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By Yaro Starak
I was recently interviewed by Nick Broadhurst for his ASPIRE magazine. After the interview I asked Nick about his background…and things got interesting.
He explained he was a founding member of Sneaky Sound System, a dance act that is pretty huge in Australia and around the world. I’m a fan, so that immediately grabbed my attention.
Nick told me how after leaving Sneaky Sound System, he got into real estate and eventually became the number one rated agent in Australia, focusing on high-end property in Sydney. After real estate, he next ventured into meditation, which changed his life.
Along with a business partner, Nick has an information product in the meditation niche, runs retreats in Bali and is working on a documentary, which is poised to follow in the footsteps of indie hits like The Secret and What The Bleep Do We Know.
Given the massive difference between mainstream music act, real estate agent and meditation practicer and teacher, I had to invite Nick on to do this interview with me.
What I find particularly compelling about Nick’s story is that he has excelled in three very different areas. He’s clearly a high-achiever, but to do it in such different worlds is unique.
As you will hear in the interview, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. It’s clear, as many people discover, Nick had some life balance issues and other significant changes to make along the road, many of which meditation helped surface.
There’s a point in this interview where I asked Nick how he was able to so quickly enter a completely new industry, real estate, and target the most lucrative market and reach the top in just a few years.
He explained some of the habits he adopted from a personal standpoint, and talked about how he had to become super-positive so everyone liked him. It was a really interesting answer, not just from the practical standpoint of changing how you live your life from a day to day basis, but how important it was to focus everything around one key emotion.
You can listen to his answer about one third through the interview.
YARO: Hello, this Is Yaro Starak and welcome to an Entrepreneurs’ Journey interview.
Today’s guest has a varied background which is one of the reasons which is why I’m looking forward to doing this. This is not just a typical online business entrepreneur. We’ve got someone who is part of the Sneaky Sound System, I guess, music group (?).
I’m not sure what to call it. It’s a DJ outfit. It’s a pop group in Australia here. You probably heard of them; who also at one point was rated a top agent by the Real Estate Institute of Australia and presently is more in the meditation niche online and actually has a fairly significant documentary coming out soon called, The Stillness Effect.
His name is Nick Broadhurst. Thank you for joining me, Nick.
NICK: Thank you for having me, Yaro.
YARO: So, Nick we’ve got different parts of your life to cover here, different segments that are all very different by the sounds of them.
YARO: Before I do that though, can you just tell us what do you do now like where are you at?
NICK: So, basically, currently, I have a company that I’ve co-founded with my business partner, Tom Cronin. It’s called, One Great Find.
Basically, the mission of One Great Find is to change people’s lives in various levels so, whether it’s professional or personal. We do that through lots of different means.
We have an online meditation program called The Science of Stillness and we are creating a new product just related to abundance which is called, Flying with Abundance, and we have lots of different ways that we touch our audience. So, it could be, we got a magazine up in the news stand called, ASPIRE, which is more of an entrepreneurial magazine, which you know well about Yaro. That’s how we met.
We’re also making a feature-length documentary, which is getting produced out of the States next year. Those are what’s happening right now.
YARO: Of all these things, is there what you’d call a day job like the one that pays the bills and all these things, or are you like living off Sneaky Sound System royalties?
NICK: All right, well, no, look to be honest, there’s one other thing I didn’t mention was we also do retreats. So, our business does a more hands on approach to transformation which we take people to Bali which that’s an element of our cash flow. But, really, the online business is where the cash flow comes from.
YARO: Okay, we should definitely spend some time talking about that but, let’s build our way up to the online business to the most current project and go back in time and look at where you came from.
So Nick, you’re obviously an Australian. Were you born and raised here?
NICK: Yes. I used to grow up in England, in a very posh part of Surrey. I had a very stereotypical upper class English upbringing. My father was Australian and he decided, when I was about nine, that he really wanted his kids to grow up in the sunshine. So, we moved back to Australia and I’ve been here since.
YARO: So, how old were you when you came back to Australia?
NICK: Nine, or ten years old, I think.
YARO: Any entrepreneurial projects at that stage?
NICK: [Laughs] To be honest, no. I always had that in me. It’s always something which, I was always different as a kid. I mean I always did things differently. I always thought differently. I think that was sort of evident in my music as a kid growing up. I always wanted to be the center of attention, always.
So, entrepreneurial? I don’t know. That sort of started to form when I was probably just out of school.
YARO: It’s interesting to even hear your tone of voice, Nick because you sound like you’re talking about a previous version of yourself when you say,
ìÖyou always want to be the center of attention.î I can imagine a musician and when you talk about Sneaky Sound System in a moment, share all that sort of stuff makes you somewhat famous.
Now, you sound like you’re Yogi and it’s meditation and you want to step in the background and just flow and those are the thingsÖ Are we going to be going through a total personality transformation in a lot of ways here?
NICK: Look, I think there’s an element of that. I think also with the sort of message that our company has, the core of our company is teaching meditation because that is something which completely changed my life. We’ll get into that in more detail as we get through that whole journey.
To be honest, for me, I’m more practical. Tom is my, he is really my spiritual mentor and he takes up that more Yogi position in the company. But, to be honest, I’ve sort of recognized that in order to do great work for the planet, I do have to take center stage to a degree and have to be upfront.
So, it’s still present in my life being the center of attention and obviously, when you go and make a movie, you’re taking that to a whole new level.
I think the Yogi element is certainly, it’s in our business but, Tom and I both are realizing that to do our work, we have to get our names out there. We have to get our presence out there to make our work easier.
YARO: Okay, so take us from age nine with this desire to be different and be a musician. Were you a saxophonist from day one back then?
NICK: Actually, I started playing the flute and quickly realized that it was not going to be veryÖ
YARO: Ö Rock and Roll?
NICK: No, [laughs]. Not very rock and roll. It wasn’t going to beÖ I had girlfriends there. I was just like eight. So, I quickly realized that the sax was the one to get to if you wanted to get the girls.
YARO: [Laughs] Really?
NICK: Sorry, I did. I did. Very young. So, I took at the sax at eleven. It’s funny, I see myself as a bit of a lazy person which is kind of bizarre. But, I like to take shortcuts in life and get to a work where I want to get to it quickly and for a different reason saxophone resonated with me and I would pick it up very quickly.
I remember vividly sitting in, I think it was year three, so I would have been aboutÖ No, no, year four, so I would have been very young and I decided to close my eyes and prove to my band instructor that I can play this whole song with my eyes closed.
So, I was bit of a show-off but, the saxophone came really easily to me and I never really practiced a hell of a lot. I just played a lot if that makes sense. It just came easily and yes, it just sort of flowed into a whole career which was kind of a surprise.
YARO: So, how did that all evolve into, I guess, easier claim to fame Sneaky Sound System as a musician or was there more things leading up to that?
NICK: I mean, I did a lot of stuff leading out to Sneaky Sound System. That was obviously people on local Sydney-wise. But, yes, Sneaky would definitely give my claim to fame mainly. That’s sort of how I’m known.
But, yes, Sneaky was interesting because I ended up going to University. I was studying Industrial Chemistry as you know. Physics and Chemistry was something that came very naturally to me so, I thought I might as well do something in that path.
After living on campus in probably, how would I say, experimenting a bit too much, I decided to leave University.
YARO: [Laughs] I’m not going to ask you what that experimenting was forÖ
NICK: Yes, just diving deep in the college life. But, ended up going travelling for a couple of years and it became very apparent to me that music was where I wanted to be.
So, when I came back to Australia, things just fell into place. So, I went out to dinner with a friend of mine, my girlfriend at that time who was friends with one of the founders of Sass and Bide which is a very big Australian fashion label and international label now.
She was dating a guy called Daimon and Daimon was an emcee, him and two other mates just started mocking around, DJ-ing, emcee-ing and had this sort of venue going in Bondi and they invited me down.
I started jamming with those guys at a place called The Point of View and very quickly, we started quite a following on Sunday nights and started the whole Sunday music state in Sydney and we named ourselves Sneaky Sound System and for the next six years, we basically toured and gigged and worked incredibly hard building a large presence internationally.
This is where the entrepreneurial side of things came into work with the music. The normal path for a musician is to hopefully get signed by a big label and get lots of marketing money pumped into you and get your music out there. Probably that was theÖ We had these sorts of offers but it wouldn’t have been how we wanted to do it, music-wise.
You do lose control so, we built a studio on Bondi. We hired a great producer and wrote the first album so, they essentially owned the music. From there, all we needed to do was find a distribution partner and retain a very large chunk of the pie.
So, we did that and the first time we went on to win two ARIA Awards which in Australia is the equivalent of the Grammy’s. And, yes, it was a wild ride.
But, at that point, I honestly decided to leave the band. It was a very exhausting career. Travelling internationally isÖ it sounds amazing, and it is amazing. You do amazing things, you meet amazing people but, it is tiring. At that time, I had my little boy, Leo was born and decided I wanted to be home so, I traded in the rock star life and became a real estate agent.
YARO: Do you have any regrets about leaving Sneaky Sound System? Because obviously, they’ve gone on to become even bigger since those days? Currently, I think within the last two or three years, they had quite a few chart radio played songs here in Australia, right?
NICK: Any regrets? Well, you’re right. Sneaky has gone on to be one of the biggest groups in Australia and number one hits, number one albumsÖ the whole deal which is incredible.
One of the reasons I left was that I’m very much, I like to be, to a certain degree, in control of my destiny. In music, it’s very complicated. You have to decide who’s written what part of song and who gets what. It gets very convoluted and the way that band turned out, I didn’t have a lot of control over what I was doing. I felt like I was building someone else’s dream towards the end of it and not my own.
So, to be honest, that’s the main reason I left and obviously I’m still in very good terms with the guys. I’m still very good friends with them. But, I didn’t feel like I was in control of my destiny and that really bothered me.
YARO: Just before I leave the Sneaky Sound System story part, it sounds like since you went to almost like what you could call, the self-publishing route with your music not getting a large record label to begin with, the aspect of marketing must have been a little bit more on your own shoulders as a group.
Did youÖ I’m trying to date this as well. The Internet wasn’t around in early 2000 when you were doing all that. Did you have to manage the campaign like hands on or did your distribution partner end up doing the marketing?
NICK: You know, we grew quite honestly, we did do a lot of the marketing but the Internet did not play a major role at all to be honest. A lot of that stuff came from word of mouth. We created a very strong presence in Sydney so, we were really, ìThe Actî in Sydney to go and see, and that’s howÖSo, if you wanted to go and have a party and have a good time until six in the morning, that was us.
We were very, very quirky with our marketing and this taught me something from the very beginning. The marketing was high quality but, it’s very quirky so, it always stood out. So, all of our posters and postcards and all the things we do were, they were very different.
I’ll give you an example. We would take cartoon-like images of horses running along and put our heads on jockeys’ bodies and have the four of us racing horses, for example, like really weird stuff. So, it doesn’t look like the normal music thing that’s normally done.
That worked pretty well. We were very well known as being cool and quirky. We also developed some presence by doing bigger self-organized in live acts. So, we would put on parties which became incredibly sought after, always sold out. So, at venues like The Basement Sydney, we had a party called [unclear] every month. We have and still the boys are still running icebergs on this day which is in Bondi which is very hard to get these day parties.
So, we started doing marketing more around a live element. That just grew so, we started getting gigs in different parts of Sydney, different parts of Australia, and then, internationally. It really was well known.
YARO: Okay. So, I’m thinking there’s not a lot of foundation, you could say, for what you then do especially because the next thing you jumped into was real estate. That wasn’t just random. How did that happen?
NICK: Well, you know, obviously, I left University. I didn’t have a degree. I jumped into music and obviously had experience and success. But, making me jump out of music, I had to really find something that I could be self-sufficient at and create the amount of revenue that I wanted and so, it was completely determined by me.
So, I actually have never had a job, ever. So, the real estate, you basically work off commission only basis. You earn what you make. I like that. It was really very hard pressure to go from nothing to support a family and all those things you have to do and, quickly grew that career to something which was high, six-degree income and yes, it was a wild ride but, it was incredibly hard work and there was some scary times in the beginning.
But, again, I sort of figured out short cuts of how to get there and I guess, yes, take the quality approach. I managed to cut out a niche for myself in the higher market which really have never been done before in my age and managed to sell, instead of selling thirty, forty probably I could sell ten or fifteen and make high six-figures.
So, yes, I figured out a process to make the whole thing work for me.
YARO: How did you do it, Nick? What was the secret?
NICK: You know what? From the very beginning, mindset was massive. I cannot express enough to anyone who is on business of any shape or form that I don’t know, if you tell a lot about this on Entrepreneur’s Journey but, mindset as a salesman, especially we’re all selling something at the end of the day regardless, even if on the Internet, your mindset is what comes across in your marketing.
I figured out that I had to become a very productive and a very positive person because people had to like me to do business with me. So, I developed a system early on which really helped me stay focused, this is before meditation, to help me stay focused and flow through the demands of the daily life in real estate much more effortlessly.
The system basically was I needed to, you probably heard some of these things before that I cut out all news of all forms including newspaper and radio. So, since about 2004, I’ve never watched the news. I’ve never read the newspaper and I don’t listen to any news.
As soon as the news comes on the radio, if I’m listening to music, I turn the radio off. I probably figured out that the news is a huge source of negativity and personally, I don’t need to know who’s murdered in King’s Cross even though it’s in my neighborhood. I don’t need to know about the person who is run over.
These are the stuff that might be important to who it’s happening to at that time. But, in terms if my life, what I need to do is stay in the most positive mindset so, I can have the biggest influence on this planet.
Now, if something really important happens, I always hear about it, always. So, news is one thing.
I started walking just for half an hour each morning, straight away when I got up in the morning, for exercise just purely to get my mind into the right mindset for the day.
I’ve started taking two liters of very pure water a day just to nourish myself and I figured that a liter of water is like having three cups of coffee because you have a lot more energy and it’s a lot more clear thinking.
I cut out all forms of stimulants ñ all coffee, any alcohol, sugar, anything in my diet that would affect the way I felt during the day. So your wheats, the main ones, wheat, dairy, sugar, alcohol. That helped a very clean way of living and that kept me very focused.
I decided everyday that I would do something nice for someone else. So, that was either giving money or just giving a smile or giving a hug, so giving gratitude or giving thanks to someone else so that, sort of maybe appreciate what I had in my life.
I read at least half an hour a day of something inspiring whether it’s a biography or autobiography or listen to something online or watch something onlineÖ just something which kept my spirits high.
So, I developed that system. I think there’s more to it than that but, I can’t remember at this point. But, I’m still doing it naturally anyway. I developed a system which kept me so focused and so likable that people, they wanted to do business with me.
If I turned that down to one thing, I would start with mindset. The second thing wasÖ I learned this very, very early on in the real estate business that if I looked at my clients, there’ll be 20% of my clients giving 80% of my headaches, always so that, low-quality clients were really hurting, they were taking up all of my time and now producing very little result in terms of money.
So, I decided that in terms of real estate, I didn’t want to be running around and suddenly trying to cover ten properties. I wanted to cover one or two max and get the high price.
I started trying to aim for those sorts of properties and of course, it takes time. I started getting a little bit of attraction after about twelve months. And, another company noticed what I was doing, Knight Frank, and they specialize in high-end property and they approached me to come and join them and start the residential business in Knight Frank in Sydney which globally is a high-end residential powerhouse.
I started that with another gentleman, James Hall, saying no to any property under $3 million. That was a very scary time and the first twelve months were very lean for me because when you start saying ëno’ to business under three million, you really are carving a pretty fine niche.
But, after twelve months, I found myself with more business. After 24 months, I found myself selling an average price of 7.4 million, averaging about per sale, about $70,000 per sale. I had incredible clients who adored my work and they loved what I did. They loved working with me and I loved working with them.
It was not a good market. I’ve only worked in bad markets yet, I managed to find people who were realistic, who believe what I said, who realized I was authentic. That’s what I attracted. I attracted authentic sellers and managed to sell their properties and as a result, I moved towards really a pinnacle of that whole space for selling towards $20 million properties. Yes, life was pretty good.
YARO: And, you managed to win yourself this award, as well. How was that determined?
NICK: So, basically they look at pretty much all areas of what you do so, they look at testimonials for clients. They look at your marketing. They look at your results. They look at pretty much every area of what you’re doing.
You have to be nominated. I was nominated by a client at that time. And, really what won me that award was my marketing so instead of trying to, as I said, having that high turnover approach, I would spend the whole day working on one property just photographing it with photographer.
The photographer I used, they worked exclusively for me. They normally only work for Architectural Digest, Vogue Living, and all these beautiful magazines.
So, I would take my suit off and I would move furniture around and take paintings off walls and put flowers inÖ I would get my hands dirty to make the properties look incredibly good.
My marketing became a real strong point. People loved the marketing we were doing. The photos just looked incredible and, when you’re running big full-page advertisements in major newspapers, that really start standing out.
I also started developing really strong relationships with key media partners which, this works for anybody in any space. So, pretty much any house I wanted to become featured, like half of the week in Sydney Moring Herald which is the main, that’s what you want. It’s like a full page story on that house. I could pretty much get every single one every time. It’s equivalent to about $20,000 in marketing that would bring a whole slew of different buyers for the house.
So, the marketing and development key partnerships was a key part of our success but also obviously testimonials and people liking the work I did is really what helped me win that award.
YARO: Okay, so it sounds like it’s about three years to get to that point in real estate, is that right?
NICK: I started real estate, I had about an 18-month crossover in music and real estate which was incredibly difficult. I used to fly in 6 a.m. from another city after doing a gig until four in the morning and start working online.
YARO: Ew! You must have been tired. What about your family?
NICK: It was tough. It was one of those things I had to do. I had to merge the two. So, I started in 2004. I had a crossover for a couple of years, and then went full time into real estate in 2006 and I won the award in 2009.
YARO: And then, you probably quit knowing you [laughs] the pinnacle, right?
NICK: I raised that pinnacle in 2009. It wasn’t just real estate. I had a lot of things going on personally. I think this is a crucial part of my story is what can be seen as tragedy sometimes for some people can become the defining point in your life.
What happened for me was I started experiencing quite a bit of stress personally in my marriage and I turned to a friend of mine, to Tom, he’s now my business partner, to teach me meditation.
So, he had been doing this for 17 years’ time. Previously, seventeen years ago, he had chronic anxiety depression. He couldn’t leave the house. He had agrophobia. He couldn’t sleep. He was a complete mess. He worked as aÖ worked on extreme highs using drugs, and party and alcohol to navigate that world of broken finance that he worked in. He had a complete meltdown and found one particular technique ñ he tried everything and found one technique which within three months rebalanced him and had him essentially back to normal. And then, took on a path to really creating a life which, I’m stillÖ and it was all because of that technique.
I became friends with him and he taught me this technique. What it did was, funny enough, this was a bit of counter-intuitive but when I started meditating, that’s when my life turned to sh*t.
YARO: [Laughs] Okay.
NICK: That’s [inaudible] because people think when you start meditating, things go really well.
What happens is when you start meditating, and this is not always, you see some people can start meditating and everything becomes blissful but, for me it was different because at that point, there was a lot of irrelevance in my life. The way that I was trying to live, I was earning great money but, I was trying to live above my means. I had a $2 million dollar-house in Darling Point in Sydney and all these things which I could have easily afforded a $1 million dollar house, you know what I mean if that makes sense.
I was creating a lot of stress financially. I was putting a lot of pressure on my marriage. The marriage, the relationship at that time really had come to a point where you had, the relationship had served its purpose. The meditation really gives you so much clarity that you start to see in life what matters and where you need to be.
That clarity for me made me realize where I was at personally. It wasn’t right for me. It wasn’t where I needed to be. If I wanted to hit the high that I wanted to get to in life, things had to change.
As a result, my health believe it or not, deteriorated very quickly. So, it’s almost like the universe banged on my door and told me to wake up. I wasn’t even taking a very serious mediation. I was doing it maybe once every couple of days.
But, as you start refining your life, it’s amazing how, this may sound esoteric, but the universe tells you what’s going on. My health deteriorated. I got meningitis which I believe was put on by stress and I was in the hospital for quite a long time and I couldn’t work for a few months.
I really wrecked my body through working way too hard, to having a stressful personal life and I came out of that experience and I realized, that if I wanted to get back to where I was, or even then, I needed to really live a point of balance in my life.
So, I took meditation more seriously. At this point, my marriage was essentially falling apart and I started meditating and my career, believe it or not, got better and better and better.
I wanted this award but financially, once I started getting more clarity and trying to live more effortlessly, I basically almost, or I’d say doubled, almost tripled my income in twelve months which is crazy.
So, this sort of income I had was something I had never dreamed of. When you go on that sort of journey and you’re given a [toll] that changes your life that much, it’s very hard to ignore it.
Even though my marriage had fallen apart, a lot of what happened to my life, I attracted the most incredible partner, Susan. We used to work together and she’s an incredible person. We have a beautiful relationship and I attracted this incredible woman which I couldn’t have done before I started meditating because I wasn’t in that sort of space in my life.
By the end of 2010, a year after the award, I basically, the career was good. I almost crawled to the finish line [laughs] if that make sense. I always felt like I needed to do more in life and I was out there making a lot of money for other people, a lot of the time in my expense. So, it was time to really start thinking about what I wanted and the life that I wanted to create for myself and I left that by the end of 2010.
YARO: So, you no longer were a real estate agent and you decided to become aÖ?
NICK: [Chuckles] I don’t know what.
YARO: What’s the label at the box?
NICK: You know what? I really am an entrepreneur. That’s how I define myself because I do a lot of different things. But really, the core of it is my company, One Great Find.
The mission of One Great Find is to change millions of lives across the planet and I touched on the four different vehicles we have. So, I’ll probably discuss through each of them and give a bit more detail if that’s good for you.
YARO: Yes, sure a lot. Maybe if you could do it in a sort of chronological order because I can imagine, so you’ve taken meditation into your life. You’ve gained clarity and focus. You then applied that to, it sounds like your finance is with in real estate and you’re making more money there.
I’m curious what meditation showed you that could help you make more money since you’re already the top agent. If you’re selling $20 million, did you could jump to $50 million dollar houses or something like that?
And then, after you left that, you’re an entrepreneur. Are you thinking, I know, I’ll just start spreading the word about meditation and sell information products on that? Is that the kind of doors you’re opening?
NICK: Yes, to a degree. There’s a big misconception of meditation. For me, it wasn’t about becoming a spiritual person. For me, I had a total which gave me two 20-minute sessions a day gave me the equivalent of an extra eight hoursÖ scientifically proven.
So, virtually, I just had this incredible coping mechanism that kept me balanced. Essentially, the way that it works is, and this has all been proven about in Science.
To give you an example, in a normal day’s work, normal day of existence in the modern world, we would build up say, fourteen minutes of stress, all right? Now, sleep, a good night sleep, seven to eight hours, traditionally, it would remove or normally, for most people it would remove about ten units of stress.
So, each day, essentially we’re adding compounding four units of stress every single day because sleep has a mechanism for removing stress. In the modern world, it doesn’t work for us very well.
Now, 50,000 years ago, 10,000 years ago, it would be quite different. Sleep was a very good mechanism because there’s a lot of time relaxing and eating and socializing. In the modern world, we don’t have that. We are in a state of complete overwhelm with a lot of information. So, one twenty-minute meditation session removes four units say, effectively, you’re back to neutral for the day.
Now, in the afternoon, you go into your second one. What you do is you’re removing four more units of stress. So, you start to ask yourself, chipping back into the stress you’ve accumulated through the years. What this does is essentially removeÖ how do you describe it?
Through life, we build up a lot of stuff. People have issues, stuff sticks to you, experiences stick to you ñ negative experiences, painful experiences ñ they get stuck to you energetically.
What you start to do is you start peeling that off. You start removing the layers. In a more esoteric language, I would say you start getting back to more of the core of who you are as you’re starting removing all these layers. You start becoming more light.
I keep saying this because I think it’s important. I don’t speak in esoteric terms but, I think it’s interesting to hear from me, a normal person trying to find a spiritual path in a very practical way. For me, we hear terms like, ìenlightenmentî far and around all the time.
For me, killing back the layers is removing a bit of darkness. Each day, you’re removing a little bit of darkness, a little bit of dirt that’s stuck to you, and you become more light. That’s how I define enlightenment.
In the process of doing that, you really get very clear on life and what you want. So, as you remove those four units of stress each day by doing two sessions, you start having physical effects. You start reversing your aging process. I’m 34 years old yet, biologically I’m actually 22. You start feeling better physically. In simple terms, meditating makes you feel freaking good!
YARO: [Laughs] Right.
NICK: We don’t have to over-complicate it. It’s not about sitting down and stopping, the thinking process. For me, it’s a stress removal tool and by doing that, you start attracting so much goodness in your life. So, everything that I’m doing now — my partner, my son, the abundance, everything I put down to the fact that I live a life which is very much in flow and much more effortless and I attract the right things in life, and that will become more evident when I talk about the movie.
I have that experience and really, what I wanted to do was just put out an info product that would tell people how to do it. That’s how our company started. It started with just one info product, The Science of Stillness, which really does change lives. It’s incredible program. We were always touched by the effect that it has and it’s not ours. It’s just the technique. We just make it much more accessible.
YARO: Okay so, it sounds like you had a product that you obviously believe in and had experienced yourself. So, that’s step one. Prior to this though, you weren’t really an information marketer online, were you?
NICK: I wasn’t. I was lucky, I had enough money behind me to buy myself twelve months at least, or about twelve months to dive into it. So, I [inaudible] and you stay you’re doing in the finance world, I’ll jump out and I’ll dive in deep and I’ll learn about it. And, I had read the 4-Hour Work Week around that time which I’m sure almost everybody on this call has read.
What it taught me was the, [unclear] in more detail and hacking or shortcutting your way to success. So, I started to really focus on the key areas needed to do marketing about it and I realized very early on that if you’re going to be successful in Internet Marketing, you have to become your company’s best marketer.
So, I think in the early stages, marketing is not something you can outsource. It’s your message. You know it best and you have to take it out there. We make a mistake by trying to outsource that early on and it failed miserably. We spend a lot of money on this expensive funnel and I didn’t do anything.
The minute we brought it back in, we made it much more about us, not about our self but more from us. All of a sudden the numbers that were converting went crazy. I just dived right in. I bought a lot of info products on Internet Marketing, learned the basics and then, learned what was really essential and just got my hands dirty and started doing it.
YARO: Can you tell us one of two things. I like to know what exactly you did. But, before you do that, the information products, is there one or two, there’s obviously the 4-Hour Work Week being one, but was there any other you can mention you might have come across?
NICK: Like those people that are getting into some other things, they probably buy too many products. And sadly, I think a lot of products that I bought were junk, completely junk. I think that’s slowly getting filtered out of that space because people are seeking quality.
But, I think that if I had to narrow it down, I’d probably pick Video Boss by Andy Jenkins, very powerful, because video is cool online. If you’re not doing video, then you should be for a start.
That’s only the basics. So, I can rip off videos really quickly. I know all the tools. I know how to get across the story. Video Boss gave me really an incredible host of technical skills plus story writing skills, all that sort of stuff.
Also, Jeff Walker, The Product Launch Formula. I’ve never followed his formula to the letter but, I’ve pulled a lot of elements out of that which have really made a big difference. I should mention early on that I didn’t bring on a mentor and I think if anyone can do this, can reach out to someone who knows a lot more than him, who has had the success, that is incredibly important because the people that introduced you too and the concepts becomes a huge shortcut for you.
This is what happened to us. So, I started working with Jason [unclear]. I don’t know if you know Jason.
YARO: Yes, I’ve heard about Jason, yes.
NICK: The reason I like him, he’s very authentic dude. He’s just like me. He’s a cool dude and he wasn’t into the whole sleek Internet marketing talk. He was just into being more authentic. That grabbed me and I approached him and admittedly, I did pay him as well to come on board as our mentor.
But that exchange has been paid in [draws] really, it’s nothing. It’s miniscule to what he get out of it. It’s not the most technical stuff.
It’s just the parts that you get let down. You might get introduced to a website, or a person, or an event that you would never come across. And then, from that, you got in a whole new path which opens up so many opportunities and for us, one of the biggest things that happened to us is we got told by a company by Jason called Mind Valley.
Mind Valley are in the same space as us. They’re into personal transformation products. And, we just started watching what they’re doing and as a result, we came across an event called Awesomeness Fest. Last year, that was in Mexico.
So, we turned out to Awesomeness Fest which is an invite-only interview conference that was in Maui, sorry, it wasn’t Mexico. It was Maui last year.
YARO: Okay, so in Mexico.
NICK: Yes, this year; Maui last year. And, we turned out our products, and we had our products just built but, we hadn’t really started launching it yet. We’ve never sold anything online. We did not much Internet marketing and we very needed space. We didn’t know very many people.
We just got there. Tom and I have this saying that we just or always love cats. If you’ve read the bookÖ what’s it called? Love cats, love catsÖ give me one sec. It can all come to me.
YARO: Google it.
NICK: Hang on. It’s important because I really, highly, highly recommend that everybody should read this. Give me one second. I got it in my notes in Evernote of course, hang on.
YARO: It’s By The Cure according to Google.
NICK: No sorry. It’s actually, Love is the Killer App.
YARO: That’s a book.
NICK: Anyone here who wants to understand what ìlove catî is you can dive into in the book. But essentially, you just get out there and you just spread the love [laughs]. You really are [unclear] and peopleÖ you just love cat.
YARO: Just getting very hippy movement here Nick.
NICK: No, we just got there and we were just like, you know what? We’re just going to have a lot of fun, connect with people authentically, help out where we can and not ask for anything.
So, we did that in the first Awesomeness Fest. We connected with the company very closely. As a result, ended up visiting them in Kuala Lumpur, which is the headquarters of Mind Valley beginning this year and developed friendships with people in the company which to a degree was quite strategic as well because we know that to get to Vishen Lakhiani, who was the founder, we need to get to the start, as well.
So, we went to hang out with them and we were invited to do a talk at the headquarters and their talks are pretty well-known. They’ve got a big audience. They film their talks. They put it out there. Kind of like a TED Talk.
So, we became very friendly with him, and again, decided to go to Awesomeness Fest in Mexico this year. Now, when we were in Kuala Lumpur at the beginning of the year, I sat down a vision. I saw a vision, I got a photo of me sitting on a plane on the way home from Awesomeness Fest last year. It’s a photo of me writing the speech for next year’s Awesomeness Fest.
I said, I’m going to be on that stage, I know it. The quality of the speakers are incredibly high. This year, we had Lisa Nichols who is well-known from The Secret; Patricia Arquette, and just incredible people.
I just said to him that this is going to happen because I put it out there last year that I’ll be speaking on stage. I got a photo of me writing my speech and I’m going to speak. I’m going to do that speech when I get on stage.
It turned out that way. So, Tom and I ended up as keynote speakers in Awesomeness Fest which was incredible because you have an incredibly high-caliber audience.
As a result, we talked about our mission which is to spread stillness or meditation and at the end of it, we showed a teaser to a film that we’ll be making. So, that’s the whole story. But, from showing the teaser, to that quality of audience, and naturally, something’s going to come out of it. So, we probably have to rewind a bit and go through the movie.
YARO: Well, you jumped ahead a little bit too for the information product. I mean, you said you worked with Jason [Muffet]. I don’t want to get too bogged down in technicalities here but, was this a case of just let’s set up a website or landing page, buy some traffic, build an email list and tell people we have an eBook? Is that what you did or a video course? How did it all come out with your first product?
NICK: Technically, it originally started out as a three-part video funnel.That cost us a lot of money and converted like [inaudible]. That’s my first lesson is create things in a fly, prove them first and then, worry about [unclear] later.
So, don’t worry about the bills and [unclear] straight away. Just get something out there and get good at testing. So, get good at knowing the key numbers.
I’m sure there’s different levels of Internet Marketers on the call but, really just know the basics. Figure out what you’re earnings per click. If you’re doing cost per click then, you obviously need to figure that out as well. But, look at your traffic. Look at the conversions. Just look at the very basic statistics for any pages you have and make it better.
The first funnel, the three-part video funnel failed.
NICK: Well, we outsourced the marketing. We outsourced the copy. It just wasn’t coming from us. It wasn’t authentic. It didn’t feel good and I think I came across in the videos.
So, I thought, you know what? Let’s jump on this webinar craze and develop a webinar funnel. But, this time let’s write it ourselves the way that feels more authentic and natural. So, we did that. And, I just checked our statistics for this week and anyone can see the webinar. They can go to the scienceofstillness.com and see the landing page and see how it works. But, we did the webinar and this week it’s converting at 50% which is pretty crazy.
YARO: When you say that you mean, 50% of the people who watched the webinar will buy the product at the end.
YARO: What’s the product?
NICK: The product is Science of Stillness which essentially is an online meditation platform. We take them through the technique that we learned but then, we take them through all the things that we’ve learned in our life that have led us to being able to live the life that we live.
It’s how to get the right mind set, how to get the right body, understanding the power of the mind, nutrition, and then, towards the end, a little bit of spirituality is thrown in there, as well. That’s ultimately the path for everyone. As you meditate, yes you do become more spiritual. It’s like becoming more fine in your senses and appreciating the more smaller things in life.
But, really at the very core of it is learning a very simple technique, scientifically proven, medically proven, that can have clearly a powerful difference in your life.
YARO: And, that’s a video course basically.
YARO: With just you and your partner, Tom.
NICK: Yes, and it’s done with Keynote and voice over so, images and words. All the videos are done that way because they’re short to the point and structural, instructional and they’re visual which I made the videos. It’s time consuming but it was a good process.
We manage it all through Kajabi. So, if anyone wants a good membership site, personally and I think there’s better one out there than Kajabi and I don’t have any commissions for it so, it’s not a plug. But, just go to Kajabi.com to have a look at them. They’re beautiful and very robust membership sites and if you want to use them in funnels to create all the funnels, you can do it as well. It’s an all-in-one vehicle for launching a product. You can’t get better than that.
YARO: Okay, so I’m assuming then that’s your platform, you got this product, you got a webinar for selling it, you’re buying some traffic through cost per click to get an audience, I’m assuming you probably got a few other places where you get traffic from. That’s the business, right?
NICK: Business, yes.
YARO: So that’s stage one. Now, you obviously would have had options once that became a profitable selling product. You could have built out your funnel more, had back-end products and so forth or were you just going to the point where you wanted to just do documentary and that’s your main focus now.
NICK: We moved in to the live experiences so, we started doing retreats in Bali. That became a new product of ours. We added that to theÖbecause that’s really an upsell. However you look at it, selling to a $3,000 retreat is an upsell.
So, we developed that knowing the BaliÖ audience would be a perfect audience for that retreat in Bali and plus we get to go on holiday have a great time, meet incredible great people and do hands-on work which keeps us very, very grounded because when you start by the computer, you can almost forget the whole point behind doing it. So, that makes us really grounded. That was our second product.
At the beginning of the this year we thought, what would be the greatest, because it’s all about leads, any business you do and Dan Kennedy just launched a product recently called The Ultimate Lead Generation Machine which is perfectly named because any product you do, any business you’re in, you have to generate leads andÖ loads of them. You just got to figure out how to convert them and maximize them and keep them on.
So, we felt what would be the biggest and best lead magnet that we could create possibly? What would be the biggest thing that would create virtually millions of leads because we don’t want to change a thousand lives. We want to change millions of lives.
We thought, well, you know what? You look at a movie like The Secret could which has grossed over $500 million and they were appearing online in DVDs sales and books and never in the cinema. We thought, now that is a pretty good lead magnet.
YARO: You could say that, yes.
NICK: Obviously executed brilliantly. But, we realize that the best way to get our message out there would be to create an incredibly powerful film. We know nothing about making movies but, I think this comes back to meditation.
When you put yourself in a space of living the flow everyday, these things tend to just manifest much more easily.
So, we were going to San Diego for a public speaking course ran by Lisa Nichols who’s actually from The Secret, funny enough. And, we decided when we were there, one of our intentions is to meet our film crew. We had no idea how it was going to happen. We ended up at Jonathan Budd’s house. Jonathan Budd is a very well-known online marketer, young guy who has done probably $30-40 million dollars online, really totally young guy.
YARO: And with Katie Freiling, I believe, too, right?
NICK: Rightand, we met him in Awesomeness Fest again. We get introduced through Awesomeness Fest from Jason and meet Jonathan Budd and some of his friends James, for example, ended up at Jonathan’s birthday at Jonathan’s house.
As we were driving there, there was some promotional work done for Jonathan. That was brilliant and we said, ìWhat would it be like if we met the guy who directed it?î
First person we met was him and we started talking about our project and he basically said, ìLook, I’m born to make this film. I have to be involved.î So, we’re like, ìCool, okay, that’s kind of what we’re hoping for.î
YARO: So, this is James theÖ
NICK: Sorry. This is just someone who was at the party.
NICK: Yes, so this is just someone who we were hoping we would meet. We don’t know who his name was or if he was going to be at the party but we like his work and he just happened to be there. So, we kind of drove all the way, driving the party just kind of happened, we just thought of it and there he was which was crazy.
Then, we bargained to another film production company at the same party, ended up employing both production companies. We made a teaser which is a five and a half minute long teaser which just gives the overview of the film. It was incredibly powerful. The first time I watched it, it moved me to tears. When we showed it at Awesomeness Fest, we had standing ovation and people crying in the audience.
As a result, one of the ladies, who was a keynote speaker, pulled us aside and said, ìHey look, I’ve got to be involved.î Basically, [inaudible] the next day a big chunk of cash.
YARO: [Chuckles] With the intention of what, just investing, orÖ?
NICK: No. Really, didn’t care about the return on investment. She just wants the film to get made.
YARO: Right. Just like a kick starter.
NICK: Just a kick starterÖ We actually had to figure out minds that we needed based on stage two which is employing the right screenwriter and go through the right literary work and get in the right [unclear] set up and having the right consultants, right. There was a figure we had in mind. I’ll tell you it was $40,000. And, of course, she just randomly she offers us $40,000.
So, the way this movie has come about is freaky. I think right now, it’s just could not happen. We’re making a film about meditation because we meditate and they’re only tapping effortlessly because you meditate. It’s all perfect, really.
We get up stage, the production company who’s at the next level, a big production company ñ works with Paramount Pictures, specialize in films up to $3 million ñ approached us and then, basically begging for us to do the film. So, currently, we’re in negotiations with one of the original production companies, and that production company brought on an integrated management consultant who is bringing all the movie parts together because we don’t know enough about the industry and this film is getting made.
It’s been an amazing process. We probably have to move to LA next year. We have Moby, the musician who’s randomly Tom ended up at Moby’s house in LA after Awesomeness Fest.
YARO: As you do. [Laughs]
NICK: [Inaudible] Moby wants to be involved and potentially invest and that his music can be in the film. We have Harvey Lowry who did the special effects for Benjamin Button. He wants to do the special effects for the film and whole bunch of other people who are involved in The Secret, on What the Bleep Do We Know, one of the biggest offers in the world who is interested in being a part of it.
It’s just come about so effortlessly. They give us great confidence that in what we’re doing is just meant to be. It’s got to happen. This is a film. It’s important and it just has to happen.
YARO: It sounds incredible, Nick. Hearing the story, the different things you’ve done over the years, it’s just so larried and they connected in the way you lived your life but, if you look at the one that surfaced from musician to real estate agent to meditator and now, documentary filmmaker, that’s very disconnected if I’m just looking at the surface. I’m very impressed and very inspired as well.
Can we wrap this up by just really focusing on the listener here. I’m struggling to think of what the take-away message is from your experience like what your core message is besides perhaps the obvious, which is to add meditation to your life.
What do you think even after doing this interview and looking over these things, what’s the biggest lesson, in particular for an entrepreneur who might just be starting out in this process to not make the mistakes you made. What’s your advice?
NICK: Well, from the very beginning, if you have the luxury of having meditation as an entrepreneur from the beginning, it is going to make you deal with the work load a lot better. Just physically and emotionally being able to deal with the work load of an entrepreneur is a huge asset because being an entrepreneur is taking the harder road. You are taking a leap of faith but, the rewards are just so incredibly huge.
But, to have a very simple tool in your life which helps you get through that process, that’s priceless. So, to start the path, I would then make sure that you have a daily routine of some sort that keeps you very refined and keeps you very positive. So, that covers anything from mind set to health and I think staying a bit clean, healthy and motivated is absolutely essential.
When I get off this call, I’m going to the gym because I know that to switch from this mode into productive mode, I just need to switch up a bit so I’m going to go to the gym, pump myself up and after all get more vitals. So, make sure you’re very fit and healthy, as well. This might sound very basic but, I cannot stress importance of maintaining balance in your life, emotionally and physically.
If you can align yourself with the mentor of some type, I would absolutely recommend. In fact, I would make that a passionate pursuit for anyone out there to get a mentor as fast as you can.
It can be a lonely path sometimes being an entrepreneur. You can feel like you’re being an alien reaching out to do different things to all your friends and your family and people think you’re crazy.
I gave up my career in real estate which a lot of people aspired to, to spread stillness. That’s pretty not right. [Inaudible] negative support from people when you do that sort of stuff. So, reach out to a mentor.
I think everything you do, you have to be authentic. Yaro, you’re the perfect example of this. Your website Entrepreneur’s Journey is authentic and that’s why it’s successful, for one of the reasons anyway. Be authentic.
But, ultimately, if you can find something that you’re passionate about and you’ll hear this in every single product you ever buy, make sure that what you’re doing you love or you’re enjoying to a degree. But, if you really are passionate about something, it makes it a lot easier if you can identify initially having life and you can align that with some sort of product, something that you can promote. Naturally, you’re going to be able to talk a lot about it a lot easier, connect with people, like-minded people, about it from a much more authentic place. So, definitely focus on that, as well.
And, how would I wrap it up would be the final point.
YARO: Get into music, play the saxophone [laughs].
NICK: Have some properties and enjoy life. High. Really, like I am high. I think it’s important to set your goals and have, I should say realistic. I’m going to have to throw that word out into the trash. Don’t be realistic. It’s absolutely bullsh*t. You have to aim high.
I think a smart person that aim high has logical steps to get there. If you aim to a realistic goal and you have logical steps, then you’ll get there eventually but, ultimately, you’re not going to achieve anything which blows you away.
Reach for the crazy and put a plan in place to get there. Vishen Lakhiani of Mind Valley calls them, ìbroles,î bullsh*t roles.
NICK: After all, I think trying to make a movie is a perfect example of a ìbrole.î I don’t know anything it but you just start the process, aim high, have big goals, be authentic, stay true to yourself, stay balanced, and keep a positive mindset.
YARO: Fantastic. Nick, your websites, we’ve mentioned a few of them. What are the most important ones to go to?
NICK: Definitely check out scienceofstillness.com. That one, that definitely gives a tool which I would be lost without. That’s changed my life. It changed our clients’ lives, my friends who do this very simple technique. It’s very simple to learn, very quickó this is not sales pitch. I’m just telling you about something which has changed my life and I hope that people listening are encouraged to take our meditation. So, scienceofstillness.com.
We also have oneliferetreat.net, which is our retreats business. Our company website is onegreatfind.com. So, check those out. I’ll probably mention a few resources which I found really useful which I think you guys will love.
The first one was Love is the Killer App, fantastic book to read. It increases the amount of knowledge that you retain from books and enables you to use that knowledge to further your career and your relationship with some people.
Secondly, I would definitely read Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. If you’ve got a company which needs structure, that book will save your life. Another fantastic book which I would be lost without is Getting Things Done, the GTD system combined with the app that I use called Things, which is on my Mac and on my iPhone. That productivity system saves my life literally because I’ve got about a hundred or two hundred things a day that I have to do.
And, of course if you haven’t read the 4-Hour Work Week, read it starting today. It will get you incredibly excited about this path.
YARO: And, for those who want to actually catch that five-minute sample of your documentary, is that available publicly?
NICK: I wish it was. [Laughs] I wish it was because it’s so cool. But, because we ventured in to contract negotiations, we’ve had to pull them from public listings so, unfortunately not. I wish I could show it to you but, to give you an idea of the film, since you want me to introduce, we’re going to show the Science behind it typically. We’re going to show the stories of Oprah and Moby and Hugh Jackman and incredible people, monks, and people in prisons, kids schools but then, give the actual collective experience in the cinemas. So, people will be sitting with their eyes closed for example, watching a movie which is kind of bizarre.
It’s going to be an amazing film and it’s called the Stillness Effect. Keep an eye for that in 2014.
YARO: I can tell you, if you’re listening to this in 2014, or perhaps sometime in 2013 there may be a preview to watch at thestillnesseffect.com, right?
NICK: Yes, definitely just keep an eye on that space, thestillnesseffect.com. There’s nothing in there currently because we are not in the stage of moving into marketing and branding where nowhere near that. But, when we do, we’ll have a great website and some more information for you.
YARO: Okay, Nick, fantastic! Well, let’s wrap it up there. Thank you for being so thorough in this interview and those resources at the end and telling your amazing story. It’s obviously only partially way through. There’s a lot more to come and I look forward to seeing the documentary about everything else you get out to. So, thank you!
NICK: Yes, thank you, Yaro. I appreciate it.
YARO: For everyone listening in, you know where to go to get more interviews like this entrepreneurs-journey.com or Google my name which is Yaro. You’ll also find the text transcripts and the notes to go along with this interview from Nick.
Thanks, Nick. Thank you everyone for listening and I’ll talk you all very soon. Bye.
About Yaro Starak
Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.