Thomas Green here with Ethical Marketing Service. On the podcast today we have the antipreneur, Dan Bennett. Dan, welcome.
Hey, thanks. Happy to be here and eager to talk good stuff.
Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a little bit about yourself and what you do for sure.
Currently, my favourite thing in the world is to develop story with entrepreneurs and business owners and help get that story where it’s going and often the vehicle that takes it where it’s going just happens to be video when you say developed story, what what’s the process look like that? It’s actually very literal. We do some interviewing, we have some games and prompts, different things we do to kind of break the ice and get people to open up. And a lot of times it’s very – sorry to use a buzzword – but like organic. Just my years of interviewing and working with people leads to great questions that get people to kind of open up a little bit and share. And even though business is very black and white and a lot of businesses are just ticking boxes and doing things, you know, with policy and procedure.
I like to dig past that and see why people are doing what they do. Do you find that people have stories intriguing stories that will work that they kind of disregard because I hear that a lot, 100%. One of my favourite parts about storytelling and story development is conflict and a lot of businesses and business owners stay away from conflict. They want to talk about features and benefits and that’s all understandable for sure. But sometimes we need big pass that and show a little bit of dirt under the rug or you know, air a little bit of dirty laundry. Talk about the actual problem you’re solving story seems to kind of creep out and people have really cool reasons for doing what they do. Is that like the before and after examples? Yeah, sometimes it’s life too. It’s the reason that maybe a CEO gets out of bed in the morning and they never talk about that and it’s not part of the messaging for the company, but maybe it should be because once we discovered it’s really powerful, so it goes in a lot of different directions. So what’s the story? You use story?
When I say huge, that sounds a bit negative. I didn’t mean it like that. Oh no, they’re all tools for sure. So I use the word used quite a bit myself. I kind of envision myself like a big crowbar. People are doing really cool things in real life already. they don’t need me to create any story for them. I’m just pulling it out, dusting it off and putting a spotlight on it and I feel like that’s just kind of being a crowbar and leveraging them to get a little bit attraction to continue doing what they’re doing, but maybe have a little bit more of a digital audience paying attention to it. The story for myself, I use all the time is like, I’m just an old school guy. I like vintage things like things that were built really well and last a long time I like denim and cotton and leather boots and motorcycles and stuff like that, you know, so my story is always just trying to take like old school principals, things like story that are ancient and powerful and use them in a new kind of, you know, digital format.
Well, a couple of things there that I wanted to talk to you about, one of which is, that you’ve done some work for Harley Davidson. Yeah, that’s the motorcycles, right?
That was a super fun job. I got to work directly with their marketing department and do some commercial work for one of their larger dealerships and my favourite part of the whole story, even though the work turned out really well. and it was fun to do is that I got access to all of their marketing assets at the employee level. So I got to go into their servers and pull assets that were created specifically by that brand and it was just cool to see how a big company utilises colour and font and story in their own work. Any learnings or principles that you got from that job or that claim. Yeah, it doesn’t matter that they’re big. I think that was kind of my first dose of, we’re just people working with other people trying to tell a story. That particular one, I think one of the Captain America movies was coming out and there was some Harley Davidson ad placement and they were trying to hit that kind of young thirties crowd that might be looking at buying a smaller motorcycle for the first time and they’re just trying to tell the story, that you know, you don’t have to be middle aged and wealthy to own a bike.
They have cheaper, smaller models and you can be part of the culture. So it’s just fun to kind of dig in and see that these are just people trying to tell a story like anyone else. It’s a cool, it’s a cool story, the vintage stuff that you talked about. Why is it that you think that you like vintage products? I’ve actually thought about that quite a bit and I don’t have an answer, but I love talking about it because I’m always trying to discover. I know as I picked it apart over the years, a decent part of it is a lot of this stuff was just built well and lasts a long time and I love knowing that I’m that kind of person, I’m someone who’s trustworthy and reliable and kind of old school and I’ll come and help you move for beer and pizza, you know, that sort of thing. as some of it just speaks to me because a lot of it existed before I did. so part of storytelling is looking into the past and pulling information and data from people who might not be around anymore and that includes some of those companies and individuals who built those kinds of things. I’m also a boot guy and you know, I’ve paid higher amounts for boots than the average person does.
And then just got them resold and re-healed three or four times over 10 years because they just kept lasting and I just, I don’t know, there’s something about that that speaks to me. Yeah, I can, I can imagine it being a little bit more difficult to get story from this has been mass produced and was built in a few minutes versus someone’s crafted and their expertise and you know, there’s this long history behind it and I can see, I can see the story behind that part of it. Do you think that has something to do with it? I think so yeah, there’s always a history. You know, one of my accidental favourite sayings is that, you know, I’ve been on the planet for 40 years and not a single other person has lived a moment of my life, which means I get to tell my story. It’s, it’s important, it’s unique. It’s mine and no one else has it. And even newer companies, I work with start-ups and stuff like that, the founders have a past that they’re pulling from maybe other companies they started or worked for their personal lives struggles maybe they had or things they’ve overcome the knowledge that they’re bringing into maybe a new environment and a new start-up.
So there’s always something and it’s super cliche, but I often kind of joke that making cliches matter is part of my career. but just digging one layer deeper, like an onion, just pulling another later. You don’t always have to get to the core, but if you talk to someone and then pull a couple of those layers off. Oftentimes you find some real cool stories that have nothing to do with the widget that that company might sell. So do you find, have you done like, tests and stuff in relationship to telling a story versus not telling a story and how that influences response? I haven’t personally, I love looking into that stuff and researching that kind of information. My favourite business books are the ones that are built on like research and data and stuff like that, because I just like knowing how people work. So, again, I haven’t done that research myself, but knowing the power of story, I kind of launched this portion of my career, not wanting to work with any companies or any individuals who didn’t care about story because anyone can make your content and I can give you referrals, but if you really care about story, that’s where I come in?
So I would love to say if the audience has, you know, any information or wants to follow up with me and let me know where I can learn even more about that. I’m always a student when it comes to story versus just putting stuff out there. Mm So what’s a typical inquiry that like for you? definitely referral based? 95 plus percent of my traffic is warm being on shows with people like yourself and just kind of sharing what I do and opening up the conversation about story. it’s almost always warm traffic and it’s people like, you know, I’ve been either creating content not getting traction or I don’t care as much about the, like, click through rate in that kind of digital RO. I want to make more of an impact on the audience. I have those are the general inquiries. and then a portion, because videos often the vehicle that takes the story where it’s going a portion of the work I do is just getting entrepreneurs and business owners from zero to being on video themselves and we help them learn how to do video themselves. So they don’t have to hire a production company every time they want to make a piece of video content and those to kind of marry.
Um so it’s usually someone wanted to tell a better story and oftentimes put out video to tell that story on their behalf would you say it’s accurate? That you focus more on quality than quantity? Yeah, 100%. And that doesn’t always mean Hollywood, blockbuster, you know what I mean? It’s super important to be able to hear you well, it’s super important that the main subject is in focus and we know what’s going on. but a really fun distinction between, and this is just my personal opinion between video production and then the work I’ve done like in the film world is I feel like film is really driven by dialogue, narrative and story, even documentaries and stuff like that, which are awesome. And then video oftentimes is driven by eliminating distractions. We want to make it as clear as possible because you only got a certain amount of time for someone to hear what you’re up to, what you’re selling, who you are. And oftentimes as simple as a decent microphone, being in focus on a couple of lights, but that quality does matter. everyone is getting used to streaming and Netflix and YouTube producers like myself who put out really great quality content, people are getting used to it.
So when the quality is bad, sometimes people would turn away just because subconsciously they’re like, oh, this isn’t professional or good. so the quality doesn’t have to be, you know, special effects and explosions, but it’s, it’s got to be there for sure. So your film experience, you want to talk about that. But yeah, it was brief but intense. I was on my first feature length film set in 2014, I believe about 3.5 months on set was on the camera crew and I was a camera assistant. So that’s usually the person who’s pulling focus during the shots running around, making sure batteries are charged up and that all that stuff is ready to go. but I was older than a lot of the crew members. So a lot of people are looking to me from my experience and video while I was brand new kind of in the film world and it was really fun to meet those creative people. I think the biggest impact of that first film I was on was two things really one. It was a skeleton crew, but it was still like 30 people all doing their own thing at the same time and at working together.
And that was the first time I ever really get to see, you know, all the cogs and wheels and belts driving something like that. So that was really life changing. And then the other part was about halfway through, we were having lunch and everyone was just sharing something that they thought no one in the group might know and when it got to me, I said, well this is my first films that I’ve ever been on and the people were shocked and it’s not because I’m awesome. It’s just because I’m a great student, I was older, got a fair amount of life experience plus I’ve been around cameras for a while so I just put my head down, learned and executed and it was just kind of fun to know that I could like jump into an environment like that. and then it led to doing all the special effects on the film because one day on set, I was just overhearing a conversation about how their special effects artist might not be able to do the job they said they could do and I was like, hey, if you ever need any help, let me know. And then that led to actually creating the trailer for the film, which was the first time I ever did a trailer. So there was so many firsts in that first experience and it was just really fun using my experience in life to do something brand new.
And I love telling that story because there’s so many people out there who might not think they have a great story or might not feel comfortable getting on camera yet, but they have tons of experience and knowledge and expertise that the world is waiting to hear. So I’d like to encourage people that even though it’s your first time doing something, you could probably still do pretty well at it. So do you see yourself going back to something like that or were you a bit swamped with work? I get teased every now and then. It’s not a desire mind to be in the film world full time or you know in Hollywood or anything like that. but because of some of those experience and subsequent experiences, I’ve done some work and It seems to pop up every couple of years, every year or two. last year I did some work or late 2019, I’m sorry, did some work with Westbrook Productions, which is will smith’s company and their son, Jaden Smith was in Flint Michigan where I’m from doing some really great work around the water crisis and trying to help out the community and I got hired by them to do some pick up shots and interviews and stuff for a documentary they were shooting and it was fun to kind of dabble in that world again, you know, where it’s all about production and where it’s going to play and film festivals and all that kind of stuff.
I don’t think I’d want to be there full time, but it’s fun to get called on every once in a while. Well, it kind of works with that industry, doesn’t it? Because that’s not a, you don’t get safe 9-5 often with that kind of kind of industry? Yeah, I think it’s pure entrepreneurship. you know, you have a vision, you get people to fund that vision. You end up with a bunch of people on set who don’t always work together. They’re individuals, but they all have to work on a team. So it’s like a start-up, you have deadlines and goals and you’ve got to pay those investors back. And then there’s the, let’s hope the audience likes it because we put a lot of work in here. So I almost view every like, commercial or music video or film I’ve ever been associated with us. Like a little mini start-up. Well, talking of start-ups, how did your business get started? I have an engineering background and hated it. I was good at drafting and design, but never, ever liked it. And in my early twenties, I finally left that industry and started kind of poking around at, you know, the questions that you usually ask before you go to college, which is what do I want to do, who am I? That sort of thing.
And I was in a band that toured at the time and I was picking up some merchandise, some t-shirts that were selling it shows, and the guy that owned the company was like, hey, you guys saw a lot of t-shirts and I’m like, yeah, that’s how we support ourselves. So we’re really good at the sales of the merge because we got to keep guests in the van, you know? And he’s like, do you know any other bands that you play with often? And like, actually, yeah, and he’s like, well if you ever bring in any merch orders for them, I’ll give you 10%. And that was kind of my first introduction into, Wow, I can use my design skills and my storytelling skills for someone else to make a little bit of money. And it started kind of snowballed from there. I did all of our stuff, so web promotion posters, merch design, printing all that stuff. And it kind of was my first accidental company, if you will, even though it’s just me as a freelancer. So I liked that it wasn’t planned, you know what I mean? A lot of people like, I’m going to quit my job and go into business and there’s a lot of hiccups that can come along the way where you get caught up on, like, I have to have a business plan and how do I do this?
And mine was more of like, I don’t know, let’s roll with this. So I look back on it fondly for sure. So what happens after that? I continue to work for that company? Actually, I came back did more and more prints and then one day I was like, hey, do you care if I design for these other bands too, and just bring you the artwork? And then it progressed to me actually getting the film that you print on and printing the artwork on the film. And he was so excited to have ready to go film to burn screens with that. I walked in one day just to put in an order like had done many times before and he’s like, hey, you want a job? I’m like, actually right now I’m looking, I’m trying to discover what I want in life. So yeah, I’ll work with you. And I became the head of their art department and started working with all kinds of companies. Not only designing shirts and stuff, but really learning how to use design and storytelling, you know, for something as simple as a cub. Scout leaders pack shirts or whatever, you know to not only bring some happiness into someone’s world, but also tell a story through that design. So that’s when professionally I started using design and storytelling to kind of make a living.
And then from there I worked for a production company. I was one of three learned a ton in about a year and a half and then broke out on my own in 2014 and have a look back sense. So you were, you were doing a job what you currently do video production or I suppose it’s, it’s similar I suppose. And then did you go into video production, was it straight into course type? Yeah, definitely, definitely started with video production. So leaving the art director job and going to a production company. I brought my art experience and we were doing a lot of motion graphics that requires like vectorised artwork in the beginning to then make all those pieces move on screen. And uh, it was definitely like a start-up type of little company. So there’s a lot of downtime in between jobs. So since we had so much downtime, I would, you know, do some camera operations, I would do some editing. I started getting into after effects and doing motion graphics myself. Just learning because I had the time to do so.
And then, after a year and a half, when it became clear that it was time to break out of my own. I had that skill set and I took it with me. So the first job I did on my own was actually, uh, video production based job And I just fell in love with how flexible video is. I often think of all the marketing types like vehicles, you know, like audio is kind of like a street bike. It’s really nimble and you can get in places where other marketing can’t like, you can listen in the gym or when you’re driving. The written word is ancient and powerful and it’s almost like those big cargo utility, army trucks, you know, that take cargo from point A to point B in the reliable and trustworthy and on down the line all the way to video. And when I got to video, I thought of like a hovercraft. I can go on the ice or water, rock, sand, doesn’t matter. It’s just really, really flexible. And yeah, it’s just kind of my favourite way to – I always say I’m hiding the medicine in the cheese. Like when your veterinarian says your dog needs to take a pill.
The medicine is story and I’m always hiding in the cheese, which oftentimes happens to be video, chocolate-covered broccoli, you know, yes, I might steal that. I’ll credit you the first few times I use it, but I might steal that. All right.
Well, how did you get your first client? My first client, when I struck out on my own, was actually a client that I brought into the production company that I previously worked for. I hadn’t done much work for them. I just introduced them to the company and they, I think they had a single video done And when I left, I actually had a fair amount of people who found me and were like, hey, you’re not over there anymore. You’re over here. Can I still work with you? And hey, that’s up to you. You’re, you know, you can spend your money wherever you want. So it’s actually a client had already developed a relationship with and the job was actually a high school baseball team who had gone to state wide finals and they were playing at a triple a ball club stadium in our state.
So it’s really special for everyone cause they were playing on a big field under the lights and all that stuff. And we shot like a highlight video of their journey to the state finals. So it’s kind of fun. And it kind of went from there, started doing bids and, and sticking my nose where it didn’t belong and trying to help companies understand that putting out a great video is great, but telling a great story is actually impactful. And then I started getting on the radar, some universities and non-profits and smaller local companies that were like, yeah, I think, I think we care about that. Maybe we should talk to you instead of just making a video for the sake of it. So I mean, the only thing I’m missing, well I’m probably missing a lot. But my perception is the only thing that I’m missing is the, how you learn the skills. So I mean, because most people I would imagine would quite like to have the skill that you have, but how did that come about? Oh man, It’s a lot of growing up poor with a single parent figuring things out. My mom raised me and my brother, she’s a total bad ass.
Sorry if you can’t cuss and just kind of perceiving how to make life work when you don’t have much. The first music video we ever did for the band I was in was a no budget, just food and shelter. And we still got quality actors from all over the Midwest come in because we got really creative with what we offered them. It’s just always been a version of like, I can’t afford this, so I’m going to find out how to do this myself and I don’t recommend it for everyone. one of the reasons I built one minute media, which is my company that helps entrepreneurs learn how to shoot their own video is so they don’t have to learn all that stuff themselves because a lot of it you can skip and just have someone help you and get past it really fast, but it’s always been out of necessity. I’ve been deemed by many people as resilient coming from Flint Michigan, there’s not a ton of opportunity like around you directly. So you have to kind of go and find it and I’ve worked for clients all over the world and flown all over the US to do, you know, content development and story development for people and it’s just always been about putting myself out there and one thing that I feel comfortable giving advice on for sure is just talking about what you’re trying to accomplish.
It might seem a little woo but like everywhere I go, I talk about what I’m trying to do, what’s next, where I’m trying to go and people in general, you know, the human race, but also entrepreneurs in particular are always kind of keen to help, they’re always keen to keep your top of mind and then six months later be like, hey, are you still trying to do that thing? Because I know someone who might help, so it’s just kind of figure it out as you go type of thing. And that’s one of the reasons I’m so into helping entrepreneurs now. It’s just to get him past some of those potholes and hurdles up front. Would you say it was YouTube university part of it was, but this all started before YouTube was big. So a lot of it was being the guy who would just go up to someone and be like, hey, how d’you do that? I mean literally, that first film I was ever on was just because I was at a local networking event and mentioned that I worked at a production company, but I did the artwork and somehow I still got brought into a camera crew job.
So like, it’s weird how just, you know, putting yourself in situations, you can find that stuff and then YouTube did finally come along and I’m a huge proponent of learning, you know, you’re gonna be a little picky, make sure you’re watching a pro, who knows what they’re doing, but like, the second half of my career has definitely been a lot of tutorials and questions and then again, even digitally damning some of those people and saying, hey, you know, I’m sure you get 1000 times a week, but like I have this idea and I was wondering if you might be able to help me just in a quick conversation and you’d be surprised sometimes he will answer. You mentioned the flint water crisis. I’m not up to date on that, would you say that’s concluded now? Unfortunately? No, it’s very slow. A lot of things in infrastructure are slow, especially in Michigan there’s been a lot of pipes replaced, a lot of effort, a lot of love, heartfelt help, you know, from all over the country in the world, to be honest, but it’s just one of those things, digging up a bunch of pipes and replacing them with new ones for an entire city uh, is a slow and tough job, I don’t know the exact stats, but last time I looked into it, I think they were about 70% of the way done and they have several companies doing it.
So there is kind of a jointed effort there. And then unfortunately you have lead pipes that go from where the city stops and your house begins and a lot of people in flint can’t afford to go swap out those pipes for plastic and stuff like that. So it’s a, it’s a difficult, slow process and it’s kind of hard to watch because you know, we’re seven years in and it’s not completely fixed yet, but I love talking about it at least a little bit anytime I’m, you know like I said welcome down to a show like yours just because it’s not over. So I like to keep it top of mind here and there where people are interested. Yes, important. Did you have the coloured water come through to your water supply or not? I personally did not. but I definitely took advantage of the bottled water that they were giving out to residents during the crisis because there was definitely fragrance and flavour problems, you know. but just down the road it’s weird how flint’s kind of broken up as far as their sewer systems, but just down the road you know a mile, it was definitely happening, you know, just like that.
So it was different pockets of different neighbourhoods got you know, different kind of results, but it was all coming from the same place, which was no good. So people you know, cooking, bathing, drinking all from bottled water. All right, well thanks for sharing that. Anyway, you mentioned about the fact that you are happy to share sort of what you’re achieving at the moment so that if someone six months later I can come back to you, what are you hoping to achieve at the moment? Yeah, I I have recently been told by someone that what I actually do is make the invisible visible and it actually kind of gave me goose bumps when this person made that observation and shared that with me, essentially what they were saying is, you know, maybe video distributions, the final leg and the one before that is the story being done and before that is the development, but really what I excel at is pulling story out of people and finding what’s in there and when she said, you make the invisible visible, I was like, wow, that’s actually kind of powerful and that is my favourite part about everything I do.
It’s just finding someone who says I’m not creative or I’m not a good storyteller. I really don’t have anything to share. I just run a company and it’s very black and white and finding that there is some richness and story in there. So my freelance work where I work directly with people revolves a lot around that. And then one minute media, which is the digital side is like coursework and private membership for people to learn how to shoot video on their own with our help along the way. And I love that because taking small businesses, even departments within a company or we have a client who’s a small news organisation, so all of their reporters are part of it, you know, so they’re learning how to shoot video on their own and create video content, hyping up their upcoming stories and stuff like that. It’s just cool to give people tools when they’re already really good at what they do and watch them, use them in leverage and get even more attention, especially when they’re doing something great. So one minute media is really important to me in that sense, and actually next week. So hopefully this is okay to say it’s near the end of June right now.
So by the beginning of July I’m launching what I call the video sandbox, which is literally just a community where people can go for free and upload video in a safe and loving environment to get critique and feedback and review so they can get comfortable on camera and get those reviews from an audience but do it in a safe place. So they don’t just have to put it out to the world and that’s my first kind of step in helping people to get comfortable on camera because I’m the last person in the world to say, just do it. You know, I was in a band that toured and played all over the place. I’ve spoken in front of crowds all over the United States and I still had my own journey going from behind the camera to in front of it. So I’ve never wanted to say, just do it, just get it over with. And that’s kind of my first step into helping people out. So that’s just sandbox, that video and real simple to find and become a part of the community and just get your reps in and build those video muscles. So this is kind of the three elements that I’m really focused on right now. That’s cool. Thanks for sharing. You did say that you’re about giving advice, perhaps hesitant to give advice and I am I reading into that?
Yeah, you’re 100% correct. If it’s, you know, around storytelling, your video, I’ll let you know everything I know and feel really good about having decades behind that. But outside of that, I’m really hesitant to give advice. I love to give pieces of information or little metaphors or anecdotes to get people thinking in a new way, but it’s never to say, hey you should go do this. But going back to what I said earlier, a new piece of advice I finally feel comfortable giving is to again talk about what it is you’re trying to accomplish. It’s a tactic and that’s okay. It’s something that you know, show me and you were talking about, you know how you answer when someone says how you doing and sometimes even just in that quick conversation with someone you may know who’s an acquaintance, hey how you doing? Well, you know what I just got done launching this sandbox, That video thing to help people get comfortable on camera? So I’m excited about that. The weather is nice and getting some vitamin D. Uh, you know, just have my favourite coffee. So I’m doing pretty good. How are you doing?
Just those couple of sentences of what you’re up to. Not only is it intriguing and great storytelling, but again, it might, you know, just stay on someone’s radar. Well, I was going to say from the point of view of actually getting on camera, let’s say someone wanted to try it and you know, sandbox would be a great place to and no test it out. But what would you say is a starting piece of advice if you were to give advice on such a thing? Most of us, not all of us, but most of us have at least one person. Someone somewhere that will shoot you straight. Hopefully lovingly, especially if it’s like a family member significant other or something, but if you, if you know anyone who will shoot you straight, a great thing to do is just use a smartphone camera and do a little 32nd blurb and show it to someone you trust. Obviously I’m part of a phenomenal entrepreneurial group slack group called the underdogs and it’s just full of entrepreneurs all trying to get better and do their thing and grow their businesses.
So it’s a safe place for me to be like, hey, I’m thinking about doing a video on this topic, what do you think? Here’s my thumbnail I’m going to use. What do you think? So anyway, that you can go to just get a little bit of feedback is a really powerful thing. The other part that comes in, even though video is visual, is voice. Again, I’ve been researching this heavily over the last eight months because I want to help people and as I asked more and more questions and more and more people, people who have been on camera for a long time, people who have just gotten on people who aren’t on camera yet. a lot of times they’re worried about their voice and it’s completely understandable, right? Because we don’t hear ourselves recorded very often. I think back, I was born in the eighties, so I think back to the old, you know, answering machines and when you hear it go off it’s like, oh that’s what I sound like. and for that, I would just, you know, want to encourage people that, you know, your voices. It’s just sound waves coming out, right? So use your voice, use your knowledge and you, you never know who you might be able to impact with it. So that’s some of my advice is to get started but do it in a safe way. So you’re not just putting yourself out there for ridicule. And also I just wanna encourage people that a lot of times I’m working, like I said with people going from zero to being on camera for the first time and a lot of them are super good, they just didn’t know it, you know, so getting those reps in might just open a couple of doors that you didn’t even know were in existence, so hopefully that answers the question, good advice, so why the antipreneurs?
Yeah, so that was an accident, but I stuck with it late 2017, I was just looking, at the especially the digital entrepreneurial, space a lot of gurus letter, like, you know, follow my blueprint and you’ll have the Lamborghini to a lot of, you know, courses, which I’m not anti-courses, I have my own course, but like a lot of it was just like coaches, coaching coaches on how to coach coaches and you just get lost in the meta of that and it’s like, you know, just kind of garbage, not everything, just enough of it, where I was kind of turned off by a lot of it and I was just making a piece of content one day, ranting a little bit as I do sometimes and I was like, you know, it used to be, if you said the word entrepreneur, someone would look at you and go, oh you don’t have a job, do you nowadays, everyone’s calling themselves an entrepreneur, so you kind of don’t know who’s actually starting running a business or who is just, you know, maybe a micro influencer but thinks they have a company or anything in between. And it was just getting the kind of irritating and I’m one of those guys who speak my mind, so I was like making a video, I’m like, you know, entrepreneurship is like this trendy term now, I’m not even an entrepreneur and an antipreneurs and the whole thing was just being anti shiny things, magic pills, silver bullets, all the B.
S that I saw on the internet and it just got a response, you know, and so I would say it now and then in my content and then when it came time to launch a podcast, I’m like, I’m just calling it the antipreneurs show because people seem to like the name, I like what it stands for and it kind of rolled from there and now it’s my personal brand and it’s across all things that I do. So it’s kind of fun. My, one of my favourite parts of storytelling is pattern interrupt and how well it works and how you can go into something as simple as a networking meeting with a T shirt on that says the entrepreneur and automatically people are either like for you against you or just generally intrigued and it’s so powerful to just be able to interrupt the pattern of their day and a lot of the people who are even like, I’m an entrepreneur ness’s antipreneurs, are you antientrepreneurship, I just smile at them and say, oh, it worked, and then they would look confused and I would say it’s just a pattern interrupt, I’m super pro entrepreneurship. I’m just anti all the BS that we don’t need and I don’t know, it’s just so it’s this fun thing for me which every once in a while, you know, people feel it has a negative connotation, but I think it’s a great icebreaker and great starting point for conversation.
I agree, although I was optimistic at the time when I don’t know whether it’s necessarily stopped, but and what you’re referencing is like all the BS that goes on the internet for pitching. I kind of, I know exactly what you mean, well I think is that it hasn’t changed that much. What do you think about that? It hasn’t, I feel like, man, I hate to sound too dramatic here, but I feel like part of the reason that I exist and do what I do is to give more and more and more genuine business owners and entrepreneurs and people doing great things in the world who actually have empathy and would never take advantage of anyone on purpose, space to grow audience to get in front of more people to get on a screen and get on someone’s phone and create content that might change someone’s life just to combat that at the end of the day it still turns into dollar bills there’s still hopefully I don’t get in trouble too much for saying this but there’s still the Grant Cardone is of the world having their 10 x events that are sold out and packed stadiums. it turns $2 bills. People love being hyped up and they love you know being inspired and those things are great. but they don’t solve problems and they don’t sell products and services necessarily hard work. Does you know? So I feel like I’m combating it but I definitely feel like it’s just as big as ever and people enjoy being part of that camp and that’s okay too. Like we need all kinds or else it would get boring but they enjoy being part of that camp so since there’s only one anti procure currently there is not necessarily an army fighting against that. So yeah it’s still as prevalent as ever. I believe there are a couple of people who have become prominent. I’m not sure you would refer to them as entrepreneurs or not but anyone in that space that you like who is should we say doing something about it? Yeah totally. One is Pat Flynn very heart forward.
I don’t know him personally. But he would have to do some really bad stuff for me to change my mind at this point because he’s just spent so many years pouring into other people and he’s one that definitely practices what he preaches and even though he does have products to buy physical and digital, so much of his stuff is free and it’s really like powerful that I’m definitely a fan of his. Noah Kagan is one from apps, sumo, he’s a, he’s a bit rough around the edges and not everyone is a fan, but he really keeps it real and talks about all his failures and entrepreneurship before he finally had success. And I love that dirt under the rug type thing, you know, so that’s a great space to learn how to start a business over the weekend. That’s one of his favourite things to test things, you know, and see if they’ll fly. So those are a couple people. Who else really inspires me? I like Ryan Holiday that is a bit leaning towards the guru side of things, especially with some of his past books and stuff.
But I like that someone is out there willing to try to bring something like stoicism to entrepreneurs because it makes sense that those things go together, but someone using a digital platform to kind of bring people into that mindset, you know, there is a little bit of kind of a cult following type vibe for some of that stuff, but I just like that is challenging the status quo, which is my favourite thing to do, so that probably three people that around my radar is like seemingly good doers and people saying, hey, you don’t get to spend a dime in my world. I just want to encourage you to do your thing and do it Well. Well actually men, thank you for those. But there are some people who are like calling out some of the pitch people. You have you heard of coffee seller at all? Oh yeah. To be honest, it was like the two months ago I had seen as thumbnails here and there but never watched. It was like two months ago I finally watched something that was on crypto because I’m just slightly interested in that space and it was like, whoa.
And it was like a part of a three or four-part thing. It ended up being going after some scammer and then I was hooked after that. So I’ve been looking at his backlog over the last couple months. The other one, I think he’s doing good work is mike win it, who’s got the contra preneurs series and basically he goes through, you mentioned the word guru. I try not to use it because people always reference it like I’m not your guru type thing, but he gets the pitch and then identifies what they’re doing at that particular time and kind of makes fun of it a little bit. People were exposed to that a bit more. I think the, the pictures would be a little less successful. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think for yourself, right, it’s one of those things where it’s interesting because there’s so many incredible leaders in the entrepreneurial space, so many incredible c suite executive folk and CEOs and small start-ups and all kinds of stuff that you just don’t hear about because they’re not in the digital space. You have no idea that company exists.
It may be like here in the Midwest of manufacturing company, but they have a great culture in their treat their people amazing. You know, there’s all kinds of cool stuff out there in great leadership and we just don’t hear about it because the internet is kind of built for, get attention, get it fast, keep on moving. Sometimes we get inundated with that. So I love when anyone’s trying to champion the cause I have never backed away from challenging the status quo as being my little tagline because I get bored with what everyone’s doing. So I’m always trying to do the opposite even to my detriment once in a while that crush, crush the status quo. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just you know, I don’t want anyone to think about it. I just want them to like, you know, obliterate, decimate, get rid of. I have a thing I called the 180 approach where I look at what’s going on and maybe like some marketing we’re doing for an upcoming thing or just getting more people on my newsletter, you know, my YouTube channel, trying to entertain people while educating them and stuff. And I look at what’s going on around me and I’ll try to go 180° away from what that is and then just back that off Because maybe I don’t want to offend everyone or maybe the budget doesn’t allow for me being 180 or you know, maybe that’s just a little bit too intense.
So let’s back it off. But when you start doing your own things so hard that no one can touch it and you just back off a little from there to keep it like safe and palatable and stuff like that. You end up with something that’s very different than what’s going on. And then down the road people are like, how did you differentiate like that? And it could be as simple as I just zigged when they zagged.
Would you say you’re a bit of a contrarian?
Yeah. Again, sometimes to my detriment, often to my delight. I don’t like to stir the pot for the sake of controversy or anything like that. But I do like to shake things up because I feel like there’s just a lot of, a lot of stuff out there. It’s just stagnant and it doesn’t need to be and so many creative, helpful heart forward people are doing great work and I just want to like, you know, shaken by the shoulders a little bit and be like, hey, get that out there more, you know, be a little different than everyone else in your space. So let’s say, so did you ever get stung by, let’s say paying for a course which you then regretted because it was over hyped up.
So this is not a breaking point, I swear to God, but I have never bought a course of my life and that’s really weird that I have one and I’m open to saying that out loud. I’ve never bought a course. I’ve, you know, it was only a little while ago and it’s a different story for a different time, but it was only a little while ago that I actually like subscribed to anyone on YouTube now because I’m against it. It’s just the algorithm does. So good to give me what I want that. When I look for things, I find some of the best people and I watch their videos and then I go back to their channel much more. but I’ve never like fully bought into anything. And again, it’s not bragging, It’s just the way my life has went. I’ve always been kind of like buck the system mentality. So I’m like, now, what’s your course have for me now saying that I’m also self-aware enough to know I probably missed out on some great stuff just because that was my viewpoint. But I haven’t taken any.
So what your what your goals for your company?
I have this number and I don’t even know what translates into this number, but I want to help 10,000 people tell their stories.
So that could be a freelance client that I work with directly someone, you know, that uses one minute media to learn how to get on camera. Even if I don’t do their content for them, they learned how and they made their own maybe with sandbox, that video. Maybe people come in and find that bravery and get those reps in and start making video. Maybe someone listens to your show and it’s like, all right, I’ve heard three different people now say I should probably tell my story. So I’m going to do it. It some of that’s intractable, and that’s totally okay with me. But I just want to help 10,000 people get from zero to telling their story in some format.
Cool. Do you know what you’re at now?
I don’t but the hard numbers, you know, I know I can trace around like 2500 and that’s again, that whole gamut of people who are clients, members, people who have just commented or said that something I did impacted them or, you know, downloads in certain episodes of my podcast, stuff like that. So, I feel pretty safe around that number probably of people who have created something after having interacted with me somehow.
It sounds like you’re gonna crush that number to me, I hope, but it still seems so big to me. It’s interesting, right? Like we all have our own perception of ourselves and our abilities. And even though I’ve done some pretty big things in my life, I still look at that, I’m like, man, I hope I get there, but I also feel that I’m going to get there and crush it. So like it’s this interesting duality I live in as a creative person.
Is there anything that you think would be valuable to the audience that I haven’t asked you about today?
Oftentimes storytelling is kind of this mysterious thing to people I like to share with people that, you know, we’re born. Storytellers like you’re born. And the first thing is you know, feeding the baby, like making sure that it’s fed and taken care of. And the second thing that we do is start telling stories to the baby. We coo at it and sing and rock it and talk to it. So we’re being told story and we’re developing our ability to story tell from the moment we’re born. So, I’d like to remind people that and oftentimes, because people are thinking author, script writer, you know, something like that when they think story they think of like fantasy.
I’d like to remind people that like, you know, nonfiction your life, what you’re doing where you come from, where you’re going is the kind of storytelling that people relate directly to. And if it’s okay to mention I have a tool, that’s free for people that kind of combines the two and it’s the story spine that like Disney and Pixar use, it’s just a little free guidebook people can download and it combines that structure of filling in the blanks of kind of a story, but it’s high enough level where you can fill it in with real life stuff like Once Upon a time I was invited to a podcast and because of that, I shared my story and because of that, maybe someone got a hold of me that heard your show and ever since then I’ve been working with them until, you know, one day we actually became partners in a business. I mean, you never know where that story could go. So it’s just a little framework that people can fill out and use to get storytelling kind of going in their mind. That’s cool. I have because of little ones. I have watched an awful lot of Disney and there is certainly a formulaic approach there isn’t there?
Yeah, there is, and it’s one of those, especially with Pixar, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, you know, because at the end day it’s a business and they’re gonna make money for sure. but it works right? It works. You kind of can’t deny how story driven we are as humans and yeah, it’s a powerful thing and I like to be in this space because it’s cool that I get to use something that I didn’t invent. It’s been around for millennia, but it really helps people communicate effectively. Yeah, dan. Where’s the best place for people to find you? I think the easiest and I’ll spell this out if that’s okay. So A-N-T-I-P-R-E-N-E-U-R. Like entrepreneur only anti and you can link to everywhere. I am on the internet just from that one page. So just a cool little link stack. and then the address, it’s okay to say an audio for that free story spine guidebook is the number one.
So M-I-N. maryinternationalnational.media/storyspine. And that spine, like the bones in your back, I’m sure you can cut that out if you need to. And if it’s in the show notes, that will be perfect. We can just say that it’s in the show notes below as well. But yeah, those are the easiest place to find me. I’m kind of everywhere. So if you search and type in your you probably stumble across something I’ve done.
Yeah, you’ve got your own hashtag, you know, all right.
Hopefully, one day that turns out to be something that makes me look really smart.
I think it will. Alright then. Thank you very much for your time today.
Hey, thanks for having me on.