By Yaro Starak
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I was invited to speak at a Chris Ducker and Pat Flynn workshop in San Diego in 2015.
I arrived early and sat at the back of the room waiting for my turn on stage. Sitting on my left was a face I recognized as another guest speaker at the weekend workshop – Hal Elrod.
I knew of Hal because his book — The Miracle Morning — had become a smash hit and was popping up all over the internet. I’d also read about him on the speaker bios for the event.
As I sat down Hal said hello. I introduced myself and Hal’s face instantly turned to one of recognition.
I didn’t realize this, but Hal had taken part in my Membership Site Mastermind program several years ago and gone on to create a $20,000/month membership site! This was just before his Miracle Morning rise to fame.
We chatted briefly, Hal was kind enough to offer me a signed copy of his book, and I mentally took note to invite him on to my podcast.
I’m pleased to say that I have just wrapped up the interview with Hal and I can now share it with you.
As a teenager Hal got his entrepreneurial journey started as a DJ earning money playing parties and weddings on weekends.
Next he discovered the world of selling knives on commission, which turned out to be something Hal was incredible good at. He became a top producer for the company, and then eventually became a coach, helping other people to become more effective at selling knives and in particular, drumming up new customer referrals.
All of this came to a sudden stop when Hal was in a car accident in his early twenties. He was rushed to hospital, but based on the damage to his body, wasn’t expected to walk again and possibly had brain damage.
I’ll leave you to listen in to the interview to hear how Hal recovered from this accident and was able to walk away from the hospital in just a few short months.
Hal returned to coaching after recovering from his accident and things went well until the global financial crisis hit in 2008. He lost half of his clients and unfortunately his house as well.
This was a dark period for Hal, but he eventually emerged with a plan. He began studying the morning routines of the most successful people in the world and began to compile what would eventually become the Miracle Morning.
In the interview Hal breaks down the six steps for a Miracle Morning, so if you’ve never read the book before, make sure you listen in towards the end of the interview.
Since the release of the Miracle Morning book Hal has become a sought after speaker and has a lot of projects on the go. His book continues to sell well and he’s know running a business that brings in over a million dollars a year.
Enjoy the podcast.
Yaro Starak: Hello, this is Yaro Starak and welcome to the Entrepreneur’s Journey podcast. Today’s guest is Hal Elrod.
Hi there, and welcome to another Entrepreneur’s Journey podcast. Today my guest is Hal Elrod, and you’re going to hear a story that really has some ups and downs in terms of some big life tragedies, like a car accident that almost left Hal unable to walk and with brain damage. You’ll also hear how he got his start during the early days, before he became well-known for “The Miracle Morning” book. He was actually quite entrepreneurial, and had a background as a DJ, and also selling knives, and became a top commissioned knife seller. He was very good at getting referrals. You’re going to hear about those stories, as well of course, about the release and the first initial creation of “The Miracle Morning” book, which has become quite a phenomenon with Hal traveling around the world, leading events, becoming a very well-known speaker, as well. You’ll also hear Hal explain what exactly are the steps to a miracle morning, so make sure you stay tuned for that.
Before we dive into the interview, I just like to remind you, if you’ve not yet signed up for my email newsletter, where I send you my latest podcast interviews like this, make sure you go to InterviewsClub.com and just enter your email address there. Then, you’ll be signed up to that email list and you’ll get all my latest podcasts as soon as I release them, and also a series of my very best podcasts from over the years in my archives. That’s it. I’ll get going now with the interview. Here’s Hal.
Hello, this is Yaro Starak, and welcome to an Entrepreneur’s Journey podcast interview. Today, we connected in person for the first time at a Pat Flynn and Chris Ducker event in San Diego. I think we just happened to be sitting next to each other, and we shook hands. I didn’t realize that there was a connection we had prior to this, so I’m looking forward to hearing about that. Obviously, because my guest was a speaker at Pat Flynn and Chris Ducker’s event, he’s got a great story to share. I’m going to let my guest explain why he’s here to do the interview with me, because there’s a lot we need to cover. You probably know him for one reason, first of all, though. So my guest, Hal Elrod, thank you for joining me on the interview today.
Hal Elrod: Yaro, it’s an honor. I don’t know if I told you this when we met, but you’re like an internet celebrity to me. When I saw you, I was like “Whoa! That’s Yaro Starak! No way!” Then, so for me to be on your show now, it’s an honor, man. Thanks for having me.
Yaro Starak: I’m glad to have you here. Just for those who don’t know, they probably have heard of your book, “The Miracle Morning,” because that’s a bit of a breakout success story. Let’s first cover that. What is the book? How successful is it?
Hal Elrod: Yeah. I wrote “The Miracle Morning.” It came out in 2012, and it was … “The Miracle Morning” was never a book idea. It was never a business idea, never a brand. It was really, in 2008 when the economy crashed, I crashed with it. I lost my income. I lost my house. I was an entrepreneur, so my clients, I was a coach, they couldn’t afford to pay me. Long story short, I create this morning ritual, my life changes so fast. I start calling it my miracle morning. Then, I start sharing it with my clients, and then they have the same results.
I go, “Man, maybe I need to share this with more people. Maybe I should write a book about it.” The book came out in 2012. It’s now become one of the highest rated books on Amazon, with over 1500 five star reviews. It’s one of the best selling self-published books of all time, with over 200,000 copies sold. Pretty exciting, we just signed with 21 foreign publishers, so it’s being translated and published in 21 languages. It’s currently been published in the UK, France, and it’s the number one best selling book in all of Korea. At least it was a few weeks ago.
Yaro Starak: That’s awesome.
Hal Elrod: It’s kind of surreal.
Yaro Starak: Can you tell us about the business around the book? How do you live your life currently? I know you’re a speaker.
Hal Elrod: Yeah.
Yaro Starak: Because of this, what else do you do with this business?
Hal Elrod: Yeah, so when the book came out, I was an author, a speaker, and a coach. I did not make very much money as an author. I didn’t make a whole lot of money as a speaker. I was making maybe like three to five thousand dollars per speaking engagement speaking at colleges, mostly. As a coach, that was where most of my money came in, but it was right around six figures. The book, when I wrote it, I didn’t know it would be so successful, but it’s now … I went from, the year the book came out I did like $150,000 in revenue. Three years later, we did $1.5 million dollars in revenue. This last year, and probably over 2 this year. Over half of that is book sales.
Yaro Starak: Wow.
Hal Elrod: Royalties from one book. People go, “So Hal, how do you monetize your book?” Right? People think you don’t make money as an author.
I go, “You sell a lot of books. That’s how you monetize a book! You sell it!”
Yaro Starak: That’s not the answer you expect nowadays.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, guys are like, “So what’s the back end?” Now, we have a back end. I have a group coaching program. I have a few private coaching clients. My keynote fee went from three grand to twenty-five grand, so I speak a couple times a month. Then, we do live events. We put on live events with hundreds of people in the room. Yeah, but it all starts with the book. The book is what introduces people and brings them into our funnel, and we have approximately ten to eleven thousand new people subscribe to my email list every single month, and 90% of those come from people that are reading the book that are opting in to get the bonuses that are offered in the book. This whole business, that really is the front of it. It brings people in, it gives so much value. Then they want more, they want to go to the events, and that kind of thing.
Yaro Starak: I do want to dive into your story. I know we’ve only got you for like another half hour or so, but I just have to clarify. I came into your world way before all “The Miracle Morning” happened, is that correct?
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Back in … I’m trying to think of the year here, 2011, I believe, is when I was looking at creating a group coaching program. Your memberships… Remind me what it’s called.
Yaro Starak: There’s two things. There’s a free report I had called the Membership Side Master Plan, which lead to a program called the Membership Side Mastermind.
Hal Elrod: Got it. Okay, so we started with the freebie and then went into the program. When I started it, I launched it with five coaching members, five group coaching members at $97 a month. You obviously would … It’s called the blueprint for a reason. You have it really dialed in, and simplified, and it’s very step-by-step. We grew it to from five members to seventy members within two months, following a lot of the stuff I learned from you, which took it from $500 a month to $7,000 a month. Yet my ongoing effort wasn’t anymore. I was just doing a few calls a month.
Then we grew that to 220 members at $97 a month, which is over $20,000. But again, the ongoing effort didn’t increase. I was able to scale, and that was the first time that I really learned that “Wow, it really is about scalability.” I was doing one-on-one coaching before that. You’re paying X amount for X amount of time, and to be able to … you really gave me a view into the freedom that’s possible when you create a membership site and you focus on scaling your income, and scaling your impact, and scaling your time.
Yaro Starak: Now, the one missing link here, people had me thinking, “Wait a sec, so you had a membership site. You’ve written this book, but what exactly does Hal teach?” Can we just maybe go back in time and connect the dots here?
Hal Elrod: Yeah.
Yaro Starak: I know, because I’ve read your book, and I know you’ve had this history in sales. Can we go back even before all of that. What did you start off as in terms of an entrepreneur? Do you have anything in your high school days, or university days where you were doing your own projects?
Hal Elrod: I did. My parents bought a grocery store, so I saw them run a business. Where it started, I was working in the grocery store and a buddy of mine, he said “Hey, my brother is sick, and he was going to DJ, you know, play the music and DJ the 8th grade school dance.” I was a sophomore in high school at this point. “He’s sick, and he can’t do it, and it’s tomorrow night. Do you want to DJ this dance with me?”
I said, “Yeah! It sounds like it’s a blast.” We put out a tip cup, and junior high students don’t have a lot of money. We pulled in $7 that we split between us.
We were like, “Dude! We just got paid three bucks to play music? That was great!”
Then, the light bulb went off and I went, “Let’s make this a real business.” Long story short, my dad financed us DJ equipment equipment, and me and my partner broke up over a girl that summer. It ended, our business partnership ended as quickly as it started.
Yaro Starak: Wow, [crosstalk 00:08:57].
Hal Elrod: Yeah, exactly. He actually just kind of decided not to do it at all. I bought equipment, I ran with it. I started earning a $100 an hour when I was 15. I would work one night, make 5, $600 or whatever, and then I got a job on the radio. That was my first entrepreneurial journey. That’s where I learned two lessons that came out of that. That you can make significantly more income than is considered normal, the whole $100 an hour and my friends were making $4.25, minimum wage. Number two, it can be doing something that you actually love doing! I love doing dances, and weddings, and car … whatever. Watching people have fun, it wasn’t work for me. Those were the two big lessons that I walked away with that shaped everything I think I do today.
Yaro Starak: I’m just curious, what was your genre as a DJ?
Hal Elrod: When I was on the radio, I had a hip-hop show. That’s where I got my nickname “Yo Pal Hal,” which to this day, half of my friends still call me Yo Pal Hal.” I played hip-hop at the radio station. Granted, we didn’t get invited back the next year, because it was a country soft-rock radio.
Yaro Starak: Okay.
Hal Elrod: Then, at weddings and school dances, I played what everybody wanted. I lived in a small town, so some weddings would want only country music, which I would have to research, because I knew nothing about. Then, the majority of it were like top 40, 70s, 80s, 90s, just popular music.
Yaro Starak: Gotcha. Did the DJ career fizzle out?
Hal Elrod: Yeah.
Yaro Starak: Or do you have this famous DJ experience I don’t know about?
Hal Elrod: No, so that was the plan. I started thinking entrepreneurial. I thought, ‘I’m going to scale.’ I didn’t know the word ‘scale,’ or what that meant, but my plan was, I want a DJ business where I have a bunch of DJs that work within my organization. Then, every Friday, there’s five crews out there deejay-ing, and maybe I’m one of them, maybe I’m not. That was the vision. Also, I got another radio station job, and I wanted to be like the next Ryan Seacrest, or nationally syndicated radio DJ.
One of my close friends in college, my freshman year, he sold Cutco cutlery. I thought … He told me what he did, and I was like, “You go to people’s houses and you cut stuff, and then they … that’s the weirdest gig ever. Aren’t you afraid someone’s going to stab you?”
He ended up, long story short, he got … I don’t know if he tricked me, but he got me to go with him one day to the office, the Cutco office. I met the manager, cool guy, down to earth, really authentic and really explained the opportunity, how I could create my own income. There was no wage. It was, you make as much as you want to make. You either work harder and/or you get better at what you do. You read books. You improve your sales skills, and you’ll sell more per appointment. Your income keeps going up, and up, and up. It’s whatever you want it to be.
I was like, “That’s really appealing.” I started there, and my first ten days, I broke the all time … It was a 50 year company. I broke the all time company record, where I sold more in my first ten days than just about anybody in the history of the company. That was a whole new career.
Yaro Starak: Wow. What was your secret sauce?
Hal Elrod: A few things, and we all have access to both of these, which is work ethic and enthusiasm. I had been lazy most of my life, but at that point, I was excited. I was like, this is kind of the DJ thing, right? I was like, “Wait, I’m not … this isn’t work to me. This is exciting. This is fun, it’s like a game. I get on the phone, I set appointments. The more I set, the better I do. I can win prizes.” You know, it was a game. I got excited. I worked my butt off. I out-worked everybody. I did 61 appointments in those ten days that I broke the initial record. An average of two hours per appointment, so I was working twelve hours a day, ten days in a row.
Then, enthusiasm, which you might get that from me now, right? I just was genuinely excited about the product that I was selling. That was it. I didn’t have any skills. I just was excited. I worked really hard. I think that if we apply those two attributes to anything that we do in life, we’re going to create success beyond what’s considered normal.
Yaro Starak: Is it safe to say that eventually sell knives just wasn’t enough for you, or how long did that go on for?
Hal Elrod: It was a year and … I actually sold knives for six years, but my decision that it wasn’t going to be my lifetime career, which I initially thought that it was. What my manager did for me in terms of believing in me, I wouldn’t have broken that record without his mentorship, and belief, and accountability, his guidance. I thought, “Man, I want to do that. I could do that for the rest of my life. If my job was helping college students bring out the best in themselves like my manager did for me, what a fulfilling career! That’d be amazing! I’ll do it forever,” right?
A year and a half into my career, I was giving a speech at a Cutco sales conference, and after the conference, driving home in my first new car. I just bought a brand new Ford Mustang, this was December 3rd, 1999. I was twenty. A drunk driver got on the freeway going the wrong against traffic, and I don’t remember the headlights coming at me but at around 11:30 pm at night, he came around a corner and he crashed head-on into my car at seventy miles an hour. Sent my car spinning off the drunk driver, and went perpendicular to the highway, and the car behind me crashed into my driver’s side door at around seventy miles per hour.
The left side of my body was immediately just devastated. I broke eleven bones. I bled to death. I was clinically dead for six minutes, rushed to the hospital. In a coma for six days, flat-lined twice, had all these emergency surgeries and when I came out of the coma, the doctor said that I would probably never walk again, and I had permanent brain damage. This was this reality that I had to face. If you have any questions on this, obviously I can go into some of the detail, but that was a pivotal moment where I woke up from the coma and I had to deal with all this. I realized at one point, maybe … everything happens for a reason. How could I use this experience to improve my life, and serve humanity. I think it’s more than selling knives. I always wanted to be a speaker, maybe that’s what I’ll do. That’s where those seeds were planted.
Yaro Starak: How long was the recovery process? We’re talking to you, and you sound fairly coherent. I’m assuming the brain works pretty well.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, my wife would disagree. She’ll tell you the brain damage is a real thing. Anybody spends enough time with me, they’re like … I’ll tell them a story, and then five minutes later, an hour later, I’ll tell them the same story or ask them the same question. They go, “Do you really not remember that you just told me that?”
I’ll go, “No, the brain damage, remember?” No, so they said I would never walk again. Then, they’re like hopeful assessment was maybe in six to twelve months, after your body is healed, we’ll be able to re-evaluate. Three weeks after the crash, only two weeks after I was awake from the coma, the … I’ll share this story real quick.
About a week after I come out of the coma, the doctors called my parents in and they sat them down, and they said “We’re very concerned with Hal. We want to give you an update on his progress. Physically, he’s healing and he’s stable.” At the early stages, it was like keep Hal alive. That was what they were focused on. “He’s alive, we’ve made it through the critical condition. He should live a long life, we’re good. We don’t know if he’ll walk again. Only time will tell, but we’re concerned with his mental and emotional state.” They said, “We believe that Hal is in denial, because he’s always happy, and smiling, and laughing, and joking, and making us life.”
They said, “Frankly, that’s not normal, for a twenty year old young man who’s being told he will maybe never walk again. His body is scarred beyond belief, and he’s just happy-go-lucky about it. We believe that he is delusional. He’s checked out of reality.”
My parents came in, and they were concerned. My dad expressed the doctor’s concern and said, “Hal, how are you really feeling? It’s okay if you’re angry about this, if you’re scared, if you’re sad. You don’t have to put on a happy face. It’s important that we deal with how you’re really feeling, and talk about it. How are you really feeling?”
I said, “Dad, I thought you knew me better than that. Like, I can’t change that I was in a car accident, but I get to choose whether or not I’m depressed, or I’m grateful, and I’m choosing to be grateful.” I said, “here’s the thing, dad. If I’m in a wheelchair the rest of my life, I promise you, I will be the happiest person in a wheelchair that you’ve ever seen. Because if I’m in a wheelchair, anyway,” and this is true for anybody listening, Yaro, like what’s your wheelchair? What’s the circumstance in your past or your present that creates emotional pain for you when you could actually, I realize that I can be the happiest, most grateful I’ve ever been, even going through the most difficult, painful circumstances in my life.
A week after that, the doctors came in and they said, “We don’t know how to explain this, but the x-rays that we took yesterday … They’re routine x-rays, your body is healing so well, so quickly. We don’t know how to explain it, but we’re actually … Your bones are at a place where we’re going to let you take your first step tomorrow in therapy.” I went from never walk again, to three weeks after the crash, I took my first step. Two months later, I left the hospital. A week later, I was, against doctors’ orders, my mom and dad were driving me to Cutco appointments, because I wanted to break another record and I did. Then, that was … I went back to Cutco for five more years. I was there for six years to hit the Hall of Fame. Then that’s when I moved into the career of writing, and speaking, and coaching, and all of that.
Yaro Starak: Okay, so that must put you at like, 26-ish when you left Cutco and then started to move towards being a speaker, and a teacher, and a coach. Is that right?
Hal Elrod: Yes. Yeah, exactly. Right around 25, 26.
Yaro Starak: Okay, so how did you make that transition since the difference between selling knives to getting on stage? No doubt your story’s incredible at that point already, so you’ve got stories to tell, but how did you become basically a personality in the personal development area?
Hal Elrod: At that point, I was relatively young. You know, 25, 26, but mostly I looked … I have spiky hair, and even today … I got carded yesterday, and this guy wouldn’t sell me a beer at the bowling alley. I’m like, “Dude, I’m 37 years old.” Yeah, so I still look young. Back then, you can imagine, I looked like a kid. I knew I wanted to be a speaker, but I was debating, “Well, I could talk to corporate or sales audiences. I’m a Hall of Famer, I’ve broken records. I’ve got a lot of great content around sales.” I thought, “But god, it’s going to be an uphill battle trying to get them to respect me, and listen to me, and book me.”
I decided that, “All right, I’m going to start as a high school and college speaker because A) I’m passionate about helping that audience, and that’s going with the grain as opposed to against it.” I didn’t know how to make money in that field. What I did is I decided I would start with coaching, and I decided to coach Cutco sales reps. I thought, “What am I most qualified to do? Coach Cutco sales reps.” That was my transition. I got a handful of coaching clients. I finished my best year ever in Cutco, was my last year, saved $20,000 that year to pay my bills for four months. Then transition, I had a handful, like five to six coaching clients. That was my transition.
Then I wrote my first book the last year I sold Cutco, called “Taking Life Head On,” which my publisher stole all my money. It’s not worth going into that, but I didn’t make any money on that book. I actually lost quite a bit of money. Then, I was making money as a coach, and I started speaking. I grew my coaching quite a bit, to where I was making about $80,000 a year. I had bought a brand new house. Then, when the economy crashed in 2008, I lost over half of my coaching clients. I lost my house back to the bank. I stopped exercising. For the first time in my life, I got really depressed, because nothing I did worked. I was trying everything to turn my life around, and nothing worked.
That is where a conversation with a friend, he said, “Hal, figure out what the world’s most successful people do every day that you’re not doing, and start doing that. And you’ll start to become the person that you need to be to turn your situation around.” I kept coming … I went onto Google, and then I started coming down, what do the rituals of successful people? What do they do for personal development? I kept coming across early rising, morning rituals.
It wasn’t that popular back in 2008 like it is now, but I wasn’t a morning person. I’m going, “Psshhh, what else do they do? Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know some of them wake up early, but like what else do they do?” I just kept coming across it.
One of my mentors used to always say, “If you want your life to be different, you have to be willing to do something different first.”
Right as I’m reading another article about morning rituals, and I’m going “Now I’m resisting it,” that voice, that phrase rang in my head. I thought, “Wait a minute. If I want my life to be different,” which I desperately did. I thought, “I have to do something different first.” Then I dove into the morning, I started reading the articles and figuring out what do they do for morning rituals. I decided, I’m going to create the ultimate morning ritual, like the best of the best of the best.
I woke up the next morning, I did this process of assembling the best of everything else that I had read. The very first day, I had this … the way that I felt, even though my bank account was negative, my house was in foreclosure, I felt incredible. I thought, “If I start every day like this, it’s only a matter time before I turn it around.” It turned around so quickly, I started calling it my miracle morning, and the rest is history, as they say. Of course, we can dive into the parts that you think are valuable.
Yaro Starak: I can’t not ask you what was in that miracle morning ritual. Obviously, I totally recommend getting Hal’s book if you want the break-down of this, but in summary, Hal, what goes into a miracle morning ritual?
Hal Elrod: Sure, and yeah, I don’t believe in teasing people. I want to give everybody the whole thing. What’s interesting, now that you say that, it actually is the same today, which is what six or seven? Six years later, eight years later, as it was then. It hasn’t changed.
As I was Googling … Okay, first I had “Okay, morning ritual. I’m going to do it. I’m going to wake up an hour earlier.” Then I went, “Yeah, that was the question. Well like, what am I going to do for that hour?” I started Googling ‘best personal development practices,’ ‘best morning rituals.’ I was … actually looking for one thing at first. It was like what’s the one thing that will make the biggest difference?
I start writing down different practices that I’m coming across. I’m discounting them in my head, because I’ve heard of all of them. You know how we’re conditioned to look for the new thing? What’s the new, cutting edge thing that no one’s heard of? The first thing you come across is meditation. I’m going, “I don’t know if I want to meditate. I’ve tried, I can’t meditate.”
Then I read this quote from Ray Dalio, who is a billionaire, runs the largest hedge fund in the world, or at least he did back then. I’ll paraphrase, but he said ‘Meditation is the number one key to my financial success.’
I went, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Financial success? I thought it was like … this was a spiritual, stress-relieving practice.” I’m like, “Meditation, financial?” I go, “Why, I’m in a financial bind right now. I’m at a rock bottom, financially. Okay, I got to meditate.”
Then I’m going through, and I find this interview on YouTube where Ellen Degeneres asked Will Smith, “Will, you’re one of the highest paid, most loved actors in Hollywood. What’s your secret to success?”
He basically said, ‘Self affirmation.’ He said, “I started using affirmations when I was young, and in writing, I would write affirmations that reflected who I needed to be to achieve everything I wanted in my life, and be an actor,” and all of these things.
I’m going, “Okay, I’ve got to use affirmations.” Then, I come across visualization, morning exercise, reading, and journaling. These six practices … and for anyone, let me give you a visual if you’re listening. With the help of a thesaurus, they’re now known as the SAVERS. It’s an acronym, so S-A-V-E-R-S. Silence, which is meditation or prayer, or both, whatever works for you. The ‘S’ is for silence, ‘A’ for affirmations, ‘V’ for visualizations, ‘E’ for exercise, ‘R’ for reading, and the final ‘S’ is for scribing, because the ‘J’ for journaling wouldn’t fit in there. These are the SAVERS. This is the model.
I’ll say this, any one of these practices, Yaro, if you … Anyone listening probably goes, “Yeah, A) I’ve heard of all of them. B) I probably do at least some of them.” Robert Kiyosaki, the author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” he reached out to me. This was about a year ago. I still get chills when I tell his story.
He said, “Hal, I’ve read ‘The Miracle Morning’ three times. It’s changed my life, and I would like to interview you on Rich Dad Radio.” My jaw hit the floor, because I’m a huge fan of Robert Kiyosaki and “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” I do the interview, and he said, “Hal, before ‘The Miracle Morning,’ every successful person on the planet did at least one of the SAVERS. They probably swore by it, and attributed a lot of their success to one, maybe even two of the SAVERS.” He said, “But until I read ‘The Miracle Morning,’ I had never heard of anyone on the planet that did all six of those practices. And because they’re the best personal development practices known to man, they’re timeless, if any one of them is a game changer, right? You do all six every morning, and that becomes the ultimate morning ritual.”
Those are the six practices. Today, I still do them. I do them in different orders, depending on the day. Some mornings, if I wake up feeling a little … no energy, I’ll start with exercise, get my heart rate up. Most days, I do start with silence, and I go in the order of the acronym, but yeah, those are the practices.
Yaro Starak: How did, initially, the release of this book take off? Did you just write that … You collected all this data, you started practicing, then you just flat out wrote the book and went looking for a publisher again? Obviously a new publisher after the last experience.
Hal Elrod: It took me three years to write the book. It really took me six months once I fully committed, but three years from making it a goal and then working on it, and then putting it away, and then having self doubt. Going, “No one’s going to read a book on morning rituals. Who am I to write that book?” Then, when the book launched, I didn’t have much of a platform. I leveraged every … I did a bunch of pre-sales. I leveraged total gorilla marketing in the beginning. I sold 2,000 copies the first month, hit number one on Amazon in our category, whatever.
Yaro Starak: Just to clarify, because I know a lot of people are probably wondering, what specific tactics was … if you can give us one or two, of that gorilla marketing. You talked on podcast interviews?
Hal Elrod: Sure. I formed a launch team. Actually, I’ll tell people, Google Michael Hyatt, ‘How to Launch a Bestselling Book.’ That’s just a great blog post that I read, and I followed every tactic on that blog post.
Yaro Starak: Awesome.
Hal Elrod: One of them, though, was forming a launch team. I put out into social media, “Hey, we have a launch team, or we want to put together a launch team. You’ll get an advance copy of the book.” In fact, if you Google ‘Miracle Morning launch team,’ I think you’ll probably find … I think that webpage is still up. I just modeled Michael Hyatt’s launch team, but we had 70 people that were posting in advance that the book was coming out.
One of the big tactics that I did is, as soon as you know you want to write a book, create some sort of content around what your book is going to be. Even if it’s going to end up, the book’s different when it comes out … I recorded a one hour interview, I had somebody interview me for an hour. I put that audio up on an opt-in page, just real simple. Name, email, learn the miracle morning, four bullet points. They opted into download the audio.
I had 10,000 people opt-in over the course of the … basically, the three years, while I was writing the book. There were people that knew … That were already practicing the miracle morning. They were posting videos on YouTube and it wasn’t even a book yet. The concept was already being embraced and implemented before the book came out. So when your book comes out in four months or six months, [inaudible 00:29:23] and whether it’s a PDF, it’s an audio, it’s a video, whichever.
Yaro Starak: A three year pre-launch phase, basically.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Yeah, but only active for like the last three months. I put that webpage up, but I did nothing to promote it. There were no Google ad words. Those 10,000 opt-ins were strictly word of mouth. I didn’t have a following. I didn’t have a platform. I didn’t have an email list. I didn’t have anything. We launched the book, we sold 2,000.
Yaro Starak: Sorry, just before. [inaudible 00:29:52], how were you making your living at this point of those three years since you were terribly financially? Did things take off back in your coaching practice, or what were you doing?
Hal Elrod: This is really important, I’m glad you asked that. When the miracle morning, when it was a concept, when I woke up, I did my first morning ritual. Didn’t have a name. It was within two months of doing the miracle morning, my income more than doubled. I went from being in the worst shape of my life physically, to committing to running 52 mile ultra marathon, which I ran five months later after I trained for it. I had never run before.
My life was in those first two months, mostly the income piece, because that’s where I was struggling so bad. The fact that I doubled my income, and I’ll share how I did that, but that’s why I started calling it my miracle morning. I went from being depressed, in horrible shape physically, and broke, to turning those three areas around. Because it happened so quickly, it felt like a miracle. That’s where the name … the name was not, again, not a book. It was in my schedule. I’d write ‘Miracle Morning’ every day at 5 am.
It was from doing those six practices, the SAVERS in the morning, that I gained clarity. I was reading books on getting clients, growing your business, et cetera. I was implementing those strategies. I simply asked for referrals. It’s so funny. When I was in Cutco, that was my specialty. That’s the area I excelled at. I would teach and train. The company would have me go around and speak at conferences to teach how to get referrals. The average rep in the company would average three to five referrals per appointment, and I’d average fifteen to twenty, which gave me way more people to call, which allowed me to sell more Cutco.
It hit me as I was going through and doing some meditation one day, or affirmations, I don’t remember which practice, or reading a book. I went, “Wait a minute. Why am I not asking for referrals from my current coaching clients?” That’s how I doubled my coaching clients in two months, and I doubled my … My income was like five grand a month when “The Miracle Morning” started, which my mortgage was like $3500. It didn’t pay the bills. It went from $5,000 a month to $12,000 a month within those months. That’s how.
Then 2011 is when I launched my group coaching program, after I learned the whole … the membership site concept from you. It’s BestYearEverCoaching.net. I still have that program to this day. I grew that from, as I said, from five to two hundred and twenty-something members. What I did is then I stopped … I took all my energy off of that, because I had a $20,000 a month residual income. Then I put all my energy into writing “The Miracle Morning.” Nose down for four months, and wrote the book, launched the book. That membership site that I launched was paying all the bills during that time, and then I launched the book.
Then from there, I kept the membership site going. I kept doing a little coaching. My speaking started picking up. I went from three grand to five grand to seventy-five hundred to ten grand. I kept raising my fee along the way. “The Miracle Morning” itself, the sales dropped, because I didn’t have a sustainable platform. I didn’t have a name. I didn’t have anything.
Yeah, I leveraged every favor I had to launch it that month. 2,000 copies the first month. Second month was 700 copies, third month was like 350, and it trailed along at the 300 to 400 copy a month mark for … over a year. Then I started doing podcast interviews. I’ve done now over 250 podcast interviews. I launched a podcast. I’ve done over one hundred and twenty-something episodes of my own podcast, which that built a following. The point is sustained effort. I believed in the miracle morning message.
I started getting emails from people saying that everything from something like it helped them achieve a dream of writing a book, or starting a business, or helped them improve their income to radically profound like it saved me from committing suicide. It saved my marriage. It got me off my depression medication. A gentleman named Mike [Eaton 00:34:00] emailed me and said, “I lost 70 pounds in the first five months after starting ‘The Miracle Morning,’ after being obese my entire life.” These profound stories.
I went, “This is my life’s work. I am committed to share ‘The Miracle Morning’ with millions, if not billions of people. I don’t care how long it takes. I don’t care if I make money off of it.” Not that I don’t care, but if I don’t get rich or whatever, that’s okay. I have a responsibility to share this with the world. That’s why I kept promoting it.
If you look it, I’ve got a graph of the trajectory of the book sales. It was 2,000 copies the first month, it took me a year and a half of promoting to get back to 2,000 copies in a month. Then, it hit a tipping point, and now we average over 10,000 copies a month, every single month. It’s a self published book. I’ll let you guys do the simple math, but I made about $7 a book on average, depending on whether it’s Kindle, across the platforms of Kindle, audio book, and paperback or hardcore. About $7 a book is the average per book.
Yaro Starak: There’s a lot of … One of the things I find amazing about this story is the fact that you have so many on-going sales of just one, essentially low price book. Most people on an interview like this, we’d start talking about the book as a front end. Then we’d look at your membership site, and how you’ve been feeding tons of people into the membership site. It feels like, in your case, everything else is taken a backseat to sharing the message of “The Miracle Morning.” You want to do more. Obviously you want to sell a lot of books, too, but that’s one of the ways to share the message, as is speaking. How do you … I want to make this relevant for a person listening in.
Hal Elrod: Sure.
Yaro Starak: Who … hasn’t written their miracle morning book yet, and might feel like, “Okay, I need to worry about making a living first. Obviously I want to share some of my ideas online. I want to follow in your footsteps, Hal. I’m not sure if I’m going to have as big a break-out book as you do. At least, I don’t want to count on that being my path. I don’t want to have to worry about selling 2,000 copies of a $7 profit book.”
Hal Elrod: Sure, sure.
Yaro Starak: “My entire life.” What do you say to that person in terms of a starting point? I’ve love to pass on in the last five minutes here. If they have some ideas, they’re motivated, they’re enthusiastic about what they want to share with the world. How do you recommend they start? Writing a book like you did?
Hal Elrod: Yeah, and by the way, we can go over five minutes. Let’s go ten more minutes. We’ll go a little extra. Yeah, so I mean obviously everything is a little bit different in terms of whatever your business model is. I do think that there is value in whatever the easiest, fastest way is for you to generate revenue, or generate income. I think that’s a good starting place.
For me, it was coaching. I didn’t just put all my energy into a book. I put my energy into first building a one-on-one coaching practice, because that was very easy for me. I knew how to coach and get results for people, so I could help them. Then, I knew how to ask for referrals from my clients. Every time I got a new client, I would say, “Hey, who else do you know?” After I give them a few valuable calls. “Who else do you know that could benefit from the coaching?” That just grew the coaching. I was able to create a base income to pay the bills. Then I launched the group coaching program. That’s what I encourage someone to do is really focus on the money.
People always say, “Well, I want to follow my passion.” Well, great! But pay your bills first. Create something that will generate income to pay your bills. That’s why I always tell people when they, “I’m going to like, just quit.” What’s that old story of burning the bridges, or burning the boats?
Yaro Starak: [crosstalk 00:37:49].
Hal Elrod: “I’m going to burn my boats, and so I have to succeed at the new venture!”
I go, “No, no, no, no, no! Don’t build your new boat … Build your new boat, and then once it’s built, then burn this boat, jump on the new boat. Even if it’s not perfect, get a boat that floats. Then you can make it a yacht.” That’s my advice is start there.
Let me share, I am working on a new book. This isn’t to promote it, because it won’t be out for like a year. It’s called “Beyond the Best Seller: How to Write a Book that Creates a Movement, Earns You a Fortune, and Changes the World.” Where this comes from is I don’t … If I succeed at anything, I feel a responsibility to teach other people how to do it. If I’m doing it by myself, I’m an island, it doesn’t … How can I scale the impact that my success is making? For the book, I’ve looked at what has made “The Miracle Morning” so successful? What’s made it this word of mouth phenomenon? It sells more copies every month now, and I don’t do those podcast interviews. I did it to get that tipping point.
The point is, how do you write a book that becomes this word of mouth phenomenon and creates a movement and earns you a great income? Whether or not, Yaro, to your point, not everyone’s book is going to have the same success as “The Miracle Morning.” Some could have more, some could … but there are certain things that it all just came together. I can’t promise that if you do what I’m about to teach, you’re guaranteed the same level of royalties, or success, or whatever, but it will significantly improve whatever you do. What I’m going to teach you, this is for books, but it actually really is for anything that you put out into the world, any content, especially.
Here’s the biggest, the number one key to writing a book that creates a movement and goes viral is that it changes peoples’ behavior. If you think about it, most books only shift our thinking temporarily, right? We’ve all been there. Yaro, you’ve been there. We’re reading a book, and while you’re reading it, … it’s all these profound ideas. It’s making you think differently. You’re like, “Oh my gosh! Wow, this is amazing!” It’s the best book you’ve ever read, right? You’re telling everyone, “You should read this book! You should read this book! You should read this book!” Because it’s shifting your thinking in a way that’s inspiring or empowering you.
However, then you finish reading that book and the shifts in thinking are forgotten as soon as you read the next book. Now, that’s the best book you’ve ever read. If that first book would have changed your behavior in a meaningful way, that added value to your life, such as a daily ritual or even a weekly ritual. I’m coaching one of my clients on this, and he’s writing a book called “Re-Succeed.” I told him to do a weekly re-evaluate, where he has his readers, every week, access how their week went, how the progress was, track measurable goals. Nothing rocket science, but if they’re doing this ritual, and he gave it a unique name.
Now they’re going to be sharing with people, “Wow! Every week I’ve been doing this thing that I learned in this book.” That might be happening years later. People today are doing their miracle morning that read the book three years ago. They still do it every single day, so it still comes up in conversation.
That’s the biggest key is your content, whether it’s a blog, a podcast, or a book. Don’t just focus on teaching something. Make sure that you’re implementing and integrating behavior change for your reader, your end user, your audience, so that your content doesn’t just change their thinking temporarily. It shifts what they do every day, or every week, so that it improves their life long after they’re done reading your book.
Yaro Starak: Permanent change.
Hal Elrod: Yes.
Yaro Starak: Fantastic, Hal. That’s awesome. Now that we have five minutes extra.
Hal Elrod: Yeah!
Yaro Starak: Let’s ask you one more question. What are you like doing right now? I know you’re speaking schedule is incredible. I was looking at your website, and you’re all over the planet right now, aren’t you?
Hal Elrod: Yeah, yeah. Not all of that … I’m really working on cutting back on that. I think I’ve traveled, on average, last year probably three to four times a month, and probably three-fourths of that was speaking and then one-fourth was media. I just went to Paris to promote the French version of “The Miracle Morning,” which was wild. They took me and my wife out there.
I’m trying to cut back on speaking to be home with my family a lot more. I’ve got a three year old and a six year old. They’re getting old enough to where they went, “Daddy, I don’t like you traveling.” That just broke my heart.
I’m like, “All right. Done.” We’re cutting back, or I’m bringing you with me, or something.
Now we launched “The Miracle Morning” book series. “The Miracle Morning” for writers actually published on Monday. It’s number one in all three of it’s categories. It’s number 200 out of every book on Amazon. It’s actually selling better than the original miracle morning book right now. We have ‘Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs’ is coming out, with Cameron Herold. He’s co-authoring that with me. ‘Miracle Morning for Parents and Families’ comes out in a couple of months. We’re doing miracle morning for … Essentially, it’s the next “Chicken Soup for the Soul.”
Yaro Starak: Soup for the soul. Yeah, very clever.
Hal Elrod: In my opinion, and I say this humbly, but actually one of my co-authors is the one that shared this with me. They said, “Actually, I think it’s a new and improved version.” They said, “Only because it does change behavior.” Most “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books while you read it, it inspired you, or it entertained you, but most of them, he said, didn’t necessarily change your behavior and therefore change your life.
Yaro Starak: Right.
Hal Elrod: He said, “In this way, we’re going to have millions of people in all different genres, and niches, and ways of life, that are actually doing the miracle morning plus they’re implementing this other content.” Just to be clear, the book series, it’s not just a re-hash of the original book. The first three chapters sum up the original book, and the next 70% of the book is completely brand new content from a co-author that I bring in who’s much better than me, or knowledgeable at whatever we’re bringing him in to talk about.
Yaro Starak: Right.
Hal Elrod: The book series is a focus. We’re making a documentary right now, ‘The Miracle Morning’ movie. We just interviewed Dr. John Gray of “Women are from Mars, Men are from Venus.” We interviewed Marci Shimoff, Happy for No Reason.” Brian Johnson, “PhilosophersNotes.” We’re interviewing Arianna Huffington, Jack Canfield. On the list, we’re hoping to interview Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, but those are not lined up yet.
Yeah, so we’re doing the documentary and the point of that is to reach the millions of people that will never read a self help book, and get “The Miracle Morning” into lives, into their world.
Yaro Starak: A person who wants to actually do that right now, where should they go?
Hal Elrod: MiracleMorning.com is the best place to do that. If you do want to come to our live … That’s the other thing we do is we do a live event every year called “Best Year Ever Blueprint.” It’s amazing. It’s very different from other events in that most events, you’re listening to speakers for three days and you’re taking notes. You go home with ten pages of notes, and you’re overwhelmed. Our event, there’s no one on stage for 80% of the time. The audience is interacting, and engaging, and actually implementing the things that they’re learning versus just taking a bunch of notes. It’s really experiential type of event. It’s BestYearEverBlueprint.com, that’s in December this year.
MiracleMorning.com is the best place to … you can get the first few chapters of the book for free. You can get a video training for free. You can get an audio training for free. That’s a good hub to start. You can find my podcast is on there, and all that good stuff.
Yaro Starak: Fantastic, Hal. I love your movement. I love the direction you’re going. It sounds like it’s just going to explode further, and further. Of course, you’re so passionate about it, so you’re the perfect guy to run this whole machine. That’s fantastic.
Yeah, thanks for sharing the story. I know there’s a longer version of everything you’ve talked about in your book as well, in terms of your own story with your recovery from your accident, and going forward from that. That would be another reason to grab the book, if you want to hear that part of the story. Other than that, yeah, just keep inspiring, Hal. Thanks for doing what you do.
Hal Elrod: Cool, Yaro. Hey, thank you for having me. It means a lot, and everyone that tuned and listened, I hope you got value and I hope to see you in the Miracle Morning community Facebook group, which is a great hub for inspiration and like-minded people. Take care, Yaro. Thanks so much.
Yaro Starak: Awesome, thanks Hal. For everyone listening in, if you want the transcript of the show notes, or anything to go with this interview, or any other ones, just head to Entrepreneurs-Journey.com and click the ‘podcast’ tab. My name is Yaro, and I’ll talk to you on the next interview. Bye-bye.
I hope you enjoyed that interview with Hal Elrod, and you’re feeling inspired, and motivated to possibly start your own miracle morning. Or maybe even take part in some of the steps of “The Miracle Morning” that Hal talked about. Do get yourself a copy of his book if you’re really interested in hearing his full background story, and everything behind “The Miracle Morning” as well.
If you haven’t done so already, please now go to InterviewsClub.com, that’s interviews with an ‘S.’ InterviewsClub.com, and that will take you to a blog post on my blog where you can then sign up to my email list, where I’ll send you an email every time I have one of these interviews. A new one that hasn’t been published yet, just as it comes out. Also, you’ll get a regular weekly series of my very best podcasts from the archives with amazing people doing incredible things online. A lot of great entrepreneurial online business stories there. Especially people who are making money by teaching others using their knowledge to create fantastic digital information publishing businesses. That’s InterviewsClub.com.
Also, if you haven’t got the show notes, or the transcripts, or if you want to see all my previous interviews, you can always go to my blog. The easiest way to find that is to Google Yaro, Y-A-R-O. It will be one of the first results, and then you can just go to the ‘podcast’ section of the blog.
Okay, that’s it for me. I will speak to you on the very next Entrepreneur’s Journey podcast. Thanks for listening, bye-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+.