Justin Brady

and Robert discuss the lessons in failure, failure is our friend, when you know you are failing and are intentional about using the lesson to improve. You have to set goals so you know where you are failing. It doesn’t take much 90% of the people are going through the motions, 5% do what they say and 5% are truly great. You simply need to start being intentional and do what you say.

A little bit about Justin...

Justin Brady amplifies the best ideas on earth through his PR company Cultivate Strategies. He hosts The Justin Brady Show, featuring the world’s top CEOs, #1 best-selling authors, cultural icons, politicians, and Presidential candidates.

Brady works with the most forward-thinking brands on earth to amplify their message to millions of people. Instead of a standard PR approach involving mass pitching stories via brute force, Brady’s strategy relies on the exchange of knowledge-value for exposure to audiences. This approach is far more effective. Learn About Cultivate »

Brady has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Quartz, The Harvard Business Review, and others. His podcast was a top podcast on Apple Podcasts in business and was in iHeart’s top 1% most downloaded podcasts. He previously hosted a live show with iHeart Radio on which he interviewed 6 US Presidential candidates.

Check out more of Justin

Justin Brady Show ---> justinkbrady.com/podcast

How to start a company podcast ---> justinkbrady.com/start-a-company-podcast

Your startup baby isn't cute ---> justinkbrady.com/your-startup-baby-isnt-cute

What to do when your startup fails ---> justinkbrady.com/when-your-startup-fails

How do you measure ROI on PR ---> justinkbrady.com/how-do-you-measure-roi-on-pr

How to create content for your brand ---> justinkbrady.com/how-to-create-content-for-your-brand

Website: justinkbrady.com

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Justin Brady
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Show Notes

Robert Peterson  0:00  

Our guest today is Justin Brady. Justin amplifies the best ideas on earth through his PR company cultivate strategies. He hosts the Justin Brady show featuring the world's top CEOs, number one best selling authors, cultural icons, politicians and presidential candidates. Brady works with the most forward thinking brands on Earth to amplify their message to millions of people. Instead of a standard PR approach involving mass pitching stories via brute force. Brady strategy relies on the exchange of knowledge value for exposure audiences. This approach is far more effective. Justin Brady and Robert discuss the lessons in failure. Failure is our friend, when you know you are failing and are intentional about using lessons to improve. You have to set goals so you know where you're failing. It doesn't take much 90% of the people going through the motions. 5% do what they say. 5% are truly great. You simply need to start being intentional. Do what you say. Justin, thank you so much for coming on the show today. I am just so excited to share your journey and your expertise. I appreciate you taking the time today.

Justin Brady  2:14  

Thanks for having me on the show, Robert. Appreciate it.

Robert Peterson  2:16  

Absolutely. I have each guest start the show with their entrepreneurial journey and what's got them to where they are today.

Justin Brady  2:26  

I started a graphic design company, right out of school, it's just me basically freelancing, and didn't see the signs that that thing was dying. Then I wasn't really good at it. What did me in was like, I could do a good design project for my clients. What did me in was, so I could do a good design project, I would just really work hard on it and keep going. I would keep pushing around pixels and make it what looked professional, I wasn't naturally skilled at it. What finally did mean was seeing another designer how fast he worked. I was like, This is not my thing. Clients could read that. I could read that discouragement, and clients started not doing new projects with me. I eventually just closed up shop, went to work for a company and then spun out of that company as a communications PR company many years ago. That's what I've been doing ever since. That's my entrepreneurial journey right there in a nutshell.

Robert Peterson  3:26  

That's the quick version for sure.

Justin Brady  3:28  

That the quick version? Yeah, absolutely.

Robert Peterson  3:32  

I want to dig into that Freelancer because I know that there's obviously lots of entrepreneurs that start out as freelancers and especially on the artists side, that tendency for perfection and that tendency for you can make something really good but but perfecting it and the time involved in perfecting it can really be a form of procrastination it can be a form of holding you back and I want to dig a little into that obviously that business died but you've learned a lesson from it and and hopefully applied that to the work you're doing now.

Justin Brady  4:14  

No, absolutely. If you want to know what the core lesson was there, the core lesson was to give up faster, there's I just hate that I really can't and maybe I'm wrong maybe right maybe someone has better data than me, but I just can't stand the whole never give up crap. That's toxic. It's highly dangerous, because people interpret that incorrectly. Some people here never give up and so they make their own judgments based on whatever's going on in their situation. For me that was I had this design company I was told never to give up. I just kept doing this thing that clearly was not working. Clearly there was no market fit, and I kept doing it and that was dumb. You should absolutely give up on things. When you give up on things, and you acknowledge that failure, you can take the data from that experience, figure out why it failed, and then make something better. A lot of people confuse that. They say, this will work if I never give up. That's just not true. If you never give up, sometimes you'll carry that failure with you to the grave. It's a good idea to understand when you're already failing. That's the distinction some people like, if I give up, that's the failure. I'm like, bro, you're already failing. Look around you. This is bad. I wrote a paper I wrote a piece on this years ago. Basically, if your relationships are destroyed, if your relationship with God is destroyed, or if it's not God, it's something else, like your family is destroyed. If your mental health is destroyed, if these things are all having some problems, then you should probably give up money that is not on that list. By the way, if you're paying your bills, and your obligations to other people, and you're fine going without money. Fine. Do you do it? Obviously, for me, at the end of the business when money was getting tighter and tighter, for me, one of my obligations to everybody else's paying people that I owe, so that was also becoming a problem. I was like, Ah, this is not going to be a good path. That's what finally choked out the business. Truthfully, I should have jumped ship, Robert, like five years before I did, because I was already failing. When a lot of people say, when you give up, that's failure. That's just ignorant. You're already failing. Sometimes you need to step back and realize you're already failing. You need to stop failing and learn the lesson. When you fail, when you actually put a rubber stamp on something and say, that sucked, that didn't work. When you actually do that. The next step is to say, Okay, why didn't that work? A lot of people skip those two steps, they don't acknowledge failure, and then when they do fail, they just are going to move forward. It's like, okay, great, but you can't move forward without data. If you're on a bike, and you keep falling over, if you don't stop and look, hey, I biked before, stop and look at the back tire that's flat, you're gonna keep falling. You're gonna keep having problems. You have to analyze, you have to stop. You have to grab that data failure data is so valuable. Everyone's like, Oh, yeah, I hate the whole mentality about don't quit never failing. Of course, you're gonna fail.

Robert Peterson  7:29  

Absolutely. There's a couple of ideas like that out there. The little cliche statements that right on the surface, you're like, oh, yeah, then if you really think about it, people are applying them to their lives. They're actually hurting them. They're riding a train that's going nowhere. There is data that you can use. You mentioned a few of the things in there. If you're messing up with your relationships, if you're not making enough money. If you're not delivering on time, or your relationship with your clients are breaking down, because you're not honoring your agreements, there's a lot of signs. One of the challenges for many entrepreneurs is knowing what to have as a KPI. What do you have, as a key indicator to, Is this thing working? Or is it not working? Of course, coming from my perspective, as a coach, there's that independent spirit in an entrepreneur that says, Oh, I got it, I got it, I got it. I'm an adult, I can figure this out. Trying to make it work on their own instead of saying, Man, this doesn't feel right, who can help me?

Justin Brady  8:44  

Exactly. You touched on it. Goals. Again, it's another area that people quickly gloss over. If you set specific goals and markers, then you know when you're failing. That's where a lot of people don't, my goals for that early company. It's called a test of time design, you might find it somewhere if you Google it, but my goals were just to grow. That's a dumb goal. If you're setting financial goals to set something clear, something that you have to you either will achieve or will not achieve it, then you know, when you're failing,  that's the thing, how do I know when I'm really failing? If I'm not making money, but I'm okay with money, and I'm stable, how do I know that's how you know you set those goals yearly, two years out, you say if I hit these goals, I'm succeeding, if I'm not hitting these goals, I'm failing. Then if you are failing to hit those goals for a few years, your goals either suck, or your whole business model sucks, and I didn't do that either. I just kept thinking, well, growth of the company as a goal so if I didn't grow that year, I'd be like, but I'm building for next year. I kept in my head justifying why I wasn't hitting those goals. If I would have set target goals, I probably would have gotten out and what I'm doing now is so much better. The reason I got into PR communications is because I figured, the problem with my design company is that I'm not marketing myself well enough. Therefore, I'll look into this PR communication stuff, and get earned media and all that stuff and write for big publications. That'll save it. I ended up going that direction, because it was more fun. Very specific targets, very specific goals, everyone glosses over that. It's even a struggle. By the way, when I onboard a new client for PR and calm stuff, this is one of the struggles up front, they don't want to talk about specific goals. I have to like, I always want to say pull teeth, but my brother's a dentist and he says pulling teeth is actually very easy. I always want to force people, I always want to force people upfront into identifying specific goals. Believe it or not, it's very hard for people to do that in corporate cultures, because they don't like the idea of setting something specific that they may not hit.

Robert Peterson  10:51  

That's a huge psychological issue. Also, it leads to that idea of fear of failure for not reaching the goal, fear of success, what happens if I do reach the goal, and there's a lot of that we are incredible in our culture at goal writing. We put a goal down on paper, but a much smaller percentage of people are actually goal achievers, and can accomplish those goals on a regular and consistent basis. It uses a different part of the brain, it requires a different set of actions. Of course, you still have to write the goal to become a goal achiever. Helping people absolutely put goals down, and then be accountable to it. That's the extra piece that it really just takes is this power of working together, this power of putting the goal out there in a public space and saying, Hey, will you help hold me accountable to this? Will you help? Make sure I'm trying to get this and do it. When I don't get it? Let's have a debrief and talk about why I didn't get it. That's where maybe the idea that oh, this company sucks, dude, you better quit. Right would come out?

Justin Brady  12:11  

Exactly. And no, it's what's there's this weird this other weird, thinking? I don't know where maybe it's just me, I doubt this is me. There's this other thinking that like, there's this one thing, there's one passion that you have, and you must pursue that passion. I remember when I was doing my first company, I reached out to my dad, and I asked my dad, he said, he's also a dentist. It's weird. Everyone's dentists in my family. But me. I asked him, what would you have done? This is when I was starting to go through that, embracing failure, what would you have done if dentistry wasn't the thing? He's like, I don't know what I would have done. That was it for me. I was like, well, that confirms that, stick with your passion. I stuck again with this failing passion. Then it took me a little while to realize it wasn't a passion anymore. Now I was just doubling down because of sunken costs. That was my identity. My identity was the entrepreneur that owned this company. If I failed, that wouldn't be my identity anymore. It took me kind of a while to embrace to understand that it wasn't my passion. Here's what's fascinating, is after closing the business, this passionate thing that I couldn't imagine not doing. After I closed it within two months, maybe a month, I was relieved. It was dead. who's passionate, I was relieved. I was like, Oh, thank goodness, this piece of crap is dead. What if it was a physical object that fired and walked away slow motion style with explosions. I felt so good about it later. I was like, this is weird, because this was my passion. At one point, I couldn't see my life without it. Now I'm so relieved and happy, it's dead. Then I went into this other company that I worked at for a short time, and I was like, I can be fine here. I could have a happy life here by contributing. I like my co-workers. I can be fine here for the rest of my life. Then I went over. I did a live radio show for I Heart Radio for a little while. I interviewed six seven presidential candidates for I Heart Radio. I was on that and I was thinking, hey, I could do this for a living, right like, and now I'm doing this PR comms thing. Now at this point, I figured out that everyone has a unique set of skills. Everyone has unique values and unique sets of skills that other people don't have. I'm a big believer in Strengths Finder and gallops Clifton Strengths. If you haven't done your strengths, everybody, I would encourage you, I would implore you, I would demand I can't do that. Robert can demand that you do that. What's amazing to me is those unique strengths I have are applicable in many different fields. So often we take those internal strengths we have in here. We find what we think is a fit. We say, I have unique strengths. We know that deep down, we're very unique, which we are. I have these unique strengths, I have found this thing that I think fits. I'm so unique, that also must be a unique role. That must be my thing. What we don't realize is those unique strengths we have, actually do have mass appeal into many other industries and spaces. We just don't know that until we let go of that thing, or that thing dies. Then later, we're like, oh, this kind of stuff applies to many different areas.

Robert Peterson  15:33  

Oh, so good. There's the one thing that reminds me our culture paints this picture, that there's one magical person out there for you, that there's one perfect partner that if you discover this person that they will be. Every person you meet, and the first thing you see, of course, after that date, first date is, is Oh, they've got this flaw, or they got this flaw, or they have this flaw, or they must not be the one. We have all these people looking for one. The idea that it's a choice. It's a choice to love someone and commit to them, in spite of their flaws. It's kind of the same thing in this entrepreneur space, you choose a path and you say it's a choice based on my youth about skills and talents and gifts that apply in that area. It's a choice. That choice can change and move into a different place. That's where the NOC quit. Never give up. I will never give up being an entrepreneur. The tools I use, I can change, right the system, I can change the process, I can change who I serve, I can change a lot of different things to get that right fit. 

Justin Brady  16:50  

There are a lot of companies that reward entrepreneurial thinking. I don't even know what that means, entrepreneur, people like entrepreneurs, we want entrepreneurial thinking like well, entrepreneurs, has a definition. Some people call it intrapreneurial intrapreneur. What that means basically, because it's a weird way to say it is people there are organizations that give you the freedom to create and contribute to the company in a way you see fit in a way you think best aligns with the company's goals and your own goals. There are companies that do that. What's fascinating is that when I worked for this company, for a short period with their client today we still had an amazing relationship with them. They like that I was floored because I started out as an entrepreneur. If I took a client to lunch, or I traveled somewhere, it was on me, that was my dime. That was my risk. When I was working for this company, all of a sudden, I had like an expense account, which was bizarre to me, someone would come into my office and clean it and empty my trash. I had IT support. If there were some, as an entrepreneur by myself, I had to pay someone or fix my own computer or figure it out two hours on a message board somewhere and read it with someone that figured out how to fix my thing. At that company, I would just ping it and say, hey, my computer's doing a thing. Someone would magically show up at my door, take it, fix it, bring it back. I was just like, this is truly insane. You guys, like my flights, all my business meetings, drinks, food, all of it was paid for by the company. At that company I found and then a lot of other companies where friends work, they have a lot more freedom than I do at times to be creative, because they don't have to worry about the support crap. Everyone's like, students will tell me when I speak at colleges, I really want to be an entrepreneur like you. How do I be and I was like, why do you want to be an entrepreneur? I want you to know, they have no deer in the headlights, they have no idea why they want to be an entrepreneur. I'm like, you can become an entrepreneur, when the problem you want to solve or the thing you want to do is impossible for you to do anywhere else. That's when you become an entrepreneur, when no one else is doing it. When you can't work at it. When you can't fulfill that burn inside you that tells you you need to do this thing. Go try it, fail, go, whatever. If you just want to be an entrepreneur, because you think it's cool, or you think it gives you some freedom, or some people will say like, I want to be an entrepreneur to be my own boss. I'm like, oh, bro, sit down. Guess what? I have 10 bosses, they're all great. They think their time is more valuable than the next guy. All my clients are absolutely fantastic. The point being, some days, I'd rather just have one boss.

Robert Peterson  19:35  

Absolutely. You mentioned that there's companies out there that reward that entrepreneurial spirit, and you talked about the ability to create. The other piece of that is they create a safe space to fail, right, a safe space for those creations to work or not work. That's challenging in a lot of corporate environments is to have that safe space to get it wrong. You learned to recognize failure faster. Fail quicker. As an entrepreneur, a lot of times you'll fail quicker means I don't eat. Where's the company, if I fail quicker, at least they're paying for my dinner. I still have that option. Of course, the freedom that an entrepreneur wants comes on the back of years of slogging through doing your own tech, doing your own marketing, because you can't afford to outsource those things until you've got something working. That's what most people, they look at Tony Robbins or Dean grazioso. He's like, I want to be an entrepreneur, look at those guys, without looking at all the hard work those guys did to get to where they are. Our microwave culture definitely lends us towards this idea of wanting their results without doing their effort.

Justin Brady  20:54  

That's exactly right. That's a universal problem. That's a problem. People are like, how am I going to find a company that allows me to be flat? Yeah, it's a problem. That's a challenge. I wrote a piece in The Wall Street Journal in 2012. About every company wants creativity. No one wants to shell out for it, everyone wants there to be a company I was touring with, where I live, my home is in Des Moines, Iowa. There was a company I was touring here in Des Moines, Iowa, who will go unnamed, but I was touring it, and one of their employees told me about their game room. They give a game. That's cool. It's pool tables, all this cool stuff. I was like, Why is no one in it? She's like, Oh, I think she's like, Yeah, people are working. I'm like, what we will, why did you make this stupid thing that if no one uses it? She's like, I guess the company thinks people are gonna stay after work. Use it because you're gonna for fun. Truth be told, we just want to go home. I'm like, what? People want creativity. They think they want creativity. They're willing to put these widgets in place, or push a lever and push up, pull the lever, push a button to get creativity, but they're not willing to actually do the hard work to get there. The piece I wrote in The Wall Street Journal was about, look, the pool tables, the free beer on tap, all that cool startup stuff you read about and Fast Company it's not going to do for you, that's not going to do a darn thing, what you actually have to do is let creativity happen, because it's already happening. This company had a couple 1000 employees, something like that. The fact that no creativity has come out of that company, isn't possible, because people are creative. That's not possible, unless your organization is limiting it somehow. I tell a lot of entrepreneurs, it is really hard to find the organizations that are creative, and they let you do that. It's hard for them to find good employees. It's hard to find those employees that are we willing to flex their creativity, maybe this is offensive, but I always call it the 95 five rule 90% of people just choose to be stupid 90% Just choose to not work hard, they choose to not chase their dreams, they choose to just sit idly by and complain about everything. That's why it's always hard to find good service or a good company you really do business with because 90% of crap. Then 5% are good, average fine. Those are the ones that you tell your friends about, by the way, this company actually ordered a thing and it came out the way I ordered it. Amazing service, like hitting, just fulfilling what you said you're gonna do is like the top here in the world. You're firing on all cylinders, if you just do the bare minimum, but then five, maybe even 2% accompanies are truly great. I would say the same is true for candidates. It's not that 90% of people are stupid. 5% are average and 2% 5% are great. It's that 90% choose to just 5% choose to just meet, I'll deliver what you paid. 2 to 5% choose to just go beat the crap out of everything and work really hard. 

Robert Peterson  24:15  

Absolutely. It's just that way with individuals. Even Napoleon Hill back and 100 years ago basically said the same thing. 98 Out of every 100 are going through the motions are not achieving, not trying to and millions of people have read, think and grow rich and 2% apply it right and make it happen. You mentioned something really interesting there. That idea of the company having a game room and nobody using it. I think about studying successful entrepreneurs and I think about Walt Disney and Henry Ford both kind of in the same timeframe pre war and they challenge their engineers and they challenge their artists to do something that's impossible. The artist looked back at him and said, that's impossible. In the Henry Ford with the VA engineers engineers said, that's impossible. As a leader, he just said, I will keep working on it. You guys got it. Like, he didn't say, we're gonna stop paying you, if you don't figure it out. He didn't say, he just said, I want this to happen. I want to have this. You've got to figure out how to make it happen, and keep encouraging and pushing and paying them for over a year to make that happen. Companies don't have room or don't make room for that. Now, today, we want we want instant results, instant creativity, instant, any and even Walt Disney, so many of his academy awards, were for a creating something that didn't exist before not just artistically but technology that didn't exist in animating and in filmmaking, and in putting music and film together. So much of that was telling his creatives, look, this is what I want, how do you make it happen, make it work, and they were leaders that basically said, I believe we can create this new thing figured out and they gave the time and the space and the money to figure those things out? Like you said, it's rare. It's two to 5% that have that thing. recognize the value of that space?

Justin Brady  26:39  

100% This is the story behind the iPhone. Jobs for all his flaws, because that's what you're right about when they're dead? Has all their flaws, did seem to have like, because that's when I wrote this piece in the journal like that's one of the pushback I got was jobs, because I like listening, empathy, and trust are some of the biggest tools for creativity in your organization. Only when you implement those, can you let creativity happen. That's why I call that the lead principle. That's what people always point out. What about Steve Jobs? I didn't say, Steve Jobs had a very low tolerance for people who didn't succeed and didn't push really hard and work hard. There's no doubt he had moments in his life where he was difficult to work with. He was an expert listener. He really was because he was able to listen and watch people and know what they wanted before they knew it themselves. He for the same truth about empathy. He was highly empathetic in certain ways. People always say empathy is just the ability to Oh, and that's not empathy, so many different entities. He was very trusting of his team, which is why he was livid. When they didn't follow through, I had Ken Kocienda on my show, he was one of the original members of project purple, which was the iPhone team. He did confirm a lot of this stuff, like that's that, he would put people in charge and say, you're the guy and then if they wouldn't follow through, he would get livid because he had a lot of trust in people. I maintain to this day, it's pretty much ironclad,

Robert Peterson  28:09  

He was similar at least in trusting his team, because he didn't want to make a phone. The last thing he wanted to put in the iPhone was the phone. It was his team that convinced him that it needed to be a phone as well as the phone and texting was the last thing he wanted to put in there. That's absolutely true. He pushed really hard against almost to the point of anger, like throwing the piece of junk across the rooms they were never going to do and I think about Henry Ford, and both of the things they regretted later on in life was the outbursts and the anger and the disrespect to people that were were helping them. There's an interesting element there about that emotional intelligence tied to that creative intelligence. There's very few people that push that creativity. Limit right giving that creativity the space it needs to function. I find it fascinating, we company put in the game room and the bean bags in the beer on tap and then await you guys to work 40 hours. We didn't know we had to work 45 hours. You can't even have lunch today. No wonder no one's in this room. So funny,

Justin Brady  29:25  

It was just a lever. I'm gonna go faster if I'm gonna win a NASCAR race if I put a better engine in my car. It's just idiotic. No one actually thinks that way in real life, or I'm going to lose 30 pounds. I guess people do think that way. I'm going to lose 30 pounds. If I buy a peloton. You actually have to understand how to bike first. You actually have to understand how to be committed and to eat less and to burn calories at work before you get the tool but everyone wants to go right to the tool they want to fast.

Robert Peterson  29:54  

That's why today the tool is a pill because we want the result without hard work, and so we'd pay twice as much three times as much 10 times as much for a pill that will get us there, rather than a goal sheet, and a 30 minute workout every three days. Although I will say that I think health awareness is rising to a new level, it doesn't help that we have a disease care system instead of a healthcare system. Our food system is completely out of alignment with the idea of health. There's a lot of shifts that would have to happen. They've all been driven by the marketplace. The idea that we had food companies that actually pay somebody to make the crunch more appealing to make the sound more enticing, too. These were marketing tools at the time, but in the end, it makes them look evil. At the time for the company, it was how do we make this more marketable? How do we make this more appealing to people? Of course, it leads down the well. We make it sweeter, we make it crunchy, or we make it more appealing to the taste buds. Of course, in the end, that turns out to be not good for people. 

Justin Brady  31:44  

That's what gives the market opportunity to the companies who come along and say, Hey, that red dye number five, they added, is not good for you. Here are the negative health effects. That gives when, and this is why I like the free market. You have someone that tries to capitalize on someone's emotions, and then you have and then maybe they do things unethically, which you can do in capitalism. Then you have another company that can pop up and say, that's unethical. That stuff's crap, we did research, you should choose our stuff. It's this nice little check and balance system we've developed.

Robert Peterson  32:19  

It's even starting to come around. Obviously, the last two years have been crazy for companies. Since the 80s, the CEO has been elevated to this most important status. As far as the stockholders were concerned, they started making choices that were no longer right. My dad worked for his company for 28 years. That's unheard of today. There's no loyalty to a company, there's no, long term benefit from staying with a company for a long time. We created this environment where the CEO is so important, because the stockholders want the stock value. They fired people that will or pink slip people that will to keep the numbers in the right place. There's a place coming where clients are obviously important, because they're the ones paying the bills. Stockholders get a benefit from the company doing really good. Now, there's a place where the employees have a place. Where we're companies that are really going to take care of employees, not just throw a game room in the corner and say, Oh, look what we given you guys, but actually giving their employees a voice giving their employees, not just a paycheck, and not just to the job, but actually a voice in the process and a voice in in just elevating them to a level to have a company that takes care of their clients takes care of their stockholders and takes care of their employees. I still think they might be five percent? 

Justin Brady  33:55  

It really does show the opportunity that someone has, as an entrepreneur and intrapreneur. If you're in a failing organization with corrupt leadership, there's not a lot you can do. Sorry, find a new job, which is easier said than done. When you have a current job, it's really easy to find a new job right? That's the best time to do it. It really does. The bottom line here is that, as an individual, people think the bar is so high. They think other people are competing so aggressively for those dreams and those spots they want to go after. The reality is, that's not true. The bar is actually pretty low. If you put in some effort, you'd be shocked at how fast you can hit your goals. I used to when I was doing live radio, I would have students say I want to be on the radio like that sounds really cool. I'm sure it took your time How old was I don't even, I'm sure it took you like 10 years to get into it. It's not really that hard. If you want to get into radio, go to your local radio station, and tell them you'll do board hopping. They have so much trouble finding anyone who's reliable to do board opping, the higher Yeah, they'll probably hire you. Then once they hire you, it's only a matter of time till they need someone to do a voiceover or an ad. Then it's only a matter of time till maybe you get a new spot like one of my producers at the show, super smart guy, he was a little older, because most of the time board ops are younger people. I was like, What is he doing here? He was my producer for the show and boarded up. He knew this, he had the long game in mind, it only took him like three months before he was getting airtime on my show. No, not even that it was like one month before he's getting airtime on my show, a couple months until he was getting like live segments. Fast forward, I don't even know, did it take him under a year, maybe a year. If that. He already had a new segment, he's already one of the news anchors on this radio station now. It doesn't, if you just apply yourself and aggressively pursue your goals. If it's your skill set, if it matches up with your natural skill set, it doesn't take that long these days.

Robert Peterson  36:00  

Just that idea of, willing to take some steps to move towards your dream to move towards your goal. The universe honors that. If the gold stays up here, the idea stays up here, the oh, I'm going to do this someday dream stays up here. When you put it into action, the universe honors that it starts to open a pathway and starts to put things together that bring the right people into the right places. Some people call it luck. Really, it's opportunity because you're taking action.

Justin Brady  36:38  

It's also about natural skills. If you're doing a good job aligning something that you want to do with natural skill, you're naturally going to pursue it more aggressively than everybody else. They're just going to filter out simple. If you just think of a race, and someone who trains a lot and really loves it is probably going to do better than the rest of the people are gonna get tired or not want to do it. It's very simple. If something is your natural ability, and you're aligning with something you want to do, you're probably going to be the one studying at night for fun. You think it's fun that you're reading books on it, you're studying on it, you're talking to other people who love it, you're naturally just gonna beat the tar out of other people if you put in the work. Some people rely on natural talent, which doesn't work. Some people rely on just hard work, which also doesn't work, you do have to have some net, it has to be a natural fit for your strengths. The people who do both just beat the living daylights out of everybody else. It's not even a competition. You have to put in you have to obviously have both.

Robert Peterson  37:37  

Absolutely. Let's talk a little bit about obviously making this transition into communication and PR. Let's talk about the value of connection and making connections and not just building a network but building a network that you're serving. That you're lifting up so that they're lifting you up. 

Justin Brady  38:05  

The reason I do PR and communication is because I realized that the best I naturally believed in was what David burkas calls the mousetrap myth. Build a better mousetrap the world will be the path to your door. That's basically false. It's very false. Actually, I was reading Rita McGrath's book, seeing around corners and seeing things like that. I think that's the title. Just this little tidbit it was in the introduction, I read the whole book, but in the introduction or chapter one or something she mentions that Orville and Wilbur Wright, and when they invented flight, there's this little tidbit that like it didn't even get written about for three until like three years later. You'd think human flight would be an achievement, everyone would be talking about it within days. It was a different time in 1807 or something like that. 1905 might you think, okay, at least three months. At least three months, six months, maybe a year? Nope. Not until three years later, the New York Times actually write something about it. Not until five years after if human flight was already achievable that most Americans, they didn't even think it was still possible. They didn't think human flight was possible. People think the internet's changed everything. Yeah, it has, but it's also injected a lot more fake stuff, too. It's still pretty hard to vet a true story. The same principle is true, great ideas don't actually bubble to the top. They just don't. If you have a better idea there. I think this great man isn't Howard Aiken and IBM has this quote, he's dead. Years ago, but he had this great quote, I think it's Howard Aiken. He's like, don't worry about people stealing your idea because if your idea is any good, you're gonna have to shove it down people's throat. That's very true. The reason if you're at your job and you have the better idea or you're an entrepreneur and you have the better company, it's naturally not go, people aren't going to see your idea for what it is they're not going to, and they can't naturally see the better idea what they can see. We all rely on low energy tasks, what we can see is the thing that's already working for us, and we calculate in our head, because most services sucks we calculate in our head, is it worth the time and energy spent to move to this new solution? Is that really worth it? We all do that mental math. We all usually decide it's not worth it unless someone else tells us about it. Unless the journalist we trust tells us about it unless a friend says have you tried. That's my obsession, as amplifying the best ideas, and people and entrepreneurs on planet earth. I know that without concrete strategies to get in front of other people, it's not possible. You have to So what I always tell people, the best way to utilize your relationships to get your message out there is to first identify your audience, who is the person that's going to buy your thing, your company you do service, find out the person who already influences that audience, go after them and trade them something of value, give them something of value. The classic PR way of doing this is like sending a blast out to 20,000 people and hoping someone comes back. Look at this company, it's really cool, you should write about it. I used to write for The Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, and I get these pitches all the time. Look at how cool this company is, you should write about it. That's not valuable for me. I don't, I don't care. I don't care about this company at all. I don't care about you. I don't care about your CEO. Sure. He's a nice guy. Maybe he has a pool table in the lobby. That's great, but I don't care. What the successful pitch is, hey, I know you write about this kind of stuff. I know you geek out about this kind of stuff. I know your readers will click on an article that has this kind of stuff. Here's this stuff. That's a trade, great PR, great amplification of your own message should never feel as though you're forcing something square peg round hole. It should feel as if you weren't doing a service to that person influencing your industry. I don't say I'm an influencer, like Tiktok influencer. Robert, you're an influencer to your audience. I'm trading something of value, hopefully, to get in front of that audience. Or if I'm pitching, a client of mine got eight paragraphs in the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago, because I reached out to the journalist and said, Hey, I know you're writing on this thing. This client has that information that will make your piece great. He's like, Oh, my gosh, you're right, let's interview. It's about Trey, it's about fine. Sometimes it's different. It's one of my clients.

Justin Brady  42:49  

It's Paul Allen, the ancestry guy is doing sorta calm right now. For him, I reached out to Paul's a really good guy. I reached out, and I said, Hey, I know you're doing this new company we've talked to because I met him for a podcast years ago. He was on my show. I reached out later and said, Hey, you and I talked about XY and Z, when you're in the studio, or when we were doing the interview, I would like to do this for you. That this could be valuable for your new company. In exchange, I want to do this thing, and we were going to collaborate on this little free deal. Eventually, it turned into a client relationship, which is great. Again, it's reaching out to someone with value. Whether it be a journalist, whether it be a conference, there are some conferences, I've reached out to where I was, I want to be in front of their audience of 1000s of people that are in my space. I reached out and said, hey, I can teach your attendees these three things. In exchange, I just want to speak there and have you put me on that stage. That's an exchange, they got value I got value should never be if you want to get your message out there, it should never be you trying to plead with someone to put your message on a stage or put your message in the paper, because they have an obligation to their audience, their listeners, their readers, their watchers. You need it to be a change, it needs to be an exchange. You can do everything right, you can do everything, you can have the perfect story, you can pitch it to the perfect journalist at the perfect time, and they can still turn it down because they don't see the value. At a baseline, it needs to always be a value exchange, to get into other audiences, to spread your message that way.

Robert Peterson  44:30  

It's so important that you're adding value to them. We talk about it all the time, that add value add value. For many people, the thought of adding value always comes to paying them rather than, creatively adding value in you know, hey, this is the information that your audience enjoys. This is some information that I've just found through research. We put those two things together and say hey, this is what you are. Are you just looking for it? Can I help you share it with them?

Justin Brady  45:03  

Paying is fine. That's still valuable. We call that advertising when you pay for that exchange. They don't see value in your message or story. They're like, your story sucks. If you want to give us money, sure, we'll put you on the page. That's advertising. The problem with advertising is, you'll notice, click through rate is 5%. It's probably lower at this point. The click through late rate and an ad digital ad these days is point 5%. When it started out, it was somewhere around 40%, which is kind of weird to think digital marketers would love that kind of conversion rate.

Robert Peterson  45:36  

Of course they did. That's3.5% so fast. In the beginning, it worked.

Justin Brady  45:43  

Exactly. This is why conversion rates are so bad, because people aren't, they're not actually exchanging anything of value, the editor or the writer, or the publication knows it. You put an ad on here, that's fine. Nothing happens. My clients don't ever pay for ads, and they get free placement because we exchange different value. We exchange value that's aligned. Great stories, great value in that way are aligned with the readers, watchers and listeners. But ads aren't. Now they can be right. I'm not dogging on ads, ads, and paying for placement, if it is the right message for the right audience. You don't have the time to develop a story for the journalist or wait for their time scheduled or the or the, their next piece, some of these. For one client, I pitched a Time Magazine, and it took almost two years to finally get that to go through. If you don't have the time, advertising is fine. It can be a very effective strategy if you do it right. I don't I'm not an AD shop. I do organic. I do trade value.

Robert Peterson  46:47  

You made me think of seeing some of these drug commercials. Then at the bottom of the commercial, it says see our ad in dog walker magazine you like that, where am I gonna get a magazine like that the alignment is that doesn't seem to be there, but those are always so weird.

Justin Brady  47:07  

I don't know anything about, I'm assuming there's a reason they do that. Is there some compliance? I don't know what that is.

Robert Peterson  47:14  

I don't know. Yeah, just like go

Justin Brady  47:17  

don't don't do business with us. Go get this magazine off the shelf and look at our ad. You're already watching the ad.

Robert Peterson  47:25  

It's really weird. It is really weird. All right, just so I'm gonna switch gears just a little bit. Share about your favorite date with your wife or Most Memorable Date with your wife.

Justin Brady  47:36  

Oh, wow. That'd be the first one. Definitely. I was in high school, and 17 years old. The only girl I ever dated, only girl I married, people think that's weird. No, we're not. We're not in some arranged marriage thing that forced us to just think that she was great. She didn't break up with me once but I got her back with a Nalgene bottle and a grilled cheese sandwich. The Secret by the way, is lots of butter. Lots of butters the secret there. Our first date was the most awkward. It was after a soccer game and I was like an idiot. I was playing soccer and I was like, well after I'll take her out. Like an idiot. I kind of forgot that the soccer field was newer. There our school was going through a transition. The soccer field was not near the school's location. We didn't have showers, like everyone and so I'm like, Wait, I didn't think this through like I'm gonna be smelly. I literally showered in the sink. By the time we got to Panera. It was a local Panera in New York near the Des Moines Metro. By the time we got there, it was already 745 730. Her curfew was 830 because her dad like I asked her dad what the curfew was. He's like 830 I don't like that he had no clue. He wasn't even ready for anybody to ask his daughter out. I asked him what's the curfew? She was young, she was 15 at the time. We got there. She took probably 15 minutes to order because she was nervous. We have to Wolf, the food down and hightail it back over to get her home. It was a really bizarre date but anyway, it worked out. We've been married for 16 years.

Robert Peterson  49:19  

That's exciting. It goes back to that choice. We talked about the one thing but for the one person but it's really a choice and you guys chose to latch on to each other and honor that commitment to each other and continue working without quitting working through the relationship stuff. But Recognizing that the value was there and that's the challenge in separating. When do we give up on this relationship? Or when do we give up on this business? Where's the value?

Justin Brady  49:57  

I would definitely say business advice is different than marriage advice.

Robert Peterson  50:01  

There are some similarities. There are some structures absolutely and I think in relationships people give up way too soon, because they totally don't get the help they need. They don't get, they don't set good expectations and learn the things they need to learn to make it work.

Justin Brady  50:18  

It was weird when we first got married, the night at the reception and everything and we're getting invited within like the next I would say three weeks we were getting advice like, oh, man, that first year is really hard. It's just brutal. It's really hard. We're like, oh, wow, marriage, marriage sounds terrible. When all you were listening to all this advice. First year was a breeze. Then we got that second year, though, that's a dude. We met every year for like, I would say the first five years, we were hearing how the next year, that was the tough one, and eventually hit me as like, Y'all just have really crappy marriages. It's not my fault that you guys have crappy marriages and are selfish. That's your fault. Don't project that on to me.

Robert Peterson  51:06  

Oh, good job, Justin. That's I think about, one of the things having teenagers having had teenage drivers and seeing the way our culture reacts to a teenage driver getting their driver's license, we make all these statements about get off the sidewalks all they're gonna be terrible, they're gonna wreck the car. What happens, they wrecked the car, they get into trouble. I made it, I made a commitment that anytime somebody shares, how they just got their driver's license, I'm like, Oh, they're going to be so great. They're going to do such a great job. I worked with my kids, my kids didn't have accidents, they didn't get tickets. They were great drivers, because I spent all this time encouraging and saying you're going to be a great driver, don't listen to these pieces of this voices of dissent around us. It's sarcasm, and I think it's cute, and everybody wants to participate in and have something, stupid to say, but we're not encouraging. It's kind of the same thing in business when we hear somebody started a business. Oh, that's a dumb idea. Oh, that's terrible. Why would you ever do that? Instead of saying, Hey, what are you selling? Can I buy something?

Justin Brady  52:19  

How can I help? Yeah, about it?

Robert Peterson  52:21  

How can I help tell you about what you do. I want to tell everybody else because I'm your friend, and I want to help support it. 90% that are stuck in autopilot. They're stuck, miserable in their own life, because they're choosing to be victims and look at all the sad that is all around us. There's plenty of that, trust me that, Facebook is just a plethora of all of that. In between, you get one or two good stories. The media loves all of that, because people eat it up. There's a reason the media portrays all the negatives. It's not because the media wants to, it's because that's what people pay for. Yeah, click on and exactly in our culture doesn't get it. We're like, Oh, this is so bad. Oh, this is so bad. It's like, stop clicking on it. They'll change.

Justin Brady  53:08  

It's true. Yeah, if you want to change the media, change yourself. Absolutely. People don't need it. They can and the media knows that. They know if they stick that story in your face, you're gonna click on it. The more times they're proven right, the more times they're going to shell out that kind of stuff. There are publications that have made a lot of money, by the way, on great journalism. Companies like the Wall Street Journal. They are the leader in circulation size for a reason, because they work very hard. They do great journalism, and I don't even know if they do, I'm sure they've done clickbait stuff, but they rarely do clickbait stuff. It's really good journalism. There's a reason they're the number one circulation size. There are a lot of people that want that.

Robert Peterson  53:55  

They're committed to sharing the business side and ensuring, very good journalism, which, nowadays in this space, where anybody can start a podcast, anybody can start a news blog, anybody can start spreading yuck. It's rare. Like you said, that two to 5% I think it and as long as they stay there, and they choose to stay there. It's like I was, I wrote a book last year. One of the things you look at all these people promising Amazon bestseller and a Wall Street Journal bestseller, New York Times bestseller and in New York Times doesn't even have like their system is so private that they don't even tell you how to get on the New York Times.

Justin Brady  54:42  

You can buy your way there. I talked with an author who got on the New York Times bestseller list and she told me yeah, I had a connection and they bought my way out there. Most people don't know that. They also don't know if you sell a lot of books. You can sell more books and the number one on the New York Times bestseller list and not get on the list right now. The Wall Street Journal list is not very, as far as I know, is not a game bubble. That's actually the one that should be the gold standard. Everyone thinks of the New York Times bestseller list. No doubt, if you get on the New York Times bestselling list, that's great. It's great PR, it's a great feather in your hat. It's very cool. That being said, people don't realize how much you can game the system. There was a verge article, actually, there's a recent article in Bloomberg that came out about people buying podcast slots for like 50 grand. That writer, it was all over the place. When that writer I reached out to her and I was super fascinated. Did you know that people can also buy their way on the top 50 list? She's like, Yeah, I wrote about it in The Verge in 2018. Sure enough, she had and one podcaster got in the top 50 list for five bucks. Click farms, it's pretty easy there fake everything fake Twitter accounts, fake Facebook accounts, fake listenership, there's so much fake

Robert Peterson  56:01  

it's tempting, I've gotten offers from other countries that have said, Hey, pay this fee, and we'll get you 10,000 downloads and all these things. I'm like, for what? It won't change anything. It gives me a number that I can tell somebody, but the truth is less than 1% of people that come on the show, ask about numbers. They want to be in a good conversation, and they want to have a good podcast. It's tempting, there's this place where you

Justin Brady  56:36  

can work honestly. If you buy your way on the top 50 and other listeners find it and subscribe, that can work. That stuff can work. However, here's the problem. It's not a good long game. Eventually you find out someone finds you out, the risk is so high that someone eventually finds out there and the story gets out somehow, or people do business with you and realize something's a little off. It never works. The people who try these strategies, and they're deceptive in their public image. I cannot remember the last one that actually worked long term. Maybe there's some that are working right now. They haven't had the veil ripped off their face yet, but it's such a high risk. I have seen so many contacts and friends of mine that have tried stuff like this. I'm like, Cool, boy, let me know how that works out. They justify it saying, hey, the system is corrupt. I have to do this in order to play in the corrupt system. I was like, good luck with that. I've never seen it work. Short term, but it burns out pretty fast.

Robert Peterson  57:46  

It's the same thing. Barry Bonds, and Armstrong both said, the system's gamed, and I'm supposed to be the best. Now I gotta compete against these best in the game system. I gotta do what they're doing. I'm sick and tired of Sammy Sosa hitting more home runs than me when I'm clearly a better baseball player than he is. That's the challenge. All three of them get ruined. Incorrect, reputation gets ruined. Of course, all the records of the fact that you were a better baseball player gets lost in the Asterix. It's a shame. I felt the temptation like I've been running my podcast for a year and got over 200 episodes. Sometimes you look at the numbers and you go, they just said, they said if I'm consistent, they said, I'm doing all the things they said to do. I'm getting beat by some kid who started his two weeks ago, and he's got 4000 downloads per episode

Justin Brady  58:43  

Wow, you did a tick tock dance with his shirt off or something. A lot of people I remember when I had a client, we did a, I was doing a content strategy for him there. At this point I had written in the wall, the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. I remember that we did this content strategy. For them, they're a very upstream company. It's a long story to get into why and who they are what they do, but basically, that no one that use, they do business with all the really top tech companies in the world from a manufacturing standpoint, and none of these companies Apple and Samsung, this isn't their clients, but just is an example. Maybe I don't know. None of them shop out, Hey, we're working on a new phone, who knows? Who knows a good manufacturing part, none of them. They had decided the best strategy was search engine optimized articles that answered questions their engineers were probably asking, and so that's what we did. I was super discouraged because some of these articles were getting like 20 clicks a week. I'm like, that is 30 clicks a week, like 50 On a good day, and I was like, This is bad. I was gonna change strategies. First I just came to the client. I was like, I'm going to take a beating for this. His name is Aaron and I And Aaron dude, here. Here's how we're doing and, and I didn't say we're gonna change strategies yet, but I'm gonna, here's how we're doing and the button he has cut me off. He's like, That's amazing. I didn't know that many people were reading this. I didn't know there were that many people working on these challenges. I'm like, wait, what? I said, I thought we were gonna do a lot better. He's like, how would we do better? He's like, there are only a handful of our competitors we have in the entire world. There are only maybe 10 to 15 people in the world working on these problems right now, for one deal for them would make their year right, maybe two to three deals would make their year. These pieces were highly targeted, he knew that only their target market were probably reading these. He's like if I have 20 target markets that are reading these every week. That's insane coverage we have never seen in this company's history. Fast forward to today that these SEO efforts represent half their overall revenue. They used to rely on just cold calls and sales and going to conferences. He's like, I never in my wildest dreams imagined this online channel could turn this much revenue. That's fair. I just had different I just, again, it comes back to numbers. Why do you want 20 million downloads, is 50 lessons good enough? It's like you have to go back and think about your actual goal because if you have 50 dedicated listeners on a podcast for anyone listening, and you're a pretty niche podcast, and you offer a niche service or something that's 50 people that are like consuming your messages. That's a pretty good little sales driver, you have to go in there. Everyone wants to compare themselves to, like, cable news ratings. That's a general mass message and now you know, you're like, a TV.

Robert Peterson  1:01:53  

there's our and they're watching TV while they're doing the dishes like getting a number. Now listen to anything. Justin, you've been talking to an entrepreneur audience for an hour and you are a leader with Justin's words of wisdom. What would you share?

Justin Brady  1:02:09  

Oh, gosh, I hate moments like this. Our words of wisdom are I guess the bar is low. Work hard, because it's not that hard to outpace everybody with your Gallup strengths. Pull out your Google podcast app and search for the Justin Brady show. Hit subscribe. We just had Cal Newport on this is where we're when we're recording it. The interview just went up today.

Robert Peterson  1:02:36  

Nice. Justin, thank you so much for hanging out, sharing some really great stuff and just having a great conversation.

Justin Brady  1:02:43  

Robert, thanks for the invite, was honored to be on the show. Really appreciate it.