Ravinol was Born in Dublin, Ireland, and he wanted to be a stockbroker as a teenager. He never lost that drive and ambition but directed it towards social impact and making a difference. He is the founder of multi-award winning creative video agency Be Inspired Films and video training company Video KnowHow Academy.
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- From perfection comes procrastination.
- Take a step back and look at the patterns of your past.
- Don’t be afraid to break away from what is considered conventional.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [00:57] – Ravinol lives in the UK and has 2 sons
- [01:10] – His everyday business is about highlighting life stories
- [01:43] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: Relationship videos are now more important than showcase videos
- [04:24] – People think videos have to be perfect
- [05:26] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: It was 7:00 a.m., and I’d been up all night and up all day before and I was trying to get the end-of-year accounts done and in to my accountant. I was exhausted and stretched out; I was thinking I have to do it myself. I was trying to be everything and get it done. My business suffered because I was the bottle neck and I wasn’t asking for help.
- [07:23] – You shouldn’t feel that it’s a weakness to ask for help
- [07:41] – If you’re not going to do it yourself, 90% is good enough
- [07:40] – When you ask for help, people really want to help you
- [09:59] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: In 2007, I went back to university and got my MBA. I went back out to the job market and it wasn’t really working out. I tried to reconnect with what was important to me. I thought back and I realized I wanted to make a film.
- [12:21] – Look back to see the patterns of your past
- [13:20] – Don’t be afraid to break away from convention
- [14:30] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? I’m shooting a documentary in India.
- [16:31] – Refuse to be chained to your past decisions
- [17:31] – JLD shares a story about the Indian Summers
- 18:05 – To follow Ravinol’s journey, check out Street Philosophers on Facebook
- [20:38] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – Fear
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – It’s all temporary
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – I’m always trying to do my best to connect my purpose with the why.
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Xero and Receipt Bank
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? Bag of Agita — it’s an ancient Indian wisdom text.
- 22:32 – Connect with Ravinol on Twitter and Facebook
- 22:48 – FREE offer for Fire Nation! First 5 listeners to email will get free access to Ravinol’s free training worth £2,000 and the next 5 after that will get a 50% discount!
John: Ravinol was born in Dublin, Ireland, where he wanted to be a stockbroker as a teenager. He never lost that drive or ambition but directed toward social impact and making a difference. He's a founder of the multi award-winning creative agency Be Inspired Films, and the video training company Videoknowhow Academy. Ravinol, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us a little glimpse into your personal life.
Ravinol: I live in the UK in Birmingham, which is just a couple hours north of London. I have two little boys, five and two. I live opposite from some lovely woods which I like to go in to walk and clear my head. My whole day to day business is about helping good stories from cool organizations that are doing amazing things in the world – amplify them, if you like, and help more people be inspired to also be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
John: Well, Ravinol, we're going to be diving into your journey. Maybe you're going to be taking us on some virtual walks through your woods to see how you unpack your mind, but first and foremost break down what you consider your area of expertise. Break that down for us, and then give us, Fire Nation, one value bomb – a unique value bomb – that we probably don't know, but that we should.
Ravinol: My area of expertise is in impact. So, it's how to help organizations explain or bring to life the difference they make. So, whether that's in business, whether it's for non-profits. So, I would say impact and storytelling. How to bring your audience with you through storytelling to really get them inspired about what you're doing in the world. That's my main area of impact. I would say the value bomb I would like to give you guys is that relationship videos are now more important than showcase videos. I'll kind of unpack that a bit.
Basically, it used to always be that showcase videos were the thing that businesses and organizations would budget for, and there would make. They would make a fancy video maybe once or twice a year – if they were lucky – and, there would be a lot of time going into it, and probably a lot of money hiring a professional company. You would go on there a sort of impress people, have a bit of a splash, and it would probably fizzle out.
The analogy I use is: That's like inviting someone over for dinner to your house. You put a lot of thought into it. It only happens now and then by the time you're both able to get it together to match up your diaries. However, relationship videos are kind of like grabbing a coffee with someone. You can do it as many times as you like. As long as you turn up and have a bit of a laugh, you don't have to put too much thought into it. But, it's a way of building the relationship.
So, I think we need these videos to be much more regular. They don't have to be such high production values. They do have to be good content, and they do have to be aimed at your audience. The great news is they're a lot easier and cheaper to make. The challenge is that they're going to take your time, and they need a good strategy around them so that they're actually delivering value, and building the kind of relationship that you want. So, I would say yes, relationship videos are now more important than just those one-a-year showcase videos.
John: I love this feedback here, Fire Nation, because I have just seen with Snapchat, and Instagram Stories, and even just Instagram increasing the video size now to a minute – there is so much that you can do in a short, un-produced – and, by un-produced I mean just not a tone of forethought. Just grab your camera, or your phone, and say, “Hey. This is something that I'm thinking about right now.”
There should be value there. It should be quick. It should be concise. It should be to the point, but it doesn't have to be with lighting, and hair, and makeup, and lines. It just has to be you truly authentic, really trying to deliver value, or maybe a laugh. A laugh is valuable. You know, one of those things. It depends on what you're trying to get over. That is key, and the opportunity is right there at your fingertips in the form of your smart phone, Fire Nation.
Ravinol: Totally. I also think about it sometimes, it's like people think when they're making videos – one of the things that stops them from making videos is they want to be perfect. So, perfect just leads to procrastination. So, I think like you say, if you can get it out there. It doesn't even matter if people don't watch all of the videos because what it's doing is if you think about its purpose is to build a relationship. If you're on your way to work every day on the same route, and you see a guy or a girl, and they're nicely dressed, you notice them.
You don't have time to stop and talk to them, but they're building up a perception in your mind. Over a period of time, if you then did speak to them, you already have quite a picture. So, if you're putting out regular videos, and they're good, and people are even just watching bits of them, you're still building that relationship. It's still valuable.
John: Perfect leads to procrastination – first value bomb quote, Fire Nation. Just absorb that. Let's shift a little bit, Ravinol, and move toward what you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment to date. I want to know what your worst moment was that you've had in business to date. Take us there. Tell us that story.
Ravinol: for a number of years it was the same moment every year at the same time. It was basically trying to do everything myself, and trying to be perfect. So, it's 7:00 a.m., and I've been up all night. I've been up all the day before. I probably have a whole day of work ahead of me. I have to try to get the end of year accounts done and into my accountant for 9:00 to 9:30 a.m. I've not slept at all. I've been going around and around in circles. It's been taking me forever, even though I thought maybe I'd do it in a couple of hours. It's very frustrating. I'm a perfectionist, so I'm going through every tiny detail. I won't let it go. I'm absolutely exhausted, and stretched out to the max. It's a disaster, really, if you like.
The pain of it is is that I'm thinking I have to do it myself. I can't trust anyone else to do it. I'm a perfectionist. I want to make sure every little think is perfect, so essentially I'm trying to be everything, and all things when it's not my strength, and it's really hurting me. I get it done. It's not an entire disaster, but the thing is that it's really stretching me in so many directions. It's burning me out. I'm getting fatigued. I'm not able to focus my energies on the things that I'm actually better at, or that I'm more in flow at, and therefore my business is suffering. I'm suffering because I'm sort of stressed out. My business is suffering because I'm the bottleneck. I'm not actually asking for help.
I'm trying to do everything on my own, so I'm kind of going to be limited by a certain plateau of the things I can get done in the time that I have on my own, and also it's taking me a lot longer than it would someone else because I'm not the expert in that area.
John: So, you said that this kind of thing seems to happen multiple times. It seems like that same time every year, or whatever it might be. What are the lessons that you're pulling out of this? What do you want to make sure that our listeners get from your worst moment so that we can avoid it?
Ravinol: I think the first thing is that you shouldn't feel that it's a weakness to ask for help – no. 1. It's a big one. The second one is if you are going to do it yourself, like 90 percent is good enough because you're going to give it to the accountant anyway. They'll iron out the details. The third one is when you actually do ask for help; people often really want to help you. They say vulnerability feels weak on the inside, but it actually looks very strong on the outside. So, people, often if you do ask for help, are really happy to help you.
Forget about asking for help. If in this instance it's about going to an expert – someone who is way better than you are – even if there is a cost associated with that, that cost – whatever it is – you have to weigh it up. If that frees up your time in your business, and gets rid of that stress for you, then with that time and what you can do with it – Like, when I go and have a meeting in, say, London, it might be a one hour meeting. That could be a 10,000 pound sale. So, if I'm stressed out in all of these back office things, thinking I can't afford to hire someone to do it, then I'm really missing a trick, if you like.
John: There are a couple of things I really want to hone in on here, Fire Nation. No. 1, let's go back to that first quote: “Perfect leads to procrastination.” Please remember that. The No. 2 quote that he just shared was, “90 percent is enough.” It really is. Just get it done to the point that you need to get it done, and then hand it off to whomever you're handing it off to, and let them bring it home. I love this final quote, and I've seen this come true in my world so often: “Vulnerability feels weak on the inside, but it looks strong to the outside.” It is, Fire Nation.
I wanted to have this perfect facade for the first one, two, three years of my business. I didn't want there to be any, “Um,” or “Aw,” or anything in the podcast episodes. People don't want that. They don't want perfection. That's just your doing that because you feel vulnerable because you think it makes you look weak, but no. It actually makes you feel strong because they're like, “Wow. That person is confident enough to show their vulnerability; to share their vulnerability; to be transparent; to be out there; to be open; to be genuine,” – all of these things. So, do that. Vulnerability feels weak, Fire Nation, but believe me it looks strong. So, do what looks strong, and just be vulnerable.
Believe me, you'll stop feeling weak on the inside because you'll be like, “Wow, this vulnerability that I'm actually sharing is actually making me feel strong on the inside as well.” So, what I want to shift to, Ravinol, now is another moment in time. And, really take us to that moment of what you consider one of your greatest ah-ha moments to date, and how you turned that idea into success.
Ravinol: In 2007 I went back to university, and I did an MBA. I had a career which spanned many different things, and I was trying to bring it all together. So, I did an MBA, and there's that sense of thinking maybe it's a golden ticket. You pay a lot of money, and go to a business school, and you think, “This is going to transform my career, and it's all going to be cool from here on in.” I went back out into the job market, and I wasn't really finding things that really gelled with me. Or, when I did I was putting all of my hopes on it, and then it wasn't really working out. I was feeling quite demoralized.
So, I really started to try to reconnect with what was important to me. I figured out I really want to do something that makes a positive difference in the world. I thought back across what I'd done, and I realized that in 1995 I was living in East Africa, and I was running some orphanages there, and I made a film. Now, it hadn't dawned on me at the time that this was anything significant. I just made a film because I wanted to show people what we were doing there to raise money to get support, and it was successful in that regard.
Again I made a film in 2003. I was running mentoring programs for kids who were at risk of getting kicked out of education. Again, it was to try to get people on board, to engage people in what we were doing, and get further support. Again, it was successful. Both of those things I didn't really think as noteworthy at the time, but it was looking back and trying to see the patterns. So, I noticed this pattern. I also then notice the trend at the time which was Youtube had started. Making your own videos was so much more accessible, and so much more affordable. So, I thought, “Okay. Let me look at these different things; the trends; the patterns; what I'm passionate about.”
I brought these things together, and I had this ah-ha moment when I realized, “You know what I should do? I should start a video production company that specializes in helping organizations that are trying to make a difference in the world.” It was sort of aligning all of those things. When I realized that, I was like, “Wow.” I put it out into the market, and very quickly there was a lot of interest. It was like getting a bite when you're fishing. It I got the feedback from it that, yes, this is actually something of the moment, and it's something to go with.
John: Fire Nation, look back to see the patterns of your past. Don't just keep your eyes going forward seeing what's coming next. Take a step back. Give yourself some space. Give yourself some opportunity to breathe, and reflect, and look at those patterns from your past. See which patterns brought you joy. See which ones brought you despair. You can then identify those, valuate, and you can say, “Hey. I'm going to plan my future accordingly.” And, guess what? Things change. So, what brought you joy five years ago might not bring you joy today, but guess what? It also might. So, give it an opportunity to give it a swing; give it a try. And, then plan your future accordingly.
That quote that I love is that men and women who ignore history and the past are doomed to repeat it. Well, that's just being cognizant. That's just being aware of what worked in your past, and what didn't, and don't repeat the mistakes, but maybe do repeat the successes because maybe you're not doing that either. So, that's my big takeaway. What do you want, Fire Nation, Ravinol to really take away from your ah-ha moment – in just one sentence?
Ravinol: Don't be afraid to break away from convention; from the way that you think that you should do it. I was thinking I need to get a job. I've just done an MBA. If you come to a wall and you can't get through it or over it, don't be afraid to go around it because I think it's when you break with convention and start to look at it in a different way that that's when you're probably on to something.
John: I just got my MBA. I must now get a job. Fire Nation, that is the sunk cost fallacy. That means what you did yesterday is going to dictate your future. It doesn't have to. It can, but it doesn't have to. I committed and went to law school. I didn't say, “Okay. Now I'm going to be committed to being a lawyer for the rest of my life. I hated it. I quite after one semester. I wasn't going to let the sunk cost fallacy rule my life. You shouldn't either, Fire Nation. Don't let that sunk cost fallacy run your life.
Wake up every morning and live for today and say, “What do I want to do going forward from what I know from the past, but I'm not going to be chained to my decisions from the past.” They weren't good ones for any number of reasons. Sometimes we make decisions when we're young, and we don't know what we're doing, and it's just not something that should dictate your life.
Ravinol, what is the one thing that has you most fired up today?
Ravinol: Today, when we're recording this is a Monday. This Friday I am off to India to shoot a documentary. I'm so excited about this.
John: So, cool. I was in a Bollywood film, by the way.
Ravinol: What was your part?
John: I was very much an extra. It was back in 2009. It was called Uvarage. It was with Katrina Caeef and Sharu Khan who are like two of the bigger actors.
Ravinol: Oh, they're big.
John: Yeah. They're huge in Bollywood. But, I digress. Sorry. So, back to you, Ravinol.
Ravinol: No worries. There's a famous Bollywood actor in this story as well. So, basically I'm off to shoot a documentary, which is like a road movie with a purpose. So, essentially I'm going to be driving 1,800 kilometers from Mumbai all the way down the west coast of India to a place called Canucamari, which is basically at the very southern tip of India. And, I'm going to be doing it in a tuktuk which is basically like an auto-rickshaw – like a glorified lawnmower, basically. I'm doing it as part of a challenge, raising money for a charity that is educating girls in India in poor villages.
So, along the way, I'm going to be shooting this documentary which is basically my personal journey exploring through the people I meet along the way, and also some academics – some people who are working on the ground in this area – to really understand that why is it that in the age that we live in, with so much opportunity in a land like India, which has this incredible rich cultural heritage – why still are so many girls still not able to get a basic education? It's something that I've put off for a long time, although my work is around helping organizations tell their stories, I've wanted to do my own stories, and make my own films, as well.
I've put it off under the guise of being too busy. Actually, I was afraid. Now I'm ready. I'm going for it, and that makes me so filled with filled with energy.
John: Wow. There are a lot of things that get me fired up, Fire Nation. No. 1, how cool is Ravinol's story here? This is all because he refused to be chained by his past decisions. Now he's going to be going off on an adventure of a lifetime, not waking up and dragging himself half asleep, zombie-like to some cubicle to just start staring at a spreadsheet all day long. Come on, guys. This is the opportunities that lay before us entrepreneurs. He admitted he was scared, but he's embracing that fear, and he's moving forward. He's ready to do that.
Having spent four months in India myself, and really experiencing a lot, I can tell you you're going to get a lot deeper of an answer, I know, and probably a lot of different reasons and answers to your question about why can't women get the education that they should, but one this I can say is it ties in with the theme of what we've been talking about today. It's because of past prejudices. People let themselves be ruled by the past. That was the case for so many generations upon generations. There's actually a great show on Amazon right now, which you should probably watch, Ravinol, if you haven't yet. It's called Indian Summers. Have you heard of it?
Ravinol: I've heard of it, yeah.
John: Indian Summers. It's about way back in the early 1900s when this took place, during the British rule of India, and just the prejudices that happened because of British rule, but that were also in place before that, and that now still exist afterward. It's really fascinating stuff. So where are we going to be able to find out when your film goes live after this whole journey of yours is over? Where can we go to keep tabs on that?
Ravinol: When it's finished I'm going to try to get a cinematic release here in the UK, and who knows, maybe it will be on Netflix, or Amazon. But, for right now, to follow the journey, you can follow as I'm going to be posting regular videos and posts on Facebook. So, if you go to Facebook.com/streetphilosophers you'll find the page there, and you can check it out. We'd love you to get involved. If you have any ideas, or comments, or opinions throw them in.
John: I love that, and of course we'll link that up in the show notes. And, of course, Fire Nation, we're going to crush the Lightening Round. We'll take a quick minute first and thank our sponsors.
Ravinol, are you prepared for the Lightening Rounds?
Ravinol: I think so, yeah.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Ravinol: Fear. Like I said a minute ago. I'm going to keep the answers probably quite short. Fear. What is the best advice you've ever received? It's all temporary. And, I mean that at least in terms of the material things. It's all temporary. If things don't go quite right, don't worry. It's – all things must pass.
John: What is a person habit that contributes to your success?
Ravinol: I'm always trying to do my best to connect or align what I'm doing with purpose – with my “Why?”, and I think that's what keeps me. I have my inner inspiration, and motivation, and drive.
John: Share an internet resource like Evernote with Fire Nation.
Ravinol: I use Zero and Receipt Bank for my accounting. Back to my story earlier, it's really helped me to streamline that, and make my time much more effective.
John: If you could recommend just one book, what would it be and why?
Ravinol: I'm going to recommend Bhagavadgeta as it is by AC Buchnam Swami Provopa. It's an ancient Indian wisdom text, and it's all about a story about a warrior on the battlefield who doesn't want to fight, and he has loads of excuses why he doesn't want to do it, and he's given advice by Krishna, and he tells him loads of things that get him to stand up and fight.
John: Wow, well Fire Nation, don't try to spell that while you're driving. We'll have everything linked up in the show notes. And, Ravinol, let's end today on fire, brother, with a parting piece of guidance. The best way that we can connect with you, and then we'll say, “Good-bye.”
Ravinol: Fantastic. My parting piece of guidance is: Stand up and fight. If you're not there yet, work at what's stopping you, and work on it. For me, especially I can speak about this right now, and in this moment as I'm about to do it myself, and go out to India, and make this documentary. Standing up and fighting – the exhilaration of actually going for it, and I mean really going for it is such a life affirming feeling win or lose. So, go for it.
John: And, the best way we can connect with you?
Ravinol: The best way you can connect with me is if you are on Twitter or Facebook. They're both just /be inspired films. As I said, the documentary you can follow on /streetphilosopers. I'm going to do a little offer here, as well for you listeners. If you're excited about using video, and you want to be able to create regular videos – relationship videos, use it to really engage your audience, and actually demonstrate your value, and obviously get new customers or supporters, then we currently do in person training here in the UK.
I also run a company called Videoknowhow Academy. That training is around 2,000 pounds for a two day master class, and some online support. I'm going to turn this training into an online training within the next couple of months. So, the first five listeners who email me at [email protected] will get free access to that online training, and the next five after that will get it for a 50 percent discount. So, if you're interested, drop me an email at [email protected] and that will get that going your way.
John: Wow, Fire Nation, take action on that because you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and you've been hanging out with RC and JLD today, so keep up the heat. And, head over to eofire.com. Just type Ravinol or Chambers into the search bar and his show page will pop up with everything that we've been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the business: Time stamps. Links galore, and links to everything again that's going to get you to where you need to be, Fire Nation within this interview.
I'm going to go over a couple right now. That's Facebook.com/streetphilosophers, if you want to follow Ravinol's incredible journey coming up. And, if you want to be one of the first five to email and get free access to this 2,000 pound course, [email protected], and then the next five – so numbers six through ten – are going to get it for 50 percent off. Did I get all of that right, Ravinol?
Ravinol: Absolutely. I'm very impressed.
John: Aw, thank you. Well, Ravinol, I want to thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you, and we'll catch you on the flip side.
Ravinol: It's been a real pleasure. Thank you.
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