Ben Currier – Why failure is a stepping stone for something bigger.Failure doesn’t have to set you back. In fact, it can be used as a tool to set you apart from the competition. My next guest shares his past failures and how he’s used those failures as a marketing tool. In this episode, we talk about how and why he failed, how he uses failure to stand apart, and why we all should not be trying to look perfect in a world that’s cluttered with prideful behavior. Please welcome Ben Currier.
Payback Time is a podcast for investors. The goal of this podcast is to help make investing approachable and easy to understand. We will interview beginner and experienced investors and ask them to share stories on how they got started, what challenges they faced, what mistakes they made, and what strategy works for them today. The overall objective is to provide you with a roadmap that helps you become a better investor.
00:43) – Show intro and background history
(06:55) – Walk us through a specific failure.
(11:58) – His philosophy about the corporate world
(14:16) – Deep diving into his principles on management
(17:23) – A bit about his business model and podcast show
(20:52) – His entrepreneurial background and failures
(23:45) – His website and educational platform.
(26:25) – The importance of educational platforms.
(28:33) – What platform is he using now?
(30:17) – How to break your comfort zone by losing the fear of failure and just trying
(30:40) – The importance of structuring service businesses to grow healthy
(33:29) – How to plan how to go out of business to retire or grow
(36:23) – The importance of structuring parallel passive income and diversified investments to achieve financial independence
(41:40) – Guest contacts
[00:00:04.090] – Show Intro
Hey, this is Sean Tepper, the host of Payback Time and Approachable and Transparent podcast on business investing in finance. I’d like to bring our guests to hear authentic stories while giving you actionable takeaways you can use today. Let’s go. Failure doesn’t have to set you back. In fact, it can be used as a tool to set you apart from the competition. My next guest shares his past failures and how he’s used those failures as a marketing tool. In this episode, we talk about how and why he failed, how he uses failure to stand apart, and why we should all not be trying to look perfect in a world that’s cluttered with prideful behavior. Please welcome Ben Courier. Ben, welcome to the show.
[00:00:45.410] – Ben
Thank you very much for having me. I appreciate it Sean.
[00:00:47.870] – Sean
Glad to have you here. So why don’t yo,u kick us off and tell us about your background.
[00:00:51.870] – Ben
Sure. So my background is a bit of a storied past, but in terms of training and education, I went to Undergraduate for Accounting, where I basically picked accounting before I knew what it was, because that’s how you basically pick a major, it seems, but then also advanced to get my MBA at the same school, which is Bentley, back in Boston area. I grew up in Salem, Massachusetts, so the witch city where they had the witch trials. And I’ve dealt with my fair share of people saying they can predict the future and whatnot, which I think is a funny segue into the investing area because a lot of people can’t predict the future with stocks, investing and things like that. So I grew up with a high level of skepticism and critical thinking when it comes to what people can tell you and how much they know. And then I’ve worked in the past 15 years in corporate finance and accounting and had mixed results. And I’m trying to embrace the entrepreneurial lifestyle and make as few mistakes as I can, which is why I embrace the topic of failure, which is hopefully what I’ll be getting your listeners a little bit more comfortable with.
[00:01:57.190] – Sean
Awesome. And just to give the audience a little context here, I read your bio and I think you reached out to me and I saw failure. You’re the failure guy and you really lean into that to talk about some of the mistakes you made. And myself and my audience, we do like that. We like learning from people’s mistakes, but we also appreciate when somebody’s, they’re humble enough and they can actually put those mistakes out there for others. Because in the world we live in today, everybody, you know, a lot of people online trying to be perfect and put out this perfect persona and there’s a lot of pride there and we try to gravitate away from that. So why don’t you take us through some of the failures and we can dive into that a little bit?
[00:02:39.440] – Ben
Yeah, absolutely. So I think it started out my step dad growing up. He would say he was a hotel roofer, and he did plowing. So he was doing a lot of manually intensive type of things. And he said his basically only advice that he had was you can either play now as a kid and pay later. Which is why he didn’t really go to school or pay attention too much, or you can pay now and play later, which kind of fits into your payback overall vibe. But the point is, I was like, okay, I’ll do the pay now, play later, because I can’t do physical labor like he’s doing. I’ll take the one advice that I know he knows he misses out on school. So I was like, okay, if I focus on that, I focus on my skills and get better at following the rules and the blueprint of how you should go through school, then I’ll be set. Once I’m out of college, everything will be fine. I’ll get to play in my mind. Unfortunately, he didn’t know what the other side is like either. He just knew the way he did it wasn’t the right way.
[00:03:37.740] – Ben
So, unfortunately, since graduating college, have been fired from every job I’ve had since graduating, which is now six for six. But it took me the fifth one before I could even admit it to myself. And so I think what you’re saying about authenticity and about putting yourself out there is like sometimes we hide to ourselves what’s going on because especially in the business world, if you’re interviewing, they might call your former employers, but they won’t say what happened. They’ll just say, he worked from X to X, and this was his position and how much you got paid. Because they don’t want to probably deal with you again. But really, they just don’t tend to give enough information. So I could lie or dance my way around most of the issues, but that would be I wouldn’t even realize myself that that happened. So then after the fifth one, I was like, Wait, these were all not necessarily my choice. I was being told, hey, you do amazing work, but we just can’t handle whatever it is that is mismatching with me and corporate America. And I think a lot of it was I tried to supplement my skill and increase that rather than do the corporate politics and type of more sneaky stuff.
[00:04:43.610] – Ben
I’d say I wasn’t playing the game. I was trying to get out of that game by getting better at my skills. And unfortunately, people who don’t know what kind of skill it takes to do some of the things, but they do recognize people who play that game well and position themselves well within a company. Which, being from Boston, like I said, we’re very much straight to the point we won’t sugarcoat things. And so that doesn’t always draft sometimes with the business area, especially corporate America, but sometimes it was my fault. Sometimes it was their fault, sometimes a mix. A couple of times I hired my own the person who fired me. There’s a lot of lessons I learned along the way, but I think more than anything, it made me more confident that A, I could go off and do my own thing and be my own boss because then I have to answer to myself. But also clearly they don’t want me, so why would I keep trying to go back to that industry? And so really the whole failure thing is more like I was trying to I felt like I had to portray what you were saying, like the social media highlight real version of me as a professional businessman who can do I have an MBA, so I know everything.
[00:05:48.220] – Ben
And really a lot of times I’d be tapped out on all the Fpna work that I was doing so that I would let my own personal life suffer in terms of financial planning because I was so basically exhausted on the topic that I wouldn’t want to face my own finances. So there’s a lot that I had to deal with in terms of looking in the mirror and saying, what’s going on? Why can’t you fit in with this world? And you got to start figuring out how to embrace failure or at least take the sting out of it because it’s a necessary component towards success that a lot of people want to shun away and not show the world. And so I figured, well, hey, there’s a lot of competition for the world’s number one accountant online, but there’s not much competition for the number one failure. So I figured that’d be funny. And as I was networking and basically saying, hey, you should learn Excel, I could see people fall asleep during that sentence. So I was like, well, how can I switch this? That would make it a little bit more interesting for me.
[00:06:40.260] – Ben
This is pre COVID networking days and now I just feel like I’m more basically each time I got fired, it was like the person I am at work and the person I am at home became more the same person until I didn’t feel like I was putting on an act anywhere. That’s great if that makes sense.
[00:06:56.550] – Sean
I love that because you’re right, so many people there one version of themselves at home with their friends and then they go to work. They’re completely different. They’re playing a game and they’re putting on a facade and then you get the ladder climbers that they’re ready to backstab and bow to the corporate machine so they can look better. See, a lot of things right, I’d like to dive into because the audience is wondering. I talked to a lot of our customers at Tykr and a lot of listeners, and they’re like, well, you got to ask this question. You got to ask this. So they want me. I know them enough. They want me to ask you, walk us through a specific failure. Sounds like maybe you said the wrong thing or maybe you didn’t do what you’re told. Exactly. Let’s get right to it. Sure.
[00:07:43.400] – Ben
So one of the two folks who I had hired, literally, I was interviewing them to hire them into the company at basically my level. I would look for people who would fill in the gaps of what I can do. Let’s say I’m not a type A personality. I might be looking for a type A personality. So that rounds out the team with the hope of making the company better. Most people in that situation. Or maybe I should have hired someone who’s more along the same lines as me because we might get along better. But since I hired someone who seemed to be the opposite of me in terms of skill set and like filling in gaps that I had, I thought that was the right move. But that ended up meaning I had to work with a person who’s very much on to do list duty and very micromanaging once they played that corporate ladder game and got above where I was because I wasn’t trying to do anything but make my role at the company. Which is the entire budgeting for a multi, very complicated roll up of entities. And so my job was to make sure these Excel spreadsheets were bulletproof and error proof and things like that.
[00:08:45.980] – Ben
Mix that in with hiring someone who then makes my life harder and is always seemingly just getting me to do the work. A lot of times it seems like that’s what managers are. They don’t necessarily do the work as much as they know how to get people to do work. And I was realizing, no matter how good I get at Excel, they’re going to want to keep me doing Excel. They’re not going to make me a manager or C suite because I’m not doing Excel anymore. And that’s what I’m good at. I’m not great at doing the managing and leading because I hadn’t had the opportunity to experience that. So I think having the best intentions, it doesn’t necessarily matter sometimes in the world of corporate America because everyone is so confined to their own little piece of the pie, especially in a large corporation, that you don’t see much of what’s going on in any department. And you trust the people who have the closest view as to what they say. And so if they have a giant folder of the things you’ve done wrong, and you haven’t been keeping a folder of things, of anything that anyone did wrong, it’s hard to have any sort of ability to push back when leverage things don’t go right.
[00:09:46.510] – Ben
Yeah, because I’m thinking more about, let’s make sure this is the best budget. And the CEO said it was the best budget you’ve ever seen. Which, who knows what kind of bar that even sets. But you think when you’re good at the job, you could not have to do the things that feel less genuine, which is to try to, like you said, backstabbing, even if it’s unintentional backstabbing of trying to keep certain people in the dark or position yourself in a certain way. But I think the real struggle was it was exhausting to play that person at work that wasn’t me, to your point, about that we have a different person at home and at work. And I think just realize that in my experience, companies want you to care about them more than they care about you. And so during any of this time, you should view it as investing in yourself and not necessarily doing it for the purpose of the company, because they might not be there when you need them in the future. And so since I had, over time, at many jobs, gotten really good at excel, I figured, why don’t I teach that to other people and let them go do the job that I seemingly can’t figure out how to keep?
[00:10:50.080] – Ben
And so that’s what led me to do online excel training, which is my primary business. But either way, there’s no real blueprint for how to run your own business, but also undergraduate and graduate. I had one excel class, and then I was doing 99% of my work was in excel, and I’m like, come on, people, let’s let’s be real. Let’s actually teach us stuff that we need to know and not just go through the checklist, I guess, because a lot of us who went to business school are woefully unprepared to either work in or run a business, and it.
[00:11:19.710] – Sean
Takes a lot of failure to get there, correct? Yeah, that’s another topic we could talk about. But I’m not the biggest advocate of schooling, especially today. There’s a lot of ways you can I phrase this before in the podcast is get the revenue machine moving a lot earlier in life, either with a tech degree in it or a tech school with a trade job, because you minimize debt. You start compounding into the stock market at age 20, roughly, and you hit age 30, you hit age 40. I mean, you’re decades of ahead of a lot of people by that point. Let’s circle back here. It sounds like you would hire people that and I like this. You want to hire people that tell you what to do. Not you hire them so you can tell them what to do. That’s a hiring philosophy. I forgot who mentioned that. But I remember meeting a guy at one organization I worked at. He got in, and he’s like, I want to seek to understand before being understood. And I’m in here, I would assume, so I can help show people what to do. Not in here to be told what to do.
[00:12:27.950] – Sean
Well, the organization he came into, they wanted to tell him what to do. So it was immediate headbutting. Maybe there was a little bit of that in your world, right?
[00:12:38.690] – Ben
I think so. But it’s also frustrating because let’s say you have the same exact job as someone else at the company doing the same thing if you’re really good at the thing. We’ll call this excel. In my case, if I can take something that takes 20 hours a week and make it take 1 hour a week, they’re going to give me 19 more hours of other stuff that takes up that additional time. So you don’t get to keep the time that you save with the skills you’re producing. And also they may even pay someone more money to take longer to do the same thing because they just can’t evaluate how difficult anything is if they don’t have that skill set themselves. And so the tough part about working in a company is you really don’t get to keep the time you save in your own business. If you do, if you learn how to make things go faster or scale things better, you get all the benefit of that. You don’t have to essentially give that up to the company and still work 40 hours a week no matter how quickly you can do it.
[00:13:36.450] – Ben
Wasn’t that I was trying to hire someone who would manage me, but it’s more like I know where I’m weak, and I wanted to make sure that we had strength in those areas.
[00:13:44.990] – Sean
Complement. Yeah. I remember talking to a business leader, I think it was in the last few years, but they said, a players hire A players, b players hire C and D players because they want to bring these people, and they want to be able to tell these people what to do. And in your case, I look at a circumstance, I have to ask, are you around age 30, 37 actually. Hold on to your youth, grasping and.
[00:14:13.580] – Ben
Holding up for dear life.
[00:14:15.650] – Sean
Well done. What I’m hearing is a situation where you’re technically proficient at Excel, but what I found in working for large corporations myself is you have to be good at politics in a good way and a bad way. If you want to move from, like I would call it somebody who’s more entry to mid level, but a technical person that’s doing something technical. If you want to move to middle management, you got to be good at politics. You got to be able to satisfy whether it’s right or wrong, you got to be able to satisfy the director’s level and the VP level. And that’s how you kind of punch through to the upper echelon. And there’s a lot of people, they can’t do that. They can’t plan that ladder. They can’t say those things or make that PowerPoint or write those emails that have those little words, those little things peppered in that compliment the director and above. And I never aspired to go that route myself. So my background real quick is I’ve been in It project management for 15 years, and project managers are kind of like in their own island. You could be there, like, year three out of school, and you could also be there year 35 out of school.
[00:15:25.940] – Sean
You’re kind of in your own lane, and you can make more money, but it’s like you’re not really managing people. You can lead people, but you’re not playing that corporate game. All right, I’m manager, and then I’m director, and then I’m VP, and then I’m president, and then you get the C level thereafter I never wanted. And similar to you is I push back on the machine a little bit. Like if they want me to do something and it doesn’t align with my values, it’s a hell no, I’m not doing that.
[00:15:57.570] – Ben
I think that’s part of my problem, too, is that if everything was going okay, I wouldn’t have as many issues. But if I see a lot of inefficiency and processes that are broken and I know I can fix them, but I’m being told instead of fixing them, to just deal with it. And I’m being told the wrong ideas and the wrong things from above, most likely. And just as an aside, I think I’m really good at taking the nitty gritty detail and bringing that high level to be able to bridge the world between both the people on the ground doing the work and the C suite. Folks, I’m really good at thinking hi, big picture and small picture. But what I’m bad at is if someone is saying we should continue to do this really bad idea, it’s really difficult for me to not say, I think this is a bad idea, and I don’t think we should do this. And the more that I’m not listened to, and especially if I have more of my heart and soul into that project or into that thing, it’s harder for me to do the work after I’m told no.
[00:16:57.690] – Ben
I kind of physically retract from the work because it’s hard to not be listened to when you have so much experience seeing the specific thing maybe go wrong in the past.
[00:17:08.470] – Sean
I see you. You’re in a position where you get how these games are played, these corporate machines run, and you’ve got, in my opinion, two options. You can continue to play that game, and you’re probably going to hit dead ends because of your personality, like mine, or you’ve got your own thing going. It sounds like courses, teaching people how to get better at Excel. That’s a legitimate business model. And then we talked about this briefly podcast we’re thinking about launching, right?
[00:17:40.050] – Ben
The failure guy. At least my podcast now is two years and three months into it, but I did it all myself. And so even one year into it, I was still getting one download a day. And I’m like, this is not what.
[00:17:52.250] – Sean
I expected, but it takes a long time.
[00:17:54.330] – Ben
It does that’s. What I think is a good lesson for anyone listening, is that not only do things take longer than they think, but most people give up earlier. And if you have that resilience and make it about basically a goal that you can control. I can control how many episodes I put out. I can’t control as much, how many people listen or care, but I know if I make the goal something that’s within my power, and I just know that I need to get this many episodes out or recorded or whatever the thing is, I can control that. The reception and how people like it, I can’t control it as much. So I try to make my goals and objectives within my control and then learn from the feedback of whoever’s consuming whatever thing it is, whether it’s the training or the podcast. Try to figure out what’s working, what isn’t. But I like to say my motto is instead of fake it till you make it, which I think is really disingenuous and all about showing the wrong thing, I say fail it till you nail it, because it’s really about messing up until you learn how to do it the right way.
[00:18:55.230] – Ben
And that’s how mainly I’ve learned most things in life is by messing around, breaking things, doing things differently than most, and then learning from it. But it’s hard to get out of your comfort zone and do a lot of those things. Even when I started the podcast, I had never done a podcast. I have no idea what’s going on. I make mistakes all the time.
[00:19:14.770] – Sean
Yeah, and that’s something I talked about before kicking this episode off a little bit. And the audience doesn’t know this, but I spent about a year kind of researching all the tech I need for the podcast and then what kind of length should I look at and how should I do intros and what kind of music and where do I get the music. Oh, you need copyright free music. Got it. Okay. And the list goes on. And there is this analysis, paralysis. And finally it’s like when Tykr launched, it was summer of 2020. I’m like, that’s it. I’m launching the podcast at the same time. I’m not analyzing, I’m moving forward, and I’m going to fail or figure it out along the way in some way, shape, or form.
[00:19:55.710] – Ben
It sounds like we launched it at the same time. September 2020 was when my first episode came out.
[00:20:00.660] – Sean
Okay. Yeah, it was July. So let’s take a quick commercial break. If someone tells you to buy a stock, the last thing you should do is buy that stock. The first thing you should do is ask why. Unfortunately, a lot of influencers on YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Reddit, and really the list goes on are giving really bad stock recommendations and investment advice. The question is, how do you determine if what these people say is good advice or bad advice. That’s where Tykr can help. Tykr can quickly and easily determine if a stock is a good or bad investment. And it helps you manage your investments with confidence. But don’t take our word for it. Check out our trust pilot reviews to see what people are really saying. Go ahead and get started with a free trial. Visit Tykr.com. That’s tykr.com again. Tykr.com. All right, back to the show. I really like that. That’s your philosophy. Get out there and fail until you nail it. Can you share with us? Is there any kind of like a business venture or something else you started that you failed along the way, or was it really just a corporate path for the failures?
[00:21:11.350] – Ben
One thing I will say is a mistake that I made, and it’s debatable whether it’s a mistake based on how you view things in the world. But I started my Excel training website about ten years ago. Ten or eleven years ago. For the first eight years, there were no ads, there was no way to pay me. There was me basically paying to teach people how to use Excel because I don’t like what I think. Growing up poor and having poor role models financially, when money gets involved with things, it makes it harder for me to understand intentions and also just to make sure that it doesn’t become go from a hobby to a job without me knowing how I want it to be. So for a long time. And I would say if you’re doing your own business or you’re doing your own venture, don’t do it for eight years for free. That doesn’t make any sense. I wish I capitalized when I had more traffic much earlier, because while it may feel good and it’s great, I mean, that’s part of why I did it, was because of the schooling thing. A lot of people can’t afford to go to undergraduate graduate school and then still not get the training that they need in this specific topic.
[00:22:17.140] – Ben
So I thought, if I just give this away for free, at least I’ll find out if you will find it useful. And then by the time I monetized, it was probably too late, considering how much momentum I had before. But I was too worried about breaking things than I was about making it better, because I was like, oh, this is working somehow. I don’t want to screw it up because that’s what I tend to do. But that’s when you get into that analysis paralysis and you stop doing things. And that kind of basically makes sure you don’t succeed because you’re not doing anything to make it to pump it up. So I’d say monetize sooner, but also just figure out what your target market wants. And that’s what I was trying to do during that time. But I was also working in corporate America, full time jobs. So it’s kind of like if it’s free. I don’t have to feel like it’s a deadline. I can just put things out as I want. But then as it, you know, it accumulates. And I have like on my head a Microsoft MVP award they give out and I want four years for Microsoft Excel due to the free training stuff.
[00:23:18.430] – Ben
So like, there’s a lot of clout and things you can get with the with the training that you’re doing. But I’d say don’t hesitate to give even if you’re doing mostly free, give a monetized option because I waited too long out of fear of putting people off or being too sales. That’s one of my own self limiting beliefs that I think I need to get past because I never had to do it. I just have to make the budget you guys go sell or forecast and I wouldn’t have to figure out the selling piece. So I think that’s important.
[00:23:45.430] – Sean
Now, did you monetize it as paid courses or did you only rely on advertising?
[00:23:51.230] – Ben
So first started by doing a little bit of just ads. So I had to move everything from Vimeo to YouTube, which I know that’s not seemingly a big deal, but when one of your videos goes from 2.7 million views on this other platform to zero, your legitimacy tends to drop with it. But I couldn’t monetize it via ads on the platform I was on. So there’s a lot of learning mistakes, you know, along the way. But basically all that old training is still free. If you go to my website, it’s the main thing on it. I still don’t know how to sell, it seems. But I do have a paid course that I point people towards if they want the newest, best, what is my better magnum opus version of training in terms of trying to do my best job. But I still wanted to keep that free piece for folks who need to upskill themselves without having the money to do so. I’ve always struggled with battling the machine and not feeling like you’re part of the machine. And once you start introducing money, it can feel disingenuous at times. So I always really hesitate to bring in money into a project until I know how it affect things.
[00:24:56.110] – Ben
So it took me too long there. I didn’t even put an ad on my own podcast for my own business until episode 36 or something.
[00:25:03.060] – Sean
[00:25:03.880] – Ben
I’m saying I really focus on everyone else’s experience of it than mine because I have a really high wall when it comes to being sold and I feel like I put that wall in front of me when I’m selling as well. But just for anyone who needs advice in that area, one of the things I’ve heard is the best way to describe it is from Phil M. Jones. He’s a great author. He has an audiobook that’s a workshop thing and he says you’re basically earning the right to. Make a recommendation. So you find out what you basically try to not only just genuinely show interest in people, which is obviously important, but once you find that they have an area where they might need the thing that you have, you’re just earning the right to make a recommendation that your thing might help them in that area rather than trying to sell directly at them. And always provide more value than you’re charging because then you won’t feel bad. I know that if someone pays, it’s only $200 for lifetime access to my course. And I know that if they took it, they’d save hours and hours and hours of time, but I don’t I don’t sell it as well.
[00:26:07.670] – Ben
So that’s the thing I’m trying to get better at now. It’s like not only the content creation, but how do I focus better and how do I better communicate the value that I’m trying to give? And it’s a struggle. It’s not easy because you’re not taught a lot of those things, especially if you went to school for a very specific thing that wasn’t that right.
[00:26:26.250] – Sean
Yeah. A lot of good lessons there learned and there’s entrepreneurs listening to this, creating courses. And we at Tykr as we speak. Recording in this episode is middle of December. We are going live with a course platform in early 2023 just based on demand from some of our customers. And one. This was good advice. Years ago, I heard is from somebody creating courses, and I actually got on the call with them, and they taught me, if you’re teaching information, you need to set this baseline and be like, the more you charge, the more people will pay attention when they get that credit card out. And they swipe that. They’re committed. They’re investing. But if you make it free, he told me that that’s the issue. They’re going to kind of piecemeal it. They’ll take a look at a video today and then another one three months from now, then another one a year from now. They won’t take it serious. Whereas you you paid for your education. You got it looks like your MBA behind you.
[00:27:23.580] – Ben
[00:27:24.750] – Sean
That’s a price you paid. And it’s like, oh, I better put my big boy pants on here, and I better commit.
[00:27:31.010] – Ben
Yeah, but there’s even things where, like, if you look, I’m on Investopedia’s top six Excel classes of 2022, but I don’t know what to do with a lot of these things. But what you’re saying is right. I think free can hurt you for sure. That’s especially the only thing you have, but not just in. Even if someone loves the content and it consumes it like a wild person, you still don’t get much out of it. But to your point, to get enrollment and to get people to actually care about completing a course, because that’s really where a lot of people fail, is they’ll start something, but they don’t have any skin in the game. That money, that payment is really them going, okay, I’m putting dollar bills into someone else’s pocket to get this. It’s much more likely that they’re going to finish that course or at least take it more seriously. And I think free without a paid option can make you look less desirable because it doesn’t seem like you found a way to convince yourself that it’s worth selling, so to speak.
[00:28:31.960] – Sean
Yes, absolutely. So glad to hear you’re charging. I do have to ask, are you using a specific course platform or do you have it put together on WordPress?
[00:28:41.250] – Ben
My main sites in WordPress, but then that’s all the free stuff. I had click funnels originally as where I searched for my platform, I switched to teachable. I’m now going to maybe switch to something else because I don’t like not having ownership of my audience, and it can be tough every time I want to not want to. The one time I did switch from ClickFunnels to teachable, you got to migrate all your students, existing students, because I do lifetime deals all the way over to the other one. And so I want to make sure if I do another transition like that, whether it’s bringing it all into WordPress or doing some sort of overhaul, that at least I own my audience. Because a lot of times when you’re on a different platform, whether it’s click models, teachable, even a Facebook group or whatever your audience is, if you don’t own the right of access to their information or whatever, my mailing list is pretty big. I don’t email them. That’s just ridiculous. But it’s true. I don’t like interrupting people’s lives, so when I do email them, it’s just tips, man. But I make these mistakes, and then I realize I got to learn from our business.
[00:29:48.010] – Ben
Yeah. And the only way to really learn from it is to go, oh, wow, that hurt, that stung. And it’s okay to grieve and have experienced that failure or mistake, but I think the biggest failure is to not actually learn from the mistakes that you’ve paid so much to make. It’s a big cost that you have to take to even let yourself experience that, to stuff it down, to ignore it, would be the biggest failure rather than learning from it and making sure that you don’t make that mistake in the future.
[00:30:16.440] – Sean
Yes, I totally agree. I’m a big proponent of fail forward, fail fast. And for example, I had an agency between 2006 and 2010. It was my first business out of school. I worked for a company for a year just to learn the agency model, how they make money. It was like building websites and software and doing video and and I did that. It was horrible through the recession because nobody wanted to spend any money. And I’m cutting projects 50% in half to even get the work and hated the business model. And I kicked myself after four years. I’m like, you did this four years. Like, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing but expecting a different result. Sean, you’re an idiot. And we grew the last year and we went through a merger. And I’m like, I knew at that point the type of business model I wanted, which was SAS. I wanted to create some kind of software as a service model. Didn’t have an idea, so I went more corporate. But in hindsight, those four years, I got to work with like, or pitch, mostly pitch, not work with about 400 businesses.
[00:31:23.650] – Sean
So I got to learn how do they make money, what is the revenue model, what is their operations model, sales, marketing, all that. It was like a precursor to analyzing stock. So it all worked out. But my gosh, nowadays if we do something, we’re not seeing results. It’s one of those deals where, okay, we got to make a micro pivot here. What do we do to start moving the needle? Because otherwise it’s going to be this four years of doing the same thing, expecting a different result, but we get the same result.
[00:31:52.930] – Ben
Yeah, I think part of that is the sun cost policy, but with time, it’s like you spend so much time in this thing. Well, there’s a great example I think Seth God mentioned, where it’s like something like 60% of dentists don’t want to be dentists, but they’re still dentists because they went to school for it and they spent so much time, and they view that sun cost as something that they can’t break free from. But do you want to live a miserable life being a dentist for the rest of your life if you truly hate it? I would say you probably shouldn’t. But to your point, it is difficult when you’ve spent so much time building something to not view the non success of it as a failure when you’ve learned quite a lot. I mean, even with my storied past of many jobs, every time I would start a new job, I would change industry. So I mentioned that prior to the call. But I’ve worked in public accounting, real estate, diamond jewelry, video game industry, chemical company that services the marijuana industry, most recently healthcare. I always like switching industries because either way, it’s Excel spreadsheets all the way down as far as I could see.
[00:32:55.140] – Ben
So I might as well learn a new industry and how things work there. And to have that experience across many different industries has given me insight into how a lot of the clients I work with may be thinking. And I might not have had that if I just stayed at KPMG from when I graduated until now. Certainly wouldn’t have done more of the things that are risky, and so it’s not a guaranteed path to anything. But I regret that I was more on the forefront of timing in terms of online learning and that now, just like, as you mentioned, you’re coming out with the course. I’m not targeting you. I’m saying I had more of a first mover advantage than I realized, and I still have some of that legitimacy. But I need to work on getting better at figuring out where I want to go with the future of it because a lot of times I can get stuck in that analysis paralysis you mentioned. And then like I said, I like calling the podcast my podcrastinating from the main business and so that’s sometimes easier to dig into than to all the problems I got to fix on the website or whatever it is.
[00:33:58.860] – Ben
But I think the main thing is I haven’t yet gone to the point where I can automate, eliminate and delegate and figure out and prioritize everything well or trust people enough to not mess it up. There’s a lot of weird things that go along psychologically in your own business when you control everything. And giving up some of that either control or just comfortability in knowing what is being produced. Giving some of that up is really difficult sometimes, especially if you’re a little bit of a perfectionist despite your amount of failure that you’ve had. I have a weird it’s tough for me to let go of something that isn’t perfect, but I’ve been getting better at just shipping work and realizing that everything isn’t going to be perfect. And I do better when I make things than when I worry about how the thing will come out. Sure. I think spreading that comfort zone, expanding it, using fear as like a fuel to push you in that direction is a good thing. And if you’re feeling like, oh, this is kind of scary, it probably means you’re stepping outside your comfort zone. And that’s really usually where a lot of that magic happens because then that comfort zone expands and then your abilities and everything expand around it.
[00:35:06.660] – Sean
Right on. Have you ever read Jeff Walker’s book? Product launch Formula?
[00:35:13.990] – Ben
I don’t think so, which is a ridiculous answer to say, but no, I don’t think so.
[00:35:18.360] – Sean
Put it on your list. Like to do courses. Formula product launch formula by Jeff Walker. One of the best books on doing courses and launching a business monetizing it. It’s both motivational and tactically sound, like the tips he gives. I read it years ago. I’m already going back to some of the notes I took to make sure I implement those in when we do the course here for Tykr. But yeah, you’ve got a path here, my friend, to get out of the corporate grind. I say you run that race, get out of there because otherwise it’s going to be the same old you’re going to run into I hate to say it, we’re going to be in firing event number seven.
[00:35:59.090] – Ben
When I started the podcast, I was in my 6th job, so I thought it was five or five are going to stay that way. But I thought failure was historical. I was hoping that at the time. But, hey, all I really care about is making sure that I try not to make the same mistakes again and also learn from anything that would result in a failure. But I also love to interview people about their own failures because like you’re saying, people do the social media highlight reel and only show the things that make them look good, and we know that’s not how it always is.
[00:36:29.210] – Sean
[00:36:29.680] – Ben
And until they get usually past that and into success, they’re comfortable talking about failure. I’m the one weirdo who’s like, I’m going to talk about it even though I’m not necessarily in the successful land yet, but I realize that I need to wear and have exposure therapy, essentially to the word failure and destigmatize it for myself so that I can think of it as more of a learning experience and a stepping stone towards success.
[00:36:54.930] – Sean
I think I said it on the last podcast that I’ll say on this one, too, is Michael Jordan has a famous quote, he failed X amount of free throws. He missed X amount of three pointers and game winning shots. The list goes on and I fail, and that is why I succeed. It’s just this huge list of all the failures. And then the one thing at the bottom why he succeeds, it hits you in the chest is like, right there. That guy. He knows a thing or two about failure, and look what he’s done.
[00:37:24.750] – Ben
And look how he thinks about himself. Considering everyone else would consider him to be the exact opposite of someone who fails.
[00:37:31.530] – Sean
[00:37:32.900] – Ben
[00:37:33.660] – Sean
Let’s take a quick commercial break. Hey, this is Sean. I’d like to say thank you for taking the time to listen to this podcast. I know there’s a lot of other podcasts you could be listening to, so thanks for taking the time to listen to this one. I have a quick request, if you have a moment. Could you please head over to Apple podcasts and leave a five star review? The reason is the more ratings we get and the higher those ratings are, the more Apple will share us with World. So thanks in advance for doing that. And then I have a quick comment. If there are any questions you want me to ask the guests, please head over to our Tykr Facebook group. You could drop a question right there. I’ll go ahead and make a note and I’ll do my best to ask that question on the podcast. All right, back to the show. All right, I want to ask you a few questions here. I got to jump off top of the hour, but few questions in the rapid fire round, and then we’ll ask where people can reach you. First off, what is your favorite podcast?
[00:38:27.870] – Ben
So I mentioned Seth Godin a little while ago, his podcast, Akimbo is fantastic. I would suggest anybody check it out. The first half is him doing a monologue, basically, and then the second half is answering questions about previous episodes. But his marketing insight, his empathy and the way he does things is how I wish all of corporate America thought. And he’s a really great marketing idol. And so Akimbo, Akimbo, I have not missed an episode since I heard about it. And I even go back to the older stuff. So I’d say that’s besides my own podcast. And I would say definitely listen to the other one before mine because it’s just so good. I’ve gotten so much out of it.
[00:39:11.230] – Sean
I’m going to move that up at the list. I like Seth. He’s a good guy. All right, what is the recent book you read and would recommend?
[00:39:19.410] – Ben
I think the reason one that I’ve read and have to read again is probably Atomic Habits by James Clear because I love the book. My problem is implementation and that’s really where the failure thing came in. A lot of these self improvement books I was reading, I’m like, I’m really not implementing the self improving parts, but they all say to get comfortable with failures. So I was like, that I can do because I’m a lot of that to work with. But I really need to change the daily habits that give you those incremental wins that you don’t see as much until much later. Those 1% adjustments every day that then over time lead to great success. But since I have ADHD, which I hadn’t mentioned, and also is something that has been a roadblock in some of those career paths, I need to make sure that I limit distractions and other things that might take me away from what I should be doing. And so I think that book Atomic Habits and also the Power of Habit by Charles Duhig, both of those books are fabulous in terms of thinking about what you do on a daily basis that either helps or hurts yourself or your business.
[00:40:22.500] – Sean
Right. That’s great. I’ve got time for one more fun question, which is the movie question? What’s your favorite movie?
[00:40:29.610] – Ben
It flip flops between Back to the Future one and two, depending on the day. So I don’t know. I’ve seen both so many times. Now that we’re past the future of Back to the Future, it’s probably more the first one. If I had to pick one considered.
[00:40:45.000] – Sean
One of the best screenplays ever written. Seriously, in film schools they refer to it as like the Benchmark. It is one of my favorite films, too. Nice call.
[00:40:55.470] – Ben
I was just going to say it’s the perfect story of the hero’s journey. But once I learned that, then I saw another movie, I was like, oh, I know what’s going to happen. And I saw the same thing in business. When I learned the hero’s journey of Business, working in business, I kind of also see the same things about corporate politics and whatnot. So when I see behind the scenes, sometimes it can ruin the enlightenment for me. So thankfully, it didn’t ruin Back to the Future, but, like, future superhero movies and stuff. It’s kind of like the same story.
[00:41:24.250] – Sean
There’s a template, but you’re technically the protagonist of your own story, and you’re creating that story as you speak. That’s the way I phrase it. So cheesy.
[00:41:33.250] – Ben
No, we’re the hero, ideally. Or we can be the Yoda or whatever. We can be the helper.
[00:41:38.010] – Sean
True. Yeah, right. All right. Where can people reach you?
[00:41:42.820] – Ben
Absolutely. So Excelexposure.com is the website for my Excel training. Happy to connect with anyone on LinkedIn. I’m surprised that I’m saying LinkedIn is my main platform, but after 15 years being on it, I finally embraced it, and I’m trying to actually use it intentionally because for the longest time, I beat it as just a boring resume holder. So feel free to connect with me, Benjamin Courier, on LinkedIn, and check out the Failure Guy podcast, available wherever podcaster to listen to if you just search for Failure Guy.
[00:42:14.430] – Sean
Awesome, Ben. This was awesome. Thank you so much for sharing your failures being authentic. Really appreciate it.
[00:42:21.790] – Ben
I appreciate you having me, and I hope the listeners get at least one nugget or two out of this conversation.
[00:42:26.740] – Sean
Absolutely, they will. All right, we’ll see you, buddy.
[00:42:29.030] – Ben
[00:42:30.990] – Sean
Hey, I’d like to say thank you for checking out this podcast. I know there’s a lot of other podcasts you could be listening to, so thanks for spending some time with me. Also, if you have a moment, could you please head over to Apple podcast and leave a review? The more reviews we get, the more Apple will share this podcast with the world. So thanks for doing that. And last thing, if you do hear any stocks mentioned on this podcast, please keep in mind this podcast is for entertainment purposes only. Please do not make a buy or sell decision based solely on what you hear. All right, thanks for your time. We’ll talk to you later. See you.