Not only did Charlie Hoehn help develop an App Creation course which generated $2.6 million in sales, but the guy got to apprentice for his heroes.
I asked him to walk me through how he did all that, because I know you come to this site to glean ideas you can use.
I also asked Charlie to talk about how the work that got him there also caused him to collapse from anxiety and stress. If you’re a stressed out workaholic (like I am, at times) listen to what happened to Charlie and how he now keeps anxiety away using a process he describes in his book, Play it Away.
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About Charlie Hoehn
Charlie Hoehn is the author of Play It Away: A Workaholic’s Cure for Anxiety, a book about his experiences working for Tim Ferriss, where he was head of special projects.
Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I am the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart, the place where entrepreneurs come to talk about how they built their businesses so that you can learn from them and go out there and build a successful company yourself. And chances are, on your way to doing that, you’re going to be full of stress, anxiety, and overwork.
And so today’s guest, Charlie Hoehn, wrote a book about that. It’s called… here, let me see if I can… I read everything digitally, which unfortunately means that it’s a little hard to show it up on the screen. But there it is. You guys can see it on my phone. “Play It Away: A Workaholic’s Cure for Anxiety.”
The book is about his experiences working for Tim Ferriss, where he was head of special projects, and took on more and more work, and then kept begging Mr. Four Hour Work Week to give him more and more work still on top of that. And he kept doing it.
And then from there, Charlie went on to create an online course called App Empire, with a previous Mixergy interviewee, Chad Moretta, where they did pretty well. I want to find out about his experience building that business. I want to talk about how he worked with Tim Ferriss, and what he learned from that, and about both the anxiety and the elimination of the anxiety that came from doing all that.
And it’s all sponsored by my friend, Scott Edward Walker. He is the entrepreneur’s lawyer. If you need a lawyer, and you’re a start-up, check out WalkerCorporateLaw.com.
Charlie: Thank you for having me, Andrew. This is going to be fun.
Andrew: So it’s just actually a footnote in your book, in “Play It Away,” about how much money you made from App Empire. Can you say what that money is? How much?
Charlie: The revenue generated was $2.6 million in ten days.
Andrew: Okay, so actually, I take it back. That was in the page.
Andrew: $2 million plus, etc. The footnote was, “In case you think that this is a lot of money, you should understand, this is pretty frickin’… it’s just pretty typical, and, of course, that’s the way things go.”
Andrew: I said, “Wait a minute. Hang on a second, Charlie.” Let’s talk about how you pulled this off in a way that’s so simple that you can write it off as a footnote. The idea came to you for this course from where?
Charlie: Sorry, could you repeat that last sentence?
Andrew: Let’s go all the way back to where the idea for this course came from. You and Chad met where?
Charlie: We met at an event called Opening the Kimono.
Charlie: Which was a book marketing seminar that Tim Ferriss hosted in Napa Valley. And I was coordinating that conference. So I met a lot of really high-achieving, amazing people, and Chad was one of them.
Charlie: And Chad had written the book “App Empire,” about how he’d created around 60 apps, and made millions of dollars. And he said.. this was… when was this? He approached me and he said, “I want to start an app company that I don’t sell, and I want to make… I’m launching this book right now, and I’m making this information product, because there are a bunch of people out there who learn directly from me, who are making these information products about how to start an app business.”
Andrew: Wait, you’re saying that somebody read his book, heard his process, maybe, in the Mixergy interview, and said, “I’m going to teach this to other people,” and that person was making money?
Charlie: No, no.
Charlie: He had a number of people that he mentored. A number of app- preneurs, as he likes to call them.
Charlie: That he had taught his methods to. And he was like, “Yeah, it’s… a bunch of people are making these courses that just aren’t very high- quality. I want to make the definitive product, because that’s what my book is. And I just want to have basically the same thing available in a course form.”
Andrew: I see. Okay. And a course, not only is it easier for people to absorb the information from, but it also produces more revenue. The book didn’t produce $2.6 million, right?
Charlie: Exactly. Like, that’s the crazy thing about courses, is not only are they much easier and faster to make, their perceived value is 10 to 100 times higher.
Andrew: Okay. All right. So he comes to you, and he says, “Look, Charlie, I see that you helped put this event together.” And we’ll talk about what happened at the event to you. It was a pretty major moment, and it led to this book about a workaholic’s cure for anxiety.
But he says, “I see how much work you’ve done. I want to partner with you.” What’s the breakdown in responsibilities if he’s going to bring this experience and this reputation in the app business? What do you do?
Charlie: He originally approached me and just said, “Why don’t we get through the first month or so and just test what it’s like working together.” And I said, “Okay, I’ll help you launch your book and in exchange, I’d like to learn everything you know about marketing and making apps.”
Charlie: Because I made an app of my own on the side with Ramit Sethi, the author of “I will teach you to be rich.” We made an app called negotiated – you know when you call your cable company and they give you a script and they’re like, “we’d like to keep you as a customer.” You give you the counter script to get money back from them. I wanted to launch that, and so I just helped Chad market his book.
Andrew: He talked to you as you were making this app with Ramit?
Charlie: Right. I thought it’s a digital product, there’s bound to be some stuff that I’ll learn from this that I can carry over into the book world and that will apply to everything when it comes to marketing.
Andrew: So far no breakdown in ownership of the businesses? You’re creating your app, he’s creating his – was it book or course at the time?
Charlie: He’d finished his book. He’d released it on Amazon, but he hadn’t done anything really to market it.
Andrew: So you’re helping him market the book. You guys are hitting it off, I’m assuming, in a way that makes you feel like, “alright, we can work together.”
Charlie: Right, and I felt a little conflicted at the time because I quit working for Tim several months before, Tim Ferris, the number one thing I could think of to do was put together a comprehensive guest post on how to put together an app empire for Tim’s blog. It was like, this is Tim’s audience.
Chad’s living the 4 hour work week when he was creating this business, so I put together the post on how to build an app empire and the post did really well and sold a lot of books. I felt a little weird about doing my old job for Chad.
Andrew: Okay, so then, the course idea comes up – are you guys, all three of you, equal owners in the course when you launch it? No.
Charlie: No, because I was still uncertain at the time if taking equity in this company and really diving into it, because we’d only worked together for a couple months and we didn’t know each other that well, frankly. We just knew we just enjoyed each other’s company; we liked how each of us worked.
We all brought something to the table and we were all good at what we did. So, I was getting paid a really ample monthly salary, which I said, I consider this my consulting fee. If we get through this course, then we can talk about it.
Andrew: So you didn’t even own a share of the business, you were a consultant in it?
Charlie: Right, yeah.
Andrew: Wow, did you make more than $100,000 on this launch?
Charlie: No, no, no.
Andrew: No? Wow. All right, well walk me through the launch. By the way you added, yes Chad added a lot of credibility to it, but frankly when people were talking about the program, they would tell me that you added a lot of credibility too. He added credibility in the sense that he was the guy who created apps.
Your credibility came from the fact that you worked with Tim Ferris, that you were not a big show off and a bragger online. You were a guy who was very well-grounded. So if a guy who is very well grounded who has good friends and a good background is a part of this program, then I can trust it, is the logic that people had.
Charlie: Yeah, yeah, and a part of the reason why is, I knew the material super well. I knew the logic behind it. It was crystal clear. This could totally work if you knew what you were doing and I had a say in how the course was shaped, so I was the only one who had any experience in film. I used to run a video editing business and Chad had never made anything like this, so I had to walk him through, “Okay this is how you make a course like this.” i was directing.
Andrew: Did you create the course first or do you sell it first?
Charlie: We created the course first.
Andrew: You created the course first. So what are some of the elements that you helped him know needed to go into the course so that I know what to do in the course in the future and people in the audience know what to put in there. What are the key elements?
Charlie: Great question. We went through the entire book and we mapped out, “okay, this is how we get the person from knowing absolutely nothing to actually ending up in a position where they want to.” We just mapped out every single thing that we wanted him to hit. The book was finished, so it was just a matter of finding like, what is the stuff that we can show that will really helpful and also visually compelling.
Charlie: For instance, like how can, so Chad did his market research which I thought was the most important thing that he did, one of the smartest things he did as an entrepreneur, was he studied the charts religiously. He would study the top selling and the top free apps on the market.
Charlie: He would make notes about which ones were consistently selling and he would download all those apps and he would just mark down what he could do that would make it unique or superior if he was to make a similar app.
So he was really great because so many entrepreneurs make the classic mistake of “We have this unique idea that’s the first of its kind”. Where Chad took, which I think is the smarter strategy, he took the drafting technique he found that people who are already successful and he figured out how he could emulate their ideas. Not steal them, but find ways to make them unique.
People initially have a knee-jerk reaction of “That’s not fair because you’re stealing peoples ideas” but no ideas are original first of all and secondly you’re figuring out the framework of what people actually want.
Andrew: Can I tell you that the founders of Fiplab were on here talking about how they did that too. That they started out by looking at the App store, both the Mac App Store and the iPhone App Store to look for ideas that worked and then they created their own businesses, I mean they created their own apps based on that and people in the comments ripped into them and I just don’t get that.
I mean, I think its 70 comments which is a lot for a Mixergy interview. Which means someone has to listen on their iPhone, remember at the end of their commute to come back to the office and then sit down and write and write an angry comment. And that happened dozens of times.
Andrew: And I don’t get it. If you look at today at the App Store they’re still incredibly successful and their apps are clearly differentiated from what was there but they needed to start somewhere and you’re saying for you and Chad and for other people it’s often about starting by looking at what works. So then you have a visual I see.
Now you’re telling people where to get started, you’re giving them the sense of where ideas come from, you can show visual here’s what the free Apps looks like now.
Charlie: Right, and so that was a visual that I said to Chad this is going to be so valuable if you actually do this live because people know how to do stuff, they can do stuff with information, okay here’s the step-by-step roadmap. But until they actually see and feel like they’re looking over someone’s shoulder they really don’t have the confidence.
Andrew: By live do you mean create the app live with us Chad? Or do you mean Chad go into the App Store and show me how you’re looking at the categories and what you’re thinking as you see the top, that’s what it is.
Charlie: Walk us through your thought process because it’s not magic it just something people aren’t used to doing and it’s something they haven’t necessarily seen. And anybody can do it.
Andrew: What about [??]. Stu Mclaren [SP] the founder of Wishlist told me that when his people, when he creates a course with someone else or when often the smarter course creators use his platform to create their own courses, what they do is they look for the quick win that they can give someone. That one idea that will allow them to feel like, ‘I got it’ and to have that early on.
Andrew: Did you do that? How’d you do it?
Charlie: It’s applicable as well to Apps. Apps are designed with the intent of the user will feel immediately like they understand it within 10 seconds, or faster, and they feel rewarded immediately for using it.
Andrew: Ah I see, your saying even an App needs to give people the quick win that will make them feel like they’ve mastered it or they’ve gotten some big benefit without having to put too much work in, got it.
Charlie: Right, yeah and I’ve thought of books the same way like I give a ‘url’ if someone just wants to just watch a video summary of a book rather than read the entire book. There’s got to be something that hooks people in right away. But in terms of your question ‘did we do that for the course?’
One thing we did when we designed the product of the course itself so the user would receive it, or the customer would receive it in the mail and when they open it up the case is really beautiful, we spent a lot of money on the packaging so it’s got these magnets that makes this really gratifying sound when it snaps shut.
But you open it up and inside is a one dollar, a crisp one dollar bill which is kind of like a gimmicky info marketing thing but it actually, we consistently got positive feedback on this, it was a crisp one dollar bill and a hand written, scanned letter from Chad saying like this could potentially be something that changes your life and I just want to congratulate you and give you your first dollar because I remember the first dollar I actually made when I was just getting started.
And it led me on this journey where I was over a hundred thousand dollars in debt and within a year I had paid that off and was finally running my own business and doing my own thing.
Andrew: You guys actually sending physical products out to App developers? Why didn’t you do it all online?
Charlie: We did do it all online, but we wanted to offer people … there’s nothing like having a physical product on the shelf that’s like, “Yeah that was the thing that I went through. Yeah, you’re right. We also posted the videos in a private forum just for members so they could watch them online if they wanted to.
But we wanted to give them something that they could look at on their shelf and be like, “That’s a real investment I made.” If they spend $2,000 on this product and have to explain it to their wife, they can actually point to something.
Andrew: Got it. I see. That makes sense.
Charlie: Its perceived value. Perceived value is very different from actual value.
Andrew: How did you come up with the price, $2,000?
Charlie: I didn’t come up with the price; they did. I think they based it relative to what other courses were charging. I don’t know what they were, but I know that Chad was wanting to be the premium product on the web. He’d also purchased similar info products in the past, and I think he was familiar with that terrain.
And what people were comfortable with purchasing when it comes to buying products that promise them the potential of making a lot of money.
Andrew: Okay. That handwritten letter is something I’ve seen before, too. Noah Fleming [SP] showed a picture of one that he got from someone whose course he went into.
Okay, so I get now the creation of the course. I see your part in it. That is the product. That is not where the $2.6 million is coming from. It’s time to market it. Where do you market it?
Charlie: This was one area that I was freaked out about the potential of things going really awry. Jason Adams was our other partner in this. He’s this brilliant online marketer. He’s worked with guys like he ran the back end for Mystery, who is on VH1’s Pickup Artist and The Game and stuff. He’s worked with all these guys who have done huge product launches, but they were getting so many affiliates on board that there was very little quality control.
To answer your question, how did we sell it, there were maybe eight affiliates that were Chad’s friends who had quality email lists filled with people who’d purchased similar products in the past, either app courses or business courses. Those people were not only friends with Chad but they saw the quality of the product. We basically just made it into a competition for them. We promised them we’d give them an amazing experience to the top two or three affiliates who sold the most. We gave them incentives to keep [??].
Andrew: What kind of incentives, exactly?
Charlie: Honestly, it was like … most great affiliates have enough money, right? You can’t promise them a crazy amount of money that’s going to get them super excited. For the most part, generally speaking, at least that was my experience. We would say, “We’ll fly you out to San Francisco, and we’ll have this great weekend.”
Throughout the week, honestly, what we did was we just reminded them, “Here’s the leaderboard, and here’s who’s set to get this prize.” I’d set up this leaderboard, the affiliate leaderboard, that we’d send out that just was a running tally of who’s in first, second, third, fourth, fifth and just have a picture, a little icon, of their product. It looked like the top charts at the app store, actually.
Andrew: I see. Sean Mullarkey [SP] showed me that. I asked him to talk about he and a friend of yours, Louis Howes [SP], launched products. He said a lot of it is from affiliates, and he showed me his leaderboard. A lot of it is them trying to show off to each other by being ahead at the charts. Is that right?
Charlie: Yeah. Yeah.
Andrew: That’s what it comes down to. It’s not about more money necessarily; it’s about money plus prestige of showing their friends that they’re the top guy.
Charlie: Right. Yeah. All these guys are competitive.
Andrew: Who was the top guy?
Charlie: I, honest to God, don’t remember. It may have been Troy. I forget his last name. He’s really pretty well known. Trey Smith. I’m sorry. I think it was him.
Andrew: Trey Smith.
Charlie: I think so.
Andrew: I’ve never heard of him. All right, but he’s a top affiliate.
Charlie: Yes. I forget his name. I’ve only met the guy once, but he was super nice. He’s big on games. He does really well in the gaming category in the app store.
Andrew: I see he is on TreySmithBlog.com if I’ve found the right guy.
Charlie: [??] So, the other thing that we did that moved a ton was on the last day we did an eight hour webinar and we worked with these guys called the launch men. I think their website is LaunchMen.com and they were so good at their jobs.
I rarely say I was blown away by these people I worked with, but I was really impressed with how polished they were and how on top of their game they were. They just ran an incredible webinar. They were a machine and they . . .
We had a special guest star throughout the day like this 13 year old who learned from Chad and was making a few thousand dollars a month in his parents’ house and he was doing really well in the app store and basically Chad just had . . . We showed off the product and we sold it for eight hours and answered all these people’s questions and . . .
Andrew: So, people one on . . . Essentially, it’s like a one on one sale to people who happen to be in the webinar while others . . .
Andrew: . . . are watching them.
Charlie: Right and . . .
Charlie: But it was crazy because it had the quality of one of those infomercials you see late at night that’s like, buy now for only $19.95, but wait, you get this and we kept doing these but wait offers like we’re going to do a seminar, we’re going to . . . and we just really pounded in the value of doing this course.
We’re going to do six weeks of live webinars where we answer all your questions and help keep you accountable while you’re doing this and so we really, really sold benefits and that moved a ton on the last day and Chad had a really nice well optimized email funnel where the affiliates were pushing all their people because each . . .
It was like one, I think there were five total videos of Chad showing like okay, this is what I’ve done, these are people I’ve helped and let me teach you something real quick and each day people would get a really high quality video and so by the end . . .
Andrew: And would teach them something each time.
Andrew: Got it.
Charlie: So, by the end of this sequence he had several thousand email addresses and then he invited them all to the webinar on the last day which was again, eight hours and we just moved a ton of units on that day and did really well.
Andrew: The company you were talking about is launchmen.lt.
Andrew: The website says, we’re reinventing product launches. Launch men is hands off . . . Wait. Hands off for you alternative to traditional designers and agencies that just don’t get how an internet marketing product launch works.
Andrew: We know positioning, copywriting, web and graphic design video production and stuff that no one else knows like case study management and live webcast production. All right, so they did the webcast production for you.
Andrew: The affiliates that he knew, how did Chad know affiliates? He, I thought was in the app space world.
Charlie: I think Chad’s really good about networking. All of these guys are great networkers and the reason is, is they don’t think of it as networking. They just go to conferences and they hand out with people and they give speeches at . . . They deliver speeches at these conferences where all these entrepreneurs congregate, so he just met a lot of people over the years who happen to be in the space and when the time came they were like, yeah for sure.
And that’s kind of the hard thing about coming out with a product first if you don’t know a lot of people in the space because you have to have some sort of relationship, I think with a lot of these people if they’re going to help you and you kind of just have to plan it in advance.
If you don’t know what your product is going to be, but you think you might come out with one at some point, go start meeting people that you like and want to meet and try and think of a way that you can add value to their lives and help them in some way because man, it’s like, it just pays off when you need it and when you . . . If you don’t plan for that on some level, you can just be kind of left hanging there when it comes time to launch.
Andrew: I see. You know what? I’ve seen that at like Yanek [SP] Silver’s underground conference. Someone will go and speak, but then they’ll get to network with the audience and they’ll get to network with other speakers and I see that’s where the kinds of friendships that you’re talking about get formed.
Andrew: Then when it’s time to launch, you tap those relationships and you ask them to email their audiences. They email their audiences a link to a page where the audience then adds their email address and then Chad takes on the sales process from there.
Andrew: Chad gets the connection with that potential customer even if the customer doesn’t buy it.
Charlie: Yes, yes. Seriously, it’s all about collecting the email addresses, I mean, your this would know but it’s like, if you’re just asking them to sell it on your behalf, like, it might sell it but you have a much more likely chance of making the sale eventually to get free exposures to them.
Andrew: Was it Jason Adams who thought Chad and you how to actually do this product launch?
Charlie: He didn’t teach us how to do the product launch but both Chad and I had been into product launches and so all of us were kind of on the same page but Jason was the best at the affiliates left because he knew the importance of that.
And he was the one who was like we need to get on the phone with these people every day, we need to make more than a dozen calls a day and making sure they’re on point pointing out what they need from us and he really took the sales into his hand. He was great.
Andrew: What else am I missing about selling the product?
Charlie: I mean, let’s see. I would say, I mean, that was the main thing, it was we had that really good email funnel set up.
Andrew: What makes the email funnel so good? You’ve said this a couple of times and I didn’t ask a follow up question.
Charlie: Sure. It was really well designed and I wish I knew who designed it but the videos were really dynamic. They really hammered the message that, like, this stuff works. Like, there were success stories. You know, when you watch a weight loss commercial and you’re skeptical until you see the before and after.
I mean, that’s what put Subway on the map and that’s a technique that anybody, any business can use. You show the before and after. How do people’s lives transform thanks to this information or this product or this service.
Andrew: And you had a couple of wins and a couple of testimonials because people read his book?
Charlie: Yes. Read his book or who he’d helped personally and this was the thing. So Chad, like I mentioned, Chad and I mentioned at the kimono conference and I met a ton of really cool people there but a few that I was like I’m sure about and Chad was so like aggressively wanting to, not aggressively but wanted to help people.
And he came across like whatever I can do to help you, and I just naturally get a little skeptical that now because I’m waiting for like the up-sell basically, like what do you want back. But Chad actually just genuinely wants to help people and he would spend like a half hour to an hour on the phone with like that kid when he was going through the process.
Andrew: I see. And even if the kid didn’t learn everything from Chad because Chad helped him out he has a way of doing something to point and say because of Chad I was able to do better and, I see, that gives Chad credibility.
Charlie: Yes. And Chad obviously he didn’t have the foresight that like maybe one day, maybe he did, I don’t know, but like you help enough people over time that you’ll eventually have a few that will be like, you know, I’ll do anything for you, whatever you need because you helped me. I’ll help you back. And a lot of them succeed.
Andrew: Looks like he was on Mixergy about three years ago telling a story about how he built his first app and how he continued from there. I think at the time he might have asked me for, no, not even a link to his book I thought.
No, yes, there was a reference to his book but he didn’t ask me for anything at the time or anything afterwards. Surprise, I didn’t even know he had a course until someone in my audience said hey, I’m going to Chad’s course.
What about software? What platform do you guys build it on?
Charlie: The software that Chad sold?
Andrew: No, was there any core software that you guys created yourself or did you use something off the shelf?
Charlie: I forget. I wasn’t as involved with that. Like, they set up a site that was also a forum but it actually, they set up some site where they could host all the videos and put all the links to everything, all the materials from the course. And I don’t know which platform they used.
We actually had a lot, we were really surprised because it’s still super active. We just set up a private Facebook group where users and customers, like people going through the course can interact and that’s still really active.
And so anybody can do this, like charge a monthly fee to be a part of a private Facebook, and we didn’t charge for that because it paid so much to be in the course. That’s something that’s an ongoing valuable thing because people are posting their success stories in there and people are helping each other so Chad doesn’t have to be the sole resource where people are turning to for his blessing, basically.
Andrew: I was looking through the site to see if I could figure out what software you guys used but I can’t even see it.
Andrew: I did hear that the Facebook group was a big part of it and that it was just really simple.
Andrew: And people seemed to prefer Facebook to your own forum.
Charlie: Right because the problem with doing a [??] or some type of form is you have to constantly create content to keep it dynamic and you have to moderate it to make sure it’s good and you have to rely so much on people visiting it.
A forum isn’t a destination that people constantly want to go to unless it is super dynamic and their are great conversations and valuable information. People are on Facebook all day so, it was really easy for them to check in there.
Andrew: So, I’m getting a sense of where this anxiety could be coming from. If it’s 2.6 million in revenue, maybe net after all the affiliates we’re talking about what? 1.3? 1 million?
Charlie: I don’t know what the spend was. I know Chad put a lot of money in to the production of it. I think it may have been shy of 1.
Andrew: May have been just shy of 1…
Andrew: Net cost, cost of creation.
Charlie: Yeah, yeah.
Andrew: And cost of affiliates and other advertising.
Charlie: Yeah. Yeah.
Andrew: And now the product still stands, I click the get started button and go in and sign up so there’s more revenue coming in. Here’s my theory on the anxiety, part of the anxiety that you got.
Andrew: You didn’t get a share of this business. You were there as another hired gun and more than that, you wanted to learn the process but you weren’t an owner.
Charlie: That’s an interesting theory, I tend to disagree with it. I mean I’ve had offers for big money on the table and money doesn’t excite me as much as doing something that I really want to create or I really want to see in the world.
I was getting paid actually pretty good money but relatively speaking, yeah, it was like a part of me was like, well, I could be making a lot more. I had just quit working with Tim Ferriss a handful of months before that and I was really reticent to dive in to something and really invest because I felt really conflicted. It was like, I don’t really know these guys super well. I like them for the most part.
I’m not crazy about the get rich vibe of like app stuff in general. I wasn’t totally sure if it was going to work out. I was burned out still and so I took a few months off after working with Tim and then I started working with Chad but I felt awful during those months before so I don’t think…
Andrew: I actually heard you weren’t sure about whether the course would work. Whether it would produce successful profitable apps for enough people for you to feel like, yes, this is a Charlie Hoehn production.
Charlie: Yeah, I always retain some degree of skepticism. I just wasn’t sure because I was like, I haven’t done this yet. So, if I haven’t gone through the ringer. Clearly, it does work for some people but if I can’t replicate this success on some level, I’m hesitant. So, I wasn’t totally sure.
Andrew: So, the part that people respected you for and that drew them to you and made them feel comfortable is the part that we now see expressed in the sense that, I don’t want to own this because I’m a guy who cares more about his reputation, about his credibility, about sleeping well at night with the work that I’ve done then I do about getting a million dollar launch and a piece of that. That’s what it is.
Charlie: One hundred and ten percent on that, yes.
Andrew: That’s why we can say if we’re selling this book that there’s no upsell with some crazy $10,000 package that will make people feel bad unless they sign up for it. That’s who you are.
Andrew: I still want to push you on this thing with anxiety…
Andrew: …but I also want to understand how you got as far as you got. There was an entrepreneur friend of mine who did something based on the 4 Hour Work Week. He emailed me, I emailed it to Tim Ferris. I didn’t expect Tim to call the guy but he called him and he left a voicemail. The guy told me that he had a recording of the voicemail and he and his partner listened to it and they high fived each other. Just that call was so unusual and so exciting…
Andrew: …that they high fived each other. You got more than that call. You were in with him as close friends.
Andrew: You were working with him closely. That’s even more meaningful then saying you’re friends. He was a mentor, in the Robert Green form.
Andrew: Robert Green sense of the word. So, how did you get to meet him?
Charlie: The way I originally got an in with Tim was I had done free work for a handful of his friends. I had worked for free for Ramit Sethi and for Tucker Max and then both of those guys had talked to Tim. Tim was asking around on people he could hire because he needed a real world assistant and both of them said, “Yeah.”
Ramit introduced me to Tim, I did a couple of test assignments for him virtually and then he flew me out to San Francisco. We hung out, we got along well and then we started working together on a more full time basis and eventually it became a full time job.
Andrew: What’s the free work that you did for Ramit?
Charlie: I approached Ramit originally, at the time I was 21 or 22, I think. I told him, “I love your stuff. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time. You’re great on video, you are a natural on camera and that’s really pretty rare for the average person. You should leverage it.”
At the time he was doing it, he was just writing and I just saw something randomly on YouTube. So, I said, “You ought to get on, start doing video and I’ll edit all your stuff for free and here are my suggestions for things that you should start doing because it’s actually going to convert better, video converts better than text.” I sent him a sample of my work and he was like, “What do you want to do first?”
So I started doing all of his video stuff and that worked out really well. Then, he asked if I wanted to help him launch his book so we both made marketing plans for his book, compared notes combined them and then I helped him execute the strategy for that.
Andrew: You created that video where I first saw Ramit in. The one where he’s basically making fun of the finance guys who tell you to cut back on a latte a week and if you do, then you’ll be a millionaire by the time you’re 197.
Andrew: If you save it and invest it properly.
Andrew: Yeah. What was one idea that you brought to the launching of the book that eventually, I believe, became a NY Times bestseller, right?
Andrew: What’s one idea that you brought to it?
Charlie: Great question. So, we did this plan, I want to say in 2009.
Andrew: Sounds about right.
Charlie: So, you’re testing my five year memory.
Andrew: Tell you what, let me give you a moment to remember because I just realized I’m getting so carried away with this conversation partially because you’re such an easy guy to talk to…
Charlie: So are you.
Andrew: …and partially because our connection is spectacular. I can’t believe this is the first time we’ve talked. I looked back at our email, I think the first time we actually exchanged email was back in 2010. I think at the time I was in Argentina and I invited you to my friend Morgan’s place in Argentina.
Charlie: Yeah, I’ve met Morgan when I was in Buenos Aires. He’s was a great guy. Yeah, that’s right.
Andrew: I think I was leaving as you were coming in or [??]
Charlie: Yeah, we met at south by southwest a couple years ago at Noah Kagan’s party.
Andrew: Noah’s party in the hallway. You guys were heading out. I was heading in.
Charlie: Yeah, it’s crazy to me. We’ve had so many overlapping circles and moments and stuff.
Andrew: Let me just say this to the audience and I’ve got to just do my plug.
Andrew: To the audience, if you’re ever in Argentina, find a way to connect with Morgan Friedman [SP]. I mean, take him out for a nice dinner, take him out for… because he’s going to probably ask… he’s going to probably offer to take you guys out, and I don’t think you should take him up on that. You be the person who is generous with him. Take him out to a nice steak, or take him out to some… I don’t know what. Make it more than coffee. Trust me, it’ll pay off. He is the guy to know when you’re in Argentina.
Andrew: And he recently had a baby, so I don’t know how much time he’s got, and if he’s still doing his events. But that guy is incredibly social, really considerate. And he taught me so much about Argentina. Like, here’s a little thing. I kept standing out there waiting for cabs, because that’s the way I’d get them around.
Andrew: I would stand on the street, and no cab driver would come over. And he said, “Look, they’re only allowed to pick you up on…” I forget which side of the road. But only if you’re on that side of the road can they pick you up. If you’re on the wrong side of the road, you can wave them down, you can hold a $100 bill in your hand, they’re just not legally allowed to do it.
Andrew: And so I stood on the side of the road, and he taught me that little distinction — just cross the road — helped tremendously.
Charlie: That’s great.
Andrew: I think he was also the other one who… oh, wait, do I have… oh, shoot. I have got… I’ll have to tell this another time. I’ve got it in my drawer, but the drawer’s locked, because I’m a security freak.
All right, let me do this plug. If you’re an entrepreneur, you need a lawyer, you want someone who’s going to set you up, but also help you grow your business over time. That means set you up in a way that when it’s time for you to get partners, or get investors.
They’re not going to look at the paperwork that you used to set up your company and say, “This is a mess. I can’t be a part of this. I can’t be dragged down by this mess.” You want them to feel like it’s an easy process to work with you, and that they’re going to be secure. And you also want to secure yourself, right?
So how do you do that? Well, you can go down to the lawyer who is a friend of a friend who recommended something to someone back then and, you know, now that they’re being recommended back to you as a return favor. Or you can go to a guy who actually has done this, who focuses on this, who is a life — I think, as far as I know — a life-long lawyer to start-ups.
And that’s the man that I’m recommending to you. Scott Edward Walker of Walker Corporate Law. He will help you set up your company really inexpensively so that you can get started, and then he’ll be the guy that will help you get funding and structure it properly. Excuse me, structure your company properly for funding.
And if it’s ever time for you to merge, buy, or sell your business to someone else, he’ll be there for you, and the company will have been started off right in the early days so that you can have those big transactions done properly later on.
I’m very happy to recommend him, because I’m not the only person who’s doing it, because I know that you’re going to be in safe hands, because I know that others in our community trust and recommend and give him testimonials. And if you have any doubt about him and you want to go look him up, just go to WalkerCorporateLaw.com.
I shouldn’t even say if you have a doubt about it. No one has doubt. What you have is curiosity about him. And if you’re curious, go to WalkerCorporateLaw.com. See some of the people up there on the site who have said positive things about them. You can contact any one of them. I would recommend, actually, if you ever want to find a…
If you ever want to check up on him, my buddy Nick O’Neill [SP] is such a good guy that I would ask Nick about Scott Edward Walker, who they’ve worked with together, just so I could get the information about Scott and connect with Nick. He’s such a good guy. But, frankly, you can ask anyone in the tech community about Scott Edward Walker of Walker Corporate Law. He is the guy to talk to.
Charlie, what do you think of that? I kept seeing you, like, your eyes light up, or something. I thought maybe I was saying something wrong, or maybe I’m saying something that’s exciting you?
Charlie: I was just thinking, while you were saying that, man, this is such, like, well targeted advertising. Like, it’s just a perfect ad. Well done, Walker Corporate Law, because it’s…
Andrew: [laughs] He does have the right audience here, doesn’t he?
Charlie: It’s highly relevant, and it’s his exact audience. And I think that’s such a smart, like, group to… or it’s a smart brand for him, is “I’m the start-up lawyer.”
Andrew: I think so, too.
Andrew: I think there are a handful of other start-up lawyers. You know, the big firms, the… I won’t even… I guess I shouldn’t even bother saying their names, because he’s a sponsor of mine. But you know them.
Andrew: You’ve seen them at these conferences all the time, and you go, “How is the law firm really paying to sponsor this event that I know is a $20,000, $30,000 investment for them?” And then you realize, oh, yeah, that’s just one set-up fee for one company, and that’s all that they need from this.
And, yeah, those companies don’t even care that they’re paying $20,000, $30,000, or whatever the amount is, because then they’re getting it from the investors.
Charlie: Yeah. You know what a designer could do that would be smart, is just reach out to those firms and have them design, like, a startup branded… because so many law firms have, like, the logo that seems very courthouse-ish and legal. But if they reflected the same brands as the Silicon Valley start-ups, it would convert their business much better.
Andrew: You know what? They don’t want to do it, because my sense is… I don’t know this well enough to really say 100%, but here’s my sense, having gone through this.
Andrew: They’re not trying to appeal to the entrepreneur. They’re trying to appeal to the investors. If you look at the websites of these bigger law firms they’re appealing to the investors for a reason. That’s where the real relationship is, that’s where the repeat business is, that’s what they do well even if they fail with the entrepreneur, right?
And so they had that safe corporaty looking thing that the investors feel good about. And so they worked back and forth. They funnel people to the investors, the investors funnel people to them. Anyway, back to you.
Charlie: Yes, back to Charlie.
Andrew: And so you start working for Tim. What kind of work are, sorry, going back to the question I asked you earlier. Do you remember something that you helped Rami with and if you don’t, totally fine.
Charlie: I remember something that didn’t work that both of us thought it would work. We reached out to every blogger who had mention Ramit or linked to him. We reached out to a bunch of commencers and asked them if, no, it was all the bloggers who blogged about him and we asked if they wanted to blog about the book in exchange for a free copy.
We were like, of course, they’ll do it, they have a commitment by us but so few of them even responded to that and it was actually a massive waste of time going through all of that and doing that.
So yes, it was like a reverse blog tour kind of thing that we tried and that failed.
Andrew: What was the most effective thing?
Charlie: Stuff that I recommended that worked, I think I don’t have a good answer because I just can’t remember what.
Andrew: I don’t want to get hung up on one question. All I do is produce questions. I’m like, what is it, the Mars company. You can’t get hung up on one Mars bars, you have to just understand that there’s tons coming out of this factory. This factory of questions is going to proceed with them.
You’re working for Tim. I called you at the top of the interview head of special projects. He also gave you another name, something like Head of other and everything, something like that. What was it?
Charlie: It was Director of Other and we came up with that title because we met the guy whose title was Director of Other for Google. He was this really smart, cool, accomplished guy, and he had an unlimited budget to work on anything he wanted.
And I don’t think I can say his name but that position actually exists at Google. He can work on any problem he thought would be worthy of serving humanity.
Andrew: So what kind of projects were you working on?
Charlie: What kind of projects was I working on?
Charlie: Initially I was doing really kind of basic, menial tasks just to prove that I was reliable.
Andrew: Here’s one. I don’t know if you did it but I’ve seen someone else in your position do it. Iron shirts.
Charlie: No. Although I did, when I got into the position of working with him full time in San Francisco and I was doing this high level stuff that was really cool and great. I was also helping him with his stuff like taking or picking up UPS boxes at the UPS Store.
Andrew: I see. What’s the high level stuff because I heard you were basically the right hand man. You were doing a lot of the work that frankly a CEO would do in a startup.
Charlie: It was a role that had a ton of different responsibilities that I gradually accumulated over time and kind of the highest point was also the most stressful point, which was coordinating that Kimono conference.
I put together parties and stuff in the past but nothing as intense as handling $10,000 from individuals, scheduling or booking a hotel out, figuring out all the logistics for getting people back and forth between venues, negotiating with venues, negotiating with AV guys, setting up all the staging stuff and there was just so many pieces that that was the most intense role that I had.
So that was the highest level thing. But the cool thing about that, and again this was like the best part of working with Tim is he knows everybody and he knows all these amazing people and so it was fascinating. Like we had this lady reach out to us named Susan Dupre and she said I’ll help you with this conference, I’ll help you coordinate the entire thing, no problem for free.
By the way, one of the conferences I’ve done in the past was the World Wide Developer conference, I was the head of conference coordination, I guess, for Steve Jobs for several years and I helped him launch the original iPhone. I was in charge of that.
Andrew: So why did she want to help you guys for free?
Charlie: It makes sense on her part because she gets to be in a room full of really wealthy people who do similar events and she becomes known as that’s the person who does that and so it’s basically a chance for her to show and strut her stuff, gain a ton of credibility with Tim if he ever throws something like that again in the future that she can say, this is what I demand and she’ll get it in terms of price.
Andrew: It’s $10,000 per attendee.
Charlie: Per attendee.
Andrew: How many attendees?
Charlie: There ended up being over 130 attendees.
Andrew: What’s the most . . .
Charlie: We had several hundred people apply for this. We were going to limit seating to 200 and that was another thing is I went through each application, went and picked my top ones and picked the ones that I was on the fence about and then went over them with Tim because we had to filter out people who would go into debt to go into this event.
And there were a ton of people who applied who were like, I can’t afford this but I’m willing to go into debt to learn from Tim and all the other people that are going to this. We had to filter those people out because it can potentially lead them in ruin and so we also had a number of frankly pretty emotionally unstable people apply too. So, we . . .
Andrew: How do you mean? How can you tell someone’s emotionally unstable?
Charlie: You can tell in their application because they give their entire life story. They pour their heart out and it’s often like they’re trying to reach out and connect and I get that and like, I have a lot of sympathy for it, but at the same time you can just tell if somebody’s going to create some issues with other people.
There are others like, that I filter out that could afford it, wouldn’t have gone into debt, seemed pretty normal in their application, but their correspondences with me were really aggressive and just made my life a headache. So, they were like, I need you to do this, this, this and this for me and it’s like, I don’t work for you.
Andrew: But I’m paying $10,000.
Charlie: Yes, yeah, yeah.
Andrew: So, I see now. You’re taking on all this responsibility, all this work. This isn’t the first time that you took on all this work. This is one of many projects that you’ve done for Tim and as a result, what happened to you at that event, at the end of the event?
Charlie: Well, at the events I was so freaked out leading up to that something would go wrong. I was really worried that it would fall apart and I would need to like, really hustle and fix it. I was terrified of screwing up because it’s this really prestigious event.
So I ended up ordering a pill that the military gives to its fighter pilots to stay awake for up to three or four days at a time, and it’s actually prescribed to people with narcolepsy too and it’s actually a fairly common drug that’s used in Silicon Valley by CEOs and stuff because it keeps you hyper, attentive and awake and I took this all throughout the conference.
I was great at my job, but I only slept a total of six hours during the conference, but I was on top of everything. I did amazing and so I was thrilled because the conference went off without a hitch but went I got home, I was just like . . .
I hit a wall because leading up to that each day had been me drinking four to five glasses of coffee, four to five cups of coffee, staring at a screen all day, being on the phone, sitting still just like making deals happen, making sure this thing was all lined up and prepared.
It took me a couple months to prepare for this thing and so at the end of the conference I hit a wall and I felt like I’d really, really pushed myself too. Not too far because I was just used to doing that. I just wanted to be so good at what I did because it was really fulfilling on the inside to know that I was like so good at what I did and I just wanted to get better and better.
Andrew: Did you swallow 25 of these pills?
Charlie: No, no.
Andrew: No, okay. I thought maybe you took that many over the course of the conference, okay.
Charlie: Sorry, there’s something making a noise.
Andrew: No. That was me. I’m researching you as we’re talking. All I see is it’s called the Magic Pill and I can’t figure out what . . . oh, wait. No.
Charlie: You can just say the pill. I don’t say it in the book because it’s like . . .
Andrew: You don’t want to encourage people to take it.
Andrew: Will you type it in Skype chat so that I see the name of what you took?
Andrew: I will not say it publicly if you don’t want to say it public.
Charlie: It’s fine. You can say it. It’s like a lot of people have figured it out, but it’s . . .
Andrew: Do you want to say what it is? We’re not encouraging people to take it. I don’t think it’s a . . . or what do you think?
Charlie: I will say I’m not a healthcare professional but like this pill messed me up and it like, I don’t know the neurological long term repercussions of taking this pill the way I did.
Andrew: Oh, okay, even better. We are telling people not to take… And, can I say what it is?
Andrew: Do not take… Actually, I’m saying it kind of in a joking way. But, frankly, I don’t think you need to take this. I don’t see…
Andrew: Here’s what it is just for research purposes. Modafinil?
Charlie: It also goes by the name Provigil.
Charlie: Yeah. It’s basically steroids for staying awake, and…
Andrew: So, this is to the degree that you went to keep going, and you kept piling on more of of this work, more of the coffee, more of the pills.
Andrew: You finally…
Charlie: And, I should say, by the way, I ordered that stuff. I didn’t tell anybody I was ordering that stuff. That was totally just me in desperate, in frantic.
Andrew: Were you embarrassed?
Charlie: Was I embarrassed?
Andrew: Yeah. Did you feel like what’s wrong with me that I’m not keeping up, that I have to take this pill?
Charlie: I was like this is what a pro would do. That was in my head. I was just like desperate times call for desperate measures. Like…
Andrew: Ah, and I’m the man who’s willing to do what it takes to get there.
Andrew: What about the idea that you’re working for the four hour workweek guy and you’re working for tons of time? What do you say about that?
Charlie: I say that I’m well aware of the irony of that, but it was my decision. I never went into it saying I can’t wait to outsource everything Tim gives me, I can’t wait to practice the four hour work week.
I wanted to work. I wanted to do all this stuff. Because it was exciting, and I wanted to learn as much as possible. So, for me it was like fine, whatever costs this takes on me… I want to be the best in the world at this job. Because I want to learn how to be an entrepreneur like Tim.
This is paying my dues. A part of me still agrees with it. I’ve met a lot of super accomplished people who achieve a lot in a short period of time at a young age. Almost all of them work themselves to the bone. But, the problem is I didn’t have the self-awareness that I was destroying myself. You can work really hard and do a great job in work, but you also have to recognize when you are literally destroying your own health.
Andrew: All right. So, what do we do? Frankly, I read the book. I know what you’re suggesting. Why don’t we tell the audience. If they’re in this workaholic mode and they’re suffering from anxiety… Or, maybe they’ve got one or the other. Maybe they’re just workaholics, and they’re stressed, and they don’t recognize the anxiety in themselves…
Andrew: …but they recognize a need to take a break so that they can be stronger, more productive. You tell them to do what?
Charlie: Here’s the thing. Before I answer that, this is something we were talking about before the call. Most people either won’t identify with it or they won’t have the self-awareness. When I was going through this you couldn’t have told me that I was doing anything wrong, because I was getting rewarded for…
Andrew: What would’ve happened if I would’ve told you hey, you know what, Charlie? There’s a guy out there. I won’t tell you his name. But, he wrote a book called “Play It Away.” It’s about playing as a way of getting rid of your stress. It’s called “Play It Away: A Workaholic’s Cure for Anxiety.” What would you have told me if I offered this workaholic’s cure for anxiety?
Charlie: I would’ve been like maybe I’ll check it out, maybe. That was the thing.
Just a side note, that was the thing I struggled with in the title. Because I was like I don’t want this to seem aggressively confrontational to the reader. Like, you have anxiety, or you’re a workaholic. But, it was mostly about me and my story.
Those are two things I identified. The first thing to help with readers or with people who think they may be in this stage is one, you have to hold the mirror up to yourself.
There are a few questions. Do you feel guilty if you’re not working? Do you always… Are all of your daily activities, all of them, centered around you building a more successful career or making more money? Are you obsessed with this stuff? Do you sleep less than eight hours per night on a consistent basis? Do you sit up and…
Do you stare at screens late in the day, late at night, right before you go to bed? Are you sitting still and staring at screens all throughout the day? Do you use stimulants to hide your exhaustion multiple times a day?
There are so many classic things that just…
Andrew: Give me more of those, because I think that maybe I wouldn’t recognize myself as anxious. But, I would clearly in black and white recognize if I’m using coffee at 8:00 p.m. to keep going. What’s another one of those questions that I think will help people be aware of it? And, frankly, I think I’m a workaholic myself, too. I have to really work at it.
Andrew: But, thankfully, I don’t have any coffee, usually, after 12:00. I can put stuff away very easily, which I think bothers my wife that I could just sit and do my own thing, but what else?
Charlie: Do you rely on drugs or alcohol in situations outside of work, social situations? Have you stopped playing or having guilt-free fun, just doing things for the hell of it, voluntarily, not because it’s something associated with work?
Andrew: Okay, so I see that. I see some of myself in all of it. The idea of play – on the cover, let me see if I can bring up this cover again. Here’s what you’ve got? What does this have to do with what these two guys are doing? Is that you, one of them? The one in the white shirt?
Charlie: I’m the one on the left in the white and my dad is actually the one on the right?
Andrew: So, what’s the deal here, what do you want me to take away from this photo on the cover?
Charlie: Yeah. so the reason I did that one, playing catch is the most zen and most nostalgic form of play for me personally, but also there’s a story in the book that consistently I get feedback from entrepreneurs and business people saying, “That’s the story that stuck with me.”
Andrew: I know where you’re getting to, that is the one too that stuck with me. I thought I was the only one.
Charlie: Yeah, yeah, I’ve consistently heard from people saying, “That’s my favorite.”
Andrew: That’s the one about a friend of yours who calls you up and says, “Hey.” Or some stranger I forget who he was but he said, “Do you want,” what did he say? What everyone always asks in this business.
Charlie: Yeah, yeah I’m sure you get a million of these requests all the time but this guy emailed me. He said, “You got to meet my friend.” His friend responded to the email and he said, “Hey, do you want to grab coffee sometime?”
And this was after I’d had my epiphany of, “I need to get back into having fun and playing,” because it’s a healthier way of bonding with people for one but I emailed him back and I said, “Hey, do you want to go play catch at the park instead of grabbing coffee? I just don’t like sitting around drinking stimulants and I would just rather do that.” And the guy was like, “Yes, I would love to, that’s a great idea.”
Andrew: You can curse on this interview. Didn’t he curse, he got so excited, “Yes.”
Charlie: Yeah, yeah, he was like, “Fuck, yes. let’s do it.” And we went and played catch and we had this great day in the park where we enjoyed each other’s company, we were out in the sun, it was really nice. And we didn’t have that – there’s always this weird compulsion when you meet up with people, it’s like, “Hey,” like you have to fill the silence.
Every moment of silence has to be filled with one of you stroking the other one’s ego or you subtly trying to impress them in a way and it just gets exhausting because you want that real connection. You want that real connection with people and it’s just really frankly hard to do if you’re always sitting in cafes and BS’ing each other.
And I just liked – it just hit me that my best friends were the people I played sports with and the people I played with growing up, the people I just had fun with, so why not view life as a series of opportunities to have fun in any given circumstance?
Andrew: The reason I wanted that as the first thing that we talk about as a way of dealing with overwork and stress and anxiety is because it seems like an easy way to ease off of it. You know, you may not be able to persuade someone, me for example, to step away from work all the time or as much as we should, but we can adjust the way we work. So, instead of coffee, we can go and play catch.
My buddy John Bishke [sp] used to say, if I wanted to get together with him, he’d say, “Why don’t you come out for a run with me?” Which I thought, “That’s a pretty interesting to get together with someone,” and you don’t have to fill the silence because you’re running. Every word has to really count and strangely, even at my slow pace, I was able to keep up with him and talk at a conversational level, so it was good. So what else? What else can we do to cure our anxiety?
Charlie: So, just with that, you can go on walking meetings too. I mean, Steve Jobs did this all the time. Yesterday, I actually played laser tag with a bunch of tech guys for a few hours and that was a shockingly great work out. All of us were just dripping sweat at the end and we had so much fun. We were just laughing and it was a blast.
Andrew: I get that.
Charlie: Yeah, it’s not that you have to be doing an outdoor sport or anything to be playing, my suggestion is that you’re just giving yourself permission to view your life as a series of opportunities to have your own fun and that work should be approached as, “This is my game that I am choosing to play,” not a means of just paying the bills all the time because your best work, your most creative work comes from when you have that sense of play and doing stuff for the love of it. [??]
Andrew: Let me give you another one from the book. You said that you cut back on stimulants. I don’t know if you said you cut back completely, but you weren’t drinking as much coffee. Did you go to zero coffee?
Charlie: I went a week without coffee and that was like, oh, my Lord! I actually calmed down. My heart rate was at a resting pace and I realize now I only drink a half cup of coffee usually. I dump half out actually and it’s just because I’m more sensitive caffeine than I originally thought and I used to throw back so much caffeine, but it’s just it . . .
Yeah, it’s a worthwhile experiment to just consider taking out a stimulant for a week. The one that, what are you constantly consuming? [??]
Andrew: What about another one from the book? You say you give back, helping people.
Charlie: Yeah. Intentional acts of kindness.
Andrew: Intentional acts of kindness. What do you say to someone who tells you, you know what? I’m too freaking busy. That’s why I’m a workaholic. I don’t have enough time to even get my work done and you’re saying on top of it I should add to my to do list to go and tie a swing to a tree so that a random stranger can go and swing in the . . .
Andrew: . . . park and feel good about himself.
Andrew: I don’t have time to do that.
Charlie: Everyone has time. You make time for what you like, what your priorities are and everyone has time. So many people watch 1,000 hours a year of TV. Think about that. You cut out TV which is just you sitting still staring at a bright light with images moving on it and you go out and do something different.
It doesn’t have to be an intentional act of kindness. It can be anything. It just has to be something that contributes to your immediate and long term happiness I think.
So I recommend intentional acts of kindness because you consistently get . . . An anxious person is so wrapped up in their own problems that and they’re so obsessed with protecting themselves that when you actually give yourself permission to go out and start interacting with the world in a positive way that’s helping other people, it takes your worries away.
You’re no longer focused on yourself and the reason I like the story of my friend Jeff who hung up swings in park for free for fun, he would just buy rope and he would saw off wood and he would just hang up swings. He did it for fun, for free and one day his friend filmed him and the video took off on Reddit and he eventually ended up being the star of an international Coca-Cola campaign.
It was this huge commercial that he was the featured star in it about acts of kindness and he ended up making over $100,000 in royalty checks from these commercials because he started doing with just something that he thought was a fun project and obviously the lesson there is not like, start doing intentional acts of kindness because one day there might be a paycheck in it. But it’s just like he did that and it led to better and better things consistently.
Andrew: All right, I want to tell people where they can follow-up on this conversation. While I do that, would you think of one other idea from the book that we can share with the audience and then of course if they want the book they can go and get it on Amazon, they can get it . . . Do Barnes and Nobles still exist? Yes, they do. I think I saw that somewhere.
Andrew: So, they can get it from Barnes . . . not in San Francisco though, right?
Charlie: It’s actually . . . It’s not in physical book stores yet as far as know because I’ve had to work . . . I self-published the book and so I had to work out some [??].
Andrew: So that’s why you were able to put a picture of yourself and your father on the cover. If you went to a major publisher, right, they would not allow you to do something so personal. They would take off all the energy from it.
Charlie: They would probably create an awful cover.
Charlie: That’s just been my experience . . .
Charlie: . . . with traditional publishers.
Andrew: You’d have to go and fight with them for what? For the cover. All right, while you think of that I’m going to tell people if you want to follow-up, here are a few things that you can do as a follow-up, a few programs on Mixergy. I suggest that you check out Phipp [SP] Lab. I talked about them earlier. These are the guys who got yelled at in the comments because they said, here’s a horror story for you guys. Here’s what they did.
They did their research by looking at what other apps were successful before creating their own app. So, you can go and listen to them. I don’t know if you can still comment. No, I had to close the comments on those. So, you can’t comment, but you can shake your fist up in the air in anger and it’ll probably do as much good as if you commented something negative.
Charlie: You can pound on your keyboard.
Andrew: You can pound on your keyboard.
Andrew: You can hit them up on Twitter or you can be like a decent human being and say hey, you know what? They’ve done something really good. I’ll take what I can use from it, leave the rest behind and maybe I’ll send them a thank you note on Twitter or hit them up for . . . Maybe not hit them up. Thank them and then maybe get to know them so that you can get some help from them. So, there’s one thing you can do.
Another thing you can do is we have a couple of a couple of courses taught by entrepreneurs about how to build mobile apps. These are smaller programs, about an hour long. Each one distills what’s worked for him or her in building an app.
Then I also talked about Sean Mullarkey [SP], the guy who talked to me about how to launch an information product online. He did a great job of going through the affiliate programs and how he and Louis [SP], his partner in one of the programs, did it. You can check out his course. All of these are available at Mixergy.
We have both cheat sheets available for free and transcripts available for free. If you want to watch the actual courses or listen at your convenience to the interviews, or watch me and this beautiful face evolve with hair and no hair and all kinds of other stuff, you need to be a Mixergy Premium member.
To do that, you just have to go to mixergypremium.com. When you go there, you sign up. You get about 1,000 interviews, over 100 courses taught by proven entrepreneurs. Many of them good friends of mine who’ve come here, subjected themselves to my hair and subjected themselves to me probing them for how much revenue they have. They did it all not for me, not for themselves … eh, partially for me and for themselves but also for you so you can build a successful company and hopefully come back here and share what you’ve learned.
All of that and so much more available at mixergypremium.com.
Charlie, how about one more tip from the book?
Charlie: Okay. I would say it’s really basic, but it has some of the most tremendous healing effects that I think most anxious people are either in denial or unaware of, is going to bed at the same time every night and not looking at screens at least an hour before you go to bed. There’s an app that you can get for your computer called Flux. I think it’s justgetflux.com. That turns your screen’s blue light off, and it changes your screen to an amber color in the evening automatically so it helps your brain actually just wind down a little easier. It’s just much easier on the eyes.
Andrew: It duplicates the change in the lighting outside at night.
Charlie: Yeah. Right.
Andrew: As we go from day to night, it gets darker, and our brains start to understand it’s time to go to sleep, and you’re saying the same thing can happen on our computers.
Charlie: Right. It really does help. I set an alarm. If you really want to get your stress levels under control, just make it a priority. Set an alarm for when you start getting ready for bed. Once you’ve got that momentum, you’ll actually go to bed. I would say make your room as dark as possible. Cover every source of light including alarm clocks, even the light on the fire alarm.
Another thing I do after lunch on a consistent basis almost every single day. I take a 20-minute nap. I just lay on my back and just focus on my breathing. Again, I just set a 20-minute alarm that goes off. Sometimes I fall asleep, sometimes I don’t. Just doing that dramatically reduces your anxiety. It makes you less stressed. It really works. I would say making sleep a super-high priority can really get you back to feeling good again.
I was going to bed at all random hours. I was drinking caffeine and alcohol late at night, which was disrupting my sleep. I just wasn’t getting consistent quality sleep. As soon as I started making that a priority, it really, really helped. A lot of my readers have reported the same thing.
Andrew: The book is Play it Away. It’s available on Gumroad, not on Barnes and Noble, which is okay because most of us aren’t living close to it anymore. On Amazon, iTunes, Gumroad and apparently on AppSumo. Is it still available on AppSumo?
Charlie: No, that was only a daily promotion. It was kind of cool. I put together … in the PDF, I put handwritten notes. Behind-the-scenes, pop-up video style PDF. We did a one-day promotion and just gave it away for free.
Andrew: All right, well, people are going to have to shell out the shocking number of $4.99 currently in the Kindle version. Is that right?
Charlie: It should be $7.99. I’m playing around …
Andrew: Oh, you’re right, $7.99. Take that.
Charlie: You’ll always be able to get it for less than [??].
Andrew: I want people to read the book. I read it. It’s a very quick, easy read. I’d like them to also develop a long-term relationship with you. I think the way to do that is, unfortunately, to send them over to Charlie Hoehn, where they’re going to struggle and to get your name wrong in the spelling. Why don’t they just type it into Google instead of typing it into their address bar, right?
Andrew: Is that the best way? Just Charlie Hoehn. Spell it any … let me see what happens if I misspell it.
Andrew: Charlie, of course, I know how to spell. Even my bad spelling knows that. Hoehn. Yeah, you pop up right away. But for anyone who is a note taker and wants to get it right, it’s H-O-E-H-N. H-O-E-H-N.com, right?
Andrew: CharlieHoehn.com. And one of the things you’ll see there is a time when Charlie had more facial hair than me. Boy, you were looking very Grizzly Adams in there.
Charlie: I know. That was my writer’s beard. I was kind of sad to let it go, but I was also looking pretty disgusting. You have a much better beard than I did.
Andrew: Thank you. This… one of the few things I could do naturally well right out of the womb, practically, is grow a beard.
Charlie: You’re a natural.
Andrew: Thank you. You, too. I like the beard on you. I like the book. Congratulations on the success of this, and thank you for being on here.
Charlie: Yeah. Thank you so much. This was great. And actually, just a quick note: my buddy Tucker, Tucker Max, he was like, “You know the one person you need to do an interview with is Andrew Warner. He’s the best.” So this was…
Andrew: Really? So it lived up?
Charlie: Yeah. For sure.
Andrew: You blow his cover in the book by saying that he is not an a-hole like he says on the cover of his book, and he was extremely supportive of your book, right? You say that in the handwritten thank-you note that you have in the back of your book.
Andrew: I agree with you. He came over to my house. For some reason, when people come over to my house for dinner, they don’t think to, like… I guess if it’s for work, unless they’ve had a girlfriend at one point, they don’t think to ever bring wine or anything. They just come over.
Andrew: He was so incredibly considerate. Not only did he bring over local vodka, I think it was, from Austin to introduce us to, he…
Charlie: [??] yeah.
Charlie: Deep Betty Sweet Tea?
Andrew: Yes. Yes. Sweet tea, and it’s vodka. Isn’t there? Isn’t it vodka? Or vodka-infused?
Andrew: Yeah. So he bought that, he bought mixers, and when he saw that I was looking to put plates on the table, he was the only one who said, “Hey, you know what, Andrew? Let me help you get the plates on the table.” I go, “What is this? This is a fraud that he’s committing on the internet!”
Andrew: Usually people are jerks in private and they act all nice in public. He is the exact opposite.
Charlie: He sets low expectations, so anything he does that’s not assholish, you’re like, “Wow, this is a miracle.” It’s pretty brilliant.
Andrew: [laughs] All right. I’m going to start doing the same thing.
Andrew: Well, I won’t do it right now. For now, I’ll say, Charlie, thank you so much for doing this interview.
Charlie: Likewise. Thank you.
Andrew: Thank you all for being a part of it. Go get the book.
Andrew: Bye, guys.
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