John (Intro): I have been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good. After running companies small and large for the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic: What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader.
John: All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader related, related to leading yourself and leading other people. I’m John Laurito, your host today with a fantastic guest, somebody I’m really excited to have, Evan Carmichael. Evan is listed by Forbes magazine as one of the world’s top 40 social marketing talents. He has a YouTube channel with three million subscribers, a global speaker, and an author. Evan, it is a pleasure to have you, my friend.
Evan: Thanks for having me, John. Good to be here, man.
John: Yeah, you are doing a lot. You’re busy. I’m like I’m curious to ask you so many different questions. I know we don’t have a whole lot of time. What is it day in your life look like? I mean, you’re all over the place.
Evan: So one of the things that really helped me was having different things for different days. So I have my morning routine, which is every morning, but then. We’re recording this on a Thursday and Thursday for me are what I call my public-facing day, so I have my moviemakers membership in the morning where I’m doing training with my tribe. And then it’s all-day interviews and podcasts and Skype calls and zooms and basically twenty-five minutes on a five-minute break. Twenty-five minutes. The next one, five-minute break all day. And I’m done at 11:00 tonight. And so I like standing the same energy. I find it really hard. I think humans, in general, have a hard time switching tasks, but especially for me where if you give me to say hey you can only write your book for twenty-five minutes and then get on a call and then you know, do some admin work and then I just, it just takes me too much time to switch tasks. So think when you can stay in the energy, I’m coming in hot ready to go because I’ve already been talking to other people before this and then I’m taking John’s energy and I’m going to use it for the next thing I’m doing right after versus if I’m going to write my book. I need totally different energy. I need to be back to my introvert mode, calm, relaxed, like pensive, don’t anybody talk to me. And so I think having different tasks on different days really helps me get a lot more work done.
John: That makes a lot of sense. So you’re working on a ton of hours, so you’ve got to maintain a lot of energy, high levels of energy. But so you’re really structured with your time. I mean, you don’t other days where you just shift gears and you pivot and you do something totally different than you had planned or you’re pretty disciplined with that.
Evan: Almost not, but I plan that in so, for example, I felt like a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Tuesday is my YouTube day, I’m filming videos. We got 13 channels or
something. There’s a lot of you that have to be recorded. So Tuesdays, don’t email me. Don’t talk to me. Don’t like I’m not doing any shows. I’m just banging out videos all day long. I mean, YouTube mode. Thursday is all day long doing this kind of stuff. Right. Like just all day long. Wednesday is in the middle is totally open. Wednesdays, 100 percent free, it’s whatever I call it, my project day, it’s like what I want to work on today, what some. I just had a crazy busy day yesterday. I got a crazy busy day tomorrow, which is going to be all filled with stuff that my assistant kind of already planned out months in advance. But today, Wednesday would be whatever I want to do. Yeah. And it’s there’s only something I want to do. It’s not like I just want to lie on the couch all day. It’s like, what project am I working on that I want to spend more time on. So, I used to find that when I didn’t have time in my calendar for things, it would stress me out. So if I had an idea for a video but I didn’t have time in my calendar to process it, it would stress me out and I, I would feel like, what if I lose this idea and then have to start working on it now? But that takes away from whatever I was supposed to be doing now. So knowing that I have time in my calendar to focus on that, I send myself an email. And then when that day shows up, like here, all the ideas that I get to work on. So you’re not that super helpful.
John: That’s great. That’s great. So you are you know, just to give you some props also, you know, I knew you before we got a chance to obviously speak through your videos. I used to run a company and on Monday mornings I play videos, motivational videos. And your videos were ones that I play a lot because you’ve done a fantastic job at packaging them and putting together great, great content. Did you, I’m curious to know how you got started and when you got started, was this what you had envisioned? I mean, did you think at this point you’d be where you are, or did it just almost happen unexpectedly?
Evan: Yeah. So I think your purpose comes from your pain, right? I think the thing that you ultimately will feel the best doing is helping other people who currently are who you used to be that will fill you up for life. And so I started on YouTube in April 2009, so long time ago to
make content for 19-year-old Evan, who was making three hundred bucks a month, a month as an entrepreneur and wanting to quit, you know. Like I still make content for that guy because there are lots of people who currently are 19 years old and need the motivation, need the ideas. I’m a visual guy. I like seeing it. So the fact that I can see you is great for me. If it was audio-only, I’d have to be like this and focused on every word because audio is the worst way for me to learn. And so in 2009, when I started sharing content, YouTube was the only visual place. I’m not smart enough to think, hey, you know what? In 2009, when we get to 2021, here’s where YouTube is going to be. No idea, John. But I felt you know what? If I can help, if I can help some people who are like me. Then it’s worth it. It was a fun side thing that I did. My first video in the first year had three comments on it, my mom, my older sister, and some random guy. And that random guy, the fact that he left the comment meant something to me, you know, like, wow, somebody found my thing, my video. But in one year, only three comments and two of them were my mom and my sister. Right. So maybe not that great of a start, but YouTube wasn’t the thing either. There were no influencers didn’t exist that you couldn’t make money off of YouTube as a career that didn’t exist. It was just really trying to create something visual to help entrepreneurs who are struggling because that’s where I came from.
John: Mm-hmm. So, you know, you’re you’ve gotten a huge following. You’ve got three million subscribers on YouTube, which is incredible. You get about three million more than I
- You’ve got a lot of people that are listening that are like, OK, I want to do something like this and build an audience. Is it really just come from putting out great content or there are different things that you figured out that helped you gain or get a lot more exposure and get your message out to more people. How did that happen?
Evan: So I guess with most questions, it’s both, you know, you’d like to think that it’s one or the other, but it’s really a combination. It took me five years to go from zero to seven thousand subscribers. Five years to get 7000 subscribers and then five more years to go from 7000 to two million, so that’s pretty slow I think a lot of people would quit if they only got seven thousand subscribers in five years on anything.
Evan: So one is just a consistency to keep showing up when they keep making content and keep doing it because you never know what’s going to be the video or the episode that that takes off. Two, take to hone the skill and get better at it. I’m a big believer that quality leads to quantity. The more you do it, the better you get. You know, every interview you do, you get slightly better as an interviewer.
Evan: If you compare this interview to your very first one, I’m sure you’ve grown miles since then. And if you keep doing this for 10 years, you’ll be the next Larry King. You’ll be the voice of our generation, you know? I mean, that’s how it works. And along the way, you learn hacks and you pick up tricks to understand the platforms that you’re working with. So, you know, YouTube is different than Instagram is different than tick tock. So I think 80 percent of it is showing up or learning how to make great content consistently. And the final 20 percent is knowing the platform and the hacks and the hashtags and all that kind of stuff. A lot of people default to what’s the hashtag that I need to use? And like, no hashtag is going to save you if you’re not consistently creating great content.
John: OK, so that’s a great piece of advice. I mean, quantity leads to quality, so it’s putting out a lot of stuff. Was there one video that did take off for you? Was there a turning point?
Evan: So. One of the turning points was Kanye West, so I have a picture of him here behind my wall, and he was the first top 10 that I did. A lot of people know me for the top 10 Rules of Success series that I’ve done on YouTube. But I didn’t start that until six or seven years in on my YouTube journey. And that video came because a friend of mine, Mark, put out a blog post attacking Kanye. And I said, you know, what you can learn from Kanye like you doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything that he’s done or said. But you can still learn from this guy that can make you a better entrepreneur. And so I said, you know what? I’m going to make a top 10 rolls video of Kanye West’s success of how you can learn from him. And that was the video. And I threw away what I was supposed to be doing that day to work on this, just to show my friend Mark. That’s basically what it was. I mean, that was going to put on my public YouTube channel, which wasn’t very big at the time. But just to say, Mark, watch this video and people liked it. And then they said, hey, can you do Jeff Bezos and Jay-Z and whoever? And I thought, you know what, I can do that like, that was fun putting together. I could keep doing that. And so I think when you can merge what you love doing with what the audience is interested in, that’s when you start to have success. Right. If you love it. But nobody cares.
Evan: You’ve got a hobby that could be a fulfilling hobby, but it’s just the hobby. And if you’re only chasing what’s hot and trendy but you don’t actually care about it, you’re always going
to lose because you’re going up against people who love that thing. But it’s that intersection of what you love doing with where there’s actual demand for it, that you can create something really unique and special. And so the Kanye West video was supposed to be kind of a waste of my day throwing away just to show to my friend Mark, watch this video and learn and then end up spotting this iconic thing that became a big part of my brain. Well, a lot of things didn’t work. That was just one of the ones that actually did.
John: Yeah, well, that’s a fascinating story. And it is true. I mean, you figured out a great formula as somebody who was running a business that wanted to get an audience of my people watching motivational stuff. You had to search for all different types of stuff to find something on Steve Jobs and Bezos, and you’d packaged it so well that it was great content
in a short period of time. So but I love that it was almost an ax that you stumbled into what then became a really great successful formula for you. I know your mission is to solve the world’s biggest problem, which is untapped potential and ultimately people believing in themselves. You’re a guy who’s done something that, you know, a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percentage of people can do. I know that’s a tough question to answer, but what is it about you? Do you think that you do something that’s just different or that other people just you don’t see them do that has gotten you to where you are?
Evan: The one that comes to mind is just consistency. I’m an introvert, it doesn’t come across in videos like this, but normally I’m an introvert. I don’t crave attention. I don’t need to be the center of attention. And I actually don’t like it. Go back and watch all my first videos. They’re embarrassing to go back and look at. They’re all still there. So you can see the journey of an awkward introvert, shy, even trying to make video content. I think most of your audience could look at video number one and make better content than what I made. The difference is I just stuck with it. Or seven thousand videos later here on the channel, 11 or so years later, most people don’t want to stick with five years of growth for 7000 subscribers after five years, like most people quit. And I think the thing is like how, so how do you stay so consistent.? It was always about who I was serving and still is, it’s about who I am serving, not who I’m not.
Evan: I think it’s a big shift because we tend to focus on all the people you compare ourselves to somebody else. Well, look at all the people they’re serving and I’m not good enough and I’m not there yet, as opposed to focusing on the people who did watch it. So if you were to give a speech at a library and one hundred people showed up. For a lot of people, it’s like, oh, my God. One hundred people are here, this is crazy. I’m going to speak in front of 100 hundred people. You get all nervous and excited. But if one hundred people watch your video say, oh, people saw this thing like, I don’t know, should I keep going and keep doing it? I just always focus on those hundred people who are there instead of the millions who aren’t. And just feeling, the feeling grateful that they tuned in and they found value in it. And that let me keep going. Maybe it is because at the beginning I didn’t have aspirations to be a YouTuber or an influencer or have a big community.
Evan: But still just focusing on whoever’s watching, listening to this, whether it’s ten people, one hundred people, a thousand people. Ten thousand people. Thank you. That means a lot to me. And that’s where the focus has always been. I think that allowed me to stay consistent.
John: Man, that is such great advice. I know. I deal with that, too. It’s like you’re speaking to a camera or a microphone and you don’t get feedback. You get comments over time, but that fuels you. And, you know, as especially for somebody who might be at an early stage of starting a business or anything, you don’t necessarily know what impact you’re having at all the times until you start getting that feedback and it comes to you. And you’re right, you got an audience there that’s really getting value. So whether it’s one hundred or ten million, you’re impacting people in a big way. I know you speak on my favorite topic, which is leadership. That’s where the focus of this podcast you speak all around the world on the topic. You got a lot of leaders right now that are really struggling. I mean, you’ve got all these different things going on with the pandemic, with somebody listening to this at some point in the future, where at the end of 2020 what do you what are you teaching leaders right now? What is the thing that they need to be doing right now more than ever based on what’s going on?
Evan: The two things that come to mind are, one, wanting people to win more than you want them to win with you, which is how I would even define leadership. I think leadership equals wanting the people on your team to win as humans more than you want them to win inside your company. And when people can feel that, then you have not just their brains, but you have the heart and soul. And sometimes that may mean even pushing people out of the company to say, hey, you need to go and do this thing because you believe in a greater potential for them than they can see inside themselves. But you can’t create that path inside your organization. And so the best thing for them is to actually leave and have the courage to kick out a high performer. For them to go and actually have a better life is something that net benefits your organization, because everybody believes that you have their best interests in mind, where most people wouldn’t think that their boss actually cares about them as a human. They care about the performance inside the organization. And so when you can transcend that, you get just a lot more out of the people on your team.
Evan: And the second thing, especially inside COVID era right now, is showing the struggles that you’re going through and your willingness to show up. I think part of leadership historically has been don’t show any weakness. I have all the answers. I’m perfect and leading from the front and pretending like you have it all figured out. And that’s what’s going to inspire people to kind of follow you. I think the new generation of leadership, and especially in kind of a COVID era right now is showing, no, I’m actually afraid of where things are going to go and what we’re doing, and I don’t have all the answers, but I’m showing up. And the willingness to show up becomes the inspiration, so their willingness to share what you’re struggling with, what are you, how are you dealing with the pandemic and working from home or the impact it’s had on the business and letting me if you pretend like everything’s OK. And then I’m your worker and I feel like everything is falling apart, I don’t want to do with my life. I can’t relate to you anymore. And if I can’t relate to you, I can’t follow you. I need to feel like you’re a normal human being. But who is taking the courage to show up? Right. So where are you struggling? How is it impacting you? And then still having the courage to show up every day and do it? That becomes a rallying cry and the inspiration to the people in the team to say, OK, you know what? If John can do it and he’s struggling with that, I can do it, too.
John: I agree with you 100 percent. It’s about being authentic and that’s not putting up this false persona. You’ve written four fantastic books. I know your most recent book, Built to Serve came out, I think March of this year, actually, right at the beginning of the pandemic.
Evan: Yeah, I was doing a book tour, got canceled, is like, OK, no book tour happening.
John: Oh, well, I mean, well, tell everybody what’s the book about and what can they expect.
Evan: Built to serve the concept as humans are built to serve. So if you’re not happy because you’re not serving, serving others is hardwired into us and you want to feel you as a leader, but also the people in your team, they want to feel like they’re waking up every day and they’re about to do something that has a meaningful impact on somebody else. It’s hardwired into us. And so if you or your team feel like today doesn’t matter and that happens consistently like that’s the path down depression where a lot of people are right now because they wake up and feel like, I don’t know, nobody really cares. If I show up, my boss might yell at me for not showing up, but I don’t really care because I don’t feel a connection to the work where if you can switch that and make people feel like no today matters for you yourself like leadership starts with self-leadership for you to feel like today matters, that you’re going to create something today that will matter. And we all have our own products. Right? You have your show? I have my channel. Other people are making widgets or cars or whatever, but this is going to impact somebody’s life today.
Evan: And then if you feel that you can give that to your team so that they feel that connection to the end result of what they’re doing a lot of times on a team, the people doing the input that they never see the results, they just see themselves punching the numbers and moving that spreadsheet over here and they don’t see the connection. So that’s your job as a leader is to help them see, like, look at the lives we changed today, and thank you for being a part of it. And that can easily come across as fake or platitudes if you don’t actually feel it yourself, like, hey, I love you guys, we did something important today and we’re going to do something important again tomorrow. So the book is about finding it, understanding that your purpose comes from your pain. You want to help people and so do all the people on your team. They want to help people and feel connected to the work that they’re doing every day.
John: That’s a great point. I think a lot of great top players leave a company or leave a leader or an organization because they just don’t feel they don’t understand that or they don’t feel they’re really making that big impact. So that’s a great topic. It sounds like a great book. I’ll definitely be picking it up. If people want to get a hold of you, they want more information wanting to share how do they do that?
Evan: I’m Evan Carmichael, and I’m on most social platforms. Just search up Evan Carmichael. You can probably find me YouTube, Instagram, all that fun stuff.
John: OK, great. And you have a couple just on a personal note, you got a couple of world records, right?
Evan: Yes, so we did the world’s largest mentoring session. So I’m in Toronto, Canada, and so we had I forget how many there were, however many mentors, a couple of hundred
mentors and a couple of hundred mentees. And it was speed mentoring. So we had three to four minutes with each person, which is not a lot of time to mentor somebody. And so I was one of the mentors. And then like every three, five minutes to somebody new kind of swapping seats, it’s like you tell me what you do. I’m going to help you go as fast as possible because you don’t have a lot of time to hear their story and give advice. But, you know, funding for charity for a good cause.
Evan: And then the other one was we built the world’s largest QR code. And there’s a group here, Jane and Finch is an intersection in Toronto that has a lot of poverty and crime and not the best part of town. And there was a group here that was trying to help people get off the streets into their own business, become entrepreneurs. And so I was a mentor to that program and to raise money for it, we went to a soccer field and recruited a whole bunch of volunteers, and we each held up a black or white piece of cardboard that then became a QR code when we all kind of lined up on a soccer field and we held it up above us like this. And then an airplane came over and took a picture of us all standing there. And it became a QR code that people could scan and then donate to the organization. So it is a fun way to get some media attention for a good cause.
John: Well, I love it, man. That’s creative. That’s fun. Good stuff. Well, listen, I know we’re out of time here. It has been a pleasure having you. I greatly appreciate it. And I know your time is valuable, so I know the audience appreciates it, too.
Evan: So thank you, John. Thanks for having me. I appreciate you.
John: Thank you. And thanks, everybody, for joining today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. I hope you’ve enjoyed having Carmichael, who is an author, leader, influencer, speaker, change in the world. So make sure you hit the like button, make sure you share subscribe, add comments, and of course, go down below. Give a five-star review. Love to get your thoughts on future topics and guests as well. Thanks for joining us today. Take care.
John (Closing): Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions, or inquiries, about having me at your next event, or personal coaching, reach me at email@example.com Once again, that’s firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks! Lead on!