Deep Dive – How Strategy Should Inform Agency Sales & Your Life
Mike Blumenthal

Mike and Carrie chat with John Jantsch, author of the wildly popular book “Duct Tape Marketing” and founder of Duct Tape Marketing Agency about the necessity of strategy informing tactics in an agency setting, and in business & life as a whole. We also discuss his books and in particular his newest, “The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur.

In this new book, Jantsch departs from his wildly-popular marketing strategy tomes to create a 366-day “…devotional guide for overworked and harried entrepreneurs, and anyone who thinks like one.”

We also talk about reviews (of course – Mike’s on the line!) and the customer journey. Tune in and share your thoughts and feedback!

Mike: Hi, welcome to “Deep Dive into Local.” Carrie and I have the pleasure of having been joined by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing. As long as I’ve been in marketing, John has been in marketing, probably twice as long. And he’s been involved with digital, and local, and a number of significant efforts. Maybe you can give us a background of your companies and, your history sort of in digital marketing.

John: Sure. We’ll start there. So I actually, right out of college, went to work for an ad agency. In about five years into that, I thought, “I’ve gotta work for myself.” So I just jumped out there. And let’s face it, , I hustled, whatever work I could get. I told, “Sure, I can do that,” whatever it took. No real plan. But a few years into that, I’d acquire a couple small business clients. And I found that I really loved working with them. But they were challenging. , I’d seen the traditional sort of ad agency approach to working with clients. And it didn’t apply to that really small business. They had the same needs and challenges as much larger organizations, but never enough budget, and not even the attention span, to work on their marketings.

So I decided that if I was going to work with small businesses, I needed to create a very systematic approach where I could walk in and say, “Here’s what I’m going to do. Here’s what you’re going to do. Here’s the results we hope to get. Here’s what it costs.” And what I found out pretty quickly was in trying to address my frustration, I had tapped into what is still remarkably today one of the greatest frustrations with a typical small business, it’s very hard and getting harder to buy marketing services because there’s so many pieces selling a fractured piece of the puzzle. So that idea, if somebody was going to come in and install a marketing system, “We were going to start with strategy before tactics,” was music to their ears.

I built my practice really doing that. I decided, I needed to give it more of a brand name. At the time my business was very, very clever and imaginative, Jantsch Communications. And so I decided, I really needed to give it more of a product brand name. And after working with small business owners, Duct Tape Marketing just felt, like, the right metaphor for what is like in typical small business, you know? It’s a simple, effective, affordable, it doesn’t always have to be pretty, it just has to work. And I think a lot of people can relate to that and that use of duct tape. So the brand itself stuck, pun intended.

And, this was around 2002. I started seeing, “Hey, people were actually going to buy products and services through this internet thing.” So I actually built my first course around then, which was around my teachings of duct tape marketing and my system of duct tape marketing. That course started to attract, not only small business owners, but other marketing consultants out there who said, “Hey, I want to work with small business. And I need a system as well.” And so a few years later, the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network was born. The name itself, I put on my blog, I put on my podcast. That’s the name of my first book. And so, it certainly had allowed me to build some semblance of this small business marketing brand.

And so, today our 150 or so consultants work with a couple thousand small businesses, what I call true small businesses around the world. So it’s the remodeling contractors, and the lawyers, and, the traditional brick-and-mortar businesses who need to really go, and adapt, and embrace the online stuff, but that doesn’t just mean we’re going to run Facebook ad campaigns and, call it today. , it’s the entire integrated approach. So sorry, that was so long-winded. But that was me from college until now.

Mike: So that raises a couple questions. question one is are you still working directly with small businesses or you’re mostly working with agencies that work with small businesses?

John: Yeah. So we definitely work with small businesses. But it’s not the primary focus. We have, at anytime, 8 or 10 clients. And my belief is that we can’t stay involved, we can’t have the stories, we can’t see what works, you know. As the tools and what we’re trying to accomplish that doesn’t change, but the tools, and the platforms, and the way people buy, is certainly changed. So that keeps us in the game so that we can effectively train and collaborate then with independent agencies and consultancies.

Mike: And so, David Mihm and I have written at “Street Fight” just about the idea of the small integrated package of critical digital services that could be sold by agencies into these small businesses. And not just into the lawyers and the, roofers that spend a lot of money…you spend a lot of money in yellow pages, now spent a lot of money in Google, but to every one of them. How do you see that sort of world going these days? This is a topic Dave and I have just wrote about yesterday, just his frustration with selling into that world. And then, but the idea that it really seems important that you have a $300 package, or $400 packages, entry-level package, you get people go and prove results, that thing.

John: Yeah. That’s what we’ve been doing for years. And frankly, it is difficult because, again, you’re solving a problem that some small business owners don’t know they have. they feel like they can just buy, a la carte everything off of you know somebody’s shelf. And the real challenge is that, they don’t understand what they’re buying a lot of times, there’s no integration. I can’t tell you how many times we walk in and somebody’s got an SEO person, and a content person, and a web design person, and an AdWords person, and none of them are talking to each other.

Mike: And their emails are on Post-its. Their customer email addresses are on Post-its, right?

John: And I have no idea how they’re actually spending that client’s money because, there’s no integration. And I tell you, the other part is because there are some people that have tried to bundle some of these things. But it’s always the tactics, it’s always, the tool. And where, I think, our big point of differentiation is in what’s hugely lacking in the market still today is that nobody is starting with strategy first, understanding who makes the difference in a business. If a business has been in business 5 or 10 years, there’s a really good chance that they do something that some percentage of the market just absolutely loves because it’s so different from what they’ve experienced everywhere else.

So helping a business understand that story, and that message, and what their customer journey is, , how people find businesses like that, , how they want to buy for businesses like them, to me, that has to be the beginning of any discussion about marketing. Because then, yes, there are 75% of the tools and approaches in digital, we know we’re going to plug in, but we’re going to plug them in the right way now if we just spend, 30 days developing a strategy first.

Mike: That’s interesting. Yeah.

Carrie: I find that interesting…

John: the old yellow pages people, can’t sell. they can’t figure that part out. So I jumped on that, sorry.

Carrie: That’s okay. One of the things, my personal story, Mary and I started our agency because we were seeing a lot of small businesses sort of left floundering because they’d been with larger agencies, and they didn’t understand what they were getting, and they didn’t get what was happening from what they were buying. And they were very disillusioned with the bigger agency, medium-sized agency process. And so I think part of, making something that’s scalable, that you can sell at a lower price point is that communication point with your client. This is what we’re going to do, this is what you can expect to see. This is what we are seeing. Here’s what this tells us what to do next process.

Mary and I talk a lot about creating partners. We don’t have clients, we have partners. Because they have to buy-in, they have homework to do. If you’re at a low price point, they’ve got to do some of the work as well. I can’t do everything for you if you don’t want to spend a ton of money. And so building that partnership with your client, I think, is one of the key success points when you’re serving in SMB audience for sure.

John: Yeah.

Mike: Oh, go head.

John: And I would throw education in there too. , we constantly teach them why we’re doing what we’re doing, why it’s important, why do you ignore this? And I think that that process allows us to really build a significant amount of trust, which in the end, is what they want. They want somebody to do it all for them, but they want to know who to trust to do that.

Carrie: And I find, if you do that a lot on the frontend, pretty soon, they just go, “You know what to do, you just do your thing, Carrie,” and that’s great because I don’t have to explain everything.

Mike: So John, and you’ve affected this one level. , one of the problems that we’ve had with Gather-up is getting agencies to see the strategic value of reviews. that’s one of the things I talked about at your conference was, how do you take review out of a tactic and put it into the bigger context, which I know you’ve written about? So you work a lot with agencies trying to exract this idea, the essence of this, how do you teach them to lead with strategy? It is that what you teach them? …

Mike: Yeah, it’s absolutely what we… In fact, our process is called strategy first it. It is a very, documented process for how we develop a strategy for a small business owner. And really for us, you don’t pass go because we don’t sell websites, we don’t sell SEO, we don’t sell content, which is, again, a lot of times, what people are trying to buy. we sell an integrated system. And so when somebody comes to us and says, ” my website is not delivering. I need a new website,” it really allows us to or at least we need to start with, “Well, here’s why your website doesn’t work. And, the fix for it is strategy, it’s a strategy problem, not necessarily a design problem or an SEO problem.” , there may actually be fundamental flaws in the website itself or the SEO strategy, but it starts really with backing them into how marketing works that marketing is a system, it’s not a tactic.

And we’ve been very successful at helping them understand because the symptoms really are, they’re getting beat up over price, their competitors are ranking above them, it’s all that stuff that they whine about.

Mike: Who in small business whines? They don’t whine.

John: Also, it’s a symptomatic of a lack of strategy, not of a good SEO, hire.

Mike: Right. So how do you extract that to the agency? And how do you get the agency to buy into that, and then just sell that beyond the tactics? One of the issues in local SEO is everybody comes out of a fairly technical background where they learn the ropes at a very technical detailed way. maybe they read the patents about the benefit of reviews increasing rank. So everybody comes at with a very tactical mindset, without good schooling also to actually understand the difference in hypotheses, and theories, and practice. And they don’t have a good intellectual framework. And then they get mired in a very tactical approach to their agency.

John: Right. And the tactical approach is a race to the bottom. , there’s are always somebody who will sell it for cheaper if all you’re selling is that thing that they can go, “Oh, I can get that here, here, and here.” So one of the major benefits of strategy is shockingly their competitors are not talking about it. And so it makes right off the bat is a huge differentiator. But the other thing that we have found is it allows you to attract someone who understands they need to invest in their business. I flat out tell people you can raise your fees if you sell strategy first because now, you are operating the entire system, you’re not selling the $300 a month, AdWords management plan. that may be part of it. But, what we sell is much more of a, $3,000, $4,000, $5,000 a month complete retainer that starts with strategy and then operates all the tactical components of strategy. So you can be a vendor or you can be a consultant.

Mike: Got it. And so when people reach out to you, agencies reach out to you to join one of your groups, how do you vet them to…or do you just assume they’re going to be mired in tactics and your job is to elevate their thinking, or do you look for people that sort of at least are open to this idea?

John: Well fortunately, we practice what we preach. And so we do a tremendous amount of education. , a lot of the blog posts that I write, my books and things, , they preach this way of doing it. So fortunately, a lot of the people that are attracted to our point of view have at least bought into the concept. they’re tired of not getting paid what they’re worth, they’re tired of, having to, do work with the website design that the client brought in and now, who’s running the show. So fortunately, it that really helps.

But there’s no question that, there’s still work to be done, in educating on this idea of strategy before tactics, because there’s always this fight with the client. , even the client that buys in says, “Okay. You’re right, we should do strategy. Can we do that tomorrow, so we could start getting, the phone to ring?” So there’s always this tension between doing strategy right and also getting them some quick wins. And so, we do try to balance that. Can I jump into reviews for a second?

Mike: Sure. Absolutely. You know me, I’ll talk about reviews all day long.

John: Reviews have become a huge strategy vehicle for us. And I don’t just mean getting reviews. We all know the benefits of getting more reviews, getting positive reviews from clients, from social proof, from algorithm, whatever, people attached to that. But our process for helping on a true message, particularly a message of differentiation, for a customer has always been interviewing their clients. And that still works today. We love doing it. We hear more from out of the mouths of their clients, than an actual business owner could ever tell us about their business. But increasingly, reviews are supplementing, in some cases, taking the place of that, because what we find particularly in businesses that, haven’t gone out and found that agency to get them, 400 reviews overnight. What we have found is that in organic reviews, particularly, there’s so much truth in them.

, if people go to a review, and, now, it’s gotten easier, but increasingly, or , it used to be pretty hard to actually leave a customer review. So somebody who go over that, jumped the hurdles, leave a review, especially a review that’s, got 100 words in it or something, where they’re really talking about a story about how amazing that experience was, or, what they did, we can take… If somebody’s got 25, 5 star reviews, I will take those and I can almost guarantee that I can start highlighting themes that come up over and over again about what it is that that business does that is different from their competitors. And I can’t tell you how often we craft core messages that go above the fold on the website right out of reviews.

Carrie: That’s like that sentiment analysis that GatherUp has, right, Mike, that pulls out those key words out of, like, aggregates them out of a lot of reviews?

Mike: Yeah. And Phil Rozak wrote a nice article about it too. And not only your own reviews, but looking at competitor reviews too to know what you’re up against is useful. I just recently spoke at a home construction business conference. And I didn’t know anything about the home construction business. But I put 125 of the attendees businesses into our language processing system. And I only looked at the two, three, and four star reviews because I wanted to see where their problems lied. And the big red, alert was project management sorta jumped out as, or project managers actually that was down to the people, it wasn’t down to the process, was the biggest issue that the… And these guys are all very good. They’re all custom, well-liked home builders. Average was 4.6 across the board.

So I dig to deep dive into the worst of the reviews to see what people didn’t like. And it was the person that actually manage the process, which I thought was fascinating. So there’s both positive stuff in terms of what you’re talking about. But also, just things you can do to make it better, right?

Carrie: Well, and I think…

John: Yeah. And it’s never very glamorous or sexy, you know? , it’s all stuff like, “They showed up when they said they would. They cleaned up the job site,” you know?

Mike: Yeah. “My wife and I are very impressed when they showed up with this thing and they don’t track through our laundry room,” right? It’s like, “They wear slippers” or “they sweep up after themselves.” This isn’t rocket science. But yet, it is rocket science to many of them. So I’m sorry, you’re going to say something, Carrie?

Carrie: Well, I was just going to point out that I think that it highlights that if you are the one business in your area that goes a little bit above and beyond everybody else. So you respond to that review, or you send a follow-up. a lot of people think, “I paid them, I’ll never hear from them again.” But if you extend that conversation, just one more step further than your competitors do, that can absolutely make a huge difference in building that referral community around you. Then when your neighbor Mike says, “Hey, who do you have come fix your hot water heater?” And you’ll say, “Oh, hire this guy. He wears booties in the house. Do not hire this guy because I had to listen to Dar complain about the dirt on the floor,” …

Mike: Which is a great segue into your books, John. This is really the core of it. You wrote a book on this called Referral Engine. And , two things about you and content. One is you do a lot of it. You’re obviously very excited about it, about the educational parts of it. But Referral Engine was sort of a guide for my cofounder at GatherUp and it really informed how we wanted to build a business that people were joyous about. But maybe you could talk about your other books, why you think books fit, how they fit into your content marketing strategy, how they relate to your other content, your education, your speaking? And then I know you did a new book, so we can talk about that too. But I would just like to hear your thoughts on…

Obviously, I’ve done some medium form, like, white papers, I find it terribly boring. And I can’t imagine what writing a book is like. And you’ve done how many? I don’t know. It looks like I’m looking at six or eight?

John: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve done six, yeah. Well, so how does it fit? , in a lot of ways “Duct Tape Marketing” was really just a, you know… I’ve been working on my business for 15 years at that point, and it was really just a telling of here’s what I do, here’s how I believe, small business marketing should be. So it really was a dump of, my system at that, time and space where we were.

I had been producing a lot of content. I’d been writing a blog for probably four years by the time “Duct Tape Marketing” came out in 2007. And so I’d been producing content. I was very bought into the inbound, before we called it that, the inbound marketing appeal of, writing content that the people were reaching out to me, contacting me, wanting to do business with me, even though I’d really done nothing that I thought was marketing. They were just, finding me. Remember those days when you could write an article, and it would be number one in Google for pretty much …..?

Mike: , I live in a very small community and tried to make a living in this small community, and failed miserably with a really major, business failure in 2001. And blogging was for me entree into the universe. , it created international, national customers, it helped me create a reputation, helped me meet people like Mary Bowling, and David Mihm, and ultimately Carrie to do things like Local University, it had helped me meet Dan Campbell. So it really for me was a life-changing opportunity that I feel so graced to have experienced, you know?

Carrie: I agree. I had the same experience.

Mike: Yeah. So tell us about your other books. And put your newest book in context of these six and sort of how they all fit together?

John: Well, so for my first book, actually, I’ve been writing a blog called Duct Tape Marketing for a number of years. And then, I, all of a sudden, started hearing from publishers saying, “We want to publish your book.” So it was a little sort of backwards to how most book deals happen. I knew I always wanted to write one, but, that gave me the impetus to do it.

So really, then “The Referral Engine” came a couple years later, which was really my acknowledgement that, all the marketing system talk in the world. , most small businesses get their business by way of word-of-mouth, the referral of some form. But none of them amplify it necessarily their refer-abiltiy. So that was a natural progression.

I’ve actually written a book on SEO. I’m sure we quoted you somewhere in there, Mike. But that called “SEO for Growth.”

My last book is called “The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur.” So I’ll show up since we’re on video. Here’s a pretty orange cover. It is a complete departure from my other books. My other books have really been about marketing and growth of some fashion in your business. This book is more of an entrepreneurial daily devotional. Every day, you get a new page. , what’s today, November 19th? So there’s a reading for November 19th, and then 20th, and the 21st. Every reading starts with a vein of literature that I mined from the mid-18th century that I think is still today some of the best entrepreneurial writing ever created. Then I, take my 30 years of being an entrepreneur and give some, what I think is wisdom add to that to make it relevant for today, and then leave you every day with a challenge question.

I feel, like, I’d written five books on how to do stuff. And I wanted to really make my contribution, in this book at least, on, what it is that we do as entrepreneurs, and to really acknowledge that it’s a daily grind. It’s a daily fight that we have to keep working on ourselves if we’re going to keep working on our businesses for any length of time.

Mike: So the name of this is “The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur.” I have a question about that. For me. the transcendentalists, Thoreau, I haven’t read them as well as you have, and so maybe I’m not totally understanding them. But to some extent, there’s a cowboy self, go it alone thing. , one of my experience… , certainly, there’s some isolation in running a business. But far and away, what I’ve learned is that success in business has so much to do with the partners you’re working with and the people you choose to work with and the cohesiveness of that internal unit that’s almost socialistic in its ability to share, and contribute, and not take too much credit, and make sure that the things just work. So how do you see the balance between that individuality and the need for an incredibly tight social structure?

John: You bet. So I think there’s actually a little misunderstanding in that, because I do think that some people read that term self-reliant to mean, independent, go it alone, you’re out there, can’t trust anybody else. And it’s actually a little bit the opposite. What they’re suggesting is until you’re self-reliant, meaning, until you trust yourself enough to realize that, and there are many things out of your control that you have to let go of the things that are out of your control that you actually have to be true to yourself by following what is in your heart, by following what’s true for you, and not what somebody else says you should be doing.

Once we develop that step, I think then… I think that Emerson and Thoreau even really have said that we were more like trees in the forest, that we are all unique individuals, and we have our own unique nature. But we protect each other, from storms. Our canopies don’t grow into each other or shouldn’t. The roots, on the ground in the forest, you’ll see they’re all intertwined, and they’re feeding each other, and talking to each other.

So I think that what we’re suggesting is, you have to be self-reliant enough to trust that you know what’s best for you. But that if you’re going to build anything, you’re going to do it with other people, you’re going to do it because you also now have enough trust to be empathetic to maybe more of the world than, might be suggested by this idea of, just having our own opinion.

Mike: Got it. So obviously, you wrote a bunch of practical books about marketing. There’s a certain spiritual aspect to this book. Did you find it uplifting in an emotional sense and a personal sense, to actually do this research, and to study it, and to compile it, and then present it? Was it energizing for you in the business?

John: Yes. It was very much so. And really, at the time when maybe I needed…I won’t call it distraction…I needed re-energization of what I was doing. , you’ve been doing this a while, I’ve written 4,000 blog posts over, a period of time. And I really needed something that got me excited again about my business and about my journey. And this book really did it. , I spent a year, very immersed in this literature, which I find very up-lifting. As I reflected and wrote the reflections each day, there’s no question I was reflecting on, my own journey over a 20-or-so-year period of self-discovery. And so to really have the opportunity to immerse yourself in that was not only uplifting to me, it really reenergized me, and also, probably changed…maybe gave me a healthier definition of what success was, and had me not comparing what I’m doing as thoroughly to what I see other people doing.

Carrie: I think it’s interesting because I was listening to a podcast the other day and they were talking about, it was the SaaS Venture, Mike, with Aaron Weiche and Darren Shaw. And they were talking about working on your business versus working in your business, and how sometimes you get so bogged down in working in your business that you’re not actually working on your business, and the difference between in and on in those sentences. And I think part of the working in comes from losing that inspiration or that feeling of, “Oh, I have these really great ideas. I want to make this happen,” because I think we all get a little lost every once in a while and what the point is, or why, or you just get so overwhelmed with work and you can’t find good people to hire or somebody leaves. And, all those things that happen every day.

So I think anything that can give you that little lift that little, “Yes, I’m walking down the right path. Yes, this is why I’m doing this. This gives me inspiration to refocus on the on versus the in.” I think that that’s a really valuable tool for anybody who has been running a business for 20 or 30 years or has been running a business for 2 months, because I think everybody hit walls, right?

Mike: Right. The success to that extent is sometimes self-defeating because, for me, I need mind and physical space where I’m both rested, and not distracted to be able to sit down, and write, and think. And so I’ve always structured my life. So I get at least a day or two a week where I can just think about irrelevant thoughts that somehow end up tying back to my main thing. But it’s very difficult to find that space when you, achieve any measure of success, right?

Carrie: It’s interesting how we’ve evolved. So you guys, obviously, have written way more blog posts than I ever have. But I’m not going to lie, I am so burnt out on writing blog posts. I started a podcast with my friend, Erin. And they think that we’re seeing so many podcasts come out now because people are, like, “I can create content and I don’t have to sit down and write a five paragraph essay about something else that I’m just exhausted with the whole process, and I can talk, and people can see me, and it’s a different medium for the same information.” So I think that that’s part of that process of growth of, “I’m still relevant, I can still share what I know, but I don’t have to torture myself to get it out.”

Mike: So that’s a good question, John, how do you see this podcast, blogs and books relating to the bigger strategy of you, being out there and helping your business be more visible?

John: Yeah. I think no matter what we’re doing, , obviously, if you have a course and you’re trying to sell a course, you think in terms of marketing it in a very traditional sense these days. But I really think, and the most effective brands of, people like myself, people like yourself, is it’s really all about community. how are we building fans that trust us that we stay relevant for, and that, we’re able to meet them where they want to meet us? So, books accomplish that. You’ve seen a huge rise in audiobooks. And that’s, I think because people, they have a deeper connection with that, they’re consuming content that way.

I’ve been podcasting since 2005. And, frankly, I love doing it. I would do it if nobody listened because it gives me great chance to talk to people I want to talk to. But, I hear every day almost, from people that say, that they love my podcast, or that they… when they hear me go speak at a conference, they’re like, ” I heard you talking to somebody over there. And I knew it was you, because your voice has been in my head for years.” So I just think that the deeper human connections that we’re able to make with these various forms of content, as long as we stay true to, our community are super, super important.

Mike: When I spoke at your conference, two women came up to me and hugged me because of Carrie’s, and mine, and Mary’s podcast. They were so grateful that we stripped it down to essentials, pointed out what was important, you know? And they were so happy they literally walked up to me and hugged me, which is, it was amazing, right, to be able to connect at that level that people are connecting through just hearing us and listening to us. That’s pretty amazing.

Carrie: Well, and that community building, you can pull that all the way back down to the small business level, right? Like, we said the small businesses, the little guys out there, might not have the biggest budget, they don’t have an in-house team, but they’ve worked really hard to build a community of raving fans. And those people recommend them in their Facebook groups, and their next-door neighborhoods, and all those things. So, that engagement, however you choose to engage, whether it’s social media, or a podcast, or a book, or a blog post, or whatever that happens to be, if you can cultivate those fans at any level of business, you’re going to…that’s a growth medium, right? That’s what you’re using to grow your business. It’s not pointless in any way shape or form.

John: I have a client that’s a remodeling contractor. And they’ve just always been… First off, people love them. They’ve been very engaged in community. They’ve been around long time. They get about 50% engagement on some of their Facebook post, , organic engagement and reach that. I get 5% on mine, you know?

Mike: And a lot of the Facebook, you get 1%, right?

John: Yeah. But these guys get 50%, organic engagement, particularly when they post about, what I call cultural things or behind the scenes, things, nothing promotional at all. So it does still exist. , everybody bemoans, Facebook. But it does exist if you are, doing things that your community, cares about. Yup. And, a suggestion, if you guys don’t mind, I don’t know how much time we have left, but we’ve talked…

Mike: I want you to read a section from your book. That was what I was going to suggest. So if that’s where you’re going, I’m all in, John.

Carrie: Yeah, do it.

John: That is exactly where I’m headed because it really does give…that’s the only way to get a true indication….

Mike: Is it today’s…

John: Let’s do today. Or would you want to do your birthday?

Mike: No. Today is a good day.

John: And today’s a good day. All right. So every day starts with a title then a reading. Today happens and to be from some letters that Thoreau wrote to individuals. Then, me, riffing on it, and then leave you a challenge question. So I’m struggling with my voice today, sorry.

“Greatness of our Fate,” is the title for November 19th. “My actual life is unspeakably mean compared to what I know and see that it might be. Yet the ground from which I see and say this is some part of it. It ranges from heaven to earth, and is all things in an hour. The experience of every past moment but belies the faith of each present. We never can see the greatness of our fates. Are not these faint flashes of light, which sometimes obscure the sun, their certain dawn?” So it’s from Henry David Thoreau, actually a letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s mother in 1843.

“Do you ever come to the end of the day thinking, ‘I’m capable of so much more than I’m doing right now?’ If not, you’re a lucky one. Entrepreneurs, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, rarely feel accomplished enough, far enough, done enough. We know we have more potential than is being demonstrated. Of course, we probably define potential as something unreachable in this lifetime. In part, it’s what keeps us going, in part, it’s what makes us mental. And then one day, through some combination of courage, usefulness, doubt, hard work, stumbles, lurches, and discoveries, we trust ourselves and the universe enough that we get lucky. Please note the author is being sarcastic here. But we keep going precisely because we never conceive the greatness of our fates. Have faith in every present moment chill out, and pat yourself on the back every now and then. Your challenge question to day, To what extent do you think you shape your own destiny, and how much of that comes down to fate?”

Carrie: That’s so funny, because when you read the Thoreau quote, I wrote down, “We never conceived the greatness of our fates,” because that stuck with me. And then now was the piece that you pulled into your meditation. That’s really interesting.

John: Yeah.

Mike: For me, the piece in the meditation was just seeing the dawn amongst the meanness of the reality that we often live in. One thing about the internet for me is it allowed me to see that dawn almost every day, and to revision it in a more kind way, which is not always easy in this world, right?

John: Yeah. There’s a great Einstein quote that I like to say all the time that, “There are really only two ways to live. We can see nothing as a miracle or everything is a miracle.”

Carrie: I like that one.

Mike: There you go. So just repeat the name of the book again for our listeners?

John: “The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur” And its, 366 daily meditations to feed your soul and grow your business.

Mike: And it’s available on Amazon, and probably wherever else you buy books, right?

John: It’s everywhere you buy books. And if you want to just find some more about it and see some of these other interviews like this that I’ve done, it’s just

Mike: Well, thank you very much for joining us. We really appreciate you taking time. And enjoyed having you. And hopefully, we’ll have you back again. Thanks again.

Carrie: Thanks, John.

John: Thanks so much. Anytime you want to talk about this stuff, I’m up for it.

Mike: All right. Sounds good.