How to Scale Influence with Carl Richards Episode #79

Aaron McHugh


I met Carl last year in gravel grey parking lot in Western Colorado. We had $5K cash, ready to do the deal. Carl Richards was selling his BMW Adventure bike to my friend Jon Dale.

We discovered that we know some of the same people of influence namely Seth Godin. Listen to my 2015 interview with Carl Episode #29 on the One Page Financial Plan.

Carl Richards backcountry skiing

I called Carl asking for advice

Carl and I have started a friendship over the last year. He called me recently to tell me that he and his family are moving to New Zealand for a Life Reboot.  I asked Carl if he would be willing to give me advice on growing influence as a writer and speaker. I recorded our private conversation and we are sharing it with you.

Make sure you listen to the very end to hear Carl challenge me to a race, a Zero to One race, The First Person with one registered opt-in email address for a mini-course wins.

Click to Listen How to Scale Influence with Carl Richards

 Road trip to Buena Vista
Road trip to Buena Vista, CO in the Joy Bus

My notes from Carl’s wisdom

The following are my notes taken while Carl downloaded his twelve years of doing the hard work of making his art. My notes aren’t polished and perfected. I wanted to give this episode to you in a raw form.

Carl Richards said…
Make something really good, make it often, ship it and then make it easy to spread and share.

Compulsion to create something that I believe could be helpful to others. Motive is always important to evaluate. My “good amount of weird” is using a sharpie marker. Drawing for financial advice to clients or advisors, then I would write about it. Seth’s book The Dip is super helpful in explaining this process.

Using your day job to pay your bills, but your nights and weekends to start creating something that you’re compelled to do. It doesn’t have to produce money immediately, but unless you’re an artist and you want to give away your art, it should be commercially viable.

Building your own audience is more fruitful. Don’t buy a list and hope that some small 1-5% of the giant list comes over to see what you’re doing. Instead, create something meaningful and make it easy to share. Then tell the story about “How I created this art. Why I created it. The Behind the scenes of the art making. That’s what people get excited about.

I started the Behavior Gap 12 years ago. 8-9 years before I ever wrote my first book. Little things added up. Writing in the local newspaper, speaking here and there. The NY Times called. Many of those things were unplanned and I could never have forecasted them or made them happen.

Lesson #1 “Do it later”

Listen and dance with that and test that feeling. “This is my dance”. The thing you’ve been putting off attempting to stuff into a titanium box and pretend it’s not calling your name… That’s the thing you’re supposed to do. When you feel this tension, this fear, you hear this voice…you’re about to do something cool.

Don’t stop. Don’t shy away; get ready for a dance with the tension and your acknowledgement of it. It doesn’t have to go away in order for you to move forward. Move in spite of, with the tension and acknowledge its presence.

 Lesson #2 Start playing in traffic

Gather every email you’ve ever got from anyone. Load every address in mail chimp and write this email. “Hi everyone, you and I have met somewhere along the way. I’ve made a huge assumption here and please forgive me if I am wrong, but I thought you might be interested in what I’m up to and what I’m making.

If you’re not interested and please forgive me if I was wrong in my assumption here.  There is an unsubscribe button here and you. No harm, no foul. Thank you for your part in my journey to get to where I am today.

For those of you who might be curious, I thought you’d enjoy hearing about my thing. Here is what I’m doing and making, creating, experimenting with. You’re going to hear from me from time to time.

Now NEVER EVER EVER EVER betray this trust.

Never send these people anything that would betray their trust and loyalty.

This is super important.

There is an Art of Not Asking.

You read the thank you card I wrote and sent you along with a copy of my book. You riffed on the idea of Not Asking is important. Make it easy to share, but by not asking, it enables another person the freedom of choice and actually compels them to choose to share.

Lesson #3 Say Yes and Figure it Out Later

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