Chapin Kreuter came to the online entrepreneuring world through a circuitous route, one that led from the United States to Europe to Asia to South America and back to the US.
Hear about his adventures, the hurdles he encountered, and the lessons he gathered along the way to eventually starting his podcast, Misfits and Rejects.
Podcast: Download (Duration: 40:34 — 37.3MB)
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In the interview:
01:13 – Fast friends
02:20 – A mix of topics in store
03:05 – Chasing soccer dreams
05:04 – Not ready to come home
06:41 – Where the third world’s ahead
10:10 – A different way of thinking
13:02 – Who you are, not something you do
15:54 – A sojourn in South America
18:33 – From surfing to baking
23:08 – The switch to online
26:16 – The elusive podcast goal
29:39 – Tough stuff to monetize
31:39 – Focusing on the offer
33:29 – The thing people need right now
37:31 – Way to deal with barriers
Let James be your expert guide in your business journey
James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. Today we’re going to be talking about Misfits and Rejects, which is actually the name of a podcast from my new friend, Chapin Kreuter. Welcome to the show.
Chapin: Hey, James, thanks for having me.
James: We’ve only recently become friends, and I was thinking about this just before our call. The bonding agent in this regard is surfing. No doubt about it. Your surfing background, your surfing passion, and the subsequent help you’ve been sending me in the form of tailored surfing video tips from my local break have definitely propelled you into the forefront of my attention.
And it’s such a great lesson in business, where I get approached a lot for people who want to be on my show, people wanting me to be on their show, and people just wanting to sell me stuff without any attempt whatsoever for personalization.
But in this case, you came via a mutual friend, Pat Flynn. And you had a topic of interest that really piqued my radar. And here we are chatting on my show, and I was recently a guest on your show. But isn’t it interesting just how quickly we’ve been able to become Instagram direct message buddies?
Chapin: It’s awesome. Yeah, I love it. I mean, I do send out a lot of inquiries with people like yourself, and to have somebody respond as quickly as you, and have somebody interested in the same things I am, is a strike of good luck for me.
A mix of topics in store
James: Well, I think it’ll be a really interesting chat, because I want to talk about your podcast and the journey that it’s been. Because a lot of people who listen to SuperFastBusiness either have a podcast or are thinking about a podcast, and you have a really interesting lesson in podcast growth. So we’ll touch on that.
We’ll try not to talk too much about surfing, because I know that’s just going to bore listeners. But there’s probably a few interesting points, the first one being that having a common connection can really rapidly accelerate a relationship. So that was the first lesson. The second one is, there’s lots of life lessons in surfing that I think translate through to business.
And we can also talk about travel, third world countries, and baking. I think all of these things might come up, given your background.
Chasing soccer dreams
If we were to wind back the clock, you actually did a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of California in Los Angeles a long time ago. Can you tell us why you chose that one?
Chapin: They had the best soccer team in the US, and five years prior to that I had made a goal for myself to play professional soccer. So it was my goal to go to the best university, which I thought would transition me into the spotlight of the MLS here in America. And so I set my sights on UCLA, I walked on, made the team, we won a national championship. I tried to make it professionally in Europe, failed, and hung up my soccer boots for the rest of my life.
James: And was that a hard situation to be in, when you realized that the dream you had and the goal you set wasn’t going to be a reality?
Chapin: No, it was actually easy. I had been in Belgium, I was cold calling different professional teams. I literally walked all across Brussels one day, knocking on doors, and finally got a trial. So just the difficulty in one getting a tryout, the competitive nature of the professional level, is so much different than college.
I mean, there was still some camaraderie at the college level, even though we’re highly highly competitive. But once it became about contracts and money and playing time, I could really see that if I were to make any of these teams, it would be a different game altogether for me, and I realized how important it was for me to have that relationship with my teammates. So, when I didn’t make that second tryout, it was pretty clear that my life path was about to change dramatically. And I moved on.
James: Would you say that if you had researched the industry more or had a better understanding of what’s involved at that level, it might have changed your trajectory earlier on?
Chapin: No, I was pretty hell bent on giving it a go. I had heard so many people talking, throughout my years of trying to play soccer, about how they were going to go to Europe and make it big and this and that the other. And I can honestly say, out of the individuals that I heard talking about, I was probably one of five who actually tried. So for me, it was really important to put my money where my mouth was, and at least give it a go.
Not ready to come home
James: How much did this impact the direction you took after that? Because you’ve had a really interesting pathway since then, from finding yourself in Nicaragua for at least half a decade, setting up surf camps, being a baker, which I think’s really fascinating. And being a surf coach, and more recently, podcasting about lifestyle design and expatriates and traveling, entrepreneurial adventure. You know, did this propel you even harder into more of a lifestyle-type business?
Chapin: Absolutely. Because I left Europe, I left Belgium, and I knew I wanted to travel for a year, I wasn’t ready to come home. I had limited funds. So I called my best friend, somebody I’d taken a lot of adventures with, who was also very willing to, I think, subject himself to the kind of things that I wanted to. And we hit the road and we spent the next year making our way to Asia, hitchhiking most of it, living very, very frugally.
And it really gave me perspective on what I wanted out of life. And I was unwilling to sacrifice any of those sorts of things that I wanted to have my life after that adventure. I mean, it’s just so clear to me that there was nothing going to, there was going to be no sacrificing whatsoever. No nine to five. It’s just like, this is how it’s going to be. I’m going to be either an expat or on the road traveling, figuring out how to make businesses. And that’s it.
James: And you did this on a tiny, tiny budget. I think I read somewhere that you were able to travel for around three and a half thousand dollars a year.
Chapin: Correct. But that was just one year. So I landed in Belgium with that amount, and I got home with about $500 left. So I guess technically I made it one year on $3,000.
Where the third world’s ahead
Chapin: I stayed with a friend in Belgium. So that helped minimize what I had to pay in rent for the first three months. And then after that, like I said, we were hitchhiking. And the world is very, very kind, James, as you know, and everybody was willing to pick us up, take us home, feed us. And that’s including the poorest places on earth, which I think is where I found my affinity and love for the third world, because those who have so little are the people who give the most. I mean, we slept on dirt floors in India, you know, people sharing minimal amounts of food. And it really just opened my eyes to how kind this world is.
James: Yeah, I’ve certainly seen that. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Philippines. And I have family there now. I’ve got my team there. And I love the culture – they’re just so caring and nurturing. They don’t have retirement homes, they don’t have childcare facilities, they just have family. And you can feed a lot of people on a big bowl of rice, and they just make do, and they’re resourceful.
And there’s a lot of lessons, I think, for Western culture. In fact, one of the most interesting lessons that I think I’ve observed, you know, when I first used to visit the Philippines, I was surprised. They were always carrying around little antiseptic bottles, on their bags, and in the shops, and they’re always putting antiseptic on their hands before they eat meals and stuff.
And now, if you go to Western society, this is a common occurrence, but it was not a typical thing one year from when we’re recording this. Like, this is a new discovery of personal hygiene, but you know, third world countries have been pretty good at this.
Chapin: They have been. Especially traveling through India, which I don’t know if you’ve been, has, you know, not the greatest septic systems or places to defecate. And then, but to see how, you know, prideful people were and how they kept themselves clean, you could really see that they were onto something.
James: Yeah. Which was your favorite parts of Asia?
Chapin: I fell in love with China. I fell in love with Southeast Asia. I come from India, which, as you may or may not know, is extremely intense. As a traveler, all your senses are constantly piqued 24/7. So to fly from Calcutta to Bangkok, and really feel Thai culture and how they interact with tourists, was just such a huge contrast in a positive way that I just fell in love with Thailand. I enjoy Indonesia. But I find myself feeling more comfortable in Thailand.
James: How good is the food?
Chapin: Incredible. All over. Like, I like all of it.
James: The food in Thailand I find particularly incredible. I mean, it’s well known for it. We’ve had Thai restaurants in Australia for decades. And when you go to Thailand, the freshness of it and the variety of it and the heat of it is really next level. That’s definitely one thing I like about it.
And also, one of my favorite things about Thailand was the Buddhist culture. It’s where I remember learning about happiness. You know, Nirvana being about letting go and not having. And I’m probably paraphrasing that incorrectly, but it’s very different to the typical American entrepreneur, hustle, grind, you know, 10-million-goal type thing that is just so ingrained into the business culture.
“Are you following the hustle grind script?”
I think a major part of the work I’m doing with my own students is deprogramming them from the hustle grind script that’s been put in their head, and asking them, Okay, so let’s say you get all this. Then what? And now what? And I’m encouraging people to let go more. And I’m doing an episode that’s coming up on the whole philosophy of letting go and not worrying so much about everything having to be achieved, and that to-do list that’s keeping you up at night.
A different way of thinking
Sounds like you were very early to discover a different path. But I’d say it’s not common for North Americans to be such big travelers. Like, in your peer group and family group, were you quite an oddity?
Chapin: In the way I traveled, yes. And then within my peer group, yes. Like, there’s not that many people who travel like me or travel in general. You’re right. Many Americans don’t travel.
James: It’s certainly like, decades ago, there were very few passport holders, but that has improved a lot and made them more aware. But I always remember from my time in the motor industry how Japan came and conquered the US automotive market. Because the majority of board members of the big American corporations did not hold a passport and never traveled, so they were just inward looking and flying blind.
In the meantime, Japan went and got in match-fit, they came to really competitive markets like Australia and New Zealand to practice. And then they went in there, and they sucked it to the American market, with a made-up name just for them. Lexus stands for Luxury Export US.
Chapin: That’s an interesting factoid I didn’t know. Thank you for sharing that.
James: Oh, that’s all right. I mean, it was really interesting to me to see that evolution. And the irony is that America helped Japan out after the war with W. Edwards Deming going there and helping them with their production line processes and efficiency, and they basically got a fresh start. So their average cost per unit and their effectiveness in terms of accuracy and engineering was very high. And the American system wasn’t so good.
So it’s like you are one of the few people who got out there and traveled. And I imagine when you went back home, if you ever did go back home, you would have had some incredible stories to share.
Chapin: I would have, if anybody had ever asked. I still find that to this day that nobody is interested in hearing about my travel stories or the places I’ve been and the things I’ve done. Obviously family is, a few select friends, but for the most part people don’t want to hear. As was told to me by a good friend of mine so eloquently was, We don’t want to hear about it dude. Like, we don’t like our lives. We’re not enjoying what we do, but we aren’t going to do what you do. So just stop it. Don’t tell us about it.
James: It is fascinating. You know what blows my mind is that a lot of the people who were in the motor dealerships that I worked at, are still there doing the exact same job over a decade later. And only maybe two or three of them ever asked me what I’d done or, you know, what I’ve been up to.
And one of them, I’m in business with now. Another one, I’ve helped him grow his new business that’s outside of the automotive industry. And another one’s trying to break free now. Because it took a pandemic for some of them to wake up from their sort of routine, or their ritual way of life.
But my concern is that a lot of people are just following the standard script that was put there probably by a family or circumstance, and it’s never been questioned. And you’ve gone out on these discoveries.
Who you are, not something you do
I’m particularly interested, you know, after soccer, where did surfing become the focus for you? Like, were you always surfing before that, or was this a new thing?
Chapin: I’d always surfed. I started surfing when I was eight or nine, and that became my number one passion in life. But the nature of surfing culture, partying kind of gets involved at some point and I was getting burnt out around 17 years old and really needed a change.
So I’d also played soccer on and off my whole life. And it was just through a weird set of circumstances, my dad had taken my sister and I to Europe, and I fell in love with European culture and just really wanted to find a way back to it. And I could only foresee that opportunity coming if I became a professional soccer player.
So I just set that goal, because I really just wanted to get back to Europe, live abroad, live outside of America. But then once the soccer ended and that year-long adventure ended, my thirst to get back into surfing was greater than it had ever been. I was hungry.
It was actually the first time, and I noted this, the first time I was ever really just doing it for myself. You know, as a kid, you grow up competing with your friends, you want to be better than them, you want to participate in the same sports as them. And surfing was kind of like that for me, to a certain extent.
And then once I, you know, did everything I just spoke about and landed back in the States, I was like, I’m going to do surfing just for me, and I’m going to become the best surfer I possibly can. And that’s what I’ve been doing.
James: That’s me now.
Chapin: It is.
James: I missed the whole competitive thing. You know, I started surfing when I was 42, and my local surf shop reckons I’m probably about 15 years in surf grom age. So they’re my peer group at the moment, and they still snake me for waves here and there.
But I’m definitely doing it for me, and I’m definitely, it’s like me versus me, me versus the clock. Can I improve and progress before my body can’t allow me to do it anymore? And I’m definitely working on reversing my aging, and thanks to help from people like you, improving my technique and refining my ability to get a high from this. Which is, it’s the most healthy, amazing, soulful, meditative, fulfilling challenge, and passion is through the roof.
So I totally get it. I’m not sure it’s easy to convey in words for someone who’s outside of that. Like, it’s who you are, not something you do, would you say?
Chapin: Yes. I am a surfer. I guess you could compare to like, being born a Jew. Like, that’s just who you are, even though you might not practice it. Like, I didn’t practice surfing for many years, when I was playing soccer. I didn’t have any desire to. But I still was a surfer. And people would ask, like, well, What do you do? Like, I surf.
And I knew that was always going to be in my life, no matter what. Because yeah, it’s just in my veins. And I think, yeah, the bug bites you, or it doesn’t. Like, people can like surfing, have a great experience, stand up on a few waves. But everyone has that story of when the bug bit them. And mine was when I was trying to stand up on a boogie board. And I finally got to my feet on this flexy boogie board, and I was like, whatever, six or seven. And I was like, Oh my god, this is it. This is all I want to do.
A sojourn in South America
James: And how did you end up in Nicaragua?
Chapin: I grew up, not too many travels to Central South America or Mexico. So when the opportunity finally came, my friend had moved to Costa Rica, I went and visited him there. And the year after I visited him, we drove down from LA back to Costa Rica, to pick up a girlfriend that he had in Costa Rica, and passed through Nicaragua. It was pretty cool.
And then just through some more circumstances, bumped into a friend who was starting a surf camp after I came back from my year-long travels, and he invited me down to start it with him. And so we kind of co-founded Giant’s Foot Surf in 2005. And he left after the first year, I stayed with two other business partners. And, you know, I never really left. Everyone kind of left after multiple years, but I stayed.
James: When you run a surf camp, do you get a range of people who are beginners through to advanced?
Chapin: In the early years, when we were just running it as a kind of tour group where people would come down, it was an all inclusive package, and Nicaragua was still kind of on the forefront of becoming that next surf destination. We got really enthusiastic, mostly intermediate to advanced surfers who are coming down to explore and surf waves that were uncrowded.
Chapin: As Nicaragua then grew, and, you know, New York Times started writing about it, then more beginner surfers started thinking it was a beginner destination, which it’s not. And they started coming down, and our business model had to change a little bit where we started trying to teach beginners.
Chapin: For me, yes. Like, that’s something that, pushing people into waves is not my ideal day. However, it is better than working in a warehouse all day.
James: Where I mostly learned to surf out the front of my building, Manly, I became very good friends with the surf instructors because they were surfing out exactly the same place I was. So I was, like, an unofficial student for about five years.
And I know them all by first name, and I could see like, Oh my god, that would be frustrating, just pushing people on foamies all day, every day, and I feel for them. And that was the extent of their ability to combine their passion and earn an income. Which, it’s tough.
But you stayed there for over five years. So I imagine there were some real positive benefits of living there and hanging out with intermediates and advanced surfers.
Chapin: Absolutely. The first five years, that’s what we did. And it was still the first two, I would say, we weren’t getting that many clients and the surf industry in Nicaragua wasn’t really there yet.
So most days I surfed by myself, you know, perfect waves, which I think is where I really started progressing and working on my technique, because I had an abundance. I mean, I was getting, like, 30 waves a session. Point breaks, left point breaks, nice peaks, and then really heavy beach breaks. So I really had a variety of waves I could test myself on and just hone every skill necessary to, I guess, become kind of the coach I became.
From surfing to baking
James: And how did that end? Like, you were there for five years. What happened?
Chapin: My business partners wanted out. We had built a business to a point that we actually had the opportunity to sell it. And just through random luck, a guy walked into our little village who was just flush with cash. He had just come from Iraq. He was a contractor in Iraq, and had a bunch of dough that he just needed to offload. And so we sold it to him.
And then I stayed, actually. I stayed a few more years, I worked for him. And then actually I moved to Australia for a year, and then moved back to Nicaragua where I started multiple other ventures, like a hostel. And then I started a bakery.
James: I saw the bakery, and there was a couple of years gap, and I was curious. Now, just before I ask you about the bakery, if we wind the clock forward 10 years from when you sold the business, is the camp still running?
Chapin: Correct. Yep, the exact same way that we left it. No different.
“It’s good from a business sale point of view that you’ve sold an ongoing entity that survives.”
James: Isn’t that good? I mean, it’s good from a business sale point of view that you’ve sold an ongoing entity that survives. Because that was important for me with the businesses that I sold. It was kind of like a measure of how strong they were built.
Bakery. I mean, that seems a little random. You’ve gone from psychology to soccer, to surf camp to a baker.
Chapin: Yeah, it was.
James: Please explain.
Chapin: It was an act of desperation. I had left the hostel that I was trying to help a friend start, and I was desperate for cash. I love to bake. And so I came up with an idea that I could sell raw doughs to the various surf camps in the area and various, like, private homes and rentals, so they could bake fresh bread for their guests.
And so I wrote this little script on how to bake it, and I would just start making doughs, and I would walk down an hour to the nearest, like, development and try to sell my doughs. And after, like, three months, I was almost breaking even.
But I just put myself into more debt trying to do this. And it was such a guerrilla operation, James. Like, at one point, I had gotten kicked out of the house I was baking in, but I still had the keys and the landlord wasn’t around. So in the morning, I would use my key to go use his oven, because the new house I was living in didn’t have an oven. And I’d bake. And it was just, it was wild.
So needless to say, like, it failed, and I was dead broke. And at that point, my Nicaragua career ended for another year or two, and I had to come back to be with my mom before she passed.
James: Oh. I’m sorry to hear that. And do you still bake?
Chapin: Yeah, I do, actually quite a bit. In Southern California, where I’m at now, we have a really cool place called the Fermentation Farm, which sells sourdough starters. So I’ve been really honing my skills on sourdough, which is a complex process.
James: We bake a lot, and our oven’s currently broken. And so I have to go around to my other place and bake. Or I use the barbecue, some baking things in the hood barbecue. But it turns out that the place that I bought is around about the age where most of the big things need replacing, like the in-duct air conditioning, the oven.
And a lot of the things that were around 14 years ago when this place was built are different sizes now. You know, the typical sizes have changed, so supply’s limited. I’ve got to wait a couple of months till my replacement oven.
Thankfully, we’ve still got the gas cooktop. And I love cooking. I cook two or three times a day, like, a lot of cooking. And that’s one of the joys of working from home. And it’s also much healthier, of course, to be able to be involved in preparing your own food and see what goes into it. And it’s super challenging. I do like these challenging things that are manual, like surfing and cooking.
Chapin: I do, too, absolutely. And I like where your head’s at with the grill. I’ve been using mine as well, for flat breads and pizza doughs. And I just get the best result with a nice hot grill or barbecue before I toss it in, like, a broiler, to just get that cheese melted.
James: Nice. Well, you know, I just tried something yesterday. A friend of mine, John Lint, sent me a MEATER. And it’s a meat thermometer that’s Bluetooth wireless. And you insert it into the meat, and you set your app for how you want it cooked. And it basically monitors it for you, tells you exactly when to take it off and let it cool and exactly when it’s ready. And I think it was the most melt-in-my-mouth New York cut that I’ve ever had. It was like, unbelievably accurate.
So it was a fun little gadget. Something I wouldn’t buy for myself, but since it was a gift, I thought, I’m going to try this. And it was incredible. You should check it out if you get a chance.
Chapin: I’m going to actually get that information from you after we get off this call,
because I have a friend who I’m going to get it for. I think that’s awesome.
James: Oh, it was unbelievable. It made me think, like, these days we can turn our lights on and off with voice and we can set our air conditioning on timers; I’ve got my coffee machine goes on and off with a timer. And we’ve got cameras and things. But to be able to integrate your food into the process has been really fascinating.
Switching to online
So moving on from that, you started doing your surf progression stuff more as an online coaching service. And it seems in parallel to that, you started your MisfitsandRejects.com podcast, which you’ve been doing for probably about five years, which has allowed you to tap into other people’s stories and publish those on your podcast and YouTube. Let’s talk about those business ventures.
Chapin: Absolutely. Well, surf progression techniques started first. And it was my first adventure into the online entrepreneurial space.
I love Nicaragua. I want to be in Nicaragua. But like I alluded to, just pushing people into waves after a while got old, and I wanted to really make myself location independent, and live more of the travel lifestyle where I could be in Europe for the summers and be in Thailand for a few months or whatever.
And I stumbled across Pat Flynn 2014, which is where I got turned on to the whole online entrepreneurial space. And then I moved to Thailand, hoping to find people more like-minded.
And then this one kid started talking about Udemy, which I then started researching, and it seemed like there’s one guy on there who had a surf course. And I knew that it wouldn’t be, like, a million-dollar idea, but it was a good place to start, to at least cut my teeth and learn the ropes.
So that’s when I started my YouTube channel, in 2015, January, for surf progression techniques. And then pretty much one year to the day is when I started Misfits and Rejects, which had been an idea for many years that I was going to either turn into a screenplay or write a book, the classic thing I think a lot of travelers talk about doing.
And the medium of podcasting was just right in my face, because I was listening to Pat Flynn every single day. So I was like, Well, I can do this. Like, I have the equipment. Because I’m doing these audio recordings for different surfers around the world where I was like analyzing their footage and then sending it back to them, making them little surf instruction videos.
And then I flew to Chile and put the microphone between me and my friend, and we started Misfits and Rejects episode one in December of 2015.
James: And do you still have your friend involved?
Chapin: No, he was just the first guest.
Chapin: I never really was interested in having a co-host. It’s always been about my curiosity, you know?
James: Smart move. Co-host is very logistically difficult. I’ve got experience with that. I’ve had several co-hosted podcasts. And for the most part, it’s been hard to schedule the co-host in, they end up not being able to continue.
So that’s why I’ve ended up with my solo slash interview style on SuperFastBusiness. So if you’re listening to this, and you’re thinking of a podcast, and you got to do it with someone else, just be warned that that can be the challenge, is that you may be not going to move through life at the same pace, and there can be a mismatch in synchronization.
And you’ve cranked out quite a few episodes now. And you recently hosted me on the show, which I’m grateful for. What’s been your experience with this?
Chapin: It’s a great medium. I love podcasting. I think the biggest misconception is that it’s easy. It’s a lot of work. I do everything myself, so it takes me you know, seven to 10 hours a week, depending on the type of episode I get. If I’m on the road…
James: Oh my god. Stop that. Just stop.
There’s people out there who will do this for you and you know, like 500 bucks a month, you can free yourself up from seven hours a week.
The elusive podcast goal
Chapin: Absolutely. That is the goal, James. Don’t don’t get me wrong. But you know the point in the entrepreneurial journey that I’m at, like, I’m still not making enough to hire anybody.
James: Right. It comes down to having something to sell, doesn’t it?
Chapin: That’s just it. And what I learned recently, which I think you were kind of alluding to the audience about earlier, is I had a really big hiccup recently, which was, like you, I’ve been doing this for a long time. And I’ve been watching my analytics grow on Squarespace, where I host my podcast. And I thought, because it’s a reputable company, that their analytics were spot on.
So at my peak, like about a year and a half ago, they were saying, I was getting about 5500 downloads per month, which I was happy with, that’s fine. And then I tried to monetize recently, which I had to bring in a third party analytics company to kind of verify or whatever my analytics. And I brought in Chartable and the analytics came back completely different. I mean, Chartable at this point today is saying that I have less than 10 listeners per episode, which is completely inaccurate. So I don’t understand how their analytics are working.
So then I brought in Blubrry, which is another very reputable company, where they’re telling me about 100 to 150 downloads per episode, which I feel – because I’ve jumped on the phone with the CEO, and he’s kind of talked me through what they do and how they do it – I feel like that’s more of an accurate reflection of where Misfits and Rejects is at.
And you can imagine the blow to the ego it did have on me, which was going for four and a half years thinking I had a following, you know, I was growing, then to come to find out it’s just not that.
James: Yeah, that’s crazy.
I mean, I use my stats on Blubrry. And that’s what we’ve used as our baseline. But beyond that, we’ve monetized the podcast from the very beginning. In fact, I’ll just say the only reason I did a podcast in the beginning was to drive sales of my products and services. And then later on, I actually learned more about podcasting.
Because I got introduced to it from Tim Reid, and we started, firstly, I was a guest on his Small Business Big Marketing Show in Australia, it’s a top-ranked business show. And then he asked if I wanted to do a partnership with him and we started Freedom Ocean. And then I retrospectively cast my SuperFastBusiness episodes where I had already got audio, and then later started to get more creatively interested in podcasting to the point where now, I definitely drive sales and have a good income from podcasting.
However, I’m more interested in actually spreading a good message and building a movement. And I can see that I’m actually helping people, and that’s quite satisfying now, as I’ve achieved a lot of the other things I needed to. So I don’t do it for the money as much as I used to do it in the beginning. But certainly in the beginning, I would have known straightaway if I’m not getting the sales, so for you to start monetizing it now and to get that, it must have been really disappointing.
Chapin: It was, in the sense that I felt like a failure, and that, you know, a lot of people have helped me throughout this process. I mean, for the last five years, I’ve been staying in various people’s homes around the world, I’ve been crashing on couches, and they’ve all been just like, so kind and open to helping me kind of achieve my goal of creating an online business.
The podcast itself, I didn’t really have obviously a good plan or vision for, aside from my own selfish interest of interviewing interesting people, or people I thought were interesting.
And the intent was always to inspire people through these stories. You know, hey, like, look at James, look what he’s accomplished. Or look at various other people who are living these really cool lifestyles in Nicaragua or Thailand, for example, and just trying to give perspective to the American population of people who I think are genuinely afraid of anywhere outside of America.
Tough stuff to monetize
And talking to Dan Andrews recently, who you know, he gave me a lot of perspective on that approach, basically saying, you know, this style of show, it’s not really monetizable in the way that I’ve done it.
James: Well, most of the audience don’t have income, which is one challenge. And when I spoke at Dan’s event in Thailand, DCBKK, I think it was called, they ran a great event. They really taught people. I love Dan Andrews, who’s still a member of SuperFastBusiness, incidentally. And I said, the problem with being an expat traveler is that your whole thermometer of income will go down. If you can afford to live off 100 bucks a month or whatever, then it’s really hard for you to charge 10 grand for a customer to buy something from you. Because it’s like, you start to get mind tricks where it seems like an awful amount of money.
But then if you live in Sydney or London or Paris or New York or Los Angeles, now you’re going to start to, like, money’s just going to drain out of your account just to live. Even a food shop’s going to be $500 a week, let alone accommodation, which is just going to frighten you. So setting that money thermostat is interesting. And that’s why the traveler stuff could be a tough monetization thing.
Of course, you already know that surfing is almost impossible to make money from.
James: It’s like, no one makes money in surfing. Even the clothing companies who were making the money, a lot of them are going bankrupt. So it’s a tough, tough, like, not much money floating around that market. So I guess for you, the race is on to find an offer that converts that aligns with things that you’re good at, that you enjoy, that people want and have capacity to pay for, like their ikigai.
Chapin: That’s it. That’s exactly right. And so that’s where I’m at, you know, kind of floating in that headspace and reaching out to people like you, like Dan, and everyone’s giving me a lot of great feedback.
And I can’t say I’ve come to a conclusion yet, but I’m going to still continue to do Misfits and Rejects as I’m doing it, but with the intention of growing it and really honing it and maybe niching down and getting that message to a point where it’s like, people are finding me and knowing that they’re going to sit with me for 45 minutes and leave with their their mind blown.
Focusing on the offer
James: That’s really nice of you to be so vulnerable. And like, this is in danger of turning into a case study coaching session. But like, my message to you, Chapin, is find your offer that converts. I put a whole chapter in my book about that. It’s the difference between you editing your own podcast or not. It’s the difference between you staying in a friend’s couch or a youth hostel or an Airbnb or your own pad that you own and paid cash for.
“Scale, confidence and growth come from that offer that converts.”
Like, everything revolves around that offer. That’s where scale comes. That’s where confidence comes. It’s where your growth comes. And one place to look for that is what have people already paid you for in the past? What do people come to you and ask for help with? And what do you actually buy yourself? Like, what do you pay for, what’s on your credit card statement or your bank account transfer statement? Because those things are good indicators as to where the money can flow.
And certainly, as someone who hasn’t known you for a long time, you’ve got some really great skills, especially got a good production capacity, a great work ethic, a wonderful voice. You’ve got the real go-getter attitude, you’ve got global experience, you’re calm and steady.
There’s probably something around your catchphrase of “Break through your barriers”, because right now, especially at this time, I think there’s huge scope to help people with mindfulness, with mindset, with discovering their better self, you know, that’s hiding in that scared shell that’s aimlessly heading off to the job that might get killed tomorrow. There will be pathways that you can help people in those areas through workshops or master classes or information products around those topics.
Chapin: Thank you. Yeah, I really appreciate that. Those are kind words. And I will continue to look.
The thing people need right now
James: The fabulous thing is, you know, I was just having a discussion with Pat Flynn this morning on the exact same topic, like, where the market is at and what people need right now. Because he’s all about helping and serving as well. And he’s got a big audience of which you are in, and I have been from time to time as well.
And this is what people need right now. I’ve seen stats. Something like a third of the population are having mental challenges right now, being locked down and having pandemic situations. A lot of people are jobless or lost their job or worried about where the income is going to come from.
And then there are actually businesses out there who are so out of control with influx, they don’t really know how to handle and manage it, and they need that support as well.
“Community is going to be big. It is already big.”
So I’ll tell you what one word comes to mind. And that is community. And it’s one of the three things that I’ve told people that that people want in a membership, the three C’s, is content, coaching, and community. And community is going to be big. It is already big. I know that because I already run several communities.
And what you could build around your program, if you sign it with the sort of things that you know as a surfer that most people don’t know – you know about wave selection, you know about mental preparedness, you know about how to survive a hold down, and to be aware of what’s going on and to be able to influence your outcome.
You know about doing the work, because you can’t outsource your paddling. You know about the vehicle, like the right craft for the right conditions. And you know about progression, like, what’s the next thing that you need to focus on? It’s even in that Frozen 2 movie, you know, doing the next right thing. All of these things seem to come up when I think of you and how much you could really help people with what you know.
Chapin: Well, thank you. I’ll have to re-listen to this episode and take notes.
James: If you’re listening to this, and you want to read it, it’s up there as a full transcript.
And, gosh, breaking through your barriers. I think that’s really the theme of this episode. And you’ve had some setbacks. You got knocked back with soccer. You found the surf industry challenging. You got kicked out of your baking kitchen. You’ve had a podcast with numbers that weren’t quite accurate in hindsight, but you’re still up and running. And that’s what I like about you, Chapin. You’re a good man.
Chapin: Thank you, James. No, this has been a pleasure chatting with you, and looking forward to seeing you progress in your surfing evolution as well.
James: Well, I’ve got you to thank for that. You’ve very kindly gone and found some pictures of me kooking out, and shared with me what I can change about my technique.
And since you’ve been involved with my technique, even though you’re in another country, and even though we were complete strangers not that long ago, I’ve already been doing my practice routine that you sent me, and it’s definitely improved my confidence and my ability to perform the takeoffs.
And now I’m working on putting my knee in the right place, which we’ve identified is holding me back from my elusive biggest number one goal, which, you know, even today is a good chance of achieving that, the way conditions are.
This might also be the very last podcast I ever record. Who knows? It’s like, 16 feet today. So I’ve waxed up the gun. And for anyone listening to this who doesn’t know what that means, it’s a large surfboard. It’s not a weapon to kill people. But it’s going to be a challenge, and I’m mentally and physically prepared for that.
So, Chapin, you’ve influenced my life and I hope we can influence yours.
And if you’re listening to this episode, and you want to say hi to Chapin, head over to MisfitsandRejects.com. Do a shout out. We also check the comments on this show.
And maybe we can increase your podcast listenership, and so when you do put out your offer, we all know what it is and we can see if it’s a good fit for us.
Chapin: Always happy to have a new friend, a new fan, James, thank you so much for your time.
James: Yeah, well, you’ve won me over. And thank you for coming on and sharing your amazing adventures.
Way to deal with barriers
As a way to finish up. I’m just curious of all the travels you’ve done and all the life lessons you’ve been dealt, what advice would you have for someone who’s listening to this who might be just a little bit in their shell, or still has a barrier that they can’t quite push through?
Chapin: I think it’s really using your mental processes and imagining what could be the worst case scenario, if you were to actually attempt that thing that you’re afraid of attempting? For me, for example, like, I am afraid of big waves. And the consequences of some of the waves that I do attempt is losing my life, which is why I make decisions sometimes not to surf it.
But if you’re afraid, for example, of starting that business or taking that trip to someplace new, just think of the ultimate consequences. And if it’s not that dangerous, or you’re realizing that the end result is going to be a lot greater if you attempt it than the negative outcome could be, go for it.
James: I love that. It’s like balancing it out. In part of my coaching, I get to review opt-in pages and training courses and things that my clients put up. And one chap, Brad Greentree, posted a video about anxiety, which he helps people with.
“If you’re going to allow thoughts as to what could go wrong in the future, then it’s only fair that you allow thoughts about what could go right in the future.”
And he said this, and I thought it made so much sense. He said, If you’re going to allow thoughts as to what could go wrong in the future, then it’s only fair that you allow thoughts about what could go right in the future.
Like, isn’t that fair? If you’re going to think about what the worst case scenario is, then you should entitle yourself to think about what would be the best case scenario. And a lot of anxiety comes around from worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. So if you’re going to give the negative some attention, why not give the positive equal proportion of attention? And then if the decision is easier after that, that process could be quite powerful.
And I thought that’s good. So in your case, it’s weighing up the pros and cons, and quite often the pros will be worth it. And one thing I’ve been learning about investing is the risk ratio. In most of the investments I place, they have a higher upside potential than the downside potential. And it’s called the R ratio, you know, I might gain five units, but risk one unit to get it. And if you do that systematically, you can end up winning.
And I think you can do that in life. Think about all the positive stuff. That’s classic Maxwell Maltz visualization.
And definitely, there’s a phrase, “mind surfing”, that you and I would be aware of, Chapin, but that’s how I put myself to sleep every night. I’m just mind-surfing the next wave, and I’m selecting from my equipment and having great waves.
And I saw a Patagonia movie where Wayne Lynch used to do that. He actually visioned him doing a full exit the wave and come back into the wave in his dreams. And then he was able to perform that in the Evolution movie, which when it was shown around the world, people just went, Ohhh. Like, it’s the first time people saw a proper turn on a wave compared to just going straight down the wave, which was it was started in the mind, and then it was achieved in real life. So it’s such a powerful way to finish this episode.
Thank you so much for sharing.
Chapin: Thank you for having me.
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