Welcome to the Join Up Dots Business Coaching Podcast Interview with Tom Morkes
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Introducing Tom Morkes
He is an entrepreneur and publisher and holds the title of a man who quite simply changed my life
I don’t think that there are many people alive that I could say that about.
But strangely enough until today I have never met him or spoke to him live either.
Tom spent the beginning of his childhood in the Chicagoland and West Michigan areas, and then with all his Morkes siblings…three brothers and three sisters gained his education at the United States Military Academy at West Point NY.
Upon graduating he decided that there was a further step to go in his military life and was deployed to Iraq as a gun truck platoon leader.
How The Dots Joined Up For Tom
You might have thought after so many years in an organised, structured environment such as the military, he would cling to a safe, organised future.
But our guest thought otherwise and set off on entrepreneurial path that has seen him write three books.
Become the president of his own publishing company, and generally having a kick ass life.
He travels the world with his lovely wife Courtney, his trusty laptop, and now on today’s podcast interview shares with us, the fears, achievements and success that has made up his life.
I would like to welcome to show the one and only Tom Morkes
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Tom such as:
Why I am suffering from something that had never occurred to me…..beard envy!
Who would win in a straight fight between me and today’s guest!
Why customers will happily pay more for a product if you don’t actually set a price!
How you are never on your own as you work on a project., if you utilize the power of the internet!
How Tom realizes everyday just what a blessing we all have on the desk in front of us!
How To Connect With Tom Morkes
If you enjoyed this episode of Join Up Dots business coaching podcast, then why not listen to some of our favourite podcast episodes such as Dan Lok, Sophie Radcliffe, or the amazing Dov Baron
Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from.
Audio Transcription Of Tom Morkes
David Ralph [0:00]
Welcome to Episode One of join up dots. It all begins here.
David Ralph [0:36]
Yes Hello there, everybody and welcome to the very first episode of join up dots. My guest today on the very first episode is a man who quite simply changed my life and I don’t think there’s many people alive but I can say that about possibly him. And that that very drunk lady in Spain One year thank you very much lady. But strange enough until today I’ve never met him or spoke to him live. It’s been the beginning of his childhood in Chicago land and West Michigan areas and been with all the siblings, three brothers and three sisters. So he’s mom and dad must have been very busy getting these education at the United States Military Academy at West Point New York. Upon graduating, he decided that there was a further step to go and he’s a military life and was deployed to Iraq as a gun truck platoon leader. Now you might have thought after so many years in an organized structured environment such as the military, he would cling to a safe, organized future by our guest, but otherwise, and set off on an entrepreneurial path that has seen him write three books become the president of his own publishing company, and generally having a kick ass life. He travels the world with his lovely wife, his trusty laptop, and now today shares with us the fears, achievements and success that has made up his life. I’d like to welcome to the show, the one and only Tom Marcus, how are you sir?
Tom Morkes [1:58]
David, thank you so much for having me on the show. And I gotta say that intro made me sound really badass. So thank you for that. I’m very humbled by that.
David Ralph [2:06]
Yeah, but you weren’t bad. Awesome. You because, you know, being being trained from a total upon a military, you must be able to look after yourself.
Tom Morkes [2:16]
Yeah, but it just know, it’s just humbling to hear you say it, though. And it just sounds really cool. So I really appreciate that might be the best intro I’ve ever heard.
David Ralph [2:23]
So So do you think in a straight up fight, you would win? Or I would win? Tom? You would David
you think so you you obviously haven’t seen me.
Tom Morkes [2:35]
It doesn’t matter. You sound like you’re taller, and you have a longer reach. So I go down pretty quick.
David Ralph [2:41]
But the theme of the show Tom is really about connecting the dots of one’s life. we’re basing it all around the sort of iconic speech by Steve Jobs that he did back in 2005, which we aren’t going to play later. But I Are you kind of amazed as you’re sitting here now on Skype, being interviewed by complete strangers most of the time, or friends that you have built up globally, because of the power of the Internet, and how your life has gone. Does it amaze you, when you sit there thinking oh, my God, where am I? What am I doing? How is this occurred?
Tom Morkes [3:17]
Yeah, actually, that’s kind of a thought I have every day, believe it or not, is there’s that thought you actually hit the nail on the head, the power of the internet, the power of technology to connect the soul. And just the fact that every day, if I really am taking the time to appreciate my life, which I to do, and I really do appreciate it. I appreciate where I’m at in life. And I’m just very grateful for the things I have and what I’ve been able to build in a short amount of time. It wouldn’t be possible if I wasn’t living in the stain day and age to be honest with you. And so yeah, I’m very grateful for that. And very aware.
David Ralph [3:48]
He’s, you know, he is unbelievable, isn’t it? that we all have windows to the world, we have a laptop, we have a computer, and there’s no stone unturned. If you want to good, you can fool the internet. I’m sure if you want to do bad stuff, you can fool the internet, it really is a portal isn’t a it blows your mind because you don’t actually stop to think the power that we’ve all got in front of us all the time.
Tom Morkes [4:14]
And that’s it. It’s funny, actually, because I take it for granted. Because I’ve been doing it for a little bit of time now and recognizing that power. And I even recognize when I was a little kid and just getting our first dial up modem and realizing Wow, look at this, like look at look at the access we have to everything and and then downloading my first song illegally that took like half an hour to download. It was Red Hot Chili Peppers. Good.
David Ralph [4:37]
never done that. One. I’ve never done that. What What was the song? Was it worth going to jail for Tom?
Tom Morkes [4:49]
It was Red Hot Chili Peppers under the bridge. So maybe it was a good one at the time?
David Ralph [4:54]
Well, at least at least you can leave at night in yourself knowing that you’ve got a good theme tune to your life.
Tom Morkes [5:00]
Exactly. That’s a good one to to go out with, too. So it’s kind of appropriate. But yeah, and even even as a young kid, I recognize the power of this. So obviously not that, that we should be downloading things illegally, but just that, that you can connect to anybody anywhere in the world. And it’s the amount that that’s just crazy what’s happened over the last 1020 years with that technology. And now, even more. So the be the ability to be a creator yourself before was just kind of taking other people’s stuff. But then I realized pretty quickly that I can be the creator and I don’t have to be taking other people’s stuff, I can start building my own and sharing it. When that’s when that’s when everything changes.
David Ralph [5:35]
Yeah, your your whole work life is about instigating that that’s your key thing. So for anyone that doesn’t know, Tom’s work, and I’m going to put the links on the show notes at the end. In the introduction, I say he changed my life. And he did quite simply, I was in a job that I was just going through the motions, it was eight till four on a daily basis, I could do it with my eyes closed. I started to have this Bible, what the hell am I doing with my life, there’s got to be more to it than that. And so I started reading blogs and looking at sort of web pages. And there was there was loads and loads of them that I would sort of flick through. But when I came across Tom’s it just seemed like I couldn’t believe and with the greatest respect, I couldn’t believe that you had done this Tom, the branding looked perfect. It was almost like every word and every line had been positioned in the perfect place. It looked like a company’s blog, he didn’t look like something but somebody was doing sitting on a beach with a laptop. And I started reading them and been listening to your podcasts and getting more involved in your in your work. And I suddenly realized, why am I not doing something worthwhile with my life? Why is this chap out there? Really, you know, turning over stones, and changing people’s lives? Like he’s changed me, when you probably haven’t got any you better skills by myself or anyone else? Yes, you have now because you’ve been doing it. But at the time when you started, it was just you going into the unknown and instigating.
Tom Morkes [7:09]
Yeah, that’s it in a nutshell. And it’s it’s true, because my background is in in anything that I do now at all. I said that before people are like, oh, when I was doing in certain publishing or coming up with a creative entrepreneur, which was our business and arts journal that we just published in January. And they were like, well, what’s what are your credentials as a publisher? Well, not my background is the military. And before that I studied Russian and human geography, which means I’m precisely zero qualified to be doing anything I’m doing right now, which I think is an important message for anybody here to realize that this, we have access to everything, because the technology, we can teach ourselves what we need to, to learn to create what we want to create. It’s all there. It’s, it’s, it’s just there for the taking. It really is. And so I’m glad that that message resonate with you David and that you took action on it, because there’s a lot of people who hear it, then kind of blow it off. So it’s really cool to hear that you took it to heart.
David Ralph [8:05]
What was that I love but every word and every image on that site? Or am I looking into it too deeply?
Tom Morkes [8:16]
Um, yeah. You know, there was
I’d say there was at least it was, I always took a lot of passion in the work that I did. And
And so yeah, literally, you could say that with every every word. That page, there was a lot of love and energy put into that.
David Ralph [8:38]
So So where did the idea come from? Because I’ve done enough research on you. Obviously, you went through the military, and then you went to Iraq. But you had to start progressing where your life was going to go before you left the military? And I would imagine sitting in a tank with a laptop would be almost impossible, or maybe is possible. I don’t though, did you start working on where you are now, while you were still in the in the military?
Tom Morkes [9:05]
Yeah, you know, it’s interesting, because, um, I actually started writing when I was in the military, but I wasn’t deployed at the time. So when you know, when you’re at home, in a US army base, things are more, it’s more of a nine to five, and a lot of ways minus training exercises. So I was able to, on my lunch breaks, if I’d get like a half an hour here, I could write a little bit. In the evenings, I’d come home pretty late. But I’d still try to knock out like an hour to work. And I’d be doing that every day. And then on the weekends that I did get, I would try to also take advantage of those and kind of build stuff on the weekends. Because this was my kind of all consuming hobby and passion. So it was easy. So when everybody else was like watching TV shows I don’t I didn’t have TV, while everybody else was going out drinking and stuff like that I’d stay at home and I write like a nerd in my room. So but I’m having I did now so.
David Ralph [10:01]
So it turned out all right. Did they try to convince you to come out for a beer and stuff? Did they think that you were going into a venture that so many people? Do you know that the world The world is awash of empty blogs that have got that six or seven pages on them? And that’s it? Did? Did your friends want you to go down the path that you were going down?
Tom Morkes [10:23]
No, to be honest with you. I mean, actually, in any of those guys, like in the military, I’d be a spy every now and then I’ll somebody from the army will reach out to me whether it’s an old soldier or somebody that was in my unit or something like that, or even acquaintance or friend. And they’d be like, oh, wow, I just heard you on such and such podcast, or I saw your stuff through an article somewhere. And I was like, and there’ll be, they’ll ask me more questions about it. And it’s funny, because at the time, I don’t think a lot of the people would have taken me seriously enough. Based on like, what I was doing, I don’t think they understood what I was doing. Nor did they think like there was anything to it. But now that I’m on different blogs, and I’m on different websites, and I’m being interviewed on different, you know, different podcasts and things like that. And so I’m kind of around the internet now and be seen, now they are interested. Now their ears perk up. But that’s the interesting part about creating is it’s never like that in the beginning. In the beginning, you want that attention, because you want to get validated, but you will not get it in the beginning, people will ignore you or they won’t understand what you’re doing. And even to this day, there will still be people who do not understand what I’m doing. And it’s just one of those things, you just have to get over yourself like real quick and realize it doesn’t matter doesn’t matter if they care if they whatever their opinions, whoever they are, whether it’s friends, family, acquaintances, you know, peers at work, doesn’t matter what they think it matters, what you care about. And if you have the guts to, to create it and take it all the way.
David Ralph [11:43]
Because I’ve been astonished by how open people have been to help me get this off the ground. And I look at my guest list. And it kind of blows me away. But when I looked back on how I attracted these people into my life, I will I realized that I wasn’t asking for help, I was asking for their passion. And I was asking for them to join with me to do something worthwhile. And I think for all the listeners out there, if you are starting anything new, and you need help to create that momentum, you need to touch into that in a spirit of the other person. And then you will generally get the buy in. And God It makes it so much easier to get things off the ground when you’ve got people that are ahead of the curb, looking back and helping you
Tom Morkes [12:34]
Bingo. I mean, that’s that’s it, it’s there’s there’s a lot of
there are a lot of resources and tools out there. But even more, so there’s a lot of people willing to help. And to ignore that. I don’t know, I guess you could do it. But I don’t see it being an easy road if you ignore all the research fingertips, including other people that will like to help you out. And that’s what I found is that there’s gonna be people who ignore me or who I asked for help want to or too busy, that’s fine. But then there are enough people otherwise that are quite successful, have the time to give me give me a little bit of their time. And I can learn dramatically from them. actually doing a podcast was one of the ways I learned the fastest, was connecting with people through podcasting. So that’s why this is such a cool platform and what you’re doing here because when you start doing this David and you’re going to get guests after guests after guests, they’re all gonna be pretty amazing people, I’m sure you’re gonna learn so much, so much faster than other people who don’t have these conversations. So it’s really cool to as the you know, just the fact that you have that learning. And x you have that learning built into what you’re doing. And that access to people to really incredible people built into what you’re building here, which is kind of cool, cool aside when you think about it.
David Ralph [13:43]
Well, when I you know, I don’t expect you to say yes, I remember that that was a moment in my life. But I sent you an email at the moment, but I actually decided to quit my nine to five job. And I sat at my desk, and how I lead into I had been reading your blog, and I’ve been sort of researching different things. And I had no idea what I wanted to do in my life in any shape or form. Other than I wanted to provide value, provide worth to people. But enjoy myself, I didn’t want to do a job anymore, that every morning I woke up thinking, Okay, another day, when’s the weekend, I wanted to sort of almost spring out of bed every day. So on the day that I decided to do that I actually sent you an email saying, Hi, Tom, you don’t know who I am. But I’ve decided to quit my job blah, blah, blah. And I was astonished when very quickly you came back to me. It isn’t that hard, is it? And so do you get lots of emails from people saying those things? And do you ever have? Or? Or do you always go back with a stock and said go for it? Or do you still go and hang on it’s not as easy as you’re making out? You really got to think about this before you before you jump? it.
Tom Morkes [14:52]
That’s interesting David Yeah, actually remember that email, too. And I do I do get quite a bit of email. I actually toggle I travel my time. So I’ve spent I think last month I spent about 40 hours on email. Because I try to I try to send you know, welcome emails to anybody who subscribes to my list. Anybody who buys a book, anybody who sends an email to ask a question or anything like that, so it’s quite a bit of my time goes into that. And I’m happy to do that. And so every now and then I do get those emails, it’ll be like somebody asks a question or, or in your case beetle possible that quitting a job or looking to. And it’s funny, because when you sent that email, initially, I was thinking, Oh, like, I’m not sure. Like, I don’t want to be the person who inspires somebody to take a breath. And there, they don’t have, they haven’t considered the full ramifications of that. So like, the last thing I want is like everybody quitting their jobs, because they’ve read my stuff, and then they’re homeless or something like that. Like, that’s not, but which of course, that didn’t happen to you. And that’s good. So that’s, that’s a triumph. And I and so when I give advice, I try to be very cognizant of that, that I’m aware that it It is, it is easier than people make it out to be, it’s not impossible. But it does take like a certain amount of like thought process going into it, that that people are generally speaking probably better off to taper themselves to be prepared. At the bare minimum though, like even if you don’t have something built upon the side before you, you launch that if you have a clear cut goal and objective, which I think is what I told you, and that’s what you’re doing now join up dots. It makes makes it gives you structure and process to your days, once you’ve left your job, or once you pursue this new passion or this new, this new goal. So yeah, a lot goes into it, I guess, if not, so anytime somebody sends me an email that gauge like, what their intention is behind it, and like kind of what where they’re at in their path. And so sometimes you can gauge that, like over over an email, sometimes you can. So normally, I’m always I always try to be supportive. But I’m not the kind of person who will say go for it. If I know the person shouldn’t necessarily go for it. I’m in some cases, I might actually warn people against it and be like, Okay, well, have you thought about this, this? And this, just consider that before you you, you make the leap? Does that make sense?
David Ralph [17:00]
No, it makes total sense. And it’s something that I’m very aware, I’ve always been in people work, basically, I’ve been a financial trainer, I’ve done training courses, or coaching and sort of the people element has always been my thing. So in my whole career, I’ve always had people migrate towards me asking advice, because I’ve always seen me as the person who was there to answer their questions and, and help them along in their career path. And I became more and more aware, even in my tiny little environment of the power that I was influencing over people. Now, if you take it to where you are, and you are, you know, pretty much touching the globe, that must almost blow your mind that you could effectively use that power and screw somebody’s life that you could give the most honest advice that you think at that time. And then the person could come back to you maybe, you know, a year later. And, Tom, I’m gonna hunt you down and you’ve destroyed my life. So it must be very difficult to want to do the right thing all the time, but have such a mass audience, but he’s not always going to hit the right mark.
Tom Morkes [18:13]
Yeah, but I suppose that’s kind of one of the creators dilemmas there is that that’s always the case, you always going to in the same vein that Yeah, there might be somebody who, who takes the advice improperly or, or, or misinterpret something that you say, but that’s that goes for anybody who doing anything, especially once you get to a certain level where people like anytime somebody starting out, generally people are less critical, I think but once you hit hit a certain capacity, then you start getting the hater emails or whatever. Which is lucky for me, there haven’t been many. But every now and then you’ll get an email from somebody who just like wants to put you down about something that you did. And it’s just like, Okay, well, I can, I can worry about this, or I can ignore it, or I can like politely ignore it. And that’s generally what I do for the for the couple cases. So somebody doesn’t matter, interpret something I said, or I wrote an article for for goings, coins writer blog, very big writing websites, recently on what I what I learned about writing from my time in war. And it was an analogy. So I drew an analogy from war to writing. And the response was very positive, except for one, one lady who, who was disgusted that I would use a war analogy in my in my writing, and thought I was awful for doing that. So you know, things like that it will happen to anybody. And you know, it just kind of depends on how you want to respond to it. And so for me, I just wanted to be as polite as possible and consider the other person’s opinion, and then also be done about that and go on and keep doing keep living my life. If that. So that’s the best advice I have for that.
David Ralph [19:44]
No, absolutely. So you are living a life that is is off the track, isn’t it? So? Well. You know, in the introduction, I was saying that you were raised in Chicago. And now I’m speaking to you where where are you sitting at the moment?
Tom Morkes [20:01]
Yeah, I’m actually in South Africa right now.
David Ralph [20:04]
And that is holiday? Or is that your career? Because we have a laptop? Is there any difference between a holiday and a career?
Tom Morkes [20:15]
That’s Yeah, you. Basically that’s the case. And I know that sounds slightly absurd for some people, but it’s the truth. Like, when we travel around here, even people like Oh, are you on holiday? Yeah, I guess I am. I also work. So it’s it’s work holiday. And that’s kind of my life right now. As far as as long as I can sustain it. The really cool part is, it’s not actually that hard to do. Or that on unconventional, even anymore, like what I’m doing is quite, I feel like it’s quite at anybody’s fingertips, if you can build one of those, those type of businesses that allows you that freedom. So for me, it was publishing, I can publish from anywhere I can write from anywhere. Good. And that was part of the reasons why I was attracted to that, because I wanted to have this type of lifestyle to build that for myself. So yeah, if you are passionate as I don’t know, you know, building stuff in like a particular geographical location, yeah, you’re going to miss you’re going to be by necessity tied down to a particular location. But the majority things can be outsourced. Now, the majority of processes can be done, virtually. So you don’t necessarily have to be tied down if you take your time and, and figure out how you want to, to build whatever it is you want to build. Even in the case of podcasts, like you might have a great rig setup, but you could potentially make that mobile. And maybe that would actually I don’t know if that’s possible. But it’s something you know, you could potentially consider. I just believe that anybody can do it. It’s at anybody’s fingertips to go wherever they want. So yeah, for me, I’m, I’m traveling right now, I’m, I’m on holiday. But I’m also working every day, I work every day, and I enjoy it. So I want to keep doing this for as long as I can. And if somebody’s wanting were like, Okay, well, he gave me a little little details. But how you really do that? Well, a little more details. This is Yeah, I sold my car. And that’s paid for my plane tickets. And then beyond that I make enough money every month, from what I’m doing, to, to fund the different locations that we go to and travel to and the places that we stay, whether it’s through Airbnb or finding like a doing something like hostels, and stuff like that, like I’m not living in five star resorts or anything like that, but, but I’m living in quite nice places and having a great time as I travel. So it’s it’s not also it’s not financially inaccessible to people either, which I think is an important message.
David Ralph [22:31]
So so you’re reasonably newlywed, I understand. year, year and a half, two years or something?
Tom Morkes [22:37]
Yes, that’s correct. Actually, just this past August. So we’re kind of we’re all set. We’re on holiday. But we’re also on honeymoon basically.
David Ralph [22:45]
Because Because the thing that amazed me following your career over that period of time, is I’ve been married. I can’t actually remember not being married. I’ve been married years and years and years and years. And if I don’t show you for a couple of days, my wife fool pointed out, you clue the most amazing beard I have ever seen in my life. It was it was hair, hair production. If If anybody has seen Forrest Gump, and the bit when forest decides to just run across the country and then runs back and runs, that is what Tom looked like for a while. How did you get away with that with your wife?
Tom Morkes [23:26]
Probably just like Forrest Gump did, I started running. So for me, I just I just started growing and I got out the army and I was like, I’m gonna stop shaving for a while. And she was she was supportive of that. I think she was some day I was going to shave that beard. And I did I did for the new year. But yeah, for a while it lasted It was great.
David Ralph [23:43]
But But if you go to Tom’s website, the picture of him is sort of like Matt Damon or Daniel Craig it’s very swab in the suit with with the shades and stuff. Now you’re on holiday you don’t feel about that image on the on the website. Is it you anymore?
Tom Morkes [24:03]
Oh, and I mean, it is I just have I I shaved the big beard but I still I still grow out a little bit every now and then as much as I that’s the beauty of kind of doing this as well get don’t have to wear a uniform. I don’t have to. I don’t have to be presentable most days, if I don’t want, I can just work from home if I choose to literally. But that said no, it’s still pretty accurate. Every now and then I shaved maybe like once once a month, once or twice a month. So I every now and then I look like the picture on the website.
David Ralph [24:34]
If I’m that I’m very envious of anyone that can grow a beard. I am 43 years old, and my beard makes me look like a white werewolf. Who’s just going through the change. It never really feels out enough. I can say I’ve grown a proper beard. And I don’t know why that is. But it’s just the way it is. And um, yeah, it’s um, it’s something that I I hold my hand up. And I salute you, Sir, you are the hairy man. And you should be proud of it.
Tom Morkes [25:00]
Thanks. It sounds like beard empty
David Ralph [25:02]
it’s absolutely is. Well, what I just want to do here is I have got a clip of Steve Jobs doing his iconic 2005 speech. And I had been playing it to all the guests. Although you’re the first show, you’re not the first show. But I’ve actually recorded. And it’s it’s been amazing to me when I have played with or I have mentioned it to people. How many people have said to me, yes, I know all about that speech, I’ve read it, or I’ve seen it, or I’ve actually got it on my fridge. It seems to be words of the ages that he has created something that is so fundamentally simple, has touched all of us in so many different ways. So I just want to play it and then I just want to see your point of view on it. And if you can remember when you first heard it and how it made you feel when you when you first heard these words,
Steve Jobs [26:00]
course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [26:35]
So it makes all the difference. And it it quite simply does doesn’t it?
Tom Morkes [26:39]
Yeah, that’s pretty awesome speech.
David Ralph [26:43]
How did it make you feel when you when you when you first heard it? Did you actually remember because I remember the moment that first came into my life I was at work. And a chap said here Have a look at this. And he printed it out. He just found it on the internet. And it’s a three part speech. And I don’t really remember the first bit the third, but it was just that bit in the middle. And when I was reading it up, oh my god, this this is this is true.
Tom Morkes [27:05]
Yeah, no, I mean, I definitely think it’s one of the probably one of the best speeches, at least part of classic 50 years or so I’ve there’s there’s definitely been some great speeches that I’ve heard. But that’s that’s got to be one of the top ones. And because that message is simple, like you said, simple and fundamentally true. So as far as how I take that and my perspective on it. Yeah, I mean, for me, for me, it’s it is it is fundamental, because I think what’s important to understand there’s is the two two pieces to that. One is, you won’t, you won’t understand what those dots are going forward, and you can’t but you have to believe that they will, because they will line up when you when you get to a point you’ll be able to connect everything. So it’s it’s understanding that as we move forward, we won’t see them, we won’t know how they’ll connect. But that looking back that they will inevitably so for me, that’s more of a perspective of that this path that we take us uncertain that the routes that we choose, are not necessarily safe for guaranteed or sure to work out that there will be failures and setbacks and circumstances beyond our control as we progress through it. And that we’re going to take a beating if we really try to pursue something we care about. And I think that’s that’s also just part of the process. It’s not supposed to be easy. And it was. And it’s not for the faint of heart. But that if you can tirelessly push through that, and you can relentlessly pursue your passion, pursue whatever it is that you care about you you really deeply want to bring into the world, that those dots when you look back, you can never can never have seen that one coming. But it did. And that’s how they they line up. And even in my own life, in the short amount of time that I’ve been doing this. Already I see. I see those dots lining up in a really interesting way I would, that would have been impossible to predict, not only impossible to predict a few years ago, or 10 years ago or whatever, what would have been useless and senseless for me to try to predict them. And that the best thing you can do is just every day, commit to whatever it is that you want to bring to life and go after it. So yeah, that’s that’s what I take from that.
David Ralph [29:08]
The thing that I take from it more than anything is, there’s a life for all of us out there that we can have if we want. And you know, I am, I isn’t an epiphany for me, I haven’t changed overnight. I think I’ve had that vibe and that view all my life ever since I first went to work when I was 16. I thought to myself, I’m not going to be here this long, something amazing is going to happen. I got to 2025 30. And it wasn’t until I hit 40. And it was interesting because I was reading Napoleon hills Think and Grow Rich book, which if anyone out there hasn’t read it, it’s quite old style. But it really is something that you should pick up, you can get it very cheaply, and go through it. Because one of the things that he said was more successful people occur, arm or gain better levels of success between the ages of 40 and 60. Because leading up to it, you feel like you’ve got the whole life ahead of you. And then you might be going into having a family and settle down. Once you get to your 40s to 60s, you suddenly think bloody hell, what have I done with my life, I better get going, I haven’t left my mark on it. And that’s well I I’ve suddenly hit various, although I’ve had those vibes all the way through my life. I don’t think I’ve ever really taken action, true action, scary action until this point here.
Tom Morkes [30:31]
It’s how it is though. Sometimes it’s just how it is it takes a while to wrap our heads around it.
And I don’t know if I would have taken you actions that I had it not been something that had been percolating in my brain for a long time as well. And even then I’m at the point to where I’m building things and they’ve been successful to to a degree. But I also do that with the recognition that things don’t always progress up into the right, there will come a time when things won’t be won’t be growing as exponentially or as you know, as easily, maybe to the point where some of my stuff will fail. And I also take consideration, I understand that that’s part of the best part of the game, too, that the things that I built even to this point could fall apart. And if that’s the case, all right, I just pick it up and start rebuilding. It’s actually that who was the poem by if by Rocky? Yeah, you know, that poem. Hmm. I love that poem is so good. I wish I had it here now. But there’s a part where he’s part in it, where it talks about like everything, you know, if everything breaks apart, you just start picking back up and start building again. And that’s it. Like I love that, that that that message to which I think is important for people to understand this that things aren’t always clean. And these the success stories you hear aren’t always as clean as the people telling them might want them to, you know, be made out to be, but that we go through things that are will be difficult. And I think they’ll always be difficulties, but that you just have to understand that you’re committed to build in that you’ll be able to pick up the bricks and start from scratch anytime. And that’s important.
David Ralph [32:05]
Well, I think that’s where success leads, isn’t it? I think so many people, first of all are scared to start in case they fail. And then they will try things and it doesn’t quite work or they don’t quite push it farther now. And they will change direction. I think once you achieve the first level of success, and certainly financially, then you think yourself, actually, I can do this. Now once you’ve done it, like three or four times the amount of multimillionaires, the Simon cows, the Will Smith’s you can see Richard Branson, who obviously are incredibly wealthy, but either lost it all, or almost lost it all at one stage in their life. But because they’d already seen that they could achieve it once went, Okay, fair enough. I’m going to go again, and they done it again, but not make the same mistakes. So do you think that first level of success that you achieve is fundamental to the springboard to take you wherever you want in your life?
Tom Morkes [33:04]
Yeah, I’d say that’s true. Because you do it’s it’s like any sort of growth in any area, whether it’s school and education, or its physical fitness and training and or business and in financial success. Once you hit those plateaus your you’ll hit you’ll, you’ll have these goals for yourself in any one of those areas. And to hit it, it takes a lot of training and action and working at it. And then once you hit it, all of a sudden, how hard you worked like the past months and years. It seems kind of crazy that it took you so long to get there. But once you hit that it’s like your new new plateau per se or now it doesn’t mean that it has to actually plateau. But like in fitness, we hit like a new new record on a you know, a single rep bench or something like that, or deadlift or whatever, you’ll hit that and you’re like, Wow, now it’s not now that weight isn’t so intimidating anymore. And you can come back to it, you might not actually hit it again for a little bit of time. But you’ve now that you’ve hit it once you know you can. So it’s like you’ve you’ve broken that mental block, which is, which is hugely important in fitness, at least in like power lifting and stuff like that that I’ve done. But when it comes to when it comes to financial success, same deal, because you know, the reality is the first few hundred bucks I made online, the first $500 I made online was a big deal. Like when I made $500 in a month, I was like, Wow, that was awesome. I did that virtually. That means something if I can do 500 bucks in a month, virtually this month, maybe I can do more next month, or maybe I you know, maybe I can grow. And so yeah, that that broke the mental hurdle that that this stuff is possible.
David Ralph [34:34]
I’ve got a gentleman on the show. He hasn’t been recorded yet called Pat Flynn. I’m sure you you wouldn’t know him being in in the environment that you are online. And yeah, I think I’ve heard of them. Yeah. And Pat Flynn for people that don’t know, because there’s different levels of fame. And it is really sort of struck me. I’ve got some guests lined up on the show. But some people got my god, how did you get them. And then other people say I’ve never heard them. Now Pat Flynn is somebody who is kind of aren’t round. But anybody who is interested in the online world will have heard of him. And he’s bringing in 55 60,000 a month. And he still remembers the very first amount of money that he got virtually, where he done a piece of work, looked into his paypal account, and some money had come to him. And it was something like $9 72. But even with his level of success, he can still go right back to that time and go, I still couldn’t believe that I could earn this money and actually not have to do anything. I’ve done that bit of work once and I could sell it multiple times. And it was a real sort of mental breakthrough for him. When did you have that moment when you thought, yes, I don’t actually have to go and work every hour to be paid, I can actually create my work, send it out. And in effect, it works for me.
Tom Morkes [35:57]
Um, so I guess it’s interesting because I, since I’d studied this stuff in it, I’d seen people do it. I knew it was possible. So so the hurdle wasn’t so much that like, Oh, is this truly possible? I knew it was it was just, here’s here’s what was tough for me as Pat Flynn when he was doing stuff, he kind of he kind of stumble upon it. In some ways, he kind of crafted in other ways. He’s also primarily an affiliate marketer. So it’s like it’s just a different, it’s a different ballgame than if you’re a say a creator, which isn’t to say he hasn’t created stuff he has. But when your primary source of incomes affiliate marketing, it’s a different ballgame. So from for me when it comes to writing and stuff like that. The biggest hurdle is so I’m not, you know, affiliate marketer, what I mean by that is selling other people’s stuff. So it’s it’s, you can I feel like because that it’s actually in some ways easier or harder, it depends what what perspective you have on it. But for me, the hard part, the hurdle was getting over the fact that is what are the words that I write? Are they valuable? Are they valuable enough for people to pay money for them. And so that when I wrote that first book, when I, well, I want to publish the first one, I wrote the art of instigating, which was free, and it just, it’s still free. And they get that away for free when people subscribe to my blog, but the first one I put for sale, I actually gave it away for free as well, because I to be honest with you, I was I was kind of scared to charge for anything in the beginning. And that was the two days with Seth Godin ebook. And but it’s something special with that was I made it page one. And when I put it out that way, I was like, okay, people can have free. And then this way, I won’t feel bad if nobody pays anything. Well, that’s me $500 the first month from that book with a tiny list of like, 100 people. And that’s when I realized that my words have value, and that I can make money from my from from what I create. And that if this is just an audience of 100. This is just the tip of the iceberg. So yeah, all at once. That was back in April, actually, it’s so coming on a year now, I probably do some sort of like anniversary celebration of that or something. I don’t know what yet next month. But But yeah, that was the that was for me, that was the pinnacle for it to show that. Because I think any author, I have those same fears as well. Are my words worthwhile. And so I would say to anybody wondering that, yeah, but you have to find that audience, you have to work at it. And you have to put put a lot effort into it. And in the end, if they’re any good, I’m sure you’ll find somebody who loves it. And that’s my case, because I don’t consider myself a brilliant writer at all. I you know, I consider myself pretty average. But I’m comparing myself maybe to people that are quite good. So I never feel like I’m good enough for my works good enough. So that’s another thing for for writers and artists and creators to take into account that I don’t think personally, unless you have like quite a big ego, that you’ll ever feel it work is good enough. But is it usually is actually more than good enough. You just have to put it out there and share it with us.
David Ralph [38:41]
He is kind of amazing, isn’t it, but you can create a product, you can throw it out to the world and say, pay what you want. Now he logically or maybe it’s illogical, but I would go everyone’s going to take it for nothing. But you’re saying that people actually paying you what they feel it’s worth so you’re actually actually creating value, but they are justifying by the amount that they actually pay you did you think you’re actually earning more going that route? When you would if you said $9 99
Tom Morkes [39:16]
big time. Yeah. And that’s been my experience. So now everything I do is pay what you want. Because I like the idea that anybody can get it no matter what financial situation they’re in. But I also like the fact that it unleashes it takes away. I just I think fixed pricing is I understand what fixed pricing exists. But I also think that it’s fundamentally flawed, especially when it comes to online stuff, digital, digital, or just any working in, in any area, because pay what you want works. Beyond digital products, I do it for my consulting services. Now, I do pay what you want consulting, and I’ve been incredibly happy with the results. I all my books on Tumblr, because I calm or pay what you want. I wrote a book on pay what you want, because I had so much success with it. I wanted to share it with other people. So I wrote a book and it’s not ironically, it’s pay what you want, that one starts at $1, I have a minimum bid for that one at $1. But otherwise, you pick your price. But what’s really cool about that is that when you do something like that, you’ll still have the people that take it for free or pay it just $1. And that’s fine. But you’ll also get the people who see what you’re doing. And they see the value in what you’re creating. And they’re like, and they realize the generosity with what you give it out to the world. And they compensate you very generously and exchange. And so I’ve had people pay 25 1500 dollars for my for my ebooks. You don’t get that on Amazon. No, don’t get that in the Amazon Kindle.
David Ralph [40:34]
What’s the highest that you’ve had? That’s really you’ve gone? You know, this is overly generous for my work? Or maybe you don’t maybe you go No, actually my work is what it is. And if you’re willing to pay for that, then when or when I’m good.
Tom Morkes [40:48]
Yeah, no, I don’t actually. I mean, I’ve got like I said, I think aboard up 100 bucks for a book. And you could say, Oh, I don’t I never considered that overvalue my work, I look at that as like this is this person gave it to me, you know, 50 or 100 bucks and said this is worth it to me. One person took it for free, used it implemented the advice in and implemented the steps that were in it, and then came back in and gave me like 50, or hundred bucks. And he did that because he had success with it. And he’s like, this is what it’s worth to me. And it’s like, that’s the point is, when when the creator puts a fixed price on something, they’re saying this is the value of it. And it could you could not value it any higher. What I’m saying is, let’s get rid of that. Let’s get rid of that construct. And let’s let the value beyond the purchaser, the eyes of the beholder truly, and let them decide. And so I have not been ever disappointed in the results.
David Ralph [41:39]
It’s, it’s a concept, but does sort of blow your mind. But as you were talking there, it made me remember a story that I read about a Brazilian businessman. And if I get his name wrong, I apologize. It’s at the back of my mind. But I think it was Ricardo Semak or Richard Semak. And he was running a Brazilian industrial company. And he had a heart attack or he had a stress manufactured heart problem. And as he was laying in his hospital bed, he said Why? Okay, I’m not going to run this company anymore, I’m going to get my staff to do it. And the staff are going to recruit the staff, and by are going to be shareholders of the company. But one of the things that he did, which really was interesting, he said to the staff, you choose your salary, whatever you want to earn in a year, you can. But if you’re earning 100,000 pounds a month, you’ve got to be able to justify that you are actually earning 100,000 pounds a month. And more often than not, people actually went lower, because I didn’t really want to put the pressure on themselves to actually justify. It’s interesting, isn’t it?
Tom Morkes [42:52]
That is actually a great story. And I’m going to after this conversation, I want to get the details on this, this because I really want to read that because it doesn’t stop prize me at all. Because that’s just the nature of it. When you ask Actually, it’s it’s like this natural, like inhibition we had our brains. And I think all human beings unless we train ourselves out of it. So if I say if I say to a painter how much for the painting, that person is likely to under price? And vice versa? If they if the painter asked me Well, how much? How much is this worth to you, I’m more likely to increase the price. I don’t know why that is I just see it on a daily basis, especially when it up which we want that people tend to be more generous than we give them credit for. We just have to give them the opportunity. And then in case like that, that’s interesting, because that’s that’s slightly different. Because what’s sad about that is that people put less than what they think they didn’t want the pressure. I guess if anything that’s kind of sad to me, I guess I would have I would have hoped that people would have chosen a price that is over what they believe they’re capable of, and then then risen to meet it. But I and I think there are people like that out there I try be try to set unrealistically high expectations for myself and then over deliver. So I’m My belief is to over promise and over deliver. And if I keep doing that, I’m good. And that means sometimes that I won’t over deliver, though. And that’s scary. And so I know that as creator, that puts a lot of stress on me probably undue stress that I don’t need. But you know what? It’s why not? I have one shot, why not give it everything?
David Ralph [44:22]
Are you lonely, Tom? Because it seems to me that you are doing a job that you love. You’re doing a job extremely well, better than extremely well, you know, he changed my life, as I said, but you haven’t got an environment directly around you to bounce off ideas? Or is it to do you have that network through the online world. But if you have a problem, you can go off to somebody and they can come back? Have you got that support, even though that you’re sitting in South Africa? Or are you basically on your own doing this?
Tom Morkes [44:55]
Yeah, no, that’s actually that’s a really good question. Um, I don’t believe I am. I don’t think I’m lonely. To be honest to you. I think maybe when I started I was when I started writing it, it felt more lonely, because I was doing it on the side. And I had, you know, had my full time job. And I didn’t take myself seriously as a writer or whatever I was creating. I was like, you know, who am I to be doing this, I’m, you know, I’m in the army. But I’m writing on this, the topics that are that are parallel, like either courage or entrepreneurship in these different things that I’m very fascinated by never claiming to be any of those things. But to write about them, because that’s where my interest lies. And, and so I guess in the beginning, that was more lonely, anything, anytime I feel like I think like the Creator, I think it’s just the writer in particular, the artist, he has a very lonely journey, in a lot of ways, especially for like the fiction writer who’s writing like a quite a long, long book, that takes a long time, it takes a lot of courage, I don’t think many people recognize how hard it is to be that kind of artist or writer. And that journey can be very lonely, which is one of the reasons why I write I write because I know those people and there, I know I have some friends and that are very close to me that are going through that path. And I want to write stuff that would inspire them to stay on it. Because I think the words they write are important. And I think the stories they craft are important. And I don’t want them to quit. And so if I can be that person that helps help them through the difficult times with my words. And they can publish their book or whatever it is that they’re creating, then I feel that’s kind of my purpose in some ways. And I’m, I’m proud of that. And I take I take pride in being able to do that. And hopefully do do that well enough. So I recognize the loneliness. But as far as I’m concerned, no, I’m not now, you know, I’m actually I am. My life is too good right now. Like it’s, it’s, it’s in terms of just I have not a single thing to complain about. And I don’t, I do get I do connect with people online. And that’s just another you mentioned that like that’s I can connect with people online at mastermind groups, I have people that I’m part of, I can reach out to an email. So no, I never really get lonely when it comes to the entrepreneurship thing. It’s difficult. It’s, you know, sometimes it’s painful. And the process, we go through it difficult but no, it’s I never feel lonely. Now, now, that wasn’t like I said, in the beginning, that was true. But now not all,
David Ralph [47:15]
because I’m going into this this new venture, as we can hear on the mic today. And I have no one to support me other than you guys. And I’ve got great strength from having people like yourself, who have inspired me to do this, then say to me, yes, I’m going to allocate some time, and I will speak to you. And it’s like my own in a support group, that every day they come through to me, I have a conversation. And afterwards, I actually feel stronger. But I’m on the right path, even though I’ve never met you And believe me, Tom, if you’re ever in the UK, to point someone me, but um, it’s kinda it’s a virtual is a virtual support group. And I really want to sort of emphasize that to people out there, anyone that’s listening, you don’t have to be on your own, you don’t have to have the superhero syndrome, where you’ve got to create something from start to finish. And it doesn’t have to be perfect. I’m sure these shows 30 4050 down the line are going to be so much better than the ones that I’m producing now. But you’re doing it, you’re doing it. So just do it. Reach out to people try to build a network of connections. And it’s not lonely as it is. It’s it’s hugely exciting on a daily basis.
Tom Morkes [48:35]
It is I agree completely. You know, what’s fascinating to David, when I think about it is actually I’m to the point where my schedule gets pretty booked up now. And I’m, I’m working on some of the other things that I don’t have that much free time, but I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think there’s a single person that could be wrong, maybe that there is somebody out there who hates me for it. But I don’t think I’ve ever turned down a single offer to get on a Skype call and do like 15 Theater, 30 minutes with anybody. So I don’t think I’ve turned down a single person. And I To this day, even though I’m traveling, I tried to do the same thing. So if somebody was like, after hearing this was like, hey, Tom, do you have time next week to connect to be like, Well, here’s my schedule. So yeah, if you have 1530 minutes, you can block out on my schedule, let’s do it. And I don’t mind doing that. What I find is that that’s I’m open about that as well. And how few people take me up on it. It is what it is, you know, so I just say that because there’s maybe there’s somebody listening who’s like, Man, I wish I could connect with somebody, I just wish I had some advice or some third party, I’m not saying Come to me, I maybe I’m not not your man, you know, maybe I’m not the guy to give you that. But maybe there’s somebody else that you admire more than me. And that person might have time on their schedule, you just have to go out of your way to make that happen. You know what I mean? Like, I really do believe that and I connect with some amazing people doing that the podcast is great as well. But even without my podcast, I would have been reaching out and connecting with these same great people. And that’s You’re right, it means you don’t have to do it alone. You can get advice from the people you need to you can tap into the brains of people who’ve been been there and done it before. And when you do that, man, it makes the process so much easier.
David Ralph [50:04]
Who inspires you to?
Tom Morkes [50:08]
Hmm, it depends on what day day it is or what I’ve been reading.
And and if we’re talking real, you know, people in real life or, or dead people who have really influenced my writing and things like that, that are really impressive. So,
David Ralph [50:23]
since I saw you later, I was going to connect you in a pub. A couple of points with someone, obviously, it’s better to have a couple of points with someone living. Who would you go, my God, I would run there to get to that that connection?
Tom Morkes [50:40]
Geez, that’s really good question, I suppose.
Who would I? I don’t know, I guess I off the top of my head. Although I’ve had some interactions with them already. I would I would never turn down a chance to drink a beer with Stephen press field whose books f1 very inspirational for me. I mean, his book gets gets a fire is what made me want to join the military, which is a historical fiction about the Spartans. And then our history. Yeah, historical fiction. Yeah. And then his book War of Art inspired the writing that I do on a daily basis for my blog, because that was a nonfiction book on writing that I found was very powerful. So his words are very revised resonate with me. And so I would, I would definitely, yeah, if you were like, hey, let’s let’s grab a beer with him. I would I would do everything in my power to make that happen. Beyond that, I don’t know. I’m sure if I started thinking about it. I recognize all the people that whose businesses I truly respect and admire in all around the world as hundreds of people that are probably like, Yes, I would love to, because I’m always up for meeting. I say I say this, because it’s a tough question. For me, it’s not like one person, but I see value in a lot of different people on things that they create. And I feel like I can learn a ton from so many different people. So but I’d say that that’s a good one to start. So yeah, if you, if you get that, that opportunity to shoot me an email.
David Ralph [51:58]
Well, I think we’ve got so much value from yourself today. But to bring the show to the end, I want to put you actually on the mic. And this is when I hand over the presenting duties to yourself. And you really speak from the heart about your journey and your personal beliefs on what can be achieved if you only put your mind to it. And we’re going to call this the Sermon on the mic. Because this is really sort of the powerhouse of the show where your experiences can be shared with just one person or two people or whatever. But it can make a big difference. So I’m going to play the same show. And then afterwards, I’m just going to sit back and bring Tom Morkes on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [52:43]
Here we go. With the best bit of the show.
Tom Morkes [53:04]
That was a very powerful introductory song.
I guess I’d say this, you know, you you said at this point that this is where I talk to my younger self. So I don’t have much to say except that things are never certain. Life’s not certain. And life’s not necessarily for surviving. In a matter of speaking, in real life, in terms of just like biology and stuff like that we’re all going to die. But also in terms of our art and the work that we create. It’s not about just getting by or just doing enough, or just survival. It’s, it’s there’s much bigger purpose to what we do. And that purpose is right in front of us. And we just have to be able to look at it and reach out and accept it and understand that that path that we choose is going to be different than half of the People’s next to us. And that when we definitely commit to it. And we say this is that this is this is what I was meant to do. We can take solace in that, even when it gets hard and gets tough. So I’d say for me just starting out, hey, you’re going to go through some tough times. It’s gonna be difficult, and most of it won’t make sense of the time. But yeah, like, you know, we had talked about earlier in the show, connecting the dots that they will connect when you when you keep going you’ll be able to connect the dots even though they seem very, it’s the whole thing seems discombobulated so yeah, a things are tough. They are always tough and never never necessarily gets easy. And it’s not supposed to. But if it’s worthwhile, then it doesn’t matter. So yeah, that’s what I got. I got us what I got for young Tom, what do you think David
David Ralph [54:43]
Well, I think young Tom Morkes should listen. And if he doesn’t, then more for him, Tom, it’s been an absolute delight to have you on the show. It’s been an absolute honor, as I say, you were the catalyst to start all this off. And it’s going to be so interesting to see, you know, if our paths now connecting virtually, will ultimately join physically, because of the sort of success that I’ve created here matches your own success. So you’re the benchmark of what I’m aiming for. If you do you know in the future want to come back on the show, please, because there’s always a progression to the joining up dots. And remember, by joining up dots is the only way that we can build a future. Tom Morkes, thank you very much,