Matthew is an author & storyteller who works with entrepreneurs, founders & creative thinkers to build thriving businesses that light a fire within them. After interviewing 163 authority figures for his latest book, The Successful Mistake, he unearthed how successful people overcome failure and adversity, not only ensuring they don’t ruin their livelihood, but form the basis of their greatest idea yet.
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- Success is about inspiring, entertaining and educating people.
- Reflection is important – it helps us make the right decisions.
- Don’t just connect – build a genuine relationship.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:49] – What the successful mistake IS and what it’s all about
- [02:25] – The journey in writing the book
- [02:49] – “It’s the little tweaks that make all the difference”
- [03:23] – Value Bomb Drop: “Mistakes happen. Learn and reflect.”
- [05:12] – Matthew talks about when he lost his business
- [07:25] – The value of meditation and reflection
- [07:44] – What is something you’ve changed your mind about in the last 6 months? “The importance of affiliate marketing”
- [09:12] – “There’s a good side and a bad side to everything”
- [10:04] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Laboring through the book
- [14:12] – Frustrations and labors can really be blessings in disguise
- [15:13] – What is the one thing you’re most FIRED up about today? The book launch for The Successful Mistake
- [18:09] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “The fear of getting out of my comfort zone”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “I don’t think you need confidence or competence to overcome fear, you just need courage to take that step”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “I like to walk because that’s when I can reflect”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Contactually
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – The Life and Times of a Remarkable Misfit by AJ Leon
- 23:48 – Connect with Matthew through his website and get a free paperback copy of his book!
- [24:06] – Parting piece of guidance: “Try and embrace your mistakes”
Matthew: Oh, I am and I’m Hob and Hansel right now John.
Interviewer: Matthew is an author and storyteller who works with entrepreneurs, founders and creative thinkers to build thriving businesses that light a fire within them. After interviewing 163 authority figures for his latest book, The Successful Mistake, he unearthed how successful people overcome failure and adversity, not only insuring they don’t ruin their livelihood, but form the basis of their greatest idea yet. Matthew take a minute. Fill in some gaps from that intro and give us just a little glimpse of your personal life.
Matthew: Absolutely John. Well I suppose I should first of all mention about you, indeed your fine self-feature in The Successful Mistake, along with lots of people.
Interviewer: Because I’ve made my share of successful mistakes.
Matthew: And I loved yours. It was brilliant and it was all around sort of procrastination and things and I can certainly relate to it and yeah, I mean I basically spent a good chunk of the last few years connecting with fine people like yourself. Lots of people that you know. Lots of people are featured on this fine podcast and yeah, I just wanted to ask them like what has your biggest mistake been and how did you transform that into the success story you are today, like what have you learned from it, and that in a nutshell is what The Successful Mistake is all about.
It’s all about inspiring people, entertaining people and educating people. Showing them that this is what happens when you make a mistake. This is the seven stage process you go through and the best do it a little bit differently to the rest and this is how the best do it and this is how the rest do it. So if you want to be like the best, do this. If not, well, hey, maybe you don’t want to read the book. So yeah, that is basically the book and it’s been an incredible journey.
Obviously when you write a book like that it’s great but the journey of interviewing 163 people, I mean I’ve learned so much. I’ve probably got the equivalent of like, I don’t know, $80, $90 thousand, maybe even more of like, free coaching calls. It’s been incredible for me. It’s helped me have a bit of understanding of my own business, my own journey, you know, my own life. It’s been amazing, so.
Interviewer: And you made the comment, Matthew, that successful people do it just a little bit different and I want you, Fire Nation, to really draw into that, that it’s that little tweak. It’s that little, it’s not much, it’s that little tweak that can make all the different in the world so don’t think that it’s like this vast gap between the successful and the, you know, not yet successful.
No, it’s just, it’s a little tweak and I just love how you break that down MT, like you do a great job, and like you said, you’ve now interviewed 163, I think you said, people and you’ve talked to them and you’ve had these great experiences. You’ve developed expertise around this topic so give us to value bombs right now that you think Fire Nation needs to know about just where you shine, your area of expertise.
Matthew: Well, I just want, my first one wants to be a bit of an expansion on what you said. It’s not just even that it’s a small thing like I don’t even think people appreciate that it’s a small difference. Like some people, I think a lot of it is have this assumption of okay, they’re looking a John. They see how much you make, you know, in the top right hand corner of your website you can see how much money you make.
He’s done this for so long. John and his team won’t make mistakes anymore. John won’t start something and see it fail or not meet expectations. He’s beyond that. But the big thing is, like he is the first value bomb here. It doesn’t even matter how successful you are, how wealthy you are, how experienced. Mistakes and failure and adversity and rejection remain part of the journey, and sometimes it’s not even like your fault. Like you can be perfect but you know, the economy still falls, you know.
Things still go wrong and it’s still going to be you who has to turn it from the bad time into a good time. So the first value bomb right there is like, mistakes still happen. It doesn’t matter how far along in your journey you are, mistakes happen. I don’t want myself or the book or anything to glorify failure or mistakes or anything. It’s just to be like, honest like it stays part of your journey no matter what.
So that’s the big thing because I think people have this assumption of I will make mistakes, sure, but then I’ll get to a certain stage where I’ll have it figured out. You never have it figured out. Like I’ve spoken to people who are worth a lot of money, been doing this for decades and they still don’t have it all figured out. Things still go wrong. They’ll launch something and it doesn’t meet expectations.
Interviewer: Well, and let me add to this. It would be boring if you figure things out so Fire Nation, that just doesn’t happen. Like you don’t figure things out and thank goodness because it would be downright boring. So MT, what’s number two?
Matthew: The second one is reflection and it’s such a big one and I’ll use Corbett Barr as an example. Corbett Barr is the founder of Fizzle.co and what I didn’t know when I interviewed Corbett was he had like a pretty Silicon Valley start-up, you know, like investment, you know, millions investment, you know a team. It was like technology, software.
You know, your standard Silicon Valley thing and it failed mainly because of the 2008 crash and everything I suppose rationally going through Corbett’s mind at the time was okay, I just need to probably start a new business or go and get a job and I just need to do it because I’ve lost my business and I’m like, back at rock bottom and I need to, you know, bring in money and everything, right? And I found this time and time again but that’s not what successful people do.
They find time to take a step back and reflect and in Corbett’s case he went to travel Mexico with his wife for six months, which is when he actually found all these people who were doing stuff like what you yourself are doing. You know, your blogging and your podcasts and these people who have these location independent lives and he was just like blown away and I always remember something that Corbett said to me.
He was like if I had stayed there and made a decision at that moment, at that time, it would have been the wrong decision. I was incapable of making the right decision there and then. I needed to escape and to reflect in order to figure out what the right decision was. So reflection is huge and that’s something which I found time and time again when speaking to people. They find the strength, and it’s the hardest thing to do because every mistake and fail is different.
You know, some big, some small. Sometimes these little reflections are like five minutes, you know, you take five minutes to just go and have a shower or have a quick walk. Sometimes you need a whole week or two weeks to completely escape, like it’s different. But people who are at the top of the game, the best, ones who do it different to the rest, are those who find time and the strength to reflect on what’s happened so they can figure out what the right answer’s going to be instead of settling for what the most obvious one is.
Interviewer: And a lot of people put a lot of names and just things around the word meditation and that’s why it kind of scares people because they just like, oh meditation like, ahh. It’s just reflection. Like meditation could just be sitting quietly in a room reflecting, thinking, giving your body, you space, your mind, time to breathe, time to think.
Now Matt as you’ve gone through this journey, I mean, you’ve learned a lot and I’m sure you’ve changed your mind about a number of things but what’s something specifically that you used to believe six months ago that you don’t believe anymore of something that you’ve changed your mind about recently. What is that?
Matthew: I’m going to kind of probably completely go off topic here because I mean, people probably thought, all right, it’s going something to do with like successful or mistake something. But actually it’s been surrounded by this idea of affiliate marketing and I always saw it as a very kind of smarmy, salesy type thing. You know, black hat kind of marketing, something I never really wanted to be involved in, either from the person who was I suppose promoting it to my audience but also as the author of a creator shared elsewhere.
But I’ve been lucky enough to find some amazing people recently who I suppose do it the right kind of way and I’ve found that there’s the bad side of it. You know, there’s people who do it bad like in anything, you know. Email marketing, there’s the good and the bad, you know. Calling people on the phone, the good and the bad. But yeah, in the last six months I’ve really kind of had my eyes opened to there’s a lot of people who are doing these partnerships or affiliate marketing, whatever you want to classify it as and they really have relationship firsts like engaging first, like value first manner and I really like it.
I see so much value in it from an author trying to get his book out there into the world, but also as someone who wants to form great connections with, you know, my fellow kindred spirits and introduce them to my other kind of fellow kindred spirits, my audience. So yeah, and I think you kind of taught me a quick lesson of like anything in life, there’s always going to be the good side and the bad side and sometimes you might be introduced to something and see the bad side, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t the good that exists.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there doing it in a way that really kind of like, ticks your boxes and it’s just a bit of a reminder to like, even if you come across something that you don’t like and it’s like, oh, this gives me cringe-worthy sensations right now. I’ve got goosebumps and not in a good way, there’s still going to be okay, well let’s look into this. There’s probably people who are doing it in a way that I love. Let’s try and find those people and take it from there.
Interviewer: So now you really focus on The Successful Mistake and mistakes that people made but then, you know, how they shifted and turned and twisted that into success. You know, one thing that I focus here on EO Fire is the worst entrepreneurial moment. That’s something that I’ve done from episode one and I’m still doing to this day, so take us to your worst entrepreneurial moment. Tell us your story.
Matthew: It was coming up to a couple years ago now and I was doing like a bit of a crowd publishing, crowd winning campaign for the success of Mistake and in doing so I had this rather naïve and I’m even going to say like pretty cocky outlook of well, I’ve involved all of these hundred and fifty plus people. They’re invested in the book. They’re featured in the book. They’re going to want to share it with their audience, buy copies for themselves and maybe for a few friends, like I’m going to just smash this campaign.
So I put a lot of emphasis into you know, if you like the design of a campaign, you know, getting all the you know, social media, everything like that under the assumption that I would just send some emails and people would be like, definitely I’m part of his book. I want to share it and shout about it from the rooftops and that was wrong and I realize, I did, I mean that’s what I did and I got a lot of silence. First I was angry, which made me even more angry because then I figured out actually why am I angry?
What do I expect? Like, I can’t presume that these people, who have already given me so much, are going to give me even more. Why should they? What am I doing right now that is providing them more value? And I think I saw a big ah-ha moment for me, you know, that, you know, this big, this kind of big failure for me is I have like these friends who I’ve know from years like on my Facebook and like anyone, when you send someone a Facebook message, you can see your prior conversation and I can’t remember who it was but I sent someone who I’d known for several years and I talked about this campaign.
I was like, oh it’d be really great if you could support it, share it with your friends, buy a copy, whatever and I pressed send and then I realized that the previous time I’d reached out to them was a year ago almost to the day talking about another book I’d written and I’d not got a reply from them. I’d not, and I kind of looked back and I was like I’ve not spoken to this person for like three years. I feel like it has, I feel like it’s not been that long but like here it is. I’ve not spoken to this person in three years and the two times I’ve reached out to them isn’t to like ask how they’re doing, you know, what’s going on in their life.
It’s like here’s my book. Will you help me? And it was awful. I felt terrible and I realized that is what I’d been doing to these 150 people who had appeared in my book. I was like, I reached out to them, did a really great job of connecting with them, getting them on the Skype call, having a conversation with them like I’m have a conversation with you right now and then leaving it stale. Not everyone. I befriended many but many, not so much and I realized I’ve not spoken to that person for like eight months.
I’ve not spoken to that person for like seven, eight months, you know, a year, more than a year, and yet now I’m reaching out to them and saying oh, I could really do with your help even though you’ve given me a lot of help already and it just gave me this greater understanding of like how I’d been treating people and I hadn’t been doing so consciously because I was at this thing. I want to, you know, connect with new people. I’m starting these new relationships all the time. I’m doing it for the, you know, good reason,
I’m not a bad guy. I’m not like a smarmy salesman, but that’s exactly what I felt and that was probably the lowest moment in my entrepreneurial journey because I realized I’d done a horrendous job, horrendous job of nurturing these relationships. Not just these new relationships I’ve been creating recently for the book and for other business ventures, but you know, for the relationships that I had with these friendships for years that kind of went before me, and I was like I don’t want to be that guy and it was not a good time and I felt horrendous for it and I decided there and then I don’t want to be that person anymore. I need to make sure that I, you know, do a better job of not just connecting with people but nurturing these relationships too.
Interviewer: An interesting thing about this, Fire Nation, that I actually want to draw your attention to. Sometimes doing something horrendously is actually the best thing that can every happen to you because like, if Matt had done an okay job at building relationships and he’d done good enough so that some of them shared, he’s like okay, it was kind of a success, it wouldn’t have been so obvious that he was just not going about this in the right matter, that he was not putting the relationships first, that he was not looking a building meaningful, genuine friendships ahead of everything else.
But no, because he had such a horrendous result, he had to just go back to the drawing board and be like whoa, like what just happened? What do I need to do? And he really understood the power of building those real relationships and not just relying on people sharing just for the sake of sharing so, believe me, sometimes we hit those lowest of the lows, those tough moments, those worst entrepreneurial moments, they’re a super huge blessing in disguise. Just keep that in mind. Always look for that silver lining.
Now Matt, you obviously have a lot of things going on but talk to us, to Fire Nation, about the one thing you’re most fire up about today.
Matthew: The thing that’s going to get me really fired up at the moment is now the book is out, now The Successful Mistake is out into the world it’s like a new chapter has begun and I spent so long on the book, you know, doing those interviews, writing it, you know bringing it all together, when I actually pressed the publish button and the launch date, it felt like day zero because it felt like this is where the journey really begins and what really fires me up now is getting a book which I am really proud of into the hands of the people who I think, you know, need to read it.
And it’s, you know, it’s part of a journey. It’s a really tough one because you have to go out and you have to find those people and them you have to like befriend those people and you have to, you know, kind of give them a reason to take a chance on you but it’s a great journey and it’s, it kind of really gets me fired up because I’m thinking what is the point of writing a book like this, doing all these interviews, learning so much myself but then only going in half assed on trying to get it into the hands of those people who I believe need it. So loads of things kind of going on on that side of things. There’s the daily stuff of just reaching out to people and doing blog posts and constant marketing of the finals but I’m really excited to be doing, you know a free paperback campaign which I’ve been inspired to do from people who inspire me. You know, I think it’s just a great way. I personally love to get books through my door, holding them and I just can’t think of a better way to kind of spread the love of The Successful Mistake like, you know what?
This isn’t about making a quick buck. This isn’t about getting huge royalties or making money from you. It’s about sharing these lessons with you and that’s what drives me pretty much every day for The Successful Mistake. It’s like; I obviously want to make money from it. I obviously want it to be a success in many ways, but the biggest drive for me is just I want people to read it and I want people to take something from it and if I can just change few lives along the way, then it makes all those interviews, all those hours writing, all those edits, all of the other finals just worth it beyond the song.
Interviewer: Well Fire Nation, we’re going to be changing people’s lives in the lightening round so don’t you do anywhere. We’re going to take a quick minute first to thank our sponsors. Matthew are you prepared for the lightening rounds?
Matthew: I am, man. I hope I do them justice.
Interviewer: What was holding you back from being an entrepreneur?
Matthew: Probably a bit of a cliché to say it but it was very much, you know, the fear of I am just this average guy. I don’t have anything worthwhile to be, you know, an entrepreneur. I kind of had in my mind of an entrepreneur it’s like a Richard Branson and I’m no Sir Richard Branson.
I’m, I don’t have that kind of gift. I don’t have that kind of worth and I’m just an average guy doing average things but I suppose since becoming one and you know, doing it on my own back, I’ve realized that isn’t what an entrepreneur is. There’s many different levels to it and there’s something amazing to just actually, you know, create and serve and then take it from there.
Interviewer: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Matthew: One of the big things that I took from the book is a conversation I had with Debbie Millman. She spoke with a friend of hers, Dan Shapiro and it was all about this notion of fear and overcoming fear and what Dan said to Debbie was I don’t think you need confidence or even competence to overcome your fear.
You just need courage to take that step and I think that was a really amazing gift given to me because the fact is you’re not always going to feel confident and you’re not always necessarily going to have the competence to, you know, knock it out of the park.
But if you’ve got the courage to take a step and then another step, then that’s how anything builds, anything and everything. So I think as long as you know that’s all you need truly is a little bit of courage, then you’ll do okay.
Interviewer: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Matthew: That is a tricky one for me because I’m always one who quite often will start habits and then let them slide, so one of my sort of habits I’m working on is actually sticking to my habits. But I’ve always been quite good at walking and I think that’s a really good habit of mine. I like to walk everywhere. I do not like driving. If I can catch a train somewhere, I do, which means I walk a lot. I walk at least, on a quiet week I walk upwards of 20 miles.
I think that’s a really good habit because not only is it getting, you know, the blood pumping and getting sort of, you know, that exercise which is great for the energy and everything like that, but it’s when I walk when I have time to reflect and it kind of comes back to what we were talking about earlier. You know, that’s what the best, that’s what separates the best from the rest, you know.
Reflection. And each and every day I spend usually at least an hour and a half just walking and it’s time for me to reflect, think, imagine and everything else and I think the power of walking is insane. I don’t think people do enough of it. It’s not necessary just for exercise. It’s for everything else that comes with it too.
Interviewer: Do you share an Internet resource like Evernotes with Fire Nation?
Matthew: I’m lucky to have some amazing partners for The Successful Mistake and one of them is Contactually and it’s a software that has just, you know, changed how I approach things. I think it’s a fantastic following to, you know, my sort of big failing on this journey, relationships. Contactually really helps me hone in my relationships, let’s me see like, when I’ve spoken to people. It gives me reminders, you’ve not spoken to this person for a few months, so like maybe I should just send them a quick text, a quick email, a quick Facebook message just like, hey how are you doing?
So yeah, Contactually has been an amazing gift for me. It doesn’t only act as like a CRM system but a real relationship builder and a relationship nurturing tool and man, it’s been a game changer for me.
Interviewer: Yeah, I interviewed the founder of Contactually Zvi Band not too long ago. Well actually it was a long time ago, but it was a good interview.
Matthew: He’s a very good guy. I had the fortune of interviewing him too and yeah, great guy and an amazing business. Yeah, wonderful guy.
Interviewer: If you could recommend one book to join The Successful Mistake on our bookshelves, what would it be MT and why?
Matthew: Life and Times of Being a Remarkable Misfit by A.J. Leong. I think I’ve got the title there, probably a bit jumbled up but A.J. Leong’s book, it’s all about basically being a rather remarkable misfit and it’s just a book of essays and I think you can read all the essays and the book itself by PDF form free on his website but the actual paperback edition is just beautiful, hand pressed, like everything A.J. and the misfit team do is just above and beyond beautiful.
I think the essays, I don’t think anybody could read that book and not be inspired by at least one or two of the essays in it, and I, when I say like inspired, I mean like change your life, rip your insides up, light a fire within them kind of inspired. He’s that kind of guy and yeah, I think if anyone, I don’t care what kind of person you are. You can read that book and it will change you.
Interviewer: Life and Times of a Remarkable Misfit; A Collection of Essays About Changing the World. So Matthew we’re going to end today on Fire with a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Matthew: Absolutely. It’s been an absolute pleasure John. Thank you so much and thank you guys for listening and if you would like to get a free paperback edition of The Successful Mistake, just head on over to successfulmistake.com/fire and you will be able to just fill in your details, grab a free paperback book and read it, love it and read stories from amazing people like John. So do it. Do it right now.
Interviewer: Love that, and what’s a parting piece of guidance?
Matthew: My parting piece of guidance is it’s just kind of try and embrace your mistakes and your fails as much as you can. They play a part in your journey. You know, the journey that you’re on as an entrepreneur or whatever it is that you’re doing isn’t always going to be all good, isn’t always going to be all bad and whatever happens, it’s part of your journey.
I think so long as you just remember that and try and take as many lessons from it, then you will keep learning, you’ll keep progressing, you will keep growing and good things will come from that, so embrace it. Embrace your journey, the good, the bad and indeed the ugly.
Interviewer: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with MT and JLD today so keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com. Just type Matthew in the search bar. His show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today, links galore.
These are the best show notes in the biz and of course head over to successfulmistake.com/fire to pick up your free, I repeat, free book that is just waiting for you, and again JLD, I’ve got a little feature in there so check it out and Matthew I want to say thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that we salute you brother and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
Matthew: See you John.
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