Today I’m honored to interview Craig Clemens. I’ve known Craig for more than five years now, and we share something interesting in common – we both have mentored with Eben Pagan.
In case you don’t know, Eben is my mentor and business partner. He’s built 10 businesses and brands to the million-dollar mark and beyond. And he’s sold well over $100 million of his products and services – all online.
Craig got to work with Eben in the early days and went on to create massive success for himself. He’s now one of the world’s most successful copywriters – selling over a billion dollars of products. And his company is one of the most successful health supplement companies today.
Listen in as he shares the key lessons that have helped him achieve so much … all before the age of 40!
In today’s episode:
- How Craig went from being a telemarketer, barely scraping by, to building one of the most dominant health supplement companies today
- The one thing you need to know when you’re creating a new business
- Why small details and nuances matter (and how they can help you convert more prospects into buyers)
- The prank call that got Craig his first “real” job in internet marketing and gave him the solid foundation he needed to go on to succeed in business
- Why learning marketing and sales is similar to learning to play a musical instrument
- Why the advice to “hustle, hustle, hustle” is wrong
- How to get past fear
- How to use a 60-day challenge to transform every area of your life
James Mel: Hey everybody, welcome to the Get Ahead Podcast, I’m James Mel. On this podcast what I do is I find successful entrepreneurs and I dig deep to uncover the strategies, the mindsets, the techniques and other things they’ve done to get ahead in their life and their business so you can do the same. I know if you’re here you’re a high achiever. I know you want to get ahead. That’s a topic I’ve been obsessed with my entire life, and that’s what I want to help you do. Is uncover the different strategies and the techniques you need to be able to do that to get ahead in your own life. Make sure to grab a pen, a paper, or something to take notes with because as we uncover these golden nuggets, you’re going to want to write them down.
Now before we jump in into today’s episode, I have something really special to give you as a free gift. Like any successful person, I’ve got a mentor and I’ve had one for over 10 years. It turns out that he’s also my business partner. His name’s Eben Pagan, and he’s written a book on opportunity. Now if you want to get ahead in your life and your business, it’s super important that you not only know how to spot opportunity, but you know how to take advantage of it. That’s what this entire book is about. I’d like to give you a free copy, not only that, I’d like to ship it to you absolutely free. You get a free copy, and you get it shipped to you absolutely free.
The way you can get this is go to www.jamesmel.com/opportunity. It’s all on me. Go there now, grab your copy, you’ll be glad you did. All right, without further ado, let’s jump into today’s episode.
Welcome to another episode of the Get Ahead Podcast. I am super excited, super excited for today’s episode. I’ve got the one and only Craig Clemens, commonly known as the doctor. Craig is a special guy, both in business and in personal life. We’ve known each other I don’t know for how long, probably five maybe more than that years. Craig is one of the world’s highest selling copywriters, probably the highest selling, but we’re going to be modest here. Over a billion dollars in sales. I don’t even know how to calculate that, but it’s a lot.
What’s really impressive is that his video advertisements, something he specializes in have gotten over 100 million views each. His company right now is fast growing over 1,000 team members and growing. Amazing job Craig. So excited to have you here, welcome.
Craig Clemens: Thanks James, great to be here. Always a pleasure to talk to you, someone I learn something new from every time you and I chat. Excited to dive in.
James Mel: Yes, so the first question is, how do you get started? How do you build something like that? I can’t even comprehend those numbers, but where did it all begin?
Craig Clemens: How far back do I want to go, I guess is the question. This company started in 2010, and it was just me and my two brothers and another guy names Josh working out of an apartment. We had a woman who was virtual that did customer support for us, and we started off selling courses much like the Eben Pagan model. For those who don’t know, Eben was my first mentor, I was very fortunate to work at his early company Hot Topic Media for five years, which was kind of like my college education. When Eben and I parted ways, we started this company, my brothers and Josh and I. We started selling our dating products. We had fitness products as well. Things around men’s health and self-improvement, and I remember stuffing CDs and envelopes in our apartment during our first launch to get them out. That’s where it all began in this era. Before that began in the boiler rooms of telemarketing world selling tools, industrial supplies, weird shit like that back when I was like in my early 20s and trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life.
James Mel: Well, you mentioned that when you first started this company, you were stuffing some of the envelopes yourself. When it comes to getting head, one of the things I found is just how you’ve got to be willing to do whatever it takes. I see that pattern with you there with being willing to stuff the envelopes yourself. What are some of the other things you’ve done at the early stages that you feel maybe not a lot of other people would do or they don’t know about that helped you really get ahead?
Craig Clemens: Well, I think you have to know every part of the customer experience when you’re creating a new business. Today with direct to consumer that involves knowing every part of the online experience, from how to buy media on Google AdWords or the social networks or the native networks. How to create a piece of media that gets a click, so that would be a banner ad or an article they want to read. Perhaps it’s a quiz, whatever it is to grab attention, knowing ever part of that.
You don’t necessarily have to know how to build the shopping cart or the website yourself, but you have to know the full customer experience. I think that’s critical, and I think that is one of the biggest ways I see businesses failing is they have great ideas and they try to outsource the customer experience to an agency. Or try to hire a marketer, which if you can find the right marketer to work for you, it’s great. They’re just so hard to find, because most marketers come from the traditional background of learning how to brand and splash money around buying billboards and commercials and shit like that. Not how to actually take somebody who has never heard of the product or service before and turn them into a fanatical customer.
I think if you want to build a big business, while in the future you can be the CEO with the vision and have people carrying it out and never have to work in the marketing, in the beginning you should learn how to buy media, what type of things people click on, how to do AB testing, how to get people to sign up and take actions whether it’s an email address, whether it’s buying your product, whether it’s leaving you a comment or even asking for a follow or a share. I think you have to have a basic understanding of how to grab customers or you’re not going to be able to oversee someone else doing it for you. You’re going to hire that agency and you won’t be able to tell if they’re doing it right or just wasting your money if you don’t have a basic understanding of how to do it yourself.
James Mel: It’s so true and I found that to be true as I built my real estate business, and investing is at the very beginning I was doing everything myself. The whole I guess you could say 10 inch journey back then. Posting the ads to find the tenants, showing up with them doing the walkthrough, signing the lease, getting the check, knowing all of it. Then as my portfolio started to expand, I was of the higher property manager, but I knew all the ins and outs.
Craig Clemens: Amazing.
James Mel: It really helped me get ahead. Now something else, I mean, you’re the world’s best copywriter right now. Often times we hear about copywriting as salesmanship in print, and I know that’s where you got started. That was one of the big things that helped me get ahead is way back when in college, I went door to door for a couple years to develop my sales skills. How did that first experience shape your career?
Craig Clemens: Well, when you’re doing telemarketing, you have to speak on average 200 people a day. 190 of them are going to tell you to fuck off. The subtle things that get you that extra 30 seconds to make your pitch are really important, and it’s vocal inflections or changing single words that you might not think had a difference. Like whether to refer the person by their first name or to call them Mr or Mrs, and the pauses that you make and how soon you tell them about what you’re selling them. Or do you ask them how they’re doing first. It’s all these little things. You’re really running split tests with each phone call to figure out what works and what doesn’t. You get inside the customer’s head and find out that at the end of the day it’s a person on the other end of the line, and you have to connect with that person.
That’s something I think a lot of copywriters miss. As I work with my team of copywriters, I’ll see them writing material that just doesn’t sound like a one on one conversation. It’s just like you’re too salesy, or too technical. It’ll sound too much like a textbook, which no one speaks like a textbook. They speak in short sentences and they wait for the other person to respond and they tell stories that get attention instead of just spitting facts and figures at someone. I think the telemarketing was valuable because it taught me that on the other end of the line, there was a person there. If you don’t connect with them personally, you’re fucked.
When you’re sending out a sales letter, the thing I loved about the sales letter existence so to speak. I came from this world, I was having to pick up the phone and dial 200 people a day. Then when I met Eben who’s both of our mentors as some of the listeners know, he showed me about this thing called marketing, and then I could take that same script I was telling people on the phone. I could write it down, and I could stick it in the mail box or on the web, and these 200 people times a thousand or a million would be able to read it. I wouldn’t have to pick up the phone anymore, not to mention make a whole lot more sales. That was a fascinating discovery for me because I’d been doing the salesmanship and then putting it into print or into text or in a video was such a high leverage point.
James Mel: It’s amazing and it’s one of the things and the patterns I’ve noticed about really getting ahead and really trying to find your way and find that breakthrough skillset or breakthrough business or whatever it is if that’s what you’re interested in. I mean we can trace a lot of your success back to that phone room and doing those sales, and you stuck with it. You figured it out and then that led to your next big endeavor, which was learning marketing from Eben. Then you’ve developed that skill to now the point where you’re doing these video sales letters that are getting 100 million views. You’ve stayed consistent with it like the whole time. I really see that as being one of the patterns that helps people get ahead because these days especially I mean you would know better than anybody that attention is just such a rare commodity. People jump from one thing to the next, next what’s the next shiny object.
Craig Clemens: Yeah, definitely. I feel like that the listeners to this would probably appreciate the story of how Eben and I connected since a lot of the folks that are going to listen to this know Eben and have been through his work.
James Mel: Yeah. How did it happen?
Craig Clemens: Well, it kind of started in one of those telemarketing rooms. Have you heard the story before? I’m just curious.
James Mel: I don’t… All I know is that you were doing phone sales and you were in a hard situation and then you made it happen. What is the story? I don’t think I know it.
Craig Clemens: Yeah, so I was in a really tight spot. I had been bouncing from one telemarketing job to another. I had one where I made a little bit of money. I made $40,000 and I was 21 years old, so I was rich. I got paid as a contractor, so I got all the cash and they didn’t take taxes out of my paychecks. My hometown where I lived was super boring, so I wanted to get out. I moved down to San Diego and I couldn’t take the job with me. I tried, I tried to do it from home. I remember the first day I had the phone line installed in my house, this business phone line. Someone called it like 6:30 AM and I was 21 years old, I was going out to the bars every night and shit. The phone rung in my bedroom because I had a bedroom in someone else’s house. I was like, “Fuck this. This is not going to work out. I’m not going to wake up at 6:00 AM and have a business conversation with somebody.” My hours then were 10:00 AM to 7:00 or something. I worked the late shift, so I didn’t have to wake up early.
Bounced around from all these telemarketing jobs. I couldn’t find one where I made any money after that. The most I made after that was like $20,000 in a year. I started spending the money I had saved for taxes, and I got in a real pickle man. Then I burned through that as well. This is the point where I was like really broke. I remember I worked at this company that had a McDonald’s across the street and I would cut out the dollar off coupon and I’d go to McDonald’s and use the dollar off coupon to get the two cheese burger value meal. Other days I remember like praying that the bosses would be in a good mood and do like a Friday pizza where they would pay for the $16 pizzas so I didn’t have to come out of pocket for lunch that day.
We would do these phone calls all day long and then at the end of the day we kind of got bored and then we would do prank calls. You can imagine, someone who’s talking on the phone all day long gets pretty good at doing prank calls. I worked with some characters man, and the prank calling that would go on in these rooms was epic. Have you ever worked at telemarketing, James?
James Mel: I have never done telemarketing, no.
Craig Clemens: Okay, well you are missing out my friend [inaudible 00:14:06] because it’s a wild time. One of the things that’s fun about telemarketing is that it’s always setup so everyone in the office can hear your phone call. You’ll be on the phone and it’s not a speaker phone, you’ll have the headset, but there will be a speaker box on top of your desk. That’s so the supervisor can walk around and monitor calls. They will actually come and tell you what to say, it’s called feeding you lines. If they hear you’re struggling with a sale, they’ll come up and be like, “Say this,” and you have to say exactly what they say. Actually I used to fuck with junior people when I know that they were losing a sale. They’d be on the phone and they’d be pitching some drill bits to somebody. They’d be like, “Sir, you know these drill beats, there’s 38 of them, there made of carbon steel. They’ll drill through anything out there.” The guy would be like, “I don’t know if I need any drill beats today.”
Then I’d come over and I’d go like this, pointing my eyes, pointing their eyes and that’s the universal signal that they have to listen to you as the supervisor. Then they’d have to repeat what I say, then I’d be like, “Sir, I even had one customer.” Then the young telemarketer would be like, “Sir I even had one customer.” “Use these drills beats.” “Use these drill beats.” “To drill a hole in his own ass.” They’d be like, “To drill a hole in his own ass,” because they’d have to say it.
James Mel: Oh no, no.
Craig Clemens: Wild times man, wild times, and there was a prank call that we invented to use on other people. We’d only prank call our friends really, and friends of friends. James, for the sake of this story, let me have the name please of your last ex-girlfriend before your current.
James Mel: It would be Amanda.
Craig Clemens: Amanda okay great. I would call you up but it wouldn’t be me, because you wouldn’t recognize the voice. I’d be like, “Hey James, this is Steve Johnson of Longitude International, the revolutionary penis enlargement pill. Guaranteed to add one to two inches in length then at least an inch of girth within 30 days. James, I’m calling you right now because we’re having a two for one special. I’d like to send you out some to try and here’s the deal. If you don’t look down after seven days and see more length and girth where it counts, then James you don’t pay a cent. If you do you get billed for just one bottle and you have a 60 day supply. James man to man I know we can all benefit from a little more length and girth, so just tell me your address and I’ll send them out. What’s the best shipping address for you?”
James Mel: You want me to give you my shipping address? Yeah, send them here.
Craig Clemens: Well, most of the time people would be like, “I don’t need that shit, I’m good.” I’d be like, “Well, James, I know you don’t need this stuff. I mean, obviously you would have found them by now. You would have found my company if you needed them. I’m calling you because we’re having a special, this stuff really works.” I’m like, “Who couldn’t use a little bit more length and girth where it counts? I mean I take these myself. I think I’ll just send them out to you to try. If you like them, great, if not, I’ll be out of your hair.” The person will be like, “No thanks, but I appreciate the call.” “Okay, well James, I wasn’t actually supposed to tell you this, but actually James you were referred to us. Does the name Amanda ring any bells?”
James Mel: No.
Craig Clemens: You may be like, “Oh shit, my address is 3410 Kill Drive,” and then you put their friend back on the line. They’d let them know that they’ve been pranked. Good times. I was getting really good at this prank call and I hadn’t spoken to Eben in about a year. We knew each other, we met like couple times through mutual friends, and so I wanted to prank Eben. Because if you know Eben, getting Eben to say yes to penis enlargement pills would have been a great accomplishment.
I called up Eben, the whole office is listening on the speaker box and I say, “Hey Eben, this is Steve Johnson with Longitudinal International, the revolutionary penis enlargement pill.” He goes, “Is this Craig?” I’m like, “Oh fuck, you recognize my voice.” I didn’t get to sell him any penis pills that day, but we did get to talking and he told me about his new business he was doing. He said, he’d written this ebook on how to meet women and get dates, it was called Double Your Dating.
He was selling it online and making some money, and I said, “What is an ebook?” He said, “Well it is an electronic file that you send someone that contains the information.” I was like, “Do you charge money for this?” He’s like, “Yeah, it’s $29.95.” I was like, “Wait a second, so you ask people for money and you don’t even send them a book?” He’s like, “No, no, it’s a ebook.” I was like, “Dude you’re going to jail man, that sounds like one of these internet scams I’ve been hearing about.”
He goes, “Okay, well say what you want I made $4,000 selling those ebooks last month.” I was like, “Oh okay,” that got my attention because I hadn’t seen $4,000 in a long time. I talked to him a month later James and he tells me he had sold $17,000 worth of ebooks the previous month. The next month I check in with him, he said he’d sold $70,000 [crosstalk 00:19:36]. I said, “All right, man, I’m coming to work for you. I’ll shine your shoes, I’ll get your coffee. Whatever you need me to do, clean your car, I just want to know how you’re selling these ebooks.” He was like, “Ha-ha-ha very funny. Let’s hang out sometime but no thanks.”
James Mel: Oh wow.
Craig Clemens: I was like okay back to smiling and dialing on the phones. I went on his website and it wasn’t even a real website. It was like a single page and it said, “You’re about to learn secrets most men will never know about women.” Then it had like five bullet points of things you’ll learn, like where to take your girl for the first date or how to get a girl’s phone number without rejection. I was like, “Okay, I want to know these things,” and it asked for an email address. I put my name and email address kind of like as a spy and then I started getting these email newsletters. The newsletters were really good, it was really interesting dating tips. I was reading them and I was like, “You know I could write this shit.”
I remembered at that point that Eben had told me every time one of these newsletters went out, he did an additional $4,000 in sales. I was like, “If I could write one of these a week out of the three he sends out, then I could get him to give me 10% of those sales, that would be 400 bucks a week.” That would be life changing money for me, that would pay my car payment. That would pay my rent. I might even have a little bit left over for taxes. That was my plan, and I sat down one night and I wrote one of these letters. I tried to write it in his specific voice. I remember it was a challenge for me then because the way he wrote it was very unique. It did sound like a conversation instead of a normal newsletter or article. I tried to write it in this conversational style, which I had never seen before. Then he signed every email at the bottom, “Your friend, David D.” Do you remember that James [crosstalk 00:21:32]-
James Mel: I’ve seen a few of those, yeah.
Craig Clemens: Okay, so I sign mine, your friend Craig C. I remember it was called Two Tips To Kiss a Girl. I sent it to Eben and a couple days later I got a reply and it said, “Okay, now we can talk.” I was like, okay great. We got on the phone and Eben offers me a job at $3,000 a month, which was incredible money for me at the time. I actually didn’t start off as a copywriter, I started off doing customer support, but it wasn’t customer support like help me download my ebook. It was like the guys who would write it and be like, “Hey, I am 35 years old and just got divorced, I’m getting back in the game. Will this book help me?” Or a guy that would write in like, “I’m a 22 year old virgin, will this book help me?” I would write those guys back and I’d be like, “Well, on page 39 there’s a [crosstalk 00:22:23] that’ll boost your inner game if you use it every morning.” It was kind of like doing the phone sales, but inbox and via email.
I got to learn about all the customers needs and wants. It was a new part of the customer experience I got to learn. If you think about that piece of advice, I was suggesting when we first started this podcast about getting to know the customer experience, that’s one of the most important parts is to know what the customer is looking for. One of the best ways to do it is by speaking to them. Reading the customer, support emails that come in or actually taking those customer support calls yourself, doing user groups, or just going around and talking to them. There’s a new skincare brand that’s blowing up, it’s called Glossier. Have you heard of it?
James Mel: I haven’t, no.
Craig Clemens: It’s a brand, it’s been around for three or four years and they just raise money in a billion dollar evaluation. All the young girls are all over this thing and the founder’s been on the cover of Forbes. It’s a great brand, and they started doing direct to consumer but then they launched into doing popup stores. They launched one in Melrose, a hot west Hollywood where I live. I’m in the skincare and beauty business. I have a couple of brands that [crosstalk 00:23:30] similar products. I wanted to see what the buzz was about, and I was down getting a coffee next door. I see this huge line of young girls outside of the store.
I go up and I started talking to them. I was with my wife, so didn’t look that creepy. 40 year old guy talking to all these young girls, but I was with my wife. I was like, “Hey, what is this store?” They’d be like, “Oh it’s Glossier, it’s cosmetics beauty stuff.” I was like, “Oh really, how did you find out about it?” They were like, “On Instagram.” “Is there a product that you’re going to buy or you’re just going to look at the store?” I was getting this information, I was just finding out what was going on. What sparked that interest in their minds, and then I’m logging all that and thinking, how can I apply that to my own brands.
Eben put me in that, he probably knew what he was doing. He’s a genius on many different levels, and then I also was getting link partners for us. Back in the day, if you wanted to increase your ranking on Google, you would have other sites linked to you and you could link to them. I would write other people who had a women’s dating advice site, and I’d be like, “Hey, you want to trade links?” They’d say, “Yes,” and so that’s what I did my first job in online marketing.
I worked there for, shoot, maybe year and a half, two years before he gave me a shot at writing copy, but I’d been reading all the books and studying the Gary Halbert newsletters and things like that. Then one day he says, “Go sit in the back of a seminar. We’re doing a seminar on online dating. I want you to write bullets to put in the sales letter,” and bullets are those teasers that get people excited. Like seven words to put in your online dating profile that get women to email you fast, shit like that. I didn’t know how to write bullets very well at the time, but I wrote as many as I could. I remember the guy who was Eben’s acting CEO at the time, a guy named Rob, who I’m sure you know.
James Mel: Yeah.
Craig Clemens: Rob Kelly awesome guy. I was like, “You know, before I send these to Eben I’m going to send them to Rob to see if Rob thinks they’re good.” Because I had 60 of them, and I wanted to send 20 to Eben. I was like, let me have Rob pick out. I’m like, “Rob, here’s the bullets. I highlighted the ones I like, but let me know maybe you like some of the others.” He wrote me back and he’s like, “Hey man, I’ve got to be honest with you, I don’t really like any of these. They need some work.” I was like, “Shit, at least I sent it Rob and not to Eben.”
I went back to work and what I did the next time is I went and looked at bullets written by John Carlton who’s one of the greatest copywriters of all time as well as Yanik Silver who’s another amazing entrepreneur, writes really good bullets. I looked at the formulas they used for their bullets to sell like online courses and things like that. Then I would convert them to dating. Say John would have a bullet that would be like, the one word sentence to put on your order page that doubles the amount of people that buy your product. I would look at the seminar content that Eben put and I’d be like, “Okay, the simple sentence to put in your email to a woman when you write her that doubles your chances of getting a reply.” I just looked at the formulas and then I started applying those formulas to the content.
Then once I had mastered the formula and the structure, I started to be able to create my own. It’s funny I was talking to Eben about how he learned to play the guitar, for those that don’t know Eben used to be a touring rock star.
James Mel: Hair down to his waist, right?
Craig Clemens: Yeah, and he told me that when he learned to play a music instrument it’s similar, you start off by playing other people’s music, observe patterns and the things you do to make it sound good. Then once you get that down, then you can start writing your own music, and it’ll sound better than if you just go from scratch unless you’re Mozart or someone like that.
James Mel: Yeah, wow, what a great story. What I think about when I hear that Craig is how many times you had to face rejection. I’m just thinking about it with in you mentioned when you were doing the phone sales and you just face it, 90% there. Then even when you got the opportunity with Eben at first he was like, “No, funny joke. You’re not going to come work,” but you kept at it. What’s your mindset on rejection? And how does somebody… I know we’re all afraid of that, but how do you think about it?
Craig Clemens: This is a great question. I have a lot of interesting thoughts. There’s so many people talking these days that you’ve got to be a hustler, and you’ve got to take 100 nos. You’ve got to keep fighting, and overcome this rejection. I think for the most part that that advice is wrong. I think that hustling is overrated, and the reason why is because I think a lot of people are hustling and taking the rejections of an idea that actually sucks, and they’re pushing it too hard.
You could argue back that someone probably said that to Steve Jobs when he talked about the iPhone. Yeah this did, and probably say it to him. There are exceptions, but the way I think you should approach it is, when you know you have a winner and all evidence points that your thing is going to be a tested winner. Whether that tested winner is pursuing a career in something like computer programming, there is a lot of fucking very successful computer programmers. You know that that is a winning career that you can work towards and have a amazing living and make an impact.
Copywriting for me was that thing. I knew by seeing that copywriting was a career that you could make a really great living doing. People had done it before me who could make an impact by getting people to believe in new things that would change their lives. When I saw that that was something that had an extremely high likelihood of success, I was like, “Okay, I’m not going to let anything get in my way, I’m going to go and do this thing.” Actually I will say I didn’t really know what copywriting was when I first sent that Eben email, but I knew online marketing. I was like, “Okay, online marketing is a thing. This telemarketing thing sucks right now.” I’d tried five telemarketing jobs at that point in the last two years. I couldn’t make any money in any of them, and I was a pretty good salesman.
I was like this online marketing thing, this is a guy I know, a smart guy Eben. I knew he was successful in real estate before this. Now he’s doing this online marketing thing. This is something, I know there’s something there, so I’m going to go for it because this is going to be something big. I see people taking that same mentality though with things that are not proven. Like for example, hangover cures is something that people ask me, a couple times a year, someone will say, “Hey, I’m starting a new business. This is the new hangover cure.” I say, “Okay well, before you do that, look around, has there been a really successful hangover cure?” There has not, there never has been a hangover cure that has stood the test of time. I’ve got a few different ideas of why that’s so, mainly because it’s hard to compete with aspirin, ibuprofen, and caffeine. Plus you’re competing with someone’s laziness. They have to get out of bed to go buy it.
People will just go for it. Somebody will be like, “No, mine is the best.” There’s no need and desire in the market. Whereas, if something is proven, and you know there’s need and desire in the market. I think that really justifies that relentless attitude going towards it. I would say that before someone starts hustling and grinding in something, make sure there is proof of concept to get you to the goals that you want. So, for example, Gary V. talks a lot now about how people should go to garage sales and find stuff and then resell it on eBay and Amazon to make money.
I think that’s a great idea to make some extra income. And I bet if you do that every weekend, you know you could turn that into something that would make you like a decent amount of income that is your own business. But if you want to be a fucking multimillionaire, it’s not something where there’s proven examples. If your goal is to be a multimillionaire, then you should not be hustling every weekend at garage sales. You should be looking at something else that has made multiple other people, multimillionaires. Whether it’s starting a e-commerce site, or doing real estate investing or an info product business, where there’s tons of case studies and be like, “Okay, that matches my goals. I can become a multimillionaire doing this, so I’m going to hustle the hell out of becoming the next big info product business, or the next great real estate investor,” or something like that.
I think you have to look for that potential to hit the target that is a proven path to your goals and desire. So write down your goals and desires, and think about is there a clear path from what my idea to these goals and desires? And if there isn’t, I mean, yeah, maybe you’re Steve Jobs, and you will get there anyway. Maybe he’s a bad example because he probably… He got into computers, and he was like, everyone needs one of these things. So there was a clear path. But I think the best way to become successful is not by reinventing the wheel. It’s about finding a proven path to success, and then you start hustling.
James Mel: It’s such a good point, and when I deconstruct my own success, I just realized it took the same approach, you just articulate so much better, because when I started making a bit of money early in my career, I was like, “What do I do with this?” I looked around and most people, 90% of people I knew, and friends, they would just go invest in the stock market or mutual funds. That never made sense to me because I always heard the stock market, it’s a rig, big casino, and you don’t have any control over it. I remember reading a quote, “Don’t think you can outsmart the market.” I was like, “All right, I let my ego take a little boost. I’m not going to beat the market.” But then I met a couple people in the city I lived that did real estate investing, and they were all really well off. And I was like, “That’s who I want to be like.”
And so, although I’m not a handy person or knew anything about tools, or carpentry, I was like, “I’m going to figure out real estate investing.” Similar to how you approached marketing. You didn’t know anything about marketing, bullets, this, that, but you’re just like, wow, you saw the potential with what Eben was doing. Then you’re like, “I’m going to figure this out.” Read the books, wrote the bullets went to the seminars.
Craig Clemens: Yeah, definitely. And you knew that there have been other multimillionaire real estate investors. You knew that in the info product space there was a model of success right next to you. Eben Pagan, one of the most successful in the space of all time. And so, that allowed you to see, “Okay, this can get me to my goal.” So then it makes sense for you to go deep on that. Whereas with like some people that they just come up with something off their ass, and I think the key is to test it. I think of someone who did come up with something that was completely revolutionary that did become a fucking billionaire from is Guy Laliberte with Cirque du Soleil.
James Mel: Yeah, right.
Craig Clemens: He was the first to combine circus and theater. He was able to test it because he could do a small show and see if people signed up. When he would do the small shows, and then get a huge response, then he was like, “Okay, I got something here.” I don’t want to discourage crazy ideas. But what I do want to say is, make sure you can test them along the way to get proof of concept that there is a market for what you are trying to create, and a rabid market, and a big market if your goal is to create a big customer base, which would be a big amount of wealth for yourself. Some people don’t want to create a big business, which is great. If you want to be the world’s top guinea pig trainer, and have 1000 people who look to you every month for guinea pig training tips and advice, and they maybe pay you 50 bucks a month to do it, and you’ve got a great lifestyle, business making six figures a year, and you get to work with the guinea pigs that you love, by all means do it.
It’s okay to have a small business, but before you go pursue that, make sure there’s some interest in guinea pig training. You’re not going to probably find that, that applies to all animals, so just test it before you go all the way in
James Mel: It’s so good because that’s… Even though I didn’t know anything about real estate I’m just thinking back to my journey with that. What I told myself was I was like, “I don’t know anything about this, I don’t know if it’s going to work out, but I’m going to give it my all, and I’m going to buy one property. If it doesn’t work out, you know what at least and I tried and I can sell it probably in five years, and breakeven worst case scenario, but if it does work then I’m just going to scale this to the moon,” and that’s exactly what happened. I realized kind of like what you just said. I essentially tested it. So yeah, really good advice there.
There was something else I want to ask you about Craig too is, I know, I see you doing all sorts of, I mean, you could say crazy stuff jumping out of planes, helicopters, bungee, all this sort of stuff. But I noticed you don’t do that for… Maybe you do, a little bit of the thrill, but you always talk about overcoming your fears. I’d love to get your thoughts on that because I know even for myself sometimes I got fear of success. I got of fear failure. I think we all… It’s a big thing that can hold us back from getting ahead. How do you think about fear, and what are some of the things you do to overcome it?
Craig Clemens: You’re so right in that, that is the reason why I think these things are important. I think that you as a human are built with this crazy fear responder that can hold you back in so many ways. It can literally make you it’s bitch, and you see extreme examples of I guess OCD folks are just afraid that the sky is going to fall around them. But I like to do these bungee jumps to just feel that super intense fear rush. It’s a fuck you. Give it a middle finger and jump anyways. I always make it my goal when I do a bungee jump to have a feeling as soon as my feet leave that platform of freedom from the fear. I want as soon as I’m off that platform to say, “Okay, I have conquered you, and I’m going to enjoy this ride now the rest of the way down.”
That is usually a goal I can achieve until the rope stops bouncing and then you’re hanging there and you’re like, “Fuck, okay, now I got to get back up there and there’s way down there, and there’s this little thing here and shit. Get me back up. [inaudible 00:39:16].”
James Mel: Oh wow. Yeah, I can’t imagine. I’ve never bungee jumped or skydived yet. So, I can only imagine, but it’s… Like what you said there about leaning into your fear, and something I found is that whenever I get that response come up for me usually it means I’m heading in the right direction because we all know growth happens outside of your comfort zone. So, instead I’ve used it as my barometer for success to know when I get that fear of going to go do something, it means I know I’m on the right track.
Craig Clemens: So, true. I think you need to train yourself to overcome fear, overcome laziness, overcome resistance, overcome procrastination. And so, I will use that to win the war in my mind, that same concept. If I wake up one day, and I’m like, “It’s a nice day to go for a run.” Then there’s another part of me that’s like, “Oh, you got a lot of work to do today, and you hit the gym yesterday, so you can skip today.” That’s why I have to run today. It’s because of that voice that just gave me that line of bullshit. Now I have to run today, no matter fucking what or that voice of laziness wins.
James Mel: Totally. So last question here Craig is say somebody is, they’re motivated, they’re committed they really want to get ahead in their life, what are three action steps you would give somebody that you found to work for you?
Craig Clemens: Let me clarify, get ahead how? Business, are we talking personally or what is the outcome they desire? Well, and actually that can be a first step to the folks at home. Don’t just think I want to be successful. Think like, what is the concrete example? What does success look like to you? Does it look like being in great shape and having seven figures in your bank account, and a beautiful wife and kids? Or is it being able to travel the world and just like afford the clothing on your back and not have to answer to anybody and be a nomad? Or is it being able to live 120 because you eat the best diet and have the best workout routine and bio hack yourself to longevity? What is success? I’ll ask you, James, is there a specific thing you want me to answer that question to?
James Mel: Not so much as… I mean, I feel like I love that, and I think it’s so important to get clear about what does success look like before you get started on anything, but it could be relating to your life, or what you found that really helped you get ahead because we have all these domains. Like you mentioned, whether it’s health, relationships, money, business, and if there’s been any pattern that you found when you’re like, “All right, I’m going to go do this thing. I really want to get ahead in it. Maybe it’s my relationship, maybe it’s my business.” What sort of system if you have any that you’ve used?
Craig Clemens: Yeah, so I’ve done a ton of different things over the years, and the beauty and stress of life is that none of them ever work for a long time. You’re always going to have to reprogram, you’re always going to have to find another solution, you’re always going to have to find a new way of self management, and as soon as you master one thing about yourself, you’re going to have something else that just flares up that you didn’t notice before because you [inaudible 00:43:05] that you want to work on. So, I think just making the brain dump list of what are the areas in my life where I am not giving it my all, where I’m not being my best self. Maybe it’s diet, maybe it’s workout maybe it’s procrastination and not bringing the amount of hours you want to work. Maybe it’s not talking to experts. Maybe it’s still hanging out with the beer drinking buddies who aren’t doing shit, and you should be surrounding yourself with other like minded folks with at least a good chunk of your time.
So, doing the brain dump list of every area you think you can improve, and then take those and make little ticks off and say, “What can I do to improve this?” And write down action steps. Then you have all of the action steps and you’ll have 50 things you can do, because we all have 10 ways we can improve our health, and 10 ways we can improve our circle, and 10 things we could do better about time management, or whatever. Pick a few to concentrate on and give yourself a challenge. I like to do the 60 day challenges, and I think 60 days is important because I’ve found if I do something for 30 days, they say 30 days or 27 days or some shit makes a habit. I don’t think that’s real. I think maybe it’s real if it’s talking about brushing your teeth or something like that.
When I’ve tried to really create behavior change in myself and I do a 30 day, 30 days is too short because you can see the end is near. I’ll be like, “Okay, I’m going to stop drinking for 30 days.” And then on week two I’m like, “Okay, only 14 days left, I can do this. I can make it to the end.” Then I get to the end and I’ll just go fucking crazy because you had this period of deprivation instead of a period when you have to face real change. I think 60 days makes you have to face real change because I did this to myself for drinking.
I used to have a very bad binge drinking program, and actually the reason they call me the doctor, James, is not because I’m a copy doctor. It’s because I used to drink so much that I would turn into a different person. More of a Dr. Jekyll of Mr. Hyde. So, I gave myself a 60 day challenge, and I remember being at the two week mark of this challenge, or even the three week mark and be like, “Fuck, there’s so much time left in this commitment I’ve made to stop drinking that I need to… I can’t do the countdown. I need to actually figure out how to live without alcohol. I need to figure out how to have a happy life.” The thing about 60 days and not drinking also is you’re always going to have one big party day in there. It’s always going to cover a Halloween or a Super Bowl Sunday or New Year’s Eve or some time when you’re really used to going for it. It’s always going to fall into the 60 day period when you’re a party animal like I used to be.
You’re just forced to adapt. You’re like, “Okay, I’m going to go out on New Year’s Eve. I’m not going to be able to drink. What am I going to do instead?” Well, I should have a soda and lime, so I have something in my hand. Maybe I shouldn’t go out. Maybe I should take this New Year’s and go on a solo camping trip in the mountains with just me and a journal and test myself. And that’s maybe a better way of doing it. Then in the future, when you’re thinking about what to do to stay on it, then you have developed tools for sustainable success. Instead of being like, “Okay, I’m just going to wait till this is over. I’m just going to count down and [inaudible 00:46:35].” You’re actually building a sustainable thing.
So, 60 day challenge. I wrote a blog about if you go to Medium and search my name, Craig Clemens at Medium you can find my blog called 60 days to excellence where I wrote about my drinking problem, and how I did the 60 day challenge. I do not reveal the source of the doctor nickname in there though. This is the only time I’ve ever revealed it in public, just for your listeners, James.
James Mel: I love it. I love it. That’s awesome. So, basically, your system is write down all the areas you can improve in your life and you do that inventory every once in a while, then you pick one and you create a 60 day challenge and you find out what you’re going to do instead of what the old behavior was.
Craig Clemens: Yeah, exactly. And some of them are smaller, and you can do multiple small ones at a time, but if you’re going after a big one like diet, drinking, any addiction, or procrastination. That’s what I’m working with now is I need to be writing two hours a day and it’s hard to get myself to do that and I have the all these great excuses of, I need to do these meetings. I’m going to skip my… fuck up my workouts or whatever, but it’s about committing to it during the amount of time that makes it a forced lifestyle change.
James Mel: Yeah, I love it. 60 days, I’ve learned something with that because you hear 30 days all the time. So, that’s a good point.
Craig Clemens: Yeah, do it man. Let me know how it goes. If you’re listening at home, I’d love to hear about people taking the 60 day challenge for something and seeing the success [crosstalk 00:48:09].
James Mel: That’s awesome. You can follow Craig on Instagram at simply Craig.
Craig Clemens: That’s right, C-R-A-I-G.
James Mel: Simple. Craig, thanks so much for joining us here. This was incredible, and super inspiring to hear your story, hear your insights, and a lot of fun too.
Craig Clemens: Thanks, man. Always great to chat with you, James. And looking forward to doing it again soon. Hopefully in person.
James Mel: Totally.
Craig Clemens: All right, my man. Enjoy the rest your day.
James Mel: Thanks, Craig. All right. Take care. Well, I hope you love this week’s episode. If you did, tell your friends, that would be a huge favor for me, and it can help build this community, and we can all get ahead. Something I’d like to do is give you a special gift. It turns out that one of the ways to get ahead is to be able to find, spot, and then take advantage of opportunity. We all know this, and it turns out that my business partner and mentor, Eben Pagan has written a book on this very topic and I’d like to give you that book and ship it to you absolutely free. So, the book is called Opportunity: How To Win In Business and Create the Life You Love.
All you got to do is go to www.jamesmel/opportunity, enter your details, and I’m going to send you the book free. You’re going to get the book for free, and I know you’re going to love it. I have learned so much from Eben Pagan over the 10 years we’ve known each other, and it’s truly been one of the ways I’ve been able to get ahead in my life, in my business, and I know what you learn inside of this book is going to help you do the same. So go there now www.jamesmel/opportunity and grab your copy while you can. I’ve got 4000 copies that I’m doing this for, and sending absolutely free. Shipping is on me, the book is on me. So, grab one while you can. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for joining here. Thank you so much for investing in yourself to get ahead. By you getting ahead, it’s going to inspire other people and then we’re all going to get ahead. So, have an amazing week, and I look forward to talking to you on the next episode.