For 11 ½ years, Jordan Harbinger hosted The Art of Charm. With over 4 million monthly downloads, it was one of the most successful podcasts in the world. However, an amicable split between Jordan and his partners became less than amicable, and with the rug swept out from under him, he had to rebuild from nothing.
Jordan has since launched The Jordan Harbinger Show, and has quickly created an even better podcast – and one that does incredible numbers. In just a matter of months, he’s already received over 3 million downloads and over 1,000 reviews.
Today, Jordan joins the podcast to talk about how devastated he initially was, how he bounced back, the ways helping others can lead to unexpected successes, and why it’s so crucial that every minute of his podcast is worth his listeners’ time.
If you’re interested in hearing more from Jordan, click here to check out The Jordan Harbinger Show.
- How Jordan survived his falling out with his former business partners – and why creating and maintaining meaningful relationships was so key to his turnaround.
- Why we apply the sunk cost fallacy to ourselves and stay in jobs and relationships we shouldn’t be in.
- How a chance encounter on Facebook helped Jordan get a barista a full-time job as a web developer.
- How to build a phenomenal podcast – and why so many marketers who jump into podcasting can’t retain listeners.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
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Hal: JH, Jordan Harbinger, man. What’s new and exciting?
Jordan: New and exciting? Well, that’s kind of the point of the show is everything is new, right? Everything’s new. The Jordan Harbinger Show is brand new. It’s the show that I’ve been doing for 11.5 years only now I’m starting over which is always like, “Oh, did you mean…” People ask me the funniest questions, “So, what was your strategy behind that?” I’m like, “I got fired. The strategy is feeding myself and keeping my house.”
Hal: “Why would you have left a branded show, The Art of Charm, that had 4 million downloads a month? Jordan, why would you do that?”
Jordan: Yeah. I like a challenge.
Hal: You’re like, “Against my will that’s why I would do it. I would do it because I was forced to do it.”
Jordan: That sounds about right.
Hal: Man, it’s crazy. How about today? Anything new and exciting today like any fun plans later after I’m sure the highlight you’ve been all morning just journaling about what we’re going to talk in your gratitude journal?
Jordan: Exactly. That’s mostly been it, yeah. And then additionally, I realized now that I’m a full-blown workaholic, but I love doing it. So, I guess, I don’t know, can you call yourself a workaholic if you actually enjoy it or is it only when it starts causing problems? It’s like an addiction.
Hal: And I can tell you from the perspective of going through cancer with that realization and it’s that a workaholic is only a problem if it causes you to neglect other areas of your life. That’s my opinion or my take on it.
Hal: Yeah. That was my convincing of myself is I loved my work so I’m like, yeah, of course, I’m a workaholic. I love my work. It’s my contribution to the world and what I realized is, well, there were two things, family being the biggest one that I was lying to myself. We all, most of us would say our family or our whatever if somebody has a family, have kids, that’s your number one, their number one in our life priority but my schedule didn’t reflect that and I didn’t realize that until I was going through that cancer and going, “Wow,” reevaluating everything that, “Oh, why am I working all the time and squeezing in an hour here, an hour there for the family if the family is really a priority that doesn’t line up?” And the second thing and I think this is true for most entrepreneurs and this one might be one for you to identify or consider but I realized that most of us workaholics we are addicted to productivity and we sacrifice our health for productivity and an example of that is let me ask you, Jordan, kind of a rhetorical question but if you’re tired, what’s your body telling you should probably do?
Jordan: Take a nap.
Hal: Yeah. But we don’t do that. We drink coffee, right?
Hal: So, just little things like that and I realize, wow, I value productivity above health unconsciously and my actions show that. So, anyway, yeah, so that’s it. So, workaholic but as long as you’re doing it healthy and you’re taking care of your body and your relationships then I think that it’s all good.
Jordan: Yeah. I was going to make a joke there and it’s like when you’re tired, what does your body say you should do? And it’s like email. Or like when you’re tired what does your body say you should do? And it’s, yeah, drink coffee in order to stave off all these, fight the urge to actually rest. On the other hand, I do see people. You know why this happens? There’s a lot of folks that feel social pressure to do the workaholic thing or they feel social pressures to do the family life-work balance thing. So, you see these people and their bio is essentially like God, family, country, speaker, author, and then you’re like, “Okay but never goes to church. Never sees his kids. Goes on vacation without them all the time with like his friends and then is also a workaholic.” And I’m not judging those people.
What I’m saying is I totally get why they write that because if you write, “I value my work above everything else. Yes, I also have two kids,” it doesn’t look good, right? And you wouldn’t write that because you’d know it would sound ridiculous and yet that’s the way that many of us act. I don’t have kids so me being a workaholic and I work with my wife so it’s not like you never see your wife. No, I see her all the time. Hang out all the time. Now, the difference is that often we’re in the same room working and we do a lot of other fun things and travel together a lot, so we can get away with it but once we have kids, man, is my life going to change. I already know it.
Hal: Yeah. Call me for the low down on how to do it wrong and how to do it right so you don’t do it wrong.
Jordan: Right. Exactly. It’s like step one, get multiple life-threatening occurrences/disease. Step two…profit, speak all over the country. Yeah. I mean, look, you’re an amazing guy. Not everybody can die and then can come back to life and then rest on their laurels of living for a while and then get another thing and then come back from that.
Hal: Yeah. Exactly. My business partner, Honoree, was like she said, “God orchestrated the perfect plan for you to be able to impact the world because if all you had was this morning ritual initially, I don’t think any of those TV shows when they interviewed you or anything, it’s like, ‘Yeah your morning ritual, blah, blah, blah,’ but you died so it was really interesting and then that allowed you to get this message that change lives.” I was like, “I never really thought about that,” but, yeah, it’s one way to look at it.
Jordan: Yeah. I agree and, look, I’m planning my life now. This is relevant. I want people to know that. I’m planning my life now so that when I do have a family and my priorities changed that I’m able to do the things that I want to do so people are always like, “Oh, you know what you should do? You should speak more because you’re kind of good at it and you should do a book and then you can go on a big speaking tour and then you can make a living speaking,” and I’m like, “No thanks.” I like recording my show at home in my freaking underpants and it’s not that I don’t like traveling or speaking. I love doing those things, but I realized if I worked for years building that as my platform and then I have kids and I want to stay home, it’s like, “Well, sorry. You make your money speaking on stages and you got to bring these boxes of books with you or whatever the speaker life is,” and I hear about that.
And a lot of people who’ve achieved a certain level of success and that they’re able to balance things out like I think you’re probably able to balance things out, but I know for me I would have that, and the show and I would just never have time. So, I’m like if I have to lean into one thing, I want to lean into the thing where the kids are off from school for the summer, so we can go to Asia for three months and I can just go, “Great. I have to bring this little box that has a microphone in it and some acoustic panels and record the show in the house we rented and upload it to the internet instead of, “Oh crap, I’ve got to be in Albuquerque tomorrow.”
Hal: Yeah. I don’t know if they bring speakers to Albuquerque or not.
Jordan: They do if you’re talking about meth. Hi, Albuquerque. Just kidding.
Hal: To all Albuquerque listeners, we…
Jordan: That was terrible.
Hal: That was horrible. No. So, by the way, so today there are two things I want to talk about. For anybody listening, wondering, okay, where is this going today? There are really two things I want to chat about today with you, Jordan. Number one is starting over after losing it all. You just had a, I mean, obviously losing it all is a figure of speech I guess but you lost quite a bit recently and you’re having to build it back up and you went from being on top if you will, one of the top podcasters in the world literally. That sounds like hyperbole but, I mean, 4 million downloads a month with the Art of Charm and I don’t want to tell the whole story, but you lost that and now you’re having to start over with the Jordan Harbinger Show so that’s a first thing I want to talk about.
I mean, you told me the story the other night and I was like, “Dude, you have to tell us on the podcast.” It’s hard to even believe. Incredible story. And then the other thing I was like, “We got you on the show.” I know we have a lot of listeners that have expressed like, “I’d love to host a podcast someday,” or whatever so toward the end of the show I’d love to just pick your brain on how to become one of the best podcasters in the world because there are only a few podcasters that could actually talk about that and have the credibility to do so.
Jordan: I’m down. Let’s do it.
Hal: Cool. So, talk about what happened? So, you were just to lay the groundworks so you’re hosting the Jordan Harbinger Show. You guys are averaging around 4 million downloads a month which I’ve been on for like four years. I don’t think we are halfway there, so I mean it’s incredible and you’ve got a couple of business partners in the business and then things change so take over there.
Jordan: Yeah. So, I was hosting the Art of Charm. I now do the Jordan Harbinger Show for people that are like confused and going, “Wait I thought… Now you do the Jordan Harbinger Show.” I do but back in the day I did the Art of Charm and by the day, I mean, up until a few months ago and I ran that show for 11.5 years and then I’d negotiated an amicable split with my partners because we had a bunch of different views and a vision. I really was so sick of the dating thing. I was sick of like learn how to pick up chicks and I really wanted to branch off and do a different brand and there was a lot of internal disagreement and some negativity and just cultural stuff that I wanted to get away from and we negotiated this amicable split in December and I will just leave it at this, in that it didn’t quite work out in the way that it was supposed to and in the ensuing legal back and forth which is still ongoing I’m outside the company and I took almost the entire team with me and started the Jordan Harbinger Show. And that show now I’m rebuilding brick by brick.
So, when people go like, “What would you do if you had to start all over again?” I no longer have to worry about that being a hypothetical. I’m doing it right now and honestly, a lot of people and I’ve talked to a lot of entrepreneurs about this, friends of mine and universally the sentiment is, “You will rebuild this. It will be faster, and this is going to be the best thing that ever happened to you,” and I’m like, “Yeah. I can’t wait for that time because right now it’s a hardcore grind,” and I’m not taking a salary for a certain period of time. My team a lot of people are working for free. We have a lot of volunteers. We have a lot of cash that we are making going into other ventures so that we can playing long game instead of just like pay this now. It’s like reinvest in the business in this way.
And that’s been really rough but also kind of amazing because this is not like the first time I started the business. When I started the Art of Charm 11.5 years ago things were much harder. We didn’t have a plan. We didn’t know what went into it. I didn’t have skills. I’ve had no idea whether or not I was going to be good at this. I didn’t know what the limits of my talent were. I didn’t know what the business could achieve. There are all kinds of things like that that I just had no idea and now I have a pretty clear roadmap. So, it’s scary starting over. It’s a bummer in a lot of ways and yet now just a few months in after losing all kinds of sleep and having anxiety with the whole thing and all these legal back and forth and stress from that, I actually am very excited about the show, the Jordan Harbinger Show, the new show and the new business in the way that I never was excited about for the Art of Charm ever in the history of the company.
Hal: And is that just because this is now you have total creative control, you get to make the show what authentically feels yours?
Jordan: There’s that and also my team had a lot of, “I’m trying to think of what I can do here.” I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus from the old company because like it’s not very cool but even though there’s legal back and forth. Let’s just say that the environment, the working environment for my team was not ideal. And a lot of people on the team consistently reiterated the idea that, “Look, I’m only here because you’re here. This thing happened and this other thing happened.” And so, as soon as I left I was able to just take like everyone with me and I didn’t have to poach them. This was a scenario that worked out really well in terms of taking the talent with me on my departure. And that was really great for me because when you get fired or pushed out or whatever of an organization or you leave voluntarily, whenever you find yourself on the outside of anything, you only have either your talent and your skills or your talent and your skills and your network and that’s if you have a network.
So, for me, I happen to just honestly in many ways kind of get lucky because I practiced what I preached with the old content, with the networking and the relationship development and the things we teach on the Jordan Harbinger Show. I was practicing that for 11.5 years. You and I were friends before that. It’s not like you only hear from me when I’m promoting my new latest book or something like that. I’m always creating and maintaining relationships. It’s the way that I like to live. I know you’re the same way. I give without the expectation or attachment to getting anything in return. That stuff has all proven really important and I remember thinking, “Well, this is great. I’m always helping other people, being generous, not expecting something in return.” Now, here’s the trick. When you behave like that, in the back of your head, somewhere you’re thinking, “I will never need to ask this person for a favor,” because you’re never thinking like, “My life could disintegrate at any moment and that will be great to have a safety net around me.” You’re just thinking this is how I like to live.
Well, let me tell you. I am thanking my lucky stars right now that I spent years and years and a decade and change building and maintaining relationships. Because when I found myself outside my old company and having to start the Jordan Harbinger Show from scratch, I was able to call hundreds of people for help. And if I didn’t have that, oh man, I would be in a completely different place right now and not just emotionally but the Jordan Harbinger Show, the first month got 1.3 million downloads and that’s a lot for a show that is brand new and has over a thousand reviews in iTunes.
Hal: It’s incredible.
Jordan: And that wasn’t because I had my mailing list. I didn’t have my mailing list. I didn’t have my website. I didn’t have my Twitter account. I had to start everything over and I thought I was completely F’d, man. I really did.
Hal: So, for anybody listening, I’m going to kind of go into Jordan psychology right now or invite him to share his psychology because you pray heard the adage, “It’s not what happens to you in life. It is how you respond what happens to you.” And I’m a big believer in what I call emotional invincibility which is the idea that when you learn how to manage your emotions as effectively as possible, you can become almost emotionally invincible where no matter what happens to you, you’re able to interpret it and manage it. Now I’m not saying that you’re emotionally invincible. In fact, we’ve talked about how hard this has been for you. So, to the point that you’re comfortable sharing, I guess, first let’s start with what were your biggest like when this happened, and this went down or when you hit like the low point in the last few months before the Jordan Harbinger Show started and had 1.4 million downloads as you showed this. You lost Art of Charm. You got no show, you got nothing that you had worked for 11 years to build. What were your biggest fears?
Jordan: So, first of all, I went through part of like the seven stages of grief. Have you heard of this? I’m sure everyone has but the first thing is shock and denial and the first is like, “Oh wait. Well, no. This can’t. I mean we’re going to figure out something and these guys won’t do this and that would be dumb for the business,” but then it’s like, “Oh crap, they’re doing all the stuff,” and it’s not based on logic. It’s based on, you know, it is like a divorce. It’s not like let’s separate this. We already worked out the logical deal. Now it’s like this emotional explosion and I was like, “Wow.” And then I felt really bad about it. I was beating myself up about it like, “Oh, what could I have done differently?” and then I talked with a ton of people in my network and they were like, “No. This is…” and again I don’t want to throw anyone under the business, but it was kind of like, “Hey, Jordan, stop beating yourself up. This is not you.” And I went, “Okay. Are you sure?”
Because I’m one of those people who’s like, “What role have I played in this?” That’s like one of my first questions always because that’s the thing I can control. So, if something really bad happens, I want to know how I can make that never happen again. And it’s not never have business partners because everyone’s a jerk face like that’s not the answer to this. Just be alone and have no friends like that’s not how you manage these things. After that, it was kind of like and I’m doing the stages out of order I think but after that, it was like, “I’m never going to be back on top. I was on top of the mountain. No one’s going to respect me. Everyone’s going to laugh. There are people that are glad this happened.” And I’m like, “I’m sad about all this and what about my audience? I serve them and they’re going to be like, you know. Now I have to build it again. It’s all sad.”
And then I kind of realized, “Wait a second. Everyone I’m speaking with that has been through something like this, they all say, ‘This is going to be the best thing that’s ever happened to you. It sucks right now. Totally normal. You’re going to be able to rebuild it.’” And these are people that have done this and that know me well, et cetera. So, it’s not like just your mom saying, “You’ll be fine, honey.” It’s like people who’ve lost their $100 million company because of XYZ and they’re like, “No, you don’t realize. This is a good thing,” and I’m thinking, “Well, if you lost that and you’re happy about it and it’s not just some philosophical argument like, ‘No, I have more time for my kids because I got fired,’” like that’s not what these people are saying. They’re saying, “I’m happier than I’ve ever been on every front and this will be the best thing for you.”
And I realized I wanted to leave the company. I wanted to leave the Art of Charm. I was unhappy there for so long. My team was unhappy there for so long. I wanted to leave for years but I would never have had the guts because of the sunk cost and I will tell people all the time about sunk cost fallacy but when you’re applying it to yourself and it’s 11 years of working on this business and da, da, da, da, it’s pretty hard to go, “Yeah. You know what, I should just go cut ties and start this thing over from scratch. What could be the harm?” You’re worried that it’s not going to work out. So, I lost a lot of sleep, man. I was like freaking out. I was worried that this wasn’t going to work. I remember like crying on the phone to my parents and calling tons of my friends and I’m still reaching out to my network all the time almost every single day, not even almost, every single day to discuss, get wisdom, see how I can help other people now I’m in a different sort of phase of business, see how other people react to this.
And you know what was also really scary, Hal, was a lot of people say, “Well you’re going to find out who your friends are,” and when people say that, they don’t mean you’re going to be pleasantly surprised by all these friends you didn’t know you had. When you hear when you’re watching ESPN or something and an athlete says, “You’ll find out who your true friends are,” they mean they’re broke and alone. They don’t mean the community huddled around them. Like, that’s what I was worried about too but I’ll tell you I am very fortunate in that I actually did have that experience in that everybody was like, “Let me introduce you to five people who can help you,” or, “Hey, you’ve never heard from me but I’ve been listening to your show for a while. When I heard what happened da, da, da, da this happened so I want to volunteer for you for X number of hours a week to do high-quality writing that you can use on the website.”
So, the things like the worksheets that we create for every episode of the Jordan Harbinger Show so that people can apply what the guests are talking about in the concrete fashion, there are worksheets for every episode. Those are all done by volunteers. There are blog posts that are done for the content creation. There’s SEO that’s being done on the website by professional firms that said, “Hey, look, like you, like the show. I can devote X number of hours per week for me and certain staff members to work on this for you,” as sort of a payback which I didn’t need before and would’ve said no to. And now, I realized, wow, okay. I am having friends and allies pop out of the woodwork because the mission is bigger than just me. I know that sounds cliché but that’s the reason.
Hal: Sure. Well, I mean, I think the big lesson and to me this is like arguably one of the most important lessons, period, in life, in business, period, and that is your focus on adding value for other people and building your relationships and being a person that looks to add value without expecting things in return. Harvey Mackay has a book, Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, right?
Hal: And, yeah, it’s that what do you call it? Relationship capital I think. What do you call it?
Jordan: Social capital what we call it, but I use the phrase “dig the well before you’re thirsty” all the time because that’s exactly what ended up happening was I was digging this well but here’s the thing. When you’re digging the well, you’re never thinking, “I’m going to be thirsty later.”
Hal: Yeah. Sure.
Jordan: Or this is in case I’m thirsty and that’s usually the reason most people don’t bother to dig the well.
Hal: I was just going to say that’s why we don’t dig the well because they’re like life’s good now. It’s going to be good forever.
Jordan: Yeah. Like, “Oh, how would this ever blow up in my face? How would this ever backfire? How would this ever happen?” And I totally get that logic because I had the same logic which was how can anything ever go wrong? The difference wasn’t, “Oh, I foresaw that I might have a problem one day and I might need to…” No. I just enjoyed connecting with people, connecting people with each other, practicing what I preach was really important to me so I was always keen to walk the walk and then when I was thirsty, I was like, “Whoa, good thing I took my own advice. Holy moly.” That was really just a stroke of luck. It wasn’t this Jordan and tapped myself on the back, I have so much foresight. I did it for other reasons and those reasons just happen to be the reasons I recommended to other people and it just happened to be that I really needed these networks and connections right now and that was the reason.
So, I don’t want to say like, “See, look, I knew this was all the right time. This was going to work out great and everything’s fine.” That was not the case. This was not the case at all. It just happened to be fortunately doing what you’re supposed to do and that’s why now I recommend it even more to everyone because people go, “Well, maybe as soon as I get my website launched, I’ll start this network.” No. You need to do this now because, one, it is really planting a tree. There’s no better time to plant a tree than 20 years ago and then next best time is right now but in this case, there’s no reason you should ever wait to create and maintain relationships because it’s always about time. There’s no way to do it faster. Well, I should say there are ways to do it faster and better but there’s no way to do it when you need it. It’s like having a spare tire in the trunk of your car. If you don’t have it when you need it, you are screwed. That is the end of it. Then it’s too late officially that is the hard-binary line.
So, if you started connecting with people yesterday and today you found yourself in trouble, some of those people might help but if you can start to connecting with people two years ago and you find yourself in trouble and you never know when that’s going to happen then you’ll be like, “Oh my gosh, thank goodness I did this right,” and it’s such a minimal time investment to maintain relationships and it’s so worth it to create them that now I really don’t understand other than pure delusion why people don’t do this.
Hal: Yeah. And if you’re listening to this, I mean, literally write it down, just think one of your top three, top five, maybe number one goal, ongoing goals should be to add as much value as possible to the lives of, I mean, you get to choose. For me, it’s every person I come in contact with. For you it might be your family or your friends or your company or your colleagues or whatever but again what Jordan is talking about and what I tried to talk of this a lot which is just you want to become known as someone who is a giver, who is always contributing, adding value and whatever ways worked for you. If you’ve got money, you donate money to charity or whatever, just be a good person, right? If you give time, give money, give knowledge, give resource. In fact, and I’m curious if you have a book recommendation on this, Jordan, as a resource to go deeper in the topic. Mine is Love Is the Killer App by Tim Sanders. That is the book that opened my eyes to not only why I should add value for other people and why that’s such an important focus, but it gave me like kind of a how to do it. We obviously mentioned Harvey Mackay’s book, Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty. Do you have any book recommendation on something that really impacted you in terms of building relationships?
Jordan: Yeah. So, this is kind of a cheesy cliché but it’s super legit, Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People. People always kind of laugh at this because, one, it’s like 100 years old or 80 years old or something like this.
Hal: 1937. Yeah.
Jordan: Yeah. So, I don’t know, do the math. It’s definitely not a new book and all the examples in there are like, “John was a typewriter salesman,” and it’s like no wonder but this is probably like the height of typewriter market worldwide so it’s a really good – it’s the equivalent of like, “John sells routers for Cisco.” It’s like that. So, when you read that, you read these basic concepts and you go, “Ah, this is all so elementary,” but if you read it and you go, “What part of these have I implemented in my life on a consistent basis like this guy, Dale Carnegie, has?” The answer is pretty much nothing for most of us. It’s all like, “Oh, be interesting by being interested in other people.” It’s like I’ve heard that before. It’s like, “Great. How interested are you in other people on a regular basis?” They’re like, “Well, I’m really busy right now so…” So, you hear that.
Hal: Kind of self-absorbed.
Jordan: Yeah. A little bit here and there and so I’m really a big fan of that type of book and you listed some of those as well. Frankly, there’s a lot of great books about networking. It’s not about the knowledge, it’s about the practice, and a lot of people are reading books on networking while skipping an event like a get together or a conference or something like that because they don’t need anything or they’re not going to that conference because they’re not launching their book until next year. And it’s like, okay. So, you’re going to show up next year and everyone’s going to go, “Hi. Who are you?” and they’re going to go, “Here, buy my book.” Or, “Yeah. I’ll go to your conference, but you have to buy a thousand copies of my book. Who are you again? Sorry, no thanks.” That is, you have to practice these things and yet people are more than content with going, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know all that, but I don’t need anything right now.”
And you have to give without the expectation of anything in return because if you don’t, you’re not going to see the majority of the opportunities that are over the horizon. You can’t see the things that you’re going to get from other people if you’re just looking for what you can get from them and this isn’t even some sort of like complex metaphysical BS thing. It’s that you don’t know how you’re going to connect with other people if all you’re – you’re self-limiting. If you’re just thinking, “Okay, I’m only looking for people that need websites because I’m a web designer,” then you’re going to miss the person who needs a website that happens to be friends with the person who’s looking for a dental hygienist recommendation in your neighborhood because you’re not going to connect with that person who’s just thinking, “Why should I connect with them? They don’t need a website.” And then you find out they’re looking for a dental hygienist recommendation. You refer them to your dentist and through that conversation, they find out what you do and then a couple of days later, “Hey, my friend actually needs a website. Send him your portfolio.”
Case in point, when I moved to LA, this is years ago, this is pre-Uber, I had a toothache and I didn’t have a dentist and I didn’t have dental insurance because I was like 25 and nobody gives a crap about dental insurance at that age. And I had a toothache and I was like, “Oh gosh, what am I going to do? I got to find a dentist where I can walk to,” because cabs don’t even show up in LA and I don’t have a car yet because I moved from New York. So, in desperation, I posted on Facebook because all the dentists around me were like, “Look, I don’t accept new patients or people without insurance, etcetera.” So, I posted on Facebook and some random person that I’ve never met before in my entire life was like, “Hey, my aunt is a dentist right around there. Do you want me to have her open early maybe tomorrow and take care of you?” And I said, “Yeah. That would be great.” So, he goes, “Great. Let me make a call.”
He did it, set it up, got my toothache taken care of and I said, “Hey, man. Anything I can do for you, just let me know and he goes, “Well, I don’t know if you need web design. I noticed you have a great website but here’s my portfolio,” and I said, “I don’t really need this but I’ll keep my ear to the ground for you” And sure enough the next week or so, not even I think, a female entrepreneur friend of mine was like, “Hey, I keep having these designer flake. Do you know anyone? You have a great website,” and I said, “We do our website in-house, but I got this portfolio from this guy. I’ve never worked with him, but he seems like a really nice person. He helped me find a dentist. He seems like a nice guy on the phone. He seems personable. I know he’s got capacity because he’s a freaking barista right now. So, if you like the portfolio, let me know and I’ll make an intro.” I made that intro, and this has been his full-time job making websites for other entrepreneurs via this woman that he partnered with. So, he got a job. He got a full-time gig for like $70,000, $80,000 a year doing what he wanted to do after being a barista because he helped me find a dentist on Facebook.
Hal: I love that story, man.
Jordan: So, you can’t find the opportunities because they are over the horizon and it’s like 90% of opportunities are over the horizon. I find that I got like a book deal through a friend of mine who’s an author because he came on my show promoting his book, so his agent reached out to reach someone else and I gave her that introduction. She’s like, “What about you? You should write a book,” and I was like, “Oh, yeah. Good point. I should do that.” And so, I started talking with people that way and I thought like, “What an interesting way to get something like this, to have something like this happen is just to give other people things and then suddenly the connection gets made.” You can’t just look for what you’re looking for because you’ll ignore the 99% of other people that could maybe help you but it’s one or two degrees of separation, so you have no idea. And they don’t know either. But if you do connect with all those people because you’re willing to help them and usually that involves connecting them with each other, so you’ll find all these different opportunities and that’s something that I think is a chief objection from a lot of people is they go, “Fine. If I help everyone, I’m not going to be able to run my own business. I’m going to go broke.”
So, you have to do it in a scalable way and what I mean by that is if you’re a graphic designer, you’re not just doing free graphic design consulting for everybody who needs it. You might have a huge network of other people and then you find out that your friend who invests in cryptocurrency needs a CPA, so he doesn’t go to freaking prison for tax evasion and you know a CPA that specializes in crypto stuff and there in your circle, you connect those two people. You don’t have to make the website for them. You don’t have to do something that requires your special knowledge and that’s another reason that I think people get stopped is they go, “Well, I’m a graphic designer so I can only help people who need graphics.” Or, “I’m a college student. I don’t have any money, so I can’t help anyone. I don’t have any special skills.” Your network is unique to you. That’s what you’re using as a value proposition, not your skill set. Does that make sense?
Hal: Absolutely. And that book I referenced earlier, Love Is the Killer App, he gives like three or four ways to add value so share your knowledge, share your network, and share your compassion. I think those are the main three which is just be human, be there for people, your compassion, your network, which is what you’re talking a lot about just introducing people, connecting people and that’s my favorite way to add value because that’s actually usually the easiest like the least amount of effort, time or energy. You have to invest where you have to go, “Oh, text this person and this person put text intro,” boom done. And then the value that’s being created is co-created by the two people you introduce. You’re not having to be in the middle of it dedicating time, energy, effort, etcetera. I love this.
Can you talk about something you mentioned earlier, and you mentioned it kind of quick but some of our listeners like me might have caught it and that was sunk cost fallacy? I believe I’m saying it correctly. Can you explain what that is and how it applied to you and I think that people that something for them keeps them in a bad relationship? It keeps them in bad jobs. It keeps them in bad a lot of things?
Jordan: Yeah. Did you just say, “I think I’m saying that correctly?” Did you just ask me how to pronounce sunk cost fallacy?
Hal: It’s a term that I don’t use. It’s not part of my – my vocabulary is not as extensive as yours, Jordan.
Jordan: Oh, got it. Yeah. You’re right. I did go to a fine institution of higher education.
Hal: Exactly. I went to De Anza Junior College followed by some other junior college and then I decided to go sell knives so go ahead.
Jordan: Got it. Wait. Is that out here? De Anza?
Hal: Yeah. In West of San Jose. Yeah. South of San Francisco. Yeah. West of San Jose.
Jordan: I forgot you lived up here.
Hal: Yeah. Me and Jon Berghoff took the same class schedule and carpooled to school every day.
Jordan: Nice. Sounds like a winning situation and then you’re like, “You know what, no, I’m just going to go into sales,” which is more like one of the most lucrative things you can do that requires absolutely no formal education whatsoever.
Hal: Yeah. Exactly. Very true.
Jordan: So, sunk cost fallacy I think is something that stops a lot of us. And in my case, it meant I can’t leave the Art of Charm because I put so much into it over 10.5 years but when I ask myself what was on the other side, what was I going to get from my sunk cost investment? It didn’t make any sense. It’s like, well, if I stay long enough and we really make it big then what? I have a lot of money and the same problems with the same team that I’m with now. And, oh well, I can afford to pay my team more and they won’t be so miserable working here. Well, that’s unlikely to be the case. So, it becomes kind of a problem when you look at it that way and so we can fairly easily spot this fallacy by looking at the reason we’re not doing something and if the reason is ever, well, I’ve already put so much into it so far. If that’s one of the first things that comes to mind then you’re a victim of sunk cost fallacy which is the willingness to continue doing something that is returning a non-ideal or sub-optimal outcome because you’ve already put in energy, resources, emotions, finances, whatever.
And the problem there is you’re never really going to fix the problem because generally, we’re starting – for example, if you’re in a business and you don’t like it and you’re sticking with it because you run that business for a long time, there’s a good chance this is sunk cost fallacy. So, if you try to change the business but there are other forces inside of that business resisting those changes like business partners, whatever, you might stay because you think, “But I’ve been doing this for so long I can’t quit now.” Because part of the reason is you don’t see that what you built you can bring with you. You don’t see your network. You don’t see your relationships. You don’t see the talent and skill set that you’ve built. You don’t see the experience that you have on your belt. You just see but I spent so much time building traffic for this website and building an email list and da, da, da. You can rebuild all of that stuff but in the moment, you tend or we, one, tends to look at our sunk costs and go, “It’s impossible. It took me 11.5 years. I’m never going to be able to do it again.”
Doing something the first time is always harder than doing it the second time. And so, sunk cost fallacy will stop a lot of entrepreneurs from doing something they really love, and you see it all the time. People staying in relationships they’re not supposed to be in, people staying in businesses they’re not supposed to be in, people not exiting career tracks because, “Oh well, I’ve been in the military for X number of years.” The only time that this kind of thing works is if you’re moving towards something that is very concrete and has a certain type of guarantee. So, if you’re in the military or public service for nine years and there’s a pension after 10 years, sure. Stay in for another year, you have an investment made, it’ll pay off dividends later. It’s guaranteed because that’s in the contract. However, if you are in a business that you run and, “Well, I’ve been doing it for 11.5 years and even though I don’t like it now…we might be better off later at which point we might be able to fix these endemic problems at which point I might be happier.” No. That’s not a good reason to stay. That’s a fear-based sunk cost fallacy maneuver. Whereas the other one is sort of benefit-based and sort of winging this definition as I go along here the dichotomy.
So, benefit-based is in a year I’m going to get this. I can retire and I’m going to have this guaranteed income which will allow me to take more risk in my solopreneur venture because I’ll have this police pension or something like that. That’s great. But if you’re just sort of hoping that it’s some nebulas pointing the future all the problems are going to get fixed because maybe some other stuff is going to happen, that is a problem and that is sunk cost fallacies scaring you into staying where you are.
Hal: Got it. So, the solution is make the courageous choice. How would you break down the solution?
Jordan: I would say you have to look at what you’re trying to achieve and whether or not it’s benefit-based or fear-based. And if it’s fear-based then chances are you’re going to have to go because you really have to think about all of these different types of fears like, “Oh my God, I’ve done it for 10.5 years. I can’t build it again.” Are you sure? How do you know you can’t build it again? “Well, it took a long time to first time.”
Hal: Or being in a relationship, what if I never find somebody else? What if I’m alone forever and no one ever loves me again, right?
Jordan: Right. And it’s like, okay, well, you’re afraid of that so you’re willing to put up with this stuff that’s making you unhappy because you think you might be more unhappy if you’re lonely forever? The odds of that are pretty low and it might seem higher on your head because your brain is designed to avoid loss and that’s really what this is, is loss aversion. Our brains are really, really, really designed to avoid loss and pain. And so, if we think, “Oh, this thing that if I let it go and focus on this other direction, I might end up directionless for a while and that’s scary. That’s the unknown. That’s uncertainty.” That’s a problem. But I understand but once we realized that uncertainty is actually a good thing because it is part of life and it’s a natural part of getting outside of your comfort zone and growing and really focusing on what you do want rather than trying to run away or fix a problem in an organization especially if the organization doesn’t want to fix the problem or people in the organization don’t want to fix the problem then you have to leave.
And I understand that sunk cost fallacy will play a role but just realize, it is your brain’s evolved trickery to keep you from doing something bad like wandering away from your village and trying to find something on your own. We don’t have to worry about this stuff as much anymore because leaving a company that you don’t like is not going to kill you anymore. Leaving a relationship that’s unhealthy for you is not going to be a death sentence like it would’ve been a long, long time ago. Leaving a family that’s abusive to you is not going to ensure that you die a slow painful death out in the cold. It just feels that way because our brains are evolved as such but now we can find healthier tribes to be in pretty much like that. We can start businesses that make us feel better immediately even if the benefits don’t come right away. It’s just that we’re scared to do that because our brains aren’t involved to think, “Well, you know, I have a lot of career tracks I could pursue.” That wasn’t something that evolved along with us. So, it’s evolutionary pressure deciding that you’re probably going to die if you try something new but that’s no longer the case.
Hal: Yeah. We can now swipe left or right and find the love of our life, right?
Jordan: That’s right. You never know.
Hal: Hey. So, let’s kind of wrap up the last we have about 10 minutes here. Let’s do it with kind of two things in terms of if someone is listening and they want to start a podcast, or they thought about it or maybe why would they start a podcast and then how do you build a phenomenal? You were the host of one of the greatest podcast ever and that was because of you. You are the brand. You are the voice and now you are simply going to build something bigger and better with the Jordan Harbinger Show. So, as you’re explaining kind of how to become a phenomenal podcast or how to build a podcast combining that with what you’re actually doing it real time, obviously, it’s a little different if someone’s never done it. You’re doing it for the second time but, yeah, I’d love for you to hit podcasting and anything that’s of value for anybody listening, that might want to start their own podcast. This is actually for me. I’m taking notes. How the hell do I get good at this?
Jordan: Yeah. This is something that a lot of people ask me and I’m really passionate about this because I think that in a world where podcasts are really commoditized because everyone’s like, “Okay. My plan is I’m going to interview entrepreneurs that blah, blah, blah.” It’s like, wait, what? Everyone’s doing this. So, the only way to create something that’s unique is to either outwork everyone, be more talented than everyone or have better connections than everyone, and you have to have some measure of those three, right? Because there’s a lot of people that start shows because they have really good connections. They just do pretty crappy interviews with famous people and then there’s a lot of people that tried to lean on their talent and then other people who are working hard at their skills just eclipse them over a certain period of time. What’s that sort of – what’s that phrase, Hal, that’s like talent doesn’t work or hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work? Is that what it is?
Hal: I think you nailed it or got it completely wrong. One of the two.
Jordan: One of the two, yeah. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work and I’m pretty sure it’s something like that.
Jordan: And so, what I do on the Jordan Harbinger Show is I know that I’m not the most naturally gifted interviewer. I spend 11.5 years getting good at it. So, people will say, “Oh, well you’re naturally good at it.” I was talking with Cal Fussman. He’s like, “You are naturally good at this,” and I was like, “I’ve been doing for over a decade.” He’s like, “Okay. You’re good at this. Maybe it’s not natural.” But it’s true, right? And I will outwork everyone. So, if I know there are other interviewers that have had the same guests and those interviewers are good or bad, I don’t really care. I read the entire book from that guest and then I watch other videos and their TED talk and their Google Talk and all that stuff and I’ll talk to their friends if I know some of them and ask for personal anecdotes and things like that. The reason I do that is because I know that I have to outwork all of the other interviewers as well as having a good interview skill set and having booked this high-quality guest.
And so, I encourage people to do that and people go, “What? That’s going to take forever.” Yeah. Don’t do something if you’re not willing to do it right. There’s a ton of people that are like, “No, here’s what I’m going to do. Five-minute interviews with influencers. It’s going to be ten times a day and da da da, I’m just going to wing it and I’m going to ask them the same questions,” and I’m like, “Great.” So, go ahead and do that and don’t be surprised when it doesn’t work because here’s the thing. A lot of really gifted marketers have jumped into the podcasting space and their problem is retention because people will listen and go, “Ah, the first episode is only okay. The second episode, not so good. Third episode I got a couple of nuggets. I’m unsubscribing because there’s a lot of competition out there.” So, you have to be really careful because you can market the crap out of something that has great guests and people can go, “Nah, next,” and you’ll never get that person back. So, you have this retention problem and that retention problem can become a real issue for you because you keep pulling sand or fuel under the top of the funnel and they keep on falling out the bottom. You’re pouring water into a bucket with holes in the bottom.
So, what we do on the Jordan Harbinger Show is we do study the thoughts and actions of those brilliant people. We ask them great questions because I’ve done a ton of prep. My team’s done a ton of prep and we do those worksheets to make sure that everybody who’s listening finds something to take away from each episode of the show. That requires extra work. And we’ve had some great guests on the show as well. And so, this all we’re going pedal to the metal, really, foot on the gas in every single silo of this because I know that as much as the skills I’ve built over the last 10.5 years, I still have to outwork everybody. And as much as I’m willing to outwork everybody and rely on some of the skills I built over the last few years, people still want to hear from great guests so I’m not going to turn somebody, I’m not going to rest on my laurels as far as booking because I don’t want to do that either.
So, I’m willing to just outwork everyone in every area whether that means over preparing. Not over preparing. There’s no such thing. Whether that means preparing more than everybody else or making sure that my skill set is in top shape. I’ve got a voice coach for my voice. I’ve got presentation coaches for my presentation. I’ve got broadcasting coaches to help work on the presentation of the show. I’ve got production coaches to help me and my producer make sure that we’re working with the best audio quality and files. We have audio engineers to make sure the audio is really good. Like every piece of the show we’re willing to work on more than anyone else because that way if I meet somebody who’s got more talent than me naturally or is just somehow getting lucky and producing some really good stuff here and there, I’m still able to make my show the Jordan Harbinger Show better because I just put in more work. And so, that’s my competitive advantage is I will just die on the treadmill. I will outwork anyone.
Hal: You just inspired me, yeah, because like I don’t naturally prepare. I just tend to that’s, I mean, I guess it’s an excuse, but I do wing. The thing for me is I have so many things going on. I’ve got three books I’m writing right now. I’ve got the movie and then write. And so, podcasting is just one of the things and so it’s kind of like looking at my schedule we go, “Oh, okay. I’m interviewing Jordan today.” All right. 15 minutes before, go to his website, see what’s going on. So, you just inspired me, dude, to up my game. In fact, to my entire audience and you I wrote this little note in the post-it, important. If I’m going to podcast, commit to being excellent, by prepping, by studying guests, craft unique questions, etcetera. So, man, thank you. You just improved the quality of the Achieve Your Goals Podcast from here on out.
Jordan: Well, I’m glad to hear that. And I think, look, not everyone has to be sort of an All-Star interview post, but I don’t know how you feel about it, but I just don’t see the point in doing something and then doing it mediocre or poorly. Not that you’re doing that with the show, but, I mean, people go, “Oh, why aren’t you on Snapchat?” “Because it seems like the worst thing ever. That’s why.” “Oh, well, you can just have an account there and do like an occasional thing to just keep people engaged.” Why am I going to make a mediocre or bad first impression? Or regular impression on people? Shouldn’t I just have – that’s worse than no impression.
Jordan: And that’s why, you know, people go, “Why don’t you have a YouTube channel?” I do by the way and I put clips of video interviews up there. People go, “Oh you should just film everything.” Well, no. The amount of work that it would take to make that world-class instead of just like, “Oh I filmed this on my phone would be enormous,” and when you look at guys like Tom Bilyeu who spend millions of dollars, much of that is their cost of filming the show in that custom studio that they built for the purpose. If those shows were just audio only, he would save like $1 million a year literally. But he doesn’t because he wants that to be part of the platform. That’s why I focus on certain things because I know I can crush this certain element of presentation and then if I get an offer from NBC to do the Jordan Harbinger Show on that network, they’re going to take care of taking that to the next level in terms of video and things like that. I’m not going to worry about it.
I want to be the best in class and that is a pursuit. That’s a gold medalist pursuit. You have to be willing to drill things that nobody else cares about like one of my friends is a guitar player and he was the best jazz guitarist in the state at one point. I used to live with this guy in college and he would walk around the apartment and he would just be playing these weird riff things over and over and I’m like, “What are you doing?” and he goes, “These are really complicated finger movements. I’m just doing the hard stuff.” And I was like, “Why don’t you just play songs?” And he’s like, “Because there’s only one or two of these in a song. I want to be able to do a ton of these in every song because nobody else can do it.” So, he’d walk around doing just the hard stuff all the time and I thought, “Wow. That’s a really good way to get really awesome in something.” So, I will do vocal warmups and exercises and project this and do this particular thing. And no hosts are doing this because it’s boring and the measure of the impact on the show to them is not as fun as like getting a cool guest that’s a celebrity. But that’s kind of the fun part.
It’s kind of like saying, hey, you know what, I want to play football, and everyone is like, “Cool. Yeah. Let’s go toss the pigskin around.” “No, no, no, I want to play the NFL.” “Well, you better start lifting weights.” “No, that sounds boring. I’m just going to go be a quarterback for the Bills.” “Well, I don’t think that’s how it works.” “No, no, no. You don’t understand. I’m special.” “All right. Cool.” Nobody would ever do that. Nobody in their right mind would ever do that because it’s so ridiculous but there’s a million people out there that are like as evidenced by the number of podcasts in iTunes that think it’s okay to just be like, “I’m a talk show host now.” Okay. Cool. And I’m fine with that. I’m fine with delving into creativity and I encourage people to do that stuff and take risks but when those people go, “I don’t understand why I don’t have listeners, why I don’t have an audience,” is because you haven’t earned it. And every minute of the audience is timed on the Jordan Harbinger Show, we earn every single minute. So, if you’re just thinking like, “Oh I’m entitled to an audience because I turned on the microphone and I uploaded this file, that is not how you build a great following of rabid fans.
Hal: Yeah. I love that commitment to excellence and it’s so rare and even like you mentioned Snapchat. I think that a little bonus tip that I can extract from what you just shared is focusing on quality over quantity and like social media is a great example for entrepreneurs especially. Do they feel like they have to be on every single platform? Like I’m on multiple platforms with my team but Facebook’s my main platform and I’m not on Snapchat and I’m not on a lot of platforms but I think that’s a great point is for entrepreneurs. Pick one platform, pick one being pod like for me, I guess what you are the podcasting, I would say I kind of am to writing in terms of my book. Like Miracle Morning, I had people ask me about it and I tell them I literally I go, “Every sentence I wrote I would ask myself what’s the reader or like sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, what’s the reader going to think, feel, expect, be concerned about after this sentence or this paragraph and then how do I lead into the next one in a way that manages their emotions from page one until page 165 or whatever it is.”
So, yeah, I’m trying to make myself feel better since I don’t put in as much energy on my podcast as I should. You do. But when I was on your podcast I was like damn, I was like, “Jordan is so good.” When you interviewed me the first time I was like, “He’s so freaking good.” But I loved what you just peeled back the curtain and, dude, you’re so good because you freaking worked at it. You’ve got coaches and you’ve been working like that for ten years. So, I commend you for that commitment to excellence, buddy. Thank you.
Jordan: Thank you, man. Yeah. The Jordan Harbinger Show is where I’m at now and I would love it if people would come check us out. Even if you were a fan of the old show, the Art of Charm, come check us out. If you weren’t a fan of the old show, the Art of Charm, come check us out. We do what I think is some of the best on the interwebs and we got some great stuff in the pipeline and I promise every minute of your attention will be earned and you will walk away a better man or woman for listening. That’s the idea.
Hal: Yeah. And there’s only a small part of me that selfishly is like, “Wait. If they subscribed to Jordan show they’re going to realize how good a podcast could be, and they might unsubscribe from the show.” I’m kidding.
Jordan: It’s the circle of life, Hal.
Hal: Circle of life. Awesome. Well, hey, man. I love and appreciate you, brother, and glad I could have you on. Love talking to you today, man. Thanks for coming on.
Jordan: Thank you.
Hal: And for you, Achieve Your Goals Podcast listeners, I love and appreciate you even a little more than Jordan and thanks for tuning in to another episode of the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. Until next time. How do we say until next time, Jordan? I don’t know have a tagline to finish this.
Jordan: You don’t have a tagline?
Hal: I just say until next time and then like I just say whether I go, “Uh, make it a great day.”
Jordan: Yeah. That’s like, “Okay. Bye.”
Hal: Here you go. Until next time, add as much value as you possibly can to the lives of every person you come in contact with and that will be the key to achieving your goals. I’ll talk to you soon, everybody. Take care.
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