Mastering the 20-Mile March. EP #140 - Den Lennie


Buzzsprout | Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Sticher | Google Podcast |TuneIn & Alexa | Overcast | Pocket CastsCastro |Castbox|Podchaser|RSS 

Resource Links:

The Rock and Roll world has a popular motto that many rockstars have religiously followed. And that's this: "It's better to burn out than rust out!" Now, that might make for good rock legends, but it's a horrible maxim to live by if you’re a business owner or entrepreneur. Today, Den gives many shiny pearls of wisdom when it comes to pacing yourself so you can actually achieve your goals without sacrificing your time, money, health, and family.


But first...

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

  • A little-known book every business owner should devour like a starving wolf. (If you have a habit of setting goals and not making good on them… get this book, okay? - 1:24)

  • Good news for those of you who suck at planning and writing down business goals. - 2:00

  • The “four-word-sentence” Den keeps drilling into his coaching client's heads that can help you get more clarity, focus, and ultimately create an almost unstoppable momentum for your business. - 2:10

  • The tale of two British explorers. (This story is about the race to the South Pole in the early 20th century, and it contains one of the most powerful lessons you can ever learn about achieving difficult goals. - 7:30)

  • The "good weather bad weather" method for creating unrelenting momentum in pursuit of your business goals, or any goals for that matter. (Without this type of momentum, goals simply remain just that - a goal. But goals are made to be achieved, right? Well, follow this “good weather bad weather” method and you'll stack the odds heavily in your favor. - 10:40)

  • Why kicking back and taking it easy when you've got plenty of energy to burn is sometimes the smartest thing you can do when trying to achieve a massive goal. - 11:15
  • When thinking "negatively" is a good idea in business. - 12:30

  • The most "fail-proof" way to make sure you achieve your business goals. But don't get too excited now. (This way requires a certain attribute that many video business owners lack. Full details at 13:18

  • The "Fire Bullets Then Cannon Balls" secret for testing new ideas, products, or strategies with little to no risk. (Many a business owner has lost the shirt off their back not knowing this secret. - 14:50)

  • An almost obvious question to ask yourself when strategizing for your business that almost nobody thinks to ask. (This probably explains why there are so many businesses that are clones of other businesses with zero points of difference. Pay attention folks. - 16:40)

  • Why innovation is overrated. - 17:00

Connect with Den on LinkedIn
Get more great resources over at 


Episode Transcription

Den Lennie (2s):
Good day, guys! Den Lennie here host of the How to scale a Video business podcast coming to you today with an important lesson on pacing yourself so that you can meet all of your objectives and, and achieve all of your goals without burning out without falling sharp. But also making sure you are clear on why you're doing what you're doing and that you've got a roadmap. It's something that you can actually focus on there. We'll help you achieve it in a timeframe you set and not just kind of an ad hoc, you know, a mishmash of things.

Den Lennie (46s):
So I want to talk to them about the 20 Mile March principal, which is for a big, old, great by choice by Jim Collins. And I actually stopped, and I wrote about this in a newsletter back in August of 2016, and I dug it out because I wanted to go over it because it's such an important theory, but I'm certain we will find it very beneficial is so, you know, it took a lot of planning and in these and these sessions, and we would want it to do in today's episode was really, as, as we come to you Towards the end of it is a terribly turbulent year. We want it to illustrate why proper strategic planning that is closely aligned with your purpose and mission can actually become a life or death decision.

Den Lennie (1m 31s):
Now we'll come back to why that is in a little bit, but thankfully making films and producing video content for corporates and agencies shouldn't in itself lead to actual life threatening scenarios. However, the severity of a negative outcome could arise. If you don't set time aside to create a strategic plan for your business, and we'll be, it'll be proportional to the amount of preparation you invest at the beginning of your journey. Now let me try to explain that that the good news is it's never too late to start planning while you've been running your business and success of a decade. All you're just starting planning works for every business.

Den Lennie (2m 12s):
The one thing focus I frequently refer to is so important because that one thing focus when broken dome becomes a, a priorities list of itself from anywhere between, you know, 50 and 83 elements that make an attribute in a 12 month per year to achieving your mission. So our purpose [email protected] is to help a video producer 16 in a business. That is it, that is one sentence is a clear, succinct and concise. And you know, when you, when you kind of have a very clear declaration of what it is you do, that helps you really stay focused on how you're spending your time.

Den Lennie (2m 54s):
I mean, you make a public declaration, are you write something down, you become more accountable to it, and you're more likely to actually do it. So the purpose is like, how, how do you want to help your target market achieve their outcomes? Now when we get it and to kind of planning, we don't know, let's say the scope of what you can do on a, on a Sunday Podcast, but you want to be clear about your purpose S which is, you know, who you help to succeed in their, their area and on your mission, which is what is the commercial goal? What is the commercial, right. Of all of that.

Den Lennie (3m 35s):
So then you want a sit down and for at least the D and brainstormed all of the things that needed to happen. And in order to make you are a missionary realities, if you want to make $500,000, right, okay, what, what do you want this to happen? What needs to happen? Maybe it was $200,000 and profit. Maybe it's a, a a hundred thousand bucks, but how many jobs does that going to meet? What kind of jobs or what kind of size of job. And, and if you're seeing, you know, you don't have time for do sit down and apply it, and then there's something wrong with the way you're operating your team, because we, all of this, I'm at a time every day. And so why is it some businesses succeed and truly achieve greatness when others, right? He complained that they're not going anywhere and that's been a tough year and it's all to do with how you used it.

Den Lennie (4m 19s):
So, you know, thinking about when you're president Kennedy and not just in the early sixties, we're going to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade and are trying to him safely to. So that was the purpose. The intention was too, you know, create accountability for, for that mission. And, and the mission itself for that was quite straight forward, right? So you have nine years to figure out how they could transport three men safely to the moon, Lande collect samples and return them safely to earth. Now, the planning for that one learning too can access of nine years for admission. And that lasted eight days, three hours, 18 minutes in 35 seconds.

Den Lennie (5m 1s):
So if you are serious about building your video business into a sustainable enterprise, it is with predictable revenue and, and a workload that you can handle without burning out. Then it's important. You pay attention to the lessons we want to share with your brother. You want to make 50 grand of this. Yeah. Or, or half a million, the outcome. It was entirely based in a solid foundation or a strategic planning. So I want to talk a bit here about a, is a case study. Actually, if from, from the Antarctic expeditions a 1911 with Amundsen vs Scott So early in the 20th century, there was a race between the nations to be the first Antarctic explorers to reach the South pole. Now a British team was led by Robert Scott and they sell off on routes and one routes and another Norwegian team led by a rod.

Den Lennie (5m 47s):
Okay. Okay. So here's what happened. The road trip TRAC was rough fleet, 1400 miles, the equivalent of New York to Chicago back the environment was uncertain and, and forgiving. There were a temperatures that could easily reach 20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Even during the summer, they had no means of modern communication, no cell phones, no satellite links, no radio or a rescue would have been improbable. If they were to everyone, you know, find themselves in trouble. One leader lead his team to victory and safely. And the other team led to defeat and death.

Den Lennie (6m 27s):
Now Ahmanson a Deere to a regime of constant progress, never going too far in good weather and careful to stay away from the red line of exhaustion. The Ahmanson prepared rigorously for years in advance the journey he learned what worked and pull up a conditions going as far as living with the Eskimos to learn how they moved into a Sub-Zero temperatures, what they want. And he reviewed every conceivable situation that his team might encounter on routes that Paul, he trained his body and mind with fanatical discipline. Now Scott represents quite a contrast to amens and his preparation was limited. And what plans he made were placed on his own intuitive conclusions rather than direct research of the environment he was entering.

Den Lennie (7m 14s):
Now I'm in some stores, three tons of supplies for five men versus Scott who stored one ton for 17 men. Amundsen used sled dogs that you'd read out loud from the Eskimos where as Scott used unproven, a mortar sledges, which failed with an days of his journey beginning. Now I'm in some cases, enough extra supplies to a mess, every single supply Depot, and yet still have enough to go on another a hundred miles. Whereas Scott ran everything dangerously close to his calculations. So that messing even one supply depl we'd bring a disaster. A single detail actually highlights the difference between the two approaches.

Den Lennie (7m 56s):
Scott brought one thermometer at a, for a key altitude assessment and he exploded and an outburst of wrath when it broke. Whereas Ahmanson bought for such devices. Now that the Virgin's and preparation goes on and on and on. Unlike Scott Amundsen, systematically built enormous buffers for unforeseen events. He designed the entire journey to systematically reduce the role of big forces and chance events. He presumed that bad offense, which strike his team is somewhere along the journey and he prepared for them. And this is a great example of what's happening this year with COVID. Is that our business's? He went, Oh my God, where are destroyed, but the whole world was shut down and there's other businesses When okay.

Den Lennie (8m 44s):
How can we pivot quickly to do something else? Because these, the businesses that are prepared for things to go wrong. And I think sometimes, you know, it's very easy to kind of just live on hope and, and be, might be a bit quiet, workwise and think, well, hopefully someone will just rang rather than having a marketing system, rather than having a, a clear idea of who your clients are and, and attracting them in to your business on a regular basis and, and having a process for moving them through your day, a funnel. So on December the 15th, 1911 Amundsen and his team reached the South pole and his team mates planted the Norwegian flag and then re went right back to work.

Den Lennie (9m 26s):
They could not have known on that. Scott in his team were no desperately man holding the sleds, a full 360 miles behind find them more than a month later. Scott For by themself, STEM it staring at Amundsen is flagged at the South pole. Now Amundsen had already traveled 500 miles back North and Scott and his team turned back North dejected just as the seasons began to term. The already menacing weather turned to a more severe while supplies, dwindled and Scott in his mens, struggled through the snow. Now Ahmanson and his team reached Homebase on January the 25th, the precise day, he had a planned running out of supplies, Scott and this team is stalled and mid-March exhausted and depressed.

Den Lennie (10m 12s):
The last eight months later, British Constance part. He phoned the frozen bodies of Scott and his two teammates and the, for Lauren snowdrift, little tent, just 10 miles shot. I have a supply deco Depot and the whole team have perished. So when we looked at the key points, I'm just a sec as a striking the difference between the preparations between the two men was the discipline of Amundsen to press forward in bad weather and a hole his team back in good weather. So throughout the journey, Amundsen a deer to a regime of constant progress, never going too far in good weather, careful to stay away from the red line of exhaustion that could leave his team exposed yet pressing ahead and nasty weather to stay on pace.

Den Lennie (11m 4s):
Amundsen, throttled back as well, chin team to travel between 15 and 20 miles per day in a relentless Marsh, 90 degrees South, that's where the 20 Mile March freeze. This comes from when a member of our team. And so his team to suggest that they could go faster up to 25, right miles a day, Amundsen said, no, they needed to do it rest and sleep. So it is to continually replenish the energy. And in contrast, Scott with sometimes drive his team to exhaustion on good days, and then sit in his tent and complain about the weather and bad days. At one point, Scott face six days of Gale force winds and traveled on num, whereas Amundsen faced 15, then traveled on eight I'm in and clock in at the South Paul, right on his pre-decided piece, having averaged 15 five miles per day, Scott in contrast, fell behind Darly with no plan B of a daily piece.

Den Lennie (12m 2s):
And as the conditions are worsened enhanced by his lack of preparation for an unseen events, he and his team, they just never recovered. So how does this all apply to filmmaking? Well, we often tend to wait for it. We overestimate what we can achieve in 12 months, but we wildly under that. The rest of me, what we can achieve in 60 months, you know, a one year basis for five years and proper preparation and research will always love a year to prepare for tires. When things don't go to plan, you know, If, you lose a client whose been a big income generator for you. And then you start to panic. Well, started thinking about losing that client know.

Den Lennie (12m 44s):
And so if it were to happen, you'd have a plan B and a plan C. And if you do that, okay, you'd like to do it. If you want lose a big client, it was done it with more great business. And then you can expand your team in. You'll have a more robust business. If you don't have a certain set of skills, then either outsource it or invest in the time to learn it. You no, no, no. He was born a natural marketer or sales person, right? These are skills you learn, but it takes time to become a master of that. And you're going to fail a lot if you don't do it with guidance all too often, a lack of patients to play a longer game, hinders me too progress.

Den Lennie (13m 25s):
I think, you know, sometimes they'll make us, we can be a bit impatient. We want to, we all know that we're kind of, there's some immediate sort of, of gratification. No one expects you to be an expert and everything. So play to your strengths and don't be too proud to ask for help. And planning is critical for success. So make sure you prioritize it is doing it. The other thing I want to just share here was that also from the book, which is a, a, a theory called Fire Bullets Then Cannon Balls. And so when you're looking for New York, a business opportunities and markets, and it's important not to throw out all you've got at it at a shiny new opportunity on a whim, lets imagine you think there might be an opportunity to create content for a manufacturing business or in that sector.

Den Lennie (14m 10s):
So it's a fire or a bullet first. So let me try to explain this. Imagine you were at C and you're in a, in a war situation with two warships and you only have one Cannonball left, but you have a bunch of rifles. So if you follow your only Cannonball or a moving target, and there is a high probability that you're going to miss. However, if you shoot a bullet and mask, the risk is lower. So adjust 10 degrees and try again, still missed a bit closer than a, just another day, 10 degrees and keep going until you hit. Once you've nailed the target with a bullet, then you can bring in the big guns and find the Cannonball knowing it's going to do it, or like the target, the same rings true in business.

Den Lennie (14m 52s):
The most a systematic way to test of markets to test small. If you have an idea then trial at first, see if the sufficient demand before going all in. Once you've done a few jobs that you've made some money, then you can scale up and whatever you do, don't get by in the camera. First thinking its best to be future proof. You're just deluding yourself. You know, a Cannon C100 is still a very capable camera and you can pick them up cheap and you can show a lot of corporate on them. Well, let me see it again. Very few clients who are insisting on four key, and I know there's benefits to shooting in 4k now living in 1080, but focus on identifying and serving your market with what they want, help them solve a problem, help them get what they want and they will, they will, you will become, there are absolute go-to.

Den Lennie (15m 45s):
You know, I got a client Jethro who has just landed to a pretty sizable gig working for a kitchen appliance company. And it's a high end kitchen appliance company. And what they're doing is they're making all of the training films, but they want them to be beautiful. And I think he won the 25 grand job last week. And he just mentioned the, in our, in our group here that we can do in our weekly wins, which is why we have a weekly When process. When it, every Friday, if I post a video or a sighting, what their wins have been in for the week. And you know, it's just awesome hearing people's progress, but Jetta was late. Oh my God, we we've got some great feedback from this first row. And there are no talking to us about doing another project that we've now got what it looked into December and January.

Den Lennie (16m 26s):
I'm at all, all it really solid budget. So, you know, that they've really focused on, on, on being in that niche and, and it was really, really paying off. So I guess to wrap things up today, I just wanted to share that story with you because I think it's a very powerful and you know, the, the key with building any business, let alone a Video business is just to look at other, are there industries and Ashley just have, how did they do it? Because we're in a time and place where I'm, you know, you, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. You don't have to come up with a new and exciting way to sell video. In fact, one of the mistakes I often see is Creators trying to do something different for different Sikh.

Den Lennie (17m 8s):
At the end of the day, a corporate video, is he a tool used by a marketing department to communicate a message to a target audience and what clients typically, one is safe, reliable, you know, not, not too risky. People will show up on time. They'll do a great job. There are a charge, a fair price. And if you have a clear on the market, you're in and you're clear on the sector you're in and your pricing is right, then you'll build a million dollar business, whether they are there any, any trouble at all. And you can do that on two or three employees, you know, you don't have to have an office and six employees to be generating a million dollars.

Den Lennie (17m 50s):
I have plenty of clients who are, who are doing seven figures who don't have that at all. So guys, I hope you found this useful. I love, I love this story of the 20 Mile March, it's something that I have an embedded in my business for years now. And it really is the secret to, to building a sustainable business. So as always, thanks for listening. And if you could give us a review, it really appreciate it. And I'll talk to you next week. 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 who's hit the ceiling and we have benefited from mentorship support and coaching and checkout how you can work with me over at

Den Lennie (18m 33s):
Don't forget to subscribe and rate the show over on iTunes. And we 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 see you next week.




50% Complete

Discover How To Increase Your Profits Today

I figure the best way to start any relationship is to give you something that will demonstrate value.  Grab this e-book now and I'll show you how to ensure you are charging correctly. #betheprize