Welcome to the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview with Mr Clay Hebert
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Introducing Clay Hebert
Clay Herbert is today’s guest, joining us on the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview
He is a man that is a true online mover and shaker.
In fact he probably put the move into Mover, and shaked the shake until he got more than most people would have done, because wow he is doing some great things in the online world.
He is an entrepreneur, a marketer, and a graduate of Seth Godin’s unique MBA program.
As one of the world’s leading crowd funding experts, Clay Hebert has helped over 50 entrepreneurs raise over $5 million on Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
How Clay Hebert Developed His Skills
He is a popular public speaker, engaging audiences around the globe on innovation, creativity, marketing, entrepreneurship and the future of work.
But was it an easy path to his current successes?
Did he have doubts and fears that followed him along the way, the kind of fears that stop so many people in their tracks?
Well we will find out, as even with all the knowledge that Clay has gained he still found that some companies were not willing to entertain new and innovate ways of thinking.
They were stuck in the dark ages, and unable to move into a bright new and prosperous world.
So how did he battle that limited thinking?
How did he express his contrasting views of how things should be done?
Well Clay Hebert did what all good entrepreneurs would do, and went solo, working for companies in an advisory position.
When The Dots Joined Up For Clay
But then whilst on vacation in 2012, a friend of a former client phoned to say they needed help.
This one phone call signified the moment that he had found his true path in life.
She had run a Kickstarter project to raise $20K to finish a documentary film and it was struggling and not going to get funded.
With his knowledge of online marketing, they got the project seen by the right people and saved it.
It went from 20% funded with 10 days to go to 113% funded before it closed.
A lightbulb went on and our guest realized that the same marketing skills he was using to help Fortune 500 companies could be used to help entrepreneurs actually fund their dreams and change the world.
And the rest as they say is history.
Well let’s bring onto the show to start joining up dots, as we discuss the words of Steve Jobs with the one and only Clay Hebert
During Today’s show we discussed such weighty topics such as:
Why he once mowed the words “Hello Mum” into his lawn, which she wasn’t happy with once she went upstairs and spotted it!
How you can be a maverick in your own world and still flourish against the grey suited men!
why he bought Seth Godins “Purple Cow” at O’Hare airport on a whim which changed his life!
How he believes that he could lose everything he owns and be able to earn it all back in one year!
How you do not need a world dominating audience to be successful…just 1,000 loyal fans will do!
How To Connect With Clay Hebert
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Audio Transcription Of Clay Hebert 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 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, bear world. How are we all again? I hope you’re right. This is Episode 68 of join up dots is the fifth of July. So to all you Americans out there that had independence day yesterday. Congratulations. I hope you’re nursing hangovers. Let me introduce you to a guest today that is a true online mover and shaker. In fact, he probably put the move into mover and shaker shake until he got more than most people would have done. Because Wow, he’s doing some great things in the online world. He probably is the online world. He is an entrepreneur, a marketer and a graduate of Seth Golden’s unique MBA program. As one of the world’s leading crowdfunding experts, he’s helped over 50 entrepreneurs raise over 5 million on Kickstarter and Indiegogo is a popular public speaker engaging audiences around the globe on innovation, creativity, marketing, entrepreneurship and the future of work. But wasn’t an easy path to his current successes. Did he have doubts and fears that followed him along the way? And the kind of fears that stop so many of us in our tracks? Well, we will find out I promise you as even with all the knowledge that he has gained, I know he still found that some companies were not willing to entertain new and innovative ways of thinking they were stuck in the dark ages, and unable to move into a bright new and prosperous world. So how did he battle that limited thinking? How did he express his contrasting views of how things should be done? What he did what all good entrepreneurs with Devon went soda working for companies in an advisory position, but then wants to vacation in 2012, a friend of a former client phone to say they needed help. And instead of saying what the hell you’re calling them, yeah, I’m on vacation Do you not realize this call actually signify the moment made bounties true path in life, she had run a Kickstarter project to raise 20,000 to finish a documentary film and it was struggling and not going to get funded. And with his knowledge of online marketing, they got the project seen by the right people and saved it. It went from 20% funded with 10 days to go 213% funded before it closed. And that was the moment a light bulb went on. And our guest realized that the same marketing skills he was using to help fortune 500 companies could be used to help entrepreneurs actually fund their dreams and change the world. And the rest, as they say is history. So let’s get chatting and joining up some dots with the one and only clay a bear. How are you sir?
Clay Hebert [2:55]
I’m doing wonderful. How are you? David?
David Ralph [2:57]
I am extremely well, I think I was actually born wonderful. Klay. I’m growing into a more wonderful being as I’m getting older. I love it. I’m looking at a picture of you. And I’ll be honest, you’ve got kind of George Clooney thing going on? I mean, you
Clay Hebert [3:13]
You’re, you’re too kind You’re too that’s just because I complimented your accent before the show.
David Ralph [3:18]
He did. He did. And now I’m now trying to suck back in equal balance. So how is life in your? Well, because he does as that entrepreneur sort of introduction said things that going wow, aren’t they for you at the moment,
Clay Hebert [3:31]
things are going very well. And it’s very exciting to help entrepreneurs fund their dreams, which is which is what I’ve been doing the last couple years. Yeah, I escaped 10 years doing corporate consulting at Accenture and got a chance to study with Seth Godin for six months, and then started marketing and helping big companies and entrepreneurs. But the main, like I was always frustrated because when you work with these massive, massive companies, you’re you know, part of a larger piece, sometimes you feel like a drop in the pool or a drop in the ocean. And it’s sometimes hard to see moving the needle. Some of the campaigns are projects, you know, they’re doing the right thing. They excuse me, they achieved their objectives. But it doesn’t. It’s not like a change anyone’s life usually. But working with entrepreneurs and doing all this crowdfunding stuff lately. It’s been extremely fun to work with these entrepreneurs because they’re quitting their jobs. They’re launching their dreams. They’re getting their films, you know, in Sundance, they’re launching their inventions to the world. And it’s not really about getting rich. Nobody gets rich from crowdfunding, but it’s about going out on the path and finally, pulling the trigger and doing a project or the art that they have inside them. And that’s been extremely rewarding.
David Ralph [4:48]
You’re like a good fairy. Aren’t you an online good fairy with a one?
Clay Hebert [4:55]
That’s that’s definitely one move. But I like it. I think I’ll update the website to be the good crowdfunding fairy.
David Ralph [5:00]
Yeah, absolutely. And you’ll get a whole new audience of fairies across the world. I don’t know. Like a good thing. Um, if we take you right back to the early days, when sort of mini Klay he was running around? Did was this world one that was even conceived in your mind? Or did you have something else? When did you want to be a football player? The President what was kind of your dreams of an early Klay?
Clay Hebert [5:27]
Well, I definitely wanted to be a football player. I grew up in Wisconsin rooting for the Green Bay Packers and I still read to them root for them to this day. football was definitely not in my future. When I was in Early Middle School, professional. breakdancer was that my career of choice I had my boombox and my square of cardboard. But that is another career that never seemed to work out. But actually, I was always sort of interested in business and a little bit into creativity, I would think one time I cut Hi mom into the lawn using the lawn mower and put the lawn mower away and put in the garage. And then when she got home from work, she didn’t know whether to be excited or angry at me because it said Hi Mom, you know, as mode into the lawn, but then she had to come in and say that’s very nice. Klay. But now you have to go finish and you know, mow the rest of the lawn? Could God
David Ralph [6:18]
see it from upstairs?
Clay Hebert [6:20]
Yeah, yeah, definitely. Exactly. And so in. And then when I was think, nine or so my older brother was 12, my younger brother was six. And we had a couple of rowdy instruments down in the basement, of course, we started our own band, maybe we’re even a little bit younger than that. And there’s a picture of me, my young, my older brothers on the drums, my younger brothers got the guitar on his knee. And I had pulled a desk onto stage to sort of be the business manager of the band, not the you know, not the backup guitarist or whatever. And so there’s a great picture of, you know, imagine if if P Diddy the agent was was the guy on the stage as well. So I was interested in business from an early age, I would trade baseball cards and do the lemonade stand thing unsuccessfully. But it was it was a lot of fun.
David Ralph [7:13]
Don’t you think? That’s weird, though, that your your colleagues in the band didn’t say what the hell you doing? Putting a table on the stage?
Clay Hebert [7:21]
Oh, my brother say What the hell are you doing my entire life? They still say that to this day?
David Ralph [7:27]
Do I know what you’re doing? Did they understand it? Because I’m in this online environment at the moment. And I’m only dipping my foot into the water compared to people like yourself. And a lot of people can’t they don’t even understand what a podcast is, first of all, and they sort of say, Well, how are you going to make money from it and by you, but really, they can’t grasp what I’m trying to achieve. And we’ve yourself going into sort of you know, stratosphere is which which people respect and look up to, especially sort of people in the online environment. When you go home and you’re speaking to your mom and dad? Do they kind of glaze over? Did they switch off? Did they really understand what you’re doing?
Clay Hebert [8:07]
Well, it’s interesting, my mom and my dad are both
somewhat confused by what I do, but very supportive and empathetic, and, and encouraging. My mom often says, I have no idea what you do. But it seems very interesting. And you seem to travel a lot. My dad I think understands that a little bit better. And then my my brothers are ones older ones younger. So I’m in the middle, and we were all we were all educated and grew up in sort of the end of this industrial economy that we live in. And I think that they sort of haven’t seen what I’ve seen, I won’t say seen the light, because I don’t think it’s it’s maybe that dramatic, but they don’t. They believe in the stability of, you know, 20 years and a pension and a gold watch, even as some of their you know, friends and some of our mutual friends, you know, do do everything correctly, and then potentially get get laid off. They don’t that the concept of having a blog is kind of insane. to them they the concept of why would you do that? Who cares about what you have to say? So I think No, they haven’t really kind of crossed the bridge of this online world that we live in. But we’ve made some head roads like I’ve convinced them that owning the domain name of all their children is going to be really important because none of their children, I say this, none of their children are going to have a resume, you know, you you David and I have had a resume eight and a half by 11. Word document, PDF. And in bullet point form, it outlines attempts to outline what we’ve done in our past accomplishments. And I think there’s maybe no worse representation of the depth of a human than a resume. And equally bad. On the other side, there’s no worse representation of what you’re going to do for three to five years at a company than job description. But that’s still the world we live in the resumes dying, but not fast enough. And that’s I think, where sort of my brothers, they both have very good, stable corporate jobs. But stable is sort of in quotes, because out of nowhere, you know, mergers and acquisitions happen. I see some really good qualified, super qualified, super talented friends of mine, that, you know, they occasionally lose their jobs. So what I what I try to bring them along is, even though you keep your job, you know, you have your job in the evening, you know, why aren’t you blogging? or Why aren’t you talking about this or, or having online presence about a thing that you’re passionate about just one just as sort of a hobby or an application. But also, in case anything does happen? My younger brother works in incentive compensation and one of the largest health insurers in the country. And I said, If you really love incentive compensation, why aren’t you you know, the expert of incentive compensation, writing the blog about not not client details, but just general best practices, you know, there, you’re starting to see lawyers with blogs and things like that now. And I think that’s really smart. Because if you really did have the best incentive compensation blog in the world, well, then if he does lose his job, or wants to move, he’ll probably get recruited by other, you know, companies in that area that need that skill.
David Ralph [11:25]
He’s a, you know, I buy into everything, you said this. Absolutely. And the key thing to what you said was when you see the light, and I totally understand why people don’t see the light, because we’ve been, you know, effectively brainwashed. I am, how old are you at the moment, like 37, you’re 37 one, I’ve just turned 44. And I started work in 1986, up in the City of London. And when I joined my first company, they said it was a job for life. And I would be going in there as a 16 year old and there were people that had done 40 plus years, but the same company. But now I’m you know, 44, I’m saying to my son who’s 12. Dan, you know, go to school, do as well as you can get your qualifications. But at the end of the day, if you can think of some way of bringing your own income in and creating your own environment, that’s going to be more stable than trying to find a job where they could get you get rid of you at a whim. And it is crazy. But that’s that seems to me to be so sensible. But you only have to speak to the next generation. I my mom and dad, and they have a totally opposing view, they can understand how a computer can make money.
Clay Hebert [12:41]
Yeah, you’re 100%. Right. And I wouldn’t give you credit that at 44. You’re ahead of this curve and understanding it, but certainly, certainly the older generation. And it’s not, you know, I always it’s tough because I believe this stuff so passionate, passionately that sometimes I argue it passionately. And what I have to remember is that you and I, you know when when I graduated college, that was right around the end of this time, that was sort of the end of this, this era of if you go to college and get four years and get decent grades, as long as you weren’t, you know, a Shakespeare major who didn’t want to teach Shakespeare, you know, you were sort of guaranteed a job. And I certainly sort of guaranteed one but got out started working for Accenture. And I thought the same thing I remember my brain being in that same mindset. And that was only 15 years ago. And literally everything has changed in the last 15 years between the internet, doing crowdfunding, 3d printing, everything is changing insanely rapidly. And I think you have a combination of people like us who sort of see it and have a combination of people who kind of see it, but really don’t want to see it, because it’s not the way that they live their life, they have the big corporate stable job. And I would say if you have a big corporate stable job, and you love it, and you feel fulfilled by it great, I’m not trying to say everyone should be or needs to be either an entrepreneur or a freelancer. But I think there’s a lot of people with frustration and pain. And I would love to enlighten them that they could take their either their passion or something they’re good at and then not have to answer to somebody not have these corporate, you know, gatekeepers, I think I think the biggest thing I’m working on a book called, well, it’s around the concept of the changing role of gatekeepers in our society, and how crowdfunding relates to that. But I really think the people that can tell you know, right, even even the people I know, in these big corporate jobs, and maybe they’re not happy, they all have something, they’ll have a book that started on their hard drive, or the documentary they wanted to make about Al McGuire, they all have an idea. You know, I say sometimes I don’t know what your dreams are, but I know that you have them. And what I want so badly is to teach the whole world that it’s never ever, ever been easier to take your dream out of your head and make it happen. And things like crowdfunding and and 3d printing are going to completely change and flatten the landscape and remove a lot of the gatekeepers, but it’s also this massive opportunity to you know, finally finish your idea ship your art, you know, bring you bring the best of you to the world.
David Ralph [15:27]
I know our sort of mutual friend, Mr. Tom Marquez, he’s very sort of involved in that environment of shipping work very, very quickly. And, you know, everything you say, is is true. But how do we get people to become more aware other than saying, as I did, spend a bit more time you know, looking and reading and and go to a blog, and then spin off to another one and listen to a podcast? Because when you know that you when you know that there is an opposing path, but you can take and you are ultimately in control of that path. You kind of wonder why you never saw it before.
Clay Hebert [16:07]
Yeah, I think it’s it’s so recent. It’s such a change. And when you think about so imagine, draw, draw a little graph in your mind for me, like the disco era, right? So we know that disco started sort of right around 1969 and ended right around 1979. So if you drew a line on a on a timeline, and then the rise of the disco era, it would look a little bit like a bell curve, where maybe I don’t know, maybe 1974 is the peak of the disco era, and then it sort of died off and then by about 1980 disco wasn’t cool anymore. Well, I think if you pan that camera back about 200 years, what we’re seeing is and and very few people are seeing it is that what we call the industrial economy, and even our current sort of education system. I think we’re I think it’s 1979 in disco year, on, you know, our current economy, the style of our economy and the education system. I think everything is about to change, and has been changing over the last couple years. But I think it’s really hard for people to let go that because disco was a 10 year run people remember before disco happened. Our grandparents probably just laughed at the whole thing and our silly clothes and whatever. But nobody was around. Nobody that we talked to on a daily basis was around before public education. But a few hundred years before that, it was not around like I think, because our grandparents and great grandparents went through the same system that we did, there’s know firsthand sort of passed down stories of before the world was the way it was. And we kind of just, we know that, you know, going back a long time there were dinosaurs and there wasn’t public school then. But I think we just assume that factories and the work that we do was was going back many, many years. And the fact is, it’s not true. Like when they first brought factor when they invented the factory. And they first had the factories actually in London. They had to pass just like nowadays, we drive around a little Starbucks, you know, cart, or we all go to Starbucks and get our coffee, we were talking about coffee and staying awake all day, right? When they brought the factory to London, they had to do that. But it wasn’t coffee, it was gin, they had to keep people drunk all day. Because the idea of going to a dark building and working for somebody else for 10 hours was so foreign to people that worked on the farm or owned the corner store, that literally instead of feeding them coffee, they had to feed them gin, because that’s the only way they could convince them. And so it’s not that I mean, it’s it’s the last few hundred years, but it depends on your timescale. I think we’re coming to the end of that particular era where if you graduate college, you’re promised this this great job, I think pretty soon you’re not gonna be promised anything. And we’re all going to be you know, not all but many, many people going back to becoming freelancers and entrepreneurs. But the good news is these platforms and tools of connection, and funding, have come along at the absolute perfect time and are going to make it a lot easier. People just need to see that and learn how to use them.
David Ralph [19:15]
When did you realize but making connections and funding was the way forward?
Clay Hebert [19:23]
Well, I was working at Accenture in 2003. When I discovered Seth Golden’s work, I was flying through an airport in O’Hare O’Hare Airport, and I needed another book to read for the second leg of my flight. And they were calling my name for my flight. And I needed a book quickly. And I grabbed a pack of gum and a business book. And I just grabbed the first one that caught my eye. And it was purple cow because it was small and purple. And it looked interesting. And when I read that it opened up my mind to a new world of business and connection and a way to think about it. The mistake I made was well, I went home, I bought the rest of sets books, and I subscribe to his blog, that was great. The mistake I made was thinking that I could bring that thinking inside of Accenture at the time when I worked for Accenture, the tagline was innovation delivered. And so I thought great, I just basically found, you know, this wonderful resource of innovation and a whole new way to think about the things that we do. And I have this great job at this company that loves what I do. This is perfect, I’ll just bring the innovation in. And what I found is over years of kind of beating my head against the wall, they weren’t really as interested in innovation as they were interchangeable people where if I roll off of this project, they can staff me on this project. And then if someone leaves to go to another firm, they can just slot somebody in there. So just like a factory in a car has interchangeable parts. Accenture was definitely a firm full of interchangeable people. And that’s kind of when the light bulb went on that. I think I know something that they don’t know. But I don’t really know how to sort of make that happen.
David Ralph [21:01]
Did you keep it to yourself? Was it sort of them? a burning desire burning? No.
Clay Hebert [21:08]
I talked about it as much as I could I tried to do multiple projects internally, one of them actually was successful, basically. You probably know, and everyone listening probably knows the slides, the PowerPoint slides, which is sort of the currency in the form of communication inside of big companies. Yeah, you know, you can’t just have a communication with can’t just have a talk with the person, you have to send them a PowerPoint slide. Well, our company was building us, my boss’s boss was building a slide deck on the future of pharmaceuticals from 2008 to 2011. This was in 2006, or 2007. And so I knew what I learned from Seth and others, Gar Reynolds and Nancy Duarte, about slide design. And I knew that if you design slides really well that it could communicate information better. And I knew that our current slides were absolutely horrible, as at the time it was the Tiger Woods era. So they were on the Tiger Woods template. But other than that, it was many tiny bullet points, terrible graphic design. Nothing, you know, but it was just this firm standard. So Tom told this story about the future of pharma. And I said, Tom, let me let me build your slide deck for that talk. Because it was an interesting talk. He said, Okay, that’s fine. So I built it, we iterated on it. And I showed it to him. And he said, I can’t present with this. There’s no words on it. There’s no bullet points. And then I said, Tom, you told the story really well on the phone, just give it a shot. So I convinced him to give it a try. And he gave the presentation at a big CRM conference. And instead of them just saying, Oh, good presentation, they said, Wow, amazing presentation. Will you come give that at Merck, will you come give that at Pfizer. And so that was one small win was, I knew that the way we were doing our slide design was terrible. And just by improving it and making it much more visually rich, and using big photos and no words, it was actually translating into getting business development meetings. He wasn’t getting, you know, without without those kind of slides. So but that was not enough to change the way that Accenture creates their slides, right, my little small win in this fiefdom of a division of a department was not big enough to say maybe we need to rethink how we communicate internally. And after many failures and a few successes that didn’t sort of take, I decided it was it was time to get out.
David Ralph [23:27]
Mr. Bear, you are speaking to somebody that was listening to your slides. And I was a trainer for years and years and years, working up in the city and sort of locally in the United Kingdom. And I was really anal about slides I exactly the same thing. I knew the content. So I would have an image plus sharp, but when that came up, I could when we’re off for 20 minutes, or sometimes an hour or whatever about that. That one, that one image. And I remember sitting in a presentation once and this this woman came in and she was a lawyer on HR or something. She’s going to be really good. She’s going to be great. We’ve all got to sit in there and listen to and it was exactly what you were saying. She had the presentation that was just words, words, words behind her. She stood up and she printed up all the slides. So we had the same slides in front of us. And they just read what was up there. And I was thinking, what is the point in this? I’m listening to you reading when I could read it myself? Why don’t we just change it? And I used to suggest that a lot. And it was never accepted? Because it’s the comfort blanket, isn’t it? It’s the comfort blanket even though that they know the content. But you want to have that around them just in case somebody asked them. But if a power cut went boom, like probably could still well I could they would just be able to still do it. So I agree with you totally. But my thinking on that I skeptic called a maverick and it used to annoy me all the time. I’m not a maverick. I’m just trying to do my job as well as I possibly can. But now I look back on it because I’ve removed myself from the environment. And I think yes, I was a maverick and I’m proud of it.
Clay Hebert [25:03]
Yeah, you absolutely are Maverick. I mean, the thing is, it doesn’t take much to be to stick out as a maverick in a sea of mediocrity what i what i another phrase I kind of like is there mediocrity is your opportunity. And so if everyone’s wearing the same, you know, boring gray suit, sort of metaphorically, you don’t have to wear a red suit to stick out if you just wear a blue suit. you’ll stick out and and Maverick is relative right now, if you did that at IDEO or frog or some of the top innovative design firms are widening Kennedy, you wouldn’t be a maverick that’s that’s table stakes, their right to have good design and good slide. So it’s sort of what the different organizations value. But it was what I say sometimes as Accenture was an aircraft carrier, you know, like the ships that you can land planes on. It was that big that many people and that kind of thing. And what I had discovered it was this sort of magic gold plated canoe paddle. And that’s great if you’re in a canoe, but I was standing on the edge of this aircraft carrier, and I don’t care how magic your canoe paddle is, it doesn’t do any good on an aircraft carrier. And finally, it took me much longer than I I wish it had to to realize that and finally sort of get out. But But I’m glad I eventually done
David Ralph [26:20]
well, why did it take you so long? Because listening to you. And you know, I know you’re going to be very humble. But at the moment, you are, it seems to me you are at the top of your game. And you are somebody that the the online community and it’s a kind of strange community because you do get my online celebrities that in the real world, nobody would know if they will pass past them. But on the computer world is a totally different thing. But what made you hold back before making that leap when you were quite so positive, but it was the right thing to do. It’s been proven to be the right thing to do. And now you seem Uber competent, Uber professional. And you don’t seem to have a fear in your head.
Clay Hebert [27:00]
Yeah, it’s a great question that the timing was this like the first few years at Accenture, I was not disillusioned or unhappy. I was working with very smart people. We were working long hours, but we were helping clients solve interesting problems. And I was sort of, I looked around at the partners at Accenture and I said, How much did the partners make? And they said a million dollars a year? And I said, How long does it take to make partner. And they said about 12 or 13 years. And so then I sort of paid attention to what the partners did day in and day out. And I said to myself in my head, I said, Well, I’m not. I’m not there yet. But I know that in 3012 or 13 years of doing this stuff that I can at least do what they do. So hypothetically, I should be a successful partner. And that’s the track I was on and I was moving up. But the whole time I was moving up, the compensation for partners was sort of sliding down. And the difficulty or the requirements or the bar to make partner was continuing to rise. So the deal, which was maybe fair in the beginning was ended up being very unfair as far as what you need to sort of sell and deliver and what you made. So part of it was I had mentally hunkered in for a while and said I’m going to stay through partner so I wasn’t looking for jobs. I wasn’t whatever. Then when I discovered the Seth Godin stuff, I really thought this is innovation that I can bring internally. And I tried for a few years. But then the last few years, it was really interesting. I did you know, the last three or four years, I knew I wanted to get out. But I was already six or seven years into this corporate thing. I even tried to transfer internally within Accenture to like the marketing department that makes the ads in the airports and things like that. And they wouldn’t even let me transfer. They said, No, your main line consulting, you work with the clients. And I said, but I would rather do marketing. And they said no, you’re you’re not in that department. I said, I know I want to be in that department. But even transferring internally was not allowed. So, um, it did take me a while. But when then when I was trying to leave to when I when I thought okay, I’m going to go do this thing. I wasn’t ready in the end of 2008. To totally go on my own and become an entrepreneur i didn’t i don’t think i knew enough at the time, maybe I would have, you know, figured it out. But it took studying that stuff for a few more years. And then having Seth talking my ear for six months, to be willing to sort of walk away from this 10 year career at a big company that a lot of people, you know, kill to work for, you know, successful career there. It was a lot to just say, walk away and not walk to anything else. I was starting from the very first day I quit. I was a brand new Freelancer with no money and no health insurance and no clients and anything and even even knowing that’s what I wanted to do. It was very scary at the time. But what I the one nugget that kind of helped me get over that fear and pull the trigger was if you fail miserably if you don’t, you know, if a year from now you still have no clients and no revenue. You’ve burned through some of your savings. You know, would they take you back? Would Accenture allow you to come back and do the same job you were doing before? And the answer is absolutely. They were happy with my work. They were sad that I was leaving. And so I forget that. Yeah, I think when we venture off, we tend to glamorize entrepreneurship, but we also tend to make it sound riskier than it has to be. Reid Hoffman from LinkedIn has this quote that being an entrepreneur is like jumping off a cliff and assembling an airplane on a weight on the way down. And well, I understand what he’s talking about. I think that’s not a quote that encourages more people to be entrepreneurs that makes it sound extremely scary. And it can be very hard. But in nowadays, there’s so many things you can do to mitigate that risk. You can use sort of Lean Startup methods, you can build landing pages, you can talk to customers, you can you can do all this stuff. There’s a great story. There’s a woman I met just last weekend, actually, her name is Bonnie Hardy, ha RI and her site is the food babe. If you Google the food babe, she was actually at Accenture
for nine or 10 years just like I was. And her thing nights and weekends was she was investigating and exposing what’s in our food and too long story. She’s got a lot of really cool projects. I’ll just talk briefly about one, she figured out that one of the ingredients in subway subs Was this the same ingredient as is in a yoga mat. To make the bubbles separate in a yoga mat, they use the same ingredient in subway bread. And so she ran a campaign and expose this to the world. And she has since left Accenture. But to illustrate the point of most of what she did, she still had her day job. And then nights and weekends she was working on this blog and exposing to the world, you know how the ingredients that they’re putting in our food. So what I would say is it doesn’t have to be as risky as jumping off a cliff and building an airplane on the way down. You can build up things on the side, and then sort of step off a curve instead of jumping off a cliff.
David Ralph [32:08]
Would you have you ever been to a reunion back there and sort of walked in? Or would that be something that you wouldn’t want to do?
Clay Hebert [32:16]
It’s interesting, my I think my 20 year highschool reunion is in about a month or two? And I don’t have plans to go back for it yet. But but maybe it will, I haven’t. I’ve interacted with some of the folks on Facebook and I keep in contact with some good friends from high school. But I haven’t, I haven’t made plans. But it would be interesting to go back and kind of see how everybody’s doing. But you know,
David Ralph [32:36]
they’re gonna lie, don’t you, then no one’s gonna go, actually my life is dreadful. I wish I was back at school would have all going to be chairman of this company, or they own their own business. Everything’s going to be great. I used to know a chap many years ago down in the City of London. And he you know what greatest respect, he was a nobody. I was a nobody. We were 1617 we were finding our way in the in the world of business. And he got a request to go back to a reunion. And he saved up for about two months of his salary. And in those days, I remember my very first pay packet was 470 pounds. I don’t know what I was in dollars. And it was the first day but i’d went to work. And it was like winning the lottery, I couldn’t believe I suddenly had all this money when beforehand I was you know, I was a paper boy and doing those kind of things. And he he saved up two months money so that when he went back to his reunion, he could go in a Ferrari. And he spent just to hire, but just so that he could put on this impression. And that’s left a big impression with me. And I always think that if I go to any reunions, it’s going to be a wall or car park for the Ferrari that people have rented for the weekend.
Clay Hebert [33:46]
That’s, that’s really interesting. It’s funny. I mean, I think anyone who another sort of thing that I’ve realized is it’s all part, it’s all wrapped in this education, keeping up with the Joneses, because the same factory model, that kit wanted us to sell us the job for 30 years also want us to buy the Ferraris, and have the nicer cars and keep up with the Joneses and everything else. And it’s amazingly liberating, once you let go of all that and realize that happiness does not lie in a Ferrari, it actually lives in, you know, playing soccer with your kids or, you know, connecting with with friends. And we all know that on the surface level. But when you sort of renounce the material possessions, not you don’t have to get rid of everything. But realizing that that one more trip to the store. Like one thing I don’t ever do is go shopping. Without knowing what I’m going to buy. I actually don’t go shopping at all anymore. I just order everything online and the doorbell rings and it shows up. And I think that’s, that’s kind of the future. But the concept of shopping without knowing what I’m gonna buy just shopping for fun. I you know, I can’t remember the last time you know, I’ve done that I think it’s a shift from our what we put value in as far as owning physical things versus like, we talked about connection, and doing things like this, like a podcast, there’s no physical thing here. We’re not creating, you know, a artifact that somebody’s going to buy. We’re just creating audio and art that somebody’s going to listen to
David Ralph [35:17]
magic. We’re creating magic Clay
Clay Hebert [35:19]
magic. That’s right. That’s right.
David Ralph [35:21]
I ease kind of magic because you know, I, I’ve got this light map of the world where I can see the downloads occurring. And it does blow my mind. But somebody in Australia might be listening to this conversation. And somebody Well, no one in Greenland, but don’t know why no one in Greenland is downloading these podcasts. There must be gotta get Greenland. Yeah, that must be somebody with a Wi Fi connection agreement. But it does. He amazes me about a conversation like this. And yes, there’s a certain amount of work that I do to hopefully make it valuable and content driven. But still it is only a conversation is quite amazing.
Clay Hebert [36:00]
It’s its value and it’s art and it’s hard work and you could you could not do it. You could wake up and decide you don’t want to do that. But you put in the hard work and you you know you ship your art to the world and people listen and it you know people even in in Greenland, they’re going to listen,
David Ralph [36:17]
well, I hope they do. So you were talking about sort of getting rid of Ferrari’s and all those kind of sort of material things. So what’s the what’s the thing that really sort of gets you excited? That takes you back to basics? If everything was stripped away, and you were left with maybe one or two luxuries? What what would the things be?
Clay Hebert [36:39]
As far as physical goods?
David Ralph [36:40]
Clay Hebert [36:42]
I think I mean, my computer because that allows me to stay connected to so many so many friends and interesting people. So I would I would definitely want my computer. And, you know, mobile phone, obviously. I think beyond that. I mean, that’s, that’s really it. I’m not a big, perfect closer or fashion person. I think a good if, if I’m in one spot, I won’t answer that with a good chef’s knife. I love to cook. And I don’t think you need a million different tools and dehydrator and sushi machines to cook. But you need a good eight inch chef’s knife. So that’s that’s one nice thing I have a nice shooting chef’s knife that I try to keep pretty sharp and and do that. But I love to cook and eat healthy food. So I would say my computer of my chef’s knife.
David Ralph [37:29]
So you are you know, pretty simple. I don’t mean that mentally but you are you know, yeah. If everything was stripped away it here’s a question for is just coming into my head like a bolt of light. If everything was wiped away now. And you had no network, you had no history, you had no online presence as you do. How quickly do you reckon you could get back to your your, your position now maybe in a different environment, but all sort of income producing and stuff from what you know,
Clay Hebert [38:00]
knew everything I know. Now, I don’t think it would take that long, you know, a year maybe to kind of get back to where I am starting from scratch because I do help a lot of people who don’t have any online presence, they don’t own their domain name calm, they’ve never been on Twitter and things like that. But they’re super, they’re interesting, as opposed to being just interested. And they have a passion or they do knitting or they do cooking or they you know, do photography. And I’ve been able to show these people like if you just do this and do this and make these connections, it’s not that hard. So I think if I knew what I know, now, it wouldn’t be difficult to to build that up. Certainly, it takes time. But it really takes effort of maybe you have to go to that conference and meet that person. And you don’t know if you’re going to meet that person. But you have to go to the conference anyway. And maybe you need to take that you know, dinner invitation or that random coffee meeting, you gotta do it within the bounds of your time in your availability. I think there’s ways to time block it where you say, you know, Thursday is my connection day or Friday is my connection day. And I’m going to go have meetings and have a stack of my meetings on that day and Bob around the city and have coffee with other entrepreneurs. But Tuesday and Wednesday are content creation day where I’m in the cave, creating blog posts or videos or whatever, right? That’s the thing I think is we forget that switching costs switching between a coffee meeting and coming back to record a podcast and then going to another coffee meeting this the switching costs really eats up a lot of our time where I think people could could batch their time better. But I think we’ve seen people come out of nowhere and build these, you know, really strong online presences. So I don’t think it’s a matter of it would take a lot of time. But it does take a know how and sort of how to find your Kevin Kelly calls thousand true fans, one of the best marketing blog posts of all time. It the internet makes it very easy to find your thousand true fans. But it does help to be interesting and interested in different things
David Ralph [40:00]
is true what you’re saying, when I started this podcast, and my first day, I thought, you know, I’d set up everything I possibly could think of to go bang, and there was going to be a world waiting for me. And my very first day I had 45 downloads, I thought yeah, that’s why, you know, nobody knew me from Adam. And the second day was 54. And I’ve told the story numerous times. But then on the next day went to 20. And I was thinking how can you know 54 people like it the day before? And 34? Are they saying it’s rubbish or whatever. And it went 20 and 20 and 20 and 20. And this 20 figure occasionally went up to 30. And people around me, I could hear my other podcasts were saying, Yes, I’m getting four and a half thousand downloads a second and I’m getting, you know, you humongous amount of downloads. And it really is, you know, the killer of what I’m trying to do. If you don’t get the downloads, you ain’t got an audience and you’re not going to monetize it and provide value to the world. And I just had to switch off and I thought why, okay, if this isn’t going to work, it’s not going to work. And I got to Episode 2425 26, I got past the whole month, and I couldn’t get beyond 50. And then something started to happen. And it started to sort of move up. And now it’s going great guns and I have you know, I found my audience and I you know, I’d like I’d like well, domination Klay I, you know, I want Greenland to be you know, we all want. We all want Greenland it’s so big, isn’t it? When you see on a map, it’s such such a big part of the world. But um, I couldn’t have found that audience without actually just persevering. I almost had to think to myself, look, no one’s gonna listen to this until they are going to listen. And it was a trickle. It was a trickle. And then it started sort of like spreading out. So how did you do that with crowdfunding? Where you’ve got this idea? And you think it’s, you know, it’s a great idea. But how did you get people to buy into that and actually become your audience?
Clay Hebert [41:57]
Yeah, that’s a great question. So when the when the phone rang in January of 2012, and I helped my first crowdfunding client get her project funded. I was playing basketball with another friend, a few weeks later, and I mentioned it. And he said, All my friends, slim is launching a crowdfunding project. And that was two and then two became three, and four, and five. So it really was word of mouth, among my friends, not so much online. And then I thought, well, there really is something to this. And I really like helping entrepreneurs fund their projects and their dreams. So I put a little bit up on I didn’t do a big splashy launch. And then people just continued to find me, I would speak on crowdfunding at conferences and on podcasts like this, and at the Apple Store, but it was much like very much like yours. You know, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, you know, all overnight successes are, you know, take months or years. They just appear to be overnight successes. So that was really you know how it started. And just now, you know, relatively recently launched the blog and the email. And I’m writing the book. So I’m really just kind of trying to build it up and ride the wave and continue to help as many people as I can.
David Ralph [43:08]
any possible that when somebody suggests you Klay write a book, do you kind of go? Yes, of course I can. Or do you go Oh, hang on? No, no, I can’t write a book or books too much for me to do. Are you comfortable in sort of all areas of what you’re doing?
Clay Hebert [43:25]
Well, the book I’m pretty comfortable with I was lucky enough to you know, obviously, Seth is very much in the in the book in the publishing world. And it’s published a lot of books, and made some good relationships and contacts in the publishing world. One of my first social media clients was Sebastian, younger, who wrote war and Restrepo. So I’ve always been, I’ve always loved books, and have learned a lot about the publishing world without ever having written one myself. So it’s not extremely daunting to me, because they sort of understand the game and understand how it works. The excitement around writing the book is that I was I had an idea for a different book, and I might write that one next after this one. But what I was really excited about is,
David Ralph [44:10]
what about that? Would that not be good?
Clay Hebert [44:14]
I think I think you’ve got a winner on your hands there. We if you’ll publish it, it’s the way my brain works. I see
David Ralph [44:20]
I go straight into that smarty pants.
Clay Hebert [44:22]
That was That was great. That was That was clever.
So the book is about gatekeepers and the changing role of gatekeepers in this world and how hearing a know from any gatekeeper shouldn’t stop you from creating your dream. I want gatekeepers to exist for things like heart surgeons, and airline pilots. I don’t want my airline pilot to you know, crowdfund is airline pilots license on Kickstarter, and you currently can’t do that. And I’m happy about that. But for most people who want to, you know, if that airline pilot then wants to write a book, or, or make a film, and somebody says that your project is not good enough, the gatekeepers, we’ve given them too much power over time, and they’re not necessarily perfect. They’re not even close to perfect in their tastes and curation. So Chronicles of Narnia was rejected 800 times. So if CS Lewis had stopped at 795, the world wouldn’t know The Chronicles of Narnia. So and there’s lots of you know, Steve, people would write back Stephen King and say, you should really find a different career because you’re not much of a writer. But, you know, luckily for all of us, he persevered and, and plowed through those those knows, the difference now is with internet connection, crowdfunding and all this stuff. persevering through those nose from the gatekeepers is easier than ever, and you can pick yourself and find your, your 10 true fans that listen to your podcast when you launch your 20, 5100 1000. And that’s all you need. If you look at a lot of these successful crowdfunding campaigns, most of them I’m have less than 1000 backers. So the we’ve been sort of brainwashed as well by the mass media to try to reach everybody, as opposed to finding the thousand people who care. And it’s okay if your mom’s number one. But you eventually got to get to an audience. But you were talking about fame earlier and sort of being recognized on the street and recognized online. It’s, it’s very different because we’re all in very different fish bowls. In the online world, like you and I could rattle off a lot of the same names and people we talked to an interview and our friends because we’re in a certain, you know, you and I are in a similar fishbowl. And in that fishbowl. Seth Godin is pretty famous. But if I walk out on the street in Manhattan, the first 10 people I meet will never have heard of Seth Godin, because it’s not in that fishbowl of online, you know, marketing and books and publishing and speaking and things like that, right? Your average person has never heard of Seth Godin. So fame is a little bit relative. And I think we should stop sort of reaching for the Kardashian type of fame where everyone knows who you are, and really try to be more sort of famous to the family or famous to the fishbowl.
David Ralph [47:08]
I think that’s absolutely right. I’ve got a kind of fantasy that I’m kind of Batman, that no one knows me at all. But then when I turn the mic on, that’s my superpower.
Clay Hebert [47:20]
I like it. You got the you got a great voice for podcasting, and the accent is perfect, but could
David Ralph [47:25]
on like a sexy superhero. That’s what I’m asking. Klay
Clay Hebert [47:30]
you would make a really sexy funny superhero. Yes,
David Ralph [47:33]
I think I’d be epic camp, I always seem to be, you know, you get these people that just look rough and rugged. You’re a bit like that. You’ve got a rough and rugged look about you. You know, I just look at your picture. And I think Yeah, he could handle himself. It all kicks off. Have you ever had a fight or flight?
Clay Hebert [47:51]
I have a try to stay out of fights. But I’ve had a couple. In my days. One time in college, we were in a different and at a party and somebody thought we were somebody who we weren’t, we thought we were other people. And a guy came out of nowhere and kind of cold cocked me didn’t even see it common didn’t know he was there. And my roommate at the time, African American gentleman six to 240. Like, there was 20 of them. And there was four of us. So we were badly outnumbered and our best, you know, logical strategy would have been to sort of just walk away. And so my, my roommate, you know, bless his heart said who hit him and he turned around and kind of, and they all it was funny, the 20 guys all stepped out of the way and part of the Red Sea and called out their friend instead of you know, the the Mad mom, but uh, yeah, I try to stay out of physical altercations whenever I can. Sometimes I played basketball and I played basketball pretty often. But occasionally it’ll it’ll get a little bit heated, somebody I’ll throw an elbow and we’ll come to two words and a little chest bumping. But usually it’s all just in good, fun and good competition.
David Ralph [49:00]
But you proved in that you are, I think the world’s toughest man. Because when that fight occurred, you didn’t run away. You walked away. You You pace yourself. Now I would have just sprinted, throwing, throwing the women and the young children behind me as a barricade. I’ve got no qualms on that protect the face. That’s what I always say protect the face. That’s right.
Clay Hebert [49:23]
That’s right. The face is the key to the voice. It is absolutely
David Ralph [49:26]
Yeah. Right. Just before I let you go, I and I realized as we were talking, I got so fascinated in your your story. But normally during the show, I play Steve Jobs iconic speech of 2005. And I think you’re you’re the second ever guessed out of 90 shows that I haven’t. And we’ve just sort of moved through. But the bit I’m really keen on is to put you on the mic and send you back in time, like a young Marty McFly, to have a one on one with yourself. And if you could go back to the to the young Klay, who was moving words into loans, or spinning these head on lumps of cardboard? What would you say to them? And would you give them words of advice? Or would you just let them make it up as you go along. So I’m going to click the button. This is the music this is a sermon on the mic and when it fades off, you’re up.
Unknown Speaker [50:20]
Here we go. With the best bit of the show.
Clay Hebert [50:39]
Young Klay Listen to me, the education you’re about to receive
is going to be well intentioned. The teachers Meanwhile, but it’s not going to prepare you at all for the real world. In high school, your Japanese teacher Peggy Hagman will teach you amazing things and about the Japanese language and culture. And your band teacher, Howard layman will teach you not just how to play the tenor sax, but how to treat people and how to be on time, and the importance of art and the importance of a craft. But the bulk of the rest of the education you’re going to receive is not going to prepare you for the real world. And so stay hungry, stay curious. They want you to work in a factory, whether that factory makes car parts or spreadsheets or methodologies. And very soon, in a few years, that world is going to change drastically. And the skills you’re going to need are not math, like hardcore math, they’re not spreadsheets, they’re not it’s going to be connection, and art, and an ability to speak to people and an ability to sell them on your ideas and ability to tell stories. So get good at those things. And don’t worry so much about the grades in school. Don’t worry so much about the test scores. And all the and by the way, the breakdancing thing is not going to work out.
David Ralph [52:09]
Can you spin on your head? No, not at all. Not even close. I always wanted to spin on my head, but I was always frightened or that, that that open mic? I suppose that meant that you’re going to break your neck.
Clay Hebert [52:23]
Yeah, I think that that clearly there’s a lot of people that have built up that skill a lot of them are in in New York or in various sort of subway stations and things like that, I’m sure in London as well. But now that was a dream and it’s interesting from like a marketing and human psychology perspective. I saw a movie I saw breaking or one of those movies and I just said that’s that’s who I want to be. I’m one of those guys and the colorful clothes with the the you know, the rap music and the pink and the cardboard and the whole thing with no sort of reality check of you know, is that a skill you can learn? And not only that, but I didn’t even try to like even if even today if I tried to I could certainly get a lot better than I am today. I think almost everything is loanable or as Murray says figure out a ball. But I the future in breakdancing was was not not a future career path from you know,
David Ralph [53:17]
I think you should do it it would go viral. Getting on YouTube as soon as you possibly can. There’s money
Clay Hebert [53:26]
in that car if I record a break things breakdancing video that I’m happy with I will send it to you for review first thank
David Ralph [53:32]
you very much sir clay a bear. It’s been an absolute delight having you on the show today. You’ve been you’ve been absolutely brilliant and the you know the words of wisdom and the fact that you aren’t doing so well. And you are you know, kicking booty as a say. But you were at one time like all of us and you were scared of making that leap of faith. It just proves that so many people out there listening have got the opportunity to grasp the life that they want. So thank you so much respect time with us today joining up the doors. Please come back again when you have more dots to join up and more successes to share with us because I believe the only way to build our futures is by connecting our past Klay up there thank you so much.
Clay Hebert [54:13]
Thank you David thanks for having me
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are 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 up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on join up dots.