My guest today is the President and Founder of PledgeMusic, a direct-to-fan company that offers musicians a unique way to engage with their fans during the music-making process.
He is an independent musician who received the A&R Worldwide Digital Executive of the Year award in 2014 and appeared in the 2013 Billboard 40 Under 40 Power Players list.
My guest’s recent engagements include keynote addresses and panels at events such as Canadian Music Week and GRAMMY Camp. He also gained a position on the Board of Directors for the Future Of Music Coalition this year.
Now, Let’s hack…
In this 36-minute episode Benji Rogers and I discuss:
- How Benji had stayed incredibly restless
- The true power of having advisors
- Learning to become comfortable with being uncomfortable
- Being an entrepreneur is about entering a space of uncertainty
- Let your team push you to better places, ideas, and outcomes
The Show Notes
- Pledge Music
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
- Benji on Twitter
- Jon on Twitter
- Sponsor: Chargeover – Get your free guide: 7 Amazing Hacks for Recurring Billing Companies
Benji Rogers on Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
Jonny Nastor: Hack the Entrepreneur is part of Rainmaker.FM, the digital business podcast network. Find more great shows and education at Rainmaker.FM.
Voiceover: Welcome to Hack the Entrepreneur, the show which reveals the fears, habits, and inner battles behind big-name entrepreneurs and those on their way to joining them. Now here is your host, Jon Nastor.
Jonny Nastor: Hey, hey. Welcome back to another episode of Hack the Entrepreneur. It’s so cool of you to decide to join me again today. I’m your host, Jon Nastor, but you can call me ‘Jonny.’
My guest today is the president and founder of PledgeMusic, a direct-to-fan company that offers musicians a unique way to engage with their fans during the music-making process. He’s an independent musician who received the A&R Worldwide Digital Executive of the Year award in 2014 and appeared in the 2013 Billboard 40 Under 40 Power Players list. My guest’s recent engagements include keynote addresses and panels at events, such as Canadian Music Week and Grammy Camp. He also gained a position on the board of the directors for the Future of Music Coalition this year.
Now, let’s hack Benji Rogers.
I want to thank today’s sponsor, ChargeOver, a recurring billing and payments app. You can download their free guide right now — it’s called Seven Amazing Hacks for Recurring Billing Companies — at ChargeOver.com/Hack.
The founders of ChargeOver needed a way to manage recurring billing for their tech-services business. Software that existed did not meet the extensive requirements that they needed, so as any smart entrepreneur would do, they built their own software from the ground up and then bootstrapped it to bring that software to market.
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Welcome back to another episode of Hack the Entrepreneur. I have a really, really special guest today. Benji, welcome to the show.
Benji Rogers: Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.
Jonny Nastor: It’s absolutely my pleasure. I think this is going to be fun.
Benji Rogers: Absolutely.
Jonny Nastor: All right, Benji, let’s jump straight into this. As an entrepreneur, can you tell me, what is the one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your successes so far?
How Benji Has Stayed Incredibly Restless
Benji Rogers: It’s funny. The question is a great question, and I’m glad you asked it. I wrote a blog many, many years ago about this. I found that I stay incredibly restless, and I’m never really content with going, “There it is. It’s done.” There’s always another way to look it and another way to hack. Quite often, you can get in a lane with what you’re doing, whether you start a business, it does well, and you carry on just doing that and you don’t look around those corners.
It’s a restlessness to where you wake up at night stressing on the problem, going, “Wait a second.” It’s not a worry. It’s more a restless energy. I know a lot of people that have founded companies and whatnot have a lot of energy about it, but that restlessness, I find, is something that has really seen us through the more interesting times and helped me personally look around a whole bunch of corners. It was never just, “That’s how it is, so there it goes.”
When I was starting the business, I was tapped on the shoulder a thousand times and told, “Listen, this isn’t how it works. You should just … ” It was always, you keep jabbing and poking and hacking and trying to find a different way.
When we founded the business in the beginning, I was told by all the payment processors, “You can’t. It won’t work. You can’t do it. It doesn’t work that way. That’s not how the Internet works. That’s not how payments work.” I was like, “Okay.” For months, it was this restless, endless push toward getting it done.
I think that similarly, the destruction we’ve seen in music space has been one in which people have gone, “But I sell albums.” Oops, what happened to those? “We sell compact discs.” Oops, there they go. Ironically, we don’t make vinyl anymore. Well, now there’s a six-month waiting list for vinyl.
When we get comfortable with things is when they start to push us off balance, and I think that ultimately, if you can find a balance in your restlessness, a balance in knowing that it’s never going to fall one way or the other. It’s rolling with the punches, but it’s almost that restlessness to dig and scratch and find another way, particularly when someone says, “You don’t understand. This is how it is.” I think that that’s when you should start to ask the most questions and let that restlessness guide you through. That was the one thing that I thought of when that question came up.
Jonny Nastor: That’s awesome, and I think that that’s probably something that’s very, very much needed, not just for you, but for people going out and starting something from nothing. You’re going to have people telling you that it doesn’t work, like payment processors: “No you can’t do that. You can’t do that.” It’s almost a certain level of restlessness, but also stubbornness in a way. Having people tell you it can’t be done, but being like, “No, it’s going to be … I’m going to find a way to do it.”
Learning to Become Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
Benji Rogers: Yeah, and when I first had the idea for Pledge, I thought, “I’ll just explain ideas. Someone else will make it, and I don’t have to worry about it.” And I never thought I would be the unsure person in the scenario.
A lot of it is getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. The second I would be like, “Okay great. We’ve got breathing room,” that’s when ideas would start to come, and that’s when you’re always holding back because you’re got 40 ideas for every one that you’re actually going to be able to pull off at that time. What I love is that I’ll be told — I was told today at least three times — “We can’t do it. That’s not possible. This is not here.” I’m trying to find a way through, because I just don’t accept it most of the time.
There’s a moment when you say, “Okay, done. No more pushing. That clearly won’t work.” It’s not about that or about being pig-headed about it, but I think it does require a stubbornness. But there’s a moment where you go with the flow, and there’s a moment where you have to stick your back up and say, “No, no, no. Hold on a second.”
I remember being on the phone with credit card processors back in the day, and they would be like, “Yeah, you literally cannot take money in the way that you operate.” I said, “Okay, so when you book a hotel room, you don’t pay for it right then and there. You pay for it when you leave.” “Yes.” “Okay, why can’t we do that?” “Well, it doesn’t work that way, sir.” “Okay, well how does it work, because I’ve seen it work? It’s working there, and it says ‘Visa’ or ‘Mastercard’ on it.”
One of the things about starting a business or startup or being entrepreneurial is that you’re battling into a space. You’re going, “Something isn’t working, and I’m going to disrupt that,” or “I’m going to disintermediate these two players.” When you’re doing that, you’re going into an inherently unstable environment. You just need to know that.
What I’ve found is that you’ll have one big win and say, “Right. There it is. I can stop now.” That’s just never the case. There’s always another mountain to climb, but I know that certain people get into a lane and find it very hard to shift out of it. I think you’ve got to be willing to throw away a couple of great ideas to come to the better one and also be okay to be wrong and say, “Right. Got it. Moved on.”
There’s actually a clothing shop in New York, Grahame Fowler, and when you buy something from him, he gives you this letter, and it basically says, “Stay restless. Stay lucky.” I really that like that expression, and he makes good shirts, too. I’m talking about him with you.
Jonny Nastor: That’s awesome. Yeah, totally. “Stay restless. Stay lucky.” Luck really is about staying restless. Luck doesn’t come find you unless you’re out there putting yourself out, right?
Benji Rogers: Absolutely.
Jonny Nastor: Your idea of how you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Have you always been comfortable in uncomfortable situations? Is this innate within Benji, or is this something you’ve had to push and grow within yourself?
Benji Rogers: Yeah. I read a lot of Marcus Aurelius for that part. I think about planets orbiting and things that are much, much bigger than me, and my individual calm or panic is not there. My wife always says to me, “You don’t seem like you’re freaking out.” I’m like, “But I am.” She’s like, “You’re sure?” I’m like, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure this is me freaking out.”
You get comfortable with it, but it never goes away. I was describing it once that when I used to go onstage as a performer, I would have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Before I got used to it, that was nerves, and then it becomes part of your practice, and then it becomes, if that’s not there, something’s wrong.
Pledge was my first business, and I’m still learning to this day. I’ve got amazing mentors and people that I trust and respect and know really well in the business who will give me a straight-talking answer, but it is inherently unstable, and you’ve got to get used to that. I’ve been in scenarios whereby I’ll have gotten off a plane, and I’ll go to walk up and be on a panel, and the host of the panel will say, “Rather than do a panel, I thought you could just do a 20-minute speech on European economic policy and how it affects art and culture.” You’re like, “Okay.”
I remember writing down four things: a) don’t eff this up, b) … You sit there and go through, “Okay, what are the three things I can go and talk about? European economic culture. What is it?” You’re always going to be thrown into these situations, and you should see them as an exciting thing and not as a miserable thing. I think also you have to surrender the outcome. I believe that you’re responsible for the effort at all times, but the outcome is going to, in a lot of cases, remain out of your hands.
My wife, again, was saying to me the other day, she’s like, “How are you handling this kind of period of uncertainty and strangeness?” I said to her, “Well, if I freak, I’m not going to make a clearer or better decision than I am if I can remain calm.”
A lot of it is, I meditate as well, so you learn to let things roll off. What it really comes down to is that I owe my team, the amazing people that make the engine of this company run, everything. They deserve a calm and collected me, because I’m going to bake a better decision. When heads get hot and people get stressed out and burned out, you’re not seeing clearly. You’re in the moment, and if you can zoom outward and say, “Okay, in the constellation of possibilities, this is the one I’ve got to make a decision on right now.”
You get used to it, but you should never get used to it. You know what I mean? Knowing I will have to make decisions that are uncomfortable or difficult every day is okay, but I think also, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a really sensitive person. I am, and it really does affect me, but in the moment where you’re making a decision or you haven’t arrived with something very quickly, bringing in nervous, frenetic, panicked energy does not help and will not inform the decision any better, I don’t think, and I haven’t found.
Jonny Nastor: That’s impressive. It is, man. You sound like someone who obviously meditates and reads Marcus Aurelius and takes these grander things, and it puts perspective on what’s going on.
Although, I think when we do freak out, we know overall that we shouldn’t be freaking out and that it’s not going to help our team. It’s not going to help me make an informed decision, but still, to have that control within to be able to that is impressive. Really impressive.
Being an Entrepreneur Is about Entering a Space of Uncertainty
Benji Rogers: I’ve got to tell you, look, it’s imperfect, and sometimes it doesn’t work out, but again, knowing that it’s not always going to work that way calms you down. It’s part of the job description. A thousand things can and will go wrong all the time, and you know that going into it.
There are no certainties, but what I do know is this. Marcus Aurelius is someone I’ve been reading for a long time. This was an emperor who had to deal with massive responsibilities. Someone like Abraham Lincoln, who is a great hero, who surrounded himself by warring factions who dealt with the splitting of a country in two and the abolition of slavery, and all these amazing things, had to make decisions.
I think of those people in power and what they weigh, and I go, “Mine is not trivial, because it’s important to the people that we work with. It’s everything,” but I come back to that. I’m in control of how I react to this. I’m not in control of what’s out there. I’m responsible for the effort. The outcome is another matter. If you go into it with what’s going to get us through this the quickest, the fastest, best way possible, it’s never, I’ve found personally, by freaking out.
If you’re the one person who’s calm in the room, you can often promote calm. I guarantee you this. If you’re the one freaking out, you’re going to create more of that, because it’s addictive. It’s an addictive thing. My wife’s a full-time mom, which is probably 10 times harder job than anyone who’s ever started a business has ever done, and her vexations and what she will stress about are our child’s future. That’s a major one. That’s a life. Both of us, we have our freakout moments, for sure.
But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve just realized that I’m a better team member if I’m the one who’s saying, “What will get us to the best decision here?” People need to blow off steam and do their thing, and part of it is just going inwards and finding that. I think it’s a great asset and a strength if you can find it in yourself.
The other thing is that it’s not written anywhere in stone or in your biology that you have to freak out when stressful things come. There’s no written-down requirement that this is what this person has to do. It’s not genetically programmed to panic. It’s a choice, and the first time that you harness it is very powerful, and then you can pull out if it. A lot times, meditation will allow you to step outside and look in. Meditation isn’t having to sit there in an orange robe on a mat. You can sit in a chair and get it right or use the Headspace app or whatever it is you do, but you find whatever it is that will center you and allow you to look from the outside.
The way I put it is, “I will try anything that will work.” There’s nothing too weird. I found myself in a Zen monastery in Australia. I found myself on an airplane that’s four hours delayed, trying to not freak out because it’s hot or because I’m missing something.
You wrestle with and search for whatever will work, but the guiding principle I have is, if I’m about to feel the panic coming on or a strangeness, to go, “Me freaking out will not help the situation, and I’m responsible for the effort,” but the outcome is quite often beyond you. Knowing that, you can still reach for the correct outcome and outline it and plan it and plan it and do all that you can, but to shoulder it all would not sensible.
Jonny Nastor: I love it. I love it. Stay incredibly restless. That’s your one thing, and also being comfortable in being uncomfortable. Every blog post, every expert now, talks about the 80/20 rule: 20 percent gets 80 percent of the results. Do what you’re good at. Delegate the rest.
Can you, Benji, within your business, tell me something that you’re absolutely not good at?
The True Power of Having Advisors
Benji Rogers: Yeah, I’m not a really good financial guy, so I have to surround myself with people who know a lot more about finance than I do. The example I’ll give you is that when I first started Pledge, I knew it was my Achilles heel going in. I’m like, “I’m not a guy who reads spreadsheets in a natural way.”
I remember sitting with Karen, who was our phenomenal accountant at the time, and I said to her, “Karen, listen, people have invested money in this, and I take that incredibly seriously, so I’m not leaving this room until I understand what you’re showing me here.” She very patiently, for hours, walked me through the basics of it. It takes a lot of effort and concentration to get it. I understand all of the concepts, and I get it all. It’s just not fluid for me.
You could play me music, and I could probably play it back for you note for note afterwards, but the financial side is wizardry to me. That said, I’m responsible for it. When I was CEO of the company and when I do these things, I do have a grasp. But when I see people model outwards these massive, complex models, it’s just masterful to me.
That is where I’m relying on incredibly smart people around me to really guide those decisions so I can make them. It’s an art form in and of itself, understanding and being comfortable with that side of things. That’s the main thing.
I’m a team guy, a concept guy, build guy, startup guy — those things I’m very comfortable with. When it comes to sitting down and writing out financial projections, I can do it, but it takes all the effort I have. I’ve just found that when you get yourself with a great person who really fluidly speaks that language, you can become unstoppable. Yes, I’ve always surrounded myself a brilliant financial people to the best of my ability.
Jonny Nastor: Nice. Looking back, did you realize this soon enough, or did you realize this too late? Is this one of the things that you held onto and were like, “I can figure this stuff and do this,” and then somebody stepped in and like, “No, Benji, you’ve got to let this go, man?”
Benji Rogers: No, I flat-out told everyone when they got involved that I consider one of my skills as getting a team rallied around a call to action, or communicating it has always been very natural to me, but this is a challenge. I stepped in from the very word ‘go,’ and I was like, “I want protection around me in this area,” particularly when I was a CEO and working with the board.
When I get involved with startups — I advise a lot of startups, and I get so much out of that — I can see the holes in what they’re talking about. I can see a lot of those things because I’ve seen a lot of business plans now, and I really do understand it a lot more, but when it goes down to the nuances … I would be in meetings, and I would be Googling stuff. It was a vastly important part of things.
I read all the books I could. I try to understand as much as possible. I didn’t go to learn to be an accountant or any stretch, but I give a lot to the team that do the finance because I want it to be in the best hands as it can possibly be.
I don’t think I learned that too late. I think I learned it in exactly the right time. I’m also never afraid to ask questions about it, either. I never, as a rule, let the conversation go too far without me going, “Stop. I need you to walk me through this.” I’m not too proud to ask those questions. I think they’re really important ones to ask. Yeah, that’s where I stand.
Jonny Nastor: It feels like you would have noticed this at the right time, because you seem to have a really keen self-awareness, which not everybody does, especially when we get really involved at the start of a business. That’s probably, like you said, you’re lucky, now. You get to advise startups, which I think that probably right there, the power of an advisor. When we’re inside of it as the founders or co-founders, sometimes we lack self-awareness. We lack the stepping outside and looking at it. But then you can have you looking over top and be like, “Actually, Jon, you’re not very good at the finances. We need to bring someone in.”
Let Your Team Push You to Better Places, Ideas, and Outcomes
Benji Rogers: Yeah, what I’ve also found is when someone says to you, “This is my weak point,” it’s a very powerful thing to say, because what you’re able to do then is say, “Okay, this is someone who knows that weakness.” Whereas what I’ve seen entrepreneurs do is, “No, no, no. I can do it all. The answer is that very few really do have all the chops in one place. I think that that’s a healthy thing, because you want other perspectives.
I was writing a blog piece the other day, and our head of comms and the CEO were basically — we were working on it together, and it was driving me nuts, because I was like, “I’m right, goddammit. I’m right,” but they made it better. They did make it better, and I walked right into the room afterward, and I said, “Listen, just so you know, never let me end when I say I’m ended. Carry on pushing me as hard as you can,” because they got better out of me.
I think if you feel you’re the master of it all, you’re not going to allow your team to push you. You need to delineate, but at the same time, there are people in this office right now and on this team globally that are so smart and so on top of their game. And if I’m sitting there saying, “I’m the master of that,” I’m not going to win it. The company doesn’t win it.
I’m proud of what I’ve done, but I’m also proud of what the girls and guys here are doing every day because they’re unbelievably talented. I want the next person to rise up who will take over what I do. That would be an amazing thrill for me, and someone who’s got skills in other areas is always a complement. You can never lose out with smart people around you.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah, exactly. Well said. All right, Benji, we’re going to wrap up on something I’m calling ‘the entrepreneurial gap.’ As entrepreneurs and as dreamers, we are always looking and pushing forward, and we’re setting goals one month, three months, six months, a year, five years, 10 years out, and before we hit those goals personally and within our businesses, we set bigger, loftier ones into the future: “Everything will be better in six months when I get to write that book. When my business does this, I’ll be successful. When I get there.”
But we oftentimes fail — which I don’t know if you will because you have that self-awareness, which I love — to stop and turn around and look at everything we’ve come through, everything we’ve done, and everything we’ve accomplished, even the mistakes we’ve made, and just take it all in. I would love, Benji, if you could right now, stop, turn around, look at your career at an entrepreneur, and just tell me how you feel about it.
Benji Rogers: It’s a great question, and I’ll tell you this. If it ended tomorrow, it was the honor and ride of my life to have been even one small part of it. When I get emails from artists that we’ve worked with saying, “You’ve changed my life. You have literally altered the course. This album would not exist without you.” When that turns into 500 emails that say that, you just go, “This is changing people every day.” If it all ended tomorrow, it is honestly the honor of my life, and I’ve worked with the smartest, boldest, bravest people ever. I’m immensely proud of what we created, and there’s always more that you want to do.
I spend more time on a white board not sleeping than I think. And I’ll be like, “Baby, I’ve had this idea,” and my wife will be like, “Okay, I’m going to bed. You carry on,” and then she’ll come out four hours later and be like, “You need to go to sleep,” and I’m like, “No, you don’t understand. It’s going to work with a block chain!”
Ultimately, yeah, I’ve built an app. I built a company. I’ve built an advisory role. I’m with the Future Music Coalition. I’m so immensely proud of it that if it ended tomorrow, I could draw in it and say, “Whoa, that was incredible,” but it wouldn’t stop, because I think it’s become a part of who I am.
The startup skill is a really odd one, because quite often, it’s rallying around disparts. Pledge was begun with four people who’d never been in the same room. The last app I built, I think was 400 bucks we spent total on building the entire thing.
I love to create. I thought when I quit music that it was over creatively. What I didn’t realize was is the web, the startup world is actually just a different canvas to paint on. When I see hundreds of thousands of people coming to the website, and I see album after album being made and putting in the charts, and I see that it’s like, “What a ride.”
I think the mission is good, and the mission always has been good, and the intention has always been right. It’s worth fighting for. Some battles you’re going to lose, and that’s okay. As I said, you’re responsible for the effort, and the outcome is dependent on a whole bunch of other things. If it ended tomorrow, I’d be immensely proud, and I’d be able to look back and show my daughter when she’s older — she’s three and a half right now — and say, “That’s what I built. I surrounded myself with brilliant people. Together we created something that was bigger than the sum of all of our parts put together.”
This is the next one we’re going to do. This is next thing we’re going to do. And the evolution of what it was from when it started to where it is has been a miraculous thing to watch. A lot of it was because I was able to let go of control a huge amount and allow really smart people to get on with what they did and trust them with a vision for making it fair and equitable for everyone involved. Yeah, that’s what I’d say.
Jonny Nastor: That’s awesome. I love it. I love it. “The web is just a different canvas to paint on.” Oh, that’s so awesome, and I totally believe it. Coming from music and leaving it for a bit … The more stuff I create on the Internet, the more I even get back into music. It’s just a creative thing that allows you to extend it out. It’s amazing.
Benji Rogers: Think of it now. The reach that this allows is just incredible. I was speaking with Amanda Palmer at South by Southwest a couple of years ago, and she was saying, “What time has there been in history where you can write 120 characters or 140 characters and it will be exactly replicated by millions of people? What an opportunity, right?” It puts pressure on content, and it puts pressure on all kinds of things. Ultimately, a canvas like this has never existed in history, and it’s only going to get better. I really do believe that, so hold on.
Jonny Nastor: Exactly. All right, Benji, this has been a lot of fun. We got to talk about your business in passing, but could you specifically tell the listener where they can go find out more about you and your business?
Jonny Nastor: Excellent. I will link to PledgeMusic and Benji’s Twitter in the show notes, because actually, you are on there a lot on Twitter. That’s how we got introduced to have this.
Just to go back, actually, because you mentioned you read a lot of Marcus Aurelius and where would be a starting point for somebody? What would be the book to read?
Benji Rogers: Oh, the only book he wrote is called The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.
Jonny Nastor: I didn’t know that was the only one, but that’s the only one I’ve read.
Benji Rogers: Yeah, and there’s a newer translation that came out. It’s a stunning translation by Gregory Hays, and this is a book that’s been read for centuries, literally. His stoic philosophy is very readable today because it was written often in shorthand, and it’s quick little things that you can read.
Just understanding someone who had to make unbelievably large decisions and whose life was unbelievably tumultuous and lived in a time where I think he lost his wife, and his best friend tried to back stab him, and he was losing the empire, and still he sat down to write these unbelievable verses and notes. It’s a manual for living.
There is that, and again, meditate. Why not? What’s the worst that can happen if you meditated for 10 minutes a day?
Jonny Nastor: Exactly. Nice. Awesome. I will link to the Meditations translation by Gregory Hays as well in the show notes so that everyone can find it really easily. Benji, thank you again for taking this time to stop with me. Please, keep doing what you’re doing, because it’s having a profound effect on a lot of people, and it’s just really awesome to watch.
Benji Rogers: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Jonny Nastor: Benji, thank you so much. That was a lot of fun. I’m a sucker for the whole music thing, as you know, the whole band connection. It really helps, but you are a smart man, and you’re running a business that has this ripple effect that is going out and helping so many musicians and bands do their thing and get paid for it. It’s awesome. It’s really, truly awesome, and I thank you so much.
You’re out there listening, and I’m sure you were as in awe and inspired by Benji as I was, because he’s a smart, smart, smart person. We talked about Marcus Aurelius. We talked about Meditations, and using advisors, and just a lot of stuff, but it was a 33-minute conversation. He said a lot of smart things, a lot of things that really got me thinking. I go back to the conversation and what happens. What happens?
He said one thing, and it just kept sticking in my mind. That one thing that he kept saying. Did you get it? Did you hear it? Let’s do it. Let’s find the hack.
Benji Rogers: I was writing a blog piece the other day, and our head of comms and the CEO were basically — we were working on it together, and it was driving me nuts, because I was like, “I’m right, goddammit. I’m right,” but they made it better. They did make it better. And I walked right into the room afterward, and I said, “Listen, just so you know, never let me end when I say I’m ended. Carry on pushing me as hard as you can,” because they got better out of me.
If you feel you’re the master of it all, you’re not going to allow your team to push you. You need to delineate, but at the same time, I there are people in this office right now and on this team globally that are so smart and so on top of their game, and if I’m sitting there saying, “I’m the master of that,” I’m not going to win it. The company doesn’t win it.
Jonny Nastor: That’s the hack.
Benji, Benji, Benji. Yes, you said a lot of things in this conversation, but that one minute — or 56 seconds — it is so brilliant. It’s brilliant for somebody building a big business like you are, and it’s brilliant for somebody starting out with a business, and they’re one person or a two-person show.
It’s so important to, one thing, surround yourself with people that are smarter than you, people that can help you, people who can force you to grow. Also, you have to be stubborn enough to push ahead and know that this is your idea, but at the same time, be willing to take other people’s ideas. His whole, “I’m right, goddammit. I’m right.” I love that, because it’s so true. We feel that way. We do. We have to, to a certain degree. We have to in order to make these things come from our brain and become real, create businesses.
We’re literally taking ideas from our head and creating something out of nothing. That takes a certain amount of “I’m right, goddammit,” but at the same time, surrounding yourself with other people. Benji’s got this big company and advisors and people around him that can do that and push him, but even if you are solo, even if you have an assistant or something, you can surround yourself with people who will push you.
This happened to me joining Rainmaker.FM. I was creating what I thought was a great show. It was great. People liked it, and it was doing well. It got the attention of Copyblogger and Rainmaker, and that’s amazing, but joining them now and having editors and producers, it makes me step up my game.
It makes me really have to push and up that level of output and what I’m doing, and it’s improved my show greatly, even without them saying that you have to do it. There’s a certain level, and then you have to push to that, and I think that that’s essential to put into your business. If you can’t put it into place in your business, put it into place around you with people that you can find online or in your own city or anywhere, and people that will demand better of you, people that will demand you to grow, people that will demand you to learn and push forward.
End rant. Thanks, Benji. That was amazing.
Before we wrap up here, I want to once again thank today’s sponsor, ChargeOver. Make your life easier, and download ChargeOver’s free guide, Seven Amazing Hacks for Recurring Billing Companies at ChargeOver.com/Hack.
All right. That was a lot of fun. I thank you so much for stopping by once again and spending the time with Benji and I. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’d love to hear from you if you haven’t had a chance. HacktheEntrepreneur.com/iTunes. I would love a rating and review. I was reading them, actually, earlier today, some new ones on there, and they were awesome.
Unfortunately with Apple, it gives me a name, but you can put any sort of name in there, but if you do have Twitter as well, I’d love to have your Twitter handle added to your review, and then I can come on Twitter and thank you personally. It means a lot. It really, really does, and I appreciate every single one of them, whether I can thank you or not. Thank you so much. I really do appreciate it.
Please, until next time, keep hacking the entrepreneur.