Kyle Wilson is the founder of Jim Rohn International, YourSuccessStore.com, LessonsFromNetwork.com and KyleWilson.com and was the 18-year biz partner with his mentor and close friend Jim Rohn. He’s filled hundreds of seminar events, created and produced hundreds of products and built a 1 million person subscriber list before selling to Success Magazine and retiring for 5 years. Kyle is the author of 52 Lessons I Learned from Jim Rohn and Other Great Legends I Promoted!
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- Take action to create opportunities.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:33] – Being an entrepreneur is Kyle’s passion
- [02:10] – Kyle did Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul
- [02:13] – He has 2 kids
- [02:17] – He sold his company and retired for 5 years
- [02:28] – Starting over from retirement made Kyle a better person
- [03:18] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: Kyle’s area of expertise is in strategic marketing. What’s the one thing that will knock down the dominos?
- [03:42] – Kyle shares how he offered Jim Rohn something he couldn’t resist…
- [06:27] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: The biggest failure for Kyle was when they were doing really well and a previous company Jim was working for gave him an offer. Kyle lost Jim for 2 years and he had to layoff employees to downsize his company
- [09:49] – You’re only responsible for yourself and your company
- [10:36] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Chicken Soup had just sold a million copies when Mark Victor Hansen told Kyle they’d sell 100M copies. Mark expanded Kyle’s thinking and helped him to be the alchemist. Kyle wanted to sell their books but Jim didn’t want to be famous and so they self-published.
- Kyle had books printed 5,000 at a time that cost 60¢/book. Later on, he inquired and found out it would cost 48¢/book if they printed 10K, and 42¢/book if they printed 20K.
- Kyle worked on how they could sell 20,000 books and the idea came! Kyle contacted Charlie of Executive Books and asked if he could trade books
- [14:29] – Kyle ended up with 10K copies of Jim Rohn’s books at 42¢ and 10K copies of different books from Charlie—10K books were going to Amway Distributors through the book-of-the-month club
- [15:30] – Be the alchemist – learn to find opportunities
- [15:37] – Marketing is simply connecting the dots
- [17:00] – Don’t just look at your inventory as stagnant – look at it as opportunities
- [18:19] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “I get to work with really cool people in my circle”
- [19:44] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Just examples and teachers”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Be valuable to the marketplace if you want to make a great living. Be valuable to valuable people if you want to make a fortune”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “I have the duality of meditation, spirituality, journaling, prayer, mixed with massive activity”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Dropbox, Skype, Snapchat and Instagram
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Turning Pro – “It’s just about overcoming resistance”
- [22:54] – You learn by doing
- [23:50] – Get Kyle’s book for FREE at KyleWilson52Lessons.com
Kyle: – John, I am.
JLD: Yes. Kyle was the 18-year business partner with his mentor and close friend, Jim Rohn. He's filled 100 seminar events, created and produced 100s of products and built a one-million-person subscriber list before selling to Success magazine and retiring for five years. Kyle is the author of 52 Lessons I Learned From Jim Rohn And Other Great Legends I Promoted. Kyle, take a minute, fill some gaps from that intro and give us just a little glimpse of your personal life.
Kyle: Will do. John, first of all, thanks for having me on. It's been such a pleasure to watch what you’ve been doing and this incredible audience you built and the incredible products you’ve put together, and being an entrepreneur, that’s my passion. Actually, did Second Soup for the Entrepreneurial Soul with Mark and Jack. And so, just even the title of your program inspires me. And equally you being a veteran, I have an inner circle and we have some amazing veterans. Ron White, who's the U.S. memory champion. Ron does Afghanistan wall all over the country. Colonel Tim Cole, 31-year colonel in the Marines. So, thank you for your service. That fills in the gaps and I've worked with some, in addition to Jim, Og Mandino, Brian Tracy, Darren Hardy, I did Second Soup for the Entrepreneurial Soul.
Personally, I have two amazing kids and as you mentioned, I did sell my company and retired for five years. So, I got to be a Mr. Mom, which was pretty amazing. And coming back out of retirement, I got to tell you, it really made me a better person. Starting over, cashing in that million plus list and getting back and getting to reinvent myself. So, probably the happiest I've been in a long time.
JLD: Wow, love all of that. And Fire Nation, I mean, if you can do what you love and then get paid for it and then you get to do what you love like Kyle did as being a Mr. Mom for five years and then say, Hey, now I can actually come back with the things that I've learned with a fresh mind, with a new mentality and attitude and go at this all over again, I mean. That’s the true Rocky VI story that I love that you're bringing to the table here today, Kyle, now.
Kyle: Thank you.
JLD: Real quick, today, 2017, what would you consider right now your area of expertise? And within that, Kyle, tell us something that we probably don’t know about that area that we should as entrepreneurs?
Kyle: Yeah, I think my strength, John, has always been strategic marketing. And so, identifying what the secret sauce is, connecting the audience with what the product needs to be. What do you need to create? As we know, Gary Keller wrote the one thing and I would always say for me, going even back to filling up rooms, creating products, always thought what's the one thing that will knock down the rest of the dominos? So, I'll give you a quick example.
When I started – When I was doing, filling up large rooms and then I made Jim Rohn an offer he couldn’t refuse in 1993, and at the time he had no list, he had a couple products. So, I created this thing called the Wheel. And on the Wheel, were spokes, and each spoke was a product, a service and this thing called a customer acquisition. And Jim had a book, he had a audio series, he had a one-day seminar, he had a two-day seminar, and the theory is once you get someone on the Wheel, you take him around the Wheel. And what we were really missing was the customer acquisition.
And so, I created this little quote booklet, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it, the Jim Rohn excerpts from the treasury of quotes, and I did one for Brian Tracy, Dennis Waitley, Zig Zigler, Mark Victor-Hansen. But the first one was Jim’s. And hey, there was no Google. You know, there was no list of quotes, but what I did was I looked at his secret sauce, which was he was a word-smith, he was profound. The people that had heard of him were big fans. So, this little quote book was the opportunity for my fans to become advocates and to go share the message. And it had a little To and From. Had a quote by Jim Rohn and had 110 quotes. And that little booklet, John, turned into a viral marketing tool that we moved six million of.
And so, when I look back at everything I've ever done, whether it's with Darren Hardy or Robin Sharma, Chris Weidner, Ron White, Dennis Waitley, and, of course, Jim Rohn, there's no cookie cutter. It's always, what is their secret sauce? Who is their audience? And what the most important spoke that we can create that will knock down the dominos? And ideally, it's a customer acquisition tied to a product. So, like with your Freedom Journal and Mastery Journal, same thing, right? That’s a product, but it's also customer acquisition and how you go market it and have affiliates. So, I think that my secret sauce. It's helping people identify that and building upon that, and then building out the spokes that cross-pollenate the different hooks, if you will, of what people want in the marketplace and then taking them around the Wheel.
JLD: Well, I love that strategy and I love that methodology. And Fire Nation, if you're listening to Kyle right now, and you're kind of thinking, Man, maybe I'm missing my wheel. Some of my spokes and my customer acquisition. You know, that’s what we're going to be getting into a little bit later here today.
But first, Kyle, I want to talk about maybe a time that wasn't when, you know, you sold your list to success, which was a great success for you, and the time that you came out of retirement and now you're on fire and rocking the world. What is the time that you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment to date? What is that story, Kyle? Take us to that moment, share that with us.
Kyle: You know, once had a guy ask me had I ever failed, and he was wanting to partner on a company. He had just sold his company for $100 million and I embarrassingly told him this story and then he thanked me afterward, John, and said, Great, I don’t ever want to be part of someone’s first failure. So, you know, failure’s good as long as you don’t let it take too long or repeat it. But for me, the big failure that I remember, the big challenge was we were just doing really well. I mean, I've taken Jim from 20 dates at 4000 to 110 dates at 10,000 the first year. We're creating products, we're rocking it, have 20 employees. And a company that Jim had been working with previously, to me, that he still worked with that was, retainer he had with them, was a $1 billion company going on $2 billion. They came back and they said, Jim, we've got to have you, and what Kyle was doing is really competing with us. So, they made him an offer that, again, he was their – they were his first love.
And so, I lost Jim for two years and during that two years, I went from multiple six figures, you know, cash and debt-free company, debt-free personally to probably about $250,000 in the hole in 18 months. And I had 20 employees and I think the biggest challenge, John, is I didn’t take action quick enough. I tried to succeed…
And I did some cool things. I mean, I cut a deal with Bryan Tracy. We co-created a program called the Success Mastery Academy. I did it all over the country. In fact, we just did a 20-year anniversary of with Darren Hardy and Vic Johnson and some amazing people. So, it turned out good, but at the time, I had to learn this big lesson of, you know, Jim Rohn says you can help 1000 people, but you can't carry three on your back, and I was trying to carry 20 on my back. And, although, my intentions were noble, at the end of the day, your business is a living, breathing organism, and I was killing my business. So, I had to get small. Had to go from 20 and back to three. Reinvent myself. Fortunately, I got Jim back. I got his fees up to $25,000. We just took off from there.
Again, some great things actually came from those two years, but as an entrepreneur, sometimes you never totally arrive, and if you do, you get stale if you're not careful. That’s happened to me a few times. And so, there's many, but that’s the one that comes to mind.
JLD: These are all great lessons and you actually dropped a couple really specific lessons at the end there about, you know, sometimes when you have “arrived”, you can get stale. And that’s things that all successful entrepreneurs have to really challenge themselves with. Am I continuing to put myself out of my own comfort zone, pushing the envelope? Because, here I am. I could just sit on EOFire, this podcast and just kind of let this kind of churn out, but at the same time, I need to try new things. I need to get uncomfortable with Instagram stories, Snapchat, Facebook Live, doing these things, and I'm not really that good at when I first have a go at them. But hopefully over time I improve and learn these things because it's always coming around the corner, Fire Nation, that next opportunity.
So, Kyle, that’s kind of my big takeaway from your story. In just one sentence, what do you want to make sure our listeners get from that struggle that you encountered over your time?
Kyle: Yeah, I think it's you are only responsible for yourself and your company. I went on to build a company where we had amazing profit-sharing and all kinds of good things. But at that time, I was enabling more than I was actually holding people accountable and realizing, I'm not responsible for 20 people.
JLD: Let's talk about another story, Kyle. Because you're just a great story teller and I want you to take us down to the granular level of an Ah-ha moment that you’ve had, of a great idea that you’ve had. I mean, you’ve had a ton over the years. So, let's really zero in on one of those ideas and tell us that story of how that idea came to fruition. But then, even more importantly, how you took that idea and turned it into a success.
Kyle: Back in the day, Mark Victor-Hansen, he was always the speaker on my second day of my Jim Rohn two-day event, and Mark and I became really good friends. And Chicken Soup had sold a million copies. They were just about to come out with a second copy. They were working on Chicken Soup three, and he told me one day – And I think they sold a million copies, which was huge – and he said, we're going to sell 100 million books. And I said… And Mark was kind of known for exaggerating at times and being a big thinker. And so, I kind of scoffed at it. I said, Dude, if you sell 10 million, you're my hero, that’s amazing. He said, No, we’ll sell 100 million.
Well, they went on to sell 500 million, half a billion books, Mark and Jack, and just blew everything out the door. And I think Mark truly changed my life. I mean, this was ’96, ’97, and he expanded my thinking, it's like the rubber band, it never goes back. And after that, he helped to see, you know, he was the alchemist. Mark Victor-Hansen was an alchemist and I learned to do that. I learned to just go take ideas and turn them into results. And an example that comes to mind that really doesn’t sound that big a deal, but when you take the principle of it, I think you'll get the point. And I think everyone can relate to this.
Printing books was never a big deal to us. We self-published most of our books. Had Jan Miller offer us a book deal. She was Cubby’s agent, Tony Robbins agent, took me a year to get that done. And then Jim turned it down. He did not – this is strange, John, it's true, he didn’t want to be famous. He said, Kyle, let's focus on wealth versus fame. And I'm like, Jim, it's kind of hard. So, Jim would always have that tension, right? I'm the promoter, he's the artist, if you will, and he really wasn't, you know, he wasn't a promoter at all, right? He just had the goods. He was the philosopher.
But, so we would self-publish books and I would print 5000 at a time because we did not sell books at events. We gave them away if you bought our big package, right? But we didn’t want to be selling books and keep people from buying a package. So, you'd get a signed book if you bought a package. And so, I'm going to print 5000 books. And most of my books were more, again, viral marketing tools. I'd make them 100 pages, would have amazing content, but then, it something I'd price in such a way if you bought 25 or 100, you would get a massively discount and I knew those would be great gift-giving ideas like I done with the little quote book that we moved millions of.
And so, printing 5000, it's going to set my warehouse a little bit because we don’t promote books and I had three or four different ones. And I priced it out; it was $0.60 for 5000 printed books through the printer I'm doing all these other projects with. And I said, What might be to do 10,000 books? And they said, $0.48. Well, that’s 20 percent. I had the cash at the time. And so, it's like, okay. And I thought, what would it cost to do 20,000 books. And they said, $0.42. Well, that’s another 12 percent. And then I went to work on how do I sell 20,000 books? And boom, there was the idea.
And for me, John, all my best ideas have been downloads, if you will, right? They just come to you when you're searching as Jim Rohn to talk about, and so I called Charlie Tremendous Jones at executive books and I said, Charlie, you have all the Amway book of the month clubs, can I trade you 10,000 of the Seasons Alive for five major pieces. I forget which book it was. For 10,000 of your books, and I'll take 1000 – ten cop – ten different titles, 1000 books each. He said, I'll do it. And I said, Fantastic. So, what I ended up with, John, now is 10,000 books at $0.42, 10,000 of his books at $0.42 including Think And Grow Rich and The Magic of Thinking Big and Life Is Tremendous.
And also, now, ended up with 10,000 books going to Amway distributors through the book-of-the-month club that were viral marketing tools for me. I mean, they had my catalog in the back, had to buy in multiples, and I used that example over and over and over. I created the 2004 Jim Rohn event, and also the 2001 where it was 20 DVDs, 20 CDs, workbook, leather-bound journal and I would trade those. I would call up Tom Zigler and say, Can I trade you 100 those for 100 of your big package and I'm going to do a big promo and all I ask is, if I sell more than 100 in this promo, can I trade you more. Or if you don’t want more, can I buy them at close to cost. And he said yes every time and we would just go blow them out.
And so, just learning, again, being an alchemist. Learning to find opportunities. And it all really gets down to marketing. And John, what I call marketing is simply connecting dots. The people who aren’t good marketers – I've seen people that weren’t that actually became good marketers once they realize it's not anything magic, it's learning to connect the dots. See how things work and start connecting it. And you only learn that by doing it, of course, right? But that’s an example.
JLD: And it's a great example, and Fire Nation, think about it. What are things that you have? Your products, your services, your communities that you're just looking as just those things. Where you could be looking at those as other things. And an example that you gave me, Kyle, is, Hey, like, a Mastery Journal, you know, because I bought in the book that you're talking about, you know, I went ahead and got 60,000 Freedom Journals, so that brought the cost down to just a little over $5.00 per journal. But when they retail for $39.00 per journal, I really now have this opportunity to say, Well, what can I give to somebody or trade with somebody with a Mastery Journal, the Freedom Journal, that’s of value in that $25.00 - $35.00 - $45.00 range that now I'm essentially getting those products for $5.00 because that’s what I paid for the freedom or Mastery Journal, but I'm getting that $35ish, $45ish value back and now I have this diverse array of products of services or fill in the blanks.
So, just opening up my mind, Kyle, Fire Nation. I hope it's opening up your mind to think of, Hey, let me not just think – look at my inventory and products as it's stagnant is what it is, but as opportunities to build relationships, to build diversity, to build new opportunities.
Kyle: The other thing is, for something to be viral, it has to be experienced. So, when you're trading Freedom Journals to people, you're actually getting it in their hands, right? Branding is over-rated if people don’t actually get to experience it. It's only when you eat at the restaurant or watch the movie or read the book, get moved by the stories. And so, once people get a Freedom Journal. That’s how I got your Freedom Journal. Someone gave me a copy a couple of years ago and that really turned me on to you and what you're doing. And so, it the experience. So, anytime you can empower your audience to be advocates for you and get – And the key is you got to have good stuff, right? Which is what you do and I had great stuff with Jim Rohn and all the people I worked with and have great stuff now, so. But, yeah, getting it in people’s hands is the most important thing you can do to create a viral effect.
JLD: Love that. And Kyle, I'm going to challenge you now. I was to challenge you to keep this under one minute, but I want you to share with us what your most fired up about today. Go.
Kyle: You know, Jim Rohn said he went to be the guy that effected the few that effected the many and I get to work with some really cool people and my inner circle, I have a lot of millennials. 29-year-old, Seth Mosley, two Grammy winner – two-time Grammy winner, a producer of the year, song writer of the year. Erica Delacruz whose been on you show, she did the Passionista book with me. And so, being able to work with millennials inside this inner circle I have that, you know, along with some amazingly seasoned people is probably what's exciting me the most. And I don’t just see it as an opportunity for me to impart to them, I see it as a great learning opportunity as they're imparting to me and I'm seeing how they see the world. And I really believe in the millennials, and I believe in the, I think it's the Gen-Z or whatever. The group of 21-year-old, yeah.
JLD: Is that what they're calling it? I think you're the first person to say that with me, to share that with me. I don’t think I've heard Gen-Z yet.
Kyle: I actually super-beings. I mean, they're so intuitive, so enlightened and I think to solve what we need to solve in the world, it's going to come through the millennials and that generation below them. So, that’s probably the thing I'm most excited about is is the opportunity that they actually want to be part of what I'm doing and, you know, I didn’t see that one coming.
JLD: Super-beings ignites. I love it, and Fire Nation, we're going to ignite the lightening round after we thank our sponsors.
Kyle, are you ready to rock the lightening rounds?
JLD: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Kyle: I think just examples and teachers. I had it in my blood. I was very industrious, but I really didn’t have the examples. So, I was a little bit of a late bloomer and it took me a while, but I figured it out.
JLD: What's the best advice you’ve ever received?
Kyle: Jim Rohn said, be valuable to the marketplace if you want to make a great living. Be valuable to valuable people if you want to make a fortune. And so, that’s what I've always tried to do, John, is build a platform. I'm not a great networker. I don’t go out and try to network with people. I actually try and build valuable things that they’ll come to me. If I can fill up room, that’s how Les Brown, Mark Victor-Hansen, different people, they actually came to me. You go build the list, people come to you. So, I've always said, How can I bring massive value that allows me to attract what I want to attract.
JLD: What's a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Kyle: Meditation, spiritual part, journaling, prayer, mixed with massive activity. You know, I believe in both. I'm not too locked in that ones the only way. And so, I think the meditation piece, added with activity.
JLD: If you could share an internet resource, like in Evernote, what would it be and why?
Kyle: That, I'm pretty vanilla. You know, I use Evernote and Dropbox and Skype every day. Love Snapchat by the way. That’s – I will have seen you on Snapchat.
JLD: I'm going to have to follow you Kyle. That'll be interesting.
Kyle: Please do, please do. And Instagram Live. I love Snapchat because it's basically ten-second reality TV, mixed in with some content and some offers. And I've actually probably bought more stuff off of Snapchat than I ever have Facebook or Instagram because I'm not big into five-minute videos, but give me ten minute segments. So, I a big proponent of people using Snapchat. And of course, I got on it because my kids. Because when you're older than 23, you're old. And I'm blessed that they let me follow them, so, that’s good.
JLD: If you can recommend one book to join your book, which Fire Nation is 52 Lessons I Learned From Jim Rohn And Other Great Legends I Promoted. What would that book be and why?
Kyle: Everyone needs to read Think And Grow Rich, The Magic of Thinking Big. Jim Rohn’s, Five Major Pieces. The book I'm into right now is called, Turning Pro, by Steven Pressfield. And he also wrote the War of Art, and it's just about overcoming resistance when you're an artist or an entrepreneur and the things that keep us from actually taking action.
JLD: Let's end today on fire with you giving us a parting piece of guidance, the best way we can connect with you and then we’ll say bu-bye.
Kyle: John, I see so many people trying to plan out their life and they don’t know what their purpose is. And just my own personal example is there's no way I could’ve predicted I'm going to meet Jim Rohn, you know, there's no way I – I didn’t even know who he was, right? So, I always say you learn by doing and on the way, too. So, just being faithful over what you do. I got in the seminar business; I had to figure that out. I became an agent manager; I had to figure that out. I had to create products; I had to figure it out. Here comes the internet, I had to figure that out. The biggest thing I had to figure out was how to run a company and be a leader after I've gone through multiple managers. Read the e-myth, then I had to figure that out, and then eventually selling the company and re-inventing myself.
So, I guess that’s the biggest advice is don’t get caught up on having to know it all. It's more about doing it and you learn by doing it and getting around smart people, being teachable, and connecting the dots, always see where things are going. I a bit of contrarian, I picked that up from you, John, and watching what you teach. I love that. I love how you – Again, I love that. There's no cookie cutter, right? You got to figure out what works for you. And so, that’s my piece of advice. The free offer that I have is the 52 Lessons I Learned From Jim Rohn And Other Legends, and, you know, it's got Darren – These are real stories. I mean, this is me collaborating with Bryan Tracy and Mark Victor-Hansen, Les Brown and John Maxwell, Jeffrey Gitomer, Paul J. Meyer, some amazing stories there. Darren Hardy, Robin Sharma and just some powerful lessons and I think you're going to post the link, but it's kylewilson52lessons.com and it's 5-2, the numbers, 52lessons.com.
JLD: Love all of that, and Fire Nation, you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with K-Dubs and JLD today. So, keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Type Kyle K-Y-L-E in the search bar. His show notes page is going to pop up with everything that we've been talking about today. Best show notes in the biz. Time-stamps, links galore. And of course, you definitely want to snag these 52 Lessons that Kyle learned from Jim Rohn and the other great legends that he's promoted. kylewilson52lessons.com. Did I get that right, Kyle?
Kyle: You did.
JLD: Boom! Kyle, 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.
Kyle: Thank you, John.
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