Everything you do is a choice. EP #152 - Den Lennie


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Today, Den talks about something you do every day without giving it too much thought. You do this thing a LOT, too. In fact, it's been estimated that people do this thing 35,000 times per day. 

What is this activity? 


It's decision-making.

And… in this episode, Den explains why even the smallest of decisions can play a huge factor in how well your business and life turns out.

But first...


Here's a sneak peek at what you'll hear:

  • The “wilderness years” of a podcaster or YouTuber. All successful YouTubers (those with upwards of a million subscribers) say there is a certain number of years where you can expect to be in almost complete obscurity before your channel gets any traction. Hear what this average number of "lean years" is at 0:50


  • Behold the hidden power of micro-decisions. (Think hitting the snooze button or having that one glass of wine after work is no biggie? Hmm. You might change your mind once you hear Den talk about micro-decisions. Starts at 2:50)


  • The eye-watering amount of money Den poured into his very first podcast venture. (And... the almost embarrassingly low number of downloads he got for his trouble. - 6:00)
  • A ludicrously simple thing Den did to grow his podcast audience by 600% in one year. - 7:05


  • Why Den turns down almost all the experts in the video and film industry who ask to be a guest on his podcast. - 8:00
  • Why running a podcast is perhaps the single most underrated funnel-lead-magnet in all of marketing. Here's why... - 8:15


  • How to turn even the most skeptical of clients into absolute laydowns. (This is not a quick method by any stretch, but once it gets rolling, you’ll find that getting new clients will be duck soup! – 9:00)


  • Ever wonder how effective The Video Accelerator program is? Then listen to this staggering fact Den drops at 9:30


  • A life decision that took Den 25 long-years to finally pull off. - 10:25
  • What making a decision really means.


  • Do you feel more overworked than a Nike sweatshop worker because you routinely have 60 + hour work weeks? (Then perk up your ears at 12:10)
  • An awfully good business book you've probably never read. - 13:05


  • The case against creativity in business. (There are times in business when trying to reinvent the wheel is downright foolish. Here’s one of them... - 15:40)


  • Den drops another outrageously good book recommendation. This little-known book is an absolute must-read, okay? (It’s one of the best-kept secrets in all high-level marketing circles. In fact, the late, great ad man David Ogilvy made this book mandatory reading at his advertising agency. "Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times.", said Ogilvy. - 16:00)


  • The one thing that NEVER changes in business, and... how this fact should influence and dictate all your marketing efforts. - 16:40


  • A supreme marketing strategy that when done correctly, can get prospective clients to (1) want to do business with you and ONLY you (2) see you as an industry leader, and (3) willingly and happily pay your expensive rates. If clients often balk at your rates, then you'll wanna hear this powerful marketing strategy at 18:00


  • An "Are-you-serious? type of result one of Den's clients recently achieved. (Hear about this client's impressive result at 19:30)


Connect with Den on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/denlennie/
Get more great resources over at https://www.denlennie.com/ 


Episode Transcription

Den Lennie (1s):
Hey, guys! Den here with this week's episode of the how to scale a video business podcast, and a couple of really cool things to share with you that involve you. And one is last week, we've reached 150 episodes of the show, which in itself was quite a momentous occasion. We also just broke 30,000 downloads in one year. So thank you for listening because if you aren't listening, we wouldn't have those downloads. I'm so grateful that you listened to the show and you find some value in it. So, thank you.

Den Lennie (48s):
It kind of, you know, it's quite, it's quite amazing how that creeps up on you and how we first started this podcast. You know, can't even remember what we did in the very first year, but it's the second year of the podcast is our second, but the first full year of the podcast, I think we did a total of five and a half thousand downloads in one year. And I've heard the story many times from YouTubers who you end up with millions of subscribers is that the first three or four years, they just like had, had nothing to say. Like the hardest thing to do was to get to a hundred subscribers, a hundred thousand subscribers and then 10,000 subscribers and then a hundred thousand subscribers.

Den Lennie (1m 28s):
And once you get past that on YouTube, it seems to kind of bloom, I don't know how it works in podcasts, but I mean, certainly to go from five and a half thousand downloads in 2019 to, you know, a full 12 months starting beginning of 2020 to tell now at over 30,000 downloads is, is phenomenal. So thank you for listening. You know, this, this kind of project is it's a, it's an ongoing project, you know, which, which leads on to really my theme for today's call, which is choice. It was something that I brought up to my members of the video business accelerator last weekend was talking about, you know, everything you do in life is a choice.

Den Lennie (2m 14s):
You know, you choose to get up early and start your day and build your business, or you choose to hit the snooze button and stay in bed a little longer, but both, both our decisions, both our choices. And, you know, when you commit to actually doing what's required to get what you want from your life, that involves a lot of decisions, a lot of discipline and a lot of choice, because at any time of day or night, you know, there's a micro decision to be made about taking action or not taking action, allowing an external force to influence your decision or pushing through regardless.

Den Lennie (2m 55s):
And you know, I'm a great fan of the book. You can't hurt me by David Goggins. And if you want a book on motivation on, on never giving up, and it's probably the most motivational book you will ever read. But the thing with choice is that if you are prepared and genuinely willing to accept that everything that has happened in your life good and bad is a hundred percent down to a choice you made, then you are on the cusp of finding a new level of freedom and that commitment and that, that decision, that choice that you make to take the action to take the hard road will serve you beyond all means.

Den Lennie (3m 44s):
You know, when I started this podcast, we'd started a podcast in 2012 and I can't even remember how many downloads we had, but it was, it wasn't, you know, it was, it wasn't popular. People liked it. I think we did 12 or 15 episodes, but it was really hard. Like we had to feed different presenters and myself, Mick Jones and Bruce Logan and coordinating a time to do stuff was very difficult. So it kind of burned out and you know, those apps are still amazing. In fact, I might, I might resurrect them and replay them because there's some pretty good stuff on there. And it was just one of those things. Our calendars couldn't quite coordinate. We couldn't quite get it together. So it went away and then a few years later someone said, Oh, we should, we should start a podcast again. So I did, I started, you know, way back in, I think 2018, maybe 2019, 2019, we started with, you know, the foster, it was called the creative business accelerator podcast.

Den Lennie (4m 39s):
I had to scale a creative business. I can't remember now, but we, we kind of, we started, you know, and that was the, the choice was to start art. And by starting, we were able to begin a process. Now we put out 60, 70 episodes last year, the first year and got five and a half thousand downloads. So, you know, that was a lot of work. We were doing video. At that time, we were doing video interviews. I was paying a company a couple of thousand dollars a month to edit them all, present them or get them all ready for publishing keeping publication. And then what I discovered quite quickly was that you, the listener, the filmmaker isn't necessarily going to sit and watch an interview with me on screen with someone else.

Den Lennie (5m 25s):
And I think that, you know, what makes us podcasts so popular is that we keep the episode short and sweet. We don't fluff around in notice. If you're driving to a project or you're doing something in the background, you can listen to a 10 minute episode on a Tuesday or a 20, 25 minute episode on a Thursday and it's done. And the idea is that we give you lots of ideas, lots of tips, lots of hints, lots of perspectives to help you just apply them in your own business. And so, you know, making that change from doing these half hour of video interviews once a week, and first started the podcast, it was once a fortnight. So we just, we just took action to get started. Now. I said, well, I'll commit to one a fortnight. And then we went to one a week and, but we still only did five and a half thousand downloads in that first year.

Den Lennie (6m 10s):
And I would just spend somewhere in the region of, I don't know, $20,000 on post-production to get it already. And, you know, it was easy to, to sort of give up and go. I spent all this money and I got five and a half thousand downloads what's that, but, but like anything in life, anything that's worthwhile takes time, you know, nothing, nothing of any value happens quickly. And so we committed to a committed to canceling the video and we still do occasional video podcasts. And occasionally we'll put some promo out, but they're fundamentally, I had this gut feeling that my audience wanted to listen, consume information, take something away, implement and move on.

Den Lennie (6m 51s):
And so I decided to double up and go two episodes a week at the beginning of last year, a short episode and a Tuesday longer episode on the Thursday. And that became my commitment. So we, we doubled our output. And as a result, didn't just double our listenership. You know, it was that way, five times, six times we increased our, our listenership by 600, the percent in one year because we, we made a choice to change something and we actually simplified the production process, but we doubled our output. And so that had a massive impact on, on the shore and we've never taken a sponsor.

Den Lennie (7m 39s):
And interestingly, we get quite a lot of people getting in touch with us now saying, well, Hey, would you have us as a guest on your show? And I kind of say no to most of them because I would rather not fill your ears with crap with some random expert. Who's just that, you know, pursue their own agenda. I'd rather do a solo episode and share something with you, which I think is going to be a benefit to you and your business. You know, something that I've tried and tested in my business, or one of my clients is testing with great success in their business. And ultimately, yes, I mean, this, this podcast is a marketing tool to attract those people who are ready to take their business up a gear, to have a chat about the video business accelerator. And what I find is my best clients when I have a chat with them before they come into the accelerator have generally listened to the podcast for some time and therefore have got a good idea of who I am.

Den Lennie (8m 30s):
The kind of things we talk about. We talk a lot about what happens in the accelerator. So it's a great funnel lead magnet. If you will, into our business, you know, we make our revenue and profit from selling online education and ongoing coaching. So that is our products, but we do an awful lot upfront to, to help kind of attract people to our sphere. And this podcast is one of them. And we have an email campaign, a marketing campaign. We are on Facebook and we spend money on Facebook every single day we have done for a year. That brings a certain number of leads in. And what we find is those that have listened to the podcast, tend to make the best clients.

Den Lennie (9m 12s):
So, you know, this all ties into the choice we made to simplify our marketing and have one funnel. You know, it's, it's, it's, it's a video funnel where you, you, you come in and you watch a video, which explains some of the things we can help you with. And then if, if it resonates, you can either take that information away and run it yourself. Or you can have a chat with us to see if there's a good fit. And then we can perhaps, you know, do some work together and make it happen faster. And for many of our clients that we've been working with for some time now, they live to double their business in 12 months last year. So we have a proven process that watch for the right businesses. But, you know, we put a normal amount of effort into producing this podcast. You know, I have, I have someone full-time who looks after it every week, he takes the edit and puts it together.

Den Lennie (9m 54s):
And someone's a great copywriter writes shore notes, and that all gets put together. We're in the process of building a brand new website, just know that it's all been rewritten redesigned, and that will be coming online in probably end of February, probably I'm sort of holding it up just next. I've got to do a few more little design changes, but the end of February, beginning of March, we'll have a new website and a brand new look to that, to everything. But, but all these things are choices. And I want to come back to that idea of choice because, you know, I know live in Queensland in Australia, we live in a beautiful town called Noosa, and that was a choice. Moving to Australia was a choice I made twenty-five years ago.

Den Lennie (10m 37s):
Really that's when I felt I got the idea, but it was 10 years ago when I really got serious about it. And then it took us that long to get paperwork together. I convinced my wife that, you know, she should leave her family behind in the UK and come and live in Australia. So we came out in 2012 and we made the decision to kind of check out me and we ran some workshops and we kind of met some people and took Sam around the place and got a, got a feel for it. And we moved here in 2015 and, and everything to do with that was a choice. It was, it was, it was not easy to pull that off. It was very expensive. There were enormous amounts of hoops and paperwork to jump through, but it was a choice.

Den Lennie (11m 19s):
And in the same way that, you know, you might think, well, that's all way very well for you damn good for you. Well done. It's like, I want to use it to illustrate a point. And that is you can have whatever you want, if you make the decision and you're willing to do, what's required to achieve that outcome because there's one thing to say, I'd like a new car. I'd like to make X a month. I'd like to be able to have more free time. I'd like to be able to take my family on holiday. I'd like to pay off the house. It's one thing to see it. It's another thing entirely to make the decision, to make that reality. And because that requires a commitment that requires sitting down and realizing that you may not have all of the answers and that you might be doing a certain amount of work to get to where you are.

Den Lennie (12m 6s):
No, but you're on the tools. You're doing everything. And you might be having very, very profitable and, and high, you know, high value business that you're working in at 60 hours a week. And that is not a business. That is, that is a job that, that, you know, if you stop working, then you, you, you, you, you don't have a business. And I was on a call with Pat, one of my clients this morning, who's been on the podcast here and we were just reviewing his year and what his plans were for this year ahead. And we were talking about, you know, how to increase the business by maybe 20, 25% this year and build that, that long slow ramp to success.

Den Lennie (12m 46s):
Now he had a great year last year, a great year, the year before. And what we're doing is we're tempering the growth by seeing let's just kind of grow 20, 25% and see how that feels, make sure you've got capacity to do the other things. And you know, what I've observed. And this, this comes from a book called great by choice by Jim Collins, is that all the most successful business over a 20 or 30 year period, they grow incrementally. They follow the 20 mile March principle. And the 20 mile March is based on a story of, at the turn of the century. Last century that Scott and Amundsen were two different Arctic explorers who were going to go to the South pole.

Den Lennie (13m 29s):
And Scott was the English mem let's try and lots of new technology, you know, diesel powered sleds, lots of technology. So of, you know, ran things, quite lean had this kind of certain confidence that they get there by a certain time and, and, and run everything quite tight. So they didn't have a lot of extra supplies in place. They didn't really have a lot of contingency. Whereas Amundsen, he went and spent three months living with Eskimos and they had dogsleds and all the technology, and they prepared by living in the conditions. And then when, when, when they were actually marching, he had this policy where the goal was to March 20 miles every day, and even on a good day, if they got the 20 miles and the weather was good and they were still three hours of light they'd stop, set up camp rest and get ready for the next day so that our policy was slow and steady wins the race.

Den Lennie (14m 25s):
They also had multiple spare supply stations dotted around the place of the veered off course, or they got stuck. There was always going to be plenty of fuel, plenty of food within, you know, a short distance Scott on the other hand, ran everything very lean, had a sat, an arrogance that they kind of knew what they were doing. And on good days, they would push farther and go with 25 or 30 miles. But on the bad days, when weather was bad, Amundsen would still push forward and try and get, you know, even five miles in or six miles in and then set up camp. And then on the days when they just couldn't March, well, they were resting. And when the weather was good, again, the they pushed forward, whereas Scott would push forward and then exhaust his team.

Den Lennie (15m 9s):
And then the sleds broke there. The Petro sleds broke. And then on the bad days, they were kind of snowed in and the morale got low, aiming to cut a long story short because the whole story is in the book, great by choice. And it's a fascinating, fascinating story. The, you know, Scott got to the pool, but didn't make it back. And cause they ran out of supplies and they didn't have any contingency, whereas Amundsen made it to the pool and back again. And so, you know, they both made the decision in how they would attack things. And what I love is that, you know, Amundsen didn't go and use the latest tech.

Den Lennie (15m 49s):
He didn't go and use the newest thing. He stuck with what was tried and tested. He stuck with what works. And that is what works in our video business accelerator. We have a tried and tested, proven process for business growth. That is a hundred years old. You know, I'm reading a book just now from 1923 called scientific advertising. And this book is phenomenal and you're reading it going. That could be today. You know, the language is different. The technology is different, but human behavior, human psychology has not changed. Whether you're dealing with someone who's reading a newspaper advert in 1923, or someone's seeing an advert on their phone in 2021.

Den Lennie (16m 29s):
And it doesn't matter nearly a hundred years difference high psychology is the same human psychology is the same. So, you know, you don't need the latest piece of tech to make a great film. We know that, but you do need some, some principles in your business to make it successful. And those principles start with decision-making and those decisions need to be based on, you know, forward planning, strategic planning, being very clear on who you serve, being very clear on who that market is, understanding intimately, what their needs are, too many video businesses, chase, every bit of business that comes their way. It's literally like a client goes, Hey, can you do this?

Den Lennie (17m 10s):
And they're like, yep. Can you do that? Yep. Can you do that yet? But can you do this yet rather than saying, you know what? We are specialists in this type of video. And while we could do this other type of video and it's not our area of expertise, so we probably would say no to that, but we could recommend a partner who could, who could absolutely serve you there. Because what we want to do is focus on this and that that approach is what yields certainty and a sense of, you know, there's a, there's a phrase that I'm trying to think what it is is it's escaped my mind, but it's, it's that sense that, you know, you are an expert in your field preeminence, it's called this the strategy of preeminence.

Den Lennie (17m 59s):
And this is a method of being known as the number one authority in your space and focusing your attention on your expertise. So you can literally demonstrate that you are the number one authority in your space for all sorts of reasons. And that way people look to you and say, well, if you're the number one authority in the space, then I wouldn't expect you to be cheap, but I would expect you to be reliable. And so that, that strategy of preeminence means that you go out into the marketplace and you say, I am the number one service provider for healthcare in the Boston area, which is what Pat essentially does. And he, he dominates that market cause he does a lot of health care called a public health and has water tight relationships because he's an expert in that field.

Den Lennie (18m 46s):
And that is the kind of thing that I encourage you listening to this to think about, where is your expertise? Where are you strong in your field? And where can you apply a strategy of preeminence in your business? And, and are you willing to choose to be that person? Because there is a level of discomfort in stepping out of the, you know, the, the ring to say, this is my area of expertise, but I can guarantee you if you do this, if you, if you take this on, if you, if you apply it, it will change your life. Absolutely change your life. You know, I, I was talking to one of my other clients this morning just in the group.

Den Lennie (19m 29s):
And he's like, we're just putting together out of $100,000 court for a video. And it's like you said, it's blowing my mind, blew my mind. This is someone who was making 10 grand a month, a year ago. You know, then I'm going to make that in Tanya, that farmer annual revenue potentially in one project in January, in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, there are opportunities out there folks. And you just have to be willing to make the choice to not let anything get in the way, not allow anything that's happening in the world to derail your mission, to do you or your partners.

Den Lennie (20m 9s):
Because, because that is the choice I want you to make. I want you to choose that 2021 is your best year ever. And we are almost out of time in January. So if you've not yet figured out what your plan is for 2021, I want you to spend today doing that. It's absolute matter of ardency a matter of priority. You have to know what your plan is, how much money do you want to make this year? How you willing, ho how you went to do that, what turnover and profit do you want? Who do you want to work with? Sat a strategic plan in place. And if you would like some help with that, then I'm here to have a chat to understand if that's something we can help you with.

Den Lennie (20m 51s):
And if we have a chat, the worst that can happen is you go away with some ideas. And then we folks I will talk to you in the next episode, have an awesome day. You've been listening to the how to scale a video business podcast with me, your host, Den Lennie. If you're a video business owner, it's hits a ceiling we've benefit from mentorship, support and coaching and check out how you can work with me over at denlennie.com. Don't forget to subscribe and rate the shore over on iTunes. And we'd really appreciate you taking a few minutes to leave a review and don't forget to share if you feel you've gotten value from this episode and you think it would be useful for other filmmakers, you know, and please do me a massive favor and share it on social media and in groups that you might be in.

Den Lennie (21m 35s):
So thanks for listening. See you in the next episode.




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