Gideon Shalwick is a serial digital entrepreneur who’s started multiple successful digital businesses and along the way he’s learned some VERY important lessons that he distilled down to what he calls his 7 Elixirs for success and happiness. If you get these right not only will you make more money you will also be happier and more productive along the way!
- To find out more about gideonshalwick.com
- To find out about Veeroll for video advertising with Youtube and Facebook: veeroll.com
- To find out about Splasheo for video editing: splasheo.com
Transcription Episode 75: The 7 Elixirs For Online Success – With Gideon Shalwick
Welcome to the Project Ignite Podcast. A podcast designed to skip all the fluff, the BS, the hype, all that stuff and just give you guys real actionable tips and strategies from real entrepreneurs to help you build your business on the internet.
This is your host Derek Gehl and today’s guest is an incredible digital entrepreneur who’s created massive success through his digital businesses which include Veeroll, which is a really cool disruptive video advertising platform that served up over 18 million ads in their 1st year and Splasheo, which is a specialised video production service that really takes the guesswork out of creating really awesome videos for your business.
Based on that you would probably assume that today’s discussion was going to be centered around video marketing but you’d be assuming wrong. I’m going to try and talk this guy into coming back as a guest in the near future so we can talk video marketing.
I think today we’ll actually dive deep into another one of this guest’s passion and that is entrepreneurship and helping other people experience that same success by sharing some of the most valuable lessons he’s learned along the way to becoming the success that he is.
Without further ado I’d like to welcome Gideon Shalwick to the show.
Gideon, thanks for being here today.
Derek, it’s an honor to be here. Thank you for having me.
Fantastic. Now before we get started, can you expand on my introduction and just share your entrepreneurship journey and how you got started and effectively build these incredible video marketing platforms and became the success that you are today.
Sure. Thank you for that wonderful introduction already.
I guess my journey started about almost exactly 10 years ago. I was back in New Zealand with a job that I wasn’t 100% happy with. The kind of work that just wasn’t as inspiring for me, I was building an asset for someone else.
I stopped working, I stopped getting paid, that sort of thing. I wasn’t 100% happy and I knew there was something inside of me that wanted something different.
One day I told my wife, “Hey Tinika, let’s stop this. Let’s stop this thing, I’m not happy here. Let’s create something new and let’s start a business.” At the same time I said, “Let’s immigrate to another country so we can do this whole thing starting from scratch.” She was game.
We were just 2 years into our marriage and she said, “Okay, let’s do this thing. Let’s take on this adventure.”
I remember I said, “Okay, well this is how we’ll do it. I’ll start applying for jobs and as soon as I get a job we’ll both quit our jobs in New Zealand and then go to Australia.” Which is the place we wanted to immigrate to.
She said, “Okay, let’s do it.” I started applying for jobs and you know the process. I don’t know if you’ve ever applied for a job but it’s a horrible process actually.
Job after another, I just got the rejection letters coming in and nobody wanted me. Nobody even wanted an interview from me and I was getting really discouraged. This kept on going for about I don’t know, 2 or 3 months.
Then I said, “Tinika, this is not working. I’m not getting a job, nobody wants to employ me.”
This happening led to, “Why don’t you apply for a job?” She sent in her CV to a few jobs. Within that same week, like literally within the same week, she didn’t even just get replies, she got 3 job interviews and offers.
She sent it in the Monday, by the Friday she had 3 offers.
She flew over to Australia and she said yes to one. Within a month then we landed in Australia and I was without a job. Nobody wanted to employ me and Tinika, she started working and basically paying the bills.
We landed in Australia with nothing. We had a blow up mattress. I did send over my computer over the ocean because it it was too expensive to send via air. That only came a few weeks later.
For the 1st few weeks we just had basically a mattress in our little apartment and a couple of bean bags for furniture and not much else. Really starting from scratch and I just had this desire to start a business and I didn’t really know what kind of business.
It wasn’t long after that that I finally stumbled upon a friend of mine who’d started a new course on Internet marketing. I thought, “Hey, this looks interesting. All these other things don’t really look all that good for me and I’m going to give this a shot because it means I can work from anywhere. Be location independent and that sort of thing.”
It looked really good and so I went for that. My first product was a book that I wrote. It took me 21 days to write this book and then I sold it. It got distributed all over the world. This is an eBook by the way, back then.
This is 10 years ago and the thing just got distributed all over the place. Part of my success was this person that taught me, he had a nice big database and he promoted for me.
At first I couldn’t believe my luck. I thought, “Wow, this is just incredible. How can I not do this? I’m just making money while I sleep kind of thing.” You know?
Yeah. It was awesome.
Then something strange happened, I ran out of traffic and I didn’t know how to really build a business properly.
I ran out of traffic, I ran out of sales, ran out of money and really for the first two to two and a half years of me being an entrepreneur, we wouldn’t even make much money at all.
I think in the first year I made like 10,000 bucks but I spent 11,000. In the second year I think I made maybe 12,000 but spent 13,000 or something stupid like that.
The bottom line is in the first two or so years, we were barely breaking even in the business, making a loss. Tinika was bringing in the money, paying the bills and I was mucking around.
Then I finally managed to interview some good people, I had started doing the interview series on video. That’s where my video marketing thing started. Learning about video, it was back in 2007, 2008.
One of the people I met was Yaro Starak. We became really good friends, we ended up launching a product together. Finally, after two and a half years of really hard work, we launched a product together and went from 0 to 10,000 subscribers within two weeks.
Within a month we had 1,000 monthly paying members. To me that was the real beginning of my entrepreneurship journey. The first two and a half years, it was really just me trying to figure out what’s going on, finding my feet.
Anyway, so I had that first success and it was wonderful being able to find that success. Finally I was going, “Yes, I’m being able to do something here that I feel I can do and that I can make a living from.”
Something was a bit off, I ended up moving on and doing another project with a friend of mine in the magic world. We started the YouTube channel together that went really well. I think the channel now has over 300,000 subscribers and millions and millions of views.
I haven’t checked recently but I think, I’m pretty sure if you do a search for free magic tricks on YouTube right now, that channel will come up number one. Actually I’m doing the search right now.
Yeah, it’s number one. Free Magic Life it’s called. It’s number one, 363,000 subscribers. That went really well.
From there I created another brand called Rapid Video Blogging that taught people how to do video blogging and YouTube and how to grow their businesses with video marketing using YouTube.
Then I had a bit of a change of heart. I moved over to instead of creating personal brands, to creating businesses that were independent of me and my brains. I created Splasheo which is a branded business that’s currently running mostly without me. I spend about 1% of my time on the business and it’s a fairly passive income for me.
About two years after that I started a business called Veeroll that helps you with automating the video marketing process for both YouTube and Facebook.
All of those business did really well. There were a few others as well that I’ve tried that didn’t work of course. It depends how long this interview is, I don’t want to go into all of that.
I got to a point where I realised that something just wasn’t right and I actually got to a point where I got burnout. I got complete burnout and I couldn’t see it coming. I remember it was a day when I was running a live event using Facebook. I’ve been doing these things for a long time, flawlessly. I’ve been doing live events for a long time, many years.
On this particular day, the universe or the world, whatever you want to call it, the Internet’s technology, everything just went absolutely wrong. We had this massive build-up, massive expectation running this event. A lot of people standing in queue to join in and then just absolutely nothing worked out.
We ended up getting it to work but only like 25 or 30 minutes later and it was just an absolute nightmare. After that I was just asking myself, “What the heck am I doing here?”
That was at a point in the business where things weren’t going as well as I was planning. I was working my little hands off to make things work and nothing was working. It was a two and a half month period of nothing working.
I just got to this point where I just said, “What am I doing? It feels like the business is dying. What do I do to save this business?” I created this big plan. I said, “How do I save this business?”
I created this plan and I’ll tell you what Derek, it was the most amazing plan that I’ve created in my decade of being an entrepreneur. I looked at it and said, “This is the most powerful and effective plan that I could ever have come up with in my whole career.”
As I looked at it I said, “Yes, this will save the business.” Then I realised if I were to implement that plan, it would kill me. I would die in the process.
Perhaps even literally die because I was so low in my energy levels and I was in a such burnt-out point. If I were to implement that plan, perhaps the business would be saved but I would not be saved.
Then I thought, “Okay, let’s change this around and ask the question, how do I save myself?” Because at that point things were not looking good and I had to make a change right then. “How do I save myself?”
That was the beginning of a brand-new journey where I then figured out, “Okay these are the things that are not working for me. These are the things that are completely draining me and in fact killing me in the business. These are the things that I need to do to change that and to bring me back to life again.”
That’s definitely been a start of a brand new journey for me that’s been really exciting. Since then I’ve been really implementing that, a new way of looking at business and a new way of operating. It’s just been wonderful.
I’ve had a 180 degree turn-around and I can’t tell you how much less stress I have now. I’m making more money, I’m hanging out with much better people. People that give me energy and I’m much more positive about business and keen to make a difference.
Let’s dive into this new way. It sounds pretty damn good. What were the shifts you made? What were the changes that you made? If you had to break it down to a few things, what was it?
Well the thing that hit me and during that low point I had that event where just absolutely nothing went right for me, like the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
Within that same week, it felt like I had a bit of a death. Like a spiritual, emotional, mental death in a way but then within that same week again I had some resurrection. An insight where my mind just turned on again and things just started becoming really clear to me.
Puzzle pieces just started falling into place and the thing that I was really searching for all this time, back 10 years ago when I had that original desire to do something different with my life. I realised that I actually went about it the wrong way. I was searching for the wrong thing.
The thing that came clear to me was that as an entrepreneur, really ultimately what we are searching for and if you dig deep you’ll realize this too. What we’re really searching for is fulfillment and I was lacking that.
Fulfillment, there’s many different ways of looking at it. One way is to look at it from a feeling perspective, how you feel. If you think about it carefully, if you feel good, what else do you need in life?
If you’re feeling on top of the world, what else do you need? Then the next question is, what brings this fulfillment? What brings this constant good feeling in your life? Is it money? Is it a successful business? Is it a fancy car? Is it a nice house? Those things could perhaps definitely bring some of that, feelings of well-being, et cetera.
Ultimately, that I had lost. What I released was that it comes down to how I feel as an entrepreneur and the things that I do to help me feel the way that I want to feel.
I came up with seven different elixirs in the form of actions. All these feelings that are caused by action and it’s not so much anymore about what you think, it’s more about how you act.
Because when you act in a certain way it creates a result and that result makes you feel a certain way. It’s a little bit different to the traditional way where they say, “The way you think influences the way you feel. Then the way you feel influences the way you act. The way you act influences your results. If you want to change your results just change the way you think.”
I’m not sure if that’s 100% accurate. When you look in practice though, I think it comes down to really actions. Thought does come in to it obviously, but it’s the actions that creates the results, it then creates the feeling.
Then I realized, this point is like, “Well, if that’s true it means that I can actually change the way I feel by the way that I act. Not necessarily so much about how I think.”
That was a light bulb moment for me. I was like, “I’m going to look at this.” It’s about seven areas of action and each of them can either add energy and fulfillment to your life or take away that energy and fulfillment.You can imagine it’s like an energy tank that we all have. Each action that you do either adds energy to that tank or it takes energy away.
These seven categories:
- One is the kind of food that you eat. All these things are actions, right? You can either eat good foods or bad foods. They can either fill up your energy tank or drain your energy tank.
- There’s exercise, that’s definitely action. There’s lack of exercise which eventually drains your energy and then there’s good exercise that gives you energy.
- The third one is rest and sleep and that sort of thing. That’s an action as well. It’s actually you go to sleep, you sleep. It’s a verb.
- The fourth one is environment. Your passive actions, the air you breath, your ergonomics, the things around you that you passively absorb as well.
- The fifth level is the people you spend time with. Once again it’s an action that can either give you more energy or drain your energy.
- The sixth one which is the only one that has a productive output is your work or your hobbies. The things you do in life to make a change in the world. Once again, that’s a big one. The kind of work you do can either add or detract from your energy tank levels.
- Then finally the highest-level one is number seven, is your thoughts. How you think and it’s also a verb that can also affect your energy levels.
You combine all these things together, it’s either going to increase your energy tank level or reduce it.
The thing is, what I’ve realised is that my energy tank was extremely low because most of those seven areas I was doing the negative version of them and they just kept on draining and draining me.
There’s this threshold point where if you go below threshold, it prevents you from doing your work and from having that outflow of making a difference in the world.
It takes energy to create a difference, to have an impact, whereas as entrepreneurs we use this energy to make a difference.
By making this difference, that adds again to our energy tank. That’s the beautiful thing about it. When you get to the threshold and you get to below that threshold, your natural flow stops. Then if you keep on going down and down, you get to burnout.
When you get to burnout, you get to first of all mental death and the next level is emotional death. The next level from that is perhaps spiritual death and ultimately if you keep on staying at that burnt-out level, you get to physical death.
That can be manifested in illness, cancer or I don’t know. Getting sick all the time and perhaps even ultimately your physical body just dies if you don’t have that energy.
It was a big wake-up call for me to realize that and to then ask the question, “Okay Gideon, this is how you’re going to save yourself. You’re going to have to look at these different actions you have in your life and start filling up that energy tank again and start getting that flow to happen again.”
Because even if I had successful businesses, it was draining me and I had to increase that energy tank so that I could get it to flow again and be able to make a real impact in the world.
Now, let’s talk about this as it applies to people that are just starting down this path as entrepreneurs. We’ve got these and I completely agree with everything you just said there.
Now let’s rewind back to the days when we hadn’t created successful businesses yet, we hadn’t made it. Now do you believe that you can start off as an entrepreneur. As many of us do, again trying to support, working a job, maybe you have kids, stuff like that. You’re trying to do this in your spare time.
Can you maintain all of these and not sacrifice and still start a business? Is it something that you need to be prepared to make some sacrifices on initially but know that becoming an entrepreneur if you do it properly, is going to give you more time to repair and maintain and support these later on?
I think the key thing for me now Derek, it comes down to this energy management thing.
Whatever I do now, whether it’s a new venture or if I had to start from scratch again, I would pay attention to this energy level.Because without the energy you just cannot be a successful entrepreneur, you cannot be a successful father or husband or colleague. The energy is the ultimate, the thing that you need to be able to make a change in the world.
Whatever it is that I think you embark on, you need to watch those energy levels. The thing is, sometimes there’s going to be some things you’re going to have to do that’s going to drain your energy.
I think if you can be aware of that and realize that at the end of the day or at the end of the week at least, your energy balance needs to be positive as opposed to negative.
You want to keep on filling up that energy tank as opposed to keeping on draining it. Because if you keep on draining it, you’re just going to get to the burnout point.
You will eventually have burnout and then it affects the way you feel. Essentially, if you get to that burnout point and below threshold, you end up getting to entrepreneurial hell and what’s the point of that?
If you get to entrepreneurial hell where you’ve got no energy, everything is going wrong and people can feel and sense that about you as well. You’ve probably heard that saying, “Success breeds success.” Right?
It’s a similar thing here, the more energy you have, the more you can do. I think even though starting out there’s so many different things you’ve got to do and sacrifices you have to make.
Yes, but keep an eye on the kind of things you do. Make sure that the kind of actions you take are the kind that help you gain more energy in your life and in your own system. Because that’s going to help you succeed long-term but it’s also going to help you get into your flow.
It’s worth digging to that a little bit more because you look at an entrepreneur, what is it that makes an entrepreneur really successful? If you look at the people around the world who have become really successful, all of them, when you ask them, “What is the secret?”
They say something along the lines of, “Find something you love. Find something that you love doing and just do that. Become really good at that.” I think there’s a lot of truth in that and to me that comes down to flow.
This is being able to find out what are your flow activities? What’s your natural flow as an entrepreneur? That’s where you can add the most value and these are the kinds of things that as you do them, they give you more energy.
For me, for example, it’s creating. There’s two aspects for me, two things that give me a ton of energy; creating and being able to interact with an audience. When you think about those two things together, I create products.
For example I create digital products, I create videos and then I put it out there into the world and then there’s interaction with an audience. Both those things give me heaps of energy. I love it, I thrive on that. The more I do that, the better I get at it because I get that feedback link from people and from the things that I create.
By doing that more and more, I become better and better at it and then I can serve more and more people. This is what I realized, for a while there I stopped doing that. I stopped creating and I stopped having that interaction with my audience and I started doing activities in my business that were important for the business but it was killing me. Things like the management of the business, the day-to-day, nitty-gritty, people management of the business.
I’m not a people manager I’ve realised that. There are a lot of activities in my business that I could do but it would kill me.
A much better way I think is if you can find that sweet spot of the kind of work, the kind of activities that you do. That as you do them, it makes you feel good and it gives you energy as you do them.
That is the secret and then from there you start finding other people that you can either work with or people that can work for you to take care of the things that drain your energy but perhaps gives them energy. Because we all have different gifts and I think that’s the secret.I think starting out, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have to do everything. That you even have to do things that you don’t like for a prolonged period of time. Maybe that sometimes, yes, you have to do that but you don’t have to do it all the time. If you can find that thing that you love doing, do that. That is the key.
I totally agree with everything you said. I’ve been an entrepreneur for a very long time and one of the things that I want to drill down into there though is you have a level of self-awareness now. Did you always have that level of self-awareness or is it something that’s evolved over time?
I think a lot of entrepreneurs that are just starting out, is that something that they can just adapt to and get or is it something you gain through your experience?
Well I think we’re all on a journey. We’re all on a hero’s journey and Joseph Campbell has popularized the hero’s journey and wrote about it.
Someone like Christopher Vogler wrote about it in the Writer’s Journey. We’re all on this journey and I think an entrepreneur is a … The Journey of an entrepreneur is particularly close to the hero’s journey that Joseph Campbell talks about.
Just by being on this journey as an entrepreneur, I think you naturally go through the different stages to become more aware and more attuned to your inner purpose, I guess you could call it.
The interesting thing about the hero’s journey is that it’s almost like there’s multiple journeys. There’s one big journey of your entire life, but then within that life there’s smaller journeys.
I can for example look back now in the last 10 years and each of the businesses that I’ve started, each of the successful brands that I’ve started was a little hero’s journey even of itself.
Where it would start with the hero in the ordinary world getting the call to adventure and then first the refusal of the call. Then the meeting with a mentor that says, “I know you can do this, get in. You just do this and this and this.”
Then finally you decide this is it, you’re going to go for it and then you cross over that first threshold into the journey. Then from there you make your friends and allies and you meet the enemy, the antagonist. Then you have what’s called the approach to the inner cave or the approach to the ordeal.
Getting ready for the big thing. Fighting the dragon so to speak in the entrepreneurial journey and as an entrepreneur you go through that. You fight this big dragon, whatever it is, starting the business, launching a business, whatever.
As you launch that thing, innovate, there’s some sort of a reward. Financial reward or some knowledge or something like that. From there you’re still in the other world and you’re on your way back to the ordinary world again.
There’s this final stumbling block that you have, a final sort of a death and then resurrection again. Then from that point onwards, this is where you discover the final ultimate elixir.
This is the thing that you can you then take back to the ordinary world, to the people that you grew up with or the people that were there at the beginning. You can share your elixir, your story with the world and influence others.
That’s the hero’s journey just really quickly, but as you go through that journey as an entrepreneur, it’s inevitable for you to become more aware of what’s going on. More aware of your purpose and what you’re really supposed to be doing here. I think it just comes with time. It’s different levels.
I think 10 years ago when I decided to become an entrepreneur, that’s my first call to adventure. I had a moment of enlightenment in a certain way of thinking, “Hey, I don’t want for the man anymore. I’ll do my own thing.”
I had this enlightening moment I guess of going, “Screw this, I’m going to do my own thing.” Then throughout, for each new journey, there’s a new level of enlightenment, a new level of awareness that you go through. I think if you can see it from the perspective of the hero’s journey, when things are going tough.
Say for example you’re on your approach to the ordeal, the thing, and you’re in the middle of the ordeal and you’re just really struggling there and you’re fighting this dragon so to speak. Is to step back and go, “Hey, where I’m I actually on the hero’s journey here?”
Then if you realize you’re just at that particular stage. You know that if you can push through it there’s a reward. An elixir at the other end of it which is pretty cool. It just helps you have that perspective.
Absolutely. Now before we wrap up here because we’re running out of time and we could talk all day. I love the story, you tell it fantastic.
Now, we’ve got a lot of entrepreneurs that are listening, people that are just getting started on their journey. Maybe they’ve taken the first few steps or they’re just trying to get the courage to take that first step.
You’ve been through a lot as I think every entrepreneur has. You’ve got the battle scars to prove it and now you’ve made it. If you had to boil it down for them, what are some words of wisdom, some final advice to see them through those tough times, those frustrating moments when nothing is working? What would you tell them?
I don’t have any one particular thing, it’s a lot of things. I remember once I asked Clay Collins from LeadPages. I sent him a Skype message and it’s just when they had just had their first big success with LeadPages and I was just starting with Veeroll.
I remember sending him a message saying, “Hey Clay, what was it that made the difference? You’ve tried all these other things and finally you’ve made it work with LeadPages. What was it?”
At 1first I thought he just brushed off my questions and gave a silly response. That’s what I thought at first but then I realized a lot of truth to what he said later on.
What he said was along the lines of, “Gideon, it was a million different things and getting each one of them right.” When I saw that I was going, “Jeez Clay, that’s not really going to help me.”
Then as I progressed especially with software business like Veeroll, I realized that, “Yes, there really are a million different things and you have to get all of them right.”
I think as a guiding principle, something that works really well for me now and that if I look back, the things that have really worked well for me. When I really shined, when things really went my way, is when I stayed true to who I really am and doing the things that I’m gifted for, to do.
I have a name for this thing, it’s called ‘PEFLA’. It stands for Positive Energy, Feedback Loop Activities. It’s the kind of activities that as you do them they give you energy.
I think each each of us are born with certain type of activities that we just naturally love doing. For me I love creating and having an audience. That’s my PEFLA. For an entrepreneur, I think if you can find what that is, what your positive energy, feedback loop activities are.
If you can find out what that is and you just do that and you use that for creating value and for making a difference in the world, your chance of success is just going to shoot through the roof. At the same time you’re going to feel great and you’re going to make a real impact in the world.
Awesome. Now, before we fully wrap up, where can people connect with you? Where can they find out more? Where can they keep up with what you’re doing?
Well I’m a little bit in-between things at the moment in terms of what I’m personally doing. I’m actually working on this very stuff now. I’m working on a manifesto that I’m creating for this. I’ll release that a little bit later. Probably if you go to my home page, gideonshalwick.com, my personal blog.
I haven’t really paid attention to that much lately but you can go there and sign up there because I will make an announcement there probably when I release this new stuff. If you’re interested in the other things, it’s just Splasheo.com and Veeroll.com where you can find more information on that as well.
Fantastic and once you have that manifesto done, by all means let me know. We’ll make sure our audience gets a hold of that.
Yeah, awesome. Again, thank you Gideon so much for taking the time today and sharing so many nuggets of entrepreneurial wisdom with our audience. Because it can be a lonely journey and a tough journey as you know. To hear from someone like yourself is so valuable. Again, thank you so much.
You’re welcome Derek and it was an honor to be here. Thank you as well. Thank you so much.
Awesome. All right everyone, that was Gideon Shalwick and as always, any of the links we just mentioned will be included in the show notes along with the entire transcript of the episode.
You’ll find it all at etrepreneurignited.com/podcast.
Guys, now it’s time to take all of the strategies that Gideon shared with us here today and apply that final essential ingredient to make it work for you. That ingredient is action. Write down those seven actions or seven elixirs and see if you’re in a deficit and see if there’s ways you can improve on that.
Fill those up and become more productive and happier in your life and in your business. Go for it, take action, apply what you’ve learnt and stay tuned for info-packed episodes of the Project Ignite Podcast.
This is your host, Derek Gehl, signing off.