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Intro: Welcome to the Smart Energized Entrepreneurs Podcast with JP Stonestreet, episode #20.
JP: In today’s episode, you are going to meet Wes Whatley aka Joe America and I will explain that in just a minute. If you haven’t registered for my newsletter yet, go to our website right now, JPStonestreet.com. You can go onto the podcast page and sign up. On the right hand side, there is a little box for your email and your name. I promise not to share that with anybody. That’s just for our use so that we can communicate with each other and as a thank you for signing up, you will get to download one-fourth of my book The Web Startup Roadmap and you will also get my resources list which contains the top 7 startup resources, the resources that I use in my business all the time and the resources I recommend to everybody. So, those are thank you for signing up. I promise not to spam your inbox like of these people who send out an email a day. You can sign up for my daily inspiration if you want to, which is an email a day, the short inspirational message, but the regular newsletter email is just for occasionally I will send out a newsletter, may be every week or two, sometimes only once a month and I do send out – once a week, I send out a digest of the podcasts that have aired that week. I teach a series of business energizer seminars and workshops and occasionally when I have those or when I am hosting one of those, I will send out an email letting you all know so that you can come if you want to. Other than that, I don’t use the newsletter for very much stuff. So, go sign up right now and get your free stuffs. All right, so back to our guest for today, Wes Whatley aka Joe America. He has his own internet radio show where he talks about issues that face us Americans that sometimes we may not understand. He gets guests on there and asks them all kinds of tough questions to help us understand and make them explain these complex topics that we don’t quite understand. Wes has quite a stoic career. He used to live in the Los Angeles area. He has been in movies, television; he has been producer, actor; he has also been in the music business, worked with Barbra Streisand and a number of other people that you would know. Wes is a great guy, full of lots of ideas and opinions on things and I will put a link to his radio show on the show notes page for this episode is IamJoeAmerica.com. This is a great interview. I loved talking to Wes or Joe, whichever one you prefer. So, without further ado, let’s get to the interview, let’s welcome Wes Whatley.
Welcome Wes to this episode of the Smart Energized Entrepreneurs Podcast, how are you doing today?
Wes: Doing really good. Thank you for having me on JP, I appreciate it.
JP: Awesome, it’s not often that I get to have two guests rolled into one because I am talking with Wes Whatley, but I am also talking with Joe America and we are going to talk about what that means as we go through this interview. So, let’s just start with your background Wes. Why don’t you tell us what you’ve been up to for your career?
Wes: Yes, sure. I have got about 32 years of being in the entertainment industry from – started off after I got out of the army, moved to Europe, looked in Europe, then I saw this theater troupe there and I thought “Wow! This looks really cool, I would love to be able to do this,” but mostly for the music, as my background is music and sound effect. When I grew up, I wanted to be a music therapist using music to affect peoples lives that kind of thing and I knew I would make millions of dollars doing it of course and I thought well with the money that I get from doing that what would really be cool is if I were to own my own big band because I love the big band era, music of the 30s and the 40s and I thought…
JP: Glenn Miller.
Wes: Yes, Glenn Miller – In The Mood, all that kind of stuff. Deep purple – not the group, the song, but life happens and the dreams don’t necessarily turn out the way you want them to. So, I had seen this group, this performing theater music group that had worked a lot with the military, the 5th and 7th Corp in Europe and I was living in Augsburg, Germany, at that time and because of my music background, I was singing in five different services, three Protestant and two Catholic services every Sunday and that’s kind of where I saw this group and it just so happened every service I went to, they were going too as well. It was an international group, almost 600 people, 80 plus countries around the world, almost 30 different languages that they worked in and I was like “Wow! This is what really what I wanted to be able to do.” So, long story short, I joined them and spent – it’s where I found my wife and got married, had kids and did that until 1995 and in 1995 we were on the road 10 months out of the year training, two months in training and whatever continent we happened to be on and my wife said “We are done, that’s it, finished, I am done with living out of suitcases.” So, I said “All right, well let’s park it.” So, we ended up working in the main office, which was in California, Southern California and in the Los Angeles area and once we moved there – of course the kind of work that I was doing, being mission workers, working for God, serving God, that kind of thing. It wasn’t paying a lot of money and to live in Southern California, you can’t do something that doesn’t pay a lot of money and keep living in Southern California. So, I started doing little gigs and working and trying to do other work and very long story short, I ended up getting into my voiceover work with the local internet company – not internet sorry – cable company. At that time it was Jones Intercable and if you remember or know when public access television came out, Congress passed laws that they had to by law open up the doors to all the public access stations and teach anybody who wanted to know anything about television, cameras, directing, editing, the whole nine, it was free, you were able to go. So, I started going, in fact that’s still in effect today, anybody can go do that and so, I did and my voice, if you can tell by listening to me, the people that worked up there said “Wow! Man, you got a great voice” and I said “Wow! If I had a dollar for every time somebody said that, I wouldn’t be needing to be here right now” and I ended up doing commercials for them, voiceover commercials and that turned into me buying my own gear and own equipment and I was like “Why do I need to go to a studio, I could do this myself” and I started building my own voiceover career and then ended up getting opportunities to write, direct, and produce commercials and that went from voiceovers to on-camera and then on-camera to doing television and if you look at anything on my bio that I sent over to you, you will see that I have got tons of stuffs, television, radio, everything all of the above, satellite media tours and radio media tours and I just ended up getting an opportunity to be writing, producing, director for television and film and the opportunity came up for me to move to Colorado back in 2010 January to come and work for production company and I was producing four network TV shows all at the same time. I did two seasons with the shows and then left the shows or left the production company, went back to being freelance, did a show at Nashville with Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert and that’s a different universe altogether right there let me tell you.
JP: The Country World.
Wes: No, just Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert. I am used to the Country World, but it was just really interesting working with those two particular individuals. Anyway, so that’s just kind of my back story and I have always been – I was in the military, my family is military and I just have a real heart and passion for our country and what we stand for, I suppose if you were to look at me, I would probably consider myself more of a constitutionalist than I would a republican, although I would say republican backgrounds are fairly conservative that kind of thing, but I even have a disdain for the Republican Party at this point. My mom used to say “Crap or get off the pot” and I feel like they are not doing anything. They are following the same politico that the democrats do. So, I find myself in a conundrum, what happens when nobody is really doing what they are supposed to be doing from a constitutional perspective and because I am in the entertainment industry and have been my whole life, I also have had great opportunities working in and around news and I just kind of started thinking why do I feel like they are feeding me, spoon feeding baby food, why are they telling me one thing and then doing another and so that’s kind of where moving over to my alternate personality of Joe America. What I started hearing was this JP, I started hearing “Well, you know the average American would agree with me that this is probably the best thing for Americans; if you talk to the average American they are going to tell you that; you know the average American really believes that” – how would you know what the freaking thoughts of the average American, you never asked us, you just assumed. You guys are multimillionaires, not that there is anything wrong with that, God bless our constitution and our ability to make money, that’s all great, but don’t tell me you get me as Joe average American guy and just that Joe The Plumber, all these people that we are the average American people and I felt I really get disturbed when the politicians tell the country what we the average Americans are thinking, what we believe, what we want, what we are looking for and I don’t really know what they get their information from because all the average Joes that I talk to don’t feel that way or aren’t thinking that way. So, that’s what sparked my idea for doing – what if there was a show that was just about your average Joe American. I am not Rupert Murdoch, so I don’t have billions of dollars that I can buy all the radio and TV time that I want and I am not the President, so I can’t just command the televisions to focus on me and take all my sound bites, I am your average Joe American guy and I need a platform where the world can hear my voice. If they really want to pronounce, make pronouncements about what I think and what I believe, why don’t I just really share with America what I believe and what I think and quite frankly I am probably considered one of the low information voters as Rush Limbaugh calls them. I have not spent a great deal of time really paying attention and in all reality and honesty I get into the voting booth with whatever it happens to be and I sort of read a little bit, but it’s like reading War and Peace when you walk in there. I’m sure you voted, you get all that stuff in the mail?
Wes: And it’s like reading War and Peace and it’s in political ease if you will and so I just need somebody just to explain this stuff to me. Don’t hand me any crap, don’t paint flowery pictures, just tell me the truth, what is this, what does this mean, what does this bill mean, what is referendum, what does it mean, what’s your real platform, what are you really thinking and believing and so the whole purpose of point in the content of the Joe America show when I created it a year ago was I want a platform where I can get answers to questions that I have and hopefully be represented or be a representative of other average Joes that are in the same boat that I am in, we just feel like we are being pulled along by the nostrils and we have to just do whatever we are told to do and have to succumb to what are our real rights, what are our constitutional rights, how do we exercise those constitutional rights. So, that’s why I created Joe America just to be able to bring that voice and platform to a world that needs to hear our voice I think.
JP: I think it’s fascinating that you have done this and as we were talking before a lot of people in my business specifically when you are a speaker and a writer, we create these alternative egos for ourselves like I am America’s #1 New Business Energizer, that’s what I do is I help new businesses get started and hopefully live through that first year which is the hardest year for a new business and you created this alternate ego or alternate personality called Joe America to kind of – to basically bring awareness around what matters to you, which is this – and I think it’s great because it is really complicated, all this stuff is really complicated and most of us are uneducated about it. I listened to your last episode, it was about fracking and that is one of those hotly debated topics and it really is divided down the line between Democrat and Republican as to who is for and who is against it or vice versa.
Wes: And what’s the science behind it? I hear people – you watch FrackNation and you think “You know, my backyard is on fire, my children have 12…” Really? – is that really true and where is the science, where can I read and find the science, I want to know because if it’s good and it’s safe, why wouldn’t we be doing it. North Dakota right now and Texas are two of the hottest spots in America for jobs and business. You can get a job at McDonald’s in North Dakota and they pay you almost 20 bucks an hour at McDonald’s and we have got the government saying “Wow! We need to increase the minimum wage,” which I think is a complete ruse. Working at McDonald’s for a minimum wage, it’s not supposed to be your end-all job, it’s a starter job for high school students so they can learn business, learn work and work their way up to doing something else, but you can go get a job at McDonald’s for almost 20 bucks an hour, North Dakota, why is that? Because this is a financially good working system and they have less than 3 percent unemployment in the state of North Dakota. Texas without a state income tax has of now, almost 50 billion dollar surplus. That’s billion with a “B” without a state income tax. So, when somebody says “This won’t work, this stuff doesn’t work,” I am like “How can you say it doesn’t work when there are two states doing it and Ohio is fastly catching up. How can you tell me that it’s not working? All right, let’s see. Are they killing everybody in North Dakota because they are fracking? Well no. Is it safe? That’s kind of really the horse pulling the cart from me and not the other way around where I need to look into this myself and I think we need to educate people so that they really know what’s really real. There is a great thing if you have ever done or gone through The Truth Project, great comment in there “Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?” and it’s true because we accept information that comes to us, we don’t critically think, we don’t examine, we certainly don’t dig to find that info and the personality of Joe – you are Joe America, you are Joe American, average American guy, my partner Dan, he is your average Joe American guy, anybody and that’s why I did that. I didn’t want it to be Wes, that’s me now. Joe America is a representation of anybody and everybody who consider themselves to be just your average American Joe or Jane American and anybody could be me, anybody could step in and do the job. God forbid I die tomorrow, anybody else could step up and be a Joe America, why not, why don’t we have a representation for just your average American citizen and that’s why I made that delineation because I really didn’t want it to be about me.
JP: It is so hard to know what to believe because we are fed information from both sides and both sides are incredible and it is really hard to know. So, it is neat to listen to your show and kind of hear some of the more fact-based information about the different topics that you talk about and obviously some of your topics are sensitive like fracking is highly sensitive right now. Do you watch Last Man Standing?
JP: I love that show, it’s hilarious, but there is an episode about fracking because Mike’s wife on the show is a geologist and part of what she does is research for fracking locations and that kind of stuff and the whole episode was about that and it was presenting both sides of the story and at the end of it, you are left, I was left no more educated than I was at the beginning. We don’t know which side is right and which side is wrong. So, that’s just one example. There are thousands of examples about that, all kinds of political and business related issues and it’s really hard to keep on top of all of it. So, it’s nice to have somebody like you to get people on there and talking about it.
Wes: I appreciate that, but I can imagine in any situation. Let’s look at your business, your job for a minute. How many people have you come to help as entrepreneurs who – I read this book or I heard this on there or I read that thing and there is always conflicting information, right? You are going to tell somebody one thing and somebody else might them different information or different advice. At the end of the day, it’s my responsibility to really come to the most informed decision I personally can possibly make about my own life whether it’s about my business, whether it’s about my voting, whether it’s about the politicians I want to support whatever it had, the way I raise my children, it really comes down to my personal responsibility, but if I am being led around by the nose hairs and not really investigating anything myself then the outcomes of my choices – the consequences of the outcomes of my choices are nobody’s fault, but mine. I can’t get upset whether I like Obama or not, I can’t get upset with the guy if I have done nothing to really investigate and really come to a critical thought about what I am being told. If I just say “Yes, sure” or I look at all the people, I used to watch Jay Leno. He would go to the people on the street just to ask them random questions like what do you think about Joe Biden as the undersecretary for underwater basket weaving? “I think he is doing a great job and I think everybody needs underwater basket weaving and…” you people are idiots. You people are complete idiots and then you get upset when things don’t go the way you want. How can you possibly be angry if you are not willing to put in the time, energy, and effort to just investigate the stuff yourself and hopefully you are not getting more and more confused about the subject, hopefully you are getting some kind of clarity, you are bringing clarity, I think we have been taught as a microwave minute rice society that we need instant gratification, we have left the opportunity world where we have equal opportunities in this country and we have turned to equal outcomes in this country. If you are making a million dollars a year JP, then I should be able to too and it’s not fair that you make more than I do. So, why don’t you divide your bank account in half to make sure I get enough that our bank account is equal? That’s what we are all asking for. That’s what most Americans right now I think are expecting because we have been taught “Don’t think for yourself, don’t ask any questions” – does this sound familiar, 1941, 1942 or 1938, does any of this ring the bell? “Destroy the books, if you tell a lie often enough, big enough, and loud enough eventually everyone will believe it.” Does any of this sound familiar? To me that’s why there is criticalness to being more actively involved and I think we spend a lot of time what difference does it make if I get involved? What am I going to do? I don’t know. If you are one person and a million other people like you actually got off their butts and did something, may be we could make a difference and Abraham Lincoln single man, made a huge difference in our country. It doesn’t take a lot except for one person to make a decision to get up and do something even if it’s in your local community, do something in your local community. So, anyway that’s a lot of hyperbole, I know that, but…
JP: Okay, so your radio show, it is a business, you have sponsors and it’s a real business and so I am curious – one of the things that I have read is that you have to take a stand especially when you have a platform where you have people who listen to you, you have to take a stand. I follow a woman on Facebook who is a great social media resource. Her name is – oh my goodness, it just slipped my mind, social media, it slipped my mind, I will put it on the show – I will look it up and put it on the show notes page. Anyway, she is brilliant at social media type things, but she is also very religious and so a lot of her posts have religious aspects to it which is not related to business, separation of church and state, God and business and all that kind of thing. So, she has a business, it’s a thriving business, but she is very religious. So, she talks about that through her business marketing materials and she says that that’s who she is and she is just sticking to who she is and being honest about herself and you are in a way doing the same thing, you are talking about sensitive topics, you are voicing your opinion and I am wondering how does that affect your business? Is that one of the reasons why your business is successful and just what are your thoughts on that about being true to yourself?
Wes: It’s a really good question because like some of the shows that I have produced were outdoor hunting reality TV shows and let’s just use a good example – Browning, that was one of the shows that I produced, was a show actually owned by Browning, the gun manufacturing company and one of the statements that I got from them when I took on the show was “We need more drama, we need excitement, we need to – it can’t just be like every other show that’s out there.” Okay, well I come from a TV background, but when I shifted over into this branded entertainment thing I realized very quickly they say they want drama and excitement and being the cutting edge, but they really don’t want that because anything that would make their gun brand look bad, they would say “No, that can’t be on the show, no that can’t be on the show” and eventually it was so sterilized that you just have to go back and say “So, your show is pretty much just like everything else, like all the other shows that are out there.” If you are not willing to let Steve, who is the host of the show, may be miss or not find anything or may be his gun jams, God forbid, we can’t have our gun jams because Browning guns don’t jam, right, but it does happen to hunters when they are on the field, right? So, all the hunters who watch these shows, they go “This is crap, this isn’t what really happens when you are out hunting; it’s entertaining to watch, sure I will watch it and waste my time on it, but if you are expecting me to believe that that’s really real and what really happens, it doesn’t. I don’t have guides out guiding me when I go hunt, I am not in high fence areas where they got the animals pinned in, so it’s a point and shoot, there is no book that has photos of the bucks I want to shoot ahead of time, it’s real, I go out and either I get something or I don’t” and I said if this is really about real TV and that’s one of the reasons why I got out at doing the shows because we were trying to manufacture reality out of very non-real content. So, when it comes to what my business is about, the people I think they get attracted to us and let me say to start off, when we started this it was really more of a hobby and something fun to do. We wanted to see if we could garner an audience, would people listen, would people give a crap, would we get guests to come on and in the last four months we have gained a lot of traction and now people are calling us from Tom Tancredo to CL Bryant with FreedomWorks, we are getting a lot of traction with not only just local, but national figures who want to come on and talk, which okay, well that changes the game plan a little bit, let’s – may be we should take this little bit more seriously and less garage band kind of thing to may be we should rehearse, practice, and actually make something real out of this. So, we have and the people, the businesses that are attracted to us that we have been out trying to garner sponsorship from, I wouldn’t say they are likeminded, I would say they have a desire for authenticity. Does that make sense?
Wes: Because I think we are coming across – I will be one of the first ones if you listen to any of the shows, I will admit I am an idiot, I have not clue what you are talking about, can you explain that to me? I don’t try to pretend like I have all the answers like I know everything because I don’t and because it’s that authenticity, a lot of these businesses that are attracted to us who want to work with us I think are looking and yearning for that kind of authentic programming that makes them look good and feel good about – I would assume you’ve worked with a lot of businesses, trying to help them, I think authenticity is probably one of the key factors for any organization, you don’t want to promise one thing and not deliver. You want to – if what’s the one guy on the radio look or radio hear, if you love what I do tell a friend, if you don’t, tell me and I will fix it. If every business have that kind of attitude in a real sense and not just do marketing campaign diatribe then I think a lot of businesses would be more successful than they are. So, I think that’s what attracts businesses to us, that authenticity.
JP: Yes and it is true. People – I have said over and over, people buy from companies and other people that they know, like, and trust and the authenticity goes a long way towards building trust.
JP: You were saying how you are not afraid to admit you don’t know something when I was listening to the fracking episode. The woman that you were interviewing was talking about seeing the pits and you were like “What’s a pit?”
Wes: I have no idea.
JP: I neither, I had no idea what she was talking about either, so I am glad you asked that question.
Wes: Well, doesn’t that kind of go to a lot of the radio shows, people just kind of glaze over information and I am not saying it’s good or bad, one way or the other, but if the intent and purpose of my show is to educate and give people information, it just can’t be a pep rally “Yeah, yeah fracking, everybody should do fracking.” Why? Because these experts said it’s great. If that’s all I did then I am no different than the people who say “Boo, fracking bad, don’t do it.” Why? Because these people said it’s bad. There is really no difference between the two, right?
Wes: So, if my intention is to teach, educate, and engage – that’s kind of the mantra that I have that we follow is to enlighten and then engage, and then empower people to take what they have learned and how to get engaged and empower them to actually do something. That’s the whole point purpose behind what we do and what I really love and if you listen to those interviews the people love giving that information. I don’t think they are ever really asked that and may be it’s because “Well, we don’t have time in our show to get into the minutia” and I am certainly not talking about give me – show me the charts and stuff, that’s not going to mean anything to me, but at least define for me the things that you are talking about. A week before that I had Rich Wyatt on from Gunsmoke up in Denver, but he also had his own TV show American Guns and when you start hearing, here is a guy who is definitely all about the freedom to carry and all that kind of stuff and I was actually surprised, I have known Rich for three, almost four years now and he said he is against open carry. I am like “What, this guy has got three guns on him at any one given time, concealed carry. So, what is he talking about?” He goes “Why would you want to advert?” That’s like walking around with a target on your back saying “Hey, I am a guy with a gun, come shoot me.” Why would you want people to know that you got a gun? He says ”If people want a open carry, that’s great, go for it, but I think you are stupid for doing it.” The only people that should be seen carrying open are cops. I said “So, what does that really mean when it comes to your voting?” He goes “Well, I will vote that I don’t want the government dictating whether I can open carry or not because it’s none of their business, they have no business being in my back pocket that way.” He says “But if you are asking my opinion about open carry, I think people who do it are idiots as you are basically saying hey come pick a fight with me because I like to fight, you could tell because I brandish my gun.” All right, that makes sense, I was surprised by that, but that really helped me also from somebody that’s in the same camp I am in so to speak about guns saying “You know that, I guess that’s probably true; why would I go around and say hey man I am a bad ass dude, come check me out, you know how you could tell because I have got a gun on my hip.” It’s not meant for that. Having that right to carry is to be able to say “I need to protect myself and my family if necessary and the less the people around me know, the better because I don’t know if that guy has got a gun or not or may be we shouldn’t attack him, may be we should leave him, I don’t know.” As long as that air of “I don’t know” it makes it a lot different. In that regard, it’s not like the Wild-Wild West where everybody walked around with a gun on their hip. No, everybody knows everybody’s got a gun, but my point was the education for me was even I get surprised within my own thinking, I am willing and able to change my own thinking and that comes down to some of the things that I feel both sides, Democrats and the Republicans from this perspective, there is a lack of desire to be intellectually honest. I want to win an argument because I just want to win the argument. That’s not a good reason to have an argument to begin with or debate and secondly you are not bringing intellectual honesty to the table and you are certainly not bringing facts to the table. You are bringing passion, I appreciate that; you are bringing desire, I can certainly appreciate that; and you are bringing your convictions, I can appreciate that, but those three things do not make an impact when truth is on the line. For the longest time before Isaac Newton, most people thought the sun and everything revolved around the earth and it was heresy to think anything else until people were willing to embrace truth for the sake of looking for it then there is really always going to be a conflict between what I want and what I know.
JP: Okay, so backing up to this concept of authenticity, did you have to consciously make the decision to and say “I am going to just be honest with my beliefs.” Obviously you are kind of right leaning political beliefs, you are a religious man, and so did you have any issue or concerns about voicing your opinions to your audience. Did you worry about losing people or did you ever consider not being so open and honest about your opinions?
Wes: No, I don’t think so. When I said conviction and passion, if you listen to the show, you could tell like it is very passionate, and of course I am in the entertainment industry. So, I try to make it slightly entertaining, not so cerebral and certainly not as verbose as I am with you right now. I want it to be entertaining, engaging, fun, and learning. So, I cannot ask anybody else to be authentic and give true answers if I am not willing to do that myself and I think one thing teachers by default their job is to not teach you how to do things, but also to let you know “Hey JP, that was wrong, that was incorrect, you need to fix that.” So, by default most American people I would think spend a great deal of time worrying about opening their mouths and saying something wrong or being wrong because none of us like to be wrong, nobody wants to wrong. So, if I give permission to myself to be wrong and to learn, I think that gives permission to my audience to do the same thing and for them to be okay with not knowing something “Well, you know, if this guy doesn’t know it, well that’s great.” At least, I feel like I can’t too. So, I think it allows them the opportunity to have permission to learn something. So, that’s kind of why I don’t have any compunctions about – is that even a word? I just said something, I feel like an idiot now. I just said something that I think is not even a word.
JP: That might me a word. I think my mom’s used that before.
Wes: Gosh! Some words just come out of nowhere. Anyway, if I am not willing to do that then I shouldn’t expect my audience to do that. So, now I am not afraid. If you know me, once you get to know me and I am sure you and I get to spend more time together in the future, I really have no problem being honest and truthful about who I am and pretty much what you see is what you get and if people don’t want to listen because I am truthful and honest, there’s other stations to listen to, there’s other shows to go to.
JP: That’s the thing is that you can’t try and please everybody, there’s no way to please everybody. You really have to carve out your niche and whatever that niche is for you is what you have to carve out. Mine is a little bit broader politically and from a religious perspective. So, I try and keep most of my political and religious opinions to myself because my target market are basically anybody that wants to start a business, I do not discriminate. My goal is to help anybody that wants to cut off the shackles of their employment and start making their own living, their own way, finally get paid what they are worth. Those are the people I want to help and they come from all creeds and philosophies.
Wes: Yes, for sure.
JP: So, I toned down my beliefs. I am middle of the road anyway – I am totally middle of the road as far as my political beliefs and my religious beliefs. I think you should be able to believe and practice whatever is right for you and so, there is not like I am not being truthful or authentic because it’s not central to who I am.
Wes: It’s not pertinent to what you are doing.
JP: And it’s not pertinent to what I am doing, exactly, but I definitely take a stance, I am anti-job, I think a lot of people…
Wes: Oh yes, anti-job.
JP: Anti-job, I think you should create your own job or your own business, lot’s of times you have to create your own job and then transition it into your own business, but I think there are a lot of people out there who should own their own company and they don’t and my goal is to help those people live a more fulfilling life and that can be anybody. I don’t discriminate.
Wes: I said at the other night when we had our get-together, I am an equal opportunity offender and I think some of the conversations that you and I had before – prior to the industrial revolution, everybody owned their own business. You are a cobbler, you are a baker, you are a butcher, you are a blacksmith, you are a fill in the blank and your wife and your kids, you all work together and you built and owned a small business and that’s how the world ran and then we incorporated and industrialized and hired people and I don’t think our country would be where it is today if we haven’t done that and certainly during World War I and World War II it was very handy to have that, all of our women going and becoming the workforce of America when all the men were over fighting and dying in Europe or in the South Pacific. So, I am not saying that the path that we have taken as a country is bad, but I have lived in Europe, I have been in and out of Europe several times and I tell you right now more than anything in America, people still have small family businesses and you might employ two or three younger people that live in the hood, I use that term loosely, live in the neighborhood, in a local bakery or local coffee shop or a small corner market. For instance, in Spain most all fruit stands, literally almost every fruit stand all around the cities, the major cities are all owned by Muslim immigrants. When they get there, they know they need to work, they need to have a job and rather than going and getting a job for somebody else, they create their own job, they create their own small business and their family homes and I think as Americans we’ve really – we’ve done a huge disservice to ourselves and to our children by feeling that “You got to go to school, you got to go to college, you got to get an education, you got to get a job, climb the corporate ladder and be successful,” and that’s become the American way and to be honest with the whole equal opportunity, reality and the fight between men and women and who wants to get on top and who wants to have more money and all that, why don’t you just start your own business and then your success and your pass or fail is based on your own efforts. You don’t have to worry about the competition of somebody else who is trying to get that position, that job you are trying to great. “I have put in 20 years in the company, how did Bob who has only been here for three months get it, damn you.” Make your own business. I totally support what you are doing and totally agree with we need to get away from the corporate infrastructure and the way we have been going and we need to show – if we really want to show what we are capable of as Americans, we need to go back to building our own businesses and you probably know these stats more than I do. Isn’t like over 50 percent of the American population right now own their own businesses, they have small home-based businesses because we realized I can’t rely. I remember IBM “We will never lay anybody off” and I remember the first time they laid off 5000 people and I was like “Wow! If IBM can lose that many people, think what the rest of America can do in terms of companies and businesses.” No business is safe. No company is safe and then after 35 years, what do you get? Here’s your watch Bob, thank you. Wow.
JP: And the funny thing too is that IBM probably hired at least half those people back and they laid them off in the first place to affect their stock because when you have massive laid off at a corporation, your stock goes up and they don’t notice when you hire those people back slowly over time. At Sprint, I used to work at Sprint, they did the same thing, they laid off 3000 people and then over the course of next year hired most of them back and it was just – I don’t know, that’s large corporation and that’s what I am trying to help people prevent is that corporate syndrome where you step on the conveyor belt and 30 or 35 years goes by and then you step off and you think what happened to my life. It’s so – being an entrepreneur is so fulfilling and so rewarding and I just want other people, I guess in a way that’s my religion and I am trying to preach it to everybody because I want everybody to feel that way.
Wes: I totally agree with it and think about it. I have got six boys, four of them still at home. When I retire, if – and then die – hopefully as an old man, what exactly am I giving my kids that isn’t going to be taxed at over 50 percent anyway, some money, what is that? That’s nothing. What if I have created a business that my family all works and when I am gone, they still have something to continue with that’s impacting their society, that’s giving them sustenance, putting food on their table or roof over their heads and then they have families, they get old, they could pass that on to their children. To me that’s a sustainable system and it’s more valuable for me to give that business to my kids than it is for them to have to go through and look at the collectibles that I have had over the years from the work that I have done. My dad – my real dad drove a train for 43 years and you know what I have got from them, I got his pocket watch. The watch because he was a railroad engineer, he died in 1969, drove a train for 43 years and the only thing I have got to show for that and the only thing he had to show for that at the end of his life was the pocket watch that he had to have as a railroad engineer driving a train. That’s sad.
JP: It is sad.
Wes: And of course I have – well I have got the memories. Okay, well that’s valuable too, but what if he had had a business that he had passed on to me that I could have been working for the last 35 years that I could then pass on to my children that they could pass on to their kids. To me, that’s so much more valuable and even financially more than anything else, but it keeps family together, it gives family a reason to be together, it helps children – I am not saying anything bad or good against divorced people – it’s not my point, but looking at the state of our country as it is today even, broken families, over 60 percent divorce rate, kids growing up without a mom and a dad in the home and just look at the crap that we are in, look at the place that we are as a country and where we could be if we really got back to just even those basics how to take care of our families, how to take care of – and I don’t know if you tell your people this or not, but if you are going to start a business, you better commit 100 percent of doing it and I help a lot of people start businesses in the entertainment industry and I tell people if you are doing this as a hobby and you think it’s going to be a success tomorrow, it’s not going to happen, you actually have to work it, you have to get in, get your hands dirty and you have to struggle through that first five years where most businesses fail because of finance. You better figure out how to make this work and have a good plan when you go into it.
JP: Yes, I tell them that too. They are going to have to work at it and I encourage people to keep their day job if they have one and launch it on the side and then once it’s start – and try to save up money, pay off debt, do that kind of stuff so that you can free yourself from the shackles that our economic system have put on us and we have allowed to be put on us and then once you are ready, and the once the plane, the engines are on and it’s on the runway, that’s a great time to quit your job and just go for it, but yes I tell people the same thing, you are going to have to work hard for it, you have to eat and breathe it and I also say that it’s a family business. Every business is a family business whether or not your family works in it or not because they are going to have to support you and how long the hours that you have to work and the stress, your family has to be on board with it.
Wes: Totally absolutely and I guarantee you, I wouldn’t have had the years that I have had doing what I do without my wife who supports me and puts up with my insanity and my crazy ideas and my kids who put up with me, but again even with that because I really am whether I am religious or not, I am a family man. I love my kids, I love my wife and I love spending as much time with them as I possibly can as I know I will get them for a few years and then they are gone, right? Unless they stay and work with me and my business and hopefully they will, but I am not tying into that, but I realized I have got a very short period of time with them and I want it to mean and matter. If you think about that old song Cats in the Cradle and the Silver Spoon, I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want to be divorced, sitting on a curve drinking a beer wondering why my kids don’t want to come visit me. I don’t want to be that guy.
JP: How long have you been married?
Wes: Twenty…oh gosh, why did you have to do that?
JP: Hope your wife doesn’t listen.
Wes: Yes, she knows she always hits me when I get to this point. I think we are like 23 years, coming up on 23 years.
JP: Wow! Congratulations.
Wes: Many thanks! I appreciate that.
JP: That’s great.
Wes: I did more today than I did yesterday.
JP: I do want to switch gears a little bit and talk specifically about your business and I try and focus a lot of my podcasts around marketing because that’s the hardest part for people is getting business and I am wondering how do you go about marketing your show and also how do you get your sponsors signed up for your show?
Wes: Again, we really only started in the last three months to take what we are doing seriously. So, my partner Dan and I – Dan is a real networking kind of guy, he is the hobnobber and loves being at anything community based and around. So, he has got a lot of contacts with people and they all know this is a show that we do. So we’ve slowly been talking to them about not only are we on internet radio, but we are actually looking at going on terrestrial radio as well. So, we are looking at paying for both. Well, I don’t want to pay that out of my own pocket. I am all about OPM and so, we have just been talking to somebody’s organizations and entities and just saying “This is what we are wanting to do, this is how much it’s going to cost us, would you be willing to throw your hat in the ring and be an initial supporter and see if we can get this thing off the ground and then we will do everything we can because of our influence, audience and everything to support your business and/or your organization?” Obviously because in a lot of ways, a lot of stuff we do with this, is somewhat politically driven, campaigns and stuffs like that, we have the opportunity to help give back to a lot of the non-profits that are trying to actively do something, like Americans for Prosperity things like that. So, it’s been a symbiotic relationship up to this point where we have been co-mingling and co-working with businesses of like and similar minds and that’s how we have approached it. My background I think with the talk that I gave the other night, branded entertainment going to businesses and companies that would benefit from audiences that we would have is our next step and that’s where we are going next is to go to businesses, let’s just say a la Dragonmans, I am just going to pull this out of my nostrils, doesn’t necessarily mean we are going to do it, but Dragonmans down in Colorado Springs, he has got an outdoor gun go shoot, go learn, go take classes, test your skills, sight your weapons and that kind of stuff. Well, because we are in favor of being able to have guns the right to bear arms or is it the right to arm bears, I can never remember. No, the right to bear arms. We know that he will be a like-minded person, so we will go to him and say and based on my experience with branded entertainment, we will go to him and we will say “Hey listen, we want to have you as a sponsor on the show.” Now there is a difference between people buying commercial advertising; they are just looking for a way to get their own brand out and then branded entertainment. Branded entertainment is we are actually incorporating client/sponsors if you look at it that way; we are incorporating their brand into what we do, into the things that we do. So, rather than just I have no idea who advertises during my show; rather than having that happen, I can actually direct what gets advertised and then also how we talk about it, how we interact with it and how I direct my audience towards that interaction. Then let’s go back to the Browning for instance with Browning Expeditions, a show that I was a producing writer on. Browning Expeditions, well okay what does that mean? Clearly Browning owns the show. So, one of the things that we are looking at may be doing is finding a major sponsor that would want to be the headlining sponsor, let’s just say may be it’s Gunsmoke, may be it’s Rich Wyatt up in Gunsmoke. It could be Gunsmoke’s Joe America Show. To be that title sponsor that means every time somebody sees something, the website, they hear us, we go speak, it’s always going to be Gunsmoke’s Joe America. So, by default Gunsmoke becomes the title sponsor and is branded every time we do something. Does that mean we have to mind our P’s and Q’s, we have to be careful and we don’t do anything to ruin his brand? Absolutely, but that’s just part of the give and take. So, in the industry that we are in and what we do incorporating branded entertainment in gives us a lot more power and lot more leeway. So, I might sell to a Browning half a million dollar to be the show title sponsor and your name is on everything. So, it’s Browning Expeditions, there is Browning’s ad and that gives me the opportunity to go out and film 13 episodes, pay for the broadcast time because all of that is paid, the networks charge you and it’s almost 200,000 dollars for 13 episodes to broadcast on the networks, depending on the network that you are on. So, I look at what are our cost, what are we doing, what’s going to be our return on investment, what’s it going to cost us to produce these shows and then I then take that information and I break that down, who is going to be a title sponsor and then who will be subsequent sponsors, people that will – if you listen to Mark Levin or any of these other shows, you have problems with may be worrying about your bank accounts, there are a lot of people that lose their identities and they are doing that within the context of their show. So, they are rolling that into the dialogue, into the conversation – that’s branded entertainment. It doesn’t say “Let’s go take a commercial break and we will be back,” cut away, listen to commercials that have been produced, come back to the show and you don’t know whether he likes that company or not, you just know that the network is playing that commercial. He may or may not agree with it. So, for us, our approach to things from a business perspective is to find people and businesses and organizations that will have a like-minded interest that would benefit both financially and from purchasing, buying or participating. If it’s a participation type service company that they would benefit from being in and around our audience and that’s how we want to promote it. So, that is our new approach and in fact I just finished writing up all of our contracts last night that we are going to be going out and approaching people with.
JP: Great and this is great advice for entrepreneurs too on both sides of that, like for me I can definitely got the branded entertainment route with my podcast. I got to have sponsors on my podcast and that kind of thing, but also entrepreneurs could approach people who have podcasts or who have other types of platforms where they speak their mind like yours, terrestrial radio, also internet radio is becoming a lot bigger as you know, your now MileHiRadio has been acquired by Velocity Radio, correct?
Wes: Yes, absolutely.
JP: So, entrepreneurs can find sponsors that have the same target market, that’s the goal. Like for you, the Gunsmoke Guns or the guy the Dragon Man, those would be great sponsors for you because they are going after the same target market. A vegan food distributor would not be a good sponsor for you, probably.
JP: It’s not the same market, but entrepreneurs can find people that cater to the same audience and offer to do some sort of sponsorship where they could have some branded entertainment. I went to a networking lunch a couple of days ago and there was a presentation on branding and one of the examples they showed was a commercial or a segment from Family Guy, the cartoon.
JP: It was for wheat thins and the baby dude with English accent said “I want some wheat-thins” and he said “No, it’s weat-thins“ and they said – I bet you they said it 50 times in the span of 30 seconds, they just went back and forth wheat-thins, weat-thins, wheat-thins and then at the end they show the box and I thought “Wow! That is branded entertainment.”
JP: That was top of my mind because I think it was the day after I had met you at that event at Velocity Radio and I was thinking about that at that time like “Man, this is branded entertainment if I have ever seen it” because it was hilarious.
Wes: Yes, that is beyond branded entertainment, that’s brandishing entertainment right there, that’s what that is.
JP: I am going to post a link to that video because it’s so funny, I will post a link to that on the show notes page for this podcast.
Wes: Yes, in terms of your comment for anybody that’s like setting up and we met a lot of people that night, people that I didn’t even know that like had shows and I think the gentleman who owns Velocity Radio when he was talking, he said “We are going to even do this Castle Rock Show“ and one lady says “Who is going to care about Castle Rock, who is going to listen to that?” Well I actually, I created a show for the state of Wyoming in 2011. They had approached us because sales of hunting and fishing licenses were way down. Wyoming is not exactly a booming metropolis of population. So, when they started losing money because people aren’t hunting there or are not – I am about to have a lot of dog barking, sorry. The UPS guy just showed up. Yes and there it goes. I apologize for the dogs barking. Because that was in your thing, don’t do that, have the dogs run around.
JP: Yes, it is. It is funny as I did an interview last week, the same thing, the dogs, you can hear the dogs barking, it wasn’t quite that loud, you can hear the dogs barking in the background through the entire interview, just a soft, very soft and so at the end I asked him what his dogs names were and I said you have to give me a picture so I can post them as the addition of the third guest on the show, the third and fourth guest.
Wes: Yes, my two moronic Australian shepherds. I just muted for a second to try and kill some of that and of course the UPS guy is gone now, so everything is back to normal. We have calmed down. What was I just saying? Sean with the whole Castle Rock radio show said I created a TV show specifically about Wyoming. Who would give a crap about that? Well, let’s go for a minute. We went around the country and we had an American Idol type infrastructure where we had families and children. We kind of geared it around kids because obviously for the support of hunting and fishing, dads if they are not teaching their kids how to go hunt and fish, then the kids when they are the adults, it just all falls apart. They are certainly not going to teach their kids. So, let’s go and let’s create an American Idol, why would you want to go get a free hunting trip in Wyoming, why would you want to go get a free fishing trip? And we went to inner cities in New York, we traveled America, we put it out there, we had a great show host and so Wyoming was the byproduct of the show and the entertainment and now people learned a lot about Wyoming in the process, they learned about places to go camping, places to go hiking, places to go fishing, places to go hunting. We covered every gambit aspect of what Wyoming is about, but if we just said “Here’s Marlin Perkins to talk about Wyoming today,” nobody would give a crap, nobody would watch it, nobody would learn anything, but because we turned it into a competition about why would you want to – “Who would like to go and be the next five-day camp out on horseback?” “Ooh yeah, I do, I do” and plus we are reaching out to underprivileged kids, so we are really incorporated in entire infrastructure that was all built around the hub of Wyoming. So, even that with Castle Rock Colorado, why would anybody care about anything about Castle Rock. Sean talked a little bit – the guy who owns Velocity, talked a little bit about may be we can go down to the local cleaner and find out “Why do you do cleaning?” Probably not the best approach and that’s my brain from being in the entertainment to just see what people will want to watch and not want to watch. So, let’s find ways to make Castle Rock a viable and important element on a national level or even on a state-wide level. How can we do that? Some of those things go back to who would you get to be sponsors, why would they want to be that? Let’s go to your vegan group for a minute. Why would they want to be and what kind of show would they be good at advertising on? How about a health show, how about a health-related show? My oldest son is gluten intolerant, so he is gluten free. I love to have a gluten show, just a gluten-free show. I would love to find how may stores and restaurants are now serving gluten-free food and talk about why they are doing it, why are people gluten-intolerant, get into some science of all that. So, people have to think out of the box a little bit in terms of who would be a good supporter of my show and why would they be and then how do I incorporate them into that programming. Even with your podcast, by default you are working with and talking to and recording people that have businesses. You are sort of building into your own show, your own podcast, you are building into your own listening audiences based on the type of people that you go to, but are you going out and visiting and talking to other coaches, other business people? What are you – do you know what I am saying? So, there is so many different ways. What about the Chamber of Commerce? What about the SBDCs that have money to be able to give out to small businesses? Who are you going to and talking to about being sponsors because I am assuming you would love to get paid for your podcast and your radio show more than the monies that you make one client at a time helping to teach them and train them about how to do their business better and coach them on that.
JP: Yes, it is definitely, my goal is to start monetizing this. Right now I am just trying to get the traction and I absolutely love doing this. I had no idea how much I was going to enjoy interviewing people. It is a blast and I have always questioned people and talked to people and I have always been that – the million question person because I am fascinated by what motivates people and drives people and I blended that with my fascination with business and entrepreneurship and now I get to do both the things I love at once.
Wes: It is fun too, isn’t it doing this?
JP: It is, it is a lot of fun. Wes/Joe America we are out of time.
Wes: I see that.
JP: It was a great interview. We covered a lot of philosophical topics, some political topics, but we also talked a lot about business and marketing and the branding conversation we had, I loved that – the branded entertainment. If you – also the last thing you just mentioned about the gluten allergies, you got to get somebody on your show to talk about gluten because we in my household have developed gluten issues and we are cutting way back on things that have gluten in it because we are not processing it like we are supposed to and I love for you to get somebody on your show to talk about that and why this is happening.
JP: So, that’s a request, that’s a listener request.
Wes: I am listening to my listeners. Absolutely.
JP: That would be great. This has been a great interview. I really appreciate you taking the time and sharing your knowledge and your vast experience with us.
Wes: JP it was a blast. I love talking as you can tell and I love doing this. It was really great doing it and to anybody listening, hey come and check us out and we are MileHiRadio.com, but I think we are going to be moving over to – it will be on VelocityRadio.fm and we are on every Saturday morning from 9 to 10 a.m. Mountain Standard Time and look for us on Terrestrial Radio, we will be doing that on iHeartRadio and all that coming up hopefully in March and April. So, go find us – Joe America.
JP: Awesome and I will put links to all of your stuffs on the show notes page for this podcast as well.
JP: Great, thank you sir, I really appreciate it.
Wes: Thank you JP, have a good one.
JP: Whether you agree with Wes’ or Joe’s political views or not, I think the one thing you can agree with me on is that he has created a very strong personal brand. Joe America really stands out in your mind and it’s easy to remember and he has built a whole personal brand and persona around this, alternate personality really and he is using that to grow his business and to stand out in a very crowded space where you are competing for people’s ears and attention. I think you can learn a lot from Wes’ views of Joe America and figure out a way to use that in your own business just like I am using America’s #1 New Business Energizer. That’s my personal brand and that’s based on what people have told me how they feel after they meet with me. So, I didn’t pull it just out of thin air. It’s based on real information just like Joe America is. Joe America resonates with a lot of people, especially in his audience. So, I highly recommend you check out his show even if you don’t agree with his views, it’s informational and I love the way he asks questions because he asks it as if he doesn’t understand anything. So, he is Joe America, he doesn’t understand, he asks these tough questions, they are not right or left leaning questions, they are just questions and you can really learn a lot by listening to his show. So, go check that out. You can go to IamJoeAmerica.com. He is also on VelocityRadio.fm and so, go there. I will put the links to his website and all the other stuff we talked about on the show notes page for this podcast at JPStonestreet.com/podcasts. All right, that’s it for today. Hope you enjoyed this episode. I am JP Stonestreet with the Smart Energized Entrepreneurs Podcast.