Sean Malarkey is the Co-founder of Inspired Marketing, the #1 company that creates digital online training with a focus on social media. Inspired Marketing was just named on the Impact 100 list, which represents the top 100 companies in America that are run by young people. This award includes an invitation to the White House.
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- “Shallow men believe in luck, strong men believe in cause and effect.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson click to tweet!
- Sean tried to launch without his right hand man, and things just didn’t go well. Everyone could tell the vibe was off, and boy… did sales suffer!
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John Dumas: Hire Fire Nation and thank you for joining me for another episode of EntrepreneurOnFire.com, your daily dose of inspiration. If you enjoy this free podcast, please show your support by leaving a rating and review here at iTunes. I will make sure to give you a shout out on an upcoming showing to thank you!
John Lee Dumas: Okay. Let’s get started. I am simply thrilled to introduce my guest today, Sean Malarkey. Sean, are you prepared to ignite?
Sean Malarkey: Yes. I’m prepared to ignite.
John Lee Dumas: Sean is the cofounder of Inspired Marketing, which is the number one company that creates digital online trading with a focus on social media. Inspired Marketing, which is named to the Impact100 list, which comprises the top 100 companies in America that are run by young people. This also included an invitation to the White House.
I’ve given Fire Nation a little overview, Sean, but why don’t you take it from here and tell us who you are and what you do?
Sean Malarkey: Okay. So just several years ago, I had a real estate business that started to stress me out. I thought it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. We had a pretty big real estate company. A brokerage. We bought and sold a lot of properties. We had a lot of homes, over 100 homes in our rental portfolio that we owned and leased out. I thought it was my retirement. I thought it was what I wanted to do forever.
Over time, I just started realizing it was not what I want. I had some business partners that over time kind of became more like a boss, or bosses, if you will. So I just started getting more and more frustrated with that business and I had a lot of friends that were starting to do pretty well using the Internet to generate money or to build a business. I realized that they were running their businesses from their laptops and it really intrigued me. So I started kind of paying attention to that. This was about five or six years ago that the fire was kind of lit. We’ll stay with the ignite fire theme, if you will. The fire was kind of lit from within me that I wanted a different lifestyle, I wanted to be location-independent. I basically wanted the life of my dreams. I want to be able to do what I wanted when I wanted, and I felt like in that business that I was in, that I just didn’t have that ability.
The final moment, the defining moment, came when I asked time to go to my wife’s country of Argentina for a vacation. We had allowed ourselves a set number of weeks per year for vacation. I was going to use them all in that timeframe, and my business partners, we got into an argument that I was not able to go for that long of a period of time, and it just really frustrated me because I felt like I had lost control of my life and I lost the ability to do what I wanted when I wanted.
So some time passed. I sold my interest in that business to my business partners and moved on. I knew real estate really well and providing information to people. It creates a shortcut that either saves them time, saves them money or helps them earn more money. It’s obviously a very lucrative thing. Much like the podcast you have here. It probably gives people some great insight into becoming an entrepreneur, and then also inspires them. So I wanted to get into that space.
One of the big things when I was in my real estate company, I did all of the marketing for the company. I started noticing social media becoming more and more prevalent in web usage. This was about five years ago. Then the marketing component started waking up or becoming alive, if you will for social media. So I started using it for the real estate business.
I got out of real estate. I thought of getting into teaching and educating on real estate, and social media just kind of happened by accident. I became fascinated with Twitter and the results I was getting from Twitter, and in my first three months of using Twitter, I just got massive traction. I started growing a huge following. I think in my first three months, I had over 70,000 followers on Twitter. One of the big reasons for that was I started a blog, which was kind of almost like a diary back then, if you will, where I started documenting all the things I was doing every day on Twitter that were helping me grow and helping me get engagement and helping me drive traffic, and sharing that with people and sharing my lessons of things I was learning and good resources. Every day, I would post. I think by the end of the first 30 days of starting that new website, I had over a thousand unique visits a day coming to it. As a website owner, John, you can appreciate that, getting that kind of traffic and kind of traction.
John Lee Dumas: Huge!
Sean Malarkey: Yes. So just a few months after I was into it, I got a co-working office space. If you’re not familiar with that, it’s just a giant office space where you essentially rent a desk. I found this little incubator, a startup incubator in Columbus, Ohio that was a co-working space with a bunch of great entrepreneurs and companies doing great things. I ended up meeting my business partner, who was doing some great things with LinkedIn. I said, “Hey, you’re doing great things with LinkedIn, I’m doing great things with Twitter. We should combine our efforts and together we’ll have a larger audience reach and we’ll be able to offer our audience more.”
That was kind of the beginning, the beginning of what is now Inspired Marketing, which was, like you said earlier, just named as one of the top 100 companies in America. That was about three years ago. Actually, three years ago as of August. So we left the co-working space and moved into my basement, and worked from there for a while. Now, we’re completely location-independent. I’m now living out in Santa Barbara, running the business from here and my business partner is down in L.A.
John Lee Dumas: Well, listen, Sean. Let’s transition now to our first real topic, which is our success quote, because at EntrepreneurOnFire, we really like to get the motivational ball rolling for this awesome content that you have coming up for us with a success quote. What do you have?
Sean Malarkey: This is a great one that I just found recently, and it states, “Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” That’s a great quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.
John Lee Dumas: So Sean, how do you apply that to your mentality or way of thinking in your business?
Sean Malarkey: It’s interesting. I feel like a lot of people believe in luck, and oftentimes, kind of sit back and wait for luck to happen, if you will. I believe there are some people who sure you can say they got lucky they were in the right place at the right time or whatever, but even then, it relates back to the cause and effect portion of that. They had an idea and they took action and they executed. That is cause and effect, if you will. Had they not taken that action, that luck would have never happened to them.
John Lee Dumas: So Sean, I love that. Let’s use that to transition now to our next topic. You’ve already been very open with us and shared – I don’t want to really call it a failure – but just the decision you made in the past as part of your entrepreneurial journey when you decided you wanted to break away and become location independent and you were very intrigued with working from a laptop or just online in general. Can you take us back, not quite as far as all the way back to your real estate days, but some time more recently when you encountered a failure or you had an obstacle that you had to overcome that you can share with Fire Nation?
Sean Malarkey: That’s a good one, man. We had a product launch. We do product launches several times, but they’re just short windows of time or promotional periods where we get a lot of attraction and a lot of attention. It’s like a giant sale, if you will. As part of that giant sale or launch period, we do a lot of work leading up to it to make sure everything is ready to go and good to go, and there’s a lot of marketing and things that go on to get a lot of traction to the event, if that makes sense.
Two weeks before the promotional launch, my business partner, he’s an avid team handball player. He plays club team handball. He actually made the US National Team and was asked to play in Argentina for the Pan Am Games. This was going to go down during the actual launch and I really… [sighs deeply] I just thought we could do it. I thought we could pull it off without his help and without his input. In hindsight, it probably cost us $300,000 in the minimum to over half a million dollars in revenue by not having his involvement. He fulfills a very important role during those. He’s a great networker and he’s able to get a lot of people to do a lot of things. I don’t really want to say persuasive because he’s not persuasive. It’s just people resonate well with him and they enjoy – when he reaches out and asks for something, almost always, people oblige.
I thought that we could do it. In hindsight, I wish we had delayed the launch three weeks in order to give him to go and play team handball, which it wouldn’t have mattered for us from a business perspective that much at all. It would have been much wiser in the end, and as a result, I think we would have probably generated several hundred thousand more dollars in revenue had I had him here and doing the role that he does best during that product launch.
John Lee Dumas: That’s a great example, and I love how specific you were because that just really makes it come alive for the listeners. So thank you for sharing that. Can you just pull out like a specific, but kind of an abstract lesson that you learned from that that you can apply to business in general?
Sean Malarkey: Sure. This is I think key to any business. We rely a lot on partners to help drive traffic to our products and our information. That’s what he’s really good at. He builds great relationships. He’s one of the best networkers, if not the best networker I’ve ever met. He’s very calculated and very authentic and very real in the way he goes about it. So for anybody who’s launching a product or a business, if you are dependent upon others, that early success is key because it shows social proof.
What we normally do and we didn’t do in this scenario is we get some of our top partners to get onboard in the first few days of the promotion. When that happens, other partners will see that and go, “Okay. Well, if he’s working with them, I’ll work with them.” The other thing is too, in our messaging back to them, we would email all of our partners on a daily basis. I think there’s a real transparency people can see through in that messaging and if things are going great and very successful, they’re more inclined to get onboard because people gravitate towards success.
Because they weren’t going as well as they had in the past, I think our communication may have reflected that, and I think it probably causes a lot of money because people could see no matter how hard we tried to fake that things were going great. They were going good. They weren’t bad by any means. Like maybe disappointing. But in the past when we’ve set up these promotional periods and had a lot of our key influencers involved early, it just showed a level of social proof and excitement that is hard to fake, if you will, and ended up bringing on kind of the masses, if you will, when the influencers are on early. So in hindsight, we learned a valuable lesson there that it’s key to keep your influencers involved early and get the success going strong early. As a result, I think in all of our messaging back to everybody who were so vital in helping us, it becomes clear that things are going well and they gravitate towards success and want to be involved.
John Lee Dumas: That is a great, great lesson learned. Get that motivational ball rolling and just keep it going. We’re going to go to the other end of the spectrum now, Sean, because you shared with us this great challenge that you faced and the lessons you learned from it. You’ve actually already shared with us some aha moments that you’ve had because you launched your website back when you were really in with Twitter and you were getting over 1,000 unique followers visiting your site because you were having these aha moments with Twitter, and then they were loving and reading these aha moments and coming back for more. So you were always having these little light bulbs that were going off. Can you go back in your entrepreneurial journey and share with us one great light bulb that went on when just the clouds parted and the sun just shined through and you said, “Wow! This is something special. This is an aha moment that I can knock out of the park”?
Sean Malarkey: For us, it was defining I guess our mission and our purpose. When we started, we had a lot of high end products, if you will. We knew the knowledge and the information that we had to share was very valuable and worth a lot, and so we charged a premium for that. As a result, it was – I don’t want to say a constant hustle – but it felt like in order to keep landing high end clients, we were always kind of hustling, if you will.
We made a shift in our business a little bit more than a year-and-a-half ago to focus on the other end of the spectrum. That was – not the low end, if you will – but the lower end of training prices, if you will, for our type of products. When we did that, our original thought was that a lot of people can’t afford the high end prices. A lot of our audience, the majority can’t. So if we lowered prices and the majority can afford it, are we going to be better off?
What it ended up creating was a much more sustainable long term business because we made the price incredibly affordable. Our goal was to maintain or improve upon the same level of quality for what we were offering for the high end stuff, but sell it at a low, low price to kind of own the market, if you will. The results kind of spoke for themselves. Traditionally in the past, when we would do the kind of launches, the promotional periods, we would do a lot of sales in a two week window, and then they would literally almost just drop off.
What ended up happening and what shocked us, it was all kind of by accident, but what shocked us was when we were done with it, that the sales just continued to come. They kept coming and they kept coming, to the point that if we were selling during a promotional period 40 units a day, 50 units a day, 100 units or whatever the number may be, within a week or two, then they literally drop to zero or one a day at the most or a couple a week at the most. Then when we shifted to that lower end model, we saw sales continue at 10 to 20 a day forever. I mean essentially forever.
What we ended up finding out was happening was because of that price point, a lot of people were looking for solutions for their audience to recommend or refer them to, and then also the referrals from current customers shot through the roof. We get these trainings go through them and get amazing results. So it was really easy when they were having a conversation with their friends, would they be business associates or whatever, it was very, very easy for them to say, “Oh my gosh, if you need help with Facebook or LinkedIn or YouTube,” or whatever network they were talking about on online marketing, “You should check this out.” So the word-of-mouth just kind of went viral. Last year, we served I think somewhere around 20,000 or 25,000 customers. I don’t even know the exact number. Probably a third of those customers were referral business from existing customers.
John Lee Dumas: Wow! Now, an aha moment that I’m pulling out of this show – and correct me if I’m wrong – exceed the expectations. You guys were exceeding people’s expectations on every level by having these incredibly high quality products for an affordable price. Is that something that you attribute to this viralness that happened?
Steve Malarkey: Absolutely. It’s not even just the fact that they’re high quality. We also took a big focus on simplicity. I don’t know if you ever read the Steve Jobs bio, but it really reaffirmed and kind of cemented some new ideas along those lines. His idea with a lot of the Apple products was just to make them as simple as possible so that when people got them, they inherently or intuitively knew exactly what to do. Where to go, where to start, or whatever.
So all of our trainings, when you log in, we made them really simple to start with. Then I read Steve Jobs’s book and it just hammered home the importance of that. So I went back and just looked at our members’ areas for these trainings and I said, what can I take out that is not absolutely necessary? Maybe only 2% of the people here are clicking on this link. Is that benefiting the majority if we have this here because in my opinion, when you’re looking at a training, and you’re there and you bought something and you wanted to adjust it, the more kind of bells and whistles oftentimes can distract you from the main or the core purpose, which is the actual content in the training.
So I started looking at the analytics for our sites and seeing what people were clicking and what they were digesting, where they were starting and everything, and I literally went back and removed probably 70% of the options on our website for the members’ areas. As a result, we saw time on the website more than tripled. This spoke – I mean this is as good as it gets – our refund rates were cut in half within 60 days of making those changes. What I can attribute that to is by taking out all of these extra things that we thought we were adding more value by having them, it just distracted from the core purpose. So the quicker I can get people to take action and start the training, the more excited they get, the more training they’re going to go through, and as a result, the more value and the more benefit they’re going to get from it. So we literally went through and stripped out everything that was not adding massive value. As a result, it created more value for members on the core purpose of the training, and as a result, it was easier for them to get into it, digest it, and get more out of it.
John Lee Dumas: I love that. Just to go back to your Steve Jobs comment, I still take my iPhone and I turn it over a couple of times and I’m like, “Wow! There really is only one button on this thing.” I mean, talk about simple.
Sean Malarkey: It’s amazing, isn’t it? There was a good story about – I don’t remember if it was in the Steve Jobs bio or I read it on a blog, but there was a guy who was somewhere in Africa, or a Third World country. I don’t remember where exactly, but a Third World country doing a mission and he had taken along his iPad. He was blown away that he handed it to a six year old, and the six year old kid who had never seen an electronic device in his life, opened the iPad up and just started navigating around and using it with no instruction. He couldn’t speak the language so he couldn’t instruct him how to use it, and he was blown away.
I thought, you know what? If our members’ areas and our products can become that simple that people don’t need to be told where to go and what to do, it just slaps them in the face, this is what you need to do and how you get started, and get them digesting the content, it’s a big struggle. I don’t know if you realize this or not, but there’s a study that Borders or Barnes & Noble put out several years ago that said 90% of people that buy books never read past the first chapter. Our products, which are our trainings, are a lot like that, if you will. People get excited and they buy it. They may get into the first lesson or the first thing, and then not go back.
So my goal with our trainings is just to get people to consume it as fast as possible when that energy level and the excitement is high. It switches right at the point of purchase. I know if they do that, if I can get them into it and get them started right away, they’ll become more excited. They will then therefore dedicate more time and dive into it deeper, and the more value they get, the happier they are with their purchase and the more results they get.
John Lee Dumas: I love that. Sean, let’s move now into your current business. You’re rolling along, you’ve got a lot of things going on. Your move is complete, you’re location-independent. Things are great. What’s one thing that’s really exciting you about your business right now?
Sean Malarkey: I mean being here in Santa Barbara has really made me appreciate life on a whole other level, I guess, and having the ability to do what I want when I want as a result of the type of business that I built, is the number one thing. I mean there isn’t a day that goes by – I mean the simple things excite me. I mean the sunset, the stars, the clouds in the sky, if they look a certain way. I get fascinated with simple things, and here, being here, has taken that kind of appreciation, if you will, to a whole new level. I just feel grateful every day that I created a lifestyle that A, I could up and move my family across the country. I lived out in Columbus, Ohio before. To be here, and then be that I have the ability really to do what I want when I want. I’ve designed my business and my lifestyle that way.
This is kind of odd, John, but I don’t keep a calendar. I really don’t keep a calendar. This interview this week is literally the only thing on my calendar for the whole week.
John Lee Dumas: I love that!
Sean Malarkey: Yes, and I do that – I can’t ever decide if it’s irresponsible or if it’s immature. I really don’t know. But for me, lifestyle was number one, and being able to do what I want when I want is the highest priority. I get so many people that want to set up phone calls. Like interviews are very important and oftentimes there are several people involved in the interviews – somebody recording the audio and whatever. So I know it’s important, so I set times for those. But phone calls, I have business associates that want to talk about different things in business, and they’ll email me and say, “What are a couple of good times you can talk? I just hit reply myself and then I say, “Call me anytime. If I can pick up and talk, I will. If not, leave me a message and I’ll call you back that day.”
I don’t know, it’s interesting. I may move towards a calendar. My business partner, we share our Google Calendar so we can see what each other is up to so we don’t overschedule something or at the same time. He has multiple things on his every day, but for me, again, this goes back to the lifestyle piece of it and the importance of that. As a result, I literally don’t keep a calendar.
John Lee Dumas: Sean, that’s liberating. It really is. I love it. What is your vision for the future of Sean Malarkey?
Sean Malarkey: I know that if we’re providing value, I will prosper, if you will. A couple of months ago, someone offered – I’m just going to go along the way about this until till I get back to it. Back in December, someone offered to buy our company. We got a price, and it was a good price and a good offer, and the more we thought about it, we thought we’d be silly to sell it now because the company is growing and growing pretty fast. We’ve been doubling and tripling annual revenues for a couple of years now. So I felt, why will we sell it now when it’s going to grow to a much higher level at that point?
But it really got me excited about the idea of selling a business. One of the big things in our business is a lot of it is focused around us, if you will. We’re kind of the centerpiece of it. So I asked myself, is this a sellable business that I got now? It’s been interesting to see, I’ve had several friends in the last few years that have built up companies and sold them for anywhere from a couple million dollars to one just recently sold his company for $220 million. To me, that represents the ultimate freedom, if you will. Can you imagine a payday of a couple hundred million?
John Lee Dumas: Not yet [Laughs].
Sean Malarkey: Not yet, and I honestly could not imagine that a year ago, or maybe even two years ago. But now, I know it’s possible. Through that person reaching out to buy our company, I got in conversations with several business brokers and attorneys who handle either raising funds for businesses or selling of businesses and learned a lot about that aspect of it and got some great advice. Mainly, that advice was to build a company that was focused around a brand and not a personality, and there are certain metrics involved that make a company very marketable to be sold very well.
I realized at that point that we created a giant platform through our current audience that we have that we have a big leg up over the average person. It’s taken us three years to get here, so the average person can easily do it. They could probably do it in half the time if [you knew anything now]. We have a big leg up over the average person to launch and build a company, and we’re in a space and a platform that I think we have the ability to build a $10 to $100 million company in the next couple of years pretty easy.
So that is my focus right now. We’re working on continuing to grow the business and build the business. We’ve really just been putting a lot more systems in place so it’s less labor intensive, if you will, so that we can focus our energy on that 10 to a couple hundred million dollar idea and go from there. So we’ve got a couple of different ideas that we’re working on simultaneously that we’ll be growing and building out. If we can create that sellable company, for me, getting a big payday like that represents a lifetime of freedom, if you will.
Right now, I’m afforded freedom that can last me for a couple of years if things change in our business. Something may change and they may go away. But being able to sell a company for that kind of revenue represents freedom for the rest of my life, if you will. It gives me the ability to focus on adding more value back to the world in different ways because I’m not focused on earning an income, if you will, anymore. It’s more what can I do to give back. So that is what I think the next couple of years represent for me and what I hope to achieve in that timeframe, and I really believe now that I can do it. I know that through belief, all things are possible and that once you kind of have that belief, it’s a lot easier to make it a reality, and I feel like I’m there. So we’re in the beginning stages of that process, if you will.
John Lee Dumas: Awesome! Well, that’s a great vision, Sean, and I really am looking forward to following your journey and I have no doubt that that will come to fruition.
Sean Malarkey: Oh, I appreciate that.
John Lee Dumas: So listen, we’ve now reached my favorite part of the show. We’re about to enter the Lightning Round. This is where I provide you with a series of questions, and you come back with amazing and mind-blowing answers. Does that sound like a plan?
Sean Malarkey: I’m going to come back, yes, with some fiery thoughts…
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Sean Malarkey: And really ignite your audience into excitement.
John Lee Dumas: Alright. In one sentence, what was the number one thing that was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Sean Malarkey: Can I make it one word?
John Lee Dumas: Yes.
Sean Malarkey: Myself.
John Lee Dumas: What is the best business advice that you ever received?
Sean Malarkey: Take action. Hands-down. Take action and make it happen. There are so many people that spend time getting caught up in analysis paralysis, and I look back at some of our biggest revenue-generators right now – things that are bringing us half a million to a million dollars a year – and when we started, they were awful. They were horrible. But it was enough that we just took action and got started, and with that, we saw some early success, which excited us to keep going. Had I thought through all the details to get them to the level where they are now, I would have never gotten started because I would have gotten stuck, thinking through everything.
John Lee Dumas: That is exciting advice. What’s something that’s working for you or your business right now?
Sean Malarkey: Transparency. I think just being transparent with our audience and with the folks that support us on a day-to-day basis and put food in my mouth and my kids’ mouth [Unintelligible], being honest, open and transparent. With me being in the social marketing space, obviously I’ve got large followings in social media. So that gives me a platform to just be me and be transparent, admit when I make mistakes, share great things that are happening, and I think people relate to that and it can resonate with them, so that’s been working tremendously well.
John Lee Dumas: Well, thank you for being extremely transparent with Fire Nation today.
Sean Malarkey: For sure.
John Lee Dumas: So Sean, do you have an Internet resource that you are just in love with like an Evernote that you can share with our listeners?
Sean Malarkey: Honestly, I had this conversation on Twitter yesterday with somebody about managing teams and tasks. This is going to sound really stupid and cliché, but I’m in love with Google. You’ve probably figured out by now that I kind of like things simple. So Evernote, why I like it, I think it’s a great resource, and a lot of people, I can understand why they get value out of it. For me, it’s just another service that I have to log into. I use Gmail. We probably have 5,000 documents now in our Gmail Docs folder that our company works on. We do team management, task management, to do lists, project management, all through Google Docs. All of our accounting files are in Google Docs. So I can meet with my accountant on the phone, we can look at Docs together and go through them.
I mean Google is just an amazing resource to have not only for email, for chat. We use Google Hangout to do work meetings. If you go to my Google+ stream, you’ll see Louis and I having constant hangouts because it’s just like Skype, but it’s just really easy because we’re already logged in to email. So I think keeping things simple and keeping it all in one place, there’s a big key to that, if you will. You have one less place I have to remember a password to log in to. It just makes it that much simpler. So Google for me and using all of the tools, a lot of the tools that Google provides you for free has been huge for us.
John Lee Dumas: It does not sound cliché, and you are in good company, Sean, because I will tell you “by far” the biggest answer to this question, not even a close second, would be Google and all of Google’s products like Docs, like Calendar, everything along those lines.
Sean Malarkey: People have said that as well?
John Lee Dumas: I would say probably 20% of people answer this way, and there’s probably not another answer that’s over 2% or 3%.
Sean Malarkey: Wow! That’s impressive. Yes, I mean there are all these cool little gadgets and tools. I swear there’s something to be said about simplicity. I mean, do you have a Gmail account?
John Lee Dumas: I run EntrepreneurOnFire completely off Google Apps. Everything is run off of Google.
Sean Malarkey: Yes. I mean you start digging around and looking at all the different things. It’s unbelievable. Did you that the email, they have an undo feature for sending emails?
John Lee Dumas: Yes. That saved my life a couple of times, Sean.
Sean Malarkey: You and me both! [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Sean Malarkey: You know what? Not even saved my life. It’s made my life a lot easier because as I hit “send,” I realize I forgot to CC somebody in the email and it was important to. So I just hit the “undo” button and go back. If anybody’s interested, it’s in the settings tab or in the labs tab inside Google.
John Lee Dumas: Do you know that if you write anywhere in the email “I have attached such and such and such and such,” and then you click “send” and you haven’t attached anything, Google will say, “You said you attached something, but you didn’t. Do you want to?
Sean Malarkey: Yes. I love that feature!
John Lee Dumas: Oh! I mean that literally saves me – it’s almost embarrassing how many times a day because I’m sending so many attachments and I’m like, “I’m really never getting this right,” but I’m almost relying on Google just to remind me every single time. So Sean, what’s the best business book that you’ve read?
Sean Malarkey: I’ll give you two answers to that, and I’ll explain why. The best book I could recommend to an entrepreneur who’s listening to this, regardless of business, is a great book by Jim Rohn. Have you heard of Jim Rohn?
John Lee Dumas: I love him. The sports guy.
Sean Malarkey: No, not the sports guy.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Yes. He actually recently passed away, which is very sad.
Sean Malarkey: I know. I’m a big fan of soccer, so I hate the sports guy because he hates soccer. So anyway, you were joking about that, but I get it. So Jim just passed away, but he wrote I think one of the greatest books ever and it’s called “Leading An Inspired Life.” If you have not read that book and you’re listening to this call, you owe it to yourself and everybody who’s around you, you go get that book. It will make you want to become the greatest person you can become. It’s an amazing book. I mean there’s very few books I think that I haven’t been able to put down and have left me 10 times greater than I was prior to reading it. So that book should be the first book you read I think as an entrepreneur because it will inspire you to be amazing.
For me personally, I think that the best book for business I’ve read was Steve Jobs’s book. Understanding the type of person he was and his thought process that went into creating the world’s most valuable company.
John Lee Dumas: So Sean, this last question is my favorite, but it’s kind of a tricky one. So take your time, digest it, before you come back with an answer. If you woke up tomorrow morning and you still had all of the experience, money and knowledge that you currently have right now, but everything about your business had completely disappeared, leaving you with a clean slate, which many of our listeners find themselves with right now, what would you do?
Sean Malarkey: Man, that’s a tough question. So when you say, first and foremost, my family comes to mind. I’ve created a pretty good lifestyle for us so we need to meet their basic goals and needs and ideally maintaining what we have now. So I would probably in some capacity, because of the knowledge base I guess I have, could get into consulting very easily and then I could probably pick up the phone and make 20 phone calls and generate the [cover] I know we’d need to sustain.
So I’d probably get into consulting, but honestly, I think I would just start back over doing what I’m doing if I had to because – if that was an option. I can’t remember if it was or not. I truly love what I do. I see people on Facebook all the time saying, “Thank God it’s Friday” and I just feel sorry for them because I get frustrated when it’s 5 o’clock on a Friday and that I have to shut down. I know it’s a necessity and I value time with my family and rest and relaxation time, but Mondays for me are almost my favorite days every week because I get to get back to work and I get back to doing what I love doing. I’m fascinated with the business that we have now and things that we do, the impact we can have, the results that come from our audience and all that feedback. So I would just probably start right back over where I was because I love doing what I’m doing now.
John Lee Dumas: Inspiring advice, Sean. You’ve given us some great actionable advice this entire interview and we are all better for it. Give Fire Nation one parting piece of guidance, then give yourself a plug, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Sean Malarkey: I’m very grateful to be on this call and that you asked me to do it. It’s always – I don’t want to say surprising – but whenever I get asked to do interviews, I’m always like I’m just honored. So I’m grateful to be here. Thank you for having me.
John Lee Dumas: Well, thank you, Sean.
Sean Malarkey: I really appreciate it. I mean that. So as far as advice goes, I can’t say that it’s enough. In fact, I was with a friend this week and he was talking about he has great ideas, but he finds himself analyzing them too much and not getting started. Some of the most successful people I know, and myself and our business personally, our greatest successes have not come from having the perfect plan. They’ve come from execution and taking action.
So no matter what ideas you have or what business you have, just get started today. Just do something. Find one aspect of it that inspires you and we’ll make you take that leap to figure it out to get started, and get started right away. I think you’ll find that if your idea is good enough or your business idea or your business is good enough, that initial excitement, no matter how good of a bad job you do, creating it and building it, that initial excitement and the reaction that you get, whether it be through revenue or through whatever goals you have with your business, will be enough to keep you going and really inspire you to keep going much further.
I mean we literally have done massive planning on projects that have never seen the light of day, and I oftentimes think back, well, had we just started with that first idea and rolled with it, this could have been a big company by now, but we didn’t. So in our business, everything is all about taking action. We don’t like to plan huge projects too much. Oftentimes, we’ll start a project and get it rolling, but then we’ll go back and say these are all the steps that need to be done and that’s fine, but don’t get caught in the analysis paralysis. Just take action. Take action and do something. It’s like the stupid Nike slogan. Just do it. I can’t agree with it enough. I mean when you actually take action and do something, it’s the whole cause and effect thing. Going back to that quote, you will see results, and that those results will either tell you, okay, it wasn’t a great idea, or this was an amazing idea, let’s roll with it, and they’ll inspire you to do more. So taking action. I mean it’s like kind of a cliché thing and we see a lot, but I really believe that that is where the gold. Just taking action and making it happen.
John Lee Dumas: Awesome! Now, give yourself a plug.
Sean Malarkey: Alright. This is the part I always consider myself fairly humble, but you can connect with me on Twitter or on Facebook as well. If you connect with me on Facebook, I’ve hit my friend limit, but just tell me you heard me in the show in the message and I’ll be glad to accept it because obviously you know me more than just somebody trolling along. I like to kind of get people like that. Twitter is a great place to find me as well. There is no connecting there. You just follow me and shoot me a tweet and let me know you heard the call, or you can visit my website, which is seanmalarkey.com and read some of the stuff that I put out there.
John Lee Dumas: Awesome, Sean. Thank you so much again for just valuable insight and the time that you took to spend today with Fire Nation. We appreciate it, we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Sean Malarkey: Awesome! Again, it was an honor to be on. Thanks for having me.