Welcome To The 500th Join Up Dots Business Coaching Episode With Tom Morkes
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Introducing Tom Morkes
Tom Morkes is today’s guest and a special man to have on today’s special episode
Why is it special, which is the official 500th interview that I have recorded.
Not of course the 500th show we have released, but the 500th time that I have sat down with a mover and shaker to record an interview for the show.
And what makes it even more special is Tom Morkes was the first interviewee that I ever recorded with nearly two years ago.
Yep, when I was nothing more than a man with a dream to become a podcaster, with no profile, confidence, social platform, then if it wasn’t for him then there was a good chance that the show wouldn’t be around today.
So send all your complaints to him as he could have nipped it all in the bud right at the very beginning
Now on that first episode we talked about how he had left the military with a desire to travel the world and create a business for himself on his own terms.
How he would sit on his bed in his barracks and start creating something that he could show to the world and be proud off.
How The Dots Started Joining Up For Tom
But wow, hasn’t it all changed since we last spoke, as it now seems that not only does he have the belief in what he can achieve, but also the world does too.
As he is creating products, podcasts, books and income faster and faster.
Such as the Publishers’ Empire, a comprehensive publishing training program, community and book launch platform.
Which holds over 100 HD training videos, a private, 24/7 forum, weekly small group coaching, exclusive expert interviews with today’s top self-publishers, marketers, and more, copy-and-paste book marketing and sales scripts, dozens of book templates, and much, much more.
And those three last words are the key to his increasing success “Much, much more”
He is seeing the world differently.
He is acting differently
And he is playing to his super talents, and where he lacks, finding the super talents of others to deliver much much more.
So when did it really start to speed up and in the words of the comedian Steve Martin “He become so good that he couldn’t be ignored any more”
And when he looks back at the version of himself, sitting on his army bed, was he close to what he wanted to be, or is that now a distant version of what he now wants to become?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots for the second time with the one and only Mr Tom Morkes.
During the show we discussed such weighty subjects as:
Why in his opinion it is so important to invest in the initial effort to growing a business and not taking short cuts to success.
Why his Dad still thinks it’s time for him to go out and get a real job (He has employees now Mr Morkes Senior…this is a real job!)
How he travelled around the world building his business, but now has found a home base in Aspen Colorado where he is creating his strategic launch businesses
Why mindset is so important to build as quickly as possible, as you cannot hold the belief of others unless you hold your own belief in yourself.
Why Tom’s children will have such an opportunity to create their own lives and income, as their Dad will instil a respect for entrepreneurship from the start
How To Connect With Tom Morkes
Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from.
Audio Transcription Of Tom Morkes
When we’re young that 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 in 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 [0:58]
Yes. Hello there, everybody. And welcome to a very special episode, we have a very special man. This is the official 500 interview that I had recorded now, not of course, the 500 show we’ve released we’ve gone beyond that. But the 500 times I’ve sat down with a mover and shaker to record an interview for the show. And what makes it even more special is this guy was the first interviewee but I ever recorded with nearly two years ago yet when I was nothing more than a man with a dream to become a podcaster with no profile competence social platform, man if it wasn’t for him, there was a good chance that the show wouldn’t be around today. So send all your complaints to him as honestly, he could have nipped it all in the bud right at the very beginning. Now on that first episode, we talked about how he left the military with a desire to travel the world and create a business for himself on his own terms how he would sit on his bed and his barracks and start creating something but he could show to the world and be proud of. But well hasn’t all that changed since we last spoke as it now seems that not only does he have the belief in what he can achieve, but also the world does to as he is creating products podcast booked an income faster and faster such as the publishing Empire, a comprehensive publishing training program community and book launch platform, which holds over 100 HD training videos, a private 24 seven for them weekly small group coaching exclusive expert interviews with today’s top Self Publishers, marketers and more copy and paste book marketing, sales scripts doesn’t a book templates, and much, much more. Now those three last words are the key to his increasing success. Much, much more. He is seeing the world differently. And he’s acting differently. And he’s playing to the super talents. And where he lacks, he now finds the super talents of others to deliver much, much more. So when did he really start to speed up and in the words of the comedian Steve Martin, he became so good, but he couldn’t be ignored anymore. And when he looks back at the version of himself sitting on his army bed, was he close to what he wanted to be? Or is that now a distant version of what he now wants to become? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show to start joining up dots for a second time with the one the only Mr. Tom Morkes. How are you Tom
Tom Morkes [3:10]
David Wow, man, what an intro I feel like I’m coming out to a to a fight. Like that’s my like, that was my fight song coming out there right now I’m getting in the ring. Like, that’s awesome. Thank you so much for for having me.
David Ralph [3:21]
I’m gonna play a bit of music. Here we go.
That is what we want. That’s the kind of inspiration that we want, Tom Morkes, because it has it’s been a bit of a journey. So it’s an absolute pleasure, absolute delight to have you on the show for the second time, because it doesn’t happen very often. But when I looked at the 500th, I thought there’s only one man for the job. So when you look back on the last two years, obviously not just from my interview onwards, has it been a rocket ship? Because it seems to me that you’re picking up speed, sir.
Tom Morkes [3:55]
Yeah, I mean, it’s crazy to think like, I’m actually interested now to go back and listen to that first interview with you like I can kind of remember doing it. But you know, like, that’s the nature of, you know, interviews two years ago, there’s, there’s been it’s been a quite a bit since. And a lot of things have changed. But I’d be interested to hear what my mindset was like back then. But yeah, things have been really, really good recently. So we did travel around the world. We actually spent about two years on the road, my wife and I, we traveled all around the southern hemisphere, the first time. And then we went back to Southeast Asia and then Europe the second time, and we sent settled down in just outside of Aspen, Colorado. And now I’ve growing have grown publishers Empire, which is our publishing company, it’s kind of shifted very much we’ve kind of pivot in the last year to focusing almost purely on what I call strategic book launches, where we do these kind of structured launches for for professional bloggers, business owners, CEOs and stuff like that, to launch their books, and then usually do some sort of like really big ups on the back end. But what I results in is, we usually try to achieve like 10,000 books sales or more in the first month, and hit 25 to 50,000 the first year. So those kind of that kind of level of book launch. And in like as an example, most recent, we worked john Lee Dumas on the Freedom Journal, which launched last month. Well, actually two months ago, back in January, it launched and but it closed up shop in February, and we did $453,000. So like those are the type of launches we do now. And yeah, we’re growing, we have about three employees. And it’s pretty incredible. What it
David Ralph [5:34]
has been incredible. And I actually listened to the show yesterday afternoon. And I thought to myself, let’s go back and have a listen. And I enjoyed it. I didn’t enjoy my performance, my performance was a kind of muted, it lacked competence, but that’s understandable. But also in its own way you kind of lacked competence, because yeah, your mindset vein came across to me, as I’ve done so much my own. I’ve traveled the world building income. But how do I take it to the next level? I think that your output at that time, didn’t instill the belief of others as much as it is. Now I’m seeing time and time again, every time a book is released that I look at your name is attached to it somehow. And so the john Lee Dumas, one, which has been all over the internet, obviously your name has as well. Is it about personal belief, when you really believe in yourself? Is that when other people believe in you, too?
Tom Morkes [6:32]
I think that’s true. I think I think it’s I think everybody knows that’s true. I think the harder thing is making that belief a reality for the person who who doesn’t believe him or herself. Right. So I recognize that’s definitely true for for myself, and in this past year. I feel like the light bulb is kind of switched, where I feel where, whereas I look back on my track record, I can say yeah, you know, I’ve had some had some wins and had some losses, but like, overall, but the winning record has been better than the loss. And so for these last couple years, I look back and say, yeah, we’ve done pretty good, I’ve done pretty good. And I should have been confident in that. But I mean, I’d be lying if I said I was. But down the last 12 months, I’ve kind of like own that and own that space online, accepted, I guess you could say like my own kind of personal greatness, at least what the thing that I’m great at. And that’s kind of made all the difference. Like it really has transformed my business last 12 months, like, even the last six months, honestly, like it’s skyrocketed. And I don’t know where it’s going to go from here. But the trajectory is up for sure.
David Ralph [7:35]
I think the super talent thing is the key thing, isn’t it when you decide on what you are, I bet if we went back those two years, and I met you in a bar, and I said to you, Tom Morkes, how would you describe yourself at the moment, probably a publisher wasn’t the fourth thing you would have fought your way through. But once you actually decide that, yes, I’m a publisher, or I’m a podcaster, or I’m something whoever, that’s when it comes together and you you forget all the other issues, you forget all the other things that people are telling you you should be doing. And you go No, just shut up. This is what I do. So would you say if I was in a bar now buying you a drink? Would you say? Yeah, I’m a publisher? How would you describe yourself?
Tom Morkes [8:16]
Gosh, I really need to get better at just describing myself probably because I feel like anybody listen to this probably might understand what I do. Anybody in the online space gets it, I think. But outside of that, it’s kind of really hard. I mean, it was I think it wasn’t even a year ago where my dad was like, wondering when I was going to get a real job. It’s like, Dad, we have employees, I appreciate that. But it’s so it’s hard for me to explain it. But I guess this is how I sound that I would say yeah, I’m in publishing have a boutique publishing company. And we also do strategic book launches for professional bloggers, founders and CEOs.
David Ralph [8:52]
That’s too long for a business card, man, you got it, you’ve got to narrow it down somehow.
Tom Morkes [8:56]
Well, my business card says we launched books to bestseller. How’s that?
David Ralph [8:59]
Bad? Pretty good. And that’s the kind of thing that you should be able to give to your dad. It’s funny, isn’t it that your dad, cuz he’s raised you, he still sees you as a small child, at least my sister who sees me as a small child, and they can’t quite grasp what I’m doing now. How are you making money? You’re just talking to people? You know, it’s it’s a totally different mindset from the last generation. Now, you’re going to be going into and you might have done it already. I don’t know creating your own offspring and having little Tom Morkes is he gonna? Or she gonna have a sort of mindset instilled in them that you never had, because of the test the way that the world is operating around you? Do you have a personal belief that anything is possible, which will be great for your offspring?
Tom Morkes [9:46]
Gosh, I mean, I would hope so. I’ll say this, like, you know, it’s all my parents are awesome, and everything like that. And obviously, whatever, whatever confluence of factors has led me to where I am today is outstanding, even though some of those times have been rough, obviously, in the military and stuff like that, but, but I’ll say this, like, yeah, I mean, we are definitely looking to have kids. And then my hope would be that I had that the one thing I say, to coordinate my wife to is just that idea, I definitely if I can instill anything in our kids will be that they’d have at least a good respect for entrepreneurship. And that and specifically what that is, I mean, as value creation, that kind of the world is their oyster, as long as they can create value for other people. And they’re that and that they, they should never expect anything from us or from the world. And they should always be looking to see where they can add value to the world and capture just a little part of that. And I think if they can do that, if I can instill that off, I’ll feel successful.
David Ralph [10:42]
That’s a beautiful message. Do you want me to actually bring the show? You know, reduce it, so you can go about starting baby straight away? Tom, I can make this like a 10 minute episode.
Tom Morkes [10:52]
Yeah, there we go. We’re all good. I’ll catch you guys later.
David Ralph [10:55]
Yeah, there you go. It won’t take long. I tell you. It takes me more time begging than anything else nowadays. So when you when you are sitting at your desk, because I asked a question yesterday, or it wasn’t it was two years ago, but when I was listening to it yesterday, and I thought, that’s a great question. And I asked it, because I didn’t know the answer at that time. But I said to you, do you ever get lonely by working from your laptop and working around the world? Do you ever get lonely? And you sort of said no, I don’t because I’ve got virtual people. Now I get asked that same question. And I always come back with no, I never get lonely. But with your level of success, has it gone the full cycle? Do you get bothered now, where perhaps in the early days, you didn’t?
Tom Morkes [11:41]
Totally I mean, that’s, that’s 100% true. Like, in the beginning, just reflecting on that two years ago, like, I know for a fact what it was like in the beginning. And it was hard pressed, I was hard pressed to, to get anybody to reach out to me for anything, whether it was to interview me whether it was to to feature me, nobody came to me. So I had to be coming to everybody. And then included press included, and included clients to or customers, there’s nobody seeking me out. Now I can look at, you know, my dashboard and see that we have a steady flow of customers, we have a steady flow of client leads. And we’re breaking our monthly, you know, revenue expectation month after month, which is crazy. So we’re growing, expanding your fast. And even those words coming on my mouth is different than what that was two years ago, I didn’t have a dashboard that was looking at, I didn’t have established like numbers that I was trying to break per se. And it’s kind of interesting to see that evolution. But yeah, bottom line for sure. In the beginning, man, nobody cared. And now now that that in my name is being passed around for these type of launches, now a lot more people do care a lot more people are coming and, you know, pinging me and stuff like that, which is nice, because generally speaking, that’s some aspect of that is is is lead flow. And it’s a it’s like your pipeline of, of clients. And so they’re coming in, and I really haven’t done anything active to market, the only thing I’ve done actively is what everything I’ve been doing the last three years, which is grinding it out, creating content, building my own personal platform, and doing a lot of really good work for a lot of good people. And every successful launch that we have generates a new stream or referrals. And that’s literally that’s like my business model in a nutshell. So yeah, things have changed dramatically since then.
David Ralph [13:33]
So how do you not have that shiny object syndrome? How do you remain focused on what you should be doing? Because, you know, in the introduction, I said the Steve Martin phrase, which I love becomes so good that they can’t ignore you anymore. But once you do become so good when opportunities come your way, which are lucrative, exciting, but actually, more often than not, will pull you away from your core focus, which has led you to get those opportunities in the first place. So how do you remain focused?
Tom Morkes [14:01]
Yeah, I’m no means by no means an expert at that. And I’ll say that I think I’ve made some mistakes in some choices along the way where I truly did get distracted. And I, I would excuse myself, or I would, you know, justify my actions by saying, Well, I was learning. And that’s true. And that, but I don’t think that excuses I the naive at or the lack of focus. I think focus is super important. And I also know, it’s way easier said than done. And I feel like my business and everything I’ve done is testament that we’ve launched a lot of different projects, we’ve taken a lot. I mean, we’ve shipped we like adapted like a lot of different business models, because I was bootstrapping. So I was just trying to figure out something that would stick. So I’ve kind of been all over the board in that regard. The only thing that ever came back to was it was still from Tom Morkes. And that was like, you know, kind of kept it consistent. But I’ll say now, especially the last six to 12 months, I’ve actually no cut that off of my plate, I never really done that before, where I looked at my calendar and said, I can’t do this anymore. Like I can’t devote time to this project over here. Because it takes away from this main project, which is my business. And I started to cut things. And now when people request things, I say, that’s great. I love that idea. Um, but I’m too busy. I you know, I’m working on this other stuff, but you know, maybe in, you know, six to 12 months, we can circle back around or figure out some sort of strategic partnership partnership. So now I’m very much just focused on building what it is that I I won’t say I don’t know, for lack of a better term kind of struck gold with our my, you know, my superpower what we do it, it’s just publishing what we are very, very good at, and recognizing that that’s a deep need in the in the world. And when I say in the world, I mean, in my world, in the in the business world, that we found a solution to that. And we provide the solution, I think better than anybody else out there in the industry. So now I’m just focused on how do I grow this and not growth for growth’s sake, I think that’s an important topic. Because I know David I know, you’ve interviewed people who probably like have have built way bigger businesses like that’s, that’s not the point for me and the stepper has been, I’ve always wanted to get to a point where I’m building something that one I enjoy operating and running. So it inspires me every day. So I don’t mind getting up at 5am to do calls like this and stuff like that, and go straight to work afterward. Yeah, I wanted to build something that produced a lot of income. So I never felt like I was poor, or didn’t have enough money to provide for myself and my family. And then to give to charities and stuff like that. And, and just be generous. I never wanted that feeling because I didn’t grow up with a lot of money. So that was a big part of it. But it was never money was never the forefront. And then the third thing is just against me I could be kind of proud of and that would never have to compromise my integrity to run. And I’ve kind of achieved all those three things. So the growth here that I talked about is we’re just getting more and more clients the point where we’re kind of tapped out if I want to, I’m looking at how maybe somebody else to kind of expand operations a little bit. But it’s a choice that I’m looking at methodically and saying I could do this. But I can also kind of keep it how it is we can keep charging higher rates, we can keep, you know, over delivering, we can look at other ways to structure and make more money than just taking on more, you know, activity just to produce a higher dollar amount for what end? Right? big question mark on that. I’ve achieved my financial goals like we’re stable now, which is pretty insane, stable established, you can be in as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, and, and the trajectory is up. But I guess that’s kind of a tangent that I just went on. But I think that’s important from you know, when I talk about growth, and kind of what what my goals have been recently. But yeah, that kind of gives you hopefully I didn’t go way too off too far off on a tangent there David
David Ralph [17:43]
you can’t on this show. My things I talked about you wouldn’t believe. But But the thing that sort of struck me that was really interesting was the fact that you will bootstrapping it at the beginning. But now it’s a business. Now, even two years ago, it wasn’t it was you trying things and finding your Avenue. Now, if you could go back in time, like we’re going to do later on in the show. But would you invest more money? This is the sort of million dollar question I know from growing this show, to the success I’ve got now, I wished I’d throw more money at it at the very beginning to make things easier, but I didn’t I did everything myself, literally killed me. But in the process, I learned so much about doing it. So I come into think to myself, I wouldn’t change it. But it would have been a lot easier and faster. If I took you back to that Tom Morkes sitting on your barracks, would you get your credit card out? Hire a mentor or a coach or whatever? and fast track? Because that is the way of doing it, isn’t it?
Tom Morkes [18:41]
It’s a really good question. And
and I think to myself, and probably know for me, but here’s why. I think for some people that that’s not bad. And I even look at my business today. And I have been asking this question. If this is just a hypothetical question for myself, that I’ve asked just to kind of see where our business is at, and kind of reflect on where we want to go. But like, I watch a lot of shark tank, and people giving away 10, 2030 50% of their business to get, you know, 10 2050 hundred thousand dollars or something like that. And I’m like, why would I ever do that? Is there ever scenario where I would take capital? And not just to take but obviously the purpose of capital supposed to be to then expand operations in a way that you couldn’t without that capital? Right?
David Ralph [19:29]
Tom Morkes [19:30]
I look at that, and I asked myself that a few times recently, and there’s no way that I could see bringing in outside capital to do what we’re doing any differently, or any better. Right now. I’m not, I don’t think maybe my mind’s not at that level yet. But I also, there’s also the potential that that’s not where it wants to be ever, because a lot of those businesses when you do get investors, you generally have to work till you can sell out or not not sell out, but like actually sell sell your business, there has to be some kind of like, you know, event where the the the cash becomes liquid again, for the investor, generally speaking. And so again, am I building a business that I want to sell? And right now the answer is no. and if we talk in the two years, maybe all sold in search and publishing, and we’ll be at a totally different space or something like that. And, or something like that. I have no idea. But right now I look at him like, no, this is a business, it is kind of a lifestyle business, which I think doesn’t do it credit. Because I think that is that term has been watered down maybe. But I think there’s still valuable the idea of a lifestyle business business that you can build that you love and provide income for you and provides a lot of value in the world. But coming back to it now, looking back a couple years ago, would it have sped things up for me, I don’t think so. In that case, because I am a very tech, technical type of learner, like, I kind of need to put things into play. And even if I and I’m also not good with like, knowing a lot of information, I’m with knowing enough information, and then just going and figuring things out and learning that way. And that’s how I’ve done it over the last two years, I’ve been fortunate because I was able to learn it, I was able to make money. While I learned it not a ton, but enough. And that’s the nature of bootstrapping, where I instead of since I didn’t have the money, I just focused my time and energy on the on the task at hand. And I’m glad I did Yeah, probably probably learned a lot of things that I just didn’t ever need to learn. Like, at the end of the day, you know, podcasting, for example, editing my own podcast and things like that, like is that really a talent that I’d ever need to develop? Or maybe not. But, you know, it was one of those things where, by putting myself in the shoes of somebody who does do that I understood the full breadth of the production of what I was doing, right, from writing, to editing, to publishing, to formatting things on my website to packaging and delivering ebooks. And yeah, I basically did it all. But it gave me comfort in knowing that having a had my hands in the process that I understood what was going on. And and I I wouldn’t have wanted to change that I wouldn’t, even to this day. And this is a little hard. And again, this is why I don’t know, this is my own failure. Probably in this regard. I like to be able to put my hands on to everything in my business, if I can, at least at first. So I know how it runs. So there’s no question about that, at some point that I won’t be able to do that at some level. You the CEO can’t do that. But at the level I’m at right now I can and I should. And so yeah, I would not have changed anything, I would not have gotten a credit card out any more than I did last time or two years ago, I would have I would have done it basically the same.
David Ralph [22:38]
Because I’m exactly the same I in the first year of join up dots, I’m proud to say that I didn’t earn a penny from it, it all was money just going the other way. But at that moment, and I was talking to a guy just just before we started recording, it was going to be seven episodes time. And he was saying that he worked basically 18 hour days for two years, and earned 20 $7. But now, he works one day a week, lives on the beach in Australia. He serves whenever he wants. And so he looks back on those that hustle that struggle. And he says that really not only showed him how to build a business, but it showed him that it was the right business for him because he was willing to do it even when he wasn’t earning any money. And I think that’s a key point, isn’t it? If you’re jumping out of bed every morning, and you’re slogging through eight or nine hours on a laptop, and at the end of it, you haven’t earned a single penny, but you’re still waiting to go again, that really sends out a message, doesn’t it?
Tom Morkes [23:35]
Yeah, and you know, it’s interesting, it’s one of those things too, like, the idea of like putting capital into something like whether your own or somebody else’s, what it what that does, is it It forces you to, to move in a certain direction most of the time. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You know, some people need to be forced to move in a direction. Some business owners probably thrive in that, like if I look at somebody on Shark Tank, who just gets blown and now loses a quarter of their business, which is insane to me. Because we bootstrapped and we’re so profitable, I can never imagine giving away 25 or 50% of my profit, just for assembly, essentially no reason, when I can just create new revenue, if I want to reinvest that money to if I need money, I can create it, and then I can use that money to invest, which we do. Um, but like the idea of just giving away equity is like insane to me right now. But some people I think, do need that. Or they they want that for whatever reason I don’t get it in that in some contexts in other contexts, you need the capital to to make certain improvements. But here’s the deal. De David you know, it’s like, I think both of us like we do stuff online, right. And the overhead for that is super low. Like, yeah, you might have to buy a good mic and some good headphones and a good setup. But at the end of the day, like I don’t have an office space. I work I work from home now before I worked for my laptop, overhead was super low. So I didn’t have to have money to cover capital like overhead. I also didn’t need money because I didn’t have the business plan locked down. So I think money at that time would have tried would have been kind of disastrous when you don’t have a business plan lockdown, and now that have a business plan, lockdown business model lockdown, excuse me, no business plan, but actual business model that works. You know, we have the the sales funnel, we have the process of acquiring leads and closing new new deals. And we’re constantly improving those systems. And we have this proprietary kind of intellectual property to do the biggest book launches like in the world. It’s something where we have that system locked down now you could put could potentially put in outside of money and grow, grow that. But I look at it and say like, dude, would I ever want that pressure of somebody else’s money to be involved in this forcing me to perform to a certain level, I’m already like, the toughest guy of myself. And I set the strictest, most probably most ridiculous standards. And I think the last thing I would would ever be good for me for like the life like my life, and my health would be having the added pressure that oh man, and now I have to make back somebody half a million dollars for them. Instead of just like generating half a million dollars in profit for our company, which is what I would do anyway. Right? I’d be beholden to that investor. So that’s a really tangential point there. But it’s interesting, because again, money early on, like it seems like it could be the savior. I think a lot of people idealize this idea of an angel investor. I mean, it’s called an angel investor. Think about that. I mean, you could, you could, that could be called any other number of names, that doesn’t have the word angel in what they call it angel investors in some context, right for people that that can put money into your business, especially at the outset. And I’m just I don’t know that, to me, that was like a very frightening proposition. It still is. I’m still like, surprised when people want to go that route, and they’re not willing to just say no, I’m gonna put in the blood, sweat and tears right now. And I’m going to figure it out. And I’m not gonna look for outside investment, and I’m gonna build that profitability into the business model. Then when I start to make money, then I’m going to reinvest it, and I’m gonna build it my way. And that’s a scary thing. I don’t think a lot of people are realized how hard that is. I know you do. I know a lot of your, your, the people you’ve interviewed do, and I know a lot of people I’ve worked with, do I but I don’t think you know, beyond that. It’s It’s a scary proposition to say I’m gonna, I’m gonna work for two years, like the story you shared, I’m gonna work for two years and not make a dime. I can go back into my two year history David A, probably three or four year history, actually, kind of when I was bootstrapping this wall in the army, I did it on the side, I did a while I still had an income, which was important because I was losing money on the stuff I was doing. So I was investing in things. Like education, I was investing in software, even though it was like cheap, as cheap as I could get it, right. I was investing in hardware, even though it’s as cheap as I could get it. But all those things were, you know, were essential to get to that point where now we’re, you know, incredibly profitable. I have no burden of an investor or anything like that. I am, I am beholden to nobody, except for myself. I’m 100%, the owner. It’s an incredible feeling. Anyway, again, I feel like maybe we’ve got enough and another tangent with this. But hopefully it was worthwhile to hear.
David Ralph [28:06]
I think it was totally worthwhile. Because what it’s saying to me is, there is value in the effort. It’s learning, it’s the experience that you can’t ever give away. And I be honest, I bloody hate Shark Tank, and I hate as it’s called over here, Dragon’s Den, I would rename it for rich people in a row getting richer. And I’ve always thought to myself, if I went on there, as soon as one of the dragons or the sharks offered me a deal, I would go No, thank you very much. That just proves that there’s value in my idea, I go and work on it yourself. And I would just use it as a sort of benchmark as or litmus test, to actually my profitability. And if I see value in it, that be me, I’ll be getting my flip chart and running down the stairs instantly.
Tom Morkes [28:52]
I know, right? But it’s funny. Like I said, this is not like, I actually like I get a kick out of the show like it’s definitely enjoy bowl to in reality TV show sort of a not a real business learning sort of way. Anybody, if you watch that show, don’t think that you’re learning anything about business would be my
to anybody who watches it’s your entertainment. And in that context, the Entertainment’s pretty, pretty entertaining. But yeah, I say to myself, you know, again, in some context, Money makes sense. In most context, I just wonder why people, you know, again, especially like a certain types of startups, like, obviously, tech startups and things like that, you need a certain amount of capital like to start moving. But for the rest of us, that are starting something that doesn’t have to be, it doesn’t have to have 100 million dollar or billion dollar exit. You don’t necessarily need hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars invested. You just have to figure out a business model that works that’s sustainable for you. And then you just have to slowly slowly grow it and expand it. So yeah, I mean, you know, it’s interesting, it’s that I don’t blame anybody that’s been on Shark Tank and takes the money. But I look at it, I’m like, yeah, that kind of, I don’t personally get it. Like, I don’t see a situation where I would ever want to do that. But again, I may not be at that level, maybe someday, I would want that kind of outside investment, because I’m looking to exit. But again, it kind of depends on what your goals are. But I think the the, the ultimate point I’m making here is, you know, money is not the Holy Grail. And that again, yeah, I think just like, I think you and I are kind of the same way David that like, we don’t mind putting in the hard work up front, we don’t. And even still, I still work hard every day. But I definitely didn’t mind putting in the blood, sweat and tears to build what I built. And I’ll continue to do that. Because I enjoy the process I enjoy being the owner of it, I enjoy knowing that I am beholden to nobody. And and I like the fact that, you know, putting in real effort generates real results in the back end, and I don’t I don’t feel like I need a shortcut, or I need to, you know, expedite that for any other reason. Yeah, so those are my kind of points on that.
David Ralph [30:58]
Well, let’s play some words now. But it’s going to take a cnet’s later the next day to this conversation. And these are the words that were said probably two or three years ago, but I get more valuable every day, Jim Carrey,
Jim Carrey [31:08]
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 [31:35]
So we’ve already heard but your dad wants you to get a proper job, settle down, get a proper job and a pension. Did you think that he would buy into those words? Or is are those words just for the next generation? You may our kids our grandchildren?
Tom Morkes [31:52]
Yeah, good question. I, I think it to some degree, there’s a cultural shift there for sure. To some degree, but there’s a lot of my peers who don’t even know what I do David that have no idea or get what I do. So like, definitely not just my dad, it’s not just that generation, I think there’s more people than ever, who are exposed to this business and entrepreneurship and kind of conceptually get it and they understand the sacrifice more than they might have had before. And in that context, I think that’s really cool. It’s like a prolific proliferation of entrepreneurs in this last, you know, decade or two. And with the internet, it’s made, again, lower the barrier to entry, made it more accessible to anybody around the world to become an entrepreneur, I was just on the call with somebody from Sylvania the other day, somebody from Russia the other day before that, obviously, you know, you you know, you’re not US based, there’s tons of people who I speak to, on a daily basis are not US based. So it’s not like, it’s just relegated to this one group of people in the United States that can that can run and build these businesses, which is amazing. It’s literally open to anybody. But I’ll say this man, the reality is a lot of people I talked to still have no idea what I do, they don’t understand that they actually, like I think the idea of what I’m doing is disturbing to them. Because I don’t get a W two, I don’t show up in to work at a certain time and day. And that’s not to say that I don’t like wake up early. And in fact, I’m working out probably two or three or four hours earlier than them. And I may work two or three or four hours later. But like, they don’t get that. And and so I think in that context, I don’t think it’s like everybody’s going to change and shift and all of a sudden, you know, really follow those words of Jim Carrey, right? I think there’s gonna be plenty people who still want that safe, secure. What was his dad’s job? I don’t know what accountant or whatever. Like, there’s a lot of people that aspire to that. And again, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But I think interestingly enough, I guess my only point is that there’s still plenty of people who are looking for what would would be considered safe and secure, and they’re looking for that consistency and paycheck. And they’re looking to be placed into a, essentially, in this did this, I don’t want this to sound degrading, but at the end of the day, they want to be put into a system that’s already running, they can just be placed in it and kind of keep moving. And, and that’s, and that’s the what no majority people want. Still, that’s my experience, there’s still a very small majority of people who don’t want that, who wants to own their own operation who wants to, you know, reap the benefits of their effort through what’s called equity. Right? Most people don’t know, know or care what that is, they and they have no interest even if they did. But those of us that do, we’re connecting online. And what’s interesting is, there seems like a lot of us online but there really aren’t, it’s a really just a mind like a really small portion of people in in the world who know about this who listen, even your pockets David you’ve had millions of downloads millions of listens, millions of listeners. And that’s, you know, yes, a drop in the bucket, in the whole grand scheme of the world yet, but
David Ralph [34:48]
because that that is really what excites me is no matter how much success you’ve had, no matter how much success, Pat Flynn has jailed they all these guys that we hear about, it’s just scratching the surface, isn’t it? That is really, what gets me going every morning. So either by the end, but you got me excited? Oh,
Tom Morkes [35:09]
no, no, but I mean, that’s it that’s like that was the whole point is like, so like, I don’t think it’s like, everything’s gonna change, you know, here on out, I think what’s going to happen is, you know, the trend is pretty clear to me that everything because of the Internet, and the fact that, you know, barrier to entry for businesses lower and access to information and knowledge has never been cheaper, that we’re going to get this proliferation of entrepreneurship, and there’s going to be that, which I think is amazing for the world. And for everybody, you know, I think that’s amazing for local economies, I think it’s amazing for international global economies. Because it’s bringing, its kind of focusing on that, like small business owner that in the US, at least was the cornerstone of our growth in the last like, 200, 250 years. Right. And that’s the truth in a lot of countries, where the at some point they were, it was business owners that were producing the majority of, of, you know, GDP. And, of course, in the last century, we have that giant, you know, corporations popping up and now taking over the lion’s share of that, that GDP. But now what you find is, I think that the trend back toward entrepreneurship, of self sufficiency of being able to create and fend for yourself, which I think is ultimately a good thing, personally, that’s just personal viewpoint. But I think here’s the deal, I think there’s still gonna be tons of people who just have no interest in that, who would rather hop into the corporation, that’s going to give them a W two, and make them work nine to five, five or six days a week, five days a week, not obviously, not weekends, they get their weekends off, and then you get to reality. And I think that’s okay, too. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I just think that, you know, again, it’s not going to be this like transcendent, like, incredible shift where everything changes, but I think there will be a segment of the market that’s changing and changing for the better by becoming entrepreneurs, and becoming people that produce value and produce employments, for other people, which I think that is always a good thing.
David Ralph [37:02]
Let’s give a little story to the listeners. This will make sense. But this is what we spoke about on episode one. But it leads up to a question that I need to ask Tom Morkes. Now, if you want to go back and listen to Episode One, or it’s going to be coming out again on 27th of march on our weekend rewind is one of our chosen episode. But I used to be in corporate land listening to Tom Morkes podcast. And he was the first podcast I’d ever listened to. And at the end of it, he used to whisper and I used to secretly listen to it in the office. So I felt like I was doing something wrong. But he used to say, and remember, you are the resistance. And I used to be Oh yeah, I’m the resistance. Nobody knows what’s going through my mind. And I’m going to leave this company. Now. Are you still the resistance? Tom? Are you becoming the establishment?
Tom Morkes [37:49]
I think I’m definitely still the resistance, man. I mean, like I said, there’s, it’s like, even my audience, which is, you know, probably matter on my newsletter is close to like, 10,000 now versus back then might have been like, 10. Um, so my reach is much broader, and all that just like yours has gotten, you know, amazing, like amazing reach. But I think both of both of us are still part of the resistance, I think at the end of the day, and that’s kind of the I guess the point I was trying to make in that last last section, there was just that the reality is the majority, the world is always going to be focused on what’s, what’s easier. And what’s less confusing, what’s simpler, like creatively like what’s like avoiding creative uncertainty, that’s like a painful thing for some people, just trying to figure things out, they’re going to avoid that. And they’re going to look for things that are more consistent, more safe. At the vast majority, I’d say that’s going to still stay around 90 to 95% of the population, you know what I mean? So that at the end of the day, that means you and I, we are part of that probably 5% or less of the population that don’t really value those things higher than we value say freedom or financial security, financial freedom, or, you know, lifestyle design, or all these other things that words that might again, be meaningless to the majority of the world. So am I still resistance? Absolutely, do I actually still run in the trenches, and still still do sign off that way. And I still run my newsletter as the resistance. But the resistance is growing quite a bit. And it’s a lot stronger than it’s ever been.
David Ralph [39:22]
It’s funny, actually, because I was invited onto your show. And this is the only thing that I’ve ever asked not to go out. And tell me invited me onto the show. And I was so delighted, because it was one of the sort of starting points of everything. But I said, Yeah, absolutely be great. And about a half hour before we started recording, I started getting this migraine and my eyes were flashing. And I was so in awe of Tom, I didn’t have the heart to say can we cancel? So we did this interview. And basically, I could barely remember what question I was answering halfway through. And it was just, it was the worst performance I’ve ever done. Now, what made me realize after VAT, where I should have stopped, was the fact that at that point in my upscaling, I felt that everything was a business. After that point, I realized that every business is a collection of individuals who also had migraines. Also a sick also had their kids off school for the day. And it was a real wake up call for me because I had VAT and then two days later, I had Pat Flynn booked onto the show. And he contacted me and he said, Oh, I can’t. My wife’s not very well, I’ve got to look after the kids. And it made me realize that we’re talking about business, but ultimately, we’re talking about life as well. And it was a real wake up call for me too.
Tom Morkes [40:35]
Yeah, you know, it’s and there’s no hard feelings at the end of the day to whether you cancel it or not. Like that’s, that’s something that I never am upset by. Again, maybe some people will be upset that you change their plans. And, and maybe some people are that that egotistical but but I definitely recognize there’s a human being on the other end, somebody has to cancel on me, I get it. I also know that every now and then I have to do it to them. I’m gonna have to do it today to somebody who I truly it’s extremely respect and admire, I was going to interview but what things came up in my life where I have to cancel that call later today. So it’s you know, I always try to, you know, the golden rule, just treat others as as they ought to be treated. And, and so yeah, by the way, David, we do have to get you back on the show. So let me know when you’re ready for that. And Let’s reschedule. It will be an absolute
David Ralph [41:20]
honor. And I’ll be honest, as you were saying that I was looking and asking God, this guy has so changed over the years, but still everywhere I look, you’re wearing a check shirt sitting on a bench with a little hat on like kind of Forrest Gump. Is that is that? Is that image going to stay with you forever? Or is your personal branding gonna change? Because it’s, it’s kind of it’s what I know. It’s what I like, but it’s not you anymore, is it?
Tom Morkes [41:43]
I think it is. Maybe not that the forrest gump? You know?
Maybe a little bit
David Ralph [41:51]
on the first episode as well, because of your beard growing. It was it was astonishing.
Tom Morkes [41:57]
Yeah, so I’d say it is you know, it’s interesting. It’s one of those things where I, it was kind of a an intentional choice. A lot of things I do are are intentional to some degree or another I don’t kind of stumble upon them. But, but for something like that, yeah, I know, this sounds kind of weird. But you know, there’s a lot of people out there who like, I don’t know, where like, flashy stuff. And that’s their pictures are plastered all over their website, or they have suits and ties, and they’re jumping around. And I can just imagine them doing that photo shoot. And I laughed to myself, because I’m like, No, I’m not like that at all. And again, not that someday I won’t be or that someday like, and again, nothing against them. But I remember thinking like one that’s ridiculous to me. So if it’s ridiculous to me, there’s no way I’m going to do it. The second thing is, you do have to have some sort of persona that is to some degree, one one dimensional. So I figured hey, if I can rock the hat and the checkered shirt, and that’s that’s my thing, then if that’s what people come to expect, they’ll be like, oh, Tom’s that the hat and checkered shirt guy so that could change to you. But at the end of the day, it was intentional in that regard because I wanted people to be able to see my face and and look at me and kind of know an instant that’s Tom orcas.
David Ralph [43:08]
Now this is really interesting point because the first image I ever saw of you was a kind of Daniel Craig black and white image wearing shades and a suit. My every image obscene since been has been the checkered shirt and the little hat and the beards and all that kind of stuff. Yeah, now is personal branding. I think it has changed over the last few years where a corporation would be behind the glossy website. But now and I think the first person that I saw doing this was Pat Flynn, when I used to go over to he’s and it was always him with a baby, and then him with a kid and then him which is that very important to bridge that gap between your business and your personal so that when people meet you, they have an understanding of who they’re dealing with. And not just a nameless individually individual.
Tom Morkes [43:52]
I mean, yeah, I think for sure. And again, I don’t know if it’s necessary for every business, but I’ll say for mine, for sure it is. At the end of the day, people are asking you know, people aren’t aren’t hiring and surgeon publishing to do their launches so much as their they’ve seen Tom orcas in that I run and I operate publishers Empire, so they’re really investing in me. And they’re investing in my ability and my what I’ve been able to do, and in certain publishing is an extension of me. It’s obviously that business that I own and operate. But I think in a lot of ways people are investing in me as the person. So yeah, I think it’s super important that the personal brand, and I’ll say this, that picture, too, by the way was that was because I was in the army still. And I was actually scared to have my picture. It was almost like it was one of those things like I actually even put a picture on online. Yeah. And I wore the shades and kept it black and white. So like, hopefully, like if anybody found it like it would be less. Oh, that’s Tom. That’s Tom’s face. Like, because I was still in the army at the time. Like I didn’t want anybody to know that I was doing this. Like I was doing it so secretively, which is really stupid, but it’s in it’s a super irrational fear. But like, that was one of the reasons and as soon as I got out, I was like, Okay, now I can start promoting this. And that’s when I shifted things. Because obviously I can’t, you know, travel around the world. And
David Ralph [45:01]
yeah, but isn’t it that’s competence as well. That’s the fact that once you get to a point you go, let us see what other people think. I’m doing my stuff. That’s really when Rocket Power is sprinkled all over you I’m totally believer, if you go over to join up dots. For the first hundred and 70 episodes, there was no image of me on there at all. Now, if you go over there, the first thing you see is a whole page image of me which we’re going to sort of revamp and stuff. But that is me embracing the fact that there’s no getting away from it. I’m a podcaster. And now this is my thing. I don’t see myself being a businessman, I don’t see myself being anything else. A podcast is my thing. And that is when the Rocket Power, as I say sprinkled on OBS pure competence.
Tom Morkes [45:44]
Yeah. And I’m actually on the website right now. And I gotta say, Man, it looks it definitely looks better than where it was before. And it’s funny. I mean, I guess we always look back on our old stuff. Like, if I look back on my old stuff, it’s the same way. I’m like, Yeah, I think I’ve i think it’s it’s definitely gotten more refined since the beginning, which is important. And here’s the deal, actually, something I haven’t really done is put myself, you know, picture wise on the forefront of everything I do. And it’s not, you know, that probably is something I probably want to look at. Because you see a lot of I think name brand businesses, you know, personality type brand businesses, where the person’s face is on everything, which I don’t do I don’t do on my podcast, I don’t do on my, on my website. And again, that’s kind of that’s partially intentional here. But again, it could change. But yeah, I think it’s interesting, like to see kind of where we were, where and where we’ve come from. And and yeah, I think your website looks great now. And
David Ralph [46:32]
well, it’s gonna look better soon, because we’re going through a big revamp. But what I’m gonna do now, Tom, I’m going to play the words fat created the whole show couple of years ago, but it’s worthwhile hearing them just once more. This is Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [46:44]
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 leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [47:19]
Now on episode one, you were saying you totally bought into those words, but with more experience, did they become more naive? Or did they become more truth?
Tom Morkes [47:31]
I think I think he’s he what he said is that he said at a kind of a truism. In some ways, it can never not be the case. It’s and I think they’re important words, because we don’t think about it. But yeah, I think actually, like there’s no way his words can ever become less true. And in fact, of course, as we get older, they can only become more true or at least more true to us more parent more apparently true. So yes, I look on and now I’m like, here’s a great example. Like, when I was doing this podcast, and in the trenches when you were listening to me, I was interviewing all these people I admired, respected flash for two years, and in search and publishing is growing rapidly. And we’re working with some of the you know, I think smartest people in the online space to launch their books. And guess what, guess who most of my clients are? There, the people who I interviewed two years ago, they’re the people who I admired. So I’m now working with the people I admire, in my way, shape, and form to provide, you know, certain services and certain value to them. And so yeah, could I have ever predicted at the outset of my podcast that I’m going to interview, you know, hundred entrepreneurs, business owners that I respect, and then two years later, I’m going to pitch them on my services and hire them. And that’s my game plan. Like that would have been absurd, right. But that’s, that’s what’s happened as they connect the dots. And I realized that all the effort all the time spent building my platform in the beginning, spent connecting and trying to promote other people through my podcast, and and and all the other avenues, has now led to a great database of connections, a great well of like, really amazing people that I’m just one email away from, which is pretty incredible. So yeah, I think that statement is as true as it’s ever been.
David Ralph [49:22]
It’s absolutely true. Every time I listened to it, you know, the fact that you use inspired me before I even left, and then you was the first guest and venue of the 500. And I have so many connections, so many dots joining up through doing this. But the bottom line, I suppose is you only get those dots by actually getting off your backside and doing it, don’t you?
Tom Morkes [49:44]
Yeah, bottom line. I mean, at the end of the day, that’s exactly it. And that’s what he’s saying. Because the thing that he’d Well, that’s the thing, he’s not saying, but it’s implied that, you know, if you look at Steve Jobs life, right, I mean, he’s talking, we went from college to what what happened after that? Well, he mean, basically started Apple, and he had quite the Whirlwind ride in his life. But the thing that’s not said there is, at least in that particular quote, was not you know, beyond the dots is, you know, not only that, you have to trust that the dots will connect. But if you don’t take action, the dots will never Connect. I mean, that’s the, to me, that’s the unsaid rule that that corresponds, that correlates with that statement, that that is a necessity of that statement to be true, is that there is actually has to be taken, and that you don’t necessarily know how that action is going to pan out, you don’t own the results. But you do own the action. And so you have to take action today and every day. And again, you don’t know how it’s gonna work out in the future. You don’t own that. But you do own your actions today. So I think that’s the unspoken reality to have his words,
David Ralph [50:48]
to you know, you just said three words were beyond the dots. And as you said it, I thought to myself, my God, that is the essence of my show more than join up dots. Because we’re not, we’re not connecting, and we’re talking backstory, I think if I went back in time now, I think this show would be called Beyond the dots I like,
Tom Morkes [51:07]
oh, maybe we’ll do a we’ll do a sequel.
David Ralph [51:10]
Yeah, absolutely a director’s cut when we go back, and we get everyone on and see if we can dig for the go a bit further. But, Tom, this is the end of the show. And this is a bit we’ve been building up to the bit, we called a sermon on the mic when we send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Tom Morkes, what age would you choose? And what advice would you give? Well, I’m going to send you back to but Tom, a couple of years ago, and see the difference from Ben to now I’m going to play the theme tune. And when it beats you up, this is the Sermon on the mic.
Tom Morkes [52:08]
Okay, the Sermon on the mic, I love it. Love that transition. So yeah, talk to myself two years ago.
At the end of the day, it’s one of those things, I guess I would just say kind of what I was probably thinking at the time that, hey, this is going to be a lot of work, it’s a lot of things are not going to work out, right, you’re going to attempt a lot of things are going to fail. And some of those things will work and they’ll stick and you’ll figure it out. And it’ll be painful at times, but it’ll be super exciting and inspiring. And it’s so worth it and any challenge that you see, or that you
or at least create in your mind any obstacle that you create in your mind, I would say brush it aside, because you’ll figure out a way when you hit that obstacle, how to overcome it and pass through it. So no need and worrying about what those challenges are going to be cross that bridge when you get there. But at the same time, make sure you prioritize the important things in life time with family time with friends and just all the good things in the world and that everything else is just dust of course like it’s always been so enjoy the enjoy the ride enjoy the path.
David Ralph [53:25]
Tom what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you sir?
Tom Morkes [53:29]
Tom Morkes calm which is t o m Mr. Ke es calm. And from there, you can find me everywhere else and all the other things I do. So that’s definitely the hub.
David Ralph [53:40]
Tom, thank you so much for spending time with us today joining up those dots. And please come back again when you have even more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Mr. Tom Morkes, thank you so much.
Tom Morkes [53:56]
David, thank you so much for having me back on the show is a pleasure.
David Ralph [54:02]
Yeah, it’s a funny old world, isn’t it? Now that guy there I’ve never actually met him personally. But he inspired me to leave my corporate gig he was the first guest on join up dots. He’s been a supporter all the way through. He found numerous guests in the early days when nobody would come on to the show. He referred me and now he’s on the 500 so it proves it can be done guys as I say every single day start doing something start reaching out and little by little that momentum grows and the life that you want is in your grasp. I can’t wait till I see more of you coming on the show and I’m seeing it already. We’re getting more and more guests who were listeners who have now become guests and that is what joint up dots is all about. It should be a circular thing. Thank you so much for listening. This was David Ralph This was our 500th interview. And we’ll see you again on the thousand
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.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on join up dots.