“Everyone Poops. Yours Isn’t Special.” – with Scott Gerber

Scott Gerber, CEO of Gerber Enterprises, says riding the “everyone is a winner” bandwagon will make you mediocre.

I invited him to talk about why we need to stop giving everyone a first place trophy, to give blunt guidance for entrepreneurs, and to talk about his new book, “Never Get a ‘Real’ Job.”

The FULL program



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About Scott Gerber

Scott Gerber is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, media personality, public speaker and the most-syndicated young entrepreneurship columnist in the world. He is the founder and CEO of Gerber Enterprises, an entrepreneurial incubator and venture management company that invests capital, management expertise, and marketing services into innovative early and mid-stage companies.

His book, Never Get a “Real” Job is available in bookstores.

Raw transcript


Mixergy’s audio transcription is done by Speechpad

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Here’s the program.

Andrew: Hey everyone. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. Today’s guest says you are so busy riding the “everyone is a winner” bandwagon that it makes you mediocre. God, I hate that. He is Scott Gerber, CEO of Gerber Enterprises, an entrepreneurial incubator and the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council.

He is also the author of this book, “Never Get a Real Job,” a book that has my blurb on the back right there. Let me see. Let me hold it up properly for people to see. And here is my blurb on the back. Scott doesn’t give you the sugar coated advice that wannabe entrepreneurs like to hear. He gives the blunt guidance that real entrepreneurs can actually put to use. And that blunt guidance that people can actually put to use, that is what I want to get into in this interview. Scott, welcome to Mixergy.

Scott: Thanks Andrew. Always a pleasure.

Andrew: So you are saying in the book that there are people who are blowing smoke up our asses. Who is blowing smoke up my ass? Who is blowing smoke up my audience’s ass?

Scott: I think there is a lot of this “work hard, get good grades, go to school, and get a real job” mantra. Bullshit, basically, that is out there. It has been ingrained in us since college and high school and kindergarten in most cases, where, basically, to validate our existence on this planet, after college, you are supposed to get this thing called a real job. Basically, for all of these generations, for our parents, MTV, our mentors, they all have this construct because that is all they knew.

Now, when you have an economy like ours today, where you have automation through technology, you have globalization making us fight harder and harder for any kind of even underemployment opportunity and you have a wide array of people just trying to break into a field that might not even be in what they studied. What does that say about the system they are touting? And they are still touting us to send resumes.

Basically, what I am here to try and help do is create a real paradigm shift away from that resume driven, handout society of old. And really make Gen Y into the most entrepreneurial generation in history so that we can create a job to keep a job.

Andrew: But it is more than just a fight against the system that says, “Study hard and then go get a job, where you will essentially be a cog in the machine and eventually someday, somehow retire, hopefully with a little bit of money.” You are also fighting against some of the beliefs that entrepreneurs were trained to have. Like, “Build a business based on your passion. Work hard. Stick with it.” Why? What’s wrong with those ideas?

Scott: There is nothing wrong with certain aspects of those ideas. The problem is when you don’t deconstruct them to their most simplistic and basic forms. That is when everything runs amok. I recently wrote an article on Inc. that got a lot of attention. It actually took down my website from the amount of traffic that I got a few weeks ago.

My basic argument was that I don’t think in today’s day and age, where now more than ever the market share is at its fiercest, because people are entering into the entrepreneurial world in many different forms. You are fighting against multiple different competitors that are entrenched and not entrenched. I said that offering, “Be passionate,” as the first thing you tell a young entrepreneur is awful advice. The reason I say that is because, right now, you need to make sure that your income can come from a startup.

I know that there is going to be a lot of Silicon Valley folks out there that are going to tell me Facebook, Google, Groupon, and they are going to name the one in a millions. The problem is for that 99.999 percent of the real world of Gen Y, that advice isn’t applicable. I am saying, let’s stop the rah rah, and start thinking more in a practical, on the ground level, when we have those kinds of phrases. So, yes, of course, I am a very passionate guy. You can tell right now just based on this interview. But I wouldn’t advocate that I am going to start a business based on a hobby because I know how to sew and think I can open a sewing shop.

There is a lot more to it than that. I think we just have to ask ourselves a lot more questions. We need to get much more nitty gritty into fine detail, so that we can avoid failure, especially if we have the chance to see it coming.

Andrew: Okay. So what kind of details do I need to get into before I take a passion of mine and make it into a business or make it into an aspect of a business I’m already growing?

Scott: Well, the first thing is to determine whether or not there is actually a need out there. A lot of people determine that if you like something, other people will like it, too. The problem is that is not always true. Many times, that is absolutely not true.

Another case, for example, would be how fast can you actually generate real revenue from your idea? Some businesses say, “Oh, I’ll figure the revenue equation out later.” Nothing could be worse advice, because if you have no concept of how you are going to make money, well then your startup can’t really survive for too long past Ramen noodles and living with your parents.

You need to have a game plan. If you can’t have a game plan and your hobby doesn’t have the legs to allow you to create a real strategy, a real on the ground plan, then you really have nothing at the end of the day. So, number one, is to make sure it can generate real revenue. Number two is to make sure there is actually a business model in place. And number three, make sure it is scalable. Make sure eventually it can be automated. Make sure it can grow and it is not going to be on your back for the rest of your life.

Andrew: What about this? A lot of the entrepreneurs who I am talking to here on Mixergy started out with one idea. It worked for a little bit, but it didn’t last for their whole business career. They had to adjust and tweak and pivot and move and so on. So what is the point, then, of even coming up with a business model? Why not just put stuff out there, get feedback from the market, and then adjust and figure out the revenue the way you figure out the business, the rest of the business?

Scott: Because the problem is now. Again, you have to remember, Andrew, my audience, specifically, the thousands of e-mails I get a month from kids that are coming out of college and can’t find any level of employment, they are looking for something that is going to immediately get them into a position of income generation.

So, if we touted that as the main way to move forward, well then, that is no different than them sending out resumes and hoping for the best. While I absolutely agree with you, that you can have different iterations of your idea transform over time, I agree with that philosophy. I don’t think that anybody knows it all when you first launch a business.

I do think that you have to start from a starting point and not an end point. To start from a starting point, you need to figure out how am I going to feed myself this week? How am I going to figure out ways to generate income this week? Sooner rather than later. Then later, you can take one product and diversify. You can grow out multiple divisions. You can come out with new models that weren’t even originally in your basic concept or construct. Or you can do what Jason Freed says and create a byproduct from your business that you didn’t even know you had. But until the point where you actually get to that level, you can’t strategize as if that is a certainty.

Andrew: How quickly can a business expect to earn revenue? Doesn’t it take some time to build the foundation, to build an audience, to build customers, to get some experience? The eventually revenue comes in.

Scott: I would say yes and no to that. I would say that there are certain businesses that are geared for immediate sales. Again, a lot of the businesses that I talk about are mainly business-to-business oriented organizations. The reason for that is because I can basically say, I’ll give you an example. With my company, Sizzle It, when I wanted to first get into the business of video production, I knew that if I had just started creating videos for everybody and their mother, I’d be lucky if I was on page 10,000 of a Google search result.

So I had to come up with a real niche. And my niche at the time was something called Sizzle Reels, which are basically three to five minute videos specifically for PR and marketing professionals. By focusing keenly on that niche, by saying we only create this one product, I knew that I had to go after PR people. I knew I had to go after marketing people.

What did I do? The day after I decided, I started my journey to find every single PR and marketing person I could get my hands on to have a conversation with. Within two to three weeks, I might not have been generating the kinds of revenues that I am making now through the company, but I was starting to build an income rather quickly, because I knew the service. I had the capability of delivering that service immediately, and I knew who the target audience was.

The rest grows over time. But you do have the ability to start a business that is capable of generating immediate revenue now.

Andrew: How long did it take you for Sizzle Reels to be profitable enough to feed you?

Scott: I would say, at the time, I was probably cash flow positive and making a living wage off of that business within six weeks.

Andrew: Within six months.

Scott: Six weeks.

Andrew: Six weeks.

Scott: Yes.

Andrew: Okay. All right. And then what size revenues are you guys doing now?

Scott: Tens of thousands, depends on the month. We have clients now, like Proctor & Gamble, Dolby, The Gap, all because we stayed true to our focus of this one core business. But now we are just diversifying the ways we deliver the product. Getting to your point of figuring out, as the market dictates, we found out that our customer service sucked. So we had to make sure we went back to square one with how we delivered that customer service between clients, editors, producers, and their PR departments. So we created an online database and back end system proprietarily. Again, that level of it grew over time. But the revenue traction was me going out and pounding the pavement.

Andrew: Okay. Tens of thousands over months. You said in the beginning of the book, “I am not a guy who has got yachts. I am not a guy who is living it up in mansions.” Why not wait until you get to that level before you start teaching other people how to build their businesses? Why not say, “I can teach you because I have gotten here.”

Scott: Let’s go back to the blow smoke up your ass theory that we talked about a little bit earlier. When I first wanted to find a book, before the company that I first founded, which almost bankrupted me, that was the first business I ever started, I went to a bookstore and I could not find a single text that I could relate to. I was looking at theorists and academics and business plan templates and all of these things. But I couldn’t find a single book about a twenty-something who took the nothing that they started with and made it into something that they wanted.

For me, if I was to advocate to everybody that entrepreneurship is about being a millionaire, I would be very off base. Taking things like what Richard Branson or Guy Kawasaki or all these great, wonderful, amazing guys are, at the end of the day they are not twenty-something. They don’t experience the world as we experience it today. While I appreciate their advice on every level and still listen to them as if they were my mentors, the fact is that I need to take people like my members of my Young Entrepreneur Council as an example, and have a peer to peer education from multiple viewpoints.

Not just because I am rich and “made it” in the rich, under 30 terms that we still live under today. But rather because I can tell somebody that anybody can do what I did. Anybody can survive and thrive by bootstrapping and hustling. I can tell somebody, “Why are you going to send out countless amounts of resumes, when you can do exactly what I did in a very practical manner, and make a living?”

That, to me, is the core message I am out there to deliver. Not that you have to be a millionaire to be successful. Quite the contrary. I believe that you could totally take control of your life by taking control of your income and then over time growing it exponentially. That, I think, is where I am at. Where I might not be a millionaire, but I do quite well.

Andrew: Does this message resonate with Gen Y because they have more smoke being blown, because they get more compliments, and they are the ones who are considered winners before they even get started?

Scott: Yeah. Well, you made a very funny joke on Amazon. We were joking before the interview. Where one of my chapters is called, “Everyone poops, but yours isn’t special.” It is absolutely true. We come from an entitled, coddled past. That is a lot to do with the way we were brought up. I like to say, especially the way I talk about it in the book, is that, there is really a three stage process to becoming an entrepreneur.

The first step is really deconstructing yourself. Realizing how, as I say it, you became so screwed up. First, your parents said you were wonderful. Then, you bought it, hook, line, and sinker. Then, you thought you knew what entrepreneurship was because you watched MTV or a Fox show that talked about making millions.

Now, all of a sudden, you have to take all of those theories and throw them out the window. Then you have to build a foundation. Then build upon that foundation exponentially. But the thing is now, is we do have more people blowing smoke up our ass than ever before.

You have on one side, career experts still trying to make their living wage by saying, “Send out resumes. Here is how to touch them up.” That is going to solve all of your job seeking problems. Then you have the other side where you have a lot of people sugar coating entrepreneurship and making it sound like it is the easiest thing to do. Just start a business. Follow your dreams and your passion and everything will happen. It’s bullshit. It is total nonsense.

The reality is we have to find a middle ground. That’s where I come in. You are smiling now, because I know you know my style of writing. I am a very down and dirty, practical guy. I don’t believe in giving any more credence to the nonsense that we have been told by both of these right extremists and left extremists, if you will. That is why I want to make sure, at the end of the day, we create a real path, a solid one that actually makes sense and is not based on hyperbole or just assumptions that are not really true.

Andrew: It is true that people do set you up for bigger, these big expectations when it comes to entrepreneurship. You are going to get to make your own future. You are going to get to make a lot of money. You are going to get to hire people. All kinds of ‘”you’re gonna gets” come with entrepreneurship.

Scott: You are going to have a big office space in Central Park.

Andrew: Yeah.

Scott: You are going to be chauffeured around in a fancy car or own a Ferrari and retire on an island. It’s insane.

Andrew: Well, I’ll tell you what I get. I get sleepless nights. Even if it doesn’t mean that I am going to go out of business tomorrow, even if everything is going to be okay and I can feed myself for the rest of my life, I still wake up in the middle of the night. I still have worries that I can’t imagine somebody who has a job, a real job as you say, has.

But nobody ever talks about that. Nobody ever says, ‘Here. This is part of the process.” Now if it is part of the process, what’s the benefit of it? I mean, if we are going to go through sleepless nights, if we are going to potentially go out of business, if we are going to lose money at times, what is the upside? What’s the hope?

Scott: Let me break that down into two very specific points. Let’s first take the people that can’t get into the system to begin with. Okay. They are having sleepless nights every night. I get, literally, thousands of e-mails of these poor kids that are in debt up to their eyeballs that were told this mantra that obviously didn’t work for them and it still doesn’t. That if they don’t get into the “job force” soon, what is going to end up happening is they will be underemployed by many experts’ analysis for the rest of their lives. Because if you don’t break in within five years after college, chances are you will be underemployed for a long-term employment opportunity.

The first step is that you are going from a position of begging for somebody to give you an opportunity versus the ability to take the opportunity on your own. I think that the “create a job to keep a job” mentality makes a lot of sense, because in that construct you are at least saying, “I am giving myself the opportunity to fail by giving myself also the opportunity to succeed.”

That mindset alone changes the dynamic. Now, of course, the odds are still there. You still have a very high chance of failure. You still have a very high chance of having a lot of life lessons and hard knocks along the way. But I think that if you learn to be practical and on the ground and not try to build, and no offense to these great companies Facebooks and Groupons, but instead worry about building take out delivery services or dry cleaners or new ways of junk removal, like College Hunks Hauling Junk, you have a real business there.

Let’s take the second side of it — entrepreneurs who want to jump into that space have the sleepless nights. But the difference is I would go to any entrepreneur and ask them, point blank, “Would you rather have a sleepless night because you have to think harder about how to make more money, or would you rather have a sleepless night because you want to kill your boss and you don’t want to go to jail?”

The difference is that that real job construct, to me, anyway, is something that is no longer stable. It is no longer that we live in a world where job security exists or health benefits are guaranteed or that really you are going to have the ability to be employed for the rest of your life, whether or not you have a degree or not. I would rather say, “Have the sleepless nights and give yourself the chance to succeed on everything you do rather than try to succeed based on the constructs set forth by somebody else that you don’t own nor control.”

Andrew: Okay. I said at the top of this interview that we were going to get into practical, useful information. Let’s start off with this. One of the sections in your book, you talk about bribing influencers to spread the word.

Scott: Yup.

Andrew: How do you do that?

Scott: Okay. So I will give you an exact example. Let’s take the Young Entrepreneur Council.

Andrew: Okay.

Scott: Okay. It’s a perfect example.

Andrew: What is the Young Entrepreneur Council? I introduced it, but I didn’t explain what it was.

Scott: So, the Young Entrepreneur Council is basically something that I came up with while I was writing the book. What it was, was that I have been obviously so fortunate in having built this massive platform that I am now consider one of the highest syndicated young entrepreneur columnists in the world. But, at the same time, it is still my voice. I am the only one that is really speaking to my readers. So, I thought, well, what a better way than to ask ten of my friends who are great Gen Yers that could also participate. Then, 10 became 20. 20 became 40. 40 became 80. Now we have got upwards of 100 by the end of December of all these young people from Gen Y — folks like Aaron Patzer from Mint.com, David Hauser from Grasshopper. Scott Belsky from Behance – who are chiming in and giving their real peer to peer educational, what they did as Gen Yers to help their fellow Gen Yers through our Q and A columns on NeverGetARealJob.com, the Wall Street Journal, and many other outlets. Getting back to your question, what the Young Entrepreneur Council started as was basically me leveraging my media relationships, which if you remember, we spoke about this in our last interview last year, leveraging those media relationships to create a win, win, win.

A win for me, because I am getting the opportunity to create a tribe that is very much a forward facing tribe that is going to get a lot of attention, draw attention to my book, and at the same time to the mission as a whole. It is a win for the media outlets because they are craving new content and especially Gen Y millennial content, which is a very hot buzzword right now.

Of course, what better way to give them that content than to have the top Gen Y entrepreneurs in the world creating it? Then it is a win for the Gen Yers because they are having a platform that they maybe didn’t have before. They are getting the ability to get their message out there and also do good, which is something that we all unanimously agree is the most important part of the council.

In bribing influencers, I found a win-win strategy that when I e-mail somebody on a level like Dan Schawbel, as an example, who is a good buddy of mine, has 90,000 Twitter followers, and is known as the personal branding guru by the New York Times, he takes my e-mail if I ask him, “Hey, I really want to get my book message out there. Can you help me?”

Well, I have done so much for him and vice versa so far in creating a mutually beneficial relationship, that he is much more likely to help me do that. My advice to your viewers is to look for the win-win. You can’t just ask people to do something for you without giving back. You can’t position yourself as someone who takes and doesn’t give. If you position yourself in those regards, you can offer somebody rational reasoning to want to help you do anything that you are putting yourself out there to do.

Andrew: Okay. Now all of the people who are part of the council helped you promote the book, help you think through your ideas, that is essentially what you are getting there?

Scott: Yes. I am getting their top tier knowledge, their tribes that they have on their own, the ability to use their names and personas as part of something that I own and control for this movement that we are spearheading to help Gen Y become entrepreneurial. It is really an unbelievable opportunity all around. But, again, it all starts with the concept of “give something to get something” and then it grows from there.’

Andrew: How do you even get to David Hauser of Grasshopper Group? The guy is apparently helping lots of entrepreneurs. He is getting lots of people who want to talk to him. How do you connect with him and get him to say yes to a proposal that you put in front of him?

Scott: Wow. That’s a tough one. David, if you are watching this, don’t yell at me. With David, let’s go back a little bit. Obviously I do, just for total transparency, because I am a columnist for Inc. and Entrepreneur and all these other outlets, it does give me some level of credibility when I send an e-mail to someone asking to speak to them. So I will start off by saying that. But, again, as we spoke about in our last interview, how I inserted myself into that position and now expanded that position exponentially is doable by anybody, as long as you really have that niche, that focus, and so on.

But, anyway, going back to your question. When I e-mailed David, it was originally through his buzz guy, his chief of buzz.

Andrew: Jonathan.

Scott: Jonathan K, which is the greatest guy in the world. If you are watching this, I just plugged you. Really what I did when I was writing the book was I didn’t just want to write a book and then offer nothing other than the advice. So I reached out to companies that I believed in and had them bring free services and high discounts, like Google was giving away $50 in free AdWords to every person who purchases my book. PR Web is giving money off of press releases. Grasshopper is giving money off virtual phone services. It’s great.

But, in doing that, I again showed that I was going to help Grasshopper before asking anything of them. They got the chance to hit my readership, be part of a really cool message.

Then, as the council concept started to form, and I knew what I was doing, David was on the short list of people after I had already secured some big names like Aaron Patzer to be on board. So it was a much easier sell because like-minded people think alike. Like-leveled think alike. So he was happy to jump on board. But I heard from Jonathan that when I actually told him, “I’ll have you in the Wall Street Journal within a week of you joining,” and that actually happened, he was pretty impressed.

Andrew: Yeah. I bet a lot of people say that they are going to have me in the Wall Street Journal within a week, or something like that. Doesn’t happen.

Scott: Just to put you on the spot, Andrew, I did ask you to be on the council, did I not?

Andrew: You absolutely did. I would love to be on the council. I dig the way that you work, which is why I am having you back here and I want to have you back over and over. I am worried that I might be overcommitting myself. I am trying to find a way. I have got a question here that is a selfish question.

Scott: Sure.

Andrew: I am going to ask you later on.

Scott: Sure.

Andrew: To help me figure out how to work this out, because I feel like I am overcommitted and I don’t want to let people down.

Scott: Yup.

Andrew: But you said Grasshopper and these other companies have given discounts that are in the book?

Scott: Yeah. Basically you have to purchase the book, and then you go to NeverGetARealJob.com/purchase, answer a couple of quiz questions, and basically, from there, you are given free services from a variety of different very qualified vendors.

Andrew: All right. I saw that you did that. The other thing that I saw that you did is you plugged blogs in here, you plugged Twitterers in here. I imagine, first of all, yes, it is useful to somebody reading the book, but I imagine, too, that that is a technique that helps you get those people to tweet and write and talk you up.

Scott: I will say this first, though. I would never put a service in the book for purely self-promotional needs, because, frankly, I don’t need the self-promotion that much where I feel I am going to put my credibility to task, so to speak.

Andrew: You know what? If you did, I would call you out on it. If I didn’t call you out on it, the readers would read this and say the whole thing is BS because he is obviously putting Kardashian in there because he wants Kardashian to tweet.

Scott: Exactly. I mean, you read the book. You saw, obviously, I included you as well, but that’s because I believe that Mixergy is something that really is part of this movement that is trying to change the way we get information about entrepreneurship to the masses.

It is the same thing with David Siteman Garland’s book. He is coming out with “Smarter, Cheaper, Faster” the same week as mine. I put “Rise to the Top” in, because, again, you guys have a core understanding and have great guests.

There are a lot of people that contacted me when they found out what I was doing and asked if they could send me stuff and press releases. Again, going back to the interview from last time, I know you get sent stuff as much as I do. “Try this product. Here’s this free service.” You want to make sure you are very, very cautious, because you don’t want to end up doing something that is selfish because, again, the readers will call you out on it.

Andrew: Right. Having said that, it does help, doesn’t it?

Scott: Having said that, at the same time, of course. There is a cross promotional aspect to it. Because it is you show love to someone, not that they should guarantee to reciprocate, but they are much more willing to because at the end of the day, you have done them a solid.

By doing them that solid, you are helping them to help you. But they wouldn’t have helped me simply because I contacted them with some marketing 101 book or here’s Business Plans 101. It is that I have a real mission and a real passion about what I am doing to try to help this generation.

I think that people that are like-minded, that are the founders and the CEOs of these companies, with the exception of Google, obviously, I dealt with their marketing department. Eric Schmidt, I love you, but I don’t think you were going to get on the phone with me. But, again, these folks want to get back to this generation obviously (a) because they want to potentially lure them in, as well, as customers and be life long customers, but (b) because they do believe in what we are selling and talking about.

Andrew: Okay. All right. The other piece of advice that you have in the book is, “Meet one callers.” Who are one callers?

Scott: One callers are what I consider to be the elite one percent of entrepreneurs in the world or top-end small business owners in your local community, individual mentors that are going to have such a status in the community that their word or their backing is going to dramatically increase your chances of success. With my one caller philosophy, it is basically, you should create a list of people that you really want to get in touch with, but not like, “Hey, I would really love to meet Steve Jobs.” Because, again, if there is no relevancy there, you are never going to hear from him.

So you have to basically find, first, a common ground. Why does this person bring value to you and why do you bring value to them? Why, at the end of the day, do they want to hear you? How do you think they can be helpful, and more importantly, why do they care about you? What is it about you and what you are doing that can really change their mind away from just, “This is spam”?

Andrew: If I understand this right, one callers are people who can get things done, make introductions for you, with one phone call. They don’t need to nag. They don’t need to hope that somebody will respond.

Scott: Right.

Andrew: One phone call, they get a response.

Scott: Exactly.

Andrew: If I have got my list of ideal one callers, how do I get through to them?

Scott: Well, there are obviously many traditional routes that you can take. With me, I am the kind of person that always likes to find common ground and then use that common ground to find the one caller. For example, when I was dealing in a startup I was consulting a couple of years ago, I had known that one of the consultants that we had dealt with knew somebody I wanted to be in touch with.

So I took that person out to lunch. I asked them, “What are the kinds of things I need to know to understand this person better?” Because what I was doing was twofold. One, I was getting in this person’s head that an introduction was on the horizon if she saw fit. Two, I was also showing that I cared enough to understand the needs of that other person so as not to just say, “I want you to introduce me.” Or be so careless as to, say, walk into a room and think, oh, I’m Scott Gerber, make the call for me because why wouldn’t you?

I think that by putting time in by going to local community groups, if it’s a community person, by ending up in different meet-up organizations, or doing social networking in a way that you end up in the right circles. By finding out who the six degrees of Kevin Bacon are, so to speak. From your immediate circle to find others.

I just spoke at Entrepreneur magazine’s Winning Strategies Conference a couple of weeks ago, and Ivan Misner, the founder of BNI was speaking about how he met Richard Branson. He showed the seven to ten people it took to meet Mr. Branson. He called that person back up that originally had set him on the path and thanked that woman. She was like, “How do you know Richard Branson?” But, again, that’s how it works. It is just literally finding your way into different circles.

Then, of course, there’s e-mails and calls. I have done that. I’ve put a cold e-mail onto somebody with very relevant targeted messaging and gotten a response. So, it really works across the board. It is what works best for you and it is what works best for, especially, the person you are targeting.

Andrew: I have discovered some one callers as I’ve done these interviews. People who will just send out one sentence e-mails and ask for guys who would be my ideal interviewees to do an interview here, and they say yes. I don’t even have to explain what Mixergy is. I don’t have to explain what we’ll do the interview about. They send the e-mail. Boom. It gets done.

Scott: 100 percent.

Andrew: I’ll pick one person at random. Scott Rafer, the founder of, what was it? He’s got a few companies. I can’t think of that one. MyBlogLog, he was one of the three guys at MyBlogLog. One e-mail from him, everything, anyone will respond.

Scott: Yup.

Andrew: In this industry, anyway. What about this? Feed hungry lunchtime consultants. Who are lunchtime consultants?

Scott: Lunchtime consultants are like the folks I just mentioned before. You know, we all know a lot of people. Again, going back to the startup world, you don’t have unlimited checkbooks to try to pay $200 an hour consultants. Frankly, in most cases, even if you had it, nor should you.

With lunchtime consultants, it is very simple. When I was first starting my business, I’ll take my lawyer that is now my lawyer now, that I pay very handsomely, but at the time, six years ago, seven years ago, I couldn’t afford to pay $250 to $500 an hour. That’s insane. I asked around and found him through my, again, six degrees of Kevin Bacon, and basically asked him to lunch based on three key points. I wanted to understand a corporation. I wanted to understand certain aspects of whether my idea could come under litigious fire for some reason or another and so on and so forth.

He was happy to do it. I paid for a burger and fries, and I got probably an hour and a half of some solid, practical, on the ground advice. With the understanding that I wasn’t just taking him out to take, but I said, “Listen, if I am someone that you believe in, and I could keep you in my circle, I promise you when I am able, I will make it so that you are my official attorney.”

Within two years of just having maybe ten back and forth exchanges, he became just that. Today, he gets his normal rate. But the fact that he invested in me at that time for simply me sending out an e-mail, by getting introduced through a friend and taking the time, he became a lunchtime consultant.

Andrew: I get a lot of people who want me to be a lunchtime consultant. You must get a lot of people who want to take you out to lunch. I always think to myself, “Fucking A. Lunch? What is that going to cost me? 10, 50 bucks? I’ve got 10 or 50 bucks. You are going to save me 10, 50 bucks for lunch?” And in exchange, I have to give up maybe a 15 minute commute minimum to get to you, an hour that we are going to spend there having a conversation with 20 minutes that are going to be valuable to you, but very little to me.

Scott: Right.

Andrew: I usually have no interest in that. Let’s do a quick e-mail. Or maybe, maybe a Skype call. I am a bit of a curmudgeon, especially when it comes to time.

Scott: Well, I’ll say this. I would say this to your point, though. There are always going to be folks that think exactly like you. That’s why not every single time you send out an e-mail asking for somebody to be a lunchtime consultant, they will say yes. However, with that being said, there are a core group of people, especially people in older generations, who have made it, so to speak, in their own way and right, that do want to give back in their own way and right.

Don’t look at is as necessarily, oh, I’m saving $20 on lunch. People have to sometimes think that these people are doing it for more, either long-term client potential or because they truly believe in that individual. Again . . .

Andrew: That’s what I’m getting at. First of all, you’re right. I’m a curmudgeon when it comes to time. I’m not the right person to talk to about this.

Scott: We’re going to fix that later, Andrew. We’re going to fix that later.

Andrew: You know what? I would like that. I would like a whole interview on just how to mellow out. But there are reasons why people would take your phone call in a situation like that, including me, even if I didn’t meet you. One of them is future business down the road. No need to explain that.

But there’s another part that is a magical “it” quality that you’ve got that somebody who couldn’t get business from you directly would say, “You know what? I might someday want to work with him. There’s something about this guy. He is going someplace.” How do you communicate that to somebody who you are going to take to lunch and then pick their brain for an hour?

Scott: Well, it starts before you even get the chance to send the e-mail. Again, I always say to craft your story before you pitch it. At the end of the day, there are a million people vying for a million other people’s attention. You have to break that very, very well guarded gate. In order to do that, you first have to say, “Who am I? And what, not just are my visionary goals, but what have I done?” Again, now, like I said earlier, it is not me being arrogant, but if I put in the subject line “an Entrepreneur Magazine columnist,” I am going to get a response.

I don’t do that simply to get a response. I do it because, listen, I’m not Mr. Scott Gerber who is equal in name recognition to Gary Vaynerchuk. It does still take me the ability to send an e-mail that is more than one sentence.

But I think that if you craft a solid story about who you are and really make it something that very much proves from a passionate perspective, a very heartfelt understanding of why you want to speak to that person, you are not trying to get one over on them. You are not trying to get them to do you a favor. You don’t want any of that dubious stuff even entering the picture. But you are showing them that you are somebody who is really hungry, is willing to really make their time valuable in the long-term investment, and, frankly, that you are somebody that should be looked at.

So, again, in everything I ever did, I let that passion through, whether it was a phone call or an e-mail. Even if that is an extra two sentences on an e-mail. If somebody is going to respond, they are going to read that two sentences. Make it make sense to you before it makes sense to them and sell it with everything you’ve got. Chances are, you are going to get a good level of responses.

Andrew: Okay. You are absolutely right. When I saw that at the bottom of your e-mail, of course, I said, “I’ve got to pay attention to this guy.” There are triggers like that that do get people to understand that you are worth their time. I’d love to do an interview on what those triggers are. Do you have another one? Like, if I am not writing for Entrepreneur Magazine, what other little trigger can I put in an e-mail?

Scott: I have done stuff in the past before where in the subject line I will comment on the title of a blog post. I will put their work in the blog post and then a responding an Re: obviously before it, so that obviously they see that there.

Let’s face it. You know me. I am a very pragmatic, practical guy. Everybody worth their salt on any level has Googled themselves before. I think that we can all agree, correct?

Andrew: Mm-hmm.

Scott: Google is actually building a platform around that very concept. The reality of saying to somebody that they don’t check that kind of stuff is nonsense. Which is why if you are playing to their ego and not yours, you will get a lot better results.

That doesn’t mean blow smoke up their ass like we said earlier, but it means that you are getting their attention by showing them that you took the time to know who they were, to comment on their stuff, and to segue a very minimal amount of their time towards something you are looking for. But that doesn’t mean, it’s like, “Oh, I loved your article. Now let me talk all about myself.” It means that you really have a deep understanding. You’ve spend a lot of time and energy to craft this very thoughtful or thought provoking, question back and forth response and then said, “And by the way, I’d like you to check this out.” You are going to get a lot better chance of response.

Andrew: All right. You know what? Here’s another thing that has worked on me, even though I am a curmudgeon when it comes to this stuff. If somebody e-mails me and says, “Hey Andrew, I helped you with this WordPress thing a year ago. By the way, can I talk to you about this issue I’m going through?” Whatever it is, if it follows a, “I helped you with this issue,” I stop and I pay attention. That gets my attention.

Scott: Yup.

Andrew: What about this? Force clients to sign away their rights to fight. How do I do that?

Scott: Okay. So I will give you a back story as to explain, first, why you need to do that, which is the first part. Basically, in the world that I am in, with video production, again, specifically these clients of mine are major, major corporations in many cases, like Proctor & Gamble, as an example. All amazing people that I work with, their PR representatives, etc.

But there always comes a point and I’m not speaking specifically of Proctor & Gamble. In fact, I’m not at all. But other clients that I have dealt with that basically have no understanding of what it is they really want, they will change the scope 150 times on a project and all of these different things. But then when the bill comes, all of a sudden, it’s like, “Well, wait a minute. We didn’t do that. We didn’t know that.” So, that’s why I say the first thing that you should always do is have a solid term sheet and you should have a solid assumptions agreement.

What those two things are is first, the terms of your agreement. You are going to provide, and this is literally in exact, specific detail. Exactly the dates you had the conversations with the people you spoke to that you are basing the contract on. You are going to outline the exact services. You are going to make the assumptions for those services.

So, for example, with Sizzle It, we basically say we offer two rough cuts, one final draft as part of our project. We will deliver in X number of days. But we also say that we might not deliver in x number of days should the following things occur: you not provide us 24 hour return on our feedback policies, or so on and so forth.

So that if all of a sudden we find ourselves past our deadlines, we have covered ourself because we have an actual, saying, “Well, you didn’t get back to us in time. That’s what happens.”

So you want to get clients to sign on the dotted line. Not just on how much they are paying you on an invoice, but on the very specific terms of which the invoice is based on, because then you are going to have a lot less problems later. Should it get ugly, you at least have something that makes it very clear in no uncertain terms about what the specifics are.

Now, with that being said, another thing you should do, and what we do with Sizzle It, is as those terms start to expand beyond the initial scope, meaning we outline very clearly what our fees are for certain additionals if you go beyond our initial scope. But what we also do very, very specifically is make people sign off on changes beyond that so that later on they can’t claim, “Well, we never said that. We never did this.” We actually, on our back end of our website, make them timestamp everything and initial it so that we know who exactly was the decision maker that made those choices. Very important stuff.

Andrew: I see. Okay. You get it in on paper and then that’s it. It is not that they are signing away their rights, they are signing away their flight. They can’t get away from you. They can’t get away from their obligations.

Scott: They can’t get away, but they also can’t fight. Because if you make it very clear, they can’t fight you on a bill . . .

Andrew: I see what you mean.

Scott: . . . if they have the entirely stepped the way through, been through your process. So, that’s why.

Andrew: I don’t want to get too sidetracked here, but I am always impressed by the way that you talk. Even the fact that in the beginning of the interview, I asked you, “Hey, you’re not a multi mega millionaire and here you are teaching other people how to build businesses,” if somebody would have asked me that in your position, I would have been hummina, hummina, hummina. I would have had to come up with some answer to it.

I had an interview recently with some guy who was really polished, who had been in entertainment and television for years. In the middle of the interview, he said, “Andrew, I’ve got to stop. I need more preparation for this interview because you are asking me questions that I don’t know the answer to. Let’s do it again in the future.”

How do you get to that place? Are you someone who, you’ve thought about this question, and if it comes up, what you are going to answer or are you someone who just makes this stuff up as you go along? Not make it up as in lie, but . . .

Scott: I follow you. I follow you.

Andrew: Where does it come from?

Scott: I think when you really know what you are talking about, it is very easy to answer. If you asked me something I didn’t know, and I even say this to my consulting clients. I am not going to charge somebody who is spending hundreds of dollars an hour with me for advice that I can’t give or to BS them off the cuff and try to work my way through it for my personal gain.

Having been in the trenches is what I know and do. That is why I am not so removed from the kinds of things you are asking. Like the right to fight. I will tell you guys this. I am in the middle of a legal battle with a company right now over that exact issue.

Again, could it be a little bit of luck that the hot topics are things that I know very well and they are relevant and things that I am going through constantly? Sure. But, at the same time, I always like to say, once you have been burned once or once you make a mistake once, you never make it again. And you learn from it. And you know it like the back of your hand. Everything I have ever done has informed me to make the next decision better. That allows me, then, to craft that in such a way that I can deliver that message to folks like your viewers.

Andrew: But knowing it and being able to articulate it are two different things. One of the reasons I think this applies to the audience is that we are living in a world where entrepreneurs, more and more, have to articulate to strangers. Not just to their employees, not just to suppliers, not just to people, not just to their customers, but to strangers. On blogs, in interviews like this.

They know their business. Being able to articulate it in a pithy way, being able to articulate it in an interesting way is not easy. It doesn’t come naturally to anybody. How do you do it? Do you practice it by writing it? Do you practice it by just endlessly talking about this with people in the office?

Scott: I will say that, and you can ask my beautiful significant other, who is fed up about talking about books or anything else at this point, because she has to deal with me. But, listen, it’s a passion of mine. I hate to use that word. But it’s a passion of mine that I speak about entrepreneurship because I believe in what I’m talking about. It is my main talking point. It is my main dinner conversation, if you will, or out at the bar conversation kind of thing. I can’t speak to how I articulate, because I guess that is just a product of experience and practice. Again, I would even make the case that since we have last spoken, I have had tons more on camera opportunities that have allowed me to learn from those mistakes.

Again, get better. Stop saying, “err” or “uh,” those kinds of things. But, again, in terms of making it into a practical tip we can actually teach your viewers, I would simply say, first, get used to pitching yourself. When you pitch yourself and know the bullet points, so to speak, that you want to talk about, that are your strengths, just start to make a bullet checklist in your head. Okay. What are the examples I am going to do for my three strongest points? Or how do those three strongest points relate to today’s world so that I can make them relevant? That is what you stick to. You get stronger as a person and stronger as somebody who can articulate their points when you know and practice what you are talking about, and also when it becomes second nature to you.

Andrew: All right. That is very useful. Next item here in my notes is you are an expert, just ask you. I want to ask you, how can I become an expert? How can people in my audience become experts? What do we do?

Scott: You are already an expert.

Andrew: You know what, though? I just do my job everyday here, which is to do interviews and pull information out. I don’t think about, “How can I tell the world that this is what I’m the expert of?” And I am sure the person who is listening to us does their job. They build up some kind of store or a website of some kind online. They don’t know how to say, “I’m the expert of this.” Like the guy that you mentioned earlier, he is the branding expert, the personal branding expert, even. He is not just an expert.

Scott: Right.

Andrew: How do you find what that is? And how do you communicate it to the world so they buy into it?

Scott: Well, if you don’t mind, let’s work on your personal brand for a moment, if we will, Andrew. Because we will make this relevant. Okay.

Andrew: All right.

Scott: The first thing is number one, you said a couple of things that already are making you an expert, but you are not crafting it in the proper approach. So I would make the case that you are an expert interviewer, but now that is not a sexy title. That is not like when people call me the Simon Cowell of young entrepreneurship as an example. But, with you, I would say you first have to find what you are not just good at, but what you are incredible at.

I would say, number one, the fact that you interview all of these top minds in the world, I would say you are the Gen Y blogger, let’s say. Or the Gen Y interviewer. Now all of a sudden, you have a moniker. Now, granted, I came up with that off the top of my head. It might not be solid, but you get the idea.

Now you all of a sudden are pitching yourself as, “This is who I am. These are two bullet points of why. I’ve interviewed thousands of top entrepreneurs from around the world, and I know how to interview them because I have gained their most top secrets, their insights and all that.” Again, you have just crafted now your brand package and you are going to expand the legs from there.

With somebody else, let’s say you have a bake shop. Okay. There are a million bakeries in the world. But if you can all of a sudden say, “I am the Gluten Cookie Queen,” now all of a sudden, it’s, “Well, why are you the Gluten Cookie Queen?” “Well, I am because I found a recipe that finds a way to make a great tasting cookie out of what usually tastes like garbage. Here is why. I will give it to you and you can try it.” Now you have turned your marketing slogan, stemmed it from your personal brand, and now everywhere you go, that is what you are known for.

That is the level of how you build expertise. You find the niche, you craft the moniker, you build out the bullet points to expand upon it, and you add in a marketing slogan. Now all of a sudden you have a platform.

Andrew: Right away, I could imagine someone who is a baker who hears that saying, “Hey, you know what? I do make great gluten free pastries and baked goods. But I don’t want to limit myself to just that.” Anytime that you come up with a moniker, you are essentially closing off a world of possibilities. By you using the word Gen Y a few times, the phrase Gen Y a few times, you are saying, no to Gen X, no to the next generation that comes afterwards, no to baby boomers. No, no, no, no, no. Now don’t you feel pigeonholed by that?

Scott: No.

Andrew: Why not?

Scott: Well, there is a reason why. I firmly believe, and there are some people who will disagree with me, that you cannot be everything to everyone or you will end up being nothing to no one.

I could say I want to be the advocate for unemployment in the United States and good luck. Nobody would take me seriously, because I have no focus. What relevance do I have to tell a baby boomer or a retiree, here’s what you should do. If anything, that comes off as arrogant and pompous, because I frankly don’t have the level of experience. I haven’t worked 25 years at dead end jobs and been laid off. What I do know very well is that I am a Gen Yer, that I am dealing with kids in the trenches every day, and that I took a $550 investment and turned it into a company that makes tens of thousands of dollars now.

The point is that I would say to that baker or to anybody else, if you are great at a niche, the rest will come. Just because you have the gluten free cookie doesn’t mean you can’t sell pound cake.

The difference is, though, look at “Cake Boss,” on TLC. He makes amazing cakes. No question. But I live in Hoboken. I can tell you, there are lines for four to five hours to get to his store. Nine times out of ten, most people are not buying $15,000 wedding cakes.

You are crafting the niche to get the exposure, to show your one finite amazing item. Now, you have the world of opportunity at your disposal. But you built that. In the same way, last point on this. You might be an amazing interviewer, but that doesn’t mean you every time have to be the interviewer that only is going to do stuff through video. Maybe you can do it through other channels — podcasts and other such things. But now you have become the Gen Y journalist or whatever. My point is you can always create multiple offerings under a single moniker, but you have to get the attention to begin with.

Andrew: OK. All right. I see your point. Now that we’ve gotten that, and I don’t think mine would be an interviewer. God knows I fumble over more words than any interviewer should. People laugh at . . .

Scott: But you ask the tough questions, man. I have to be very honest with you.

Andrew: You know what? Thank you. When I have a good guest, I feel like I can ask really good questions. If anyone goes and watches my interview with Seth Godin, for example, the guy knows his topic really well. So I feel like I could push a little bit and we could have some intelligent conversation. When someone is not as good an interviewee, I have to back off and give them soft ball questions so they can hit them. Otherwise it’s bad for the audience.

Scott: I disagree. Personally, and this is where, Andrew, I think that this might be one area that your personal brand could stand out big, because I would go the opposite direction. If somebody is not prepared to speak to you, that shows that they have a lack of respect for what your program represents. To me, I would push them harder, because nobody in this generation deserves a free ride simply because they created a cool company and can’t speak eloquently about it.

Andrew: All right. Fair enough. Okay. So, PR then. Now, you’ve got your title, you’ve got your business. How do you generate some PR without hiring a PR company?

Scott: I hate PR companies. For total disclosure, right now, I will say at this stage in the game, just because of pure time, I have outsourced part of my book platform to a freelance organization.

Andrew: Which, by the way, is a great idea and I will tell you why. I interview a lot of authors who didn’t do that, who expected the publishing company to go promote them and do all of the legwork.

Scott: Oh God forbid. They set it up really quickly for me. They let me know what is going to be expected.

Andrew: I got, Wiley sent me the book. But that is about all they were going to do for you. The publishers at Wiley.

Scott: Yeah. I will say this, though. Wiley is an amazing publisher. They have done very well by me.

Andrew: Yeah.

Scott: Now, let’s go back.

Andrew: Okay. Please.

Scott: Something along the lines of a New York Times article that is coming out in a couple of weeks or something like a Portfolio magazine piece that I was in, or I was on the featured for WalletPop on AOL this past week and AOL Careers.

All of that stuff is generated through me and relationships. Really the area that I always need more people in the stable, so to speak, to sell is the television, because that is an extremely crowded space. So even if you have a great message, you really are paying for, in my opinion, relationships more than you are paying for the pitch. More or less, I am crafting the pitch and telling them what is important. They are just delivering it through their eloquence in their field as well as, obviously, their past relationships and having delivered great guests in the past.

Andrew: Okay. But in the past, you didn’t have it. How do you do it?

Scott: Up until two months ago, I have never used a PR firm or agency or anything in my life. Yet, I managed to get, as you know, where I am today, where I have monthly columns in the Journal and now stuff coming out in the Times and so on and so forth.

How do you start that at its core goes back to what we were just talking about with personal branding, in my opinion. Number one, in order to insert yourself into the media, you need to have a relevant state of mind, a relevant overall persona, and a relevant series of topics that you can talk about and make it so that you become a known person.

For example, I was interviewed last week by “CNN Money” because they wanted somebody that was an advocate on the behalf of millennials. So that is something that now people see me as because that is my core niche. But that came from me having 50 other articles I got in the past that have built up to that point. But when you are first getting started, you first need to get that niche. You second need to get your point out there through whatever platform you have, whether that is guest blogging, whether that is creating video podcasts or anything else.

Then, the next level is you start to take that content, you find five, maybe ten different outlets that you see as relevant that would get, not publish the stuff, but at least put you on the map to say, “Listen. Here are my bullet points. Here is what I find to be relevant. Here is a few media samples if you are ever looking for someone in X, Y, and Z, please consider me as a relevant source.”

If you keep sending e-mails over a course of a period of time, and you really do have relevant content, you can actually find a way to insert yourself into the media. Then, it is a snowball effect. Once you are in a couple of different outlets, the other ones will fall. Then, so on and so on and so on. And it goes to exponential growth as long as you keep up with it. For me, it has been easier for me than most, I would say, simply because I started with an unbelievable platform that then has kind of snowballed into a million different places.

However, to get to that initial platform, I had to hustle my butt off, as you know from last time, to do everything we’ve been talking about to get to the point where I was taken seriously. So, once you are taken seriously, the world is your oyster. But to get to that level takes a little work.

Andrew: And your unbelievable platform was Entrepreneur Magazine, and yes, in the previous interview, when you came on, we talked about how you got that platform. All right. So here is the point that I wanted to come back to that was more of a selfish question for me. Actually, I am sure it will apply to the audience, too. You say hire a virtual assistant. How much does it cost to get a virtual assistant? Where do we look to find one? How do we get the most out of a virtual assistant?

Scott: Sure. So the first thing is I hands down recommend oDesk as the best place to go for virtual assistants, mainly because they have an unbelievably easy to use marketplace for them and a great interface on their site. In addition, they have everybody going through a time checking program that does screen capture. So you know that somebody is not just goofing off or taking your money. And obviously you are not dealing with the virtual assistants directly, because everything goes through the platform. Everything is checked. So that is wonderful.

Number two, once you have that or another software or online website you are going to use, or if you go and just simply hire someone through a Craigslist, which I don’t recommend, but some people do. You want to find what I consider to be the important stuff and the not so important stuff. Then, find ways to basically relegate non-important, automated tasks into the stable of somebody who you are hiring.

For example, for you, this would be considered your bread and butter, kind of mainstay job that you want to do. You want to be able to interview this person. What you might not want to deal with, though, is all the steps leading up to scheduling it, and booking it, and being reminded of it, and all these kinds of things. So what I would suggest in your case would be something along the lines of taking an Excel spreadsheet, coming up with and assessing five different interviews you did, and all of the work it took to get up to that point.

Systemizing that in a very, very simple, articulate way that you can write to a virtual assistant, whether they are from India, China, or Tennessee, that this is exactly the protocol. Then I would set up your online contact forms and the way that people get in touch with you to be sent directly to these virtual assistants. You obviously would oversee the process until it is streamlined. But now, you have created a one, two, three step process. And in the end, the only thing you have to worry about is getting on the interview.

Now that is one huge chunk of time you have taken away, where you can be focusing on your business. But now you have found a way to use those folks effectively. But now, let me do one other point to the virtual assistants. I never advocate to allow a virtual assistant to all of a sudden to be a waste of money simply because they are cheap. When you’re starting a business, virtual assistants should be basically doing, in my opinion, at the first start, anything that either saves you money or that makes you money. So lead generation tactics, great. Answering your telephones, not great. You don’t need somebody to make you look bigger if you make yourself look bigger in other cheaper ways more effectively by branding yourself and your business.

That’s why I think you can sometimes go a little overboard with virtual assistants. That’s why you want to keep your tasks very, very specific and very, very outlined.

Andrew: Olay. And what d you think it would cost?

Scott: I mean I can tell you point blank. With virtual assistants I have used in the past, the cost for a non-specialized worker, somebody like a data entry person let’s say, could be as low as $3 to $7 an hour.

Andrew: And that’s from oDesk. $3 to $7 an hour.

Scott: $3 to $7 an hour. Now again, you’re working with folks in most cases from countries outside the United States. There are some people that will work for that range within the United States. But that’s for unskilled labor or basic, entry level data mining, that kind of stuff. For the higher level people, if you want marketing people or web design folks or people who are going to maintain your website, all of those kind of things well then that’s a different level. Those prices can go anywhere from $10 an hour to some cases $50 or $60 an hour depending on expertise level.

So again, it is not always it is so cheap to have a virtual assistant. But when you look at the costs in contrast with someone who is a full-time employee with benefits and stuff in the office they need and everything else, it could be great to hire just someone for a specific task, only have them do that, only use them when you need them, only pay for them when you need them, instead of having to worry about retraining somebody to do multiple tasks to get your money’s worth when you hire.

Andrew: You know what? That’s another point form the book. Don’t hire people or don’t just hire people. Man, this country, America, is in trouble because who is going to hire Americans? You’ve got to go out there and be an entrepreneur. We’re in a system here where it is too tough for a business to hire Americans, where the world out there is much more competitive than we can deal with at times. I fell like we are priced out of a lot of things. You’ve got to go out there and be an entrepreneur.

Scott: You have to. That’s why my big mantra “create a job to keep a job.” Because right now, you’re not competing with Joe Schmoe down the block sending out a resume. You are competing with somebody that is thousands of miles away that is willing to work for a third or less of what you want. And in most cases, because of that scenario, you’re not going to find the level of employment you want. You will probably underemploy yourself, especially on the entry level startup positions. At the same time, that doesn’t mean I advocate to small businesses have a heart all of a sudden. This is about making a living for you and treating people well, but making sure you are getting the value that you are putting out there. You are making an investment in someone. So you want to make sure that when you hire you are getting that investment returned tenfold. Because if you’re not, it can’t be, “Well, he’s my best friend and I love him.” It has to be, “Well, there are more fish in the sea.”

Andrew: All right. We’re not saying don’t ever get a job at all. Be entrepreneurial is what we are saying.

Scott: Right. To me, a real job is one where you are giving somebody the basket that has all of your eggs in it, and you neither hold it nor control it. Whereas a job on our terms is an entrepreneurial one where you both own and control that entire basket that you are holding. So that is the quintessential difference between giving your time to someone else and making it that you are paid in grades or making an hourly sum or doing something that is in their hands versus every hour that you put into your startup, whether you make a dollar, nothing, or millions is in your own hands.

Andrew: All right. That’s one of the things that when I first about the book and when I first heard the title, I said, “Is he telling people never to get a job at all? Are we talking about everybody need to go out there and hang a shingle and take out debt on their credit card?” No. We are saying be entrepreneurial and never get a real job. There it is on the title. I love the cover.

Scott: Thank you.

Andrew: Great job on the book. There is so many things that I didn’t get to that I hope whoever buys the book, that the audience here when they do get the book, that they check out “CPR: Copy, Past, Repeat.” What else didn’t I get to? I didn’t get to the one paragraph startup plan. I didn’t get to more details on why you shouldn’t make your passions into businesses. I have here a note about being a Lego builder. If you love Legos, does that mean you need to go and do that? You guys also should read about Spielgerber.

Scott: Spielgerber. When I was first going into high school, I thought I was going to be a famous Hollywood author, director, the next Orson Welles. So I foolishly, egotistically named myself Spielgerber, and I got a lot of flack for that over the years. But again, that just goes to show you how our generation has been so coddled, and we think we are so self important and all of that. But again, it is making fun of myself. I clearly don’t believe that any more. But it shows you how we need to kill our ego in order not to kill our business.

Andrew: All right. So much more in the book. The book is “Never Get a Real Job.” Scott, thanks for doing the interview. Guys out there, thank you for watching. Look forward to seeing you on the website with your feedback.

Scott: Thanks, Andrew. Take it easy.

Andrew: Cool. Bye.

This transcript brought to you by www.Speechpad.com.

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  • Barry

    Awesome Interview! Just the type of stuff that get me going. Scott Gerber, love your thoughts and I agree with you 100% on the “real world” sense of how to start a real business. Andrew, thanks for making this interview happen!

  • Na

    Sounds more like some young dude’s rant when he was reading HN board for the past one year.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I wish you used your real name. You know I like honest feedback.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks.

  • http://www.unitediphonerepair.com Daniel

    Great interview, never had heard of scott before today but will definitely be checking out some more of his stuff and looking forward to reading the book!

  • http://twitter.com/queersotv Queers on the Verge

    Scott Gerber is obviously a dynamic person, and I’m tempted to buy his book. I noticed a very different dynamic in this interview, Andrew. Usually, you take a more assertive posture. Perhaps, you were concerned about testosterone overkill. I enjoyed the interview and appreciated not having smoke blown at me.

  • http://twitter.com/loudthought loudthought

    Hi Andrew, I just went to reply to a reply you gave me on an older post and the comments are closed. Does disqus automatically close posts? Does it stop spam? I wonder why you close the comments on old posts. Anyway, this is what I wanted to say to you.

    I was questioning whether there was a way we could come together better as a mixergy community. Since then I’ve had a thought about setting up regular online meetings ( through skype or something such, perhaps theres a better tool than that ? ) It might be a neat idea to have a discussion topic planned… Perhaps one of the heros you interview could provide a dicussion topic / spark- lending a bit of weight to the topic for us to collect our thoughts around. Perhaps obligatory introductions for people in attendance, one at a time, limited to 300 characters to help everyone get a sense of who we’re talking to and what teach other do/ are involved with.

    I’m just sort of brainstorming at the moment, but am keen to know whether you’d be interested in getting behind something like this?

  • http://www.perezfox.com Prescott Perez-Fox

    This was a tremendous interview and I definitely enjoyed the talk. I frequently write about 21st century labour issues on my blog(s) so it’s great to hear someone on the side of us young thinkers. It’s a tough realisation for young people to accept that they may never find a “job” in the conventional sense. I’m only now coming to grips with this as I build my own [very small, one-man] business.

    I’m going to pick up the book, and in true 21st century manner, I will definitely let the Internet know my thoughts.

  • Pingback: Start-up News Roundup for December 8th « Start Up Smart!

  • http://www.investparttime.com Brett

    Helpful interview. Towards the end of the interview when Scott mentioned some of the things you could outsource for your interviewing brand, it seems (at first glance) that you already do a lot of that. Is that the case?

    I like how some of the ideas discussed here were different takes on the passion-centered business plan that Gary Vaynerchuk likes to promote. I think there’s definitely a balance there, but finding it is the tough part.

    Thanks!
    Brett

  • Neonwong

    Andrew,
    What is the best way to download the audio interview into my ipod?

    Many thanks.

    Ernest Wong

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    You bring up a good issue. I need to find a way to make this process easier.

    Right now, the best way to get the mp3 into iTunes or an iPod is to right-click the link above and then click save.

    When it lands on your computer, drag the file onto iTunes or your iPod.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I need much more help coordinating with guests before and after they come on.

  • http://twitter.com/peterjhart Peter J. Hart

    I have bookshelves just like Scott’s. I got them from IKEA.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Andrew. Really enjoyed the interview. I’m curious as to how much you identify with his target audience, and how much you think you should identify with his target audience.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I identify with everyone who’s trying to leave a mark on the world and is willing to take a risk to do it.