Stephen: Hey, what’s going on, Michael. I’m glad you’re on the podcast today.
Michael: I appreciate you for having me.
Stephen: I’m doing good, man. And, I’m really glad that you’re on today. I came across you, I think almost like last November or December and I caught one…
Michael: What’s that? It’s been a while. I feel like it’s been a couple of years, but yeah.
Stephen: That’s how the year is still, huh? Yeah, definitely. But yeah, I came across one of your posts. And, I think most of your posts are inspirational style, but this one kind of, actually, it’s probably the catalyst, one of the catalysts that kind of made me on the track I’m on today.
Just feedback for you, man. The stuff that you’re saying really works and I think, Mike, in this podcast, you were basically saying, “What is that thing that you want to do? You should be doing it right now.” And, I was going through a particular time in my life where I was battling certain things and, anyways, your message, that initial message…
…and then all of your messages have really been helpful for me. So I appreciate it.
Michael: I’m glad I could benefit.
Stephen: Yeah. So tell me, in terms of that inspirational style, you have The Power of Yet, the book you’ve got, like the entrepreneurial drive that you’re on right now. Like where did that come from?
Like, how did you arrive? What’s the story behind some of that, really?
Michael: I think it just goes back to environment. So growing up, I wasn’t in an entrepreneurial environment, but I just always knew in my head. When I was around people that weren’t really doing anything for themselves, I guess I was just like, I don’t want an average lifestyle.
You know what I’m saying? So after that I was just doing a lot of reading. I really got started reading like my freshman year of college. So I was like 18 and I was reading the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. You’re familiar with that. So that kind of kick-started my mindset.
And I know a majority of your listeners will be familiar with Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. So that really kick-started my mindset in terms of not wanting to be an average person, because I saw what average was and I saw what it could lead to if I continued associating with the same people.
And then I think even, I think it just goes back to my determination, even if it’s not entrepreneurship, because in elementary school and middle school and all of that,
that was where I was taking these honors and AP classes in middle school and high school. So when I was in elementary school, I’m with everybody and all of a sudden there’s that degree of separation. I’ve just, I guess my personality is I’ve just always wanted more for myself and I’ve just always been determined to get to the next level.
So, I’ve been told a lot that my mindset is pretty advanced for my age or whatever. That’s also pushed me as well. Just trying to be my best self. I have to. I think it’s just, I think it’s part of my natural DNA, as well as some environments I’ve been placed in and not wanting to be part of those environments, then bringing myself to better environments and getting influenced by those people.
So I guess it goes back to mentorship as well.
Stephen: Yeah, that’s cool. And I’m the same way, and that’s why I think I related to what you were saying and I’m like, I think it could be a result of, so I’ve been the same way. I’ve always been pushing myself.
But there’s also a part of me that’s always felt like I could have done better. So I think maybe that’s like a psychological reason why I’m always trying to help other people do better. It’s how those things work out. And I’m hard on myself. And sometimes I’m hard on people that I want to help succeed.
I’m getting better at metering that a little bit as I get older, but I’m a lot like that, man. I’ve always wanted to do better and I’ve always wanted to help other people do better. So how did that manifest? Okay, so you’ve always wanted to better yourself.
And then at some point you’re like, “I figured a few things out here,” how did you come up with your own process? Like, something about your circumstance felt like you could communicate it to a certain group of people? How did you then take the next step into writing the book?
Michael: I think I was my own first client, for my first testimonial.
Yeah. I took inspiration from my own life. When I was in preschool, there was a huge issue because I moved from Inglewood, California, which was a really dangerous place, to Riverside, California. And I was at a tiny preschool. I was the new kid. I didn’t know anybody. I’ve always been, not necessarily shy, but just quiet.
So I wasn’t really trying to talk to anybody. So basically, as I was doing that, my teachers, they were calling me to speak. You, Michael? What do you think about this, Michael? How are you doing? Kids will talk to me. I just wouldn’t say anything. I was just looking at them like they have something on their face or something.
Fast forward. They’re just like, this guy, he needs to be in special education classes, but I knew there was nothing wrong with me. I just didn’t want to talk to them. And when I went home, I was normal and I was talking and then my teachers, they came to my house and were observing that. So I was like, “Oh shoot.”
So it was like, this kid, he’s not actually, he doesn’t actually need that, but they were trying to push that on me and basically, fast forward, I got out of that situation, went through high school. And then in college, I became a president of a nationally recognized organization called NSBE.
I’m in Stanford National Society of Black Engineers. I majored in chemical engineering and in my role, I have to give speeches in front of hundreds of people sometimes. So essentially I was just looking back in my life of how I went from this, shy or not saying anything, little boy and grew into a man that’s giving speeches in front of so many people at a time.
And then I’ve witnessed that growth as me going from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. And post-college, I was doing a lot of research on different topics I could actually speak about. Because that’s another thing, my whole speaking journey started when I was president of NSBE. So everything goes back to the NSBE.
Basically the president before me, I knew that they weren’t implementing outreach and I was really about community outreach. So during my presidential term, I was like, we’re going to do outreach. So by God’s grace, we got in contact with somebody that helped us with outreach, and we went to a school.
That was the first time our NSBE chapter was actually doing outreach. And then, I just got power and talked to the kids because they really liked our presence. And I was essentially creating a relation between different types of engineers and Pokemon. So I was saying electrical engineers are like Pika Chu or something.
So we made that tie and they were really eating it. And then I was just like, I really liked this. And then the whole time I’ve been in college, I’ve been listening to Eric Thomas, motivational speaker, and I’ve been inspired by him and obviously, he gets paid to be speaking.
So I was like, I can also get paid to be speaking. I was like, this was a really cool experience talking to these kids. So I’m searching for speaking topics I could speak about. I come across a video by Dr. Carol Dweck, and she’s talking about the concept of a growth mindset. I’m watching it. It’s a Ted talk I’m watching.
And then all of a sudden I’m making ties to my own life. I was like, I was in a fixed mindset when I was younger. I grew into a growth mindset. I’m giving speeches and all of that. So I was like, okay, I’m going to talk about mindfulness. I’d also liked meditation. And at first I wanted to talk about meditation.
But then I invested in myself with a mentor. Mentorship is important. That’s something I’ll tell people, listening to this, definitely invest in yourself. I invested, I think it was like $2,000 into some mentorship because I was looking at someone, I was listening to his podcast and he was an author and a speaker.
So I was like, I’m trying to get him in this space. So let me talk to him. So I invested a couple thousand into that and he helped me gain clarity that I could implement meditation into the whole growth mindset thing, and talk about my journey going from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.
So I was just reflecting back on myself and looking at myself as my own first testimony or my own first client. And I was just like, I’m always about getting to that next level. And I don’t want people to be average, especially people that are around me. So I was just like, let me do what I can to help people change the way they think.
And then that ultimately was around the same time where I had my student loans and I was about to be paying them off. And I’ve always heard the story of, “I’m going to be paying off my student loans forever.” People saying that. So I was just like, “I’m not going to subscribe to that,” just because I’ve been, I was familiar with affirmation and the power of your words, like your word creates your world, right?
Word and world. Very similar words. So I understood that. And then I was just like, “I’m going to pay it off by 2020,” but then I was just like, “You know what, let me do even better. I’m just going to pay it off in one year.” So this was February of 2018 and I was like, “I’m going to pay it off by February, 2019.” I paid it off.
And then I started a whole brand of, ‘debt-free at 23,’ essentially. And that really allowed me to not only gain, but it’s myself, because I did what I said I was going to do, but also it was just me to build a brand around myself. So I guess to answer your question, like I said, I was my own first testimony and I think creating good for myself and how I felt and how I feel being debt free.
I was like, I want more people to experience this. And just knowing the fact of something like, recipes by Kobe Bryant, recipes. So Chadwick Bozeman, these people that impacted me and I never even met in my life. So I’ve always just been interested in the legacy of Napoleon Hill. He’s not alive. His book impacted my life.
And then, all of that, the whole speaking thing, the whole paying off my student loans that led to my first published book, The Power of Yet. And in there, I basically was talking about the mindset stuff I talk about. So a lot of the posts that you’ve been seeing on my LinkedIn, and it was important because I’ve always wanted to write a book anyways, ever since I was in, I would say third or fourth grade, I had a writing assignment where I wrote my own version of Little Red Riding Hood,
And prior to that, I always hated writing because I felt like I was in a box, But then they allowed us to be creative with this, “Okay, this is cool.” So I always wanted to write a book. I actually wrote, completed a novel before I actually published The Power of Yet. So The Power, you have to have some pretty good reviews.
Some people think it’s the first book I wrote. It’s not the first book I wrote. People don’t always know the full story. And yeah, that’s really how we got to where I’m at now. There’s a lot of different things,
Stephen: No. That’s cool, man. And I, a couple of different things that I noticed in what you’re saying.
Number one, I’m on a similar path now, too. It was like, not to, but not to get distracted about what I’m doing, but I think being your first, your own test, your own first client, your own using yourself as a testimonial is a really interesting way of building a brand and building out all of a business in general.
Like a lot of times, people think they have to, and I think you have to have the right mindset to do this, but people always think you have to go work somewhere, learn a skill, and then, and then you build a business around that. Whereas I think people with the right mindset that can grow into it and are confident enough in what they’re doing and then just figure it out.
They can attract the right people. And even though they don’t have any proof points yet, they can still attract people, if they’re thinking down the road, if they’re investing in themselves and they’re willing to like, really put it on the table. And I think it’s actually a really fascinating thing.
I see more and more people doing it now. And maybe that’s why mindset has become a little bit more mainstream. I know it’s always been around, but it feels like mindset has become a little more mainstream because I feel like there’s all these entrepreneurs to build their brands and all this kind of stuff.
But, then the other thing that kind of stood out to me, and I think this is where I also relate to you as well, and correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like one of the best skills that you’ve had is at least to just notice something, like to have the observation, that something isn’t right.
Like you noticed, like when the teacher came to your house, you were like, like something ain’t right about this. And you had, you didn’t necessarily know exactly what, where to take that, but you were able to say like you observed, and I think that’s something that I’ve done as well. So you’re mentioning all these books and stuff, I’m dyslexic. So I haven’t read most of these books you’re talking about, but what’s interesting about my life is that at a certain point, I was like, man, I don’t learn like any of these other people. And I had to figure out my own way of learning. So for instance, like I learned from guys like you who have read all these books. I love to talk to people like you because you’re basically my Cliff Notes.
And like you distill all this stuff down. And I can absorb it from people like you. But I think that is, like at least from your story, it seems like that one skill of observing something and knowing something was off and knowing that you could change, it has been pretty critical.
Michael: That’s very true.
Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. Cool. So then, and from where you were, then you wrote the book and then it seems like you then took that again, so now you’ve got a course on helping people write books. And so that, again, you’re like your first, you are your first customer and you’re leveraging that experience to now build your course.
Stephen: So tell us a little bit about what you’ve got going on there.
Michael: Yeah, definitely. I’m huge on never making excuses. So that’s why, whenever I hear someone say, “I need a bunch of testimonials,” you should be your own first testimonial. Can you do it, right? So that’s where I have that. So I wrote the book and I wasn’t even intending on putting out a course on how to write books, to be honest with you.
But once I put it out and I was talking to people like in my immediate circle, it was just a lot of people coming out of the woodwork that I never knew wanting to write a book. And they were just asking me about the whole process of writing and publishing a book because it was something that wasn’t common, especially where I grew up in my city or whatever.
So people were just genuinely interested. Yeah, like you said, I published the book, The Power of Yet. I’ve been leveraging it for speaking engagements and things like that. And then I was just like, let me just take it to the next level because anybody that’s an author out there aspiring, or going to be an author eventually, they’ve got to know that your book is really a foundation.
It’s like a tree stump. So it’s going to flourish into different tree branches. And one of them just happened to be making a course. So I was just thinking about what kind of course can I make? And then we were listening to a podcast. I heard an interview with a lady named Danielle Leslie.
She has a course that’s called Course from Scratch. She’s pretty popular in the course space. And I think I saw some ads from her after I listened to the interview. So I was just like, I took it as divine timing. I took it as God showing me I got to take action because whenever I see stuff, I try to be in a mindset of not ‘how much is it going to cost?’
I try to think ‘how much is it going to cost me not to take advantage of the opportunity right now?’
Stephen: So you’re not trying to be, you’re not skeptical of everything.
Michael: Yeah, I would rather pay for it and take a leap. I’m at least I know now, that it didn’t work versus dang, what if, what if it was something I could take me to the next level?
So basically I say that to say, I bought her a course. it was almost $2,000. So I invested in that. And then that kind of helped me with the blueprint of how I should structure my course. It’s called BITE or Book Idea to Execution. And it’s a play on words, on a notion of we’re always applying pressure.
Cause if a dog bites that’s a pain pressure. So I say that, you’re applying pressure towards your finished product as a book. So I outline basically, like I said, myself is my first client, what works for me and throughout my journey, it was a 14 month journey, but it should have been shorter.
Because half of it, like seven months out of the 14 months, I was just trying to convince myself that I could actually write and publish the book. So when we go back to the whole mindset thing, if my son is really huge and I’ve seen that in a lot of my clients, so basically it is what I wish that I had when I was writing The Power of Yet.
So I’ve taken all the ELLs I’ve taken and I’ve just corrected it and put it in a course. I’ve packaged it in the course so that people can have a quicker way to publish their book than I did. I basically help them in the sense that they could publish it within 60 days or so. I’m writing my second book, which is an e-book and it’s going to release next month.
And this is like under two months of writing. So I’ve just been, the second time around, I’m able to correct what I didn’t do in the first place. So I think my main thing is, I would just encourage people to monetize your expertise and just understand the power of a book. One of the branches, again, is a speaking engagement.
That was how I started the series that you’re watching, because I’m mad at the fact that I wasn’t getting speaking engagements. And then I basically said, I’m gonna give myself a year of these weekly videos. If I don’t get a speaking engagement by then, all right. I’m trashed, but I just did it.
But the funny thing is I got a speaking engagement by… I don’t think it was a couple of months before I was doing it. I got like a paid speaker by somebody that saw the video.
Stephen: Is that what, by somebody that saw your video or was it, or did it happen a different way?
Michael: No, it was not, it was actually someone that didn’t see the video, but someone that saw the video told them about me. So it was like a word of mouth thing.
Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. It’s interesting how social media works that way. People don’t quite understand it, especially a lot of the people I work with. Like they think it’s like this immediate return. If I post this, I’m gonna… they’re always like, “When do I get my first client?”
And I’m like, it doesn’t exactly work that way. Although, what’s funny too, is like, when I started posting on LinkedIn, I got my first client within a week because, it’s not the dream story everyone wants long-term, but it was just somebody that knew me in the past that had forgotten about me, but we were connected on LinkedIn and they saw this, Oh, I remember Steve.
And it just so happened that they were interested. When we first met, they weren’t interested in working with me, but because I posted and they saw it, then they’re like, “Oh, I remember Steve. I want to work with that. Now I need that thing.” And so then they reached out, and since then I’ve been perfecting it, but that’s something else, but yeah, that’s interesting.
And so I think what you’re doing, man, it’s definitely going to, you already know this, but it’s going to work because so many people are trying to build books right now. So my guess is just as you build up this momentum and as you continue to refine the product, ultimately, it can’t help but work, it can’t not work.
I find there’s a lot of parallels between all of this stuff between being your own first client and getting your first, and you being the first testimonial. I’ve never written a book, but I’m assuming it’s similar to that where it’s like, you’re building something out that you don’t know exactly how it’s going to go, but you just find your path and then even building courses, it’s like all of these things, it’s like they’re products in a way.
You have to have a vision. You have to start down the path knowing that you don’t know the exact answer. Like you don’t know the exact outcome. Like for instance, I’m building a course right now. But when I first started, I sold it before I knew exactly what it was, because if you do too much of it before, and I’d be interested in your experience too, but it’s you can only build so much of it because it takes a long time to do it.
And if people aren’t actually interested in what you build, then that’s a lot of wasted time. So it’s like you have to have a certain ability to go down a path that feels really uncomfortable and just navigate it and tweak it as you go. I’m sure, as you’ve had people go into your course, like you’ve realized, Oh, I should have said it this way, or I should have done it that way.
And then you’re probably already improving it.
Michael: Yeah, it’s definitely not the same as it was. And just going back to what you were saying about the unknown, that’s a scary thing. A lot of people aren’t comfortable with the fact that I’m writing this book, I’m creating this course. I don’t know where I’m going.
So that’s why mindset is really important. So when I’m on these calls with these people, I’m just helping their subconscious mind register that it’s okay. They don’t need to know right away. So you just gotta keep going. And then proof is also important. I tell them you’re literally on the phone with someone that did it.
So it’s possible. I don’t have anything that you don’t have and you’re even in a better position than I am, because the course helps you. I didn’t have the course or anything, and yeah, the course is not the same because I’ve definitely refined it over time. It was recently launched back in October.
It even evolved into just a video, because I used to do it one-on-one on zoom and just give people that information, but then it evolved into zoom because I wanted not only to scale, but also because I understood that people learn differently.
Stephen: This is why I always talk about, like the DISC assessment and personality type. I’m a high D.
Michael: Okay. I’m a high D yeah. Okay, cool. Yeah. So I understand that as a D, I learn different from someone that is like a C who needs the details. So I was just like, let me cut out all of these worksheets that walk you step by step. Cause I was just doing it on FaceTime, zoom, and I didn’t have any attached to worksheets.
But now people seeing that can comfortably come into the course and we have the paperwork right here. We’re going to walk through XYZ. And that’s just an example of how the course has evolved. And then even just going back to the whole BITE thing with the course.
Also, I have a podcast. I just like to use that as a free resource, because I try to give out a lot of free resources because I know that it’s an investment to invest in the course BITE. People have no excuse because people can literally take all the information I’m saying in the podcast and take it, go create their book.
So I don’t have a problem making the actual course an investment. It’s five modules, I think it’s five plus hours, walking you through every single step. But the podcasts, it might be like 10 to 15 minute episodes of ‘this is how you do this.’ And I walked through literally, from an XYZ, from A to Z on the podcast.
So yeah, I try to give out a lot of game everywhere. So I’m just planting a lot of seeds and It will sprout over time.
Stephen: Yeah. That’s awesome, man. So yeah, it’s one thing to teach C’s, but how the heck do you teach I’s? Cause they’re all over.
Michael: They’re all over the… Oh yeah. Yeah. So I’s, I’ve actually loved the way I was doing it at first, like the whole in your face thing,
Stephen: They have a personal connection with you.
Michael: Yeah. And then they, because of my videos, I’m energetic in the video, so it’s good for them. And then I also have half of my videos where it’s just the slides, as I know C’s and SC’s are going to need that. But when I’m coaching them (I’s) one-on-one, I’m mostly coaching them by having accountability calls.
I’ll let them know that, there’s power in their creativity. And then also they got to understand that they might have a problem achieving long-term goals. So we really work on setting SMART goals. Are you familiar with SMART goals?
Stephen: Yeah, the, yeah. Yes, yeah. Yeah. Tony Robbins talks about that stuff too. Tony Robbins.
Michael: Oh yeah. Yeah. So we set SMART goals with people that are I’s because I’s, they tend to have problems with long-term goals. Cause their brain goes on like the hundreds, so it’s, “Oh, I want to do this. I want to do that.” So I say, let’s do short bits or BITEs,
Stephen: What’s funny about me, man, being like a high D high C, I have intense goals, but I’m really detail oriented. And these two things conflict with each other, like crazy. So I’ll have these moments where I’m hitting the gas and then I slow it down and I hit the brakes. Yeah, sorry. You’re only high D you’re just..
Michael: If I was…I know some people that are just high D, they’re clearly a little bit more aggressive than me. I also have a high S which calms down my high D. Primarily high D but then I’m a pretty high S as well. So patience…
Stephen: High D and High S, that’s a rare combo.
Michael: Yeah, I’ve been told it’s contradictory, but I get to use whatever super power I can use in each given situation.
Stephen: That makes sense, man. Actually, now that I’m listening to you, it’s like you’re driven, but you’ve got the, the empathy and the social. Kind of like you like people. That makes a lot of sense now that I’m chatting with you. It’s funny. I have, in my past, the people that I’ve offended the most are like high S’s.
Michael: Oh really?
Stephen: Because I have no S, I just knock it, I’m just knocking people around and not because to me, I’m just like, this is the way to do it like that. But I’m learning, I’m getting wiser in my, my older age here. So that’s why I think DiSC is pretty cool.
Because you can assess people. I would’ve seen the D, but the S, that makes total sense, man. That’s really interesting. Yeah. Cool. So I know you’ve got the course, so how can people get a hold of you?
Michael: Interested in the course, can go to buy at teachable.com.
I’m actually, I don’t know when it’s going to be uploaded, but I’m doing a Black Friday sale. So the videos are currently $997, but for black Friday, I’m discounting, it’s $197. I say I’m putting out, like I announced on my social media, I was putting out 10 spots. Some people have already claimed some spots.
Yeah, buy at teachable.com, but in terms of people reaching out to me, I’m mainly resigned now on my Instagram, so they can go to my Instagram or, yeah, they can go to my Instagram, instagram.com/michoBenjamin. I’m also on LinkedIn as well. If you just search for Michael Benjamin, but I’ve slowed down my content on LinkedIn because I’m mainly focused on giving value in my podcast.
I said that. My podcast is like mob speaks 2.0, mob speaks was a series I had on LinkedIn. So I’m over there on my podcast and my podcast is anchor.fm/book idea to execution. So hopefully if you’re listening to this, you can just rewind and go back to all of the stuff.
Stephen: I’ll link it to.
Michael: Okay, perfect.
Perfect. Yeah, they can reach me at those places.
Stephen: Thanks man. Like this is honestly, I’m glad we had the chance to chat. I feel like there’s a lot of things we could actually talk about. So I’m looking forward to learning more about you over the… really, from this point on, I’m looking forward to following you and seeing what you’re up to, and I hope we have many more chats and I really appreciate you being here.
This has been awesome.
Michael: Definitely. I definitely appreciate you having me. I just remembered something because I’m writing my ebook. They can go and pre-order that and it will be out next month if. Anyone is motivated on how student loans and trying to eliminate it quickly. I’m basically walking through the strategies that worked for me, covering different streams of income that you can have in addition to whatever you already have, so they can catch me there.
Appreciate you having me on the podcast. I enjoyed it.
Stephen: Yeah. Cool man. Yeah. And the debt thing, man, that’s huge. I know a couple of people that are just getting crushed by it.
Michael: I know that they need me.
Stephen: Yeah, you’re right, man. And I know that there’s all varying levels of people that are in these different situations, but I know a couple people that like, Oh, two, 300 grand and, they’re just making 50, 60 grand a year.
Michael: It’s crushing.
Stephen: Yeah. So people need your book, man.
Michael: Yeah, they do.
Stephen: All right. Cool man. Again, I appreciate it. And I’m looking forward to talking again soon.
Michael: Sounds good. Thanks for having me, peace man.
Reach out to Michael: