Justin Schenck hosts the Growth Now Movement podcast and was named a Top podcaster to follow in 2018 by INC.com. He also owns a podcast production and coaching company.
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SparkPost – Justin’s small business resource
Who Moved My Cheese – Justin’s Top Business Book
Growth Now Movement – Justin’s website
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3 Value Bombs
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2) It’s paramount to understand your market.
3) Make the right choices.
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[01:10] – In high school, Justin was least likely to succeed
[01:23] – He came from a broken home, with his father in jail and an addictive mother
[02:11] – His area of expertise is in building relationships
[02:55] – Share something we don’t know about your area of expertise that as Entrepreneurs, we probably should: Focus on how much you can give without thinking about how much you’ll get in return
[03:57] – Justin talks about how he helped a TV Celebrity get people using his app without asking for anything
[04:48] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Justin used to own a company where they put together seminars for personal and professional growth. He and his business partner decided to do a huge business expo and went all in. The worst moment was, they ended up selling just 3 tickets to the event
[05:15] – It seemed like they had lost everything overnight
[05:43] – The biggest lesson for him was to understand your market
[06:38] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Justin’s ah-ha moment was when he realized he didn’t have to give people money or celebrity status, but give them the ability to comfortably share their story on his podcast
[07:45] – “Make sure that you make the right choice from day one”
[08:53] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “I am beyond excited about helping other people build the same platform that I’ve built. Podcasting changed my life”
[09:48] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “It was the fear of judgement”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “You’re going to be fine, keep your head up, and move forward”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “The ability to be an active listener”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – SparkPost
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Who Moved My Cheese – “it’s about change and adapting to change”
JS: Yeah, brother. Let’s go.
JLD: Justin hosts the Growth Now Movement podcast. It was named a Top Podcaster to Follow in 2018 by inc.com. He also owns a podcast production and coaching company. Justin, take a minute and fill in some gaps from that intro and give us just a little glimpse of your personal life.
JS: Yeah, man. So, first of all, thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited about our conversation today. And, you know, to fill in some gaps, it's kind of funny, it's a large gap to fill in. But if we rewind to high school, Justin, I would be voted least likely to succeed. And so, I would certainly be the last person to share a list with John Lee Dumas on inc.com is a Top Podcast to Follow in 2018. You know, with a 1.7 GPA and coming from a broken home.
You know, my dad spent some time in jail. My mom had a 20 year opioid addiction. And so, you know, the path was definitely not a smooth one for me. And so, I kind of had many faults and many falls as an entrepreneur until the podcast thing happened and then it took off, you know. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by loving family members and loving people that supported me through all of this. And I think that that was a big opportunity for me to kind of say, Hey, let me embrace this. Let me take my story and let’s see if I can share it and change the world a little bit.
JLD: Well, growing up how you did, you had to, obviously, acquire a lot of skills in a lot of areas, and you did. But what would you consider today is your area of expertise?
JS: Yeah, I mean, right now I think that my strongest area of expertise is building relationships. One of the greatest things that podcasting has done for me is giving me the opportunity to talk to amazing people. And then I've been able to take that and grow relationships beyond just the 45 minute/hour long conversation that I have with some of these people.
You know, I text MMA fighter, Super Bowl champions, celebrities, TV hosts, pretty much on a regular basis because of the podcast and we're able to work together on many different projects. So, you know, I think building relationships is a key to many, many things in life. And then podcasting has allowed me to do that in a very strong way.
JLD: So, what’s something that we don't know about building relationships? And I mean, we, as in myself, Fire Nation. Like, what don't we know about building relationships that we probably should?
JS: Yeah, I mean, the main thing is how much can you give? Don't worry about how much you can get from it, it's all about giving. And it has to be really genuine. I think, for me, I've become a really good active listener when people talk to me. And that's anybody that I run into at the grocery store, anybody I interview on my show. I truly care. I truly care what they're going through right now. I truly care what they're working on. And I want to help them. I want to help them achieve their goals.
And so, the key to being an active listener and a good listener build those relationships is to just to truly absorb what they're saying. Let them say what they want to say, and then see where you can help. And maybe it's just by making a good introduction. Or maybe it's, you know, you have the skills or the tools that you can help them get them where they want to go. But it's really about putting into action what they need out of people around them.
JLD: So, give me a specific example of a time that you cared and why it mattered. Like, we're talking about one of these MMA, ex-NFL players, Super Bowl champions, whoever it might be. Like, talk to us about a specific example of where you employ this tactic and how it really worked. And be concise.
JS: Yeah, so, I'm currently working with TV celebrity. I can't go into a ton of details, but I’m currently working with a TV celebrity who is looking to launch an app, and I was able to make over 200 introductions for him to get people to be influencers on this app that he is developing. And without me, he wouldn’t have been able to connect with those 200 plus people. And I asked for nothing in return. But in return, he gave me a lot. And so, you know, just being able to give and connect, you know, it's really a benefit, long-term, for kind of anybody that's looking to do that.
JLD: So, what I want to talk about now, Justin, is what you would consider your worst entrepreneurial moment. I mean, you definitely talked to us about how you’ve had some really tough life moments growing up, but what's the worst business moment? The worst entrepreneurial moment? Take us there. Tell us that story.
JS: Sure. So I used to own a company that we put together seminars and expos that focused on personal and professional growth. And we were doing really, really well. Me and a business partner were doing really, really well and that we were growing every single day. And we decided to take every single dime we made and put it into a huge business expo. We paid a speaker a ton of money. We spent twice the amount we spent on the speaker for advertising to get people there, and we ended up selling three tickets to the event.
So, needless to say, overnight – it seemed like overnight – we lost everything. And that actually ended up ending that business. So, that was probably my biggest mistake in business to this day. I mean, you know, literally lost every dime that I had in that moment in order to try and take a gigantic leap forward.
JLD: What’s the lesson you learned? Like, let’s get specific here. Like, what lesson did you learn here? And how’ve you employed it to avoid future disasters?
JS: Yeah, the biggest lesson I learned is understanding your market. So, with that event, we were bringing in this high-profile person, but I live in a smaller town called Redding, Pennsylvania, who they don't – they can't relate to people on that level necessarily. So, they had no interest in spending money to try and learn from a guy who they couldn’t relate with.
And how I'm doing that now is I'm really – what I do on my podcast is I break people down to a more emotional, personal level so they understand that no matter who you are that's listening, you have the same opportunities to get to where they are in life as a successful entrepreneur, successful business person. And so, I literally put into play every single day that lesson I learned in that one moment of saying, Hey, you really need to understand your market or your listeners.
JLD: Justin, what are the greatest ideas you’ve had to date? Like, take us to one of those Ah-ha moments that you had and walk us through that story.
JS: It's not necessarily an idea, but I think my biggest Ah-ha moment was when I realized I didn't have to give people money or celebrity status. All I really had to do was give them the ability for them to comfortably – very comfortably tell their story on my podcast, and in being able to do that was mind-blowing.
So, I used to have a co-host on my podcast, and it wasn't really taking off. And when I asked my co-host to take a step back, everything started to blow up because I realized that I was in a better position to hold space for them, to be comfortable to tell their personal story. And when that happened, everything started to take off.
JLD: So, let’s talk about this for a second. Because there are a lot of people out there that are working with their friends or their family, and, you know, things just might not be working out. Or things just might not be progressing as quickly as they’d like it to. Or they might just – it just not feel right. How’d you have that conversation? Like, take us to that moment where you actually brought it up to your co-host or he brought it up to you or she? Like, how’d that happen? Tell us that story.
JS: Yeah, so, essentially he’s still my best friend to this day. I think the first key is to make sure you make the right choice from day one, right? You have to understand that it doesn’t always work out in business when friendship is first. And so, I actually asked him to grab a scotch –
And he was going through some personal stuff at the time. He had just had a kid and he was just super, super busy. And when we sat down over a glass of scotch, I said, Hey, man. You know, as a co-host it's not really going in the direction we want. It's really hard to work around your schedule now with the kid. What are your thoughts on you taking a step back from the podcast and stuff and me just taking the reins?
And he was actually very understanding and comfortable with it. And he actually apologized to me for not having as much time or not putting in as much effort in the podcast itself. So, you know, it worked out really well. And I understand it doesn’t work out that well for everybody. But, you know, I was just very fortunate to have a really good business partner at the time that, you know, we were able to kind of take a step back and realize, Hey, friendship first, and he’s now one of my biggest cheerleaders.
JLD: You’ve obviously come a long way. And now, you know, 2018, inc’s got their eye on you. A lot of people got their eye on you, things are happening. But what are you most excited about? Like, what are you most fired up about today?
JS: Yeah, I am beyond excited about now helping other people build the same platform that I've built. I mean, podcasting has changed my life from a standpoint that I would never have the access to the people that I have now. I would never have the business that I have now. I would not be able to speak on the stages that I speak on now if it wasn’t for podcasting.
And so now with my production company, I'm able to help people get there whether they don't have the time to do it themselves. They want to continue to build their brand. Or if it's just on the coaching side where I can kind of help them coach to grow their podcast.
A huge win for me recently was one of my clients has just been asked to speak on the same stage as me. And, to me, that was more exciting than me being asked to speak on the stage.
JLD 1: Fire Nation, value bombs have been dropped by Justin. And they're not stopping, they're going to continue. They're going to keep on coming, but we're going to thank our sponsor then we're going to hit the lightening round. So, don't go anywhere and we’ll be right back.
So, Justin, we are back. Are you ready to rock the lightening rounds?
JS: Let’s do it, man.
JLD: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
JS: I think it was the fear of judgment. The fear of going out there, failing and people kind of judging me for it. It wasn't necessarily the failure. I’m not necessarily scared of failure because I failed so many times in my life. But it was definitely putting myself out there and people judging me along the way.
JLD: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
JS: When my business crumbled – the story I told earlier – I called my mom because she was always my rock when she was still alive. And I called and told her that, and she said to me, You’re going to be fine. Keep your head up and keep moving forward. And so, I carry that with me wherever I go. And no matter how many hardships I come across, you just got to keep your head up and keep moving forward.
JLD: What's a personal habit that contributes to your success?
JS: The ability to be an active listener. It's not something that comes natural to me. I’m self-diagnosed as ADD. It's probably why I wasn't the greatest student in the world. And so, it take mindfulness practices for me to be an active listener. And because of that, I’ve been successful with what I do.
JLD: Recommend one internet resource.
JS: I highly recommend an app call Spark Post. It's where I design a lot of the stuff that goes on my social media. It's a free app made by Adobe and it's just easy to use and really good to make your social media a pop.
JLD: Recommend one book, Justin, and share why.
JS: I recommend the book Who Moved My Cheese to every single person whether they're in the self-help genre or not. It’s a really easy read and it's about change and adapting to change. And I feel like, you know, everything is always going to change around us and we have no control over it, but what we do have control over is how we react to it. And that's what that book’s about.
JLD: Have they made that into an audio book yet?
JS: I’m not sure to be honest. I’m a reader, so I tend to read…
JLD: I don't think they have. And I think in these two, yeah, that's an oldie but a goodie. So, Justin, let’s end today on fire with you giving us a parting piece of guidance. Sharing with the best way that we can connect with you and then we’ll say good-bye.
JS: Awesome, yeah. So, the best way to connect with me is to find me on social media. The tag is GNM podcast. Pretty much everywhere; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. And also, I have a gift as well to give. So, the first 20 people who email me, which is firstname.lastname@example.org, I’m going to give them a 20 minute coaching session in the podcast world.
JS: And then I’m going to choose – I’m going to choose one of those people and I’m going to coach them for free for three months. So, if you're thinking about podcasting or you're already podcasting and you want to grow, it's a good opportunity to hop on a call with me and see how I can help you.
JLD: Fire Nation, time is priceless. Take advantage of this. Email Justin. Make it happen, 20 minutes and you might be one of his three-month clients. And you're the average of the five people you spend with the most time with, and you’ve been hanging out with JS and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com. Just type Justin 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. Timestamps, links, everything. Justin, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that brother, we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
JS: JLD, thanks for all the –
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