ask you a series of questions and you come back at us, Fire Nation, with amazing and mind-blowing answers. Does that sound like a plan, Forbes?
Forbes Riley: I’m always onboard. Love it!
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] What was holding you back, if anything, from becoming an entrepreneur?
Forbes Riley: Fear. Fear of success, fear of failure, and a sense of I don’t deserve it. Who am I to think that I can make my own business? I don’t come from money, I don’t have enough knowledge, I don’t have an MBA. What shifted was just an unearthing sense of you know what? Screw it. I can just do this.
John Lee Dumas: What is one thing that’s really exciting you in your business right now?
Forbes Riley: Oh my God! Seeing – like literally right now, I’m at the 10th week of a 10 week challenge. Think about this. 30 people. 750 pounds they have lost and I didn’t have a diet. There’s no diet. It’s just my program, and the best one because I study NLP. If you want to know what that is, you have to reach out to me. I got one woman who’s been smoking for 35 years two packs a day, kind of a tough, drinking hard, former bartender and mother of two – mother of three, actually, but two of them were in my class. She’s 50 years old. In 20 minutes with me, onstage, and I recorded this, she hasn’t had a cigarette in 49 days and she’s lost 20 pounds.
John Lee Dumas: Wow!
Forbes Riley: It excites me every day. I mean I’m on fire. I can’t tell you how jazzed I am that everything I’ve ever done and believed in, I actually put into effect, tested it on 30 people and guess what? It works.
John Lee Dumas: Forbes, you are on fire. What is the best business advice you ever received?
Forbes Riley: Find a mentor. It took me a very long time to understand what that meant. Find somebody who’s gone there, been there, lets you talk to them and who’s knowledgeable. Do you want to know who one of my personal mentors is?
John Lee Dumas: Yes.
Forbes Riley: The great NFL football star, Joe Theismann.
John Lee Dumas: Wow!
Forbes Riley: He is my personal speaking mentor. I was lucky enough to meet him, but here’s the deal. You have access to all kinds of people. You got to get out there and say, “Hey, will you coach me? Will you spend 10 minutes of your day? Can I call you once a month for 10 minutes and then be respectful?” Every great athlete has a coach and a mentor, and I didn’t know that until easily into my 40s. I didn’t really understand or respect that concept.
John Lee Dumas: Do you have an Internet resource, Forbes, like an Evernote that you are just in love with that you can share with Fire Nation?
Forbes Riley: Oh dear God, I am in love with Facebook. Let me tell you something, although I have to share one other thing with you.
John Lee Dumas: Yes.
Forbes Riley: So Facebook helped me launch my product because I’m a little shy in person, and you can take that for what it is. I don’t do very well in social situations because I don’t drink so I’m always very sober, and I like to get to the meat of the issue. So on Facebook when it first came out, I could see who you were, where you live, what your business was and how I could interact with you, and I met the Executive Producer of The Doctors. I didn’t immediately hit him up. I got to know him. He was a very nice guy. At some point, I said, “You know, I know one of the guys on your show. Would you take a look at my SpinGym?” It took me three meetings with him, but enough wherewithal that I actually got my product on TV because of him. I got my product on Forbes Magazine’s list and one of the hottest entrepreneurs when we weren’t even at the pinnacle of our success yet, and ended up on an ETV special that you can see on YouTube because of Facebook. So Facebook to me is one of the ultimate social interactions, but I have to share with you, you guys have to go to the newest thing called “UNATION.” www.unation. Go to unation.com/slimdown/forbesriley/spingym. When you see this new platform that has been built that takes the social part of Facebook, the video part of YouTube, gives your own webpage for free, lets you do E-Commerce onboard and then target people based on events that you’re doing, it’s mind-blowing, and for people who have a business like tour managers or whatever, you’re going to want to be on UNATION. I will help you actually. I’m happy to do that because people then will be able to see who your latest guests were and it’s free.
John Lee Dumas: unation.com/slimdown/forbesriley/spingym. That will be linked up in the show notes, Forbes.
Forbes Riley: I’ll take that back. It’s individual ones. It’s unation.com/slimdown. It’s unation.com/forbesriley. I have three separate pages.
John Lee Dumas: Got it!
Forbes Riley: You have to go to one of them. They’re not open to the public yet. I’m one of their early…
John Lee Dumas: Beta.
Forbes Riley: Yes, so the beta. But here’s the other beta person that inspired me to no end. So remember, unation.com/ – and at least go to forbesriley because you’ll be able to get in through there.
John Lee Dumas: Got it.
Forbes Riley: He created this. He turned his girlfriend, and now wife, from kind of a has been track athlete in college to a gold-winning Olympic medalist in one year.
John Lee Dumas: Wow!
Forbes Riley: Go to unation.com/tiannamadison, and read the story of how somebody “Forbes” a gold medal in 12 months.
John Lee Dumas: That’s incredible. Forbes, if you could recommend a book to Fire Nation, what would it be?
Forbes Riley: Og Mandino’s “The Greatest Salesman in the World.” It’s one of those that doesn’t apparently seem like a business book, and I certainly have all of them. I have got Napoleon – let me share something. I love The Greatest Salesman in the World. It’s one of those that I read on a regular basis. It just inspires me. But let me share something with your listeners. You are only as good as what you put inside your brain, just like the data you put inside your computer. My recommendation is to turn off the news on the TV, to stop reading the newspaper about bad things that are happening. Don’t talk about the economy and things that don’t have to do with you personally. Invest in yourself and put great things in your mind like you do food in your body. Listening to EntrepreneurOnFire.com as a podcast is a great thing, but listen to all the great speakers. Go find Zig Ziglar, Les Brown, Jim Rohn. Get them in your ear. Get people telling you over and over again how you can create something from nothing, how you tweet your thoughts, how what you focus on expands. Those kind of thoughts will create and change your whole life. I call it a “no news diet,” and just watch what happens.
John Lee Dumas: Wow! Forbes, this is the last question. It’s my favorite, but it’s kind of tricky. So take your time, digest it, and then come back at Fire Nation with an answer. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to earth but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have. Your food and shelter is taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500. What do you do in the next seven days?
Forbes Riley: Wow! What a great question! Good for you for coming up with something so magnificent.
John Lee Dumas: Thank you.
Forbes Riley: Wow! You know what’s great about the Internet is it’s free, and I love this product that I have. We actually thought about SpinGym about taking no money, and go out literally walking or driving across the country. I put my brother-in-law who’s a New York City fireman on a bike tour heading for the [Unintelligible] from New York to California in 33 days.
John Lee Dumas: Wow!
Forbes Riley: And SpinGym and just sell them across the nation to see if I could afford to do that because I don’t need to know anybody. With this product in my hands, I sell probably 15 to 20 of them a day. I’ll go to Starbucks or the grocery store or the hair salon and just start talking to people. And if I didn’t know anyone, I wouldn’t have any of these social obligations, although I would miss my children terribly. My 10 year old twins are my entire reason for getting up every morning. But if I didn’t even know I had them, I would just take this product and go out to the world with a sense of abandon and saying, “Guess what? I’m going to preach about health and wellness and how to get your body fit because God gives you just one body.” Eubie Blake at 95 said, “Wow! If I had known I was going to live to be this old, I would have taken much better care of myself.”
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Forbes Riley: And I’m on a mission to do that.
John Lee Dumas: Forbes, you have given us some incredibly passionate advice, some actionable advice, and we are all better for it. Give Fire Nation one parting piece of guidance, then tell us how we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Forbes Riley: My big advice is don’t wait to make your move. We all wait for the perfect time. Oh, I’ve got to get a college degree before I can do this. I’ve got to have the right time and the right finances to start a baby or start a business or whatever it happens to be. My daughter is 10 years old and she’s got it in her head that she wants to be a billionaire. I said, “You know what, baby?”
John Lee Dumas: Add a zero.
Forbes Riley: Yes, add a zero.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Forbes Riley: Really, you want to be a 10 billionaire. You need to wait till you graduate college. You need to wait till you’re an adult. I said, “Let’s see. You’re 10 years old. Let’s start a business for you.” And then she’s like, “Well, I don’t know what to sell.” I said, “Let’s figure it out,” because right now, don’t wait until you’re ready. Go! Get the notion in your head that you want to create something and live your life to the fullest and just go. The worst that happens is you’re wrong, but you on a journey. One of the things that really drives me is that I have this vision that I was going to be 83 years old telling all these great grandchildren and their friends about the stories of my life. I was 21 when I had that vision and I realized, I’d better get moving because I don’t have a single story to talk about right. Now I have more stories than I can ever possibly tell an entire nation.
So the other thing – a piece of advice I got to tell you – is you should invest some time. I have a game called “What do you want?” Ask yourself, what do you want? What truly drives you? When you discover, if you do this exercise properly, it’s not money, it’s not time. It’s something very deep inside of you, and I’ll share something very personal that I don’t usually talk about outside of my classroom, but two words that get me going every day, what do I want more than anything? I want someone to tell me that I inspired them. I’m hoping that there’s people listening today that said that, but you know how hard you have to work to get people to say, “Yes, you inspired me”? You’ve got to really get out there and bust your butt!
The second thing that I love that I want – what do you want, Forbes? I want people to tell me I’m amazing. Well, I don’t know. I hope all your listeners just laughed or kind of smiled and chuckled because that’s pretty cocky.
John Lee Dumas: Audacious [Laughs].
Forbes Riley: That’s a good word. But here’s the thing. My dad was a magician, and I remember growing up and everyone would always say, “Wow! That’s amazing! You’re amazing!” So I do magic tricks. If you ever go out to a dinner party with me, I will do some crazy magic tricks because I like hearing “You’re amazing!” Well guess what I created, John. When people put SpinGym in their hands for the first time, they say, “Wow! This is amazing!” And I found it. I found a way to hear that word every day without being too audacious, and it turns me on like you cannot believe. So John, I’m going to ask you, what do you want?
John Lee Dumas: I want to inspire millions.
Forbes Riley: Great! And you’re doing it. See? Doesn’t it feel great?
John Lee Dumas: It is the best feeling in the world, Forbes.
Forbes Riley: Alright. So for everybody, my website is forbesriley.com. On Facebook, what I just love, you have to listen to this carefully. Facebook.com/ForbesRileyFanPage. I have a couple of pages, but that’s the one with 52,000 people. Now, I also have Forbes Riley member site? I have to think about this now. Email me and let me know. I think it’s Forbes Member Site, Forbes Riley Member Site. But what we’re doing there is all of my videos, my knowledge, the things that I can share with people, I’m putting into a member site. So Facebook me and I’ll give you the exact information, but that is now becoming the hub to stay connected with me because I coach people over the phone. I do the teleseminars and I just built the most beautiful television production studio here in St. Pete because St. Pete, Florida is surrounded by water, surrounded by love. It’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s warm here all year long. I’m inviting a select group of people to come and spend the day with me. Not inexpensive, but you know what? When you get to a point in your life where you want to invest – if I told you you could make $100,000, would you invest $10,000 to spend the day with me? Time and time again, the answer is yes.
John Lee Dumas: Absolutely, Forbes. It is such a no brainer. Your passion is going to resonate incredibly well with all of Fire Nation. Thank you again for being so generous with your time, your expertise and your knowledge. You are amazing. Fire Nation salutes you and we’ll catch you on the flipside.