My guest today is a dad, husband, drummer and entrepreneur who builds awesome stuff online and helps people build their businesses.
He spent his early years traveling around Canada whilst playing in punk-rock bands, which taught him the D.I.Y. work ethic of “If you want something to change you have to do it, get it done, or stop complaining about it.”
This is a work ethic that he still swears by.
He is the host of Hack The Entrepreneur and co-host of The Showrunner podcast and The Showrunner Podcasting Course.
Now, let’s hack …
Our very own Jon Nastor.
In this 47-minute episode Jerod Morris and Jonny Nastor discuss:
- How to pursue the things you want (and ensure that you get them)
- What you can learn from punk rock and how to apply it to business
- How to define your perfect day (and the steps required to make it happen)
- The end of Hack the Entrepreneur
Listen to Hack the Entrepreneur below ...
The Show Notes
How to Be a Terrible Employee, Build an Audience, and Travel the World
Voiceover: Welcome to Hack the Entrepreneur, the show which reveals the fears, habits, and inner battles behind big-name entrepreneurs and those on their way to joining them. Now here is your host, Jon Nastor.
Jerod Morris: Welcome back to Hack the Entrepreneur. I’m so glad you decided to join me today. I’m your host, Jerod Morris, but you can call me … well, Jerod, because that’s what everyone calls me, since my name doesn’t lend itself to a catchy nickname like Jon/Jonny.
Oh, and you might be wondering why I’m talking to you right now instead of Jonny. Well don’t worry. It’ll become clear soon enough.
My guest today is a dad, husband, drummer, and entrepreneur who builds awesome stuff online and helps people with their lives and businesses. He spent his early years travelling around Canada while playing in punk rock bands, which taught him the DIY work ethic of if you want something to change, you have to do it. Get it done, or stop complaining about it. This is a work ethic that he still swears by.
Jonny Nastor: You know that we have great advertisers that support the show and keep it free for you. One of the reasons why advertisers love Hack the Entrepreneur is that they know the show has awesome listeners like you. Right now, we’re running an audience survey to help us know more about the Hack the Entrepreneur listeners. Your answers help us find advertisers that are well matched to you, your interests, and the show. That increases that chance of having happy advertisers, which means happy listeners. Everybody wins.
Please got to PodSurvey.com/Hack to take the survey. It’ll take you less than five minutes. The survey is completely anonymous, and when you’re finished, you can enter your email for the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. We give away one every single month. Even if you’ve taken a podcast listeners survey before, we hope you’ll take ours and support the show.
Once again, go to PodSurvey.com/Hack. Take the survey, and help the show. Thanks for helping us find the best advertisers so that we can keep the show free for you.
Jerod Morris: Welcome back to another episode of Hack the Entrepreneur, and we have another brilliant entrepreneur with us today. Jonny, welcome to the show.
Jonny Nastor: Wow, thanks. Thanks for having me, Jerod.
Jerod Morris: Absolutely my pleasure, absolutely my pleasure. So let’s not jump straight into it, shall we? Because before we begin this interview, I think we should let everyone know why you decided to hand the reins of your show over to me for this episode, because I believe some congratulations are in order.
Jonny Nastor: I don’t know what we’re going for.
Jerod Morris: Wow, I was going to have you say that it was your hundredth episode.
Jonny Nastor: Oh, yeah, well it is my hundredth episode. Sorry.
I had this weird thought around episode 20 of, “When I get to episode 100, I’m going to hack myself,” and then I forgot about it for 80 episodes because it was a lot of work. As I started getting closer people on Twitter and people would email me, like listeners, and they’d be like, “You know who the perfect guest for episode 100 would be?” A few people said someone else, and I’m like, “Well, whatever, Gary Vaynerchuk can wait,” is what I thought. And he is coming on next month, but he’s not getting episode 100. Sorry, Gary. But it was me, because I guess people want to know about me.
Jerod Morris: Yeah.
Jonny Nastor: So here we are, episode 100.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, its natural. It’s a little bit different being on that side of it, huh?
Jonny Nastor: It is, it’s different. But it’s cool. I can’t believe I started less than a year ago, and I’m on episode 100. It’s a big body of work. It’s a lot of conversations. It’s 100, well 99, conversations with smart entrepreneurs, and then one with me.
Jerod Morris: Oh I thought you were going to say and then one with me.
Jonny Nastor: No, with myself. So it’s like, “Wow, here we go.”
Jerod Morris: Well, I appreciate the opportunity to do this, and I’m excited to jump into it, so now, let’s jump straight into it.
I will ask you the question that I have always wanted to ask you since I started listening to your show way back when. That is, what is the one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your successes so far?
How to Pursue Things You Want (to Ensure That You Get Them)
Jonny Nastor: Ooh, good question, Jerod. You’re going to hear that a lot. It’s funny, answering these questions, because I never thought of answers as I was figuring out the questions.
But I think it’s how I push myself when I see an opportunity or when an opportunity gets presented to me by someone else. I very, very quickly make a decision and take action and push for that opportunity to become real and to exist.
I really do like to take it to a story. The last time this really happened is with The Showrunner Podcasting Course. Brian Clark, CEO of Copyblogger, before Rainmaker.FM even launched, we had a random Friday afternoon phone chat for 15 minutes. He brought up this idea of a podcasting course with this guy Jerod who I had never met before, and it was in the background of this conversation. And then by the end of the conversation, I was like, “Yes, and that course — that’s, I think, a great idea with this Jerod guy. You should introduce us.”
“Yes, I’ll introduce you guys via email, right after this call.” He didn’t. He’s a busy guy. But he loved it, right?
I waited until the next day, and then by the end of the next day, I actually direct messaged him on Twitter, and I was like, “Brian, what about that introduction to Jerod?”
“Oh yeah, I totally, totally forgot. Thank you for reminding me.” He did, and the intro came within five minutes of that email, and then there was basically no more conversation, no more questions with Brian.
I was like, “We’ve got to run with this. I’ve got to meet this Jerod guy, and we’ve got to see how we can work together, and then we’ve got to put our heads down and just run with it.”
I think that there are so many opportunities for things like this or ideas or projects to fail along the way if there are too many questions asked. There’s too much thought, even, sometimes put into the whole process.
I had no idea how we were going to launch. I had no idea what the course would exactly entail, but I knew that it was a step-by-step process that I could get through and that I would figure it out as we went, and especially working with you.
That’s how I did Hack the Entrepreneur, like over the weekend, at the cottage, reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, and, “I’m starting a podcast on Tuesday.” I get home Monday, and Tuesday I’m doing it. “Oh, I’ve never interviewed anybody. Oh well, let’s just do it.” By Thursday, I was interviewing people, and I think that’s just it. Those opportunities come to us, especially when we’re aware of them and look for them, but we oftentimes spend so much time, and we weigh all the pros and cons. I’ve never weighed all the pros and cons of anything.
I think you lose opportunity and miss opportunities in life doing that too much. You have to learn to follow your gut or your instinct or whatever you want to call it and just run with it. All those opportunities won’t work, but at least you’ve tried, and at least you’ve pushed it through. It’s not me sitting here nine months later and being like, “I wonder — if I launched a podcast called Hack the Entrepreneur, I wonder what it would be like. I wonder how greatly it would have changed my life,” which it has, in the same ways.
So that is my one thing. Just running with stuff, and going for it.
Jerod Morris: Have you always been like that, or was there a specific event in your life, an opportunity that you regretted not taking, that drives you now when these opportunities come up? What gave you the ability, the mindset, to be like that, to think like that?
What You Can Learn from Punk Rock and Apply in Your Business
Jonny Nastor: I don’t think I’ve always been like that, at least not as much as I am now. Maybe a little bit. Early on, the first band I ever got to go on tour with, I was 17 years old, and I got to tour the country with them. I was in class, actually, and I heard somebody talking beside me about how they were going to tour with this band because the band needed a drummer, and I was like, “Really? Those guys need a drummer? That’s crazy.”
He was just like, “Yeah, and I’m the drummer for it now. I’ve been picked,” and all this stuff. I was like, “Oh, that’s cool.” This was before Facebook and stuff, so I just tracked down one of the guys in the band, and I was like, “Is he really the drummer for you guys now? And you guys are going on tour?” He was like, “No, no. I mean, he tried out, but no, we’re still looking for drummers.” I was like, “Well, I need to try out.” He was like, “Yeah, okay, we’ll see.” I was like, “No, no, seriously, I need to.”
I just pushed it. I pushed it maybe even to being a bit annoying at times, but I wanted it so bad that I wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass me by. And then from that, I’ve realized that’s how you have to be. You can’t be super passive in life. Things don’t get handed to you. Nothing’s ever been handed to me. I’ve never had stuff given and put on my table. I’ve really had to push for things. I guess I’ve gotten better at it. So yeah, that’s a weird answer.
It’s not innate within me, but I haven’t always had it.
Jerod Morris: Well, no, it’s a good answer. I think as entrepreneurs, one of our greatest struggles is the fear of being wrong, of making mistakes, of failing, of going after that opportunity like you described and it not happening and it not turning out the way that we want and having to take a couple steps back. Can you tell me how to be wrong?
Jonny Nastor: Do and try lots and lots and lots of stuff, all the time. For one thing, you won’t remember the failures. If I have 25 failures and one success, I’ll remember that success. The chances of me having one success out of one try is really slim and small. So the more stuff I try, the more things I put out there, the more people I talk to, the more chances of one of them catching on and doing something.
You can forget so many mistakes. You can forget being wrong thousands of times if you have those brief moments of success. You can’t have those without showing up over and over and over and over again, right?
It’s the whole Woody Allen, 90 percent of success — I think it’s actually more than that — is literally just showing up. It goes back to when there’s an opportunity that presents itself, don’t think about the fact that you’ve never done it before. Don’t think about the fact that, “Oh, well, I don’t know. Maybe I’m not the right person.” Who cares? Just go for it.
You are instantly not the right person and you are instantly going to fail the second you don’t try. The second you don’t put it out there and be like, “I’m going for it.” Then you’re guaranteed to fail, so why not try?
So I guess the best way for me to be wrong — I’m wrong all the frickin’ time, I really am — is to constantly be doing stuff. It affects me less and less and less, those errors, those mistakes, whatever you want to call them, those failures, the more things that I do. And when I used to try one thing a month, or the perfect thing seemed like it came along and I would try it, and it wouldn’t work, and I would go back to work for six months. Then it’s like, “I’m going to try one more thing, because maybe this one is right.”
Now, all day, it’s just throwing stuff out there, seeing what sticks, seeing what works, and seeing what doesn’t. It’s made it a lot easier for me.
Jerod Morris: I have a paperweight on my desk that I’ve had for a long time, and it’s a basketball with the quote, “You’ll always miss 100 percent of the shots that you don’t take.”
Jonny Nastor: Yeah.
Jerod Morris: Which very much echoes what you’re talking about right there.
So just in the short time that I’ve known you, I’ve watched you take Hack the Entrepreneur from nothing to this big, thriving, successful audience. I’ve worked with you on The Showrunner podcast to take that from nothing to a big, thriving, successful audience that has a course attached to it. That’s a lot of audience building and audience connection in a short period of time.
What do you think it is that you do that allows you to connect with audiences and build audiences as I’ve seen you do so much just over the past year?
The Secret to Successfully Building and Connecting with an Audience
Jonny Nastor: I’m going to give you this one, Jerod, and I’m going to say it’s being human.
Jerod Morris: Oh, interesting, that’s something new that I’ve never heard you say before.
Jonny Nastor: And when you say ‘connection’ — everybody talks about connection and building this audience, “I’m making this connection with lots and lots and lots of people” — but they don’t want to actually make that connection, it seems.
By this, I mean, “I would love to connect with all these people,” but then somebody emails them, and “Oh I don’t respond,” and or they don’t connect with them on social media. They fail to be actually social. They just use it to promote themselves, and I think that’s really what it is.
I get emails all the time now that tell me it’s this genuine feeling they get from listening to me, which I think is me just being me, me really being interested in what and how these conversations go, and who I get to talk to, and then also in who’s listening. I really want every single one of them to succeed and to be able to live every one of their dreams, because I know that it’s possible as weird and quoi la as that sounds.
The Internet gives us this amazing thing that we can do really, really cool things and build huge platforms within short amounts of time if we do it right, if we connect with people on an individual level. If I can connect with one person really, really, really well, I can probably do that with thousands of people.
Jerod Morris: So, Jonny, as a Hack the Entrepreneur listener, which I am, I have to say that as I’m listening to the episodes, my favorite parts always end up being the parts where you get into talking about habits with the entrepreneurs and the habits they have that contribute to their success and what they do when they first wake up and just those habitual behaviors that help them become successful.
So I want to get into some of that with you, and I’ve been dying to know this question since I first heard you asking people this question, and it is, tell us about the first 30 minutes of your work day.
Jonny’s Biggest Win to Date
Jonny Nastor: Nice. My first 30 minutes is I wake up, typically around the same time. It’s changing a bit right now, but I’ll go to where I was in more of a stable workplace and living place before we started travelling again. But I would wake up around, let’s say seven o’clock, and I have to get up with an alarm, because I don’t get up that early normally.
And then I do this thing that Mike Vardy when he was on my show talked about, and I have done it literally every day since that conversation, which is I go straight to the washroom, and I splash cold water on my face three times. It’s the weirdest ritual that does something. He couldn’t explain it either. I’ve been doing it ever since, and I can’t explain it, but it’s just something I need to do now. Then I go straight to the kitchen, drink a giant glass of water, and then I make a coffee really, really quickly, and I drink it.
Typically, at the same time, my daughter is sitting at the kitchen table, or at the breakfast nook area, and she’s got a giant bowl of cornflakes and is reading a book. I’ll sit down with her and try and make conversation with her, but she’s reading, and she’s wondering why I’m talking to her. It’s kind of this game we play every single morning. My wife is up at the same time, and basically I talk to them for five or 10 minutes about what they’re going to do throughout the day.
They kind of know what I’m going to do. I’m going to go down to my office, and I’m going to work. They’re not sure what that means. Sometimes I’m not sure what that’s going to mean at this point. To me, almost the biggest success of what I get to do is the fact that my wife doesn’t have to go to work outside of the house. She hasn’t now for two years. And my daughter now is homeschooled, so they literally get to do what they want, and that’s always together going out, working on school work, whatever it happens to be.
To me, that’s my biggest win. That’s why if the day is going to be really hard or there’s going to be a ton of work for me to do or it’s going to be stuff I don’t want to do in my business, it helps me get through it — by being able to do that and know that they get to go off, especially now that I’m in Vancouver and I know that they have this amazing, really cool city.
They have beaches they hang out on, and pools, and playgrounds. They go biking around the sea wall. That, to me, makes it like really, really worth it, and I really don’t care oftentimes how much money I make or any of it. It’s the fact that we get the freedom that this business has allowed us to do these things and that they get to go and do exactly what they want to every day.
So that’s kind of my first 30 minutes, and then after that, it all kind of goes any which direction.
Jerod Morris: Is that always a goal that you’ve been working toward? Is that what you knew that you wanted, like that was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Or is that something that once you got there, you kind of looked around and said, “Wow, this is really awesome that we’ve, that my work has helped us kind of create this life.” Was that what you were driving toward, or was that something that kind of happened?
How to Define Your Perfect Day (and the Steps Required to Make It Happen)
Jonny Nastor: So this is weird. I’m old enough now and have been on the Internet and trying to figure out this Internet business thing and Internet marketing thing long enough that I was around for what’s probably called the first wave of Internet marketers and Internet entrepreneur people, so that first wave of people who did this. And Frank Kern was one of those guys who — I don’t even know where he went now — was a brilliant marketer, a great speaker, and did a lot of cool things. He put out a lot of amazing content before I knew and before most people even knew what content marketing was.
There was this one video he did from his living room, and he posted it to YouTube, and you can probably still find it. It was called The Perfect Day. You’re supposed to take like a yellow legal pad, and you’re going to write out in the clearest detail every feeling, every thought, everything you see, everything you do, on your perfect day, exactly what you want. He’s like, “This isn’t a day you could live every single day, but your perfect day.”
I did it. I went through this process. It was like three pages long, and I forgot about it. Then, I guess it would be two years ago this summer was when my wife actually quit her job, so coming up to it in the next couple months. She quit it, and then I went through this process that I just talked about in the morning without even really thinking about it, just like, “Oh this is what we get to do. This is cool.”
All of a sudden, this weird feeling came to me like. Not quite deja vu. I can’t really explain what it was. And I was like, “Wait a minute, this is like something.” I went searching through my office, and I found this yellow pad — I still have it — and it freaked me out. I read this perfect day, and it went through the exact, I would say, 30 minutes to an hour of the day anyway. I didn’t go and do these things with lunch and stuff. I just went to work and did what I wanted to be doing at the time, but it was amazing.
It was really weird, but it was this whole idea of goals. I never even thought that goals were a thing, that you should set them, before that, and it was this weird thing of putting it to paper — what I wanted — and then it actually happened. It kind of freaked me out. It still does, and I don’t think I ever really shared that story before, but there it is.
Jerod Morris: Hmm. No, that’s a great story. It leads into this question: if your career was to end today — and clearly this isn’t going to happen because I need your help on The Showrunner Podcasting Course, so this is a hypothetical, don’t get any ideas — would you be happy with the legacy that you’ve left behind and what you’ve created?
Jonny Nastor: No. No, I’ve got way too much more to do. I’m happy with what I’ve done up until now. My legacy right now strictly bears on my daughter. I mean she’s the greatest legacy I’ve left at this point, and I hope to teach her by showing her how I feel we should live, and how not to take work, and even hard work, as something to be looked down upon or to be avoided, as long as you’re working on things that you want to be working on. As long as you’re building things that will help people and will do things for you and for others, I think hard work is really awesome and should be praised. We should want people to do that.
And then my idea of just working in projects. So when I’m working on a project, like the podcasting course, I’ll work my ass off for periods of time, but then I’ll also pull back for other periods of time and totally enjoy ourselves and get to travel and do stuff. I hope that living like that, working like that, and rather than telling my daughter how you should live, just trying to show her that this is how it is.
Sometimes on Saturdays and Sundays, I work. Well, Sundays I do. I write my email, and she’s totally cool with it. She’s not like, “Oh, you work on Sundays. You’re not supposed to.” It’s what I do. But then on Mondays or Tuesdays or Wednesdays, lots of time, I don’t have to work, and we can just hang out when everybody else is at work.
So I’m not happy yet with the legacy I’ve created through business, necessarily, but I’m happy with the path and the trajectory I’m on with the legacy I’m getting to create through my daughter. Hopefully she will go on to do bigger — well, she will. She’ll go on to do way bigger, better, cooler things than I’ve done and will possibly even do, and to me, that’s the greatest and coolest thing that I could possibly hope for.
Jerod Morris: So let’s project forward, then. Let’s project a decade into the future. You and I have gotten together, and we’re hanging out, and we’re sharing a drink, talking about things that we’ve accomplished. And let’s assume that your daughter is doing well. She’s doing great. She’s everything you could ever hope for, so that part of it is set. In this hypothetical future 10 years from now, you are happy with the legacy that you have. You are. And maybe you’re ready to retire, I don’t know. But what will have had to happen in this interim decade for you to feel like that, work-wise, career-wise?
Jonny Nastor: I need to have maybe not a bigger impact, but I need to have an impact on more people. It really amazes me and kind of shocks me that I can have an impact on as many people as I do at this point, which is really weird. It’s still strange for me to get an email or two every day, like long emails about things that I’ve helped people do or quit their jobs or start businesses. It affects me greatly. It really does. I want that to go further. I want that to go bigger.
There are things I guess I need to do to do that. The podcast is amazing for that, and I love The Showrunner podcast because we get to help people. I love the whole ripple effect now of helping people start awesome podcasts as well and then seeing that ripple effect from hopefully inspiring and helping people start a show, which then goes on to impact and have resonance amongst whole other audiences. That’s amazing to me.
I have never done anything like that until now, so I think that that’s going to really help. I’ve seen what the podcasting course, just in the one mini launch we did, how many people it’s affected, and then that’s going on to affect more people. I think that’s really in the right direction for me, and I think that’s going to help.
I do need to start speaking on stage, something that absolutely terrifies me, but I do know that that’s going to help my impact even more, so I do need to step up and make that mistake, be willing to fail, and be willing to suck. Like everything I did with the podcast itself freaked me out, but I did it anyways. But now, this is a big one for me, so this is one that I knew I had to do. I know that I’m going to look back 10 years from now, and I’ll be sitting down with you, and I can look back and be like, “Man, I was freaked out 10 years ago. Remember that?”
Now it’s like, “Oh yeah, now I do it all the time and I get to help more and more people by doing that and have a greater impact, and I know that will make me feel better.” I feel like I’m on the right path but I need to push it further. I need to push it harder.
And at the same time, I need to keep that balance so that I’m also pushing my family further to do big things. Because my daughter, as you said, in 10 years is grown up and gone on to big things, and she doesn’t need me as much at that point. I want to make sure to make the most of that time, and at the same time further myself and further my impact as well. So it’s going to be a crazy 10 years of balancing, but I’m ready for it.
Jerod Morris: It is, and I’m looking forward to sharing that drink with you. That’ll be a fun one.
Jonny Nastor: Nice.
Jonny Talks about the End of Hack the Entrepreneur
Jerod Morris: So with your ambitious schedule with Hack the Entrepreneur — you’re going through entrepreneurs pretty fast — I think at your current rate, you’re actually going to run out of entrepreneurs to hack by like November. So let’s say you’re done with all the entrepreneurs. There are no more entrepreneurs to hack. What is the next group of people that you would want to hack as you’ve done with entrepreneurs?
Jonny Nastor: I don’t think we’re ever going to run out of entrepreneurs.
Jerod Morris: No, I know. You’re right.
Jonny Nastor: I think there’s a real movement going on. There’s a real movement for people consulting, people freelancing, people working for themselves as entrepreneurs. I remember five years ago when I started this crazy online journey, it was shocking to go into a coffee shop and see somebody on a laptop working, especially on a website where you can see them working on the backend in their WordPress or something. I see it all the time now.
I remember crossing borders five years ago, even three years ago, and having border guards pull you aside and be like, “What do you mean you work on the Internet? Like what does that mean?” It was shocking. Now they’re like, “Oh yeah, you can work from anywhere then.” That’s amazing, and they ask questions about it. They’re interested in it. That’s amazing to me.
Now to go into a coffee shop, and it’s people just all over the place working on their computers on their websites or on whatever website it is they work for. It’s amazing to me, and that’s brilliant, and I do see this movement, even in massive companies, right? They’re getting rid of offices, and people are going and working from home, working from anywhere. They’re all distributed companies now. These are amazing things, because as your company gets distributed, then you start to get this feel for it, and you can do other stuff. You get more freedom to do things, and then people are starting side businesses. It’s amazing.
I think it’s a really huge revolution going on, at least in the western world, which we haven’t seen before. There are countries in the East that have been way more entrepreneurial than us in the past, and I see it going further. That’s not to say that when November, December comes around next year that I’ll still be as engaged in these conversations.
I’m fully open to the idea of cancelling Hack the Entrepreneur at any point if I no longer want to do it. If I’m no longer super excited about these conversations, I’m not going to fake my way through it, but I also do not foresee that happening at all. I can’t even sleep after these hours later because I get so excited. But when that happens, that will be the end of it.
I’m not going to force my way through it because I didn’t start it to do that. I started it to have highly engaged conversations with smart people about business, something I love to talk about, and when that happens, I will stop the show, probably without a big warning, except for my backlog I’ll have to go through, conversations I have recorded. But that’s just going to be the end. That’s going to happen at some point, and I’m open to that, because I know another opportunity, another idea, something else will come from it, and I’m totally cool with that.
But until that day happens, I think we have just this huge groundswell of people becoming entrepreneurs through freelancing and consulting, and I’ve got an endless supply of them. I can’t wait to talk to as many of them as possible.
Jerod Morris: To clarify, on that hypothetical day in the future when you’re not ready to hack entrepreneurs anymore, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be done with the audience, just the topic, right? These audiences that you build, are these topic-based, or is this where you’d want to take the people and take them on another journey with you?
Jonny Nastor: Yeah, exactly. I love the audience. I’m amazed by the audience every day that I’m building, and at some point, I’m going to realize where it is we all need to go together, what it is, the transformation we have to go through together. Then I’m going to figure out a way to hopefully help that transition or be a part of it with as many of my audience as possible, and then we’ll do that.
Until then, I’m really hoping to help people along this path to entrepreneurship and through the beginning phases of it and further by having these conversations with people who have been there before us, people who have done and been through as many different situations and ups and downs as possible. But yeah, the audience is coming with me no matter where that is and when that is.
Except for admitting to myself that I will stop as soon as it feels done and we’ll move to something else altogether, I don’t really think about it. I try and not bother my mind with things that are so out of my control until that point. I’ll deal with it at that point, but I have enough big things on my plate that I’d just like to deal with the things I have to deal with and free my mind up of the other stuff until it’s necessary to deal with.
Jerod Morris: I have one last question for you, and it hits on something that you just mentioned a few minutes ago, which is this enthusiasm that you have for these interviews and how you’ll stay up at night thinking about them when you’re done. That’s the one thing I think the people who listen to your show and people who have had the privilege of working with you like I have, that’s the one thing that’s so noticeable about you, which is your enthusiasm for your work, you know?
You use the word ‘amazing’ a lot, and you have this inflection on it that I’ve never heard from anybody else. I tried to copy it, by the way, since I’m kind of taking your role on this show, but there’s just no copying it. It’s your own. ‘Amazing,’ just the way that you say it, and there are a lot of people who — and a lot of whom probably listen to this show — don’t necessarily feel the same enthusiasm for what they’re doing every day that you do.
I think that’s part of what makes you a leader, and I wonder what advice you would give to people who don’t feel that. Maybe they feel it a couple days a week, but not every day. And I know working so consistently with you, even maybe on tougher days or when things are hard, you still bring enthusiasm to your work. What advice would you give to people who struggle to bring that same enthusiasm to what they’re doing day-in, day-out?
Jonny Nastor: Change. Change what you’re doing. It’s really as easy as that. To me, I’ve realized time and time again, that life is short. As many times as you’ve heard that and it sounds cliché, it’s not. It really is, and I refuse to not try stuff. I refuse to live a life that somebody else decides for me, because I don’t have to. I was born at the crazy time that allowed me to work on the Internet and to build platforms and audiences from a basement in a little town in the middle of Canada.
It’s crazy. It’s absolutely amazing. It really is. And it blows my mind every single day. It also blows my mind that people are afraid to change, people are afraid to try.
I quoted it in my newsletter this week, and I’ll quote it again, because it’s Henry Rollins, who we both saw, Jerod, last month or the month before in Denver at Authority Rainmaker. He had a song from his band, Rollins Band, called “Shine,” and it’s “No such thing as spare time, no such thing as free time, no such thing as down time, all you have is lifetime.”
And it’s so true, because you can say, “Oh, I don’t have the time to do this,” or “don’t have this,” or “I’m just going to waste some time doing this,” and to me, it’s true. All you have is this time to do really cool, really big, really awesome things. There’s no limit to that, what you can do, except for you being willing to step up, screw up a ton, and do it.
If you’re not willing to just make that change, then there’s nothing I can say, nothing I can do, to really make that change happen for you. You have to want it. It’s like somebody who smokes cigarettes or something and wants to quit. There’s nothing you can read, there’s nothing you can do, and there’s nothing that can be done to you unless you want to quit.
It’s just how it is. That’s how addictions work, and that’s how change really works. You have to want to change. You have to know and trust in yourself that you can do it, because you can. I should be good proof that you can do these kinds of things, because I’m not smarter than most people, I’m not better than most people. I’m really not. I just have a tendency to just take action and try stuff and be willing to embarrass myself out in public if necessary.
So that’s just it. I don’t know what else to say to people, and I hope that I can with this show. I guess that’s why I started this show, actually, the way I did. And it’s why I asked the questions I did, because I didn’t want to just give steps. I didn’t want to just give tactics. I really focused on, “I don’t want tactics in Hack the Entrepreneur, because there’s enough tactics out there.” Once you decide you want to build a business, the tactics are everywhere.
You can learn the tactics of building an email list or setting up and doing all that stuff, but it’s the transformation of realizing that every one of us who you can look at and think, “Oh, well Jon can do it so well,” or “all these people can do it because they’re different than me.” It’s like, “No, I’m not different than you. I just I’m willing to screw up. I’m willing to suck, and I’m willing to work through to that transition to where from the outside, it looks like I know exactly what I’m doing at all times, which I don’t, and none of us do.”
That’s why I focused on no tactics. It was really trying to humanize entrepreneurs, because we are just humans. We’re just people who step up and are willing to suck repeatedly.
Jerod Morris: That’s a great answer. I only have one more thing that I want to say to you in this episode, and that is to keep doing what you’re doing, Jonny, because it’s awesome, and it’s amazing, and you are making an impact, a real impact. I know that because you’re making it on me as a listener to your show. And as someone who’s working with you, obviously you’re making it on listeners, because so many people support this show. I look forward to the next hundred episodes of Hack the Entrepreneur, and hopefully a hundred more after that.
Jonny Nastor: Wow, thanks so much, Jerod. I also just want to say thank you for agreeing to do this, because as I said, I started on episode 20 thinking about this, and then once I decided that it was me that was going to be hacked, it was really hard to think of who would be the person to interview me. I went through so many people, and then back to you, and I was like, “Well, no, Jerod is the person.” I love your interview style the best. We’ve worked together well, and you’re listening out there, so you tell me if you disagree, but I don’t think there’s anybody better to replace me in that seat than you. I do thank you for doing this today.
Jerod Morris: Well thank you. I appreciate the opportunity. It was absolutely a pleasure.
Jonny Nastor: Very cool.
Jerod Morris: Jonny, thank you so much for the conversation and for giving me the privilege of hosting this episode of Hack the Entrepreneur for you. It’s a big milestone to reach 100 episodes, and it makes me feel good that you would ask me to host this episode for you. I was very happy to do so. It’s an amazing show that you have here, an amazing audience, and I’m glad I was able to come and be a part of it.
Now, during the conversation that I just had with Jonny, he said a lot of smart things. But there’s that one thing, that one thing. Did you get it? Did you hear it? Let’s do it. Let’s find the hack.
Jonny Nastor: It’s being human, and when you say ‘connection’ — everybody talks about connection and building this audience. “I’m making this connection with lots and lots of people,” but they don’t want to actually make that connection, it seems. By this, I mean, “I would love to connect with all these people,” but then somebody emails them, and, “Oh, I don’t respond, or don’t connect with them on social media. They fail to be actually social. They just use it to promote themselves, and I think that’s really what it is.
I get emails all the time now that tell me it’s this genuine feeling they get from listening to me, which I think is me just being me, me really being interested in what and how these conversations go and who I get to talk to, and then also in who’s listening. I really want every single one of them to succeed and to be able to live every one of their dreams, because I know that it’s possible as weird and quoi la as that sounds.
The Internet gives us this amazing thing that we can do really, really cool things and build huge platforms within short amounts of time. If we do it right, if we connect with people on an individual sort of level, if I can connect with one person, really well, I can probably do that with thousands of people.
Jerod Morris: And that’s the hack. Now, I’m going to level with you, here. I’m recording this, the big epic part of Hack the Entrepreneur, pulling out the hack, before I actually interview Jonny, and I’ll tell you why. Because I’ve already had the great pleasure of recording podcasts with Jonny for The Showrunner, and even interviewing him for Authority sessions that we’ve done at Copyblogger, and hanging out with him and talking with him, and frankly I don’t need to do another half-hour interview with Jonny to know what his hack is. To know what separates him. To know what contributes to his success more than anything.
And that’s why I’m recording this beforehand, because I know at some point he’s going to talk about this. We’ll go find the clip, and we’ll pull it out, and then this section will be perfectly relevant. Because the hack is being human. That’s it. That’s what Jonny does that separates him from so many other people that I’ve worked with, that I’ve listened to on other podcasts, and that I know. That is simply treating people like humans, you know?
On The Showrunner podcasts, I’ve started introducing Jonny as ‘defender of humanity,’ because when you hear him talk about how he tries to run his business, and how he tries to interact with listeners and how he builds an audience, it all comes back to being human, to treating people like humans, to responding to that email that a listener sends you, because that’s a person. That’s a human.
Structuring his business deals with handshakes, which could potentially get him in trouble? Is there risk there? Yes, but to Jonny, the greater risk is being distrusting, not treating people like humans. And I know that I keep repeating that, but that’s because I’ve got those words in my head that Jonny has said over and over again. And I know that’s the hack.
I know that if you follow his lead in this, that whatever your entrepreneurial goals are, whatever your personal goals are, you will get there faster by keeping that in mind and by treating people like humans. Treating people with kindness, treating people with respect, giving people the attention that they deserve.
All of those little things over time will add up to the kinds of relationships, whether you’re building a podcast audience, building customers, or just building a friendship, that will take your life to the next level. Of all the time that I’ve spent with Jonny, that’s the most important lesson that I’ve learned from him. That is his hack.
So that’s it, we did it. We got through an episode of Hack the Entrepreneur as the entrepreneur, and we hacked him, and it was fun. Well, I had fun, and I hope that you had fun, and I hope that you were okay with me being your tour guide on this particular entrepreneurial journey, but I can say that the pleasure was definitely all mine.
You guys are amazing. You’re awesome, an incredible audience, that is in many ways a reflection of Jonny. It was my pleasure to be here and get the chance to guide you along with this particular entrepreneurial journey.
Now if you haven’t yet, go to the website HacktheEntrepreneur.com, and when you go there, you’ll see Jonny’s picture there on the right. Have you ever really looked at that picture? If you haven’t, next time you go to the site, really look at that picture, because you can tell that Jonny’s trying to be like super cool Mr. Punk Rock Guy with his five o’clock shadow and that might-have-just-woken-up hairdo, but if you look closely, you’ll see a little 5 percent smile kind of cocking up there ever so slightly from the right side of his mouth. He’s trying so hard to not smile, but he can’t help himself.
You’re not fooling anyone, Nastor. We know you love your work and have a blast doing it every day. Why fight the smile? You know you want to. Just let it go, man. We promise it won’t hurt your punk rock cred if you just let us see your smile in the picture on your website. Come on, man.
Anyway, back to you, dear listener, when you are there at HacktheEntrepreneur.com, after you get done studying that picture, enter your email address and click that button that says ‘send me the hacks.’ I am on the list, and I love getting Jonny’s weekly emails. They’re always an inspiring push in the right direction for whatever I need to get done next, to take the next step in my own entrepreneurial journey, and I know that they can and will be for you, too.
I’ll tell you what: you can count on those emails like the sun rising, and I know this. When Jonny and I were in Denver, other people were out partying and carrying on on a Saturday night. Where was Jonny? He was working on his newsletter. Why? Because he made a commitment to send one every Sunday, and dadgummit, he was going to make sure that he sent one every Sunday.
Actually, watching him doing this inspired me, and it made me examine my own excuses for why I hadn’t been keeping my stated schedule for my own email list. I immediately resumed it, and that’s the impact that Jonny has by setting the right example.
You’re wise to listen to him. You’ll be even wiser when you subscribe to him. So with that said, thank you all again so much for listening. I appreciate it. I know Jonny appreciates it, and hey, let’s all send him a Tweet or an email, something, congratulating him on making it to 100 episodes, what do you say?
I mean, most podcasts fail by episode seven. It’s called ‘pod fade.’ It’s real. And here’s Jonny hitting his stride at episode 100 and looking prime to keep moving onward and upward. None of it would be possible without you, without your loyal support and attention, which is why I know that he’d love hearing from you.
Thank you again for letting me host this episode, for coming with me on this journey. Until next time, please keep hacking the entrepreneur.