Jim Sweeney Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Jim Sweeney
Jim Sweeney is our guest today joining us on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots free podcast interview.
He is an man who is perfect for a show like this one.
As he made the brave decision a few years ago to leave his successful corporate gig and follow his heart.
He made the decision to set out to discover what would bring him personal satisfaction in life, play to his strengths, and then turn it into income by creating the Trademarked MIKE cartoon sports character.
MIKE is an animated microphone with a sharp wit, humorous turn of phrase, and the go to guy if your TV programme wants a different approach to interviewing live celebrities and sports figures.
But of course he is so much more than just a cartoon character, as within his small body he holds the dream, passions and future for our guest all rolled into one.
But like all guests today’s started his career as far away as is possible from where he is today, surrounded by the green grass, and bright lights of American sports stadiums and TV studios.
How The Dots Joined Up For Jim
Beginning his career as the Corporate Merchandise & Import Manager for CVS & Rite Aid) he spent his time travelling around the Far East importing consumer electronic & personal care appliance merchandise, before later setting up his own company in Sweeney Sales inc.
He hustled, travelled and worked hard in an environment that seems from the outside a strange fit for this creative guy.
But maybe that wasn’t the case and this was the period of key learning that without it, MIKE the character could never have been born.
So was he always entrepreneurial in spirit, but truly needed that thing that played to his own creative side to get going in life?
And of course its great to have a fun and creative idea, but how do you keep the buzz when things don’t go your way?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr Jim Sweeney.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Jim Sweeney such as:
How Mike first came to life, and allowed Jim and his wife to change direction to one that is creative and fun.
The battle he has had with the Networks, who wanted to focus Mikes appeal totally on children and not as a multi generational character.
Why it is so important to have knock-backs during your journey, and how these lead to the extra effort which makes the products and dream stronger.
The total belief that Jim has in his product, and why he will not stop until MIKE is at the top of his game. Famous across the world.
Jim Sweeney Books
How To Connect With Jim Sweeney
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Full Transcription Of Jim Sweeney Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling and Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:26]
Yes, hello there weld. How are we? Are we all right for the new year, have a good new year and you’re rested didn’t drink too much the other day, hopefully you’re not and you’re sort of kicking into your deer into gear to get the targets go for the goals because that’s what it’s all about. 2015 done and dusted 2016 VAT is where the gold is. And hopefully we’re going to bring you a very good show to start with. This is the first proper Episode The first guest of the year. And he is somebody who I suppose is perfect for a show like this one, as he A brave decision a few years ago to levy successful corporate gig and follow his heart. He made the decision to set out to discover what would bring him personal satisfaction these life, play to his strengths, and then turn it into income by creating a trademark Mike cartoon sports character. Now, you may not have heard of Mike but Mike is an animated microphone with a sharp wit, humorous turn of phrase and the go to guy if your TV programme wants a different approach to interviewing live celebrities and sports speakers. But of course, he’s so much more than just a cartoon character. As with any small body he holds the dream passions and future for our guests all rolled into one. But like all guests today, he started his career as far away as possible from where he is surrounded by the green grass and bright lights of American sports stadiums and TV studios. He actually began his career as the corporate merchandise and import manager for CBS, CBS, CVS and Rite Aid. He spent his time travelling around the Far East importing countries More electronic and personal care appliance merchandise, before later setting up his own company in Sweeney sales, he hustled travelled and worked hard in an environment that seems from the outside a strange fit for this creative guy. But maybe that wasn’t the case. And this was the period of key learning that without it, Mike, the character could never have been born. So was he always entrepreneurial in spirit but truly needed that thing that play to his own creative side to get going in life? And of course, it’s great to have a fun and creative idea. But how do you keep the buzz when things don’t go your way? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up does with the one and only Mr. Jim Sweeney. How are you Jim?
Jim Sweeney [2:40]
Mr. David Ralph, I am doing fantastically well today. Thanks for having me as a guest on your show. It is lovely to have you here because
David Ralph [2:47]
we were saying already. You’re not my favourite guest in the world. Yeah, I mean, Florida is the place that I was going to take the kids to Florida this Christmas. It’s a fortune to go there. It’s a fortune and you get to believe that All the time.
Jim Sweeney [3:01]
My wife and I have lived here for 32 years. We grew up in the northeast, just outside of New York City. found our way down here in the early 80s and had never looked back.
David Ralph [3:11]
And would you really not look back you don’t get the urge for snowy winters and climates and stuff you you like the dramatic storms in the afternoon and the heat of Florida.
Jim Sweeney [3:22]
I don’t mind the dramatic storms in the afternoon. I don’t mind the heat and humidity because you don’t have to shovel it. I grew up you know, live 20 something years in the northeast and you know, we were just tired of the sleet, the snow, the rain, the cold, the fog, the greyness the chill, and I’m a native Floridian now and I love it.
David Ralph [3:46]
Now will you always somebody that as I said in the introduction was a creative soul or you know I’m very fascinated with Mike the character now. I didn’t know Mike until recently, but I have found Mike doing more Research all over the place, even his own podcast for a while which I listened to two or three episodes. I must admit, I didn’t understand it because a lot of it was American sports. But was he somebody that was sort of born from a doodle like Mickey Mouse was when Disney used to travel around on trains? Or was he something that was forced into being by your sort of your creative urge?
Jim Sweeney [4:23]
Both. He was born on January 3 1958. Now the whole world knows my birthday. And he was coursing through my DNA when I came out of my mom’s womb. And over the course of many years, it seemed like all the things I did in life, whether it was my love of sports, my fondness of words and the dictionary. You know, the fact that I like to read biographies, the fact that I like to travel, you know, because I was always attracted to humour. It’s like everything in my past. There were all these dots and I think is very fortuitous. That I’m on the show today because over the course of the last couple months, I could see all the dots in my past. They’re all like aligning kind of like planets are aligning as I get deeper into the cultivation, development, and, you know, further refinement of my my character. So, he was really born 58 years ago when I was born, but he really didn’t have his actual birth, you know, to the world to the digital space until like four or five years ago, when my wife and I, we just opted, you know, to get out and transition away from a business that we had had for a number of years that were really successful. He wanted to do something different. We wanted to exercise our creative bent, we wanted to do like the unthinkable, the unimaginable. And just go for it. And you know, it was a process. It’s just not, you know, flipping a switch or closing the door one day and starting a new Business the next. It was something that took, you know, probably a couple years to come to fruition. But we’ve never looked back. We’ve never, you know, regretted transitioning out of a successful previous business and doing something that that we think has purpose. And that’s just flat out fun.
David Ralph [6:19]
Now, the question that sort of came to me as you was talking is more often than not in partnerships in couples, husband and wife, you have one dreamer, and one realist, one person that will go, yeah, we can do this, we can do that. That’s going to be amazing. And the other homes going Oh, just hold back. Let’s think about the bills. Let’s think about December. So your wife has got the same spirit as you
Jim Sweeney [6:43]
very much. So just as passionate as make a you know, thinks that she can vanquish any kind of challenge like I can. We met in 1977 at the university in Boston. We’ve been married over 34 years. This is the third business that we’ve been involved in together. We like to tell people we get along great, except when we don’t.
David Ralph [7:04]
So how do you how do you do that? How do you find somebody that works so well? And not just in a business sense, but works so well as a, as a wife as a partner? How does that come to fruition for you?
Jim Sweeney [7:19]
I don’t think you find it, I think that it finds you. And we both recognised many, many years ago, that we were just destined to be a couple. And we take our relationship, not just our business relationship, but our marital relationship, you know, very seriously. We have always, you know, talked openly, she more than I have, I was more, you know, quiet than I am, you know, currently in the past than I am today. And, you know, her value that she embraces the most is truth and transparency, which I think are one in the same and if there’s issues We have in our relationship and earn a business, man, she’s just gonna get that to the bottom of it. And I think that’s healthy for a relationship. And because now
David Ralph [8:10]
you’ve got like a threesome going on, because Mike’s involved as well. It’s all coming in every
Jim Sweeney [8:16]
thread free in my brain he has since I was born. And we both love Mike, let’s put it that way. And Mike loves us because we’re giving him an international platform.
David Ralph [8:26]
So when you first came along with the with the drawing, I imagine it was did you show it as a fully realised platform? Or was it just a sketch but you showed it to your wife?
Jim Sweeney [8:39]
It was a series of sketches and they were awful. And my wife is very artistic. She tried to draw Mike and she did a much, much better job than I did. Because, you know, I’m a wordsmith. I’m a visionary. I’m good with numbers. Very creative, but I’m not artistic. I can’t even draw you know, believable stickman. But she took what I had originally envisioned and she brought it bumped it up to another level, then we recognise that if this was going to be something that would be animated, and something that we wanted to introduce as a premium character that would have a lot of longevity to it, we needed a professional involved. So we paid handsomely to a gentleman in the Tampa Bay area. He’s a multi Emmy Award winning illustrator, Illustrator and animator, you know, he’s got like 30 Addy awards for advertising excellence. And he really brought Mike to life with a series of sketches. And then we also paid him to animate Mike to bring him to life visually. And I never regret you know, spending the money because it was worth every penny. Because Mike is he’s a great looking product.
David Ralph [9:54]
But the key thing to this is, you aren’t a visionary. You can hear it in your voice and You can see that because most people if they could only do a basic stickman they wouldn’t put their convictions behind it, would they? Most people that I speak to certainly seem to want to get an almost polished, perfect article before they take it to someone. So what is it in you that’s about to see something but isn’t formulized
Jim Sweeney [10:22]
I think it was a gift. That Mike was a gift that was given to me. I just can’t explain that the only way. Only explanation I have is I’m very purposed as an individual and I wanted to do something with my life that had significant purpose. And I’ve always loved humour. I’ve loved wit I’ve loved sports. And you know, I studied cartoon characters because I love like Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny and the Flintstones. But in the world of sports, I never saw or discovered an animated cartoon sports character. And when I got that idea Yeah, I mean, I couldn’t sleep not for a night, but for like a month until I started to do something. And I feel and I know it sounds crazy, but I believe that I’ve created or we’ve created the first ever animated brand to transcend all sports. I’m talking about Mickey Mouse, big Bart Simpson big. I mean, that’s the level and the magnitude of the character that I know that we’ve created. I know that the quite the challenge is trying to convince the people at the major media networks to also know and I haven’t gotten there just yet.
David Ralph [11:33]
So how do you stop banging down doors? You’ve got this idea. You’ve taken it from the first level to the second, you’ve invested in it. But now you’re going to be taking it to the people that matter. The people that have got to go, yeah, I see this. I see what you’ve created. This is Bart Simpson, Mark to whatever. We’re going to give you prime time or we’re going to give you some kind of air time. How do you Don’t knocking down those doors.
Jim Sweeney [12:03]
You have to find out what the needs of the network are. And you know, try and fit, you know what your property is into satisfying their needs. And we were piloted a few years ago when I first came out, I’ve been in sales all my life. I feel like I’m a big game hunter. I could sell anything to anyone at anytime, anywhere. And we had a major sports network here in the United States, pay for the pilot to bring Mike to life. And test, you know, Mike with the people in their executive offices, and we knocked it out of the park. I mean, we did really well it was funny, it was witty creative. Mike was extremely engaging. However, the network had different ideas for what we envisioned for the character, even though they paid us for the pilot. And we did a pilot one way they wanted to utilise the property. in a different way, and I didn’t see it that way, you know, as the visionary as the guy that was the creator of the property. And you know, I could already see that, you know, Mike coming to fruition 10 years down the road, even though we were talking, you know, today, and somebody just asked a question, it’s a longer path that the network wanted him to go. So can I just
David Ralph [13:23]
stop you about what what what was the difference in route? Where was the difference in opinion at that moment?
Jim Sweeney [13:30]
I believe that Mike is a transgenerational character, that because of the way he was built, he could appeal to young kids and he could appeal to their grandparents, that he covers the entire spectrum of the demo. And the network only wanted to utilise him for kids. And I felt and my wife felt also very strongly, that that would tremendously reduce You know, the pie in terms of what are the breadth of our demo would be, and it would only be 10 to 15% of a total market. And we envisioned Mike as for everybody, that he was a safe character, he was funny, he was witty, he was like, a SpongeBob that SpongeBob has humour on multiple different levels that could appeal to a 10 year old kid and also appeal with Whittier, you know, funnier, better humour, you know, to a 75 year old man. So that was where the difference was.
David Ralph [14:35]
So we, but as the genius of say, Pixar, Pixar will make Toy Story and it will appeal to the parents. They realised A few years ago, but parents taking their kids to see cartoons were bored out their skull, so put a kind of higher level intelligence to it that the kids don’t pick up on it and the dads will sit there sniggering that’s the way to do it, isn’t it?
Jim Sweeney [14:58]
That’s exactly the way it is. But it was actually a blessing in disguise that we didn’t engage in the relationship because that forced our hand into digital publishing. And I hadn’t posted my first blog hadn’t written my first book, didn’t even conceive of a podcast didn’t do one tweet hadn’t even my first Facebook post. And we realised that we had no position no leverage, we had no wealth, digital wealth built into the character. So we couldn’t dictate the terms. It was either what the network wanted, or nothing. So that was actually a good thing. It was a blessing in disguise, and it forced my hand to bring Mike to life through the written word. And, you know, now three years later, I’ve written close to 800 Sports blogs. I published 37 economic books. You know, I started a podcast which has been on pause for the last couple months, which I’m, you know, starting up again in January. And we have built a great Digital Library. And I also have close to 600 comics that I paid for that. I own. I own the IP on it, like we own the IP intellectual property on Mike, that we incorporate into our blogs and our ebooks. So, you know what at first seemed like it was devastating that we get piloted by a major network, which we’re really excited about turned out to be something that’s in our best interest that will make us you know, much stronger, you know, as we go forward in the future and finding another network that would be interested in licencing. us and I know that’s going to come to fruition soon.
David Ralph [16:41]
It’s amazing, but that happens time and time again, that your biggest failures, your biggest stumbling blocks seem to be a gift. And I think the guys that realise that are the guys that achieve great success in their life because they just know that Okay, I think Richard Branson said the other He didn’t care how many businesses when, when bad for him, because there was another business opportunity coming up. Two minutes later, it’s like passes. And it’s the same with our failures, isn’t it? You have a failure. I’ve had so many failures through Join Up Dots. But I now look at it and go, as you say, yeah, it’s stronger. This show is stronger because of it. I’ve only done half the work and that’s why the failure occurred. Now I understand more of the process. And I’ve got more knowledge and you can proceed through with competence but you’re not going to make that mistake again. So it is an absolute gift in your life, isn’t it and I you know, I I salute you for seeing that.
Unknown Speaker [17:42]
Well, thank you.
Jim Sweeney [17:45]
I got to be straight with you. It was tough at first man. I went kicking and screaming wanting to bang my head against the wall thinking wow, we’re like right at the altar with one of the top networks sports networks in the world. And this is not going to come to be because We’re the ones that are saying no, we’re not going to get married right now. Uh, but but, you know, over a short period of time thereafter, you know, I could recognise just how good a decision how wise the decision my wife and I had made, you know, to forego an immediate opportunity and expectation of what would inevitably be coming to us down the road. And yes, the property is so much stronger. You know, Mike has been vetted at, you know, every turn, you know, I’ve become a better writer, you know, I’ve forged relationship with the top sports affiliate marketers here in the United States. I’ve got really good distribution. You know, I’ve got a loyal fan base. So I’m happy life is good. And 2016 is just going to be a killer year for us. I know that.
David Ralph [18:49]
I’m sure that’s the case for you. Now, let’s just take it away from Mike for a moment because I’m fascinated about your early career because you were the corporate merchandise and Input manager which may not seem a big deal compared to what you’re doing now. But it gave you the ability to test yourself in markets that are going to be quite different from the markets that you grew up in you you travelled to Japan and Hong Kong and China and Korea, Thailand, was that part of the master plan was it like most of us, it was the first kind of job it was it was a stumble into employment somehow.
Jim Sweeney [19:26]
It was the first job was the first real job that I had. It wasn’t a part of the master plan. But it was one of the big dots that’s been on my resume and in my background that’s prepared me for where I am today. I know that I was very fortunate when I worked in was called echar drug company that eventually got bought by CVS and Rite Aid. It was one of the top 10 retailers in the United States. And I got into Management Development Programme at the right time. Certain people had left the company I was quickly promoted, and I found myself with you know, a couple hundred million Dollar open to buy for this organisation as a young man. And it was like being tossed into the swimming pool in the deep end. And fortunately, I had a lot of energy and became a really good swimmer quickly. And it wasn’t just that beyond awesome experience I worked my tail off, I knew that I never wanted to make a career at being a corporate executive because I always had this creativity in me my entrepreneurial spirit and I wanted to do things on my own. But I love the years that I spent, you know, at the corporation because they so prepared me and equip me for what I’m doing today. And it was like getting, you know, a on the job, you know, elite MBA from an established organisation. I mean, I I’m just very grateful I had you know, that window in my but that business window in my life and in my background.
David Ralph [20:55]
Now when you are travelling around, especially as a young man and you’re going to you know, quiet I would say foreign countries, you travelled to the United Kingdom. It’s not that dissimilar to America. But you go to Korea and China, but it is a world apart. You must have had quite a few evenings on your own in hotel rooms or hanging around. How did you sort of pass the time? Did you sketch Did you have visions of where you were going? was the kind of step towards Mike being formulized even at that stage?
Jim Sweeney [21:28]
Well, that was 25 years ago, so no, it was not. I however, how did I bide my time? eckerd and CVS Rite Aid, you know, they were one of the top 10 retailers in America. So we were treated like royalty everywhere we went and seemed like almost an hour every hour of the day, you know, people you know, wanted us, you know, to see their products or to entertain us or to take us out to dinner. So no, Mike was even You know, a blip on the radar screen back then, however, all the things I started to do at that point in time in my life, I really feel that have they equipped me for where I am, if you fast forward the clock, you know, 25 years into the future, all that stuff prepared me to equip me for where I am today.
David Ralph [22:19]
There’s no experience wasted desert in life. We know everything, no matter how crappy the job is, but something in there but you can take to transition to where you should be.
Jim Sweeney [22:31]
David Ralph [22:33]
That was very profound, very profound statement. And I got a simple yes back, but I’m gonna play something now. And this is very, very profound, and it will lead us to the second stage of the conversation. This is Jim Carrey.
My Father [22:44]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [23:11]
So that Jim Carrey speech, it’s, it’s astonishing how every time I play it, it seems to tie up with the guests. That moment when you’re going for that thing, even though it might seem mad at that time, but that thing that you just had to do, you know, you’re going to love it. So you’re in a business, you’ve got a business on full flow, it’s doing very well. Why didn’t you just sort of stay with that? Why don’t you just sort of ease your way out the door and leave the company running as it was?
Jim Sweeney [23:40]
It was the pining in my heart. My wife and I both knew that there was something more that we wanted to do. You know, we wanted to leave our imprint, we wanted to make an impact and selling boring computer widgets was not what we thought is having an impact in life. We wanted to have a legacy of some sort. We wanted to do something that was Outside the Box, that was creative. That was fun. That was energising and we’re at a stage in our lives, we were approaching, you know, 50 and we just wanted to do something different so that we didn’t, you know, like, glide into retirement that we required and we did something different that would energise us, that would give us something to look forward to when we got out of bed every morning. And we have no regrets. We love the decision that we made. I mean, it wasn’t easy, but when we look back, we think, Hey, that was a great move at that time in our lives. So do you think as as humans that will successful people,
David Ralph [24:39]
is it about leaving a legacy? Do you think that’s really where things start cooking on gas and you work on a different level?
Jim Sweeney [24:48]
I totally agree with you. I think, you know, the people that are visionaries, they want to do something different. They want, you know, to leave their mark. They want you know, to do something great in life. You know, my wife and I both wanted to do it. I mean, what we’re doing now, we love it. And we know that, you know, we’ve just really scratched the potential of where inevitably we will go. And when we look back, we’ll say, hey, yeah, we did leave our mark. We entertained people, we educated people. We gave people some inspiration by our own personal journey. And we’re just grateful that we did what we did at that time in our lives.
David Ralph [25:26]
So who is the visionary? And who is the practical person does Does your wife rein you in? Or do you sort of rein her in? Because generally, in couples, especially business couples, there’s there’s an equilibrium that finds itself and when one person is weak, the other person is strong. Is that the same with you?
Jim Sweeney [25:44]
I’ll give you two answers. One is that I’ve had a lifelong propensity of putting the cart before the horse so my wife will rein me in. However, she’s also a visionary too. I mean, she is she’s a firecracker when she gets something You know, in our cross, she just has to express it. She just has to do it. But you know, we both balance each other. We change hats periodically, but to, you know, answer your question, I’m the one that needs to be reined in more than she does.
David Ralph [26:16]
So you don’t like one of those sort of clocks when the rainy person comes out in the sunny person comes out, you’re not sort of totally different. You are simpatico, I suppose?
Jim Sweeney [26:27]
Yes, we are. And we have to work on we live in a three story townhome. And we have to work on separate floors in our house. Because we just get so excited when we have ideas or when we stumble upon something that we have to share with others. And it kind of prevents or precludes the other person from working because we’re constantly interrupting each other. So I have my own workstation. On the first floor. She’s got a great workstation on the second floor. And I would say every hour or so during the day, we come up and we say Hey, what’s up what’s going on? And you know, we share You know how our day is going for five or 10 minutes, then we get back to our own little areas of comfort, where, you know, that’s where all the magic happens.
David Ralph [27:11]
And is it hard to actually do what you’re doing because in the sense of my listeners, most of them are in corporate gigs. Most of them are commuting on a daily basis. And the thought of working from home in their PJs is utopia. But I found it quite hard at the very beginning to remain focused, I found it easier to actually go off to an office each day and do the do more than just sort of sitting at a dinner table doing the work. Was it difficult for you at the very beginning, transitioning from the office environment to home.
Jim Sweeney [27:43]
I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 25 years. So I’ve done my own thing on my own for, you know, a quarter of a century when I first had left the corporate world, it was different. But you know, I was very productive. Then I was going to make it happen no matter what. So no, it wasn’t hard. And, you know, in what we’re doing now and creating content for my character, when I first started doing it, it wasn’t difficult at all it was, it was really easy because I loved what I did. And I’m still every day, I’ve been doing this for several years, I’m equally as excited every morning, when I get up, and I drink my coffee, and I sit in front of my computer and start, you know, panning things for what I want to release on the internet. I’m excited. The difficult part is keeping up with the technology, you know, as a standalone, independent entrepreneur, you know, you got to teach yourself, you got to find ways to be educated. That’s the difficult part. And you know, it’s hard at times because technology just changes at warp speed, and you got to keep up with it. You don’t want to be behind the way you want to be on the front of the wave. So that’s that’s the way I would answer your question is yes, it’s hard and keeping up with the technology. No, it’s not difficult at all when it comes to, you know, trying to find ways to propel what your vision is and what you set out to do. And when you love something, it’s never work.
David Ralph [29:10]
So I imagine as somebody who’s been around for a while and has created their own business, successful business, and now you’re doing this, I imagine that you get asked the question of how do I do it? What was the first step to take? What would be the
Jim Sweeney [29:26]
is taking the first step? It’s building up the courage, you know, mustering up the Moxie, and just doing it saying, Hey, this is the first thing that I want to do. This is my first step in what could be a long, arduous, circuitous journey, but I’m going to do it because so many people and I’ve had opportunities and so as my wife, to talk to business groups, to you know, at meetups at universities and other gatherings, and, you know, people they always say, I Want to wait you know another six months, I need more money in my bank account or, you know, I’m gonna wait until the planets align or until I lose more weight or something ridiculous. You don’t have to go cold turkey from one career or one position to embark on an entrepreneurial journey. You could take the first little step by just writing your plan by writing some goals. And I’m I’m a list guy every day when I get up, I write a list of what I want to do that day. And by the end of the day, I can’t go to sleep at night until I’ve ticked the boxes on all the things that I’ve personally written down that I wanted to accomplish that day. And if there are certain things I didn’t, then hey, they’re already at the top of the list for my list the following day. So
David Ralph [30:45]
because I think you’re right, really Jim, because it doesn’t matter. The first step does it it just is a step and it can be in any direction because I’ve never met anyone that says, right. I had this idea and I went for it and from A to B, it was perfect. It seems to be that somewhere along the line, you suddenly realise that you were kind of vaguely in the right direction. But then you find the real thing. So just getting going get off the sofa, put your shoes on, and take that first step.
Jim Sweeney [31:15]
Yeah, but no, it’s a journey, you’re not going to get from A to B, you know, in a perfect line. It’s going to be a circuitous journey at times. And the journey is something that you shouldn’t look to, you should enjoy. And the challenges on the journey, you you should say, hey, how can I learn from these experiences, they’re not necessarily failures. They’re just bumps in the road, you know, blips in the road. But they’re there for a reason. Maybe I could have done something differently. I could have been smarter could have been quicker, I should have been slower, whatever, but you need to study your mistakes and you need to have, you know, other people around you that could say, hey, you should have approached that from a different angle. Or maybe have you considered this you would have gotten there more smoothly. More quickly and more successfully. So it’s good to surround yourself with people you know, that are familiar with what you’re doing. And they could speak truth into your life. They could just speak very candidly, as opposed to being Yes, people in your life.
David Ralph [32:13]
And you gotta be very careful who you do choose, don’t you? I made a mistake early in the day or choosing some people that I think they were too close to the old me and not the new me. They couldn’t move in the same way that I was moving. I had dreams and aspirations. And they just weren’t up to that speed. So I had to cut them off, and then find new people to fill in. How many of the guys that you have known all your life are still with you on this journey? Have you moved on to the next group?
Jim Sweeney [32:46]
There are some people that are still with us and then others that we thought that we would be a part of the journey and sharing the success that aren’t because the journey became too difficult. You know, as I mentioned previously, you It’s, it’s an arduous journey. And sometimes you’re gonna have some stumbles and some failures. And you have to pick yourself up, you have to teach yourself. Sure you can get other people’s advice, but it’s still up to you. When your names on the shingle as as far as being the president or CEO or founder or starter of the business, it’s up to you, you’re the leader, and you got to do it, you got to do it on your own. And some people just aren’t cut out to do that. They like the I don’t want to say the cushiness. But you know, the predictability and the comfort and safety of a corporate environment where things are going to remain pretty static. But you’re not necessarily going to have to think you know, very independently like you do
David Ralph [33:50]
when you’re an entrepreneur. This role I’m doing now I would honestly say is the first one I’ve ever done that I have stuck with. I was always getting to a point then. And I look back on it now. And I think if I had stayed with these things slightly longer, I would probably have seen some reward, but I was changing direction all the time. But if you get on that one path as you have, and you’ve persevered, you do see the momentum build up, don’t you can’t get away from the fact that all these small steps you’re taking build up to something and you’ve got to just persevere.
Jim Sweeney [34:25]
My wife and I have said, this is our third business together, our previous two are very successful. You know, this one is also successful, and it’s going to be hugely successful. We know in short order. We say one day at a time, one brick in the foundation at a time, you know, sure we’d like to build a floor or two floors and furnish the thing, you know, all at once. But if you build a rock solid foundation by doing things consistently, over a period of time, the right way, the strong way, the prudent way, you’d built a great foundation. You’re just you’re, you’re destined for success.
David Ralph [35:03]
So let’s take you back to Mike because obviously he’s he’s the guy. He’s not on the show at the moment, but he’s with us in spirit
Jim Sweeney [35:10]
now. He’s on the show. He’s living red frame, I head out
David Ralph [35:14]
hasty. He’s with us. How do you when you get an idea like Mike, how do you plan the monetization? How do you know that he is going to become an income production?
Jim Sweeney [35:26]
Well, he’s already an income producer. we monetize Mike, through our website, and I have written close to 800 blogs, and I’ve published 37 Sports comic books. It took me six to nine months, but I was able to successfully negotiate affiliate marketing relationships with probably the top sports merchandisers in the United States. I have NFL MLB NBA NHL MLS. Fat head lids sports memorabilia champs and others EA Sports so anytime that people click on the links on one of my blog that I have in bold in with an embedded link tied to one of these affiliate marketers or if they download one of my free sports comic books or buy one of my 25 Sports comic books on Amazon and they do the same by clicking on a link and buying something I get a commission and you know we get a steady you know monthly or quarterly commission based on the relationship I have. However, the the big payday you know, the mining metal payday, let’s put it that way we’ll be and I’m getting closer to this and I could hear the wave building that’s bringing it ashore is when I licenced Mike when I licenced the intellectual property to a major network that utilises Mike on TV as an alter ego character that incorporates him into shows or that structure some type of a relationship with distributors that distribute media content into arenas and stadiums where it might shows up on the jumbotron, or where Mike becomes the next Aflac Duck or Geico Gecko for television advertising as a company spokesperson. So that’s the big kahuna. That’s the holy grail is getting that, you know, international licencing deal where people are utilising the intellectual property of Mike in whatever they do in their business. But right now, we do make money, we monetize it through our books in our blog. And another way is through our podcast. I’ve had my pot Michael sports podcast, I started I put it on hold in order to refocus on my books, which had been a success and I had new books coming out. But on the mike on sports podcast, I know that all land a sponsor sometime, you know, late and tooth out mid to late 2016. You know, to get behind me and sponsor Mike on sports podcast.
David Ralph [37:57]
I want all the listeners out there to focus Because in on what Jim saying, not his words, but the way he’s saying it, it is total belief. There is no doubt in his mind that Mike is going to be big. And that’s what you need at the very beginning when it’s difficult. You need that belief. When it gets really arduous. You need that belief. It’s the only way that will push you through. You’ve got no doubt in your mind. Maybe Jim, you are on the line.
Jim Sweeney [38:26]
And thank you for affirming that you’re on the show. You know, my wife always says to me when I get down she says, Jim, it’s not if but it’s just when because I believe very strongly, she believes sometimes even more strongly than I do, that Mike will be an international icon. And and I can’t be unconvinced to that drag me behind a truck, drive me down, you know the road on a gravel path. And get me to say Mike won’t be a success. I couldn’t do it. Mike will be a success. its eventual
David Ralph [39:00]
I love that I believe I had the same belief. With this show, when I was only getting two people a day listening to this show, I just totally believed it was going to become what it is today. And that’s just the starting point. I always say this is phase one, phase two, phase three is going to be somewhere down the line, but it is going to get there. And once you’ve got that firing you people will get out of your way when they the competition will fail. You just keep going, keep going, keep going. And the bright sparks I think it’s just a quick gallop. They’re gonna sort of burn themselves out and disappear. And it’s the ones that just keep them taking those steps. Day after day after day that we’ll get there. And Mike and Jim, I will meet you. I’ll meet you there at the finishing line, sir.
Jim Sweeney [39:46]
I like that. You know, I carry around in my wallet, a handwritten piece of paper. It’s very tattered right now and you can barely read the print. But I wrote my goal several years ago with that pertains to Mike and it says to do the On unexpected, unconventional and unthinkable, and to impact others through what I have created. And yet, you have to have a mission statement, you have to have something that you say, this is it, I’m going balls to the wall, I’m not going to look back, I’m not going to doubt. I’m just going to do it. I’m going to pour everything into it. I’m not going to have Plan B or Plan C, I’m just sticking with my plan A and I’m going for it.
David Ralph [40:28]
Well, let’s play some words from a man that really gave me my mission statement. He’s no longer with us, but we please words every day. This is Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [40:37]
Of 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 leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [41:12]
Well, as he was saying earlier, you can see that your dots have joined up over the past right from those first faltering steps around the sort of Middle East and Asia and places. What would you say would be your big dot what was the moment or the situation or the conversation when things really started going the way that you wanted?
Jim Sweeney [41:35]
It’s knowing that people actually look forward to and they read my blogs, they read my books, and I try and be as consistent as I possibly can by blogging five times a week, and I love it when people say hey, you didn’t post the blog yesterday. And that tells me that I’ve got something of value something of worth that people look forward to and you know, they peruse you know, they digest And they comment on it. And, you know, that’s very exhilarating. I mean, that gives you that buoys you with confidence that just bolsters you that that propels you forward that you want to do more because you know that that people like what you’re doing so that’s a big dot, but I had you know so many thoughts I love that quote or that what you just played by Steve Jobs because my wife and I look back on all the dots in our life and we say Isn’t it amazing you can never foreseen what has transpired in our past how it’s prepared us and equip this for our future. And you know, I have a few dots and they seem like wow, that No, no, totally unrelated but there’s so in meshed and so related when you look back on them when I if I were to look forward at Steve Jobs that said, I would have been never never been able to connect them. But you know, when I was a kid, I was always on my bicycle. I would look I wouldn’t travel around in a pack. I travel around on my own and a bicycle was one of my dots. I I just believe that that you know tells About my own independence day, I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, I really didn’t want to work for my entire life with a corporation. You know, another dot was the dictionary. Other people read books, I loved reading the dictionary, I had this affinity for words. And look what I do today. I mean, I’m, I’m a published author, 37 books, and I’ve penned almost 800 blogs, and I write, you know, content for a podcast, you know, a globe, I had this globe in my room, and I constantly spun it as a little kid, it was this gigantic globe, that will always fall off my shelf, because I would always be spinning it and it’s spun out of control. And I’ve travelled to over 50 countries now. So, you know, there’s three main dots in my past. If I looked at him, when I was a kid, I would say, Well, what does this mean for my future? But now as a 58 year old man, I look back and I say, holy cow, isn’t that brilliant how they all connect?
David Ralph [43:53]
He’s fascinating. I used to have a globe in my bedroom that I used to spin around and always used to sort of put my finger down and think about I’m going to go back and I used to spend hours reading the dictionary as well. If I was reading your books, I would never just skip across a word. I’d always have to look it up and find out what that that word was. And it’s interesting because your words if your written word and I’m a kind of spoken word Smith ties from that love of vocabulary, right in the very early days.
Jim Sweeney [44:20]
Yes. And I was always involved in sports. You know, even today, I play basketball three times a week, slowly, I might add because I’m 58 years old, but I played basketball, soccer, you know, baseball, hockey, I swam when I was a kid. And now I write about sports. That’s another dot. That’s a collective.in. The world of sports. And I write about sports now and I created a trademark sports character.
David Ralph [44:45]
When is it all going to end for you? Obviously you have got Mike doing great stuff, but is there gonna be Mike kids and Mike wife and a whole Mike family.
Jim Sweeney [44:58]
I want Mike To become an individual rock star before we start planning a family for him, however, Mike has a great friend. His most trusted buddy is Boomer as in boom mic. He has a love interest and her name is Lavalier. She’s a French descent, but they’re entirely too premature. Mike does have a posse that has been created but they’re too premature. I have spiked bumps after he’s a volleyball. I had Duncan hardwood. He’s a basketball. I have twin boxing gloves kayo and jab short for keyshawn Odom’s and Jabbar Odom’s but all that is way premature until like, you know achieves his stardom and then I think the others will be a slam dunk and they’ll seamlessly effortlessly roll in with Mike SS posse.
David Ralph [45:53]
You’ve done the work that we’re having you you once you’ve
Unknown Speaker [45:55]
done over half and you
Jim Sweeney [45:57]
think about this 25 hours a day.
David Ralph [46:00]
Did you ever want to switch off from him? Do you ever kind of just I’ll just for a while, just just walk around because I have a big problem, I find it very hard to switch off and watch movies or whatever my mind’s always kind of somewhere else, very difficult.
Jim Sweeney [46:14]
I can switch off, and my passion is travel and basketball. And I just returned with my wife, we were gone for over three weeks in southeastern Europe. And I played in an old men’s or senior basketball tournament, which was a part of my fun. But still, when I was there, I could work I could post almost every day because all I need to do my job is internet access and, and a computer. So yes, I can I can step away. But, you know, for most of the time, I don’t want to I mean, my wife and I will work sometimes seven, seven days a week. We’ll get up in the morning and work or we’ll watch TV at night and say, Hey, I just had a thought let’s, let’s talk about this. You know, let’s hone it, refine it. Let’s see if we could bring it to fruition. We could do that later at night. But when you are passionate about something when you love something, it’s it’s never work. I never consider it work.
David Ralph [47:09]
When I can’t promise you, I’m gonna send you to Southeast Europe. I’m gonna send you on another journey. And this is part of the show, when we send you back in time to have a one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Jim, what age would you choose and what advice would you give? Well, we’re gonna find out because I’m going to play the theme tune and when it fades you up. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [47:38]
We go with the best bit of the show.
Jim Sweeney [47:55]
Well, this is Jim Sweeney. 58 year old Jim Sweeney sitting here in class. Water Florida, addressing 21 year old Jim Sweeney, who grow up up in Trenton, New Jersey. And I would like to share with you that if you’re thinking big right now, I’m going to challenge you to think even bigger, bigger because you have it in you to do what you dream about. And I want to challenge you to think bigger and go for it. Follow your passion. Don’t ever doubt yourself. take that first step, constantly monitor what you’re doing, to get better to refine to home, to even think bigger and do better than you ever would have dreamed of. And one last thing, never stop learning. Even when you’re an older man, you can always learn new things. So that would be my advice to a guy that was 21 years old by the name of Jim Sweeney and Trenton, New Jersey.
David Ralph [48:53]
Jim, what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you? Very simple. The mic dot com www.themk.com that’s th e Ma, ke kaam. Jim, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots. Please come back again when you have more dots to join up, as
Jim Sweeney [49:19]
it was my pleasure being on the show today, David, thank you.
David Ralph [49:21]
Well, absolutely, because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our pasts is the best way to build our futures. Jim Sweeney, thank you so much. And that was Jim Sweeney. Now you probably may not realise that. But that show was recorded over two days, we seamlessly joined it together. So if you can guess where it was See if you can guess where it was because Jim delivered yesterday and he delivered today big time, because he’s got that belief. He’s got that passion. He’s got that drive to do what he wants in life. And I have no doubt as I said in the show, that he will achieve it Everything he wants. And of course to you listeners, if you’ve got a dream if you’ve got a passion if you want the support if you want to earn more money, have a future that you want a coast come over to us at dream starters Academy at Join Up dots.com where our support network, our coaching platform, our training platform is there for you 24 seven, to support the start of your dreams and see them through to a real life business. Don’t just live the life that you are at a moment, live the life that you deserve. So go over to Join Up dots.com look for get the dream. Connect with us get a seven day free trial. come and speak to the members. And we’ll see you on the other side. Thanks very much. Cheers. Bye bye.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you or wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to join us dot com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots