Tim David is a magician turned professional speaker. His book Magic Words has been featured in the NY Times, Harvard Business Review, Psychology Today, Huffington Post, The Today Show, and hundreds of other media outlets around the world and is fast-becoming required reading on the topic of influence and motivation.
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Worst Entrepreneur Moment
- Only Tim’s financial accountant wished him a happy birthday on his special day. That was Tim’s lowest moment, and he vowed to take action to right his past wrongs…
Entrepreneur AH-HA Moment
- Tim wanted to replace his wife’s income so she could stay home with the kids. One sentence opened his eyes up to how this could actually be a reality!
Small Business Resource
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Best Business Book
Interviewee: I got to say man, if you are ready for something that means it’s too small.
Interviewee: This is Entrepreneur on Fire. I have spent too much of my life asking myself if I’m ready. Am I ready to launch? Am I ready to go to market? Am I ready to begin a new workout routine or have my wife quit her job and honestly when I stopped asking myself if I was ready and instead started asking myself if I was willing then everything changed. So yes, I am absolutely willing.
Interviewer: It only took 1,054 episodes Fire Nation for someone to finally catch on. Now Tim is a magician turned professional speaker. His Book Magic Words has been featured in the New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Psychology Today, Huffington Post, The Today Show and hundreds of other media outlets around the world and is fast becoming required reading on the topic of influence and motivation.
Tim, take a minute. Fill in some gaps in that intro and give us a little glimpse into your personal life.
Interviewee: Absolutely. Well, I’ve got to be honest you know. I designed my life to be pretty low key and I’m not sure when it became cool to be insanely busy and to have all these crazy things going on but maybe I’m just not cool in that way, I guess.
Interviewer: Gary Vaynerchuk made it cool.
Interviewee: Oh, yeah? I guess so. Well, I’m more of a family man. I focused on my wife; I have an eight-year-old girl. I have a five-year-old girl and a brand new baby boy. So the baby effect is in full swing. I’m a speaker; I’m an author, which is awesome. It pays the bills which of course allows my wife to stay home with the kids and gets us to some pretty cool destination spots around the world, gives me the freedom, the flexibility to work passionately and purposefully when it’s time to work and to live fully when it’s not.
I got to say though this is very, very different than how I was raised. My mother was an accountant. My older brother went off and became a sound engineer, works for Bose Speaker Corporation. My father is an ex-physics professor who designed nuclear submarines for the Navy.
So naturally I went off to school, right? That was the sort of the family way, start your career, get your degree, get a job. That’s the family way. So I did.
I studied psychology for a little while. I love the brain and I feel that you should too. I think that if you work with people and as entrepreneurs that’s what we do. We essentially work with people, with our customers, with our clients, with our co-workers. So if you work with people then you really should know how people work. So I loved psychology.
Problem is school was not for me. I remember coming home and telling my dad I figured it out. I know what I want to do with my life I’m going to be a professional magician, right? So completely blew their mind. That was my first business, my first entrepreneurial experience and although my dad and I really butted heads I’ve never ever, ever looked back.
So to your listeners I really just want to say this. Don’t really ever let any other people tell you what success is.
Interviewer: Yeah, Tim. I want to really put an exclamation point behind that. There’s a great book, The Ten Biggest Regrets of the Dying. In that book the No. 1 regret is I wish I lived my life and not been influenced by outside influencers. It’s so unbelievable that this is your life Fire Nation. You need to be taking responsibility for the path that you’re on.
Now Tim you’re at a networking party. Someone walks up to you and they ask, “What do you do?” How do you respond in ten seconds and I’m timing you.
Interviewee: I got you. Actually I’m not a huge fan of the elevator pitch.
Interviewer: This counts as your ten seconds by the way.
Interviewee: That’s fine, that’s fine, let’s do it. Or at least how most people approach it. For me I want people to leave their first interaction with me feeling served and not sold. The only time I’ve ever needed a tight elevator pitch is when I’m at a networking event where everyone’s just focused on selling their own crap anyway.
Interviewer: Served not sold. I mean Fire Nation I think those are the key words that we need to hold onto right there. If you can serve people, be of value to people then truly the world will be your oyster.
Now Tim you talked about a lot of different ways. You generate revenue. You named a lot of things. But let’s get specific and again keep this short but what are the ways that you generate revenue?
Interviewee: I still do the occasional magic show for corporate events but that really is only bringing in what I consider fun money which is about 50 grand a year, allows my wife to stay home and I do it while having fun.
But I also have a core group of guys that I’m talking through how to become a professional speaker and obviously I can see the appeal, you get to travel, you get to help people and five to ten thousand dollars or more per hour, not too bad.
So the bulk of my income is from actually doing that. Doing the speaking gigs which is amazing. I get to help people transform their thoughts so they can transform their results.
Interviewer: Now a lot of people do say that hey like my path to wealth is going to be by writing a book and to be honest, that has worked for some people. Now, your book has been featured in all those amazing places that we talked about. I mean, New York Times, The Today Show, Huffington Post.
I don’t want to get specific with numbers but would you be able to rely on that revenue alone to provide for your family?
Interviewee: Absolutely not. I was just talking with another author about this and the truth is getting in those media outlets is really just about one thing and one thing only and that is building my list. That’s my entire focus, that’s all I care about, that’s where the money comes from, not the book sales.
Interviewer: Really glad you clarified that. So Tim let’s talk about a story and this story is going to be really focused on your entrepreneurial journey and I want you to take us not to one of the many great moments that you’ve had but instead to what you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment thus far. Take us there right down to the ground level.
Interviewee: So hard to decide. So hard to pick what these are. There was a moment on my 22nd birthday I remember it was around 6:30 p.m. and I was working on one of my books and that was really my life. It was about proving dad wrong and really getting out there and making money.
Interviewer: That’s a good motivator.
Interviewee: Yeah. Getting as many shows booked as I could and it was my birthday. I was turning 22 years old and I realized at 6:30 p.m. nobody had wished me a happy birthday. There were no cards. This was before Facebook so there was not a thousand Facebook messages.
Around 6:30 the phone rings and I pick it up and the voice at the other end said, “Hey, buddy. Happy Birthday.” And it was bittersweet because somebody had called to wish me a happy birthday but it turns out it was Paul my financial advisor. So there was a moment in time when I realized is this pursuit really, really important?
Later on in life I took this other path and I created this idea. I called it the Grab Life Project and this led to my other failure for a different reason. This failure was a gradual slow failure, a slow quitting, I’ll call it. It wasn’t a bad decision. It wasn’t a poor financial investment. It was just poor execution and I think that can wrap up most of the failures in our lives. They just sort of slowly fade away and it could have been something amazing but at the same time the lack of commitment is what I’m really, really embarrassed about. So that project was abandoned and it really again is one of the most embarrassing things in my life.
Interviewer: Yeah, my favorite word for that is actually drifting. That’s one thing you see so many entrepreneurs do. You start with all this energy and this pizazz. You get a little bit of momentum, a quick early wins. But then the grind starts. Then the real work starts because you’ve got to continue going forward and keep coming up with content. Maybe even after you’re tapped out and then things just kind of start to drift. One day turns into two, turns into a week, turns into a month and you’re just kind of drifting.
I really think Fire Nation that we have to focus and have that really legitimate plan that we are following if we want to guarantee continued success, not just that initial success.
Interviewee: The worst part is that this was all about grabbing life and being consistent with that and living life to the fullest so the very idea was against that and yet it still happened anyway.
Interviewer: One sentence Tim. What’s your big takeaway that you really want Fire Nation to walk away with?
Interviewee: I think what this really did for me was it shifted my focus away from accumulation. I think it’s possible to accumulate too much stuff in this world but it’s really impossible to accumulate too much human connection. At the end of the day it’s about relationships and when you miss the boat on that what else matters?
Interviewer: Yeah, what else matters? I was just listening to a great audio book. I had Darren Hardy the founder of Success Magazine on a couple days ago and he was just talking about different things with his book, The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster. I need to get back and listen to that.
He talked about this one story where this guy was on his deathbed and Fire Nation you know I’m not usually this morbid, I don’t usually talk about this as much but the guy was on his deathbed and he grabs Darren and he says, “Darren, don’t miss the point. It’s not about the stuff. It’s about the people.”
Darren took this as a wakeup call and has really radically shifted his life and luckily he was in his mid-thirties when that happened so he had time to but for this guy on his deathbed it was too late. The guy missed the point. It was about human connection not material.
Tim, what I want you to do is tell us another story. This one’s going to be an epiphany, an aha moment. I mean you have these for breakfast my friend but is one that you think is going to resonate with our listeners and take us to that moment in time.
Interviewee: This is a story about a coach that I had hired and again I’m really passionate about working with people who have gone before. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. There’s no need to think and create and work too hard sometimes. Sometimes the path has been laid out for you.
So I’m obsessed with those kinds of shortcuts. I hired a coach and I remember hiring him for a very specific reason. I want my wife to not have to work. I want her to stay home. What can I do? How can I grow my business? How can I achieve the next level? And this was all about that.
I remember at one moment in that process he said to me, “How much do you need?” I said, “Well, I really only need about $50,000.00 a year to replace that income.” And he looked right at me and he said, “Tim, you can do that in a month, you can do that in a month. There’s no annual here. That is a monthly figure for your capabilities, your skill sets.” It really hit home for me and ultimately over the course of the years that came true for me and came true very, very quickly after hearing that and having that belief instilled. So that was definitely an aha moment.
Interviewer: Huge, huge, huge. Replace your wife’s income in one month if you believe it and Tim, that’s all you needed was a mindset shift. That reminds me so clearly and really shows the importance Fire Nation of investing in yourself with the right mentor.
When I had Louis Howes mentoring me, this is back in 2013, he said, “John what’s your financial goal for 2014?” I said, “I would like to make $500,000.00 in one year,” and he’s like, “John, we’re going to get you to where you’re doing that in a month.” Sure enough a handful of months ago we had our first 500K month but I could never even have fathomed that. It takes people who have been there to bring us up, Fire Nation, and open our eyes.
Tim experienced it. I experienced it. You need to invest in yourself with the right mentor. That’s my big takeaway Tim from your story. What’s yours?
Interviewee: Well, I think add a zero, take a zero away, it doesn’t matter. I think that principal that really boils down to mindset. It really boils down to belief. It really boils down to what you believe is possible.
As a magician my focus was I only cared about the impossible. If it wasn’t impossible it was off my radar. It didn’t matter. So go after those big goals. Stop succeeding at things that don’t matter and really stretch yourself and have that mindset that anything’s possible.
Interviewer: Yeah and Fire Nation you’re saying, “Well, I don’t really know what matters.” Well, that’s where the mentor comes in. So huge stuff.
Tim, what’s your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur?
Interviewee: You know, I don’t know and I think that’s the problem. I sometimes try to go it alone. I can’t see my blind spots. I’ve got to be reminded of them by coaches, by accountability partners, by mastermind groups. I think that’s so important and sometimes I forget that and I think that’s my biggest weakness.
Interviewer: What’s your biggest strength?
Interviewee: I don’t have a biggest strength. I have an only strength. I only have one thing that I do well and that is having a growth mindset. I suffer from pretty crippling depression and anxiety and I know that a lot of people that I talk to have similar kinds of things. I don’t want this to turn into a drama show or anything but having a growth mindset, having the possibility that the future can be better and I can become better. I love what Jim Rowen says, “Success is something you attract by the person you become.”
But I remember I was sitting in my bed one day just feeling absolutely lazy, unmotivated, crippled by this moment of depression and I kept thinking to myself I’m so lazy but I’ve got to wake up earlier. Or I’m so out of shape but I have to exercise. Or I’m so busy but I feel like I want to maybe read more or whatever. I had all these goals and I was changing the wrong thing.
I had to shift my mindset. Instead of saying I’m lazy I had to shift my mindset and say you know what? My entire identity has changed. I’m no longer lazy. And the next morning when I woke up I remember thinking all right, I’m no longer lazy so now the natural response is to get up and get up early.
So when you shift your mindset, when you shift your belief system again everything, everything changes.
Interviewer: Yeah, we were actually talking pre-interview a little bit about how Elrod in The Miracle Morning and how that does such a great job about setting your mind in the right direction, first things first right when you get up in the morning. And it actually even starts the night before, you know, your night tasks to make sure that you get the right amount of sleep in the right way.
Tim, what’s the one thing that has you the most fired up right now?
Interviewee: Simple, logging my time. I am fanatically logging my time right now. I’m tracking every single minute. I’m sharing it with my accountability partner and we’ve been doing this for weeks. What I’m finding is a couple things. The Hawthorne Effect is kicking in. Now that I know I’m being watched I’m way more productive, right?
Also, I’m seeing just exactly where the time is going and that is our most precious resource and how can you fix something if you don’t track it or know it?
But the biggest takeaway is that what I’m noticing is the chunk of family time is the biggest chunk. It’s the biggest bulk of my day and that is what I think I’m most proud of and really, really excited about and fired up about.
Interviewer: Well Fire Nation, I’m fired up because we’re about to enter the lightning round. But before we do let’s take a minute to thank our sponsors.
Tim, are you prepared for the lightning rounds?
Interviewee: I am ready.
Interviewer: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Interviewee: Absolutely nothing. I had no choice. I am an entrepreneur with every fiber of my being. Actually in fact, entrepreneurship held me back from being normal, right? I’ve got to say that people who do are rewarded with the adventures that they have and people who dream are rewarded with the safety that they have. For me it’s not about dreaming big, it’s not about thinking big. I think anybody can do that. For me it’s about doing big. It’s about acting big and quite frankly it’s about failing big and failing forward.
So that is the entrepreneurial spirit in a nutshell. That’s who I am.
Interviewer: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Interviewee: Came from a sales coach. I was hiring this guy again to help me with my sales process and I was asking him questions. I said, “What do I do? What if they say this? How do I approach that?” He said, “Tim, I’m not talking to you anymore until you go out and get me some nos. Go get people to say no to you.” In other words, go and fail. Make the mistake. Get the experience under your belt. That was invaluable advice.
Interviewer: What’s the personal habits that contribute to your success?
Interviewee: I’m obsessive about what magicians call watching your angles. When I am practicing a magic trick I obsessively I practice in front of a mirror and see how it looks from your point of view. When I’m coached by other magicians they tell me, “Watch your angles. Don’t forget about me over here in the wings. I can see this that they’re not supposed to see.”
The bottom line is I have a habit of taking other people’s perspective. I think that surveys for example something a lot of entrepreneurs do, I think that surveys suck. Too many entrepreneurs are in the tell me what you want and I’ll do it business. What we have to do is we have to be much more romantic than that. People don’t know what they want and they don’t want to tell you what they want. They want you to know what they want and they want you to serve them and be an expert in what they want because people are not even experts in what they want.
Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, they know what we want before we do and the ability to take other people’s perspectives and to see a need that they don’t even know they have and solve that need and fill that need, that is a huge important habit.
Interviewer: Well said. Do you have an internet resource like EverNote that you can share with our listeners?
Interviewee: TimeTrade.com we need to protect our time. All of my appointments, all of my coaching sessions both with my coaches and the students that I coach are all scheduled with TimeTrade.com. It’s a beautiful calendar interface. I sit down at the beginning of the day; all my appointments are right on the screen in front of me. The phone number pops up. I just dial in and I’m good to go.
Interviewer: If you could recommend just one book for our listeners what would it be and why?
Interviewee: I think Adam Grant wrote a wonderful book called Give and Take and it’s about how nice guys don’t always finish last and the reasons why. I think that’s just a beautiful, beautiful book and concept and I love how the science backs that up.
Interviewer: Well, thank goodness for us, Tim. Fire Nation. I know you love audio so I teamed up with AudioBooks and if you haven’t already you can get an amazing audio book for free at EOFirebook.com.
Tim, this is the last question in the lightning round but it’s a doozie. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world identical to earth but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have. Your food and shelter is taken care of but all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Interviewee: First things first. I’ve got to get my mindset right so I’m going to give away that 500 bucks to get out of scarcity mindset. Then as a speaker I have a simple eight-step process that I go through to build my speaking business. I’m going to take them one step at a time. I’m going to go through the first four. I’m going to decide on a topic that I am passionate about that I know people will pay for. Those two things got to be met. I got to be passionate about it and it’s got to be something people will pay for.
Then I’m going to go and write a 20 minute what I call manifesto speech. This is about why my topic is so important, why I’m so passionate about it and I’m going to make sure that every person in my audience feels that passion and that motivation to take an action step on my topic.
Then I’m going to create something tangible. This doesn’t have to be a 500 page book; this can be something very, very simple. It’s going to be ugly if it has to be. I don’t care. I just am going to get it done, make sure it’s valuable to my target audience.
Then the fourth step is really what I call networking on steroids. I’m going to go, I’m going to deliver speeches to anybody who is going to me. I don’t have to earn a fee yet. I just want to get in front of audience. I want to get flight time. I want to send my message out there. I want to deliver my speech and my tangible product in order to build a list. Again, serve first. That attracts the list to you and then I can continue to offer programs and products and have a sustainable, reliable income stream based on that.
Interviewer: That’s a rewindable, Fire Nation. Make it happen. Tim, let’s end today on Fire brother with you sharing one parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, then we’ll say goodbye.
Interviewee: It’s got to be go get some nos. Go fail forward. Failure is not just the best teacher it is the only teacher. If you really want to master something you’ve got to fail through it. Stop being afraid of that. What we should be afraid of is succeeding at things that are too small.
Interviewer: And how do we find you?
Interviewee: Well, I went out and registered Tim David on Fire.com. I’ve got to say I’m really glad that that wasn’t already taken because I’m just thinking somebody wanted me to be on Fire if that was the case. Tim David on Fire.com, this is going to give a whole bunch of free resources to your listeners. I practice what I preach John. Serve first before you sell.
So there’s tons of free goodies including my actual ten second elevator page, exactly why I use it.
Interviewer: Oh, nice. Fire Nation you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with Tim D and JLD today. So keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Just type “Tim” in the search bar, his [inaudible] [00:23:15] page will pop right up with everything that we’ve been talking about today, resources, books.
Of course, go directly to Tim David on Fire.com for all the goodies there, all that awesome free. He’s serving. He’s serving you Fire Nation. And check out Magic Words. That’s his great book that’s got much acclaim. It’s been everywhere you’ve ever heard and it’s worth a read, bit time.
Tim, I want to thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today and for that we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
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