Dan Bennett went into the woods for 10 days and came back the Antipreneur.
After losing everything and filing for bankruptcy, Dan hopped in a camper van with little more than a whiteboard and a book and parked it in the woods in Michigan.
When he emerged, he had an epiphany to turn his business helping people record video in their home offices into something online and scalable.
Since then, he's become a go-to expert who helps people tell better stories and look better with their video content. Now, he has a small stable of one-on-one clients, and both DIY and done-with-you offerings.
Oh, and a community. He has one of those.
How did he build that community? By becoming a member of other communities and learning the balance between taking and giving, asking and serving—the importance of reciprocity. Basically, Dan has learned how to find the people for your community in other communities without being underhanded about it.
Oh, and if it makes you feel better, Dan is a stone-cold pro at video… who still has to work hard to be good on camera: “If I showed you my cuss reel, it's like 20 hours long. If I put it all together, you could watch it for a full day.”
Dan Bennett is “The Antipreneur” and is a YouTuber and podcast host under that moniker. He is also the Founder of 1 Minute Media, a company that empowers entrepreneurs and startups to learn how to look and sound great on camera. This is achieved through coursework and private community membership or one-to-one client work.
In This Episode
- Why Dan uses the moniker “The Antipreneur”
- How Dan “tricks” entrepreneurs and startups into telling better stories
- The time Dan lost everything and decided to go to the woods with just a whiteboard and a book
- How Dan's business evolved into launching a community
- The power of “swiping” from other communities to build your own
- Online courses as a “curated well”
- How community impact can ripple through its members and other communities
- How to grow your business and community by being genuine in other communities
- The importance of a memorable introduction when joining a new community (and how Dan does it)
The CX 029: Finding Great Members by Being a Great Member with Dan Bennett, AKA The Antipreneur
Dan Bennett: I have members in my community from every member or every community I'm in. I did not go in there and sell. I didn't say, "Hey, here's the link to buy entrance into my community." All I've done is present, talk. You guys have been kind in all these communities. So I've got a little spotlight, little shine here and there just cause I'm helpful and engaging and all those things. I have members from every single community I'm in.
Tony Bacgialupo: So if you've ever started a community or thought about starting one, and you wonder to yourself, "Where do I find my first community members? I can't just assume they're just going to show up out of nowhere." Well, turns out that there's actually a really, really great place to find prospective members for your community, and that is in other communities. That is one of several things we'll be talking about today with our guest, Dan Bennett, The Antipreneur, who is an amazing guy, member of our SPI Pro community. Very excited to get into the conversation.
Jillian Benbow: I think just hearing even from someone who launched a community and has done just such a great job and who is such an amazing community member in several communities, I can firsthand say that about Dan, because I'm in a couple that he's in. It's a great conversation for anybody looking to start a community and you're not really sure what to do. How Dan did it is just like A++.
Tony: Let's get into the conversation with Dan Bennett AKA The Antipreneur.
Dan Bennett, Antipreneur, welcome so much. We're so excited to have you on the podcast.
Dan: Hey, I am stoked to be here probably more so than comes across in my face.
Jillian: You do have a very stoic presence, which I dig it because I'm like, blah. So it's a nice balance. So for everyone listening, Dan has been in my periphery, peripheral, periphery for a while because he came to a lot of live events that we've done at SPI. So I would interact with Dan in like a chat of a livestream, things like that. I was like, "This guy is cool. Why isn't he in Pro?" Then one day it just all happened and you joined and since then we've gotten to know you and just more of your origin story and what you do and the community you've launched and just all these things and it's just awesome sauce. But Dan let everybody know, who are you? How did you become the Antipreneur, the best name?
Dan: So the first thing, you're totally right Jillian. So there's that.
Jillian: Thank you.
Dan: I always say I wish the Antipreneur was a better story. Like I sat down and thought of it and it was strategy and whiteboarded because I'm a huge whiteboard fan. But I was making some content in 2017, just random Raven in a fun way like I do. Not that they don't still exist, but that was the height of the digital entrepreneur guru and get my course and my checklist and you'll have a Lamborghini too. I was just sick of seeing it. So I was ranting about it and I was like, "You know what? Everyone's calling themselves an entrepreneur back in my day." I'm 41. So I'm not ancient, but I still say back in my day. If you said entrepreneur, someone would look at you and be like, "Oh, you don't have a job. Do you?"
Nowadays 2017, when I'm saying this, you say entrepreneur and everyone says, "Oh yeah, me too." It was getting frustrating. Not to discount anyone's efforts, but it was like, "Man, are you though? Do you live, do you eat, breathe, sleep your solution? Do you think about this every day? Are you an entrepreneur?" So I said, "Forget that, I'm not an entrepreneur. I'm an Antipreneur." I just kept rambling afterwards. Someone in my audience was like, "I dig that," and I'm like, "Dig what?" It stuck over time when it came time to launch my podcast. I'm like, "Oh, it's the Antipreneur show." When it came time to push the YouTube channel, it's the Antipreneur YouTube channel. I so really all it was, was me being lazy and naming things in a way that doesn't take too much brain power.
Jillian: I mean, it sticks because you hear it and you're immediately like, "Yes." For that same reason, I mean, Tony knows I'll go on long tangents about just the six figure lunch and hustle, grind, all of that. I'm just like, "It's bullshit. Sorry, no. You got to work for it." You can work smarter for sure, but you're not going to be handed bags of money, launching things. Unless you're Seth Gordon.
Dan: "Did you put entrepreneur in your bio? Here's some money." The most fun part about it is-
Jillian: That's phase two of three phases. I finally figured it out.
Dan: It's my blueprint. Because it existed, then it was like, "Well I'm going to build things around it." Again, the real smart people have ideas and then build the thing. This went in the opposite order, which I often accidentally do. Then it became like, "Wow, if I'm pushing back against the status quo, which is our tagline crushing the status quo, what do I want to be talking about?" A lot of that is like no magic pills, no silver bullets. There's no blueprints. There's foundational business principles that matter, how you treat your customers, do you follow through on your product and delivery those things?
Then what you build on top of it is yours. So how dare I ever come along and tell you what you should be building? Disclaimer, there are influences out there that are incredible. There are blueprints that are a 10 thing checklist that'll help you launch podcasts and they're very accurate. Nothing against those things. It's more of the idea of that snake oil, gross stuff that none of us really like.
Jillian: Definitely. So Dan, tell us more about what you do as the entrepreneur? I know what you do, but tell our audience.
Dan: I try and help entrepreneurs and startups learn to look and sound great on camera. That comes in a lot of different forms and fashions, but that's the beginning of it and I call it the medicine and the cheese. So your vet says, "Get your dog to take this pill." The dog won't take the pill and the vet's like, "Put it in some peanut butter or in some cheese." So the medicine is actually story development, storytelling, but that's a hard thing to sell at least currently for me. So the cheese is video and I hide great storytelling in video and I help capture how awesome people already are and then use video as a vehicle to take that story where it's going.
So oftentimes, and I'm very open about this and they still seem surprised when it happens. Oftentimes I trick my clients and my followers into telling better stories instead of leading with that. Because a lot people are like, "Tell better stories, how do you even begin to do that?" So we do it through great video content.
Jillian: Wa ha ha ha, trick them, suckers. Just kidding.
Tony: Tell us your secrets. How do you trick people Dan?
Dan: One of the things, and again, I'm upfront about this and it still gets, "Oh wow," when I'm working with people. One of the things is to leverage how a lot of entrepreneurs already think. They think that way because we're problem solvers. So we're trying to solve problem often for other people. One of the ways that we think is that kind of checklist, that blueprint, what are the four main things I really need to conquer to get something done? So I'll take fictional story tools. Example, the story spine often accredited to Disney and Pixar, even though they didn't invent it. That is just a very high level once upon a time, until one day everything changed. Because of that until one day, and then ever since.
I'll take a tool like that you see in movies and books, video games, comics, and I'll apply it to real life stories in the life of the client that I'm working with. So I'll say let's literally fill this out. Once upon a time in 2020, Dan lost everything, including filing bankruptcy, being sued and shutting his business down and all his tenants quit paying rent. Because of that, he went out into the woods to find himself, took a whiteboard and a book and nothing else. Because of that, he had some epiphanies, changed the way he looked at the world and business. Because of that, he came out, built a plan and ever since he's been really open about sharing what he's to because that serves them so well. Because other entrepreneurs are so helpful and they've helped me along the way.
Ever since I want to take what people have given me and then help other people with my skillset. So all I did was just fill in those blanks and tell a quick story about something happened to me. So that's one of the ways of hiding the medicine and the cheese, is just using tools that an entrepreneur can look at and go, "Okay, I can fill in those blanks." But then what I'm doing is pulling it out.
Tony: Did you actually go into the woods with a whiteboard and a book?
Dan: I did. That's a good story too.
Tony: What an image?
Jillian: Wait, I need some details. First of all, you had me a cheese I'm in, but did you-
Jillian: Done. What kind of cheese doesn't matter. I'm here. In the woods was this in a building or was this in the elements?
Dan: I'll tell it. I never shy away from telling a story. So lost everything. August, 2020, I'm like, "What's next?" I'm sitting with my partner Jacks. She's a professional chef and lost everything at the exact same time. So we're sitting on the couch like, "Hmm." I said, "This is not good time for this, but I really need to get away. I need to go find myself. I need to start up. I got to figure something out." Without me knowing she went and used a site called Outdoorsy and essentially it's like Airbnb for camper trailers and stuff like that. She rented me a popup trailer I could haul behind our old little SUV. I was like, "Wow, that's incredible."
So now I got this camper for 10 days and time, "Where am I going to go?" I was looking around Michigan where I lived at the time and there's state land that you can camp on for free, no amenities, but you can put your trailer there. I was like, "Oh." I was telling an old colleague of mine, old friend, what I was doing. He's like, "Oh, I got land up there and actually I accidentally bought a campground." I'm like, "What?"
Dan: Another story there, but a good story. So anyway, he was looking for land and it just happened to be an old campground that wasn't in use anymore. But it had a little bit of electricity and one bathroom that worked. He's like, "Go up. It's all yours." So I literally went up to this lake, no one around, right next to state land. Pulled up my trailer and just was, just sat in the forest trying to find out what was next.
Jillian: That's amazing.
Dan: It was transformational not to be too cheesy but.
Jillian: No. Well, and to your point, it wasn't a good time. It was the worst time. It's never a good time.
Dan: So I know, right?
Jillian: So props to you for doing it nonetheless. Because I think that is often the catalyst we all need to just be like, "Screw it. I'm doing it anyways." How great that your partner was right there with you, helped jumpstart that.
Dan: It was pretty incredible because we were selling stuff out of our personal storage unit to pay bills. So it was not a good time to spend money, but man, it was such an incredible thing. Jacks like I said, she's a chef. So I had a cooler full of stuff to eat all week. So I didn't even have to really go anywhere. I took a whiteboard, one book and an old iPad with the 10 documentaries on it, just for going to bed entertainment and that was it. Just went with no plan.
Jillian: Gosh. So you come out of the woods happily ever after and in some sense the Antipreneur is born and you start helping people look and sound good on camera. I love that. It's such like, "I know exactly what you do." Amazing. So something you and I talked a lot about is community obviously. Tell us more about how you went from working one on one with people, to get them sounding and looking better, to deciding to go into launching a community? What made you think that was the right play?
Dan: So just before pandemic and lockdown and all that, I was going into people's homes, helping them drop ship the stuff from Amazon. I'd show up after it was all delivered, help them open it, set it up. So they didn't have to go through that stress. Set up a home office or a space inside their brick and mortar, wherever we were working and get them as close as I could to just being able to hit record. So if they had a good idea, they could just go turn on a couple lights, hit record and have something. Buddy of mine was like, "You really need to digitize this. This needs to be scalable. You could help a lot of people." I'm like, "Yeah, I've heard that word scale. I don't understand it, but I've heard it." Shout out to my friend, Craig, who's not an entrepreneur himself.
He gave me three months rent for this local dedicated office space building in our town, Flint, Michigan, and was like, "Get in there and build it." So he gave me the first three months and then I stayed there all the way up until lockdown was just a little bit over a year. I built 1 Minute Media quietly in the background, the digital version. Lockdown happens that got expedited. Then we launched very fractionally. We had the coursework on my website through some software and then we had a private Facebook group for the people. Then I had an email marketing software to talk to the people because Facebook will throttle you and all these different things. It was just messy and spread out everywhere. But it was starting to work a little bit.
That was 2020, April that we launched that. Not a lot of growth, not a lot of money, but I was understanding what was possible about... what was it about... three or four months ago. I upped my subscription to the software that runs my course on my website and it's a $240 annual spend. It's never fun when you're a micro business. I was like, "Oh," and I hit the button and did it. Two days later, Circle, I'd already been keeping an eye on them, released Paywalls. I was like, "All right. Touche." So I did my trial, got into the community and was instantly blown away at what was offered to me, how warm I was welcomed and how quickly I could build something, because all the information I needed was there.
So I asked for a refund from the software company. They wouldn't give it to me, sunk cost out of the way, signed up with Circle. I was able to take what was in... I'd go live on YouTube and I had a private Facebook group and I'd have to email people and then they'd have to go to my website to go through the course. I took all of that and was able to put it in one spot and I felt like I took 10 tons off my shoulders. Now I can focus on one spot and go, "Ooh, I can serve people really well when I only have to go to one place and I can just show up and help." So I don't know if that answered that question, but that was the journey of this digital fragmented thing coming into focus. The Antipreneur being reborn out of the forest was that dancing Antipreneur.
And I hope other people call themselves Antipreneur too. It's not something I'm trying to claim. It's a feeling or an attitude. That's me. So my podcast, my YouTube channel, whatever the face shows up, just call it the Antipreneur. Then the vertical is 1 Minute Media where I can actually help people look and sound good on camera. That alignment and that focus in niching down, man, it works. It's all the things that smart people like you guys tell people and we all nod. But then when we actually do it, we're like, "Wow, that really does work."
Jillian: I wish I could take credit for that, but I'm not the one giving that information. Wasn't me. Something so interesting because I think your journey into like, "Oh, I could scale this into community and reach more people without burning myself out," is something that a lot of people are considering. One thing you mentioned briefly, but something I know you have done and I think I know we both feel strongly about this, so let's talk about it because we agree on everything-
Dan: You're right.
Jillian: ... is you are a member of several communities and before launching yours, which is advice I always give people considering launching their own community. I ask, "Well, what communities are you a member of?" Oftentimes there's a blank stare pause like, "Oh." Then usually talking to that person, they actually are members of some sort of community. They just don't think of it that way. All that to say, I think you are someone who is in several communities. So tell us about that. How did being a member of other people's communities help you formulate what you wanted in a community?
Dan: So the high level is steel. I'm a big advocate of steeling.
Jillian: Like [inaudible] steel not like metal
Dan: Just like swipe. We'll say swipe.
Jillian: Just swipe or no swipe, no just kidding.
Dan: Swipe it or don't swipe it. So I've been a designer since 1999. I've always been very open about the fact that I'm really, really good at taking six or seven different kind of ideas and melding them together to a point where no one knows where anything came from. So I still have original ideas, but I don't draw. I do everything digitally. So I take components and make them into new things or use them as inspiration. Then somewhere along the lines, someone told me that was okay. Nothing's new under the sun type of stuff. So I was like, "All right, cool. This is actual skill set. I'm not just a thief." So that was comforting back in the day when I was doing band t-shirts for other bands and stuff.
Fast forward when it's time for me to look at community, I'm like, "Okay, well, part of being a Circle member as in using their software is to be in the Circle community if you want. So I'm going to go in there." The first thing I said on the first office hours call was like, "Can I just take half this stuff and make it mine." [inaudible] in Circle was like, "Oh my God. Yes, please. I tell people do it all the time and they won't. They feel bad. I'm like, "Okay, I'm taking it." While all this is happening, I've been aware of SPI and Pat for a long time. I was aware of SPI Pro, just watching from a distance, listening to podcasts, big fan of leading with heart and help. So I'm like vibing with this stuff.
Then the summit came out last year and it was very heavily geared towards community and community building. There was a point where I felt like every single presenter was picked for me. It's the first time in my life I've looked at something like, "Wow, this was curated just for me." Then I started feeling like this shouldn't have been free. I got so much incredible information that it led me to the point of joining SPI Pro. So by the time that happened, I had been in Circle swiping things, building my community slowly, being very open about the process and asking for all the help. Because that's what community is for giving and taking help.
When I came into SPI Pro, a lot of the conversation was like, "It can be like drinking from a fire hose and da, da, da, da, da." Then I countered by saying not to discount anyone's feelings about this is overwhelming, but I feel like I'm being served craft cocktails right now because I was already in a community. Saw what really worked for me, it happened to be based on Circle so that helps. Then I came to SPI Pro and I'm like, "I'll take some of that little squeeze of orange, little zest, my favorite bourbon." I am fast tracking the hell out of SPI because it has everything I need and I could choose and pick.
So not only did swiping help me build my own community, it helps interact in other communities in a more efficient manner. Because I know what I need and I know what I can offer and I try not to waste anyone's time or my own.
Tony: I don't think I realized... I'm trying to remember that during audience driven, I mean, I was doing a million things. But I just assumed that you had already been a part of the SPI community for forever at that point. So I'm glad that that had an impact for you. That's probably now, my number one positive outcome from audience driven is having you on board.
Dan: Oh, yeah. I want to point out too that I take that as a compliment because it's contributed to how I interact with people. If I'm in, I'm in and if I'm not, like I said, I don't want to waste anyone's time or my own. That's everything from sales and disqualification in my own business to joining a community or just being part of a YouTube live. So I love that you felt that way. Because I do interact that way. I'm like, who's doing what? Who can I learn from who can I help? Bam, bam, bam and it worked out pretty well.
Tony: Amazing. Can you tell me a little bit about so the community that you are developing now, how do you engage folks? What do I do when I join as a member? What am I there for?
Dan: You are there to learn how to look and sound great on camera, but at your own pace and doing most of the heavy lifting yourself. So I do still keep a stable of one-on-one clients, larger companies, solopreneurs with larger budgets one-on-one work, but that is very selective and I want it to be a small percentage of my overall. So that's done with you. Then 1 Minute media, the community is DIY, even though I'm in there and I'm still really helpful. So you can expect to take a course, that's aimed at entrepreneurs. That's my big differentiator. I should talk about it more.
You can find all the information I talk about from professional filmmakers, from YouTubers, from wherever, but it's always catered towards videographers, YouTubers and video content creators who that's their whole business. So they might tell a videographer how to get more video calls clients for their business. That's no good for an entrepreneur because they're like, "I don't run a video business. I just want to know what shutter speed is," or whatever the case may be. So it's very geared towards entrepreneurs and being an entrepreneur myself, I know you're already wearing 17 hats. You don't need more learning curve and more stuff, but you know video's important. That's why you're here.
So the videos are all short and punchy and catered toward how to just understand framing enough, to keep an eye on your framing. Not to understand how to drive a story and really get emotional impact. Those things come in time. But I just want you to know how to frame yourself well. So there's the coursework that's in there. There's a really cool little spot called the the video sandbox, and that's to stretch your wings, exercise your video muscles, get critique and feedback from peers and professionals like myself, but all in a private and loving environment.
So you can like test and play. We have people that make videos and they're like, "Okay, don't worry about the quality of this video. Just give me feedback on the content." Then they'll deliver or they'll be, "I just got a new light. This is how I set it up. Does it look good? Let me know." So it's just a place to safely find your bearings and start making video. Live events, I'll say this for any community, all the communities I'm in right now, 90% of them are Circle based and live events, workshops, office hours, Q&As are huge in all of them, including mine. So you can expect weekly live Q&As where you can save up your questions all week, come and pepper you with them. That's actually one of my favorite things to do in the world is just answer video questions because again, 90% of those questions are not that big of a deal for me. So I just answer them, get you over the hurdle and you keep going, because it's a five minute fix.
Then we get some normal stuff like introduce yourself, share some wins, interact with each other. Then I have a store where you can get my digital services that I generally sell at price A for discounted price B because you're a member and that's pretty much it. Most people just want to learn how to do this stuff, share what they're doing and then get that professional feedback and critique so they can do better. Then be just churning out really quality video.
Jillian: Can they just buy a membership or do they have to buy a course to get me the membership? How does that?
Dan: I thought about that a lot before this launched because I always knew that the course was not the answer. It's a weird thing when you sell a course to be like, "This is not the answer." It's curated and it's powerful, but really what it does is quickly get people to the point where they can go, "Oh, a couple lights in a microphone disk. Okay. I look and sound good already to this point, now what can we do with it?" So membership is the 100% key focus and the course is in there as part of what's offered. Because I don't want people to think, "Okay, I got to do these 15 videos and do a PDF checklist afterwards and answer and get scored and all that."
No, this is a reference point that's curated for you, that you can come to any time and go, "What did Dan say about lighting?" Go watch that four minute video and be like, "Oh, that's right. That's how I get the glare out of my glasses," or whatever the case may be. So it's definitely membership driven. The one thing when it was all fragmented and there was a private Facebook group that never really existed was community. I mean, everyone was in a group, but it wasn't helping each other, rooting each other on talking, sharing videos and stories. It was just, "This is where we all met."
Now I'm really trying to promote the humanness of we're all on this journey and just because I've been making video for 14 years now, it doesn't mean that when I turn the camera on, I'm not like, "Huh, okay. How does this work? What are we going to talk about? I want to make sure this is good." I've shared with Jillian before that people are like, "Oh you're so natural on camera and all this stuff." I'm like, "Well a, I've done it a lot and that helps. But B, if I showed you my cuss reel, it's like 20 hours long. If I put it all together, you could watch it for a full day."
Jillian: Oh my gosh.
Dan: The journey is always-
Tony: Takes a lot of work to look this effortless.
Dan: I know. Right?
Jillian: Yeah, totally.
Dan: So true. So membership, membership, membership in the sense of community because I want people to know they're not alone, including myself.
Jillian: I really think there's something too that, and we all have courses. We all know the completion rate of digital courses is traditionally pretty low. I know I'm guilty of purchasing a course and then being like, "Eh," or just powering through the video content, but not actually doing the work. So I think you're on the forefront of where courses are going.
Dan: One of my favorite things in my life is happy accidents that happen all the time. That's why I'm so open about them because I try things sometimes they work and I point out that I did not sit down and I know what will work. But as soon as the course became a curated well that someone could just come back to over and over and draw from, it changed everything in my brain. I'm like, "Oh yeah. If someone forgets where to position their microphone, they could just go back and video again." They don't have to, like you said, go step by step or learn a thing and retain it forever. This can just be almost like a really good YouTube playlist. This can just be where they come and get the stuff they need and go back to work.
Jillian: Well, and more importantly have the community who's all there for the same thing. So that it's genius because then I can post and be like, "Hey, I did this and this, but the result is not what I expected. What am I doing wrong?" To be able to have that conversation versus just the top down teaching or lessons, it's so huge. I think we found that with the boot camps. The camaraderie of people working through stuff together. So a little bit of a different format of course, but it’s just, there's something magical about it. It seems like every bootcamp we've done, the people who do it and then are done, they stay connected. Because they just helped each other so much, now they're now they're a crew. It's amazing.
Dan: So cool and it opens doors. Hopefully this is okay to say I have members in my community from every member or every community I'm in. I did not go in there and sell. I didn't say, "Hey, here's the link to buy entrance into my community." All I've done is present, talk. You guys have been kind in all these communities. So I've got a little spotlight, little shine here and there just cause I'm helpful and engaging and all those things. I have members from every single community I'm in.
Jillian: That's awesome.
Dan: So you never know how community can affect other people because there's people in SPI trying to grow something where video will help. There's people in learn.community, which is community I'm in, that are all building communities. Some of them want to leverage video. There's people in Circle that want to use video. Because I'm kind of that guy naturally, sometimes people are DMing me during the office hours, Zoom going, "Hey, can I talk to you afterwards?" It's like, "Yeah, no problem."
Jillian: But that's just a good green light knowing it's going well. I have similar in the Circle community. I think I've built trust in there a bit just because like you like done a few presentations whatnot. Then people were like, "Oh, okay. She's real. She's a real person."
Dan: That was the final thing that happened before I joined SPI Pro and I wasn't sitting around like, "I don't know if I'm going to join SPI Pro or not." I just hadn't. After the summit I was like, "Man, this is definitely on my roadmap. I will be going in the, there, especially after the community launches so I can just get more help." You were in Circle presenting and I was like, "Ooh, walk the walk." There's nothing sexier than walking the walk after you've talked the talk in business to me. It's just like, yes. That was kind of the final, the next day I went over and I'm like, "All right, I'm a little rough around the edges. Let's see if these guys accept me." I filled out the application.
Jillian: I remember seeing your application. I remember that event because you were one of the few that was on camera because that's your thing. Yeah. I was like, "Oh that's the guy. That's the guy." Then I saw your application. Well...
Dan: I was on [inaudible] Pat and I mentioned SPI Pro so much. Pat's like, "I just want to point out that I did not pay Dan to say all these nice things." But it has absolutely changed my business and it's not just because there's stuff in there that helps and helpful people and all that. It is the community. It's the, I can jump on, on office hours, ask a question, get an answer and then go implement that in my business that day and see change. It's like, "Holy moly." So anyway, shout out to SPI Pro and what you guys do. Because if you're not there, you should be there, man.
Jillian: We did pay Dan for this segment actually.
Jillian: A lot. No, we did not. But this is part of why we wanted to have you on the show, not to toot our own horn about Pro, but to just talk about the impact of other communities on your own community, on your business and just how important it is. I think as community builders, depending on what we're doing, we can get so siloed in our own day to day and the dumpster fires of whatever's going on. Or maybe not, maybe people don't have to deal with them. But as Dan knows, I love a good dumpster fire.
Dan: I love a good dumpster fire.
Tony: Sorry to step on your dumpster fire comment, Jill.
Jillian: No, go for it. I was derailing quick.
Tony: I talk to a lot of people who are trying to build communities for the first time and a major topic is where do I find my members? I say, "Well, you find them in other communities. What communities are you a part of or what communities do you think your people are hanging out in right now? By the way, in what ways are those communities not serving the needs of the people that you want to work with?"
We've seen several examples of that with previous folks that we've interviewed. And actually now that I'm thinking about it, when I was running my co-working community, I had a harder time staying engaged and staying in the loop when I let running my community make me too busy to go hang out at the other events.
So once I started feeling like a shut in, where I was like every community event that I did was the event that came to me, to my space, then I started to feel like I was losing connection to the rest of the community and the rest of the region. So probably a good thing to look out for. Have you ever dealt with anything like that Dan, kind of like a burnout from too much output and visibility?
Dan: I haven't luckily, but I know many people who have, and I'm an empathetic person, so I've definitely felt it via proxy. I just want to say Tony, you are a super smart dude.
Tony: Check is in the mail.
Dan: But man, and you deliver that knowledge in a way where no one ever feels like, "Man, I should have known that." They're just like, "Oh yeah." So you talking about being in other communities, I'm sure you'll see a pattern here. I have a story about this. So I was in the Circle community. It was the only community I was in at the time outside of a Slack entrepreneurial group that I'm in. I was in there complaining openly. I always try to do this in a positive way where people can relate and I'm not just complaining.
But I was very open about the fact that I'm frustrated in a good way. It was, you see these gurus and they say, "Go find a community and add value." That people will maybe want what you have and come ask you questions or whatever. I'm like, first of all, stop saying add value and tell me what the hell that means. Second of all, if there was a community full of entrepreneurs that wanted to learn how to look and sound good on camera, I would own that community. If someone else owned that community, I couldn't go in there and swipe away their people. That's not cool. So I can't just go and do a community like that.
Then literally it was like a tap, tap on the shoulder. It was a DM in a Zoom call that had nothing to do with this. I was just complaining and they're like, "Hey, you're in one right now." Literally someone said that. I was like, "Oh my God, this isn't a community full of entrepreneurs who want to learn how to look and sound on camera. This is a community full of community builders and some of them want to leverage video and what they're doing." Boom. So that was the beginning of me realizing that being in other communities is a way to grow your business and to help people and to be helpful and to be helped.
So I love that you brought that up and did it in a way where no one's got to feel bad about like, "I haven't thought about that before." Because it accidentally happened to me and now it's my number one go-to. It's being a community, helping, telling everyone what I'm up to and what I do. Then whoever needs me, I'm there
Tony: It's amazing. It's a real balancing act too, to be in a community especially, if you have a thing you're already selling, because you don't want to be pushing that. So you really want to focus on being generative, being genuinely there to support other people and then letting people find you. One of the things I tell people too, is that when you're just getting started before you even have a brand name, before you've even decided if you're going to do this thing, it's a huge advantage because you can go into the these rooms and you're just a person.
People let their guard down a little bit. They're not thinking like, "Oh, what is this guy selling me?" It's like, "I'm just an interested individual and I have some interests, some ideas. Maybe I'll start something, but I'm just a person right now." I think that's a huge advantage as well, which is not to say you can't do that once you do have a business, but it's nice to lean into the liminal space before you make a commitment and invite people along on that journey with you.
Dan: Yeah, man. That's where storytelling comes in. That's where the medicine and the cheese comes in. So one of my favorite things to do, because most of these communities have an introduce yourself section. I spin around, I use my YouTube setup, the lights, the background, the neon, the cool looking stuff. I'm like, "Hey community, I'm Dan and this is what I do." Then within my intro video, they're seeing, "Wow, he looks and sounds really good. He helps other do the same thing. That was entertaining. That guy's a little bit different. He's baldheaded beard Viking guy, but is quiet and nice. That's an interesting juxtaposition." Whatever the case may be.
I'm telling a story and telling people what I do just through introducing myself. That's a great way to enter into any kind of community is use your skillset in a non-selling way, just to introduce yourself.
Jillian: I love that.
Dan: It works so good.
Jillian: It's true. You did it in Pro and it's like, "All right, this guy's legit from the get go."
Dan: Very purposely I titled that grab some popcorn and hit play, because I'm making fun of myself taking this so serious. It's almost like a little mini movie. Have some fun with it, but also I know how people react when they don't personally have that skillset. They're like, "Holy crap. How much time did this guy spend on this video or whatever?" It gets the point across in a fun way.
Jillian: I was just thinking about, the intention of this interview wasn't to be a Pro commercial. But since that's a big point of context for all of us, because we all interact with each other in there, just bear with me. But I mean I think from a member perspective, flipping the switch as a new member joining a community, you knocked it out of the park because you did. You did something unique and it's hard because how we do enrollments. We do the cohorts, the quarterly enrollment. So there's this wave of people introducing themselves. I love it, but there's a lot of people. There's dozens and dozens and dozens of these say hellos over the course of a week or two.
I remember yours distinctly because it was very unique and I don't even think I realized until you just said it, but it was really well done as far as I knew exactly what you did, could definitely tell you knew what you were talking about and just super. So you quickly became a power user if you will. It's interesting to think about from a community builder standpoint, doing that when you join communities. Because immediately people will know who you are and resonate. So if gaining members is a part of being in one of those communities like that, that is the way to do it. I love it.
Dan: I'm always looking for shortcuts, cheats, ways to get through things, swipes all of the things. So I have thing I do in life that is pretty fun to me and is to take some kind of word that has a negative connotation to it and point out the positive. One of those things is selfishness. Everyone's heard of airplane oxygen goes down, the masks drops, put your own on so you can help other people. I take that very literally. So I'm very selfish. What people don't know is right underneath selfishness for me, is being helpful and helping other people get wins. So when I'm being selfish and taking what I want, other people generally don't feel that. I'm not a parasite.
There's a symbiosis and a reciprocity to this and they feel good too. Because they're getting something they need. That's called relationship. That's what we're all doing. So I looked at steel and swiping those sorts of things. When I came in, I'm like, "Okay, I got a window and I know that I got to make an impression and it's not to show off. It's just to cut through. How am I going to make an impact here?" The key is that I had already been in Circle, asked a lot of questions and saw that the things I was contributing, the founders got a hold of me. It was like, "We see what you're doing there. That's cool. Keep doing what you're doing and that might be a feature really do someday."
I had Matild who's the community manager saying, "I love the way that you pointed that out." Or "How vulnerable you are when you say, "Look at my community, it's not done, but I'm sharing it because I want to get feedback." So having that knowledge base already, I came in and I'm like, "What do community managers and teams love?" They love engagement. They love helpful people and they love when they come to a comment and you've maybe already answered it a little bit and they're like, they beat me to it." That's cool because now community's helping community. I knew that before I signed up. So I came in just guns blazing, like, "Who can I help? Who can help me? Where do I need to be and what can I ignore because it doesn't pertain to me?"
It gave me this sense of feeling of there's people to each side of me where similar levels, whether it's the size of our business or we're both solopreneurs or whatever the case may be. There's people behind me that I can quickly throw a hand back and grab theirs. Then there's people in front of me that I'm like, "Hey, slow down a second. How did you do that?" They help and pull me forward. If they pull me forward and the people next to me and I'm pulling someone behind me, I mean, that's a beautiful compounding effect that you can have inside a community. So I'm always just being selfish and cheating. That's what I'm really up to.
Jillian: Dan, the cheating selfish guy with the beard, making the world a better place.
Tony: We've got the tagline for the episode.
Jillian: We've figured it out.
Tony: Dan, the cheating, selfish guy.
Jillian: Cheat and steal your way to success by Dan Bennett.
Tony: Oh my goodness. Guys, we got to rapid fire it up.
Jillian: I know Tony, take it away.
Dan: I'm excited.
Tony: Oh my goodness. Well, we don't want to have to do this, but we got communities to go help. So Dan, we are doing, this is V2 of our rapid fire, which means it's going to be actual, rapid, no actual fire though. So I'm going to ask you questions. You give me quick one-liner answers and we are going to do our Dan, does not, to ask you follow up questions. Dan, are you ready?
Dan: I am so ready. This is fun.
Tony: Dan, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Dan: I wanted to be a race car driver.
Tony: How do you define community?
Dan: People helping people, even when they're not asked to
Tony: Something on your bucket list that you have done.
Dan: Went to Peru and saw Machu Picchu.
Tony: Nice. On your bucket list, still on the list not yet done.
Dan: Shark diving with my partner, Jacks.
Tony: A book that you are loving either currently or an all timer.
Dan: Atomic Habits by James Clear.
Tony: Nice. If you could live anywhere else other than where you live, where would you live?
Dan: I'm going to say Texas where I live now because I just moved here and I used to live in Michigan and winters are horrible. So it would be where I'm at now.
Tony: Deal. Last one. How do you want to be remembered?
Dan: A guy that helped thousands of entrepreneurs share their story more effectively?
Tony: Sounds like you are well on your way, Dan. Thank you so much. Finally, how do we find you on the internet?
Dan: If you're a social media type person, DanHasLinks.com. All my links are there.
Jillian: What? DanHasLinks.
Tony: DanHasLinks, y'all
Dan: That's everything. I'm ImtheAntipreneur.com is my personal site. If you're interested in 1 Minute Media, even if it's just to ask questions, one, the number 1 M-I-N short for minute media.com, 1MinMedia.com.
Tony: Dan, thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate you. I will see you in Pro and best of luck with all of the things.
That was our conversation with Dan Bennett, AKA the Antipreneur and he's wonderful.
Jillian: Just is so fun to talk to. Also, he should just have a video playlist on his YouTube that's just like just the life of Dan. He has so many good stories. We didn't even get into all them.
Tony: Story telling Dan. White whiteboard in the woods with Dan. Storytelling, absolutely critically important. So valuable. I feel like there are a lot of people who have great stories to tell and with just the right bit of structure, you really can turn a story into something that is just really captivating and compelling. So I think learning how to distill what you need to explain or distill your story into something that follows that format I think is so valuable.
Jillian: I love his approach to teaching storytelling because he knows that's not the sexy thing people are like, "Oh yeah, whatever. I want the cool camera and the setup and let's get my studio looking good." How he gets people to learn the storytelling piece while doing the fun tech setup is very brilliant honestly. It's very cool. I'm going to have to dig into that a little more. I'm going to have to steal that.
Tony: Stealing I mean, it's such an important thing for us to learn from other people and part of why it's so important to be a member of other communities if you want to be a community leader. Communities don't happen in a vacuum. They grow out of other communities and so being aware of what's out there, showing up to other things. You can find some prospective members, prospective collaborators, just so much good that comes from being a member in other communities, being a participant and a contributor. Somebody who adds value, hugely important.
Jillian: It's funny because something we didn't really touch on, because we talked about Dan is an excellent example of someone who has spent a lot of time in different communities where he is an active member. There's also on the flip side value to spending some time in some communities that maybe aren't your cup of tea and learning from them as well. For example, you know I love Reddit, got to get Evin on the show sometime from Reddit. I'd love to talk horror stories with him, but there are some Subreddits that are very fighty or negative or they very easily will gang up on people. But the point being, spending time in communities and one, Tony, what you were saying about find your community members in other communities and it doesn't have to be this sleazy weird thing. It can be very authentic. I think our conversation really spoke to that. The stuff I do in the Circle community is a great example. We've gotten quite a few people join Pro that come from that community because they see the stuff we're doing. Because I've been tapped to do a few presentations. I try to answer questions when I see them that it's something that I know I can help with because I have that kind of unique experience, that people who might be new to managing a community don't have. I'm really happy to help because I know it's stressful. What are your thoughts?
Tony: Well, adding value and endearing yourself to the organizers. Organizers are by and large people who are overworked and underappreciated or undercompensated. So if you show up and you're willing to be helpful and make their lives easier, eventually you'll start to become a trusted part of a community and you'll be welcomed and you're going to have some value come back at you one way or another. It's all good old fashioned social capital. It's pretty cool.
But the other thing is that, again, if you're looking for community members, if I talk to somebody who's trying to grow their community, I say, "Well, who do you know now?" They say, "Well, usually we can get through something there." But if we say, "Well, maybe we've pumped that well dry, what communities are you a member of? What communities aren't you a member of that you could go check out right now that maybe you know you ought to be checking out? There's always something going on. There's always something somewhere where you can be going and hanging out and getting exposed to something new. So go find that something new and make some new friends, add some value. I liked when we talked about adding value, it sounds like I'm recharging a card at an arcade or something.
Jillian: Must add value.
Tony: Do stuff and be helpful to people and it's going to come back around. Tried and true.
Jillian: I think that's the mic drop moment right there. I'm curious what anybody listening, tag us on Twitter @TeamSPI and let us know what communities you're a member of, not a administrator of. Let us know what communities you spend time in, view the world through community eyes, which I have a rage against the machine song, stuck in my head now.
Tony: Community eyes, community eyes.
Jillian: View the world through community eyes. Sure you add value
Tony: And leave something behind. We got to wrap this up. Thank you so much for listening. The Community Experience. It's Tony, it's Jill, continue raging against machine.
Jillian: We'll see you next Tuesday.
Tony: See you next Tuesday. Bye.
This has been The Community Experience. For more information on this episode, including links and show notes, head over to SmartPassiveIncome.com/listen. You can find Mr. Dan Bennett on the internet at various places and it's made it easy for you. You just go to, DanHasLinks.com and it will redirect you to a place where you can find all of his stuff. He's also, @imtheantipreneur on various socials and ImtheAntipreneur.com. His company is 1 Minute Media, 1MinMedia.com. Our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Our series producers are David Grabowski and senior producer Sara Jane Hess, editing and sound designed by Duncan Brown, music by David Grabowski.
Jillian: See you next time.