267 Finding Your Entrepreneurial Style and Hit the Mark – Erik Fisher

Erik Fisher Shares:

  • Tips for Podcasters;
  • Finding YOUR Entrepreneurial Style;
  • How He Got Unstuck during Career Change
  • How He Moved Toward the Life and Career He Loves

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More about our featured guest Erik Fisher

Erik Fisher is a Productivity Podcaster on the show ‘Beyond the To-Do List' & Co-Author of the books ‘Ready, Aim, Fire! – A Practical Guide to Setting Achieving Goals' and ‘Hit the Mark! – Improve Your Focus, Boost Your Energy, Make the Most of Your Time'. Erik is also a community manager for Social Media Examiner.


Full Transcript

00:01 Joel: Welcome to ReLaunch, your daily dose of inspiring stories, fresh ideas, and practical steps and solutions. And you can think of this show as being your prescription for personal growth, and business success. And if you are a daily listener, welcome back and thank you for tuning in and being involved in the before and the after show online conversations on Twitter. And if you are new here, well thank you for tuning in and just know that you are among friends. And Pei, today's guest is going to be very easy to relate with. You know how we usually head over to the coffee shop every Friday, every Saturday, and sometimes we come out of there with a list of things to do that's about a mile long?

00:50 Pei Kang: Yeah.

00:53 Joel: You know what I'm talking about?

00:55 Pei: Absolutely.


00:58 Joel: Yeah, and we make them with the best of intentions. However, if we're not careful, we can set ourselves up for frustration and a lot of disappointment, by letting our want-to's overload our abilities and our time-to, right?

01:09 Pei: Yeah, I can feel my body getting tired just listening to this.


01:14 Joel: Well we've all fallen into that trap, and our guest today co-authored a great book. Its called, “Ready, Aim, Fire”, and it is a practical guide to setting and achieving goals and hitting the mark, and he is also the host of Beyond the To Do List. Red, hot podcast, definitely look that up if you haven't already. And he is a community manager for Social Media Examiner. You know our buddy Michael Steltzner.

01:44 Pei: Yeah.

01:45 Joel: Yeah.

01:45 Pei: He was on our show.

01:47 Joel: Absolutely. We love Michael.

01:49 Pei: Mm-Hmm.

01:49 Joel: Awesome stuff. Well, this is the first time we've ever had him on, so let's just go ahead and welcome him in to ReLaunch. Erik, welcome, welcome. Erik Fisher. Beyond the To Do List.

02:01 Erik Fisher: Hey, welcome, to myself.


02:05 Erik Fisher: No, thank you for having me. Its my pleasure to be here, guys.

02:07 Joel: This is gonna be a great show, and we've been really looking forward to this and we just love what's going on with the Social Media Examiner. Might touch on that a little bit more, but as you know, Erik, this show… It's all about the ReLaunch, and I generally ask people to talk about the most significant or the most transformational relaunch that they've been through in their life, and then we just kind of unfold the story from there, and… How do we start talking about Erik's relaunch, and unfold from there?

02:39 Erik Fisher: Sure. Well, I'll tell you this, my relaunch was honestly multi-staged and, in a sense, somewhat of a slow burn. Best way I can put that is, is I was working, doing a desk job, data entry.

02:56 Joel: Sure.

02:59 Erik Fisher: And didn't have any idea that I was gonna end up being able to do anything past that, even though I'd studied communications, and had video and audio production skills, that's just not what I was doing, and had debt, had a new kid. And this is the summer of 2005, and suddenly I'm sitting there at my desk and iTunes on my Windows machine, there at work, pops up and says, “There's an update,” and I'm like, “Okay, cool. Bathroom break.” I click okay, I go, I come back, and I go to listen to more… Pop my headphones in, listen to some music, and rock on, while I did data entry. And I'm like, “What's that thing over there that says podcasts?” And then suddenly I click in and I'm, “I don't get it, what is it? Its not a song, its too big for a song, it's still downloading. Its free. It looks like a radio… It's a radio show that's downloadable, weird.” And then I was hooked. So, from that point forward, I mean, podcasting has been part of my life. That has been… We're coming up on 10 years, this next coming summer.

04:07 Joel: Wow.

04:09 Erik Fisher: And…

04:10 Pei: So what did you do, when you first discover a… There's such a thing as podcasting, this 10 years… Maybe 10 years plus, and I assume you were still working at a data entry job for some time since then… Since that moment?

04:29 Erik Fisher: Yeah, I was, and it took a while, ultimately within a few shows, 'cause honestly the quality was not up to par compared to what we're familiar with these days.

04:41 Joel: Sure.

04:43 Erik Fisher: Back then I… It was people carrying around handheld recorders that were not… I don't… Name a popular brand of those right now. But they were recording into their gaming headsets, and I knew I could do better than that, and I knew I wanted to do a show. So I co-hosted here and there, jumped in, discovered Cliff Ravenscraft, when he started a few months later. When he started… He's the podcast answer man now, but back then he was sounding crappy, ‘sitting at a kitchen table' man.


05:12 Erik Fisher: And we became friends, and I was on some of his Lost shows earlier on. We did some radio drama Lost-type stuff. And I was just getting my feet wet. I knew that the skills were there, but I didn't have the confidence to do it.

05:27 Joel: Okay, so I wanna come back to confidence in a little while, 'cause that's a big piece to the entrepreneurial unfolding…

05:35 Pei: Definitely.

05:38 Joel: Of a dream. But let me ask you this… At what point did your relaunch… The relaunch in the podcasting, which is kind of what we're talking about, when did that become a necessity for you? And let me, kind of, break that down and, kind of, explain what I'm talking about, necessity being the key word. When we're talking about relaunch, we make a choice, right? We all know what a choice is. “Tomorrow I'm gonna do things differently. Tomorrow I'm going to start my diet,” or, “I'm going to begin this new thing or I'm going to create something.” We all make a choice, if we want a relaunch, but at some point it becomes a necessity in our lives. Not a necessity of, “Well, it's necessary that I do this,” but, “It's really necessary that I experience myself and allow other people to experience me in this way.” So was there a certain point for you, Erik, when it became a relaunch of necessity? In other words, “I have to do this.”

06:38 Erik Fisher: Yeah, I would say… And again, jumping forward a few years or so, there was a point where I had reached out and I was doing a podcast that I was co-hosting with Cliff Ravenscraft called, “Social Media Serenity”. After about almost two years of doing that with him, he phased it out of his regular line-up of shows that he was producing. And, honestly, I was so grateful to him for that and for the fact that he was gonna let me do some social media segments, which I was also then in the know about. That knowledge base had been built up as time went on, not just about podcasting but social media. And so, that unknowingly had set me up to be heard by… Again, Michael Steltzner was listening to that, to Cliff's show. So was Dan Miller, Michael Hyatt. So guys that I consider friends now, heard about me through Cliff letting me be on that.

07:36 Erik Fisher: But as he phased out that show, I knew there was a gaping hole inside me to do a podcast, that had to be done. I knew that I had to figure out what it was that I had to say, what I wanted to talk about, what I wanted to learn even, which that's definitely the route that it ended up going because it was the productivity itch inside of me that needed to be scratched. And I needed to learn more and talk with people that knew that stuff. And so, I just knew that there was no way I was gonna move forward without having some kind of online home base, platform, whatever word you wanna use, but that it wasn't gonna be a blog, it was gonna be a podcast. At first I thought it might have been a blog, but I just knew podcasting was what I needed to do.

08:25 Joel: So let me ask you this. How did you build up your own confidence? Not just in the podcasting world, but your inner confidence, because that's really what it takes. And I think a lotta times… Well, at least I, with good intentions, I focus on the output. Right? If we wanna change the output, what do we do? We focus on the output, but the best of intentions. That's what we do or that's what I do, or have done. But really it's, you focus on the input and what's going on inside you. So having said that, how did you build that inner confidence?

09:04 Pei: Yeah. I think a lotta times when we wanna start a blog, we'll ask, “Will anybody read it?” Or when we start a podcast, “Will anybody listen?” So yeah, if you could take us down that journey, Erik.

09:22 Erik Fisher: Yeah. And, honestly, this is where some of the slow burn comes in, is I was able to know, from that point in time… This was, let's see, about six months prior to launching, “Beyond the To Do List”. At that point I knew if I were to start a show, no matter what it was I did, people were already gonna listen, because I'd built up enough networking, enough community, enough friends and, even to a certain extent, family online and I knew that they would support me no matter what I did. And that's important, because at that point it kinda gives you this freedom to say, “Even if I don't have skills, I can practice in public with these people and they'll give me honest advice, and they'll give me critical… Constructive criticism as well as honest, uplifting feedback.”

10:16 Erik Fisher: And so, I knew I had the ability to do that, but before I started I wanted to know, “Do I have something to say?” So honestly, I recorded a demo show of me just talking about what I was gonna be talking about, what I was gonna be doing. And I sent it to a couple of friends, who were podcasters, and I just said, “Give me an honest listen to this. Would you listen to this show or do you know that there would be people who would listen?” And having them write back and just say, “You gotta got for it, you just gotta start. You've got something, people will listen,” and it was just that confirmation. And it took a little bit of time, but ultimately I then started listening to shows, on purpose, that I thought, “Oh, if I take a little bit of this and a little bit of that,” without emulating or copying them, but just inspired by them, I should be able to do something that I enjoy doing and other people enjoy listening to.

11:13 Joel: Awesome. What a wonderful response. Go ahead, Pei.

11:15 Pei: Yeah, I… You brought up a very good point that the prep work, or you didn't know at the time you were doing the prep work, you build up a network of people who love you, support you, no matter what topic you choose to speak or write about. So… ‘Cause one of our experts, Don Power, on our show, he talked about build a network before you need it. So, without getting to the technology side of it, could you expand on that concept, as well?

11:51 Erik Fisher: Sure, yeah. I mean, I think that ultimately being friends with people online, without any expectation of having to have reciprocity… And there's nothing wrong with sharing other people's stuff, and getting to know them, and reaching out to them, and hoping that they'll reach back out to you and get to know you, as well, but if you do it with ulterior motives of, “Oh, I hope that if I share their stuff enough times, maybe they'll tweet one of my things once,” or whatever. That's not unconditional friendship, that's not real reciprocity. That's just give and take, and trading. That's not friendship, but… And I don't think it's even networking, necessarily. Although networking is, to me a little bit more business like and less relational. I tend to go more on the relational side of things, and so…

12:42 Joel: Fair enough.

12:42 Erik Fisher: Yeah. I don't follow tons of people on Twitter, because if I do I'll follow… It's effectively me following no one. So I try to keep the circles… There's the innermost circle of me, and then there's the immediate one following, which is where my wife and my two kids are, and then there's concentric circles outwardly extending. And for me, being an introvert, which you probably can't tell from the fact that I'm talking so much, but I'm behind a microphone, and I'm not staring somebody in the face right now, and that's not to say you can't come up to me if you see me in person and I'm super shy or anything, it's just my energy comes from solitude and recharging that way, versus recharging by connecting with people. And so I have to be very careful about how much and how non-strategic I am with that. And that plays a lot into the whole social media aspect of things, as well.

13:46 Joel: Indeed. Great tips and response there. Two things and then we'll, kinda, come in for a landing. I really appreciate your time today. You were talking about things that you have learned about yourself.

14:01 Pei: I saw that, too.

14:02 Joel: Yeah, okay. Exactly. And how you are able to harness these things. So, what else have you either learned or you have re-learned about your own style, way of doing things.

14:17 Erik Fisher: Sure. Let me put it this way. My father was an entrepreneur, and we didn't get a long, we didn't have a great relationship. We honestly didn't have lots of money as I grew up. He had his own business of restoring hardwood floors and carpeting and things like that. So different people's homes, things like that, even larger buildings. I didn't find that appealing at all, and so in the past five to seven years as that whole mix of podcasting online marketing, social media, entrepreneurship had begin to boom, I've been part of it, but I've not felt like an entrepreneur and, honestly, I still don't know that I would call myself that, so much as I am part of a team. With my podcast, it's just me…

15:12 Joel: Sure.

15:13 Erik Fisher: But as the stuff I do with Social Media Examiner, what I learned is, is I actually would rather be part of a team. I like the give and take, the push and pull, and the teamwork mentality of something. So, if I would ever to do some kind of another entrepreneurial adventure, or venture I guess, whatever you wanna call it… I think it's both.


15:37 Erik Fisher: You probably will not see me doing something solo. It's why I co-wrote books. I didn't do anything on my own. However, the show even, to me, doesn't feel solo to me, because it's a collaborative thing every time I sit, talk with somebody.

15:50 Joel: You bet!

15:51 Erik Fisher: So, it's all about give and take. It's all about the sum of the parts is greater… In the end it's greater than the individual sum of the parts. So, I now operate with that in mind, and once that shift happened… I think it was about a year ago when I realized that and I just had the, “Aha,” moment, to steal that from John Lee Dumas.


16:14 Erik Fisher: I realized, “Oh, my gosh. I have this aversion to being an entrepreneur, because of my father.” What does that mean? You know what? I, honestly, still don't know. I'm still wrestling with it to a bit, even this day. And I still have fear, but that doesn't keep me from starting new things, or keeping going.

16:32 Joel: I love that. Still have fear, but you've become at peace with it, to the point where you can still move forward anyways.

16:41 Erik Fisher: Mm-Hmm.

16:42 Joel: Fantastic. Okay. “Ready, Aim, Fire”.


16:46 Joel: Let's talk about this practical guide to setting and achieving goals. We don't have enough time today to really explore the book, like we probably need to, but if you could just kinda nutshell, and give us a handful of tips that we can use…

17:04 Erik Fisher: Sure.

17:05 Joel: Go ahead, Pei.

17:05 Pei: Well, before you do that, can you explain why this is so necessary, for you to co-write this book?

17:15 Joel: Good point, good question.

17:17 Erik Fisher: Feeling stuck, honestly. It just felt like, “Man, there's a lot of people out there, who don't know what to do, don't know how to honestly go through the journey that I've been going through,” and when I compared notes with Jim Woods, we realized we both have something to say on this, let's start working on it together, and we'll actually get it out there, versus, kinda, just keep wishing, and hoping, and dreaming, and drafting, without publishing. And so we did. We started talking about it and we realized what people needed to hear was, there are other people that feel the exact same way you do, that they are stuck or… Whether they've not started something, they've started something and failed, or they just don't know what the next thing is. This book walks you through daily for a month, how to daily, kinda, assess what does success look like in all these key areas of your life and how to pick something and start working on it and have the momentum from that start spilling over into the other things that you want to change, as well.

18:19 Joel: Awesome. Go ahead, Pei.

18:20 Pei: Excellent. So now, Erik, you got me curious, if you look back, of course, through our lives, we can have times that has lots of momentum, things going for us, and there are times that's just so plateaued or worse, like you described in the ‘stuck' place. So if you look back, could you… I mean, real briefly, pick one place in your life that you're really stuck?

18:51 Erik Fisher: I would say that it was probably back when I was… I mean, honestly, the podcast thing came at the right time. I felt stuck, like I'd already been doing the data entry thing for about two years or so. It's not what I graduated to do. We had a baby coming on the way. I'd been married for three years or so, at that point and I just kept thinking, “This is not what life was supposed to be like.” And within about a year or two after that point, things started to change and transform and it wasn't all at once, but I can still kinda trace it back to that point of, that was when the car was stuck in the ditch, and gradually it got pushed out, and then it started moving.

19:36 Joel: That's a good analogy, right there.

19:37 Pei: Mm-Hmm.

19:37 Joel: Okay, coming it for a landing, if you've… And Erik Fisher is our guest today. “Beyond the To Do List” is the name of the podcast and Social Media Examiner. He is the community manager, so he's the to go guy there. Talking about the book, as we kinda wrap it up, “Ready, Aim, Fire,” can you give us a tip or two, of how we can set the goals, achieve them, and hit our mark?

20:10 Erik Fisher: Sure. I think, let's see here, let's come up with something really cool. I would say, sit down, and this is a David Allen trick, but I'm gonna say it anyway. You sit down and you write down all of the things are on your mind right now. Do a brain dump or a brain… Whatever you want to call it. Just write it all down. Write it out and then realize that what's on your mind is stressing you out or making you feel stuck, even if you're maybe not, and then you can then start to, either push those things… You can take some of those and say, “Oh yeah, it would be nice to start a new whatever it is next year.” Or, “Oh, I do need to make sure that we're on track for this Christmas party that's coming up.” Or, “I do need to make sure I don't miss so-and-so's birthday and send a card,” and different things like that.

21:03 Erik Fisher: And you'll find that once you start pulling those things out and putting them in place and organizing them, as well as asking, “Huh, I am stressed out about this thing in particular, whatever it is,” you can look at it and say, “Well, what does success really look like for that?” And often, we don't really ask that. We say we have priorities. We say that family's important or career's important or health is important. And we say we have priorities, but we really don't have any specific goals written down or named and any kind of pathway to any kind of named point we've said we wanna meet, as a goal in those areas. And so, starting to even just dream again… And even if it's not to lead to a point where you're making exact goals, by, let's see… Priming the pump, you can start having the water flowing again and that momentum then builds into more thoughts and feelings and passions and actions, etcetera, so.

22:10 Joel: Erik Fisher is the guest. “Ready, Aim, Fire” is the name of the book. We will, of course, include the link to that book, plus all of the social media hotspots in our broadcast show notes. And Erik, this has been great. I'm so glad that were finally able to make this happen, and we look forward to seeing you… And I'm sure we'll see you at next year's Pod Movement.

22:34 Erik Fisher: Yes.

22:35 Joel: Fantastic. You're welcome back here on the show anytime, Erik. Have a wonderful rest of your day.

22:39 Erik Fisher: Awesome. Thanks for having me.

22:41 Joel: Bye, bye.

Connect with Erik on Facebook, Twitter and his website.

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Joel Boggess

Keynote Speaker | Corporate Trainer | Award-winning podcaster I help teams ignite their courage, take bolder steps, and get greater results. Together, we create possibilities that bring empowerment, meaning, and financial impact.

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