Please enjoy this transcript of this episode with Cliff Ravenscraft. It was transcribed and therefore might contain a few typos. For ways to connect with Cliff, the notes, and for links to everything discussed, check out our show notes.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 00:00 The thing is the more people pay you the more invested they’re going to be, customer complaints go down. I mean there are so many reasons why charging a higher rate and not to mention the fact that man, what are you in business for if not to have a profitable successful business that gives you financial margin in your life so that you can actually live the life that you were called to live.
Doug Smith: This is the L3 Leadership Podcast Episode number 212.
Doug Smith: 00:38 Everyone and welcome to another episode of L3 Leadership podcast. My name is Doug Smith and I’m your host I hope you’re doing well in today’s episode you’ll hear an interview that I had with Cliff Ravenscraft. Cliff is a thought leader that I’ve followed for a long time and absolutely love his content. In fact, I love ,his content so much that I signed up for his next level workshop this past October and had the opportunity to spend a day and a half at his house and learned from him and it’s called the next-level workshop and in the workshop he teaches you how to grow a profitable online business. And I learned principles that I could execute immediately in the workshop and also that I believe will be able to take my business to the next level. I also grew significantly in confidence through a few exercises that Cliff had us go through and we talk a little bit about that in the interview but the exercises really really had an impact and help transform some beliefs that I needed transformed.
Doug Smith: 01:29 And so I knew after the workshop I had to ask him if he’d jump on the podcast and I’m so honored that he said yes. And so before we dive in the interview let me just tell you a little bit about Cliff in case you’re unfamiliar with him. In December of 2005, he began podcasting as a hobby way before it was cool and he actually started podcasting about the show last and the podcasts absolutely blew up he had a global audience listening every week. And it really gave him a passion for making a difference through creating content specifically through the podcasts that he was creating. And so a year later he launched the Podcast Answer Man Brand where he invested more than a decade helping tens of thousands of individuals and organizations successfully launch a podcast through one on one coaching and online courses. In fact, if you were to look over the top 100 podcasts in the business category of iTunes more than 50 of those shows were created by clients who have been trained by chief Cliff which is just unbelievable.
Doug Smith: 02:22 Today Cliff focuses on his role as a business mentor a life coach he mentors coaches consultants and thought leaders through the transition from their unfulfilling day job to their own responsible and profitable online business so they can live the life of their dreams and do the work they feel most cold to do in this world and I’m so glad he’s focused on that. It’s made an impact on my life certainly. And so if you want to learn more about Cliff and his content everything he offers you can go to Cliff Ravenscraft dotcom an interview you’ll hear Cliff talk about his entrepreneurship journey Mastermind groups and why everyone needs to be in one, pricing and how to price yourself in business. And so much more. If you’re a business owner and entrepreneur have an online business you have to listen to this. So there’s so much wisdom in it and you’re going to absolutely love it.
Doug Smith: 03:08 But before we dive into the interview just a few announcements I am so fired up to let you know that we are hosting our first annual L3 one-day Leadership Conference on Friday, March 15th, 2019 at the Marriott and Cranberry Township just 20 minutes outside of the city of Pittsburgh. Our keynote speakers are going to be Matt Keller the pastor of next-level church Laura Ellsworth who is the partner in charge of Global Community Services Initiatives at Jones Day. Dr. Chris Howard the president of Robert Morris University and Saleem Ghubril who is the executive director of the Pittsburgh Promise. It is going to be an incredible event you do not want to miss it. And if you want to learn more about the conference and how you can register you can go to L3oneday.com. Again that’s L3oneday.com. I really want to encourage you to plan on attending and plan on bringing your team.
Doug Smith: 03:52 It will really help you guys go to the next level both individually and your leadership journey. And as a team and as an organization I also want to thank our sponsor Alex Tulandin. Alex is a full-time realtor with Keller Williams Realty and if you are looking to buy or sell a house in Pittsburgh Alex is your guy. He’s a member and a supporter of L-3 leadership and would love to have an opportunity to connect with you. You can learn more about Alex at Pittsburghpropertyshowcase.com. And with that being said let’s dive right into the interview with Cliff enjoy and I’ll be back at the end with a few announcements.
Doug Smith: 04:24 A quick thank you so much for being willing to do this interview. Why don’t we just start off with you just telling us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 04:31 Oh goodness. Thanks Doug. My name is Cliff Ravenscraft.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 04:34 I am a business mentor and life coach and I guess you could even say motivational speaker and my greatest passion right now is helping people who have lived a lifetime as an employee escape their soul-sucking day jobs and transition into their own profitable online business so that they can be free to pursue the work they feel most called to do in this world and more than anything. I love helping people become more of who they were created to be.
Doug Smith: 05:04 Can you just briefly summarize so you start teaching people a podcast and that created this online business that helped you be financially secure. Can you just talk a little bit about the finances? Maybe just for a minute and then something radical that you’ve done in the past year and a half two years that I think will really excite people.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 05:20 Sure the finances is a fun story. So first of all gosh, I found Dave Ramsey probably 2004, 2005 Stephanie and I became completely 100 percent debt free in February 2007. Yes, February 2007. Now that’s a year and a half after we’ve already earned it’s about a year after we’ve already been podcasting as a hobby full time, on the side. So February 2007 is when I I become my wife and I become debt free except for our home, mortgage. And that’s that’s about the time I said I’d love to leave my day job.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 06:01 And so in September of 2007 I made the decision to leave the day job.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 06:07 My wife was completely on board, in fact, it was her idea and the thing is as I was making at the time and of course salaries everywhere are different but the cost of living in Kentucky is not too high.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 06:18 And I was making at the time I was making eighty-seven thousand dollars a year plus amazing benefits. And there are opportunities for lots of commissions on top of that.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 06:29 So I was making a lot of income. But again we had just become debt free.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 06:34 I mean we’d lived most of our marriage up at that point up to that point being like in debt to our eyeballs. You know it was insane. So I ended up leaving my career in insurance as an insurance agent.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 06:49 And January 1st, 2008. I’m a full time self-employed.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 06:52 I have no experience running a business. I have no idea what I don’t even know and I’ve lived a lifetime as an employee. So I had this mindset of an employee that man who makes more than 30 bucks an hour. I mean sure some people but you’ve gone to college and you’ve got major degrees and all kinds of designations and all this other stuff. I didn’t have that stuff. So here I was. Oh, and I had some other crazy beliefs by the way Doug I know one of your questions that you want to ask me later is what’s the belief that used to have had to change. There were a couple that I had.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 07:26 So first I used to believe that you had to work hard to earn money. The harder you work the more money you should earn. I had that belief firmly planted in my brain, another belief that I had is the more you hate the work that you do the more you should get paid to do it.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 07:45 And that was backed up by you know the opportunities that existed in other places of employment prior to being an insurance agent. People say hey we need some people to work on the weekend. Anybody interested. Nobody volunteer. They said well we’ll pay you time and a half if you do it. See the more you hate the idea of what you’re doing the more you get paid. It was reinforced my entire life.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 08:04 So I had all these beliefs about money and what it calls it what it takes for you to earn it. And I also have a belief back then and I still have this belief today that if you take money from somebody that you didn’t earn it’s called stealing and stealing is bad. So I have not changed that belief. I still have that one. So the thing is here I was as an insurance agent. Now I’m you know quite frankly oftentimes getting paid to do things that aren’t the most fun. They’re not and it is hard work dealing with this and the stress of how many clients we had versus the number of employees we had in our agency it was it was extremely stressful and difficult the work that I was doing and I’ve had no problem getting paid well to do it as an insurance agent. But here I was as a hobbyist leading you know doing all this podcasting quite frankly in my geographic area for me to have an opportunity to talk to somebody face to face about podcasting they would be interested in about 10 or 15 minutes of what I had to say.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 09:00 And after that they’re like OK Cliff let’s talk about something else. How about those Broncos or how about the like. I don’t know anything about sports and it’s clear that they’re not interested in hear me talk about I’m guessing so OK I’ll go somewhere else and be off by myself just because well I prefer it that way. Nobody wants to hear Cliff talk about podcasting right?
Cliff Ravenscraft: 09:19 So I have nobody to talk to. And here I am now as a full-time self-employed business owner and I’m expecting to charge people 50 dollars an hour for me to have the privilege and honor of talking to them about something I love more than anything else.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 09:41 And so it was crazy. And it’s like how much do I charge. OK, it’s 50 bucks an hour. Let’s start there. That’s more than I’ve ever dreamed of making as an employee my entire life. Fifty bucks an hour and then it’s time to send invoices and I feel guilty sending an invoice to somebody. Why. Because I feel guilty for stealing money. And why did I feel like I was stealing money because I didn’t earn it. Why didn’t I feel like I was earning it. Well because it wasn’t hard. This was the guys you could you could ask me 15 20 30 questions about I guess and I guarantee it will not be hard for me to answer. And I’m going to love it. And because I loved it and it was so easy I didn’t feel like I was earning money because of my old belief system.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 10:26 And as a result of that what happened was it was difficult for me to sell my products and services because well quite frankly I wasn’t charging enough which communicated to others that I didn’t have very much value on what I was doing. I didn’t realize it at the time that low prices communicate low confidence and what you do. The thing is I had great confidence in what I offered just didn’t understand the value to others of what I had to offer so I had a lack of confidence in my value which made it very difficult for me to land clients and it was, when I landed clients. Quite frankly I wasn’t making enough even if I worked 30 hours a week one on one with people at 50 bucks an hour it wasn’t enough to pay all of the bills and I was not getting 30 hours a week worth of work.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 11:11 So what I can tell you is that first year in business January through December 2008 I worked seven days a week every week without a single day off for the first nine months and after nine months I started taking Sundays off and I increased the number of hours the other six days of the week. And at the end of my first year, I made a total of eleven thousand dollars net income. Wow. Now the business was profitable the business paid for health insurance benefits. That was a business expense. So the family had health insurance the business paid for a CPA to do our taxes because I certainly had no idea what I was doing. The business paid for all of the overhead expenses of our business and all that stuff. It just didn’t pay me a paycheck until September of that year until October, I’m sorry of 2017 and if you add up October November December 2017 my net income was eleven thousand dollars. And to celebrate my first year in business and being quote-unquote profitable I decided to do a 24 hour nonstop marathon. And on the twenty-third and a half hour, I started having major gut pains. Now what I want to tell you is I want you to imagine somebody is working 12 to 16 sometimes 18 hours a day practically every single day of the week nonstop for an entire year.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 12:38 I was not taking care of myself physically I was not fit. I mean literally, I’d wake up in the morning and have breakfast I’d go down I’d work. I’d come up get lunch I’d go down work. I’d go upstairs have dinner I’d go down and work I’d work until 2:00 o’clock in the morning I go to bed and I get up at 6:00 or 7:00 o’clock in the morning the next day and do it all over again every day seven days a week for nine months without a day off. At the end of 2008, I weighed 272 pounds I was I was getting very close to 300 pounds and 23 and a half hours into this 24-hour marathon, I started experiencing major gut pains like somebody was stabbing me with an ice pick in the front and the back and I finished the marathon because of course, that’s what you do. You finish what you started. And I went to bed but I couldn’t lay down there was no way to lay down that I didn’t feel like I was about ready to die.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 13:36 So my wife takes me to the hospital and turns out I had massive gallstones and there was a whole scenario I could tell you about it be way too boring but just to say this there was a bunch of mix-ups that happened in the hospital and I literally almost died.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 13:53 So that’s the financial side of the first year. Now I will tell you that I I determined after that things had to change. I can tell you that after I got to the hospital I started to take my health and fitness seriously. I determined that I was going to start studying people who were successful in business I started really getting heavily involved in personal growth and development, personal self-help kind of materials. Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightengale, you know. Think and Grow Rich. The strangest secret. Dan Miller’s 48 days to the work you love. I mean just anything I could get my hands on anything that was personal development professional development. I started studying it like crazy. And as a result of that I was able to slowly start increasing my rates and becoming the more I increased my rates the more successful I became the more successful I became the more confident I became I started shifting my mindset my beliefs as a result of the materials I was studying and then by October 2010 I learned about and I had heard enough about this thing called the mastermind principle that I decided to hire or to not hire one of my clients hired me his name is Pat Flynn he says Cliff I’ve been trying to launch a podcast for years and I’ve just never been able to pull it off.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 15:06 I’ve heard you’re the guy that talked to do this and I said Yeah. So we worked together I helped him get his podcast launched called Smart Passive Income and just through our relationship through our one on one working together I said Man you and I have a lot of similar passions we have a similar focus for wanting to grow personally and professionally. You and I are reading a lot of the same materials and we just had this great conversation about the mastermind principle that we’re learning about. How about you and I launch one together. And in October 2010 Pat and I started what’s called today the green room mastermind. Which is now a group of six men myself. Pat Flynn Michael Steltzner from Social Media Examiner Ray Edwards. Leslie Samuel and Mark Mason and the six of us have been meeting every single week since October 2010 and my life. Well, let’s just say this every single area of my life my success, abundance, love, every area of my life financially fit fitness wise.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 16:04 Every area of my life is except exponentially grown since October 2010.
Doug Smith: 16:10 So for those listening we do mastermind groups here at L3, I’m just curious what would your advice and encouragement be to them about finding a Mastermind Group and getting in one?
Cliff Ravenscraft: 16:20 Get in one today! I can tell you right now that if you’ve heard the stats this is a business podcast I’m sure you’ve probably mentioned the stats and if not your audience has heard the stats but if you want to go out and start a business 50 percent of everyone who launches a business will fail within the end of the first year. 80 percent of every person 80 out of every 100 people who launch a business will fail within five years.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 16:46 96 percent or 96. Let’s just put it this way. Nearly every single person who launches a business will fail within 10 years. And what that means is that only four out of every 100 people at the end of a decade we’ll still have a business, that doesn’t mean they’re successful and it doesn’t mean they’re profitable it just means they haven’t thrown in the towel yet. And what I can tell you is the biggest cause, there’s lots of causes for that and we could have an entire podcast episode about the many causes for those failures. But one of the greatest cause in a lot of the other causes have as the root cause is isolation. We’ve all heard it’s lonely at the top and there’s no more true statement to that than being a self-employed business owner especially if you’re working from home or you know you use your basically you start carrying the weight of the entire world on your own shoulders even if you don’t have employees you’ve got it’s your wife, your kids. I mean as an employee you go into work. And as long as you show up it doesn’t matter if you actually are good at your job. Most of the time it does overtime maybe eventually you’re going to lose your job but you just go get another one. Right. So as an employee, you just check in and check out and you just you don’t have to worry. There’s no anxiety. The paycheck is there.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 18:05 Right. Yeah. See that. But at the one who is the business owner there the weight of the world is on your shoulders. And it’s like every decision you make will impact whether or not you get paid or if you have employees or team members or other people whether or not they get paid.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 18:24 But certainly if it for me I had a stay at home wife and stay at home mom and three young kids. And that was a lot of stress to carry on my shoulders and all of a sudden I’m alone and I don’t even know what I don’t know that so much of what I experienced in 2008 and the even the early part of 2009 could have been avoided if I would have had a mastermind group back then.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 18:46 And I can say this because I today facilitate master groups for other people and there are people who literally start with no online following no social media presence no content created online.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 19:05 They literally are absolutely unknown to the outside world.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 19:10 And I’ve been able to see those people succeed and achieve what took me four to six years to achieve. I’ve been able to help people achieve that within 90 days. Sometimes it takes as much as three to six months.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 19:22 But certainly they don’t end up in the hospital they’re not working around the clock like I did.
Doug Smith: 19:29 Did you talk to those listening about your Mastermind Groups. I think it’s an awesome opportunity. So for an opportunity to be in your Mastermind Group how can people find out about that.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 19:37 Well mine is called The Next Level Mastermind and it’s specifically geared for people who are on the journey of full-time self-employment. So to be a member to be eligible for the next level Mashrou and you have to either already be full time self-employed and we have people who are in the group who have been in business for themselves full time self-employed for 30 plus years. However, if you’ve been full time self-employed for six months that’s perfectly fine. However, if you happen to have a day job and a desire and dream to become full time self-employed that there are two stipulations.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 20:12 Number one you have to have a valid business model valid or validated business model. That means that you have products and services that you offer that people have paid for and they are happy to have done so.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 20:26 So you if you have a day job you can’t just have a desire to leave the day job and say hey can you help me figure out what business I need to create. Now there’s other products and services for that. But if you if you have a day job and you already have a product or service that people are happily paying money for then this second requirement is that you have to have a desire and goal and be committed to leaving the job and becoming full time self-employed within 12 to 18 months and so far every single person who has joined who had the day job is definitely right on target and I’ve just finished a case study with somebody who let me tell you its fun, this guy named Dan and Dinneen and is New Zealand. He is a friend of mine that I met when I went to New Zealand to do an opening keynote for the Asia Pacific Podcast Conference.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 21:22 And when he heard about the next level mastermind he’s like I want to be a part a close mastermind. Here’s the deal he was an I.T. consultant and as a day job and his employer would send him around to local businesses and he would actually fix their I.T. equipment and it was a steady job and it was definitely something that you know it could be dependable but he definitely felt called to more and wanted to do more. And for the past five years, he had had two clients as a side business. These were clients who had WordPress websites with in excess of one hundred. I’m sorry when in excess of 1 million views on their websites per month and he was the person that they hired two clients, that hired him to keep his business or to keep their websites up and running all the time 24 hours a day.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 22:19 And so it was extremely well paid so much so that these two clients that he worked with as a side business generated him the same amount of money as his 40 hour a week day job. Wow. And so when he heard about the next level Mashiny heard about those requirements he’s like wow I’ve never I’ve thought about the idea of going full time but the risk of leaving my day job and what if I lose one of these two clients sure I’ve had them for five years but I just don’t know that scares me to death. But but he applied for the next level mastering because I’m willing to commit 12 to 18 months. I think it might be possible. Well, fast forward to just a few weeks later he’s in the hot seat and I started asking him some questions and through our conversation.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 23:07 He actually came to the conclusion himself oh I didn’t say anything I just asked questions, but he realized very quickly that the difference in the amount that he was getting paid per hour from his side business when compared to the amount per hour that he was getting as an employee he realized that he was actually paying his employer lots of money for the privilege of keeping his day job. And the fact is that if he freed up to 40 hours a week that would be 40. Just imagine 40 hours a week to do nothing more than just to find one more client and that we had some other conversations as well or conversations of things there in that hot seat in that one hot seat he made the decision to talk to his wife his wife was completely on board and just a couple of weeks later he’s a full time self-employed.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 24:01 Now get this he had two clients that he had had for five years. His greatest fear was losing one of them, and then all of a being in a tough financial spot. Well, his second fear hit his greatest fear was losing one of the two clients he had a second fear was that he said he sucked at sales marketing himself and his business and he had no idea how to do that effectively. These clients that he had for five years kind of just landed in his lap. And I said Hey the next level mastermind has some of the best salespeople in the world myself included. If I may be so humble to say so and so not only did he leave his day job but within six months he went from two clients with and let me just say the amount that these businesses paid him,
Cliff Ravenscraft: 24:53 these individual clients paid him this is high end. We’re talking major monthly contracts for him to keep their 1 million plus visitor websites up and running. He went from two clients within six months to nine. He tripled his income in six months and has already hired his first full-time employee who happens to be a very good friend of his who is the best at what he does even better at some things than he is which only brings more value that he brings to the table. And now his friend is like sending him text messages all day. Man dude, are you sure it’s okay if I sleep in. He’s like yeah dude. We’re totally free here. This isn’t like your day job you had before and he’s like you know he’s an employee but he has lots of the benefits of a self-employed business owner as well. I love this.
Doug Smith: 25:47 Yeah and that would have never happened had he not jumped in your mastermind. And yeah, can you talk about the importance of investing in yourself so there’s a, I guess depending on how you view things a significant investment to be in your mastermind group but I mean it doesn’t look so significant to this guy now that he made it and now the results of being in a mastermind, so you can talk to someone who is on the fence of do I need to invest in myself do I need to pay the costs to be around people like Cliff Ravenscraft.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 26:12 Well to be around Cliff Ravenscraft you’d have to pay the cost. Unfortunately you could have you could have got me for free you know 10-12 years ago. Because guess what. I had lots of free time on my hand. I have lots of free time on my hand today. But but that margin is mostly spent with my wife my kids and a very select few people that I do still today invest in for free. I could tell you a story sometime about James from Planet Fitness if you want but it’s a fun story. But here’s what I can tell you is to work with me. It’s a thousand dollars per month to be in the next level mastermind and that’s 12,000 dollars a year. So if you think about this that’s all that’s a significant investment and by the way not everybody is in a place where they can afford it.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 26:56 And I might the next level mastermind isn’t for everyone. In fact, not everybody who applies. Do I approve. But for those who have the margin and the resources to be able to leverage the advice and wisdom that’s given the average person who joins the next level mastermind doubles or triples their income within 12 months which is way more than twelve thousand dollars additional per year. And there’s a handful of people who as a result of joining the next level mastermind within a couple of months they have created a brand new product or service that did not exist before.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 27:34 That’s generating somewhere between six to twelve thousand dollars additional income above and beyond what they were making before.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 27:41 That did not exist at all. So if you would you pay twelve thousand dollars to be able to come up with something you wouldn’t have come up with any other way that generates you an extra twelve thousand dollars per month.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 27:57 So it is definitely an investment and it’s one that I feel confident that people get a return on. In fact, every single person has gotten a massive return like that within the next Level Mastermind. And that’s why I say that you can apply and the crazy thing I say about this Doug is I try not to discourage people from applying because there have been people who’s who applied and they’re like I’m sorry I’m wasting your time I realize I probably not going to be a good fit for the mastermind. And I ask them some questions and I can just tell that man they have a side business.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 28:33 They still have the day job but they have a side business and they have a great product they have a great track record of selling that product and their clients love them but they’ve got some stuff inside of their head that’s holding them back. And as a result of that they believe there’s just no way this could ever happen and so they’re thinking I am totally wasting your time by applying for your mastermind. I’m sorry but I figured you know you don’t know unless you try. And I and it became clear it’s like if you only knew I created the mastermind group for you, yes I there’s no doubt in my mind we do. Your first hot seat I’m going to ask you a couple of questions in your life is going to change. I’m convinced of it. Yes. You’re in.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 29:22 If you if you ask me whatever questions you want and make sure it’s a good fit for you. But dude here’s my invitation. Come join. But there are other people who are confident. It’s like dude I’m totally in. And when do we get started? Right. Well, let me ask you some questions like. Now there are some things that I’ve learned to listen for where people simply bet they have an overestimation of what it is that they’re doing and there’s just too many red flags. In fact, the biggest red flag is the people who quite frankly have an amazing product. They have an amazing track record of selling it.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 30:01 And everything looks great. The only thing is is that through conversation they tell me that their wife is absolutely freaked out about the idea of them leaving the day job and having the uncertainty of the income that comes with owning your own business. And I’m like you know have you had this conversation. No, she just doesn’t understand and I’m just going to wait to prove it to her. And I’m like yeah. That’s a conversation I think you know if you want I’d be happy to work with you on a one on one mentoring capacity. But right now if your wife isn’t 100 percent on board and you can you can convince me that she’s on board you’re not a good fit for the Next Level Mastermind. Because here’s the thing. You can either have a successful marriage or a successful business and in your situation, I’m not convinced that you can have both. That’s sort of it and I’m and I’m not in the business of helping people break up their marriages.
Doug Smith: 30:56 That’s good. I want you to talk to people who struggle with confidence, you talked about they may be the perfect candidate. This is actually I had the privilege of attending your Next-Level Workshop and one of the things they told me is you did a whole podcast episode on your podcast about voting confidence. And this was and still is a huge area. But I felt like you really helped me grow a ton and confidence by taking a personal inventory and a few exercises that you had us go through even prior to the workshop. Can you just talk to the person struggling? Maybe even thinking about doing an online business maybe they’re thinking about starting a podcast but that insecurity showed in the back what would you tell them and what are some practical things they can do to start to build their confidence?
Cliff Ravenscraft: 31:36 Yeah well, first of all, I understand that you already have value. I mean the thing is there are so many times we have this problem where we’re comparing ourselves to others like for example one of the things that I thought of. You know it’s like when I want to transition into because I want to do over the next 30 years what Tony Robbins has done for the past 30 years.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 31:57 And some of some people might hear that it’s like what. Who does he think he is. Well, I can tell you right now that was the first thought that came to my mind. Who do I think that I am? Who would want to hear from me? I mean Tony Robbins is Tony Robbins. I mean he’s already got conferences where 12 to 15000 people at a time are attending his live events. He’s been doing this for 30 years. He’s got all of the experience he’s got all the reputation out there. He’s got a track record. He’s got all of the products he’s got. I mean everything that I would ever want to offer Tony already offers. And does it in a way that far exceeds my experience and my ability.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 32:36 So who am I to think that I could ever do that? And then I go from Who Do I think I am to asking, well, let me take a moment. Who am I. And what do I have to offer? Let me see if I let me make a list. Let me create an inventory of what do I bring to the table. Well, let’s see here, first of all, I am successfully married for 22 years and my wife are madly in love with one another and we love each other more today than we did the day we first met. We have three amazing children who are who are now, let’s see here 13 17 and 18 years old and successfully none of them in prison yet. So that’s that’s a win right. They’re all respectful young children who are becoming respectable young adults.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 33:36 Not only that but my wife and I have an experience of running a business together. This isn’t just my business. My wife and I have been podcasting together since December 2005. My wife has been a part of this business journey with me and we’ve experienced this together and that’s something that I can. That’s a that’s a value and a benefit that I can talk about and the importance of having your spouse on the same page. It’s not important that your wife works in your business but it’s certainly important that the business becomes the dream that it helps fuel the dreams not just of yourself but your marriage as well and your family as well.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 34:15 So I have that I actually have the story of successfully not dying. And you know in the hospital I have the success of I’m a guy who was once 272 pounds but now I’m in my 180s. So you know I’m almost down a hundred pounds. I’ve been working. I’m a guy who all of a sudden descent in November 2014. I made a bold commitment to the world. I stated publicly I’m going to work out six days a week every week for the rest of my life and for four years I’ve worked out six days a week every week and I continue to do so and will for the rest of my life. And then. In January of 2018 I made this crazy bold proclamation. I will never eat a sugary snack again for another. Not another sugary snack. Ever again. In my lifetime. And I’ve not done so. And I just. I mean. How do I do these things. I mean I could go on for it. And I have in a podcast episode for 45 minutes about all the experience. I have. I was I.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 35:21 Shared earlier my top ranking as an insurance agent. You know nobody else can say that. I created an online podcasting course called Podcasting A-Z. Which generated nearly one million dollars over the course of eight years. And that’s just one stream of income and my business. And by the way, I’m the only person. I know of on the internet who has an Internet-based business. With nearly 800 people who have paid two thousand dollars to go through a four-week course with a one hundred percent satisfaction rating not a single person I know in existence has that record. So, dude, it’s like who do I think I am to be a motivational speaker. Who do. This is who I am. This is who God created me to be. And you know what. Guess what. There are people out there who don’t even know who Tony Robbins is.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 36:15 But they hear my voice and they know me. I know that sounds crazy who doesn’t know who Tony. And then there are there are people out there that I learned that actually have heard of Tony Robbins and they think he’s a kook or they think he’s crazy or they can’t stand him because they and his live events he cusses every other sentence you know and some of the way that he teaches and some of it’s just not their thing but and so they they will now and they will never hear the life transformational techniques tools and strategies that Tony Robbins teaches that I have personally experienced and have radically transformed by lies and they are so in line with what I believe God has gifted us with for us to transform our own lives. And there are people who will who will only hear that from me. They will never hear from Tony. So this is who I am. And so this is what I recommend people do. Create an inventory. So instead of saying who do, I think I am at. Answer the question Who Who are you. And create an inventory.
Doug Smith: 37:19 I love them and so that exercise alone dramatically increase my confidence or thank you for that. So now someone started spouting confidence and they think they have a business idea. Can you talk a little bit about validating business ideas? I think the way you do this is so interesting even how you validated the next level workshop that I was a part of.
Doug Smith: 37:39 When I heard how you validate it blew my mind then I think just shared that because it put me up.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 37:44 Okay so this is what happens in most people’s businesses especially in online businesses. They’re like I’m going to create a product. All right. They’ll create a monthly membership and it’s like OK well how much am I going to charge for thirty-nine bucks a month. Seems like something that anybody will say yes to. All right now I’m going to have to come up with all kinds of content to put into it. All right. And so they work for the least I’ve seen is six to eight weeks working on building a product. Quite frankly, Doug, I’ve seen people spend months and I know people who have spent years building a product-years building a product. But at least months and then all of a sudden they create their sales page after the product has been created and then what they do is they start to market it and they get a 39 dollar sale and then they get another 39 dollar sale and those start trickling in.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 38:36 Woohoo by the end of their first month for first full 30 days. They’ve made a total of seven sales at thirty-nine dollars apiece or they you know maybe it’s maybe it’s a 749 dollar program and they sold five or six of them. That’s great. Is that going to help you leave your day job? Heck no. Not a chance. And you spent months on this and then all of a sudden you start getting discouraged and you feel like I’m not a good salesperson I’m not a good marketing this is a terrible product blah blah blah blah blah. And this is again why most businesses. That’s another reason why most greaseball businesses fail. And yes the root cause of that is isolation because you went. You did it all on your own.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 39:17 If you were in a group of other people who had gone before you would have known not to create your product that way. Instead, you would have validated it first. So here’s what I recommend. So real quickly. This is what I suggest some people and then I’ll talk about how I created the next level workshop and I validated it. So most people they want to create a four-week course that they charge a thousand dollars for. Right. So again most people will spend you know three to six months working on building all of the material inside of that course and then try to market it while you don’t even know if anybody will pay for it yet. And you’re spending all this stuff all the time. So what I recommend that you do is create a sales page. Start marketing the product before you create it.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 40:06 OK. So you create a sales page and say this is going to we’re going to launch this thing in four weeks from now. And here’s where you sign up right now and you’ve got four weeks to try to sell at least six to ten one thousand dollar spots in your four-week program. All right. So you got four weeks. Can you give anywhere between four to ten people to sign up if you get four people to sign up? You’ve just received four thousand dollars. If you get 10 people you’ve just received ten thousand dollars at least. And if you get three-four five-ten people to pay you a thousand dollars apiece. If there are that many people who will do this then there are more people out there like them. You have a validated product you know that this is something that people want and they will pay for.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 40:56 Now you saw it now what you do is you deliver the course live. So you’re making it up as you go and you’re giving people direct access to you. You’re going to work your butt off and you’re going to serve those people but you’re going to let them know hey I am building this for you. I’m going to create this as a lot we’re going to stream this webinar lives. I’m going to make the video recording available I’m going to ask any questions that I didn’t cover that I didn’t think to share with you. I’m going to make sure that all of your questions are answered 24 hours a day seven days a week you post them in the discussion forum. I will answer everything. And for four weeks you’re going to work your hind end off. But at the end of that four weeks, you have now a valid product that people have paid for.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 41:39 And then all of a sudden did people experience the transformation. Yes. Now you’ve got testimonials. Now what you know is oh I wonder if I should go in and spend a little bit of time re-recording some of those videos and higher quality filling in the gaps and answering some of the questions that I realized I didn’t know that were left out. I’m going I’m going to make a better version of this higher quality. And now I know this is something that’s going to sell and then you relaunch it after you have the new version 2.0 available. And now you actually are selling and marketing a product that you already know people know that they need and they’re willing to pay for it. That’s how you create a product. So Next Level Workshop is an online event. So here’s what I I told you I have this dream of doing for the next 30 years what Tony Robbins has done for the last 30 years and yes that includes me hosting stadium events for tens of thousands of people. All right.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 42:37 Now the thing is is it let’s let’s validate this thing let’s go and put a date on there and put a sales page up and see if we can sell 10,000 tickets to the stadium. Well ok that I could I could do that. I can tell you right now I already know that’s not a valid product for me yet. So what did I do? I said well I’ve got this training space that I built in my home. I literally built a training classroom for 14 people in my home when I built this home I knew I wanted to do this.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 43:05 So I’m like I wonder if I can get 14 people to pay a thousand dollars apiece to come to a live event that had nothing to do with podcasting, where I was going to motivate and encourage them and educate them on what I wish I would have known about launching a business. And before I created any of the sessions or anything like that I created a sales page and I made it available for a thousand dollars. Well here’s the thing. I only had three weeks to do this you know. And I was the first time I ever marketed anything like this. And I sold six spots. So I made six thousand dollars, I’m like sweet. All right. So six people came here. Now get this it that that session was on Friday and Saturday. So it was all day Friday half day Saturday the Monday before the first people came to the workshop I outlined the 10 sessions that I would share with them. On Tuesday I created the keynote presentations and on Wednesday I put the schedule together and I sent it to him said here’s the schedule of how we’re going to what we’re going to cover and I literally taught it all live off the cuff off the top of my head using nothing more than the slides that I created on Monday and people’s lives were transformed.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 44:29 And at the end of that I did a post-workshop survey and I asked the six people who attended said knowing that I want to do this again. I have a question for you how much should I charge given that this is going to be limited to no more than 12 to 14 people. It’s going to be in the same space it’s going to be exactly what you experienced. How much should I charge 999? 1499 or 1999, five of them said I would have paid 2000 dollars. And one of them said I would have paid 1500 dollars.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 44:59 So I immediately changed the sales page to two thousand dollars and I’ve sold that session out several times since.
Doug Smith: 45:07 That’s amazing.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 45:08 I think there’s the way Doug you came to the next level workshop. How was your experience?
Doug Smith: 45:13 It was unbelievable. Yeah. And I did pay them in 1999 and I would pay it again in a heartbeat. It was. It was life transforming. And so again I have to execute on everything I was taught.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 45:21 But if you’re listening as I can’t encourage you enough to take the workshop by the way Abraham was a part of the next level workshop with you and Abraham just sent me a text message or an e-mail. And in the e-mail he sent me a picture of a check like a bank check and it was written for 300 dollars. And he says Cliff remember you told me that I needed to be able to charge at least 300 dollars for one hour. And the more I charge, the more people are going to take a take it upon themselves to work hard to get a return on their investment. Well, I at the beginning of your workshop I didn’t believe it was possible. I was convinced that I must charge three hundred dollars per hour and I just want you to know here’s a picture of a check that just received from my first client who paid me for 300 dollars. And he was blown away excited about what I did for him and his business.
Doug Smith: 46:15 That’s amazing. Absolutely love. So I encourage you to go along those lines. Can you talk about pricing? So again there’s a perfect example you encourage someone going to charge 300 dollars an hour. Earlier you talked about the more you’ve charged actually the more customers you’ve got and the busier you’ve gotten. You just talked to you about pricing because once they develop their product I think that’s the next barrier that holds them back is what do I charge? I don’t know what I’m worth and if I do I don’t think it’s enough. I know you have a whole journey on this but what would you tell someone starting off.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 46:42 You know I’ll tell you what I will briefly just tell you this. The more you charge the more success that you’re going to have in life. There are so many reasons for this.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 46:55 Just a couple of them that come off the top of my head is the more you charge the more you’re going to sweat with anxiety about how awesome you need to be to be to be eligible to charge that rate. And that fear that you’re not good enough is a great thing. It’s going to compel you to grow because I can tell you right now the very first time the first time I went from I so my pricing journey is I went from 50 dollars an hour to 95. Then I went from 95 to 150 and then I went from 150 to 200 and I quickly made the jump to 300. But I went from 300 dollars per hour to fifteen hundred dollars per hour. And the very first time I went to 1500 dollars per hour I was like all my gosh what am I doing.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 47:45 And the first time somebody actually said and people would pay they prepay me before they even get on a call with me for one on one. They have to pay the invoice before the call is scheduled. So I sent an invoice for 1500 and was paid immediately. And then we scheduled the carro. And I’m like OK I need I need to go to work so I created a pre-call questionnaire. And I like it’s very detailed and I’m telling you this person filled out every question I asked and I studied it like for two days. And I did research and I did. I mean I went so far if I would have charged 300 bucks I would have said I talked to you then because I charge 1500 dollars, I went way overboard and by the time we had that call what they wanted to accomplish in that call we accomplished within 15 minutes because of the work I did ahead of time.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 48:39 But then I also followed it up because I felt compelled because I charged so much. Now the other thing that I can tell you just another reason why you’ll have success is because back in the day when I had people who paid me let’s just say 95 bucks an hour for my one on one I would give them some advice. They would say Cliff this is what I need to do. And I’ve been trying to do this and I can’t seem to figure it out. And then I would say all well here’s what you’re doing wrong. Stop doing this and start doing this this and this, in this exact order, And I gave that advice over and over again. And I would follow up with them and you know what they were all still doing the same exact thing. The reason I know is I’ve listened to the podcast.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 49:22 And they were doing the same stupid stuff over and over again. But man you charge somebody fifteen hundred bucks an hour and say you need to stop doing this and do this this and this. Every single person who I’ve ever charged 1500 dollars to has immediately after they got off the phone said hold the presses delete all the episodes we’ve pre-recorded we’re going to re-record them and do what clefs said and boom off the chart success after that I could go into way more reasons. The thing is the more people pay you the more invested they’re going to be. Customer complaints go down. I mean there’s so many reasons why charging higher rate and not to mention the fact that may what are you in business for if not to have a profitable successful business that gives you financial margin in your life so that you can actually live the life that you were called to live. You know what I do. I I. I’m one of those people I believe God put us on this earth. And that work is actually a gift that God gives to us. And it’s a way that we can actually do our greatest ministry and serving others in the world. But I do not believe that God desires any of us to work more than 40 50 60 hours a week and not have a life outside of that.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 50:41 I don’t think that’s what God wants for any of us. I think we should all have more financial margin in our life. And I think we should all have more time freedom in our life so we can spend more time simply relaxing and knowing that he is God.
Doug Smith: I love that and I would just leave this open-ended for time’s sake.
Doug Smith: 50:57 But any other things that you want to leave entrepreneurs with today.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 51:02 You know what. Go and pursue the life that God has called you to live if you are not. Here’s what I will tell you if you did not wake up this morning without an alarm clock because you were so freakin excited to start your day then ask yourself why. What is it that you would. What is it that you would need to change in your life. What would you need to start doing in your life. Or what do you need to stop doing in your life that would get you so fired up that tomorrow morning you’d get out of bed without an alarm clock you were so excited to get started? And then whatever comes to your mind whatever you need to start doing and stop doing.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 51:41 Make a plan to start doing it or make a plan to stop doing it. That’s what I would encourage you to do.
Doug Smith: 51:48 I love that. And can you just mention, I know we talked about the Next Level Mastermind we talked about the next several workshop. How else can people connect with you and what you’re doing and offering?
Cliff Ravenscraft: 51:56 Well my name is Cliff Ravenscraft. Everything I just mentioned and so much more at Cliffravenscraft.com
Doug Smith: 52:08 That’s great. Thank you so much for your time today Cliff really appreciate it and thanks for all the value out of people everywhere.
Cliff Ravenscraft: 52:13 Thank you. Doug, man, It’s been a great honor.
Doug Smith: 52:18 Hey everyone thanks you so much for listening to our interview with Cliff. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. You can find ways to connect with him and links to everything that we discussed in the show notes at L3leadership.com/episode 212. I want to thank our sponsor Henne Jewelers, there a jeweler and by my friend and mentor John Henne my wife Laura and I got our engagement and wedding rings through many jewelers and we just think they’re an incredible company. Not only do they have great jewelry but they also invest in people. In fact, they give every engaged couple a book to help them prepare for their marriage. And we just love that. If you’re in need of a good jeweler check out Hennejewlers.com you can also stay up to date with everything we’re doing here at L3 leadership by signing up for our e-mail list.
Doug Smith: 52:57 In fact when you sign up for our email list on our website you’ll get a free copy of my ebook. Making the most of mentoring which is my step by step process for getting and cultivating mentoring relationships with leaders and I think to add a ton of value to your life so make sure you download that and as always I like to end with the quote and I quote Craig Groeschel today. Craig said this he said we can make excuses or we can make progress but we can’t make both. I’ll say that again we can make excuses or we can make progress but we can’t make both. Love it. Thank you so much for listening and being a part of L3 leadership. Laura and I appreciate you so much and we will talk to you next episode.