Tony is an entrepreneur, educator, and entertainer. He does consulting for families and businesses and promotes authors doing RHYMING Book Reviews. You can check him out at: Youtube.com/TonyMoze
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- Focus on your strengths and outsource your weaknesses.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:09] – Tony is both an educator and entertainer
- [01:19] – Both of Tony’s parents are entrepreneurs
- [01:44] – At 14, he was part of a local rap group
- [02:52] – “I’ve always loved music, and more importantly, public speaking”
- 03:10 – When Tony started a phase in his life filled with stress, a friend gave him the book You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment
- [04:10] – Tony’s expertise is in public speaking and rhyming book reviews
- [04:31] – Share something we don’t know about your area of expertise that as Entrepreneurs, we probably should: Tony is the only person doing rhyming book reviews and it’s helping people read again
- [05:33] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: When Tony was just starting, he thought he could do everything alone. He thought he could incorporate his weaknesses with his strengths. Unfortunately, he ended up under-performing and over-promising
- [07:19] – Focusing on too many things will not move you forward
- [08:06] – People should outsource their weaknesses and bet on their strengths
- [08:45] – We should be great at ONE thing – not at many things
- [10:01] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: It was in 2015 when Tony came up with an idea of putting together music videos with acting and rapping and infusing them with books. Eventually, it became a business for him. It became a good way to market books in a creative, fun and educational way
- [11:27] – Tony talks about his first rhyming book review
- [13:25] – It was a mixture of the feedback that Tony was getting from people of different levels that made him push through with his rhyming book reviews
- [15:17] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “I didn’t see myself as valuable”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Time is your biggest asset”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “I wake up, take a cold shower, do my daily affirmations in the mirror, do 5 sets of 25 push ups that I spread throughout the day, I eat some breakfast… I read parts of a book for either inspiration or to get ideas for my next book review, and then I write my goals for the day”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Ebscohost
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Start with Why – “Using my experiences with all my endeavors, I noticed that people quit because their WHY wasn’t strong enough”
- [19:09] – Tony raps about JLD and Fire Nation
- [20:15] – “Keep doing, keep believing”
- 20:20 – Connect with Tony on Instagram, Twitter and on his website. Email him at TonyMoze500@gmail.com
Tony: Yes I am!
John: So Tony is an entrepreneur, educator, and entertainer. He does consulting for families and businesses, and promotes authors doing rhyming book reviews. You can check him out at youtube.com/tonymoze. That’s M-O-Z-E. Tony, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us just a little glimpse of your personal life.
Tony: I’m an entrepreneur. I’m an educator and entertainer. I also like to know it as an “edutainer.”
But taking a step back, going back to the beginning, my parents are both – they were both entrepreneurs. My mom was born in Sudan, Africa, and dad from Dominican Republic. They owned a pest control and housekeeping businesses, running it out of our one-bedroom apartment in Yonkers, New York. I went to a performing arts elementary school, played alto sax, and acted in the drama troupes. At the same time, while I was age nine, my mom put me in a reading contest where I read 14 books in one summer. At age 14, I was part of a rap group called the Verbal Assassins Clique. I was recording and doing live performances.
At the age of 17, I enlisted in the United States Army Reserve as a driver hauling fuel for the Air Force C-5 aircraft. I took a semester off to go for training and go to college in Connecticut. We got activated in 2003, and I served in Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. When I was out of the army I had received my bachelor’s degree but was avidly pushing hip-hop. When MySpace was prevalent, I was able to put my music on my profile, which was a great feature as people would click my link, and would pop my photo and all my music.
Now I think I am talented, but sometimes I have to humble myself and let the community decide that. So left and right I was getting offers from people around the world to travel to their hometowns and collaborate. I ended up performing live on stage and in the studio with artists in Spain, Norway, Argentina, and Australia. I was under a different alias back then, which reflected more of a hip-hop persona.
See, I always loved performing, whether it be at parties, on stage, or in college dorm full of visitors. So I always loved music. And more importantly, public speaking. But I didn’t like the people who I was hanging out with, so I decided to put hip-hop on hold for a few years. I had a tough breakup with a girl I dated, and had to go for intense therapy. And that as the fact I was having conflicts with my 8-year-old daughter’s mother, I put myself into a lot of stress.
A coworker of mine gave me the book by Thich Nhat Hanh called I Am Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment. It was this nice yellow book that just stood out in my face. And this was where things started to change. I took a trip to visit my friends in Norway, but they were busy at the time, so it was the universe telling me that I need to stop, take a look within, and start to take care of that – take care of myself again.
John: Well Tony, now it’s gonna be JLD that tells you to stop, because a lot – it sounds to me like you might never stop unless I do. So let me just kinda break down a couple things. First off, I think we might have been in Iraq the same time, that’s 2003. I spent 13 months there myself. And the DR brother, when do you get down here? You know, I’m in Puerto Rico, right next door.
Tony: Yeah, that’s awesome. Hey, I’m probably gonna have to go visit you, John.
John: So what I wanna do now is talk about what you consider today your area of expertise. What is that right now? What is it that you excel at?
Tony: I would say public speaking is the one thing that I love doing, but I love doing rhyming book reviews. So call me an “edutainer.” It’s an “edutainer.” That’s education mixed with entertainment.
John: What’s something that we don’t know about that area of expertise that you do, that you wish that we as entrepreneurs know?
Tony: I’m the only person doing rhyming book reviews. I’m putting out consistent content. I’ve created this niche initially because I thought it was fun. It did not hit me until I started getting messages online, and comments in person, saying that it changed their lives, encouraging them to read again, and take action.
John: Well listen, I’m bringing you on EO Fire, a great podcast. My audience Fire Nation—you listening right now, that’s you Fire Nation—great listeners. So, how about returning the favor and doing a little rhyming book review for The Freedom Journal?
Tony: Okay! Most definitely.
John: Listen, I’ll send you a Freedom Journal. You get it, you consume it, you look at it, do what you wanna do. And hey, when the time is right, create a little rhyming book for me and let’s see how it goes.
Tony: Let’s do it.
John: So Tony, I know you were really gonna be diving into a lot more of your story before I cut you off, but I wanted to save some of it, because I really want to hone your focus right now. Not to your entire story, but to what you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment. Take us, Fire Nation, to that moment. Tell us that story.
Tony: The worst and embarrassing moment I can think of was thinking I can bite off more than I could chew. As far as the rhyming book reviews, when I first started off, I thought I could do everything alone. And the problem was not only did I underperform, but I overpromised. Which should always be the opposite, right?
And the problem with me was that I thought I could incorporate my weaknesses with my strengths. This left me overwhelmed, stressed, and my credibility was going down. But through time I started noticing that I needed to bet on my strengths, and have someone else make up for my weaknesses. So I learned to always outsource my weaknesses to those with great talent and skill, and make sure they too can deliver my needs effectively and efficiently.
John: So Tony, really break down, why was that your worst moments? Get detailed. Get raw. Get honest.
Tony: Here I am coming off in the beginning, just this whole idea of entrepreneurship; reading books, going to seminars. And of course I’m seeing people who I look up to in some kinda way, and I’m seeing that they’re doing this to doing that, they’re doing the back end, they’re doing the front end, they’re doing sales, they’re doing marketing. And I’m just like, “Oh my god! I can do the same thing too!” And some of that mentality trickled over—when I was just a creative person, as just a hip-hop artist—being like, okay, you know, a one-man band is gonna win.
But when it comes down to it, you miss out on the opportunities, you miss out on the stuff you can be doing a lot better, your own strengths. And then you’re wasting time doing things that you’re not really good at. And so therefore it took me back, it was holding me back from all the stuff that I could be doing. So the fact of the matter is, when you’re focused on too many things… Just like when I had Jay Papasan, the co-author of The ONE Thing on my show; he was talking about time is like money. It’s like a monetary – a form of monetary currency. And you need to know how to invest it and how to utilize it.
And I think when you’re focusing on your weaknesses, you’re not moving forward. You’re moving laterally. Or you’re moving sometimes backwards. And so that was the problem with me, was thinking I could do everything, including the things that I was not good at. So that was what was holding me back.
John: You just shared a great lesson, a great takeaway, from that Jay Papasan interview. But what’s the one thing from the overarching – the overall theme of that worst moment that you wanna make sure that our listeners get?
Tony: The best thing that people should do is outsource their weaknesses. Stick to what you’re strong at, but whether – and I’m looking at both sides. I’m looking at people who have the money to outsource it, and then people who could perhaps do kind of a favor-for-favor. That’s how I start doing things. In the beginning it was like, well I’ll do a rhyming book review for you, if you can work on my SEO. But it’s always great to outsource your weaknesses and never bet on those. It’s better to bet on your strengths.
John: Fire Nation, we’re looking for greatness in this world. Especially if you’re going to take this leap and become an entrepreneur, you have to be great at one thing, not good at a lot of things.
And I’m sure if you’re listening to this, you’re probably not a lover of traditional education. I mean, there’s nothing super wrong with it, and it means well, and that is the reality. But one of my major complaints about traditional education is hey, if you’re getting a D in a subject, you should spend more time in that subject, so that you can get a C or a B in it next semester. No. Even if you do get a C or a B-, that’s still average and bleh and meh and nobody wants that. That’s not good for anybody or anything. What was that thing that you got an A- in? Why not make that an A+? If you’re already really good at something, become great at something. Double down.
So to Tony’s point, all we have is time. Outsource the crap that you’re not good at. Find people that are good at inspiring and inspired by that work, and have them do that, and you focus on the one thing or the two things that you love, and that you are becoming great at, or you want to become great at. Focus on that.
Now Tony, you’ve had a lot of great ideas over the years fo’ sho’. I’m not sure if enlisting in the Army was one of them but we’ll leave that for another conversation. But you had a lot of great ideas. Take us to one of the greatest “aha” moments you’ve had to date on the entrepreneurial side. Take us into that moment, Tony. Tell us that story,
Tony: It was August 2015 where I was online looking at regular book reviews that I came to that “aha” moment. That I could combine all the knowledge, talent, and skill I was nurtured and born with. And I came up with the idea of putting together music videos of acting and rapping, and fusing it with books. What was initially seen as a fun hobby eventually became a business where I help authors digitally market their books in a creative, fun – like a creatively fun and educational way.
John: Now, what was that next step? You were eyes wide open, you were looking around for what was missing in the world, you found something… but what was the first step that you took to really start to kinda get that momentum going?
Tony: When I got the book by Thich Nhat Hanh, I Am Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment, it was that book that really set the trajectory in there that got me into thinking: Man, I need to improve my life. After going through that tough breakup, I was like – I knew – it was more like a silver lining to say, hey, you need to change your life. This is what’s going on, and unless you want better, you need to do something about it.
And so that was the trajectory. When I started reading that book, got into mindfulness, it got me to want to read more books and involve myself in the entrepreneurial world. It was just amazing how it all came together; seeing myself at seminars, webinars, networking with people, reading more books on business and personal development. It was just awesome.
John: So what was that first rhyming book review? Walk us through that process.
Tony: Here I am, coming from the hip-hop realm, just as a creative person instead of a business. I think musicians need to see themselves more as a business, and not just some creative thing. Because I notice that a lot of the people who are just creative people just go willy-nilly, and they just do things without any rhyme or reason. No vision, no goals, no clear-cut line or deadline, anything set.
But the first thing I – one of the first videos I did was I think it was – because now I’m mixing it up, because they both were on a web camera. I had the worst scenario for what people – one guy was like, dude, I was gonna share your content, but for the fact you didn’t have good camera, and the sound was poor. He goes, I’m not gonna share it. But I did it on a webcam. I did the audio and the video on a webcam. And I did it in one of my rooms back in Connecticut, when I was living in Connecticut, with my bookshelf behind me. And it was The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.
John: So Tony, when you got that first piece of feedback, and you saw that this was actually working, what made you decide to take it to the next level and to really start to become a pro at doing this thing?
Tony: I think it was a mixture of the feedback that I was getting from people. People were sending me a lot of DMs, they were emailing me. I think also what put it over the top was when I was doing – and I love doing the books that really resonate within me. But it’s these New York Times, Amazon, international Wall Street bestselling books. And the authors who sell these millions of copies. And people like Jay Papasan, who wrote The ONE Thing; Michael Moss, who’s a Pulitzer Prize winning author of the book Salt Sugar Fat; the Mayo clinic obesity expert Dr. James Levine… And then also Seth Godin, to get Seth Godin to send me an email back going, “My god, this was amazing”—you know, it’s just like, okay, I’ve got something going on here. Feedback from all levels, all ends.
That’s was always the primary – and I remember my why, my why is so important. That I’m here to not only entertain, but also to educate, to inspire people. To see that books are still fun, still cool, and still sexy.
John: Fire Nation, this is something that I really want to make sure that you absorb here. We’re walking around this world today, we’re seeing problems, we’re seeing voids that need to be filled. And guess what, we should not try to fill all of them. Because it’s not us. But when we see one that sings to our soul, like I did with daily podcast, like Tony did with rhyming book reviews, then fill that void. Step into it, and see what happens.
And do it quick. Don’t wait till you have the perfect audio. Tony’s video and audio wasn’t perfect. But he got it out there, got some good feedback, said, “Hey, step your game up,” and then he kept moving forward with that. So get it out there into the world and see the reaction you get. Doesn’t have to be perfect, just has to be what your vision is.
Now if you think Tony’s been dropping value bombs, you’re right. And more coming up in the lighting round when we get back from thanking our sponsors.
Tony, are you ready to rock the lighting round?
Tony: Oh yes I am, JLD!
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Tony: I think a lot of people, when they start getting into this sector, when they get into business; they look of the what-ifs. Everything’s very perfectionist. “Well, this has to be nice and tightened and screwed in well, and this area has to be nice and clean and smooth,” and all the stuff like that. But what it comes down to was – and a lot of us, especially getting into this, who’s never sold anything, who’s never done anything businesslike – is not seeing themselves of value. Whether it is for people’s entertainment, education, or for my own financial income – I did not see myself as value.
It was when I believed I was of value, which was a psychological and spiritual awakening for me, was when everyone else saw me and everything I represented of value.
John: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Tony: Going back again, I had Jay Papasan—the coauthor of the New York Times and Wall Street bestselling…over a million book copies, translated in several languages—on my show. He wrote the one thing – I learned that time is your biggest asset. And when I asked him if time was like a form of money, monetary currency, how wealthy would most people be these days? He responded, "If time was a form of monetary currency, most people would be broke." Many people waste time on things that either do not matter – they waste time with things that do not matter or do matter. But besides money, it is time in which, depending on how you spend it, can pay dividends or cause you to go bankrupt.
John: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Tony: I wake up, take a cold shower, do my daily affirmations in the mirror, do five sets of 25 pushups that I spread throughout the day, I eat some breakfast, which – my staple concoction, John is a concoction of oatmeal, almond butter, cinnamon, banana, and a scoop of protein. I read some pages in a book for either inspiration or to get ideas for my next book review. And then I write out my goals for the day. Prioritize them. And then take five to 15 minute break in between.
I work in my basement, so that keeps me away from my distractions. My desk area does not involve a chair, so I use a standing desk, and that allows me to continue working.
John: I love hearing people’s morning routines. Recommend one Internet resource.
Tony: I was gonna say Google, but I fell in love when I was in graduate school with EBSCO Host. So all those search engines you would find in a public university. And you don’t necessarily have to be an alumnus. You can be off the street and go there and utilize it for free, depending on what campus. So I would say those search engines like EBSCO Host. And of course, if not, Google.
John: Recommend one book and share why,
Tony: Start With Why, by Simon Sinek. Using my experiences with all my endeavors, I notice that the reason why people quit is because their “why” was not strong enough. So find any passion, business, social cause, and you’ll find that the people who are successful in this are the ones who know their why.
So one would ask me, how do you find your why? And John, I think of Louis C.K.’s rendition of when he talked about a conversation he had with his daughter. He called the skit “Why,” where his daughter asked him “why” until he could no longer come up with an answer.
But the point is to make a list of the reasons why you are pursuing, keep writing them down until you can go no further, and make sure that such endeavors hold deeply to your values
John: And Fire Nation, there’s a great audiobook on this very topic, so if you are not an Audible member, you can get this book for free at EOFireBook.com. Start With Why.
Tony let’s end today on fire with a parting piece of guidance, you sharing the best way that we can connect with, you and then we’ll say goodbye.
Tony: This is my gift to JLD and the Fire Nation. Check this out, and I will leave you with where you can find me. Check it out.
[Rapping] John Lee Dumas, John Lee Dumas. Whoever’s not listening is probably foolish. John Lee Dumas, he’s better than Comcast, he’s beyond that. It’s hard facts. He’s great on the podcast. Throw fire onto the floor. Perspire under your drawers. His podcast will inspire entrepreneurs. But let me stop it with complements. John is an honest man. He lives in Puerto Rico and went to college in Providence. To the people listening onto this rapping, I’ve got one thing to say: Follow your passions, and learn to make an extra living that is livable. Get a side hustle, like my author friend, Chris Jilloboe. But I’m signing off right now. Time is wasting. Shout out to John Loomis and the Fire Nation.
John: I’m literally beat boxing back here, and I just had to put it on mute, because it’s obviously bad beat boxing. Brother, that was great. I want to share that clip on social media today, I hope you give me your permission to do that.
John: Give us the best way that we can find you.
Tony: Alright, so I want all my Fire Nation listeners to remember: Keep going, keep believing, keep thinking big and great things will happen. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter @Tony underscore M-O-Z-E. And my website TonyMoze.com. And you can email me at TonyMoze500@gmail.com.
John: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with Moze and JLD today. So keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com, type “Tony” in the search bar. His show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz. Timestamps, links galore. And Tony, thank you brother, for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
Tony: Thank you very much, John.
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