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The ROI Online Podcast - Episode #4 Charlie Hoehn - Marketing Master Plan

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In this episode of the ROI Online Podcast, host Steve Brown interviews Charlie Hoen, a young entrepreneur, author, and public speaker.

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Charlie graduated amid the 2008 recession and, like a lot of millennials at the time, found entering the workforce difficult. After several months of looking for a job that he would actually enjoy doing, he decided there had to be a better way.

Conventional wisdom wasn't working. He started approaching entrepreneurs with a proposal to help them improve a specific aspect of their business - for free. If they liked his work, at the end of a trial basis, they'd discuss payment. It worked. Charlie was working with some of his heroes in the world of business.

He always wanted to be an entrepreneur; he knew finding successful entrepreneurs and sharing ideas with them was how to start. In 2009 he authored his first book, Recession Proof Graduate. He went on to write two more books, Play It Away: A Workaholic's Cure for Anxiety and Play for a Living: Quotes from People Who Found Joy in their Work, and Changed The World.

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Charlie also delivered a speech at a TEDx event at Carnegie Hall. His strategy was to create value and stop hoping he would get the job, but instead start as though he was already hired. His highest motivator? Play. Enjoying the work is a massive part of the battle for Charlie.

In his book, Play It Away A Workaholic's Cure for Anxiety, Charlie discusses hitting a wall and his experience with burnout. At a point in his life where he was experiencing a lack of sleep, overstimulation, and no job, he tried every cure he could think of - but nothing seemed to help. It was a dark time and not dissimilar to what a lot of people may be experiencing now in quarantine.

His breakthrough came when he read the book Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown. He started introducing play into his life, and it helped cure his anxiety. It also reminded Charlie why he loved his job in the first place: work was where he went to play.

 

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Here are the links to Charlie's books on Amazon:

Play It Away: A Workaholics Cure for Anxiety
Recession Proof Graduate: How to Get the Job You Want by Doing Free Work -
Stress Hacks: A Guide to Enjoy Life More 


Get a physical copy of Steve Brown’s book, The Golden Toilet.


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Topics: Marketing, Communication, Authors, Small Business, hiring, employment, mental health, play

Charlie Hoehn : 

I would approach them and say, "I found this problem that you have. I'm a huge fan of your company. By the way, I'm a huge fan of your work. But I found some areas where you can improve. Here's where you could improve. And here's how you can do it. I will do it for you. And I will do it for free on a trial basis. And after that trial basis is over, you can either use my work or you can throw it away. But all I would ask is if, at the end, you're really happy that we discuss a paid arrangement." And that works like gangbusters. And so I went from being a struggling, like you said a struggling kid, basically, in my parents basement laying on my bathroom floor.

Steve Brown : 

That makes me laugh.

Charlie Hoehn : 

Yeah, I went from that to being able to not just create work opportunities on demand but create them with my heroes, my idols.

Steve Brown : 

Hi, everybody. Welcome to the ROI Online Podcast, where we believe you, the courageous entrepreneurs of our day, are the invisible heros of our economy. You not only improve our world with your ideas, your grit and your passion, but you make our world better. I'm Steve Brown. And this is the place where we have great conversations with winners just like you while we laugh and learn together. Welcome back everybody to the ROI Online Podcast. And today, I'm really excited to introduce you to Charlie Hoehn. Charlie is this unique young man that I've met, and I really admire, and I want you to get to know him. So Charlie has a Wikipedia page. And that's something that not a lot of us have, because you can't make your own. Someone's got to go in there and do it for you. So that's one tick off the bucket list. He's already done. And I'm going to read some stuff here. Charlie was disappointed with the lack of quality employment prospects after he graduated. So he signed up and participated in a virtual internship with Seth Godin. Later in the year, he worked for Ramit Sethi to assist him in speaking gigs. And in the launch of his book, "I Will Teach You to be Rich." In 2009, Hoehn published an ebook called "Recession Proof Graduate." And in 2011, Charlie delivered a speech entitled "The New Way to Work" at a TEDx event at Carnegie Mellon University, which was featured on NPR's Ted Radio Hour home worked for Tim Ferriss until 2013. And then in 2014, Hoehn self-published a second book, "Play It Away: A Workaholics Cure for Anxiety." Then, as if that wasn't enough, in 2017 Hoehn decided to raise $36,000 on a Kickstarter for self-published coffee table book, "Play for a Living: Quotes from People Who Found Joy in Their Work and Change the World." Charlie, welcome to the ROI Online Podcast.

Charlie Hoehn : 

Thank you, Steve. That was a lovely reading of my Wikipedia page.

Steve Brown : 

Nice. Can you tell us a little bit about your background? Obviously, I read a little bit there.

Charlie Hoehn : 

I was gonna say, do you want me to read my Wikipedia?

Steve Brown : 

How did you stumble into all of the unique opportunities you had at such a young age? It's fascinating to me.

Charlie Hoehn : 

It was initially by necessity, but it was something I thought about ever since I was a kid of seeing adults doing jobs that they clearly didn't like or or get much energy from. And that always confused me. Like what are we working toward? Why are... What's this all for? And so I was constantly thinking about, "How can I get paid to basically just be myself? And just be a person and not something that I hate?" You know? Even just the idea of wearing uncomfortable clothing day in and day out because it was required just seemed crazy to me, and for decades was incomprehensible. So it's just little things like that. It's like I want to decide when I wake up, I want to decide what I wear. I want to decide when I can eat, go to the bathroom. That's it. Like these are table stakes. So when I graduated from CSU, Colorado State University, in 2008, it was the recession of course, and so everybody was kind of in the same pool where all of a sudden entry level jobs were being competed for by people in their 30s and being snatched up by people with experience. And graduates were just kind of left with nothing. And it also seemed, yeah... And I spent a couple months doing this, which is looking at job listing sites, you know, day in and day out, you're looking at really dry hollow descriptions of jobs. "You must have these requirements," which almost nobody has. And if they do have those requirements, they're usually employed. And so it felt deflating, you know, you're applying for these jobs you know you're not gonna get. You know you're getting ignored. There's software that's ignoring you. It's not even human beings looking at your stuff on the other end. You're patting your resume. I remember taking a four-hour class on how to write your resume. As a graduate. As a college graduate, you had nothing on your resume. There's nothing you can say on there that's attractive, or that will make you stand out.

Steve Brown : 

Especially if you're putting on there. I want to wear whatever I want to wear. Get what I wanna get, and I want to do whatever I want to do.

Charlie Hoehn : 

It's just a picture of me in a bathrobe, sitting there saying, "Give me a job, buddy." It felt like Groundhog's Day, those few months of waking up coming upstairs to eat breakfast in my parents house, and having you know, notes from my parents like, "Hey, there's a job here." So I'm getting stuff in my inbox that are suggestions from them. And like... All due respect to them, I didn't like any of the jobs that I saw. None. Right. And so I got two offers. One was from a staging company like a physical labor staging company. And I actually went to that twice, because I just was like, "I need to do something." And it was all people, most of which I'm guessing either had a criminal record. I have no problem with that. Fine. Or maybe had a high school degree, it was hard to tell. But they were all chained smoking. They all hated their jobs. And that was one of over 100 jobs that I got offered with a college degree. And so I remember one day just kind of laying on my bathroom floor and thinking, "Everything that I was told about how to start a career and get a good job is either incomplete at best or just flat wrong. Conventional wisdom is nonsense. It's totally wrong." So I have to just start from the ground up and create a strategy that I think could work. And so at the time, I'd been doing a virtual internship with Seth Godin. It was something that he opened up to thousands of people. And I think there were 200 super active people at the beginning and there were ten super active at the end, and I was one of those ten. I reached out to another author named Ramit Sethi. And I offered to him to work for free. But I didn't just come to him and say that I noticed that Ramit was really good on video, but he never did video, because video is cumbersome. It's tedious it back then it definitely was. It's much better now. And I'd been a video editor just as a hobby for years. And so I offered, "Hey, if you shoot a video, I'll make it look good." And I came to him and I said, "I actually put this video together for you. Here's a sample in my work. What do you think?" And he was like, "Oh, amazing. Let's definitely do work together." And we started forming this relationship, which to me was this huge breakthrough, right? Because I was like, "OK, so now I know Seth Godin. And now I know Ramit Sethi who are two heroes of mine in there. They're well known in their respective fields. I got a foothold with them, but couldn't make any headway with any companies. Maybe I can just duplicate this strategy." And so I started approaching entrepreneurs and business owners because they had money to pay. And I would approach them and say, "I found this problem that you have. I've been reviewing your company. I'm a huge fan of your company. By the way, I'm a huge fan of your work. But I found some areas where you can improve. Here's where you could improve. And here's how you can do it. I will do it for you. And I will do it for free on a trial basis. And after that trial basis is over, you can either use my work or you can throw it away. But all I would ask is if at the end, you're really happy that we discuss a paid arrangement." And that works like gangbusters and so I went from being a struggling, like you said, a struggling kid basically, in my parents basement laying on my bathroom floor

Steve Brown : 

That makes me laugh. You laying on the bathroom floor.

Charlie Hoehn : 

Yeah, I went from that to being able to not just create work opportunities on demand, but create them with my heroes, my idols. And then after doing great work with them... That's all they needed. Right? This, this strategy works for anybody who is not only ambitious, but can do great work. And that's a lot of people. And so, I was able to start working with Tim Ferriss. I was able to start working with Tucker Max, and I still work with Tucker max to this day it over a decade later. Tim and I have collaborated on many things over the years. I've worked with him for three years, all paid. And you know, Tim introduced me to the founders of YouTube, the founders of Ubers. He let me work on a New York no. 1 New York Times bestselling book when I was 23. And they introduced me to... Gosh, I mean, I got approached by the former CEO of Disney. a fortune 10 company contacted me, sought me out. And this is not to brag. It's just to illustrate that like it was world changing, this strategy. So that's why I wrote that book, initially, "Recession Proof Graduate" because it seemed insane to me that no one advocated for this. And then when I started studying it, it was like, "Wait a second, Warren Buffett did this. Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter and Square did this. Ryan Holiday, who's now one of the best top selling authors in the world. He did this he and he and I did it." We figured it out to say... We're the same age, and we ended up working with similar people. And we figured out this strategy like in parallel, and so it was like, I kept seeing really successful people. And actually the Former CEO of Disney, Michael Ovitz, he approached me after seeing my TED Talk. And he was like, "I just wanted to tell you, I thought it was great because that's exactly how I started my career." So it was like, these super successful people knew that the strategy was not to apply for a job, like you would audition for American Idol. It was to create value. It was to start as though you'd already been hired. And say, "I'm just here. I'm already playing the game, whether you say yes or not. You can guide me and make sure I do it well, but I started. I'm not waiting for you to pick me." And so it was a huge game changing shift. And I've taught it to a lot of people. I've seen phenomenal results from a lot of people. I've had people tell me stories of them getting hired by Steve Jobs, literally on the spot, doing stuff like this when Steve Jobs was alive, of course, so super powerful. I'll share one more story then I'll stop. I know I've been going for a while. A reader of mine reached out in 2009, I can't remember. And he and I talked on the phone. His name was Ryan Graves. And at the time he was living in Chicago and he told me that he'd landed a job with Foursquare in California, by basically... He loved Foursquare, but no one knew what that was in Chicago. And so he went around door to door to 20 businesses, and showed them the application, show them the app. And then he set up their accounts and got them started on it. And then he asked every CEO, every business owner to email the CEO of Foursquare on the same day. I wonder if he got hired. He did. And then he leveraged that job into his next job, where he was one of the first things three employees at Uber, and he became CEO of Uber. And he was a billionaire by the time he was 35. And so, like people have such resistance to working for free, which is crazy to me because it's like you've been working for free for over a decade in school. You never got paid. So what is your resistance to creating some projects for yourself right now with the people you want to work with today? Anybody can do it.

Steve Brown : 

And I was thinking the other day of my journey is.., You know how many times I interviewed for jobs and was told no? I made two really strong runs at becoming a State Farm agent. They said, "Meh." And the Think about how many times we get rejected trying to live up to someone else's standard when probably that story right there is very common amongst business leaders, really good ones. Or entrepreneurs who just said, "Well, I'm gonna go start my own business." Well, the reason you didn't get hired is because you didn't have all these qualifications and past resume of all this. So they said no. And they're evaluating you based on your past performance not being able to see what your future value would be. And yet, we have it. But we struggle with this thing in our mind that whether we give ourselves permission to go ahead and own it, just do it anyway.

Charlie Hoehn : 

Yes, yeah. And it's... To that point, it's not fair to the employer either to have that process. It's like, you're trying to figure out how to put somebody on your payroll and insert them into your precious company culture based on bullet points in a single piece of paper on their past performance? Which anybody can lie about, by the way. Like, you have to do your due diligence. It's crazy.

Steve Brown : 

I don't even... You know, when I interview people, I don't even look at their resume. Really, if I... You know, the interviews I love are the ones, so the typical setup is you're going to come to me wanting a job. So I'm gonna sit and interrogate you and try to discern. If I was to flip it and go, "How about this? You asked me all the questions you want to ask." If you lead with, "How bout I do this? How bout I do this? I was studying your business, and I'm seeing where you're struggling in this area. So I'm going to do this for a bit. I'll do it for free. Just to be fair, if you like my work, would you hire me?" That's what you did.

Charlie Hoehn : 

That is exactly what I did. And I'm curious as a business owner yourself, if someone came to you with that offer, what would your response be?

Steve Brown : 

I admire those people because I've done that I relate with them because I've thought those things myself. I respect them and I do I try to figure out a way to let them try to feel into our organization. I struggle with... So you come to me, I'm a business owner. So what I'm supposed to do is pick a great fit off a short little conversation. There's a lot of risk for me. And if you and I were going to go hunting, let's say we're going to go hunting pheasants, but we didn't have dogs. So we stopped by the rescue center. And we walk in there and there's all these dogs lined up. What kind of dog would we go and pick to take with us? It'd be a Labrador or it'd be a bird dog. Right? We walk in there and it'd be real clear to us. The dog we need to hire for this position that would be set up for success. We wouldn't take a poodle. We wouldn't pick a border collie because they're going to be scared of, you know... They ruin everything. Well, that's what we're doing. But we can't discern our pedigree so to speak, when we're seeing someone sort of walk in and go, "Man, I'm been looking at this." You're identifying your pedigree, if you will.

Charlie Hoehn : 

This is who I am. Yes, exactly right.

Steve Brown : 

And the people that you looked up to, they love that they respected that. And then they would do what... You were so important to them they introduced you to other people. I just love that. So, in that process, Charlie, there's this thing I'm observed in... I've started my business. And I'm sitting there a year or two later, and I'm in a room with some other folks, and I overhear a conversation across a room of someone talking about my company, as if we'd been around for years, and what they were looking forward to in the future. And I was, like, shocked how they saw my company, compared to what I knew about my company, right? I knew all the uglies. I knew all the struggles. I knew all of the doubts and fears, and it really convicted me. I needed to start seeing my worth of this job in a different way. And I realized it was my mindset or my identity, seeing what it really is in the future, not what it was in the past. I read a blog the other day that you had posted that talks about... that really lands on this area. Talk to us about at some point you started seeing yourself as this person that could be very valuable to Seth Godin, or, or Ramit or Tim, or whoever. Where did that change happen? And when did you give yourself permission? You had to give yourself permission to do that, even though other people saw you as valuable, but you still had to go, "Okay, I'm gonna own it." Talk to us about that.

Charlie Hoehn : 

Yeah. So this is really about like, probably getting over imposter syndrome. And having the confidence to approach somebody with something like this. And even beyond if you're a business owner, like how do you have that confidence in your own value that you're providing to the world? And I think the big thing for me is I and I still don't... It's not about me. It's really the people that I approach, yes, I have a goal in mind. Yes, I have my own selfish needs. And I know selfish is a loaded word for some people, but like, let's call it what it is. I have what I want from the scenario, but everything I communicate around is about their problem. And how they are in pain in some way, shape or form. So I think this applies to not just business owners, but graduates too, which is: You have to almost think of yourself and treat yourself like you're the doctor. Like you are the one who's coming to them with a diagnosis and you're putting your heads together and saying, "How can we resolve this together?" So it was less... Like, I knew I was competent with my skill sets. But I never came to people and said, "Hey, I'm a video editor. I've been editing video for years. I'm really good at it." It was none of that. No, the structure. The skeleton of the conversation matters a lot. And that is, "I'm a huge fan of you. And your work has impacted me in this specific way." So I'm not just blowing smoke like I would send to Ramit like, for instance, "I was able to create a budget. Here's a snapshot of my budget because of you," or whatever.

Steve Brown : 

Let me stop. Let's stop right there. Just what... I'm interrupting. When you say you were a fan of Ramit, you were Connecting with him yet at some level of why he does what he does. And it must have been congruent with why you believe what you believe or why you feel your why, I mean, your why you want to help people. It was coming from a similar area. Would you disagree?

Charlie Hoehn : 

It was sincere like saying I liked him as a person. And we all on a deep level wants to be liked and approved up for the work that we do, no matter how successful you get. But beyond that, the reason I love working with entrepreneurs is because they take responsibility for other people's problems. Right? And I've always identified with that, where it's like, "Look, we can't all solve every problem. We all need help." And so to approach people who I knew were already having a big impact on other people, and say, "Hey, if I just dial you in a little bit in this one area, you will affect thousands of people in a more positive way." Right? Like, these aren't little things; they have ripple effects across society. And so I always wanted to be an entrepreneur myself. And at that age, I was like, "I just need to find the smartest entrepreneurs I can find that are operating in this digital era that we're in." Seth Godin was the only one who was talking about permission marketing back then, for instance, and everybody else was talking about direct mail and stuff. And so I wanted to learn from them, and help them do their jobs better. That was really it.

Steve Brown : 

it doesn't sound like you were this, "I'm gonna make a billion dollars." You don't strike me as that money was your motivation. It seemed your motivation is, "I want to help other people be successful."

Charlie Hoehn : 

And that's the majority of people. Yeah, like at our core, the primary motivators for exceptional performance. The lowest one is money. The next highest one is pressure. So you have economic pressure, pressure of your family, pressure of your boss. The next highest one is purpose, "Hey, I'm on a mission. We're going to Mars," you know. The highest one is play. That is the highest motivator for exceptional performance. I just wanted to have fun with great people, you know, and I wanted to do my crafts, which were video and marketing. Like they feel effortless to me. You know, they're fun. Yes. So, yeah, it's hard to distill all that into like a narrow thing. But money was never a motivator. I've always just wanted to be able to cover my expenses, and then some and build a great life now for my family. Money to me is just a scorecard for how much value you're bringing to other people, how many people you're affecting, and so beyond that, I think it's just like, yeah, it's a scorecard.

Steve Brown : 

Most every day for the last ten years, I've worked with business leaders such as you. And there's this common conversation that I've had over and over. And it goes a little like this, "Steve. I see other brands excelling online, and I feel we need to do the same because my customers are expecting it of us. I'm not sure where to start. But I think we need to redo our website. What's the best way to approach this?" And this is why I wrote my book, "The Golden Toilet: Stop Flushing Your Marketing Budget into Your Website and Build a System That Grows Your Business." It's a book designed to empower my business leaders so that they have the words and the proper expectations, to communicate what it is they really need and get what they really need instead of something that's sold to them. It puts them in a position of confidence and clarity. And so to get this book, it's a great read. You can go to Amazon, get it there, or you can go to the goldentoilet.com, and click on "Get your copy." Now, back to our conversation. So you've gotten the zone, and I'm... From your book "Play It Away." Here you are working for Tim Ferriss by every measure of success. Your parents are probably even like, super proud of you. Here you are. You're setting this guy up and you're a big... He's depends on you to help him pull off this great event that was an extreme success. But in the background, what people weren't seeing was you were you were way overwhelmed. You were burning the candle, not on both ends, but if there were three.

Charlie Hoehn : 

Burning it in the middle

Steve Brown : 

So what happened?

Charlie Hoehn : 

So there's one inaccuracy about what you said, which was my parents are super proud. Now, I'm just teasing. They were actually very proud, but it took them a long time to understand like, "Oh, Charlie's working with people who are well known and established." Like they'd never heard of Tim Ferriss. They had no idea. They're like, "Charlie's working with random people on the internet. Well, at least he's doing something, you know."

Steve Brown : 

So you go to the extreme.

Charlie Hoehn : 

Yes, yes. Right. Yes. So, I love my parents. They were so supportive. I'm just teasing. I just like to joke because they did they were really like, "Who are these people?" I'm like, "They're so famous in my world." Yeah. So I, I was pushing myself really hard. At some point I became... I kind of shifted to... In retrospect, I just became disconnected with how I felt, you know, I became more connected with results and numbers, and seeing those numbers go up and pulling off big achievements rather than how I was feeling inside. I just kind of cut that off. And that was self-inflicted. I said in "Play It Away," and it's the truth. This would have happened to me in any high performing job I was in. If I was working at Google, this would have happened. I hit a point where I was... I had taken military level stimulants to keep me awake for four days straight with six hours of sleep total. And here's the crazy thing about it. It worked really well. Everybody at this eventm 130 people, a lot of them are well known, very successful. There was a point where I was at the back of the room. The event was almost over. It had a gone super well, and everybody in the room stood up and applauded me and Susan, who had helped me with the event. They stood up and applauded us for like 30 seconds. And so it was just like, "Validation! I'm doing it right. Like, this is great." And then I came home from that event. And I remember my body was sending these crazy signals that I'd never experienced before. And I was just utterly exhausted. If I'd been smarter or more experienced, I would have delegated more, but I didn't. And I remember being on a podcast with a friend of mine, and he was like, "Yeah, why didn't you just give the hotel like a bigger cut so they could do a lot of those responsibilities for you?" And I was like, "I don't know." OK, I thought everything was on my shoulders. I don't know or... I didn't know the nature of working with Tim was... it's like, he is fiercely intense about getting stuff done. And so we went from that to like, weekend off to starting on the next best selling book basically, hit the ground running. I forget we worked on that together for a while. I can't remember how long, but I hit a point where I was like, "I am done." And it wasn't even because of the work. It was like... A close friend of mine attempted suicide. A family member died. And then the deadline for the book got pushed back six months. All in the same, like 48 hour period. And I just hit a wall. And I took a week off and came back and I fearfully and sadly told Tim I had to quit. And he was super supportive and he was really understanding. He wasn't like, "Sweet, good for you." But he got it. He understood he knew that I was like in a frail state and wasn't sure why because I was so I was doing all this stuff. I wasn't telling him like, "Hey, man, I've only slept six hours at this event Isn't that great?" Like, no. So, yeah, I really burned myself out. And then I didn't understand the nature of trauma back then. But when you quit a job, or when you are suddenly laid off, especially in a role where you think you're doing what's best, but oh, damn, maybe you did something that was really bad. Maybe you burned a bridge. I think it definitely messed me up for a while from that regard. When you have a change, it can register as a trauma. And so I had that element at play. I had the lack of sleep. I had the overstimulation at play. I had the running out of finances at play. It was just... I was a mess and things got really dark and bad for a while. I went in did more work for time. But I won't get into that. It went really well for a few months, but I had to quit that too because I was physically just still a wreck and emotionally still a wreck and I tried everything to get out of it. I tried therapy, meditation, yoga, journaling, different modalities of therapy, every supplement you can buy in Whole Foods, different types of exercise. I did different diets. I did extended fasts. I remember doing, I think, gosh, six days, five days. nothing but water. Before fasting was cool. I was doing it because I was like, "What is wrong with my body? I did psychedelics before psychedelics were were cool. I mean I guess they weren't cool in the 70s. But they weren't cool when I was doing them. And no one was talking about anxiety back then. I didn't even know what it was. And nothing worked. And it was really demoralizing, because I just felt like, "Gosh, if if this is how it's like to be an adult, if this is what people meant when they're like, 'Just wait until you get into the real world.' I don't know how long I can do this in." So I started smoking cigarettes and smoking like a pack a day. And that was another source of shame and secrecy. And I remember my girlfriend at the time was like, "Charlie, what happened to you? You're not the guy that I met all those months ago." And I remember she was the first one I really confided in apart from the therapists and it was like, "I feel dead inside all the time. And I don't know how to fix it." And I remember she started crying. And I felt jealous, because she could cry and I couldn't. And yeah, it was an ugly stretch

Steve Brown : 

on a Segway. And, you know, if we find ourselves now and this time that I would imagine a lot of people are confronting similar feelings because they lost their job or the future, what future they did have an expectation of, has been taken away from them. And so they're relating in a lot of ways what's what you went through.

Charlie Hoehn : 

I'd imagine a lot of people are not doing very well right now. All over the world.

Steve Brown : 

So what do you have to share or encourage them? Obviously, your list with trauma and efforts makes you an authority or at least someone that they maybe think about what you have to share.

Charlie Hoehn : 

There's no answer. I'm sorry. Nah, I'm just joking. Yeah, so I fortunately got out of that. And it's been I will say it's been seven or eight years since I've really experienced what I went through. And those feelings haven't returned. And it's only gotten better the more kind of work I've done around this area. And so also the aha moment, the breakthrough that I had was, I was at my buddy's apartment, and I pulled a book off the shelf, and it was called "Play" by Dr. Stuart Brown. And I thought that's an interesting concept. So like, never read a book on play. And it was about: why did mammals evolved to play? Why do we play? Because it seems like this frivolous inessential activity, and if you're talking purely on survival, it seems like it wouldn't be helpful. But yet, mammals play from the second they're born. You can't help but not play. And a sign of mental illness is the inability to play, right? Because you get all these benefits from it. You get the ability to connect with other members of your species. You get the ability to explore the environment. You get the ability to build up skill sets and master them. And so kids playing is this deeply essential thing that we evolved with. it's as important as sleep. And there was this quote in the book that said, "A lack of play should be treated like malnutrition. It's a health risk to your body and mind." And that was the quote that made me think, "Maybe this is what has been missing. Maybe this is what I've been depriving myself of." And the more I've read, I've read the book in one sitting I started laughing. I was like, "Oh my God, I've totally done this to myself. I have been depriving myself with play for years not even thinking about it." Because all of a sudden, my life had gone from, like, "Hey, let's create my own game with cool people," to "How can I be more successful? How can I be more productive? How can I contribute to the bottom line?" There was guilt whenever I wasn't working. There was guilt when I was working because it wasn't good enough. I mean, it was just a source of exhaustion. And I hated my work. It felt like I was a taskmaster for myself. And so there was just like... Even in friendships, I was feeling guilty because I wasn't working I wasn't really fully present. And exercise was a guilt activity too. You go and you run on the treadmill and you try and run away from your feelings and you feel bad because you're not healthy enough food became a source of guilt, too. How you do one thing is how you do everything And so I was like, well, maybe I'll do I'll try playing and so the next day I remember a friend of mine introduced me to his buddy and he was like, "You guys should meet," an dthe guy wrote back and he was like, "Hey, let's go meet up over coffee and talk about how impressive we are to each other." And I was like, "Why don't we go play catch at the park instead?" And so we met up and played catch at the park. And we had a great time. And it was really the first time I felt like I kind of gave myself permission to be who I was again. And I've returned to work later that day. And I felt this lightness, like this weight had come off of me. OK, I'll double down on that. And so I started trying to play catch every day. And then it started playing Home Run Derby on the weekends. And then I signed up for improv comedy classes. And that's what kind of cracked me open and got me back to who I was, which was... Improv teaches you to say yes to everything, that whatever's happening is the right thing. And it's good and it's acceptable. And if you've ever played with a two year old, you know that's how they are. If you hand them nothing and say, "Here's a banana," They'll say, "Thank you," and they'll start eating this made up banana. Right? And so I started practicing play in its purest form. And within a month, all my symptoms of anxiety were gone. And I remember waking up one day, and thinking like, "Something's different." I didn't even know what it was. And I was like, "Oh, yeah, I used to be in a living hell, and now I'm not, and I feel great again. I feel normal." And I found that the more I played every area of my life got better every interaction I had, whether it was with a cashier or whether it was on a date. I'm a firm believer that I would not be married with my second kid on the way if I hadn't made that discovery. But because I made that discovery, I shared it on my blog. And I wrote a post called "How I Cured My Anxiety." That went viral. It was featured by WordPress on their homepage. It was the number one search result for five years for the search: anxiety cure, or cure anxiety. So I had all these people all of a sudden... It was crazy, because it was again, it was like this seems like common sense now that I say it, but no one was saying this stuff. No doctors, I read no books apart from "Play" by Dr. Stuart Brown, but that was not a mental health book. You know, it was an evolutionary book. And so I decided to write 'Play It Away." And because of that, that book ended up selling over 20,000 copies I hear from entrepreneurs. I've heard from celebrities who've read it, people in high pressure jobs that are like, "This book saved my life." I've heard from people who've read it literally, in the bathroom stall at their work, from cover to cover. It's really cool to hear people who are in their hell. And they're like, "I have a map. Now, I know how to get out." I've heard from people who got off of anxiety, high dose anxiety meds that they've been taking for 20 years, were able to get off because they added play back into their life. And it's one of these amazing things... I talked to a doctor and she was like, "You figured out this weird thing that for whatever reason doesn't always get communicated well, which is your body and your mind talk to each other. It's not just your mind telling your body what to do. You started physically playing with your body. And that communicated to your mind that you are safe. You are secure, you're having fun, there's nothing to fear. And the more you did that, the more it quieted those thoughts, and then they went away." Because of that, I mean, I was able to quit smoking cigarettes like that, which I guess a lot of people do, but it was not a struggle or anything. It's like it renewed my joy for life. And so I think again, it's like how you do one thing is how you do everything. And that's why I believe work should be your source of play. It should be the place where you lose yourself in flow. It should be the place where you go to have fun. It should be the place where you go to collaborate and improvise with other people. And so when people get laid off right now because of the coronavirus, my thought is, "We're the most adaptable species that's ever been on the planet. We've always been confronted by change, whether times are good or bad, you will adapt. But you must improvise. And you must collaborate. And in order to do that effectively, you have to play. You have to approach it as though you're still having fun because no one wants to work with an anxious mess. Believe me, I know. So you have to come at it from a place of that childlike joy." And I think of... Kids now pick up on their parents, you know, they they model what they see if they see their parents are an anxious, depressed mess. You're not setting a great foundation for their future. You're not instilling a lot of hope and giving them a great model of how to behave as an adult. So like with everything, it's like it doesn't have to be about you. Make it about them.

Steve Brown : 

I think the thing that clicked in that book with me was kids don't come over and ring the doorbell and and Ask other kids to go and have a coffee.They ask them, can you come out and play right? Here we are almost full circle and this. You were laying on the bathroom floor. I just wanna play. I want my work to be playful. I want to wear what I want. I want to do what I want. The story we've just heard, you've been on this journey. You have a lot of chops. You've been... You've got a lot of experience. What are you parlaying into now?

Charlie Hoehn : 

Yes, so, ROI Online has been helping me put together the assets like the branding assets for my program, which is Marketing Master Plan, and that is well prior to Coronavirus. It was it was partially like a live workshop in-person in Colorado. Now it's an eight week program where I guide entrepreneurs who are great at a lot of things but don't feel comfortable with marketing. I give them the most efficient path to their goals. So it is a small intimate group of entrepreneurs. We all help each other, which is probably my favorite part like I curate this group so it's awesome, intelligent people. And I'm more proud of the people that I keep out than the people that I let in in a way. But we support each other to get from A to Z as efficiently as possible. So it's different for everybody. I've had people who have been really successful business owners who are at the end of their career who now want to have like a spiritually aligned mastermind that they run. I have software as a service people. I have a blockchain attorney. I have an author. I have a guy running a telehealth company. And the exciting thing for me is: these guys, above all want support. They just want help because they have these visions of things that they want to accomplish. They just don't necessarily know how to get there very efficiently or they have blind spots. We all do to our own businesses. And so for me, the fun part is, I see the impact that they can make, and I believe in them as people. And so I can just come in and support them and make sure that they can do these few little things that if they had gone their own way, they would have spent three months down the wrong path. But a ten minute conversation with me sometimes literally, can be like, "Oh, you don't have to do that. You can just jump right to here and you're there." So that's, in essence, is Marketing Master Plan is for entrepreneurs who, who want that support when they're getting an idea in a new business, and they want it to succeed.

Steve Brown : 

I love that. And I and I guess we could assume that there would be some playful aspects included in that. Yes?

Charlie Hoehn : 

Yes.

Steve Brown : 

So Charlie, we're getting too close to the end of this awesome conversation. I really have enjoyed it. I'm sitting here smiling a bunch as you're talking and we really appreciate your time so much. What's one question that I didn't ask you that that you would have loved to answer?

Charlie Hoehn : 

Well, I'll say, Steve, I really appreciate you as a person and just for having me on and having this conversation. So thank you. It's been really great.

Steve Brown : 

I'm proud.

Charlie Hoehn : 

Yeah, me too. So, a question. I never, ever, ever know how to answer this. I guess I'll say, "What are you excited about?" And I'll ask you like, what are you excited about that no one asks you about because all they see is ROI Online?

Steve Brown : 

You know, I'm excited about... I think I heard Lewis Jose at one time, his goal with this podcast was just to be able to interview whoever he wanted to interview, to meet that person. And I had this position one time for nonprofit where it was my turn to interview each member and introduce them. And I took him a lunch, I found that the most fun, connecting, fulfilling exercise and I just doing it to be playful and be to make you know... I was getting some good info because I was gonna make a joke about him when I did an intro. But I found that the relationships that came out of that were cool. They were lasting, and it's just from taking a little time and talking to them. So that's what I'm excited about. And this is evidence of it. This is... When do you get to sit and talk with Charlie one on one and not be interrupted by the phone and the kids and business and stuff? It's this.

Charlie Hoehn : 

Yeah, you got the makings of something really fun for you for a long time.

Steve Brown : 

Yeah. Well, I learned a lot from you listen to you ask a lot of authors a lot of great questions and relate with them and so I really encourage folks to listen to that podcast and go back to their earlier episodes there when Charlie was doing it. You'll connect with him How can a lot of people reach you or learn more about you?

Charlie Hoehn : 

Yeah So the best way is just sign up for my email list CharlieHoehn.com. You'll get my books for free. I'm self published for a reason because I wanted to be able to get them in a lot of hands. And so you can get my books for free at CharlieHoehn.com.

Steve Brown : 

They're great books and, and a lot of people have gotten value from them. Charlie, your Marketing Master Plan? What's the web address for that?

Charlie Hoehn : 

It's not up yet, but if you go to Charlie home comm slash about if you go to my about page, you'll see a link there. So we haven't gotten it up yet. We're still in the process, but that's where you can go for now.

Steve Brown : 

All right. Hey, I value you, man. And I appreciate you and this has been awesome. Thank you.

Charlie Hoehn : 

Likewise, Steve. Thank you, sir.

Steve Brown : 

Thanks for listening to another fun episode of the ROI Online Podcast. For more, be sure to check out the show notes of this episode. And feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn where we can chat, and I can help direct you to the resources you're searching for. To learn more about how you can grow your business better, be sure to pick up your copy of my book, "The Golden Toilet" at surprise thegoldentoilet.com. I'm Steve Brown, and we'll see you next week on another fun episode of the ROI Online Podcast.