S2E16 The Self Reliant Entrepreneur Edition with John Jantsch

S2E16 The Self Reliant Entrepreneur Edition with John Jantsch

James chats with John Jantsch, marketing consultant, speaker and the author of Duct Tape Marketing, The Referral Engine, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and SEO for Growth.


His newest work, The Self Reliant Entrepreneur – 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business, taps into the wisdom of 19th century transcendentalist literature, and the author’s own 30 year entrepreneurial journey to challenge today’s entrepreneurs to remain fiercely self reliant while chasing their own version of success.


They discuss self reliance, living to a purpose, having four daughters, what 19th century literature can teach us today, and doing less to achieve more.


Contact John:


Email: john@ducttapemarketing.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ducttapemarketing
Twitter: twitter.com/ducttape

John’s new book: ducttapemarketing.com/the-self-relia…-entrepreneur/

Click for the full transcript

James Nathan 0:54 Hello and welcome to the only one business show with me your host James Nathan and today I’ve got a stunning guests for and I really hope you’re going to enjoy the conversation. This gentleman is a marketing consultant, speaker and the author of Duct Tape Marketing, The Referral Engine, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and SEO for Growth. His newest work, The Self Reliant Entrepreneur, 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business, taps into the wisdom of 19th century transcendentalist literature, and the author’s own 30 year entrepreneurial journey to challenge today’s entrepreneurs to remain fiercely self reliant while chasing their own version of success. One of my personal favourite authors, really delighted to welcome John Jantsch. John, hi, how are you today?


John Jantsch 1:43 Hey, thanks, James. Happy to be here. Love, love that. you’ve enjoyed my previous writing.


James Nathan 1:50 I have, but this one’s a very very different book, John. How did you come from Duct Tape Marketing through this journey and end up with where you are now?


John Jantsch 2:01 Yeah. So as you mentioned, I’ve owned my own business for almost 30 years now. And so I think what I wanted to do in this book, it’s called The Self Reliant Entrepreneur, it is structured as a daily, almost devotional, or I like to call it love letter to entrepreneurs. You know, it’s not about marketing. It’s not about teaching you how to do anything necessarily. It’s really more….. It’s really more I think about the why to do what you’re doing. And I think that I wanted to write a book that was… there’s no question it taps kind of my journey, and how I think and what I’ve experienced, and you know, where I’ve come to in my entrepreneurial journey. But I wanted to write something that was really focused on on the mindset, I work with thousands now of entrepreneurs. And I think a lot of them even get the how to do things, you know, they understand what they should be doing. But stuff gets in the way that kind of trips them up. They don’t trust themselves enough to follow through their own, on their own idea. They aren’t able to frame failures, you know that happened to them in a certain way, as a learning experience, they’re not focused enough on the impact that they want to have on the world and I just think that an entry or you know, writing from me, you know, I was trying to tackle kind of that…. here’s a daily practice that hopefully can keep you on track as an entrepreneur because there we all know there are a lot of things stacked up against us trying to to get us off track and so I really just, you know, I wanted to write a very different kind of book and hopefully it will have some impact in the world.


James Nathan 3:41 I certainly hope so. There’s that fantastic thing of people setting up in business know you know, when you, you set up for yourself and you think this is going to be great and have all the spare time, I’m going to going to do whatever I want, you know, and then the stark reality hits you and it’s not like that at all. What is a self reliant entrepreneur.


John Jantsch 4:01 Well, I think it’s a lot of things. Now the title, some of your listeners may remember, you know, I’ve kind of taken from an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson called Self Reliance and a lot of entrepreneurs cite that essay is really kind of being, you know, the, you’ve got this, you know, you need to follow your own dream. So that’s where that title came from. But for me, I think in a lot of ways, it’s somebody that just realizes that their life is a work in progress, and that going to work on yourself is how you build a better business instead of, you know, we spend so much time, you know, trying to work in the business and on the business, that we sometimes fail to realize that you know, the businesses, in many cases is really just about who we’re being and what we’re putting out in the world. And if we don’t focus on that component, if we don’t focus on on finding the joy and happiness in our business, it will suck the life out of you.


James Nathan 4:58 Was it a personal thing, was there an experience or something that changed me that made you think, you know what I need to write this kind of book.


John Jantsch 5:06 I can’t say there was an event or anything, it’s really more that, you know, about 10 years into my business, you know, I felt like, it wasn’t really going where I wanted, I felt a little stuck, I felt like I just kind of been taking whatever came along. And that was really actually the point where I decided to completely change my business go after small business, write Duct Tape Marketing, you know, create my approach to small business marketing as kind of my gift or playing I’m not sure which, to the world. And, at that time that, you know, I really kind of did have a revelation that, you know, I need to be doing this for me, not not for me, but in a way that that really feels unique to my gifts and, and the impact that I can bring to the world and I think at that point, you know, I kind started this sort of self examination, and it’s continued to where, you know, I’ve consumed pretty much everything I can to, you know, to, you know, figure out, you know, what I’m thinking why I’m thinking that, you know, how can I have a positive impact on the world? How can I take better care of my mind and body and spirit so that I can really bring my unique gifts to the world? And so, you know, in a way, I feel like I’ve been writing this book for 20 years, and it just kind of came to the point where it bubbled up, I suppose.


James Nathan 6:31 It needed to be out there. You know, 19th century literature is an interesting place to be what is it about that, that’s so relevant do you think?


John Jantsch 6:43 Well, to me, you know, you will see if you spend any time on Pinterest or anything like that, you’re going to see, you know, quotes from Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, of course, American writers that are known all over the world, but certainly very important. American writers I dug into that period when that count when their content was written, I was looking for kind of a way to anchor the book. So every day starts with a quote from some or really a reading from some mid 19th century literature. And then kind of my reflection on that. And if you think about what was going on, at least in America, at the time of that, most of that writing 1850, 1860 we were on the cusp of a civil war, women were marching in the streets to get the right to vote, we were trying to abolish the horrible act of slavery. And it was the first time that a lot of the writing some very overt, like Emerson, was saying, hey, it’s time to stop listening to our preachers or parents or our politicians or you know, people that are telling us we have to live our life a certain way that we’re all endowed with a soul, unique soul and a unique gift that were meant to bring to the world…. and that was, that was, you know, counterculture thinking at the time. And when I dug in a little bit, I found that really a lot of the works of fiction even, that many of us read, at least again in America, you know, Moby Dick, The Scarlet Letter, Little Women. I mean, these were required reading. Well, it was the first time also in American literature where the protagonist, you know, we’re showing up is this very self reliant, you know, this may cost me but I, you know, I have to live and stay true to my dream. I think that’s still some of the best entrepreneurial writing out there. And so that’s really when I started digging into it and researching, you know, letters and journals, not just the the works that everybody’s familiar with, but really just how they thought. It just, it just seemed like the perfect vein of literature to mine and, you know, I don’t know if it’s ironic or telling but I feel like around the globe, I think I feel like we’re, we’re on, there’s some real similarities right now to that period of time. And so I think entrepreneurs have always been the force of good, you know, I’ve always been the ones that are, you know, out there trying to tackle the world’s wrongs. So I think an army of self reliant entrepreneurs, is really one of the ways that I think we’re going to get back on track.


James Nathan 9:27 It’s interesting, you mentioned the kind of history repeating itself there, it’s….. you know, you just have to look into the, into the streams of thinking at the moment, and in some ways, I think it’s very, it’s very important that we look at these things and think, you know, how do we…. what future do we want? How do we want it to be? You know, there’s loads of talk about the generational differences. Do you see real differences in the generations?


John Jantsch 9:52 Oh, I think very much, but that’s not a new thing. You know, I think every generation, you know, throughout history, and there’s been some advancement, there certainly are some things that I think cycle there are historians and researchers that talk about kind of this fourth generation concept, the idea that kind of every fourth generation comes along and shakes things up, you know, significantly but there’s this kind of, you know, gradual change with every generation and frankly, you know, the even the writing of this book I shared with, I have shared now with people of all ages. And I find a lot of people…. I’m a baby boomer, the very tail end of the baby boomer generation. I find a lot of people my age, you know, are taking these readings and thinking more about like, have I you know, have I made a difference? You know, what impact is, you know, me running my business done, you know, for my family, or for the one or 100 or thousand people that maybe I’ve touched over the course of my business, and I see a lot of millennials and Gen Z folks that are just coming up now and they view work I think completely differently. I mean, there’s, there’s nobody in that are very few people in that generation, they’re saying, I’m going to go to school, get a 30 year career, retire, you know, with the watch, they’re very much My life is going to be about a series of experiments and that I’m going to, you know, try different things I’m going to, you know, maybe take a completely non traditional path, maybe I won’t even go to college, or, you know, taking that approach. And so, I’ve heard from folks in that generation that the writings and in this and the readings in this book, you know, are really more…. they really encouraged that idea of, hey, you know, find what’s true for you and put string together a series of experiences and you know, that’s how you’re going to find your purpose.


James Nathan 11:48 Well, you’ve led me into something I really wanted to ask about because I look at this and think right you know, I meditate every morning. It’s something I started to do a while ago and I find really helps focus me on my day. And you know, when I tell people they go, oh are you old hippy and I wish I had been born, you know, I wish I had been a hippy I would have been, you know, right at the heart of my favorite music, but do the more…. Are Gen Z’s, I mean, I struggle with millennials, because they’re almost 40 aren’t they. Do they buy into this faster? Is it something that they get hold of quicker? Or is it something that actually everybody can embrace quite quickly, but they need to sort of focus themselves a bit.


John Jantsch 12:31 You know, I don’t think there’s a real difference in terms of embracing it quicker. I think it’s really just more point of view of how they view it. You know, I think a lot of the Gen Z folks feel like yeah, I’m going to go out and I’m going to start a business. I’m going to do this, you know, even if it’s a side thing, and so, I do think it feels as though purpose and meaning are at the forefront of what they’re trying to experience where I think a lot of people my age, you know, we’re taught that that’s something that you look, you look back, like traditional accounting and say, How did I do? You know? And so I think that that’s, you know, that’s the real significant difference that I see at least.


James Nathan 13:17 I had an interesting conversation on the first series, this podcast with a guy who, who basically refuted everything that Simon Sinek put in Why and, you know, we talked about purpose, and he was saying, well, actually, you know what, it’s nonsense. We don’t need a purpose, because each of us have an individual purpose. What would you say to that?


John Jantsch 13:35 Well, I think that I probably fall somewhere in between. And really, the reason I say that is because I think a lot of people read a book like Simon’s, and they think, okay, I have to sit in this room and figure out what my purpose is, you know, and I have to go through these exercises and fill out these forms and these sheets and then I’ll have my purpose, and that leads people to coming up with something that sounds good or sounds meaningful. You know, to them, but maybe isn’t at the heart of what it is they’re meant to do. So I do believe that we’re all…. every single one of us is completely unique. I mean, that’s just a fact of science. And I think that we have a unique spirit as well, we have a unique mind as well. And I think that if we go out and have experiences, if we go out and stay curious if we go out and explore if we go out and push ourselves outside our comfort zone, I think what happens is purpose finds us and it is somewhat unique. So that was a good on the fence answer probably. But I do think the answer is somewhere in between those two points of view.


James Nathan 14:39 Fantastic. Could you read us an excerpt I think that might be a nice thing to do. Just if you could find something you think might be quite interesting and relevant. And I guess the 366 is the number of days in a year, so does it work on dates?


John Jantsch 14:55 It does work exactly on date. So I was we are you and I are recording this today on November 21st


James Nathan 15:02 So, shall we have we have today? Because I think this will probably go out in January. Okay. If I look at my schedule, early January, we have a little break for Christmas for a couple of weeks


John Jantsch 15:14 What we can do that or, or another….


James Nathan 15:16 Let’s go with November 21st John


John Jantsch 15:20 Another option is I could read your birthday?


James Nathan 15:23 Ah, I tell you what, read my daughter’s birthday Have you got the 11th of February


John Jantsch 15:28 February 11. On another little side note, in this book, I have four daughters. And I actually asked each of them to write the reflection for their birthdays so readers will find an author’s note on four different pages and that they’ll get to experience the writing from each of my daughters.


James Nathan 15:46 Fabulous.


John Jantsch 15:47 All right, February 11. So every day starts with a title, then a reading. This one happens to be a really short reading from the literature and then my take and then I actually leave you with a challenge question. In each day two and some of them are worn you are, you might not have the answer to. All right February 11. Simply perfect. In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity. That was from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, his favourite poems. And my reflection: Longfellow is one of America’s most popular poets, his long form poems such as Paul Revere’s Ride, The Wreck of the Hesperus, and the Song of Hiawatha, were at one point required memorization exercises in many schools, and yet in his own work, of favourite poems is a note about yearning for simplicity that sums up his creative genius. Simplicity it turns out as much harder than the opposite. Simplicity or even brevity of thought and word forces us to distill something to its core without access to make our point. But being precise is sometimes the greatest work we endeavour. Simplicity, however, maybe best summed up as an aspiration. To embrace simplicity as a creative force, we might find it useful to see it in all things, our choices, strategies, conversations, possessions, as well as our entrepreneurial vision. Through this lens, it becomes our teacher. Simplicity is about being less busy and more focused on what matters. Simplicity as a point of view helps us focus on the essentials that lead to the success we so desire. In the words of Greg McCowan, author of Essentialism – the Disciplined Pursuit of Less: the pursuit of success can be a catalyst for failure. Put another way, success can distract us from focusing on the essential thing that produces success in the first place. And your challenge question today. What is the one thing you could simplify or eliminate completely right now?


James Nathan 18:01 Wow, that’s gonna keep us thinking. Sure there’s more than one as well. While you were reading I was thinking you know, you there’s there’s a lot of a lot of kind of meditations and mindfulness stuff about. And this is quite different, isn’t it?


John Jantsch 18:18 Yeah. And I actually talked about this book as a practice. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs have realized that developing some sort of morning routine that you know, kind of gets their head straight, you mentioned meditation, thats become a very popular practice I’m discovering amongst entrepreneurs. And I think this book could fit into a practice like that very easily, that you might read that, you know, before you meditate or after you meditate or before you journal. Like a lot of people do. And so that’s the reason for the structure. I mean, I think all of us have a stack of books on the corner of our desk that we’re meaning to get to but you know, it takes a lot of energy to get to you know that new that new book and and we’re this you know…. you pick it up every day for two minutes read a page and you know you’ve maybe done something really inspiring and helpful for you to take into the day.


James Nathan 19:16 I love the idea of that I say I’d some you know that that starting the day with with the meditation for me I use an app, and it’s and it really does set me up and I like the idea of it….. you before we started recording you mentioned this is going to come as an audio book as well.


John Jantsch 19:34 That’s right. Yeah. It’d be interesting to see but I mean, again, you know, a lot of people are using these apps like Headspace and things like that, to have guided meditations and you know, there is an element of these readings that that could probably, you know, focus that way I would never put myself out as a meditation coach, but I think there there is an element to that and, I do apologize to your listeners for that Paul Revere thing


James Nathan 20:01 No, no, not at alll… what did you learn John? Because writing a book is a hell of an undertaking, isn’t it? What did you learn on the way through?


John Jantsch 20:09 Well, it’s funny, you know, my other books have been about marketing, as you mentioned, and a lot of times in those books, I was really just kind of recounting, here’s what I do. You know, here’s how it worked. Maybe it’ll work for you. And so, you know, I’m not saying that they wasn’t a lot of work. But this book, I had six months of research to for the readings, sick another six months to actually write. Turns out, James, it’s actually harder to write short pages, right. And, and so, to answer your question, you know, it was almost like a gift of being able to spend you know, almost an entire year immersed in thinking about the concepts that I write about in this book and I find myself you know, thinking, you know, differently about the mark. I want to leave I find myself thinking differently about success and about comparison. And, and I think those are all good things and and it really so it was really, you know, I credit my team in my company for you know, giving me the space to and my, my family, you know for giving me the space to write this because it in some ways was, you know, almost a selfish endeavor to you know, to immerse yourself so deeply in something like that, but hopefully, hopefully it leaves you know, others better off, you know, for having engaged in the content.


James Nathan 21:34 Absolutely. And you say you know your family with four girls, that’s a busy household.


John Jantsch 21:39 Well, it was they are all grown and having having babies were on that so but yeah, it definitely definitely was.


James Nathan 21:47 Fabulous, nice legacy for them to come back to I guess when they have the time. What do the people who pick the book up learn, what does this book give that’s different to the other books on the market. In a similar vein?


John Jantsch 22:03 Well, here’s my smart alec answer, I have absolutely no idea. And the reason I say that is because, you know, it’s sort of ironic to write a book about telling somebody how to be self reliant. Because, you know, the self reliant part is totally on you. And it’s been kind of fun to, to share some of these readings to have discussions with people about these questions, and discover that every single person looks at every page differently. I mean, there’s no consensus about oh, here’s exactly what that meant. Or here’s exactly how I’m going to answer that question. People come to this kind of thing. I’m sure you’ve done this before, you know, where you’ve read a book and then you go back and read the book a second time, and all sudden, it’s like all these brilliant things are in there. You know that you missed the first time, but it’s because you are ready to hear them now. And I think that that’s kind of how this book is people will get out of it, what they need, you know, where they are, where they need to go. And, you know, the beauty of this book from a author standpoint is, you know, it’ll never go out of date. I mean, there’s another thing in here, that won’t be as relevant 10 years from now, you know, as it is today, and I think a lot of people will find in a book like this, that when they come back to January 1, say, you know, on year two, you know that reading means something completely different to them, because they’ll be a completely different person.


James Nathan 22:30 That makes huge amounts of sense to me, is their spirituality attached then?


John Jantsch 23:37 Well, there certainly is a spiritual element, the writers that I source quite frequently were labeled transcendentalist and it wasn’t it…. was really like I said, more of a label. It wasn’t a religion or anything, but it was really more of a way of thinking and one of the, you know, a lot of their thinking was drawn from, you know, some of the kind of Eastern Wisdom texts. And so this idea that we’re all connected yet we all have a unique soul that you know nature is a, you know, is our, our best example for how to live, you know, certainly allows you to kind of bring some spiritual themes into this book. And as I said, you know, buyer beware this is a lot of what I believe. And so, so those themes do show up.


James Nathan 24:25 When you look back, if you read back through them, is there a particular author that really resonates with you? Is there one that you like more than the others?


John Jantsch 24:33 Sure. So one of the things that was really important to me was to, you know, I we already talked about I have four daughters, I’m sort of acutely aware to try and to find and source you know, as many female authors as I could in this particular work, which was actually a chore because of course, you know, a lot of the writers of that day that that happened to be female, their work didn’t get featured. It didn’t get shared, you know, as widely and so it was very fun turning up some authors that….. I talked to a lot of women today. And if they hadn’t taken courses in women’s studies or something, you know, they haven’t heard of most of these authors. So kind of a two part answer. I’ve always been a huge reader of Thoreau. So if you were going to pin me down to save my favourite texts, and you will see, I need to do a count on this. But Thoreau probably shows up about 30 times in the throughout the book, but my favourite kind of discovery was a writer named Willa Cather. And she wrote, she wrote, O Pioneers! and Song of a Lark, which are in My Antonia, which are books that people probably doing any kind of literature, QA studies would be familiar with, but I was not that familiar with work. And so I really enjoyed kind of her point of view. Her novels are all about kind of pioneering, you know, the West In that period of in America, so they’re all works of fiction, but her characters were really gritty, and her writing is very beautiful.


James Nathan 26:10 You know what, why speaking there, I love the idea of not only what this book brings to you, but also the literature, it opens up to you. And, you know, the opportunity to, to read new authors or authors that are new to you and to perhaps find, you know, some joy in something you may not have had the opportunity to come across before simply by you know, reading today’s reading.


John Jantsch 26:33 Yeah, it’s kind of a sampling, you know, and it was, you know, just something that I really dug in and, you know, I need all the statistics on here, but there probably are, you know, well over 100 individuals that are represented in, you know, throughout the book, and, you know, with one or one or two entries, so, it was it was a great chance for me to dive into that literature. But I am hearing from people that have said, boy, I, you know, I like Thoreau as well, but I, you know, it’s so great to kind of have the cliff notes, if you will on on that period of other writers.


James Nathan 27:11 You’re just giving away the secret of how I got through my A level in English Literature. John, you talked about what you’ve learned from it was anything that surprised you?


John Jantsch 27:21 Well, I think the thing that surprised me the most, and it shouldn’t, you know, I mean, now in hindsight, but was how relevant these readings are today. I mean, there were times when I would read something and say, Thoreau was talking about how much time we waste on Facebook. You know, when, you know, mid 19th century, how did he know? And I think it’s really more a symbol of, you know, the tools change, the technology changes times change, but the human condition, I think remains the same.


James Nathan 27:50 Yep. Yep. Very, very true. Very true. John, I cannot wait for the book to be available to me. I know it’s coming very soon. And certainly the audio, which I will, I’m going to be one of those people that buys two or three different versions I’m sure I’m the best client of all. But what I’d love you to leave our listeners, John with just one thought, perhaps a golden nugget, something that they could take away and think about and do to make their businesses better today and better for the years to come. What would that be?


John Jantsch 28:22 Sure. Do less is my is my golden nugget. You know, it’s so easy to get it to do list with 27 things on it, maybe even hack away at half a dozen of them throughout the day. What do I think it does is it distracts us from the important things. And you know, it’s very easy to fill up a day. We all know that and so one of the practices that I’ve done for years that I think has made a huge business, or a huge impact on my business is that every quarter my team and I pick three things that are going to be our primary focus, primary objective for the quarter, and we build in projects and tasks, maybe around those. But every single day, I revisit that list and say, okay, what am I doing to move these three things forward? You know, before I plan anything else on my list?


James Nathan 29:11 What a great tip, John, I have loved chatting with you. I’m sure we could go on all day. But thank you so, so much.


John Jantsch 29:19 Oh, it’s my pleasure, James.



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