Episode 106: Creating a Scalable and Sustainable Business with Danny Iny – Transcript
Rennie Gabriel 00:09
Hi, folks, welcome to Episode 106 of the Wealth On Any Income Podcast. This is where we talk about money tips, techniques, attitudes, information, and provide inspiration around your business and your money. I'm your host, Rennie Gabriel. In past episodes, we spoke about how to understand the numbers from your business, how to measure the level of pleasure based on where you spend your money, how to track your money in 5 to 10 seconds, what determines how close you are to Complete Financial Choice®, and how to run your business without being in your business. And last week, we had Kay Wagner, the founder and president of Northstar Marketing, and PQ Flow Coaching. She's helped large and small businesses market their products and services. Today, we have as our guest, Danny Iny. Danny is a leading voice in the world of online courses. He's been featured, or contributed to, publications, including the Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur Inc, Forbes, Business Insider, and has spoken at places like Yale University and Google, and is the author of books, including Teach Your Gift, Leveraged Learning, and Effortless. I've read two of his books and they're the perfect blend of information, inspiration, and promotion. And as the former owner of a book publishing company that had 80 titles in the bookstores, I can say that with authority. Had I read his book, Teach Your Gift, when I started my online career in 2014, I would have probably saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in my education. But his book wasn't out then. Danny, welcome to the Wealth On Any Income Podcast.
Danny Iny 02:03
Rennie, thank you so much for having me. It's a pleasure and a privilege to be here.
Rennie Gabriel 02:07
Thank you. So well, let's get to it with some questions. You know, from what I've read, and how I know you, you support people in the online space to grow their businesses. But why do you do that?
Danny Iny 02:21
Yeah, so I have a belief that business is a very misunderstood concept. People imagine the business is about making money, often at any cost. And yes, there is a double, a double entendre there. But I think it's a very narrow view. The way I think about it, business is just about accomplishing, getting done whatever it is that you care about getting done in a way that is scalable and sustainable. And so it's got to be profitable, because profitability is part of sustainability. If it's not profitable, it's losing money, and you can't keep doing it forever - but that's really all it is. And most of the people that I have the pleasure and privilege of serving are people who care about making the world a little bit better, usually by leveraging their expertise. And so that's what they want to do. And I have the opportunity to help them do it a little bit better, to bridge the gap between what they dream of doing and what they're actually capable of doing. So I don't know, who would not want to do that? It's a ton of fun.
Rennie Gabriel 03:23
Cool, great, thank you, Danny. And because I donate 100% of the profits from the work I do to various animal and veteran charities, tell me about a cause or charity that's important to you and what they do.
Danny Iny 03:37
So a cause that we are very aligned with and have supported over the years is called Pencils of Promise. And they contribute resources to help children around the world get a quality education. And I'm very proud that you know, over the years through the company, we've been able to donate close to six figures in revenue to that organization. And it's not, you know, me writing a big fat check. It's me with the support of hundreds, if not thousands of people in our community getting involved in our various events and projects that have been able to make that happen.
Rennie Gabriel 04:14
Thank you. And thank you, because I mean, the more people who are educated, the better decisions everybody would make. And I know one of the missing ingredients in education, well two of them in this country, is in the US, because I know you're in Canada, is that people are not taught critical thinking. In other words, are people telling you things that are accurate? Look at it. And the second thing is there's no financial education. Well, 11 states are now requiring it to graduate high school, but we have 50 states down here. Next question. Tell me about your target market.
Danny Iny 04:53
So we serve coaches, consultants and expertise-driven entrepreneurs. That is our market. They tend to be very oriented around, as I mentioned earlier, they've don't just want to make a bunch of money, although making a bunch of money is great - why wouldn't you want to do that - but they want to do that, by way of, and as a way to making the world around them a little bit better with the things that they've learned over their careers.
Rennie Gabriel 05:19
That's why I love working with other coaches or podcasters, corporate trainers, because they also want to make the world a better place. Tell me what your biggest failure was, whether personal or business, and what your biggest insight was from that.
Danny Iny 05:37
So this one's always hard, because you know, there have been so many, but they all tend to follow a pattern, right? It's when I was a child, like a little kid, my mom used to say about me that my eyes are bigger than my stomach. And that hasn't stopped being the case. And that's been really great. That's what's driven me a lot as an entrepreneur, you know, your reach for more than you can necessarily do right now. And most of the time, you grow into that broader vision. And sometimes you get a little bit ahead of your skis, and you tumble over. And so that has happened on various occasions in the process of reaching to try to build more than I'm quite capable of in the moment. And it's not always been pleasant in that moment. But I've always learned a lot from it. You know, I like to think that any challenge, any setback, it's a lesson to learn. And it's always cheaper to learn lessons now than later. Because presumably, we're growing, we're getting bigger, we're doing more. And so whatever it costs me now, if in 10 years will be 10 times as big, it'll cost me 10 times as much to learn in 10 years. So now is always better than later.
Rennie Gabriel 06:49
I get it and, and I like that you turned my word failure into a challenge. Because, you know, it's easier to work with that way. And . . .
Danny Iny 07:00
I like to say that failure is only failure if it happens in the last chapter. Otherwise, it's a plot twist.
Rennie Gabriel 07:07
I like that, plot twist instead. Do you have a specific example that you can recall?
Danny Iny 07:14
I'm sure I have many. But the one that comes to mind right now is before starting this current business, I was building a software startup. We were building technology that would help children learn how to read. I was a very young and very inexperienced CEO, in what in hindsight, is an incredibly complicated industry. And by the time I figured out what was going on, what we needed to do, you know, we've done okay, we had raised a bunch of money from friends and family and grants, and the experts liked what we were doing, and the kids loved it. But the parents and the teachers, you know, the actual customers, they didn't get it at all. So we were having no traction in the market. And by the time I figured out what needed to change, we were bleeding money. I hit the pavement to raise more. And that was September of 2008. So the markets crashed - it all fell apart. And there was no money to be had. And I didn't want to go back to my investors who were friends and family and tell them sorry, your money is gone. So I took the losses on personally. So I walked away from that with a quarter of a million dollars in personal debt. And that was not fun in the moment. But, you know, like, we were saying it was a plot twist. And I wouldn't be where I am today, if not for that experience. And so, you know, I wouldn't wish it on anyone. But I wouldn't go back and change it either.
Rennie Gabriel 08:36
Yeah, I get it. My having gone broke the first time and my gosh, I think I was in my 30s, allowed me to see the biggest fear I had in my life, I can still overcome. And, you know, continue to build after that. And so going broke three times, you know, is irrelevant to the success that I have now. I mean, other than knowing it really doesn't matter. It's a plot twist. Thank you, Danny. And in terms of like the common mistakes, or the typical feelings, your prospects experience, like I noticed the book that goes through Amy's story, I forget which one that was, where she is, she doesn't believe in her own expertise. She doesn't until she meets Kevin and moves forward. I think that was done so well. I mean, you know, in that story format. So that book really expresses the typical feelings and concerns, but let me have you tell me on the podcast, what your prospects typically feel and the common mistakes they make.
Danny Iny 09:43
Sure, and then thank you for the kind words. You're referencing my book, Online Courses, which is a parable of the journey of becoming an online course entrepreneur. And the challenge that you're alluding to is one of two really big ones, right? One is that it's a little bit paradoxical, but in most of our lives, the messages that are drilled into us is that you know you should be compensated for working hard. Right? Which there's truth to that, but taken to extreme, it's also a little bit misleading. Because the more you are in your zone of genius, your area where you are great at it and you love it - the less hard it feels. And so where people often gravitate is well, I've got to, I've got to be feeling like I'm working really hard. And if you feel like you're working really hard, you're probably doing something you're not great at. And why would anyone pay you a lot of money to do something you're not even great at. And conversely, when you are focused in your zone of genius, something that you're just so good at that you can see around corners, that you can plot the solutions to the problems, it feels almost effortless to you. And so we tend to discount the value of that to other people. Like, you know, this is so easy, how can I charge a lot of money? And we don't realize that it's incredibly valuable to someone else, precisely because it's so easy for you potentially. So that's one big area of challenge. And the other is that, you know, and there are examples of this in every industry, but most people who get into business, don't do it, because they love business. So they do it because they want to do whatever their craft is on a larger scale. And business is in fact, its own area of expertise. And you have to develop that skill in order to, in order to build and grow a business. But you're kind of out of your depth when you're starting that journey. And so those are kind of the two areas that I find people that I serve tend to often get tripped up by.
Rennie Gabriel 11:34
Cool. And now based on what I read in the books and knowing you and the programs you have and the companies you own, let me have a case study of a particular client, and how they maybe were before, take them, they took your advice and what it transformed into.
Danny Iny 11:55
Sure. So I mean, there are thousands, but the one that comes to mind is a gentleman named Ian Roberts. So Ian is a painter, he's a master of his craft. He's been doing it and teaching it for decades.
Rennie Gabriel 12:08
You mean like a portrait painter, not a house painter.
Danny Iny 12:11
Well, more like a landscape-type painter. But yes, like, like a painter, a painter of art, as opposed to a painter of furniture. And over the last several decades, he would do a lot of like in-person retreats, very high end, in the south of France, people would fly there, drink wine, learn to paint, etc. And a few years ago, he came to me and essentially said, I'm getting a little older, I don't want to keep doing these retreats, I want to, I want to start moving my teaching online. And the timing was very fortuitous. This was a little bit before the pandemic. So that worked out great. And he was like, Well, how am I going to do this? Because he knew he wanted to deliver something substantive and valuable. And so we worked together and we conceived of this structure where he would deliver the lessons, which were pre-recorded. People would have assignments, so they would have to do exercises, and the specific area was drawing composition. So kind of what goes where on the page or canvas. And then they would submit their work, and he would review and record a little feedback video for them. So very high-value, rich, premium experience. We designed the launch, he puts it out there, he's not sure how it's going to go. He's got a couple of thousand people on his email list that he hasn't reached out to in years. But because it's such a powerful transformative experience, it does phenomenally well. And he generates $128,000 in revenue on this course, which he was selling for $450. And his first thought was, I mean, that's fantastic, right? That's wonderful. Then his second thought was, Oh, crap, I'm going to have to do a lot of these feedback videos. And so he's at a bit of a crossroads, right? Behind door number one he can return the money, refund some people. Behind door number two, it's like, Alright, I'm going to buckle down and work. And like many people would choose, he was like, all right, and I'll just buckle down. I'll do it. And that's exactly what he did. And he did a great job, he created a great experience for his students. They were thrilled. They were really happy, brought in a whole bunch of money. But it was not a great experience for him. He was like recording those feedback videos non-stop for two months. It got so bad that that his wife came to call his office, the loom tomb. Coming out of that, he comes to me, he says, You know, this was great for business. The students were really happy. But I mean, this was awful. I don't ever want to do this again. And so we got to work rejiggering the course. We said well how do we not compromise the quality of the experience, if anything, improve it, but reduce his involvement. And so we tweaked the dials. We introduced a buddy system where people give each other feedback. And a year later he launches the course again. And the scale of success multiplies. He brings in $570,000 this time and it takes him less to support that entire larger group than it did the first time. And that's all possible when you focus on, what is it really going to take to create that transformation for people, to create that wonderful experience to actually get them the outcome that they want, and then tweak the dials to make it better and better and better along the way.
Rennie Gabriel 15:24
Thank you, it's just a perfect example of what we should all be doing. Now, you know, I've been to your website, you've got fabulous resources, where should people go to take advantage of you or get to know more of what you do?
Danny Iny 15:41
So I'll give you three places people can go. They can go to mirasee.com, m i r a s e e dot com. Tons of free resources. If your listeners or people who you know, like to listen, which is what I would expect, if you go to any podcast app, and you search for mirasee, m i r a s e e, we have a podcast network. We have four shows that are up and running as of this recording, and they're like six more that are in production coming out soon. So a lot of really good content. I'm not on all of them personally. If you want to hear me and about online courses, my show is called, Course Lab, that I co-host with Abe Crystal, who is the CEO of Ruzuku. But just search mirasee in your podcast app, you'll find really great stuff. And the third option is, as you mentioned earlier, I've written a bunch of books, which I think they're great, but I'm biased. So go by the hundreds of five star reviews, that would seem to agree. But if you just search my name, Danny Iny, you'll find a lot of great stuff on Amazon. It's you know, it's like $5 for a book kind of thing.
Rennie Gabriel 16:42
Perfect. And I'll have all of that in the show notes so people can just click on the links. Is there a question that I should have asked you that I didn't that would add value to what we've talked about?
Danny Iny 16:55
You know, I guess a question that I wish more people would ask is, instead of how to do this, how to do that, what holds people back from doing those things? And most often, it's not about a lack of specific knowledge or information. It's about a discomfort with ambiguity, and a feeling that things have to be completely figured out and perfect. And the reality is that when you're striking out to do something new things will be ambiguous and unclear. And I can pretty much guarantee that your first stab at anything will not be perfect. Right? I don't think any of us can list anything that we do in life that we are not any better at 10, 20 years in than we were the first time. Right? If that were the case, that would be really sad.
Rennie Gabriel 17:41
Danny Iny 17:42
So that means your first time, you're not going to be great. And so opening yourself up to be, not just possibility, but the reality that you're not going to be great the first time and that's okay. You know, the nature of online business in particular, is that you have to put yourself out there. And because you need to put yourself out there and get noticed failure in air quotes, right, the plot twist of failure, it just means nobody noticed. And so if nobody noticed, the stakes of getting it wrong, are really trivial, right? If nobody knew, it's like, you know, if someone is wrong in a forest, and nobody hears that, you know, are they actually... does it really matter? So, just opening yourself up to the reality that it will not be great the first time and that's totally okay. But get the reps in and get to a place where eventually you actually are really good and creating really great things.
Rennie Gabriel 18:32
Terrific. Danny, thank you so much for being on the show.
Danny Iny 18:38
Thank you for having me. Totally, totally a pleasure. And I super appreciate and respect you and value your friendship. So it was an honor to be here.
Rennie Gabriel 18:46
Thank you, Danny. And to my listeners, thank you for tuning in. Next week, we'll have Penelope Jane Smith, a premier financial freedom coach for women entrepreneurs. You can listen to the Wealth On Any Income Podcast on your favorite platform. And please rate, review and subscribe. I discovered recently we are among the top 5% of business podcasts - that sounds pretty cool to me. If you'd like to know how books, movies and Society programs you to be poor, and what the cure is, then log on to wealthonanyincome.com/TEDx. You'll hear my TED talk and can request the free 27-Page Roadmap to Complete Financial Choice®, and receive a weekly email with tips, techniques, or inspiration around your business or your money. And if you'd like to see how you can increase your wealth and donate to the causes that touch your heart, please check out our affordable program, Wealth with Purpose, also on the wealthonanyincome.com website. Until next week. be prosperous. Bye bye for now.