Michael Gebben bypassed college and started his own video production company at the age of 19.
Since starting his first business, he has done video production for successful entrepreneurs all over the world including Richard Branson, Tony Robins, Tim Ferriss, Pat Flynn, Lewis Howes, Derek Halpern and many more.
Michael has an inspiring story to tell and today, we’ll be discussing how he was able to get out of a tiny town and a job at a funeral home to overcome all odds and become one of the world’s most renowned videographers.
Michael will share how he leverages free work and how he landed his first filming gig for Tim Ferriss.
He also shares his simple strategy for creating strong customers relationships and delivering excellent service, through genuine kindness, being yourself and doing your best work for others. Take a listen!
Key Points From This Episode:
- Why lack of execution is often the reason for failure.
- How Michael made $4,000 in junior high.
- Funeral homes and beer joints: Michael takes us through his first jobs.
- How a successful career largely happens by accident.
- The importance of trying to create new opportunities for success.
- Learning to become hyper self-aware; owning who you are.
- Figuring out what to pursue by not following your passion.
- Learn more about Michael’s Massive Imperfect Action concept.
- The power of removing expectation.
- Why Michael believes that success is trying.
- Learning to be okay with losing; opportunities for self-growth.
- Why your network is your net worth.
- The impact of living your values and not just speaking them.
- Embracing your job and shifting your mindset towards making an impact.
- Understanding the hard work that is often associated with opportunity.
- Why friendliness and fun go a long way.
- Learning to understand the journey behind the person.
- The reason why authenticity always trumps a copy-cat.
- The process of discovering your way in life; collaborating advice.
- Find out why Michael chooses to give and give and give.
- The honesty factor: we are the ones holding ourselves back.
- And much more!
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Unbound Merino – http://unboundmerino.com (PROMO Code – FAIL ON)
Michael Gebben Website – http://michaelgebben.com
Michael Gebben Twitter – https://twitter.com/mgebbs/
Michael Gebben’s YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/user/michaelgebben
Michael Gebben’s Jumpstarters – http://jumpstarters.net/
Delivering Happiness – https://www.amazon.com/Delivering-Happiness-Profits-Passion-Purpose/dp/0446576220
Book Yourself Solid – https://www.amazon.com/Book-Yourself-Solid-Reliable-Marketing/dp/0470643471
The Four Hour Work Week – https://www.amazon.com/4-Hour-Workweek-Escape-Live-Anywhere/dp/0307465357
“MG: I genuinely loved, really, more than anything which is what I still love, making people smile. When I did the same thing at it, they smiled, they laughed, they cried, they hugged, they high-fived, that’s what I lived for.”
[0:00:15.5] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Fail On Podcast where we explore the hardships and obstacles today’s industry leaders face on their journey to the top of their fields, through careful insight and thoughtful conversation. By embracing failure, we’ll show you how to build momentum without being consumed by the result.
Now please welcome your host, Rob Nunnery.
[0:00:39.8] RN: Hey there and welcome to the show that believes failing in a hyper focused way is the only way to create freedom and quit your job in a world that only shares successes. We dissect the struggle by talking to honest and vulnerable entrepreneurs and this is a platform for their stories.
Today’s story is of Michael Gebben. Michael bypassed college and started his own production company, gettv.com at the age of 19 and since starting his first business, he has done video production for successful entrepreneurs all over the world including Richard Branson, Tony Robins, Tim Ferriss, Pat Flynn, Louis Howes, Derek Halburn and the list just goes on and on.
The actual story of how he got started in all this is just absolutely inspiring. We’ll be discussing how Michael was able to get out of a tiny town and overcome all odds to become one of the world’s most renowned videographers.
Michael will share how he leverages free work and how he landed his first filming gig for Tim Ferriss and he goes into a simple strategy for creating strong customers relationships and delivering excellent service. Just through genuine kindness and doing your best work for others.
But first, I’m on the road a lot nowadays and thankfully I’m traveling wider than I ever have before, can’t say the same about my wife but hey, that’s neither here nor there. All I travel with now is a backpack and just a few pieces of clothing for one reason only.
It’s a shirt from a really sweet Toronto apparel company called Unbound Marino, they have clothes made out of marino wool and get this, you can wear it for months on end without ever needing to have it washed and there is science backing behind that, I just don’t know it.
Talk about a traveler’s absolute dream, never check a bag again, check in at the show notes page for an exclusive Fail On discount that you won’t get anywhere else and if you’d like to stay up to date on all The Fail On Podcast interviews and key take away from each guest, simply go to failon.com and sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of the page.
[0:02:35.1] RN: Hey there and welcome to The Fail On Podcast. Today, I am sitting down with Mr. Michael Gebben and we are going to explore his struggles, failures and how he has been able to work with some of the most influential people on this planet.
Michael’s worked with Tim Ferriss, Tony Robbins and sir Richard Branson and many more. Michael, welcome to The Fail On Podcast.
[0:02:52.2] MG: Rob, thanks for having me buddy. I’m excited.
[0:02:54.5] RN: First, some context here, we’re sitting in a co-working space in San Diego, downtown works. We just saw a friend and I had talked to him, Mr. Clay Heber. You get to follow on the footsteps of the legend trader.
[0:03:09.6] MG: Greatness, exactly.
[0:03:12.1] RN: I want to obviously dig in to how you got started with all the big names and filming for them but first, take us back to the very first time that somebody actually gave you money in exchange for a product or service that you created.
[0:03:26.5] MG: You know, it’s interesting. I’ve always kind of been entrepreneurial and this will tie in to, I think some of the questions you’re going to ask me about failure and that’s what this is really about. What’s interesting, we moved in to this house and it had a football field and my parents tell me that I wanted to cut a hole on the fence and sell hotdogs and popcorn to the opposing team.
Well, that failed. I was like seven years old, I never executed on that like most people with ideas, we don’t execute. Really, what had happened is, my dad’s always been into film and video and he made these silent films in the 80’s and we made these goofy movies and he works at a cemetery. I had made a slideshow for an aunt that passed away and this funeral home caught wind.
[0:04:11.8] RN: How old were you by the way?
[0:04:13.1] MG: Yeah, I was probably 17 years old and mind you, I had a candy machine business in high school. I tried all of these different things and you know, none of it ever really went anywhere and I didn’t know whether I was going to go to college or not or what I was going to do.
I got asked by this funeral home to make these slideshows and that was kind of my first thing in video. I mean, I had had a paper out.
[0:04:37.4] RN: Did they just come to you because it’s such a small town or they just knew that you did this slideshow thing?
[0:04:41.0] MG: Well, my dad, again, worked at a cemetery so they were connected and they knew, it was a small town, they had talked. They had known that my dad and we made these little movies and stuff because we had some showings at our local theater and stuff. I mean, I had a paper out which I’d come to find out a lot of these billionaires out had paper out.
Alright, I’ve got one trait. No, in video production, that was my first thing that I had made some money when I was about 17. I was a junior in high school and I made I think $4,000 that first year as a junior. Doing these slideshows and then I also filmed some plays and my senior year did even more slide shows, filmed some more plays. I also found a video yearbook for my senior class.
I made about $8,000. When I got done and graduated, I have still work in which is another part of my story, the beer distributor because it was right next to the cemetery that my dad works at so I worked there from like 12 to the summer I graduated. I tried to get like a quarter raise.
[0:05:42.8] RN: You started working at the beer distributer at 12 years old?
[0:05:44.5] MG: Yeah. There’s these little nuances. I got a lot, we need like four hours to get through everything, I’m trying to you know, be succinct here. But I started there when I was 12 which is crazy. I mean, I was literally in a room alone with bottles of beer, cans, everything. I was cleaning them up. I was called the breakage boy.
I wanted to get a quarter raise and this is an interesting thing that I think that actually just saw this video in my Facebook feed recently, that was from a couple of years ago where I saw the guy who I went in to, to get this quarter raise and they wouldn’t give it.
I’ve been there six, seven years, I mean, cleaning up the trash, I mean, doing anything for these people. They used to get new cars every year and all the stuff and so I always wanted a quarter more and they wouldn’t give it to me.
I think I made it through that summer of 2005 right after I graduated in May of 2005 from high school and then I quit. I said, “You know what? This is ridiculous” and I thought, I told my parents, I said, “Just give me one year. Just one year and we’ll see what happens.” Because they weren’t necessarily – “You got to go to college.” I know some people’s parents, like, you got to go to college. Mine were more, that’s the thing I should do. But I think where some people go wrong is they might just say “I’m just not going to college, I’m just not going to do this.” But I had a little momentum already.
I made some money and I said, “Just give me one year, let me see what happens with this thing and if it works, great, and if it doesn’t, I can always go back.”
[0:07:08.1] RN: Those previous two years, you went from 4,000 to 8,000. Were you like really hustling to get that 4,000, 8,000 or was it kind of just an organically growing snowball?
[0:07:17.5] MG: No, I would say, I wasn’t hustling, like really. I was you know, I don’t know that I really controlled the slideshows like that was how many people died and then how many people to – I hate to say it but how many people the funeral home convinced to do the slide show and mind you at the time, I mean, I think it was…
For a single one I started as low as maybe $50, got as high at one point in time is maybe $250, $300 but we had a thing where you know, so many photos, a dollar photo more and then the big thing I made some extra on is if family wanted it.
They may pay $75 for the initial slide show but we were charging like $25 for DVD’s. 10 people would get a DVD, be an extra $250, it was like 325 and it didn’t take, you know, you figure 10 projects like that was $3,000. It wasn’t a lot and I mean. I was in – at one point in time, I was at Jimmy Jon’s, the paper route, doing the slide shows and I worked at the beer distributor.
[0:08:15.5] RN: Simultaneously?
[0:08:16.4] MG: Simultaneously, yeah, I get up in the morning, do the paper route, go to school all day, go to the beer distributor and then after that, I would make the slide show in the evening.
I tried to be so hyper-efficient in school that I never had homework.
[0:08:29.9] RN: Do your homework while you're in class?
[0:08:31.1] MG: Yeah.
[0:08:31.9] RN: Got it. You were hustling, you necessarily weren’t like busting it, marketing for the video but you had a lot going on.
[0:08:39.2] MG: I definitely was busy, very busy but I wasn’t pounding down every funeral home and then in the continental gradients of my –
[0:08:47.5] RN: Take us through kind of chronologically, what was next? You took that, you said, “Give me that year, I want to see what I can do with it,” how’d it go?
[0:08:55.8] MG: That first year, and I think some people, we always want to compare to everybody else. I’ve had people now who come up to me and go, “I’m 20 years old and I’m doing XYZ” and what I try to say is like, in that first year, I still lived at home in my parent’s basement for the first year.
My expenses. Now granted, a guy that I met and we somehow convinced to buy this property that I then just rented from him. So I didn’t have to go through the buying process or anything, we paid maybe $500 a month to rent this building that then I had this kind of a storefront for –
I mean, when I was at the beer distributor, people called me Gebbs and when I started, I had like the business card with – I mean, I was the guy, I’m sure, people can relate to this too.
Every time I had an idea, I bought business cards, give them to friends, got websites made.
[0:09:44.7] RN: That’s me, I did the same stuff.
[0:09:46.1] MG: You know, I had a card, “Michael Gebben’s Videography” like free vista print like you know, shipping cards or whatever and this guy said, you know, this should be “Gebbs Total Video.” Like you’re doing everything, right? We’ll tie that in later but that’s what we did, we did everything.
I mean, I did film transfers to DVD, tape transfer like VHS to DVD, we did the photo slide shows, graduation, dance recitals. I was at a Pentecostal church service once in a real bad part of town with like barbed wire around the fence and they were speaking tongues at the service.
I was pretty scared and we got like 250 bucks and one time we went out with a couple of buddies and you know, we were gone for eight hours, 250 bucks, split between the three of us.
It was that time where you know, what I found and will probably be jumping around here a little bit but, I see a lot of people who are really successful and they got to where they got to kind of by accident and the more that we premeditate on the way it should look, the way it should go, how it should happen – and we have all these expectations, we get down a lot and then…
[0:10:48.1] RN: Are you talking about when people are thinking about like what business to start? I want to have like this is exactly how it has to go for the first two years, three years.
[0:10:56.1] MG: Yeah, they’re planning out to get the business plans or just the fact that of planning out a business per se. I’ve had, especially in the creative arts. I’ve had, well you’ll probably meet Ash and Kyle, it’s Ash Forest and they took photos at Mastermind Talks last year.
They did my wedding and everything but she just kind of like me with getting into the weddings like a friend knew she’d like to take some photos of just random things and then they said, “Could you photograph a wedding?” Then literally just – it just snowballed.
[0:11:26.0] RN: You’re saying, sometimes it’s better not to over analyze stuff.
[0:11:29.5] MG: I think it’s something that we’ve all probably said at some point in time when we hear people say it, I know that I’ve said it to people which is this follow your passion thing. I think what’s interesting is I know that I’ve bought into that concept before but what I really recognized is that all the things that I either have done or do now or I’m excited about doing, were not my passions at all.
What I’m doing right now and this energy and this – I mean, I think you saw the little video that says like, 60 second video when I was 18. Maybe you can link it up and show notes if you got it and stuff like. No one would have ever guessed, especially in high school like, what I’m doing now, outside of video.
[0:12:11.5] RN: It’s so different.
[0:12:18.5] MG: Yeah, it’s so different. So to act like follow my passion on that, it wasn’t, I would have never been able to – when people are looking for their passion, I think that they don’t ever find it sometimes because they’re looking for it. Sometimes, what we’re – even with value, I found that who I am naturally, it’s not a tactic, it’s actually where I bring the most value to people.
But because it’s easy, I didn’t put a lot of value on it. I have all these people that you know, and people from these big communities, people I look up to, saying these things and I just kept devaluing it because I’m like, that’s who I am, it’s not what I do and yet, I bring the most value to people with the thing that’s easy but I think people think if it’s not hard, if it’s not difficult, if it’s not – Takes tons and tons of time.
[0:12:59.5] RN: Just for some context with what…
[0:13:00.5] MG: Yeah, please, stop me at any point in time.
[0:13:02.5] RN: No, what you’re saying, I think it’s super important but you’re saying in context of who you are, you had people telling you what?
[0:13:11.3] MG: In context of who I am, my energy, my passion, my enthusiasm, all that is.
[0:13:15.9] RN: Inspiration. It brings people love. You motivate people.
[0:13:17.8] MG: But when I’m filming, that’s the thing. I’m thinking, when I’m filming, I’m getting this beautiful imagery, we put a great video or add it together. But when I kept asking people, why are you hiring me, why do you want me? They would not say anything about my video work, they would say stuff about me.
And that’s where, I mean, literally, it’s been in the last few – I mean, we’re talking about 2006, 2005 where we started this little video journey. It’s been literally 2017 before finally, I’ve accepted.
[0:13:48.2] RN: That your video work sucks but you’re a great guy?
[0:13:50.9] MG: Thank you. That’s why these people hire me. I am overly an awesome guy. Yeah, no. But I mean, I know that that’s sad but I think even in the future economy is built on the fact that, I mean, people have been saying this even when I started. But truly there is so much abundance in regards to easy access for a 10 year old to have a great camera that films as good as my $3,000, $4,000 camera when I started. Anybody can create the great work now. I think I just heard a Tucker Max on James Altucher’s podcast say, “People have to tell the truth.”
“Not the truth of what they think is out there in the world but their truth.” I think that when you’re honest and transparent, you really are you, as cliché as it is. There’s a power to that uniqueness that you can bring to the table, rather than trying to emulate others which I’ve done.
To take you a little bit more through that journey. I didn’t know, I remember doing my first wedding, I told – my good friend who was in our goofy movies, his parents lived next to these people who were getting married and they said, “Hey does Patrick film?” He goes, “No, it’s his friend Michael.” And so they got a hold of me and I was like, “I don’t know $500?”
Then I told my mom and she cleans houses and she says, “I think Andrea just got married and they just got their DVD, want me to grab it so you can look at it?” When I started, there wasn’t a million options to even look at.
I look back and like, that thing was crap but I remember thinking, “Wow, they charge $1,800” and I was charging $500. I thought they were ripping the people off. I can go deeper on even the money mindset stuff because I know that’s big for people but.
[0:15:26.9] RN: Yeah, just for somebody, like you talked about looking for your passion. For somebody that doesn’t necessarily have a business, they’re stuck in a job they don’t like, what do you recommend for them in terms of figuring out what to pursue.
[0:15:39.8] MG: Yeah, well, I think that – you know, for me, I have this shirt on right now and we’ve talked a lot about this and you listened to the audio and everything of this concept of Massive Imperfect Action.
For me, this MIA, this imperfect action is that I don’t know the concept of the whole podcast is failing. So this is so powerful because we think that everything needs to be perfect. I’ve spoken to a lot of different groups and I ask, “How many people like the Lord Of The Rings?”
I can’t tell you, we spoke one time in front of these troops or I spoke in front of these troops and no one raised their hand. No one in the audience, there was like 250 people there, they didn’t like the Lord Of The Rings. I’ve been to other ones that everybody does and I’ve been to other ones that it’s 50/50.
I always kind of go back to say, yeah, but it did – from a financial which was everybody gets caught up in anyways half the time, it did really well, you know? Everybody’s got an opinion. When you let others dictate to you what you should and shouldn’t do, what you should try, what you shouldn’t try and then you worry about what they’re going to think and you know, I’m going to make a fool of myself.
The reality is, the more you fail, the more you – which to me, I’ve reframed just to learning experiences and I think we talked about that. You know, when you make mistakes, when you take action. I have learned so much more from doing. When you don’t’ know what to do rather than being paralyzed and literally just continuing to –
I mean, god bless the podcast and things like this but continuing to listen to things and read things and watch things all the time and get in your head.
[0:17:14.5] RN: Over consumption, right?
[0:17:16.1] MG: Yeah, exactly.
[0:17:17.8] RN: Some of us, like mental masturbation which I talk about a lot which is just over consumption of just stuff without doing anything because it’s just taking you away from actually taking action which you know, while you need to educate yourself obviously which is why the podcast exists, why books exist and all that stuff.
You got to use what you – you’ve got to take what you learn.
[0:17:35.8] MG: Exactly. And people, there’s always, I think that you know, the fact that you're doing this, you could have had things running through your mind, there’s a million other people doing podcast. I get it, but I think, that’s back to that truth and being your unique self that I struggled with for a long time. Through video when I blew up and maybe that will tie in now, you can keep – like stop me at any time but I stopped trying to just copy everyone else that I was being inspired by.
I literally wasn’t being me, I was going in to weddings, trying to take an edit from somebody who I looked up to and replicate that edit.
[0:18:10.9] RN: Being you in terms of how you were filming or just being you in terms of your personality of how you were?
[0:18:15.1] MG: I really think it is me. Letting – I talk about this concept, I called The My Way Decision. This was in – to take you, I mean, there’s a lot that happen but from – when I started, May 1st, I opened the doors to this place in 2006. I didn’t have anything major happen that people, what you mentioned here at the beginning of the podcast until 2011. 2010, by that time I shot I don’t know, a few hundred weddings potentially but I was nine months plus behind delivering these wedding videos.
I didn’t want to answer the phone, email, I didn’t want to go to the movies. I didn’t want to do anything because I thought, these people are going to chew me out. They’re going to be pissed off and I don’t know, because the way I’m wired, I don’t like confrontation, I don’t like to disappoint people.
That was scary for me to think, because I was procrastinating. What I found was and through all my learning and really trying to become more self-aware and understand myself better and how I’m wired, I recognized that it’s people is my sweet spot.
When I get to deal with. Back to the shooting or whatever it is that I do. If I’m dealing with people and I’m talking and I’m connecting, I’m winning. When I’m dealing with machines and numbers and details or I’m stuck in a room like we’re in right now, if you can see maybe can have a picture of this room, we’ll take a little selfie.
I’m by myself and I’m not dealing with anybody, I’m just at the computer editing. I don’t want to do it. I say, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Well I did a lot of things that I could do but I really shouldn’t have.
Editing is one of those things. There are people who are far better editors than me and so, this My Way Decision was essentially – I’m going to shoot the way I want, edit the way I want, dress the way I want, speak, pick out the music. It sounded very selfish.
What I found which was more bad was actually, I equated to like a sushi chef in an all you can eat buffet. A lot of people, they’re not confident enough in what they do which all this is talking out of you know, context for me. I fell into all this.
I wasn’t confident enough. When somebody came up to me, I was Gebb’s Total Video. Everything for everybody. That’s all you can eat buffet. Somebody comes to you, tells you what they want, in your mind, you go, here we go again, neither one of these clients is going to be a pain in the ass but out of your mouth comes “Sure, we can do that.”
You bitch and moan and complain and procrastinate and whatever else. Probably don’t do your best work with them because you needed the money, whatever. What I found was luckily I was at a place in time where I had enough work. I was actually very overwhelmed with how much stuff I had been able to build up but I couldn’t keep up with it.
When I decided to do that and it came out of the fact, I thought value was more. This is where I think we all, we think, if I’m going to charge more, need to add more stuff, add more time, it needs to take longer. I was doing already about 10 to 12 different videos and I was charging around maybe $3,500.
How can I charge more? Maybe I should add more videos, right? I had talked to a few couples because I did this thing called the same day edit. I’d shoot that day, I would show the video that night. The only thing that saved me with a lot of these people from being super pissed is they had actually gotten a video from me.
They still were owed like upwards of nine, 10, 11 other videos. I talked to a few that had had their DVD’s with everything on it for six plus months and all of them kept telling me, “My god, that same day edit.” My mind, “What about the other stuff?” It took me forever and they’d say, “We haven’t watched any of it yet.”
I had this epiphany and in this time which will tie into these people, I read Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits, I think I always say his last name wrong. Zen Habits blog which had a guest post from Tim Ferriss and in which I then read The Four Hour Work Week and this was in late 2010 and then that’s when I was kind of going through this, “What do I do?”
He talks about the 80/20 which we can dive, people aren’t, if you want to but I recognized that I was actually spending 80% of my time on things that barely made me any money and 20% of my time was making me 80% of my income which was this same day edit. So I took a bold move that scared the crap out of me which was to remove. I was giving them 12 to remove 11 of the videos more or less and give them the same day edit.
I was spending 45 minutes on the phone before, going over all the different videos we’re getting. Now it’s like, what are we going to talk about? What I found is that…
[0:22:44.5] RN: Charging same price?
[0:22:45.5] MG: Same price. What I found is literally in that next 12 to 24 months, my business doubled twice. Things really just took off.
[0:22:52.8] RN: You’re probably happier too, right?
[0:22:53.7] MG: I was happier, I had more – well, I still had to dig a little hole for six to 12 months actually but I knew that I saw the light. It wasn’t easy, that was – I mean, the girl I just married in October, we were together for three years from 2006 through late 2009 and 2010 and 11, we weren’t together.
That’s something that I went all in on my business. I didn’t focus at all on personal relationships or anything and then that suffered, I had a flip with that as well but…
[0:23:22.9] RN: It’s a common problem amongst entrepreneurs.
[0:23:26.6] MG: Reel me back in.
[0:23:28.3] RN: No, it’s all good context. Going into some videography that was kind of how you got a name for yourself, right? You started building the business, charging more, cutting back features, valuing your time more and how did you actually start getting in to filming for some of the people that I mentioned before, like Tim Ferriss?
[0:23:47.1] MG: It’s interesting, I think that this is where sometimes you can’t plan things is that I will one, The Four Hour Work Week brought out the inner entrepreneur, the candy machine guy and all these different stuff, he talks about the muse. You know, all that stuff and so I actually had seen, I had my paper out for about six, seven, eight years.
I worked at the beer distributor about the same amount of times. Well, come around 2010/11, I was getting on that same amount of time, I’ve been doing the video stuff. When I read that, it sparked something inside of me and I actually had started a little bit to lose some of my interest in video.
What’s interesting, the reason I got into all these really influential people that you’ve mentioned is I first – Tim Ferriss was the first one and the way the rabbit hole of all these things happened was I really just wanted to meet the people.
Tim Ferriss’ book, I read it, it really had a huge impact on me. I had seen on his blog, he said, he had The Four Hour Work Week, it was a free launch party. I had back in 2007, my god, I wish I would have known about that. When he announced the four hour body, late 2010, it was $10 in New York City. I’m from Illinois and I immediately gobbled up the ticket and then I thought, you know what?
This is a big thing about failure, it might have been one of your questions. We’ll fill in right now.
[0:25:13.5] RN: The questions are out the window, we’ll just chat.
[0:25:15.5] MG: Good, yeah. Basically, I think he said something like this in the book which was, “The worst thing that’s going to happen, you get a no. When you don’t ask, you don’t try, at least when you try, there is an opportunity for something good to happen.”
[0:25:28.8] RN: Love that.
[0:25:30.3] MG: I thought, “Well what do I have to lose?” Because I’m already losing if I don’t do this. That’s a big failure thing for everybody, it’s like, the worst thing you’re fearing, it’s already, in my mind, at least that’s the way I think, it’s already happened, like the bad things happened.
You can’t, not a big buying lottery ticket guy but you don’t win the lottery if you don’t buy the ticket. Anyways, I essentially decided – I saw some comments that people said they needed a refund because they were under 21, it was 21 and older.
Tim left a reply email, it doesn’t even matter anymore but Charlie at the fourhourbody.com, that was Charlie Hoehn, his assistant and I thought, what the heck do I got to lose, I sent him, I actually had done –
A big concept that we’ll tie in here that I do is I have done a lot of free work and I use it. At the time, I didn’t look at it this way, again to accidental but I’ve been able now, I can use it very strategically but I remove expectations of like, what’s going to happen.
I had done this Halloween party just in October because I had mainly weddings. I wasn’t doing anything but weddings. I had these little oddball things and these tape transfers and stuff still. Weddings were generating again, 80, 90% of my income.
I filmed this Halloween party and I sent the Halloween party to Charlie and I said “Hey, I’m going to be there in New York but I’d love to film for you guys if you need somebody, I’ll do it for free. I’ll be there anyway. Just let me know, if you don’t want it, no problems, I’ll see you there.”
“If you do, you know, let me know.” Within one hour of sending that email, I got a reply and he said, “Tim loves it, love to have you” and I like flipped out you know. I’m like, “My god, what the heck, I can’t believe this.” That really was truly, I mean, the spider web from sending that email and like December of 2010 to the snowball of things. The spider web effect that just like splintered off of things that happened from me making that decision to send that email.
I flew out on my dim, I didn’t even get a hotel. I had a shoot, it was on a Tuesday, I end up sleeping at the baggage claim Tuesday night because I had to get home on Wednesday to shoot something. I think that sometimes, opportunity stares us right in the face and because we’re scared of – not everything has, I want to make clear for people too, not everything, I get not everybody’s – I wouldn’t even say that’s a whole other story, financially in a great position either.
But I’ve done a lot of little things sometimes. Sometimes they’re 50 bucks, sometimes they’re five to $8,000 and everywhere in between, all the way to just, it’s my time and that’s it. You’ve got to be willing to take those – I got on a podcast, it was actually with Alex Icon, I don’t know if you know Alex and Mimi but you know, they live in London and he wanted to do just like you’re doing right now and we’re doing the interview in person for his YouTube channel.
We kept missing each other on every other – so they were at Underground Online Seminar in New Orleans and literally, I flew to New Orleans only to do that interview with him in person. You know, he didn’t pay me to do that and I mean, I didn’t have to spend that much but it was still three to 500 bucks but my YouTube channel went up by a few thousand subscribers.
[0:28:35.2] RN: I mean, I just did the same thing with James Altucher, I wasn’t going to be in New York and I just said, “I’m just going to come and do it, right?” I think it’s such a hugely valuable lesson.
[0:28:43.9] MG: Yeah, it’s serendipity can happen when you put yourself, you never know what – that’s I think the key and I can kind of tie this in for people because this is truly what has – a joke, it’s super corny, I used to give these talks and I never, I was completely all over the place.
No order at all which is kind of how I’m wired at times. I did this one in Germany and I came up with this GEBBS as an acronym and I had the G, the E and. So the G’s for giving and I just give unconditionally. When you think you’ve given too much, give some more.
I don’t really – that’s how I’m hard wired though, that’s why I kind of joke like… Some of this stuff is, I mean. I think sometimes certain people can make mental shifts and go, okay, I can get that, other people, that would be really hard for them, they’re just not wired that way to want to do things.
G for giving, give to everybody and help whenever I can. The next one which is the biggest one, I think for me at times is expectations. So many times I’ve had so many expectations and then I’m let down. I think sometimes people heard a podcast, about a course.
Or they’ve gone to a seminar and people set their expectations up certain ways, you can do this. I mean, my buddy’s Tod Herman’s 90 day year event but he’s not saying that you’re going to be a millionaire in 90 days. But some people position it like, “In 30 days and 10 days and two weeks. You’ll do this. This will happen, push this button.”
When you get in your mind that something supposed to happen in two weeks or three weeks or a month and then it doesn’t, you get let down.
The more times you get those punches in the face, the harder it is to get back up and do it again. Especially if you’ve never had any major taste of success or breakthroughs. For me, when I’ve just removed expectations, it’s incredible.
[0:30:27.6] RN: Can you give me like an example of that?
[0:30:29.8] MG: Yeah, I mean, doing these things for people. I don’t go in, I’ve had people reach out to me that say, “Well, do you think this is a good person?”
[0:30:37.4] RN: How do you actually detach the expectation because you do this for Tim Ferriss and you’re like, at the back of your mind, you got to be like…
[0:30:44.8] MG: Believe me man, I’m not, well I’m not… here’s the thing, he gave me something, his book had done something for me. It was actually in my mind, not to say…
[0:30:54.2] RN: You’re paying him back in a way.
[0:30:55.0] MG: I’m paying him back in a way. I’m not saying, believe me, I’m not sitting here saying, I’ll go into things and I don’t ever think about, nothing’s going to happen out of this. Sure, I think there’s a hope, a hope that something happens from Tim but I think the expectation is, what’s going to happen?
“Tim’s going to feature me on the front page of his website and I’m going to get 400,000 people coming in.” That’s a very explicit expectation of what should happen. For me, I just go, “Sure I hope something’s going to happen,” but I don’t expect…
[0:31:25.0] RN: Nothing happens, are you let down though?
[0:31:38.0] MG: I think… see, I have to put myself in a mental space to go way back because any more, typically not because I recognize… That’s where you want to frame it. You know, people need to recognize, it’s that imperfect action, it’s that testing things, because you’ve got to taste the success at some point in time. If you’re the person who’s got a nine to five job and you’ve never really done anything to – I mean, for success for me too which is well…
This final S. Success is very simple for me. It my mind it’s just try. I’ve tried to reframe that success isn’t a certain amount of money or debt free or certain achievements or working with certain people because then that’s all these like, what are you in between that? I try to say, if I have to do all this before I’m successful then I’m obviously a big freaking failure and unsuccessful the whole time.
I don’t want to feel like a failure every day, even though I’m failing every day and making “mistakes” and everything like that. I think in the beginning, yeah, I mean, it’s difficult to not ever think “what if” or “what could happen.” It’s just a matter of, don’t wrap your entire being in everything around what you think should happen. I have people think, “I’m going to do this for this guy only to get XYZ.”
I don’t go in to these scenarios with, “I’m only doing this because I expect this to happen.”
[0:32:54.4] RN: You know what? When you actually go in wanting something out of it, it comes across, right?
[0:32:59.6] MG: Yeah, I think that’s another thing that I guess I just learned. I’m naturally wired to – I say if you do it for free, you’re doing the right – if you were given millions and millions, you never need another dollar in your name, how many things would you stop and how many things would you keep doing? That’s a good little filter for me because I recognized it in my prime of –
I’ve even now reinvented myself within video to see myself in a whole different light than I’ve ever seen myself before because I wanted to get hyper, I didn’t want anything to do with video for a number of years.
That was because of the way I was associating, I didn’t want to be this video guy when I was trying to be this motivational, inspirational, whatever you wanted to call it. I thought I couldn’t beat them both but then I started to think of I joke like Justin Timberlake and these different people. Like Dwayne The Rock Johnson.
He was the wrestler, I just heard this song he sang from this Moana movie and I’m like, “God, what can’t this guy do!”
[0:33:54.6] RN: It’s crazy.
[0:33:54.9] MG: But I also look, you know, he’s 40 something years old. So we take for granted age and time they put in and commitment but yeah, I’ll finish real quickly, the other little…
[0:34:04.9] RN: Just to go back to what you said, S for success on GEBBS. We had the G for giving.
[0:34:10.4] MG: Trying.
[0:34:11.2] RN: Trying.
[0:34:11.2] MG: Trying, yeah. Because I think, like I’ve said, if we have it any other way or comparing against others. You know, everybody, a lot of people, I won’t say everybody but a lot of people know, Gary Vaynerchuk and the entrepreneurial space right now and I think that what people take for granted.
He’s truly an anomaly. There are people we look up to who are actors, athletes, who are anomalies.
[0:34:34.0] RN: Yeah, he’s not normal.
[0:34:34.9] MG: He’s not normal, right? He would be the first one who could ultimately tell you that as well. I think that what people take for granted is that average Joes, you could still be far above average. You’re not going to work 18 hours – I feel like I have an enormous amount of energy, passion, enthusiasm.
I can go pretty hard core and stick with the best but even for me, it’s hard. I’ve been traveling nonstop here recently and like, it’s difficult. The fact that he’s like up and down on planes every day and this and that. He’s a machine.
He’s dialed that in, he’s hyper self-aware and I think that’s a big thing I’m passionate about because I think when you own who you are, how you’re wired, what you’re good at, what you’re not and he says that and that’s something that you know, I’ve been working on really hardcore for a few years now and it’s made a huge difference in my life.
Success is just keeping it simple and you know, just trying. It could be big or small. Some days you don’t do anything.
[0:35:30.4] RN: Yeah, I like that because trying, one, you can’t fail if you don’t’ try and I always like to say, you can’t grow unless you're failing. It all starts with trying and that’s success, I love it. Let’s continue the journey. You did the event with Tim, it went well obviously?
How are you going into that because I’m always curious, that’s probably the biggest thing at that point that you’ve been like, “My god, what am I doing, how am I doing this?” Were you really scared going into the actual performance of a video.
[0:35:59.6] MG: Right, filming that. You know, nobody’s ever asked me that question. I honestly don’t remember being hyper –
[0:36:08.2] RN: Is that just because you’re so confident in your skillset?
[0:36:11.8] MG: I think that the thing was is at that point in time, I had filmed, I mean, the most pressure someone from a filming perspective sometimes can put on themselves is what I did with weddings.
There was a lot of people who wouldn’t even try that for example which was the same day edit. I had to put some of those videos together to show at the end if someone’s reception and two and a half hours. I think the quickest one, they ended up changing the time, said, “If you don’t show it then, we’re not showing it at all.” And it was an hour and 45 minutes from start to finish to have a three and a half minute, you know, music video for that couple.
I just went in and did my thing. I think I was a little bit more nervous maybe to meet Tim initially but once I was there filming, I wasn’t putting together an edit or anything on the spot so it was just shoot the crap out of it you know? That’s it, yeah.
[0:36:57.6] RN: It’s interesting because like we’re shooting, you could just shoot everything, you can always edit later, right? It’s about just capturing everything.
[0:37:03.4] MG: Yeah, capturing as much as, I mean, I’ve learned to – I’ve developed an intuitive nature about myself where I kind of know what I need and I’m kind of, I’m always kind of ready but I’m not filming nonstop. My original same day edits, I had four hours of footage and 45 minutes was decent.
I had to cut through all of it. Now I might film an hour and 15 minutes and to a degree, cutting the beginning and end off of clips, like everything I’ve got there is pretty solid. I mean, there’s always jobs but –
[0:37:31.4] RN: It’s pretty excellent.
[0:37:32.7] MG: It’s pretty solid, I mean, but you know, again, taken for granted, we can talk about something that’s five years in two seconds. I think we see people today and we want it right now and we live in this instant world so you know, you get inspired by somebody and you want to get in to whatever and you start doing it but you’re – somebody was telling me recently, it’s Ira Glass, have you heard of that name?
[0:37:55.2] RN: I know the name.
[0:37:57.6] MG: This American Life I think it is, it’s a podcast and he has this thing, I’ve been hearing it recently people saying it where your “expectations” and your taste of what greatness looks like – for what an amazing video or art or podcast or whatever is.
Because you see these other people, it’s far greater than your skillset or talent is today. When you start doing and you start taking action, you’re typically going to suck and it won’t look anything like what you envision it could look like.
You haven’t put in the thousands of hours. I think that that’s again the expectation thing recognizing. Your vision might be, you know, super grand but when you do your first thing, you know, it’s going to be hard.
[0:38:42.5] RN: It’s like tying it back to this podcast. This is still new for me, right? It’s still outside my comfort zone but like you said, I’m trying.
[0:38:51.6] MG: You know, you were just with James. James has done 200 and something, what are you on right now? Not even 20 probably?
[0:38:57.2] RN: 25.
[0:38:57.5] MG: You’re on 25.
[0:38:58.6] RN: You’re 25.
[0:38:59.0] MG: Okay, cool, but I mean give it another 200 more, in the flow, in the zone and everything will be great, so.
[0:39:08.7] RN: It’s with anything right? It’s like that was anything like I grew up playing tennis. I remember the first I went to college on tennis scholarship I remember.
[0:39:17.3] MG: Okay, it sounds like my brother.
[0:39:19.2] RN: My dad for the first – so I quit baseball to play tennis at 11-12 years old and obviously made fun at school like, “Oh you’re going to quit baseball and these other sports to play tennis.”
[0:39:29.8] MG: This girly sport, yeah.
[0:39:31.4] RN: Exactly but the one great thing that my dad did was he threw me into these tournaments without me even being like really prepared or knowing what I was doing. So I remember I played nine tournaments in a row just getting demolished. I didn’t win a match, I don’t even think I won a set, for those that are familiar with tennis. It was probably one of the best things that he could have done because it taught me to be okay with losing, right?
That’s where I actually grew the most. It was like, “Oh I’m so tired of losing” it made me really devote more time to developing the skills.
[0:40:04.8] MG: You know it’s funny you say that, I just had my wife in a scenario. We were on a shoot recently and I drew it right in the fire I call it. She’s like, “You give me one of the most important things?” I say, “I trust you, but here’s the thing…” and anybody who’s ever come under me and that I mentored or trained as an editor or a shooter, I just threw them right in the fire. That’s how I found that they learn the best like all of these theoretical stuff is ridiculous and that’s where a lot of us are.
We’re in this theoretical, we’re in our heads, what if this could happen this way, our expectations, this is how it’s going to go. Then every time you take that action and you do it, it never goes anywhere near how you thought it was going to go.
[0:40:43.8] RN: That’s so true, so after that what was the next big gig you got?
[0:40:49.9] MG: The biggest one was Tony Robins.
[0:40:51.6] RN: Tony Robbins that was Date with Destiny right?
[0:40:53.6] MG: Actually no, so Jason Gaignard actually he had gone to Date with Destiny with his wife and it says something like 14 grand. He posted it online or somewhere and I was still very much under a mindset of like, “Wow that’s never going to happen,” you know? It was like, “I’ll never be at that or that’s so expensive and I can’t believe I spent that much money.” So then he announced the UPW. That’s Unleash the Power Within and it was $500.
I go, “I got that” you know? But then I went back to this place of thinking, maybe I could do the same thing I did with Tim. So sometimes being naïve is an advantage.
[0:41:31.1] RN: How long after is this?
[0:41:32.8] MG: It’s almost one year, yeah this was one year. So actually met who we keep mentioning, I’d probably get him on here, Jason Gaignard.
[0:41:40.3] RN: He’s already been here.
[0:41:41.2] MG: He’s already recorded? Yeah, okay good. So probably people have heard him. So he was actually, I got asked by Tim to film his kimono event which was this event he held. It was $10,000 per person and I met Jason Gaignard there. That was in August of 2011 when he was really the only person I really connected with there. I hadn’t been around a lot of “really influential people.” So we just happen to eat dinner one time, kind of hit it off, became good friends.
[0:42:07.0] RN: So you’re shooting the event?
[0:42:07.9] MG: I shot that event, yeah. I shot that event.
[0:42:10.2] RN: And you were able to enjoy the festivities there?
[0:42:13.0] MG: I got dinner, you know if I am not getting paid typically which that one actually is another one I kind of did pro bono. I try to find a blend and people end up as long as they know they are getting the “product they want,” the final result they typically don’t hound me too much. I think beggars can’t be choosers sometimes as well is what I found. When I go do things, I don’t come and then not do anything. Of course I produce but yeah, I try to find that blend.
[0:42:42.0] RN: So just on that note, it gets me thinking because I know a big portion of my success has come from elevating the network right? So you are doing these free event. You are shooting for free but you’re surrounding yourself with all of these really successful amazing people. How much did that attribute to growing your mindset and growing what you believed was possible?
[0:43:02.8] MG: I think it’s everything. I think that whole, I think Jason says your network is your net worth, I can look back and know what happened like how should I say it? Looking back now at hindsight is always 20-20. So now I can more curate and do things in a certain way and hope that certain results might – not having the expectations on it. But I know that something I may do today, that four years from now something could happen. That’s the difference in expectation.
I don’t know when it’s going to happen but I just have seen it happen too many times. So being around these people who from a mental standpoint are the top of their game. You know I got to interact once, you may appreciate this because I film tennis charity event on Necker Island. I got to go with the Brian brothers and I asked him. I did this little interview with him and I asked Mike Brian, how much of it is mental versus talent.
He’s said something like 90% mental because when you reach that level, that difference between winning and losing is so minute. So one time I went to this thing with my parents, you might know it, the one in Ohio western –
[0:44:11.1] RN: At Cincinnati, yeah.
[0:44:12.1] MG: Yeah and I saw the Brian brothers and I had talked to them for hours. They’d seen him two years in a row, barely acknowledged me. Definitely saw me, would have known who I was, didn’t interact in almost any capacity, he walks right by me, two weeks later I get an email, “Hey man it was great seeing you.” I found that I have done this with Tony Robins. I’ve seen this happened the same thing, barely acts like who knows who I am.
By the end of the shoot, we are sitting on the back of the SUV talking about your Yorkies and those A players, those top level high performers they get in a zone and when they need to be in that zone or as Tony would say get in a state, they do not let anything interrupt or disrupt them. That’s one thing that I’ve recognized with these people that’s really, really interesting. So to that point being around these people really elevated my mental game.
Which I think is of anything that anyone could work on that’s number one like above and beyond your skillset when it comes to whatever craft you are working on, developing people skills, developing the ability to understand you and really have that self-awareness and self-understanding.
[0:45:24.0] RN: For actually a tangible way to do this, what would you recommend?
[0:45:26.5] MG: Well it’s interesting, I have a couple of good friends that I’ve developed now and actually one of them came from Mastermind Talks, a guy named Steve Sisler and he’s trained a guy who I am really good friends with now, Jairo Rodriguez and I remember taking the disk assessment back when I was doing stuff with Tony. It spits out a document and people probably taking Myers Briggs or Coby, Coby is a pretty good one I like it a lot.
But a lot of them just spit out the results, you read through them and you’re like, “Okay, that’s cool. That sounds like me” and then you go on with your life. Quite frankly, being honest for me they never did much for me at all.
[0:45:58.8] RN: So for people that don’t know, it’s just basically a self-assessment just to understand your personality type.
[0:46:04.8] MG: Yeah and the different ones spit out all sorts of different things. Like Colby talks about you being a quick starter or follow through and the disk has “you are a dominant, you’re an influencer, steady, the complaint” and then there’s other things. So when I saw Steve do this thing at Mastermind Talks I said, “Jason how do I talk with that guy” and I did a call on 2014, took this assessment again, did a call with Steve and he went over the graphs and it blew my mind.
[0:46:32.4] RN: Just because he knew who you were like so well or what?
[0:46:35.0] MG: I mean business partnerships, all of these things that he was able to identify because I think sometimes there’s things – it wasn’t necessarily things I didn’t – some of them I didn’t know but he brought an awareness and he brought a clarity to the verbiage and language around it. I’ve been at Tony Robins events and different things and they might say something like, “Well shit I have been doing that.” Now I have a name for what I have been doing.
You know I just thought it was something I did. I think that when you get aware then you can replicate things easier rather than haphazardly and accidentally going about everything in your life all the time. You know I connect people with Steven Jahir to be able to take the assessment and go through which I actually, I mean I’ll have something. One thing I’ve done on these podcasts is having people have the ability to take that free when I do the podcast. So we can link something up at the end if you want because it’s a powerful thing for people to do so.
[0:47:30.1] RN: So yeah, I appreciate that. Thank you very much. Just in terms of all of the shooting that you have done for this big names, have you had any just catastrophic failures where it’s been like, “Oh I cannot believe I did that when the pressure is on with this guy?”
[0:47:45.6] MG: Well for example like this thing that I just shot last week, they were real held on why I was putting two mics on them and –
[0:47:53.4] RN: Well what was it that you’re at?
[0:47:55.3] MG: So I was at Michael Ports, we were filming these speaker reels and what’s fascinating is I think if you recognized sometimes certain things people do, they are doing them more than likely for a reason. So I am putting two mics not because I just think it might be the smart thing to do but because I’ve had problems in the past.
[0:48:12.6] RN: With mike failing?
[0:48:13.1] MG: Yeah, I mean I had one. It happened way back with the wedding. So usually my cameras are upwards of 20, 30, 50 feet away from the couple when they were doing their vows. I would only put one mic on the groom. If that mic didn’t work, you couldn’t hear those vows. So imagine luckily it happened in the early days when you get paid as much money but yeah, I mean you know wireless mic screwed up and then there was the other thing.
They were wanting to use wireless and I’m like, “I am not a wireless person” so what do we do? We ended up doing a mix match of my recorder like you’re using just put it in a pocket and it just records. It’s self-contained and then we had the wireless. The wireless messed up a few times and I was like, “That’s it because you couldn’t even come through the speakers and you heard it cutting in and out and doing this weird thing.” So for me specifically I’ve had things like that with the audio.
But I have been super anal for a longtime with backups. Even if you only need like you hired me and we really only need one camera on somebody and that’s it. We filmed all these interviews for Tony’s book, The Money Master, the game book and his film was like billionaires and all these people and I was originally, they ended up paying me more than somebody else they had. I had to use some of their stuff on them with my guys.
Are we really getting into the money here? The reality is I’ve got a relationship with Tony and you’re not going to have to worry and this is a big thing that I try to use. Making people not have to worry when they hire me. So rather than we only needed this and let’s say you only need one mic, like some guys try to sell whatever it is they’re selling, they’re like, “Well you can buy this package” or “I have $40,000 worth of this stuff” but you only need 1500 of it.
So what I found is this like those, I was filming two cameras on each person. Tony and the person he’s interviewing. Two microphones on each phone. Did they use all the mics? Did they use all the cameras? No they might have only used the one camera on the one guy. Not any of Tony’s, not the second camera, not the other mics. But I knew that I had to have that covered and we had a few of them where we had the mics have a problem, even Tony’s thing.
And so there is a lot of things in my mind that I can’t come to one like catastrophic because I really tried to cover my ass, which is the big thing I would tell anybody. Like when the stakes are low, I guess potentially when maybe you are not getting paid much but I’ve had high stakes on free jobs because I know that I want to deliver so it’s not a throw away. There are certain scenarios like I am talking about those opportunities where sure, it might be free. I am not getting paid but –
[0:50:45.5] RN: You value those more than others.
[0:50:47.3] MG: Yeah, you value it and you don’t want to go there and be like, “Well you may only have the chance to do that one time.” So just because you are not getting paid to do it doesn’t mean you can just brush it off as it’s not a big deal and that’s back to the one thing, GEBBS best, I always do my best and it’s been – I learned one guy interview me. I got emotional the one time I got asked because I never knew where the doing my best came from but it was my dad.
He would help me with my paper route. He works at cemetery and I never could understand why he poured his heart and soul into this thing. They never seem to respect him or treat him well. He never really got major raises or anything but one time he just said these people haven’t actually got – I’m going to hit again, he says “These people choose to bury their love ones here” and he wants them to have a great place to come and remember them.
And you know I just think that I saw that he never was vocal. I mean he’s still alive, thank God but he’s never been vocal with me about anything but it’s always been a showing and I guess through that showing, I always saw him no matter what the scenario, always pours all into it. So I guess people hearing this, it’s something now you maybe you aren’t that way because I’ve met a lot of people. I’m like, “God that’s common sense,” but for me it’s not.
[0:52:06.5] RN: It’s not though, it’s not common sense.
[0:52:07.9] MG: And so doing my best to something that I have been engrained with for a long time and it’s taken me I think everywhere because it doesn’t matter what I’m doing. I always come in – people at the weddings, I used to have a $1000, $2000, $3,000 package and somebody booked a thousand. They really lucked out because they still got the $3,000 package. I wasn’t even wired to do the less job but I believe it got me to where I got to because I always had that mentality.
[0:52:35.9] RN: Thanks for sharing that man, that’s powerful and I think it reminds me of something actually. I don’t know if you’ve read this book called The Fred Factor.
[0:52:42.0] MG: No, I haven’t. I never heard of that actually.
[0:52:44.7] RN: Most people haven’t but it’s one book that had a really radical shift where in my mind where I read it and then I start seeing the world in a different way. It’s basically about this guy named Fred who’s just a postal worker but he takes so much pride in what he does that all –
[0:53:01.7] MG: I have chills just actually thinking about it.
[0:53:03.7] RN: All he does is look for opportunities to make other people’s lives better, the people he serves. So you just really minded me of that.
[0:53:09.6] MG: I get chills thinking about it because I think what we take for granted in this world is that can be you as a postal working and making people smile when they come in, you know? Like we’re so inundated with all of these quit your job stuff too like some people aren’t meant to quit their job. They are meant to embrace the job they have and look at it in a different way and that’s what I found in life for me. It’s sometime you know say wear glasses.
If your glasses are all smeared and dirty and you can’t really see out of them. You know the difference, anybody especially with glasses, when they take it they maybe spray it or they maybe don’t or breathe on it and you clear it off, it’s night and day and that’s how I found. I can take the same thing that I had this bad attitude and I was looking at it a certain way and somebody helps me make a mental shift and that’s really honestly what I love doing for people.
That’s what you’re saying this book was about, it’s a mental shift and that mental shift can transform your life and you are doing the same work or the same thing. It’s huge.
[0:54:14.7] RN: It’s like you said, looking through a different lenses. It is and it’s cool because I interviewed our mutual friend Joey Coleman.
[0:54:22.4] MG: Joey is one of the best guys I know.
[0:54:24.1] RN: And we were talking and he just made a good point because I always ask a guest to give the listeners like a directive or action item that they can put into their life today and his was very, on these lines it was give people amazing experiences. Whether you’re in a job just start creating wonderful experiences for your colleagues, your customers and people will start to notice. Even though like we talked about don’t attach expectation. You’re just creating experiences and your life will change radically.
[0:54:56.1] MG: Ashton Kutcher said, “Opportunity looks a lot like hard work,” in one of these speeches he gave one time. He’s like, “When I was a pizza boy, when I was this” and I think that I can look back in every decision no matter what I was doing. I can’t tie to influence and impact it where I am today. I just think that so many people and I have done this, we disregard certain things because like I said they are throwaways and I remember Tony Shay’s Delivering Happiness book.
Talked about meeting somebody that had nothing to do with business, he wasn’t even dating anybody, he wasn’t with anybody or anything and years later she met this person got with them and got married and they ended up, Tony and the person she married, ended up doing business together. I think I get into expectations of we go into events I mean I’ve been at events like VidCon with 18,000 13 year old girls and thought, “Oh my God why am I here?” and I ended up meeting one guy that two weeks later flew me out to Seattle and my YouTube channel went up by 6,000 subscribers.
But I just reached out and said hello and made one connection. I think that what we take for granted is it only takes one thing, one person, one moment, one anything to literary change the trajectory of our life. So rather than going to events or networking or doing something for somebody and thinking that “I got to mean a million people” or thinking “I am going to get this with that out of it.” It’s just keep doing, keep taking that action, not worrying about the outcomes of it.
And just grow with the craft that you maybe are trying to grow at or get better at it, put in the time, consistently put in the effort and good things will happen. That’s what I’ve seen, you don’t know when. Some people do a lot for a long time and seemingly nothing happens per say but I think we can curate some of that stuff happening and that’s what I have seen in my life. I could have just kept filming weddings, kept moving along in life but the choice to send that email to Tim Farris changed that trajectory.
[0:57:00.2] RN: But you know what? I think it’s a good point because you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to send that email had you not done all the weddings, had you not taken action and started doing it.
[0:57:07.1] MG: And the weddings, that’s what you asked me earlier. I make, I mean I have the greatest experience, I have met some incredible people through weddings, there was one that helped filmed my wedding that I filmed her wedding and I actually inspired her to get all of that stuff. So I’ve had incredible friendships that have grown out in weddings. But seemingly that could be – I see a lot of people that even I helped sometimes say it’s in the video industry and they look at weddings in such a throwaway thing.
Well, I’m going to do weddings for two years but I really want to do this. If that’s already your mindset I say don’t even do the weddings. Go do the thing you’re – because for me, again it’s that filter and lens. I did not want, I don’t film weddings anymore but that came after shooting like 300 plus. I was actually just with Michael Port and he did the book, Book Yourself Solid, for 10 or 12 years and somebody asked him about that and he goes, “I just couldn’t talk about that stuff anymore.” And so sometimes we shift but we can’t reinvent with that thing anymore.
But when I got into the wedding, I did not hate them. I genuinely loved really more than anything which is what I still love, making people smile and so when I did the same day at it, they smiled, they laughed, they cried, they hugged, they high-fived, that’s what I lived for. That’s what I live for today and that’s how I reframed my video work and everything I do is – that I heard, I think it was Danny Meyer from Shake Shack said, “We served smiles and the burgers are free.”
It’s service with a smile. It’s this idea that my video work is really free because it’s become commoditized and so you are hiring me as a person and an individual. I happen to create solid video work but I guarantee you and I’ve had people say it, there are people that produce better videos than I do. But I guess which is the crazy part, which is to everybody listening – be friendly. I don’t know if you could figure out how to be friendly but I’m like, “How many people are that unfriendly?”
But God man, there’s a lot of people that I guess just they hate what they do or whatever but being friendly goes a long way.
[0:59:08.2] RN: Put a smile on your face. So trying is success for you, what does failure mean to you?
[0:59:14.3] MG: Failure, I think now, is everything because when I don’t – I learn so much more from when things don’t work out than I ever do from when everything is working out right and I think that the more you become, people say “step into it.” But the more you become comfortable with it, the more awesome things that will happen in your life. That’s what I’ve discovered. You could say, “Well are you always that way?” Absolutely not, of course not.
I think that anybody listening to these things needs to see people’s journey. Where were they and where did they get to? So of course it wasn’t in the beginning but what I’m trying to encourage and then I think you are encouraging, is that all these people you’re having on. We are not rock stars and super confident and not afraid of failure and I think I have fears. It’s not that things don’t run through my mind and we maybe can go there in a second of some of the things I was talking to you about on Facebook messenger.
But for me with video for a long time, I’m like hyper confident. I mean it’s been since about the Tim Farris thing to a degree and before that I mean not that I wasn’t – or I remember a guy that I said, “Who’s going to take me seriously? I’m 19 and nobody is going to pay me a lot of money” and I said all of these things. Well I’m 30 now, I don’t look a lot different. I got glasses, I got some facial hair but I look about the same as I did when I was, you can watch through that video.
Like 18 to 28 I’m pretty much the same guy. But my attitude my demeanor, completely different but that happened over just continuing to put myself out there and continue doing it and it starting small. I even tell people, you can look and I’d say my first year in business. I generated $60,000 but I still had year one four, year two eight and I still did stuff where I had to – I was still putting myself out there that I didn’t really make anything. So things they take time and the second year I went backwards.
[1:01:07.2] RN: That’s an interesting point because I am a super impatient person, a lot of entrepreneurs are. They just want results immediately and people listening right now are probably the same way you know? But what I’ve learned especially starting a new project like this, is I’ve got to enjoy the process. Because like you said that transformation happened over 10 years but those 10 years are probably very special to you because you were slowly going through a transformation.
And for me, it’s a tough thing to do but I am starting to really appreciate it more is one, like we talked about – don’t attach to the results so much and just enjoy the process.
[1:01:46.8] MG: Well have fun. I think every time I turn things into a business I don’t have fun and I don’t get results. That’s been my biggest issue, if anybody want to know like anytime I’ve premeditated on ideas and planned everything out and thought this is how it’s going to go, this is how I am going to do it, this is the money I am going to make, it never works out. It’s the things that I go into and I just have fun doing it. I think well how did it became successful in video?
I had no plan, I had no idea what I was doing, had no major people to look up to. The first year I broke a $100,000. I paid a few thousand dollars to a mentor and he didn’t help me become a better shooter. In fact I ask him what’s the difference between a 5,000 and a $50,000 video? And he said nothing.
[1:02:26.5] RN: $45,000.
[1:02:27.6] MG: Yeah, $45,000 and he’s like, it’s really who you’re dealing with and then your attitude and mindset about it. That year, I really broke through but my work didn’t become uniquely different. It didn’t drastically change and I think that that’s where we get so caught up in all of the technicalities and the tactical stuff. But I guarantee you there is somebody and whatever anybody who is listening right now, they’re looking what they want to do that is half crappy at what they do.
And they are making a great living doing it. But it’s not because they are the best at the product part of it but they are the best that the people part, the connections, they have maybe confidence in it and whatever and –
[1:03:05.2] RN: I think you need to go look at it, you don’t look at it like – I am the same way, whenever I thought about it as like a business as to how I’m going to do it. How I am going to make this money? It doesn’t work. So I think looking at it as a project.
[1:03:17.2] MG: I was just going to say and then you could stop. Even Tim Farris started this podcast but I am only going to do six episodes. It’s one of the biggest podcasts around now. But I think that if you went in, “Well I am only going to do six and this is going to have to happen this way and if I get this many and this and…” but he had fun with it and now James Altucher would talk about – they’re just having fun.
I think that when you just have fun, you’ll win a lot more than when you are trying to have to do things a certain way with certain outcomes, with certain results with certain amounts of money. It’s like because you’ll never know how long it’s really going to take.
[1:03:51.5] RN: So true and even just in terms of having fun and experimenting with this podcast. So I was planning on doing all Skype, audio only and then I went to the Bahamas and on the Mastermind Talks vacation and interviewed a lot of guys there and Phillip McKernan, he just challenged me to do everything in person. Because the connection, the relationship just –
[1:04:14.2] MG: I think it’s a great idea.
[1:04:15.4] RN: It’s so much more powerful than just the audio only Skype interview.
[1:04:18.0] MG: But that’s a challenge right?
[1:04:18.9] RN: We had a Skype interview set up right? And then I was like, “Sorry dude, I’m not going to do it, we got to do it in person”.
[1:04:25.2] MG: Yeah and then I’ll be happy to be out in San Diego twice. I mean we can work it out but that’s a challeng. I think most people they then stop and go, “Shoot, how the heck am I going to do that where you know I live in wherever.” Well I mean again, there’s just so many ways to look at things and I think that people look up to Casey Neistat right now and the video space and what’s interesting is, Casey is a case study of the my way thing did things his way and as a byproduct now people make videos going: “How to vlog like Casey Neistat, how to edit like Casey Neistat, how to shoot like Casey Neistat.” So whenever you’re thinking you can use people as a model.
[1:05:03.1] RN: But you can’t completely model after them right?
[1:05:05.1] MG: If you’ve literally been them but you’re not them you’ll lose because there’s an authenticity and James and I were talking about this a lot. There’s an authenticity that is completely lost that when people like the Tucker Max and James Altucher podcast I listened to all the way here, talking about exactly that. People who try to write like, “I get drunk, I have sex, I do this” and so they write but it’s because they are doing it with an intent of “I’ll be like Tucker.”
Tucker got this promotion and the same thing with James. “I’ll pour my heart and soul onto the page,” but when you come from that place of truly trying to just mimic or copy someone else, it will get you somewhere. But it won’t get you the place you’re trying to go.
[1:05:43.2] RN: It’s not you.
[1:05:43.8] MG: Yeah, it’s not you. It’s a great starter place I feel like somewhat. I feel like in video that’s what I did. It got me a foundation but you can’t stay there.
[1:05:51.9] RN: How do you find your own voice though? I feel like it’s very hard because there’s so many people out there that are preaching to you telling you advice and it’s very easy to be influenced and then model yourself after somebody of course. So how do you find your own voice?
[1:06:05.3] MG: I don’t think that people follow their own voice. So my way thing isn’t Michael Gebben. It’s a collaboration of all the people that I looked up to and I modelled and I studied. What I stopped doing was having expectations that I’m going to take this edit from this company and I am going to replicate it to an exact tee. What I did was I started going into the shoots and just going like I used – the couples that tell me, “This is going to happen at this time and this and this and this and this.”
And then none of it would happen and I already have the songs pre-setup and edits and I’m like “It’s going to go here” and so what happens I said, “I’m just going to go. I’m just going to capture what’s in front of the lens” and that’s it. I’m trying to take everything I’ve learned and everything that I know and I think that it’s like when people – I think the worst piece of advice is telling someone to double their rates. Now it is also a great piece of advice.
When is it a great piece of advice? When you’ve got more demand than you have supply. The guy who has no demand and doubles his rates ends up with no business and that’s where people go wrong because I’ve had people say, “Oh my God it was the greatest thing that ever happened” I said, “How long are you in business?” They said, “Eight years,” and then they’re like, “I was overwhelmed. I was about to give up.” It was like where I was at in 2010.
So to develop your way, doing things your way, you got to first just do things and try things try doing things like other people find out because then you go, “Well I like this from Johnny and this from this person and this from Jack and this from Sally” and you bring that all in and then pretty soon, you just – I actually had to remove everybody like that’s what I did back in the video space. I literary removed every single person who’s influenced me.
I didn’t look at them anymore, I didn’t watch their things, I didn’t read their emails. The same thing happened recently again with me. All the aspirers and all these people, I had to stop listening to 99% of them and then be a producer rather than a creator, rather than a consumer and I think that’s the thing that sometimes everybody is just in 100% consumption mode. They don’t produce, they don’t create and then they don’t learn. So they can’t find their voice or their way because they don’t do anything and so.
[1:08:08.2] RN: So we talked about your dad a little bit about how he’s been an example of leadership for you, if you had to pinpoint one other person, who’s had the single most profound impact on your life?
[1:08:19.1] MG: You know it’s interesting. I can give you a few I think would be good. My mom has been a sweetheart and always been probably my biggest supporter in my life. I think by my ability to be a sweetheart to everybody else and people were like, I think I get from that. I think that there’s a couple of people in my life and a couple of things that had happened that were really big impacts. One was the guy who my parents had known their parents since they were little.
And made movies together and then the son babysat me and then when I started my company, he was there all the time and helped out. He always showed up at different times in the day. He would be like, “I would be there at 10” wouldn’t show up until two and wherever else and one day he left. He said, “I will be in the morning” and didn’t come in that day. I didn’t think anything of it and his cousin who worked with me as well at 9:30 at night on 7th of 2007 called me up and said:
“I think Andrew passed away” and he was a person who would do anything for anybody. He bent over backwards to help somebody, he’d drive across the continental US over a weekend to go see a concert. So he really would help anybody but he also lived life to the fullest like the short life that he lived, he lived it to the max. I think when that happened in 2007, it ties into some stuff. I got in with debt but that’s a whole other conversation.
But it just taught me if I want something and I got to do it, I got to do it. If I feel it in my heart, whatever it takes, if I have to put some on a credit card or some of these projects and things, I did that. I mean talk about risk as an entrepreneur like life was worth living. I got one life to live and I don’t know and I have seen multiple people in my life even now recently like people I am connected with and boom it’s gone.
[1:10:10.3] RN: I’ve seen it myself, yeah. Thanks for sharing that. Just the other day actually I had – we had a family friend who we played sports together as kids, our parents are friends and I just saw the other day that he was nearly 61 years old so he’s a little older but he’s healthy. He’s a big scuba diver, he ran all the time, he just went for a morning jog, boom, heart attack, death and it’s crazy. His name was Buddy Brown. So I think a day later or two days later, his son Joey who I was friends with growing up and his wife had a son that day and Buddy Brown is his name.
But it’s a good reminder that tomorrow is not promised and we talk about it a lot actually on a lot of these conversations we have that –
[1:11:08.0] MG: We think it’s not going to happen with us.
[1:11:09.4] RN: Yeah, you don’t but it could be literary tomorrow and one day it’s going to come.
[1:11:16.2] MG: Well exactly and that’s the thing and I think – we call him Andy Man. His name is Andrew Walters and that was huge. Another one is since about 2012 now about five years, I’ve been walking when I’m at home with my grandpa at the mall. He’s 80 and one day I asked him what was one of his biggest regrets of something he did and then something he did not do. Now you just saw a freaking Toyota commercial that said exactly this line I’m about to say.
But the truth is he instantly had the one he regretted not doing and couldn’t come up with anything he had done. So I just learned that when you are thinking about this stuff and you’re worrying what’s going to happen, the faster you iterate, the faster you try, the faster you fail and you take action and you do things and you learn from it and you don’t let your friends and family and society and all these people who really and truly, if I am being completely honest when I think about it, 99% of it is in my head.
My friends, my family, society and peers are actually not saying a damn thing to me about don’t do this, they’re not. I make it up in my head because I think I have to get it outside of me. I have to blame someone else but it’s really me. That’s the little guy on my shoulder telling me to not do something or you’re not good enough or whatever. I just learned from my grandpa. It’s the things that you don’t try and for him it wasn’t getting his books published and he let one single agent or whatever get it into one publisher who basically said:
“If you had written these 50 years ago they had been best sellers.” And of course we know now that there’s no gatekeepers, there’s anybody that’s holding you back and so don’t let yourself because I guarantee a lot of people it’s not their – I mean some people yeah, they’re family they are in certain scenarios, they are really hardcore. I get some of that but at the same time a lot of it, it’s really us. We’re the ones holding ourselves back.
[1:13:01.7] RN: On that note, we talk a lot about just trying, going to do something, taking action, getting comfortable being uncomfortable right? So if you had to just give the Fail On community a challenge that they could go attack this week, what would that be?
[1:13:15.2] MG: Well I didn’t mention most of the story, we talked about it right before but I had a guy that I did some training and he wanted to shoot. He was a videographer and he wanted to shoot – he wanted to make a living doing video and for 10 years, he was almost the same age as me, so we were both 30. He wasn’t making any money doing it and he had lost a job that he had. In 2014 he said he went balls to the walls doing this thing and he was like $12,000 in debt and he made a $1,000.
And the question I had asked him is, “If you didn’t need any money what would you do?” and the first thing he said to me is he goes, “Poker runs.” I was like, “Poker runs? I don’t know what that is” he goes, it’s these boat races. He goes, I’ve been filming this one for free in Atlanta for about four years. He goes, “But last year” this was January 2015 I got a hold of him he goes, “But last year I reached out to them but they couldn’t afford me, they didn’t want it, whatever” and this is where The Imperfect Action for everybody comes into play.
He ended reaching out to about 200 of these poker runs across the United States and Canada and within about four or five months, he got a $50,000 contract from one that did. 50 of them and they gave him a contract for like 15 but it was that you don’t know out of the 200 there weren’t that many that reached back out. So in his mind though, he reached to a bunch. So we were joking beforehand, it’s like whatever you think you’ve tried or you’ve been busy at, I promise you probably you think you’ve reached out to 30 when it’s only been three.
So just increase that doing, that trying, that action on whatever it is don’t try to figure out everybody is listening to enough things and knows enough stuff, that there’s something on their mind that they’ve been wanting to do, or tried a little bit. Just do a little bit more of it than you have ever done. Push a little bit harder. So for me, it’s just that reaching out to somebody that you kind of – you know whoever it is big or small. I’ve had an easier time sometimes reaching out to the bigger people than the smaller people. So anyways I could go on and one but –
[1:15:13.3] RN: No I love that and I want to obviously respect your time and –
[1:15:15.6] MG: It’s all good, I could be here forever for you. I love it.
[1:15:17.3] RN: Well yeah, the same. It’s been a great conversation and I’m sure it won’t be our last. So thanks so much for joining.
[1:15:24.0] MG: Thank you.
[1:15:25.0] RN: And catch you next time.
[1:15:26.3] MG: Thank you.
[1:15:29.7] RN: Alright, so you could find Michael @mgebbs on Twitter and of course, all the links and resources that Michael and I discussed including more information on his YouTube channel and jump starter program can be found on the page we created especially for this episode. That will be at failon.com/028 and next week, we are sitting down with my good friend, Tim JP Collins. Tim is known as the breakthrough anxiety coach and has been dedicated to supporting others who suffer with panic attacks, stress and anxiety.
His techniques isn’t just about coping. It’s about facing anxiety and fear and overcoming it to live the life you are actually destined for. In this episode Tim shares his personal experience with anxiety and panic attacks and what he’s actually done to turn his troubles into opportunity through helping others. That will drop next week, don’t miss it and if the podcast has the wheels turning, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what your biggest struggle is in getting started in business or breaking through the next level of your existing business.
And as I continue to build Fail On with the goal of helping employees become entrepreneurs, I’d be really grateful for a couple of things that are so small but matter a ton to me. Subscribing to the podcast takes a single click and helps the show get found by more people and obviously when people can find it, it means it can help more people which means that you are helping people by simply subscribing. So to subscribe and rate and review the podcast. It’s super easy just visit failon.com/itunes or failon.com/stitcher.
[1:17:36.1] ANNOUNCER: That’s all for this episode of The Fail On Podcast. For more resources, show notes and action items to help you find success in your failures, sign up for our mailing list at failon.com.
For more actionable inspiration, we’ll catch you next time right here on The Fail On Podcast.