#42: How I got paid 35k to film a 7 day Documentary (and what I learned about myself in the process)

Today, Ben walks you through the unusual way that he tricked himself into building a brand that he’s been thinking about for the last 3 years.

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Episode Transcription:

So you may have noticed that, uh, there has been a little bit of a gap in between recording and that is, well, I have no excuse for that. Let’s just kind of get into it. I could give you an excuse and I’ll give you the excuse that I was fully planning on giving you, but there’s probably no real excuse. So, um, I, I know that what I wanted to talk about, uh, we can in week out as this year was starting to get into full swing and then we had quarantine and lockdown and you know, this is, I’m recording this at about five in the morning, my time. And we’ve been in lockdown for, I would say what two and a half months at this 0.2 and a half months approaching the three month Mark. And just to give you some insight into kind of where I’m at, and it doesn’t really matter where you’re at politically, um, what I’ve been doing has nothing to do with politics.

It’s just what I’ve been doing. And, uh, I don’t really get too into most of the things that people get super passionate about what the politics of all this lockdown stuff. Uh, I, I just, I was right before all this went down, I was on a trip to Washington DC, and I had a conference there and this was literally three or four days before the NBA shut down. And, um, for me, that was sort of the event that said a lot of this lockdown in motion, uh, was when that started. And that was like the first big event. There was a lot of things that kind of came into play before that, obviously, but anyway, so they, they start to shut down the country. I had just come back from Washington DC and, um, right next to where I was staying, there was a couple of positive cases.

And so when I got back, I locked myself down, meaning I was around my parents. I wasn’t around my family, my immediate Abbott’s around my, my wife and kid. Uh, but, but yeah, I had locked down and let me just sort of explain to you what lockdown was for me. Lockdown was, uh, I worked exactly the same way that I work every day, uh, from home. The only difference was, is I’ve missed two or three trips. Um, I’ve not gone on because there was no real travel to be had. Um, the, the other thing that I should mention is lockdown for me was, um, around my wife and my kid. And I’ve been pretty much at my house the entire time. Um, when I do get out, I’m pretty much in my car. So for me, it wasn’t so much about, um, keeping myself safe, you know, locked down for me with all this really was about, Hey, did I catch this from anybody?

And I’m asymptomatic. I don’t want to give it to anybody else. Um, you know, I’m not particularly worried about myself or my family. We’re pretty healthy. We fall into, um, you know, kind of the demographic that is pretty safe overall. Not that we couldn’t get, you know, some crazy things going on, but, um, I have a few family members that are at risk for certain things that, um, they have. So that, that was the whole point of it. And really, it was just sort of, Hey, I’m going to throw a mask on, I’m going to kind of quarantine myself for a little while. Uh, just because we’re, we’re looking out for people anyways, you know, that you didn’t sign up to know that, but you know, it’s part of what’s going on right now. And it’s part of the story that I’m going to tell you.

Um, so I had to sort of set the stage with that. And so I didn’t want to bore you with my quarantine story because you’ve heard a million of them at this point, but to set the stage for what we’re about to go into, um, it’s important. And the reason I say that it’s, this is what I’m going to tell you about today is we built this product and it’s a brand let’s just be completely upfront that it’s a brand and it’s, it’s called escape, your office and escape. Your office is a culmination of a lot of things that I’ve done the last few years. You know, I came from being a chiropractic physician, a chiropractor, or whatever the heck you want to call us. Um, very passionate about the work that I did and helping people. Um, but you know, there was a lot of really broken things about being a chiropractor and the most broken thing was the better you are being a chiropractor, the longer our shift to spend the more time you’re away from your family.

And basically you’re not what I would call a CEO of a company. You’re the CEO of a company that also works in the company. And so you create sort of this job through yourself. And while I loved the job, I didn’t love it enough to be stuck in it all the time. And that’s, that’s, you know, that’s hard to say, it’s hard to say that you love something, but you don’t love it enough for some of the negative aspects of it. Uh, but, but that was the key for me. And so what ended up happening me as a chiropractor was I started leaving that field because something else was working entirely too well for me. And what it was is everything that was working for me in that office, from a running the office perspective to, um, helping patients to marketing the office. I started documenting, uh, digitally, whether it was, uh, in a PDF, I would, you know, write those, uh, where I was cutting a video.

I was documenting all these things and I was putting them up on the web. And what ended up happening was, uh, people started buying it. And at first it was a little trickle and then it started opening up and a lot of people were buying, you know, what I was talking about. And, you know, I did a lot of free stuff to you. It was every, not everything was for sale. Uh, but, but I was making enough money with this, that I was making two, three times, um, what I was making as a chiropractor, as someone that was, you know, teaching online. And so, you know, that was an interesting time for me, that was around, uh, 2011, 2012, when all that started coming together and it, it kinda caught me off guard. Um, but what I did was I brought in another chiropractor to help me.

And I looked up one day and I had not been in the office in like two months because I was running this digital business and, you know, a lot of ups and downs with that, just learning how to be an entrepreneur that didn’t have to be tied to an office. Um, but I learned, and I got really good at it. And the interesting thing that happened was is as I got good at it, um, I didn’t just get good at it. I got amazingly good at it. And I learned a lot of ways to take expertise, whatever it’s in your head, not just as a chiropractor, not just as a marketer, but how to take the expertise that’s in your head that you’ve worked hard for. And how do you pass that along to somebody in an effective way? And then how do you turn that into a business?

And so for years now, I’ve had in my head that I wanted to go back and teach people that were like me, chiropractors lawyers, real estate agents, whatever it was people that were really smart on a topic, how do you take that knowledge and make it something that can be passed on to everyone in the world? And you know, what, what does that look like? How do you put that together? And so I had this idea and one day this idea kind of turned into this thing called escape, your office and escape. Your office was just a concept that really appealed to me of somebody that was really good at what they did, but they were tired of being locked into one place. And so I, after all, I gained all this expertise over the last, you know, eight to 10 years, I wanted to have a way to actually do that.

And I’ve been teaching this to, um, online marketers for awhile, you know, people that are already sort of in this world, I’ve been teaching them how to create products and how to, you know, build email lists and do all kinds of, you know, marketing things that are important. Uh, but I wanted to go back and teach people that didn’t have that level of expertise to. I wanted to teach the other chiropractors that I’d gone to school with, that I cared about so much. Um, not that they necessarily wanted to leave their office forever, but I want to give them the option of having another income stream by teaching the things that they teach to, you know, a few hundred people in their local area. How could you teach that to millions of people around the world and not just because they wanted to make money, but because the knowledge that they had was something that needed to be shared.

And so we built this escape, your office thing in my head, and that’s the important point. I built it in my head. So I’ve been sitting with this concept for two, three years now. And, um, I’ve, I’ve really thought about, you know, how, you know, all this comes together and, you know, I have a system for building brands and that’s another part of this whole story is I have a system for building brains, but of all the brands that I built, all the things that I put together, all the clients that I’ve helped building brands over the last few years, um, I had not built this brand, which I thought was incredibly important and it really hit me. I was like, why have I not built this sprint? And so finally, um, I had to trick myself into putting this brand together. And this is where we get into the big lesson.

So it only took us what, how long to get to this part. But that’s the setup, right? You have to set it up and it took me a good 10 minutes to get here, but, um, you have to know that stuff. So I wanted to build this brand and I wanted to build this product. It was a passion product because I wanted to give it to, you know, the world, but I wasn’t doing it. And so I decided that some point this year, I was going to build this thing. So lo and behold, um, we hit quarantine. We hit, locked down with COVID-19 and all the things that are going on. And I finally just told myself, I’m like, if you’re going to do this, if this is actually ever going to happen, you’ve got to do it. Now, you’ve got to put this together.

You, you, you know, you put out tons of products all the time. You, you put out tons of things for other people. You help other people with their businesses all the time and grow them and build their brands from scratch. Why are you not building this one that you think is so important? And I said, you know, if you’re going to do it, you’re going to do it now. And then I had to sort of figure out how to trick myself into doing it because I still was not going to put in the work to do it as fast as I needed to do it, even with lockdown and having more time, because I wasn’t going out to bars and watching bands on the weekend, which is sort of my decompression, by the way I wasn’t going to, out to eat. Uh, which is another way I decompress.

I wasn’t going on trips, which is another way I decompress. So I had all this extra time and I had to figure out a way to trick myself into doing the work. Because even though I had the extra time, I have the discipline to sit down and do this. I had disciplined to do a lot of other things that most people don’t have discipline for, but this was tough because this was an extra thing that didn’t have to get done. So I had to figure out a way to make sure that it got done. So I had this idea one day and the idea was pretty simple. The idea was I am going to create a documentary, but behind the scenes of me creating this new brand. And not only that, not only am I going to create a documentary that’s behind the scenes of me building this brand, but I’m going to also sell this documentary.

Um, and I’m going to sell it before I do it, and I’m going to do it live. And so over a seven day period, I challenged myself to do this in just seven days, over seven day period, I’m going to build an entire brand with two or three different products. And I’m going to show people every day, how I do this. And so that was it. I was going to sit down and that was going to create this new brand escape, your office that had been running around in my head for a while. And I decided that, you know, what, when I, what I was going to do is what I would done for other people. I was going to open up with the book. So the funnel, the brand was built around a book and that brand, um, that escape your office, Bram, the book was going to be called million dollar backpack.

And, you know, this is a concept that appeals to a lot of people in this demographic that I was after is running a business, not tied to an office, right? And then from there I was going to sell a video course. So the book would be 10 bucks. The video course would be two, $300. And I would basically take everything that was in the book. Um, and I would show people how to do it on video. And then that was the course. And so that would be two, $300. And then on top of that would be a group coaching program, which would be 5,000 bucks. And I was going to build all this stuff in a week and I knew I could do it because I’d done it before for other people, I’d done it for other brands, but I had not done it for this sprint, but I knew that the way to talk myself into doing this, the way to get it done was to do something very, very simple.

And that very simple thing is to pre-sell it. And so if I pre-sold it to people and I told them I was going to do it in front of them, I would have to do it in front of them. And so this is what I did. I got the idea. And within about a week, I had a sales page up and you can go see the sales page, it’s serial progress, seeker.com/seven days. You can go see the sales page. That’s pretty much unaltered from the original form. There’s a couple things that have been added to it since I wrote this thing a couple months ago, and I wrote the sales page and I got the sales page could enough. And I mean, you can go read it. It’s not that great, but I got good enough. And then I sat down and cut a video.

I cut a video, the same videos on that page right now in the video is just me explaining what I was going to do. And that was it. I decided I was going to go for it. And what I was going to do is I was going to tell a bunch of my past customers that I was going to build this brand in front of them. And this is what it was going to look like. And so, you know, this is what we did. And so I’ve never really walked anybody through what I’m about to walk you through. Uh, but this is interesting. I think, so I started talking about this on a Wednesday and I sent out an email on a Wednesday. I believe it was Tuesday or Wednesday. And I sent out an email and sort of got, you know, some feedback on whether people would be interested in this or not.

And then on a Thursday, I told people having to open up seats to this tomorrow, which would be a Friday. And, um, and then we did, we opened up on a Friday and something interesting happened, um, that particular day, that Friday, um, we did okay. There wasn’t a lot of sales, but there was enough sales that I was like, okay, there’s some people that are interested in this. And so, you know, I think we made $23,000 that, that Friday, nothing over the top. And then, you know, I was a little bit frustrated, but I was like, I’m doing this anyway. I don’t care. People are, people are in, and I’ve been wanting to do this for two, three years. So this is going to be fun. And I sit down am on a Saturday. I wrote this email and something about this email that I wrote on Saturday, I’m telling people about this really encapsulated the idea In a big way,

And people got it. And all of a sudden sales just started coming in like crazy. And we went from, um, two, $3,000 on a Friday. By the time we hit Monday, we were at 20 to $25,000. They may have been more, I can’t remember, but it had sold really, really well. And then I think we opened it up two or three more times, uh, I think two more times just to small groups and you know, what, a month and a half to two months, this thing generated $35,000. And that’s people spending $200 to be a part of it. So you could do the math there if you want to, you know, and you can get an idea of in a very short amount of time, how many people decided, Hey, I want to see behind the scenes of this. So what did it look like?

Um, when people actually bought it? Well, they bought him and we started off, I believe. Um, we started off on a Monday and on that Monday, we opened up, I got on go-to webinar and we didn’t use GoTo webinar for the majority of this, but I got to go to webinar and that’s just a meeting platform. And I talk people through what we going to do for the next few days. And, and yeah. Um, I had a plan for how I was going to do this documentary. Um, but it turned into something else and I had a Facebook group. So everybody that bought it was in a Facebook group. And every day after that initial go-to webinar session, um, I went live on the Facebook group and that was the content. And I just walk people through, this is what I’m going to do today.

And as I do it, this is what you can do. So I would open up a Google doc if I was writing something that day. Um, and I would say, so today I’m going to be doing research and I’m going to, I’m going to open up this Google doc and you can follow me along as I take notes on my research. And so, you know, with the way Google docs works, people can watch what you’re doing as you type. And so we had people do that, but I would also record, I, I threw on a recorder as, uh, I was doing this and it was like super boring, two, three hours a pop, uh, but you could watch me actually work. And I thought this was the most boring thing in the world to actually watch me work. If you’re listening to this right now, you probably think it’s boring, but it was interesting.

Like I never given people that part of what was going on in my head, I had always done a very polished presentation to show people what I had done, which was more, you know, a summary. And this is the step-by-step, this is how it works. This is what works. This is what didn’t, but it was always a polished summary of it. I never really said God on a, on a thing early in the day and said, this is what I’m doing. And then turned on a recorder and just recorded me doing it, you know, mistakes and all, and going back and forth. And so throughout that next week, that’s what it was Monday through Monday. Um, I would get on for an hour and I would talk in the Facebook group, but I use something called stream yard to stream to the Facebook group. And then I was just using, um, I would use streaming streaming art, and then I was using E cam live and I just went back and forth to see what worked best, but I was streaming to this Facebook group.

And I think in this Facebook group, and it was not the prettiest stream by any means, like sometimes the audio wouldn’t line up with my mouth. Um, but I would streamed this group, like one day my camera went out and I had to use the camera, like immediately switched the camera on my computer. Uh, one day my microphone went out and the audio sounds terrible because I had, I didn’t realize that my microphone, that I’m talking on right now wasn’t working. Um, but I was having to talk on the microphone that was built into the laptop. And so lots of little things here and they went wrong and, but that’s what I would do. I’d get on for an hour a day, explain what I was going to do that day. And then I just hit record and I put all these recordings into a member’s area and, you know, people would watch those.

Um, and then, you know, any resources that I had, like if I used a theme, like for over the years, I’ve built, um, when I’m writing like sales copy or I’m writing, um, you know, a book, whatever, like I’ve got these templates that I use that helped me do that. So I put those in there, like the base templates that I would show them my work and they would watch me work from the template. And it’s weird. The more I got into this, the deeper I got into the seven days of doing it, the more I just left the recorder going. And, um, it’s weird. The people that were a part of it loved it. And I don’t say that, you know, as a, I mean, like they really did. And I didn’t understand that. I didn’t understand why me recording myself working for two hours.

This was something that was appealing to people at all. For me, it’s boring. Like I don’t want to sit and watch. So he worked for two hours, but what they were doing is they were, you know, having the recording and be working for two hours, they could fast forward it. But if there was something that caught their eye as they were fast forwarding, I think it stop it and actually watch me work and do it. And it was an insight that I don’t think a lot of people had ever seen before and to how somebody works. And for me that once I look back on it, that is absolutely fascinating. So when it was all said and done, um, what I did was I recorded this audio book, uh, for escape your office. It was the, uh, you know, million dollar backpack, audio book. And it’s good.

It’s really good. Uh, the fact that it took seven days to put it together, is it doesn’t take away from the quality. It’s a really good insight as to how you can take your expertise and build it. And then, like I said, we, we built this, um, we built this training program behind it, that’s video based and we built a coaching program behind it. So for anybody that wants to be coached on how to build their products, um, and based on their expertise and build a whole business around it faster, that that’s what it was. And so, you know, I don’t want to get into that too much. If you want to go look at any of that, you can go to escape your office.com. It’s literally up there live right now. Um, good, bad, ugly warts and all it’s there, but that’s what it was.

I went in and built this product in front of people, did all the work in a week and had the recorder going pretty much the whole time. And somehow, uh, people so far have paid me 35 grand to build this documentary in front of them. So I got paid to do the documentary of me building the new brand, which the new brand is going to make a lot of money for us. You know, you can just tell once you’ve done it, as long as I have that this was going to be something that, you know, goes, but, you know, just to do a documentary, that’s the lesson. I think it’s interesting sometimes when you just hit the record button and you know, that’s the lesson. So during this quarantine, that’s, that’s what I’ve kind of come up. One is sometimes it’s just about saying, Hey, I’m going to do this thing.

And if you want to be a part of this thing that I’m doing, here’s what it costs. And the reason I’m charging is because, you know, for seats and for me to do the extra thing that I’m going to be doing, as we go along to explain it, that’s what it’s going to cost. And for me, I could have built the product in a week and just gone underground and not recorded anything, but I was getting on and doing an hour long talk and telling people what I was doing every day. So I was getting up on stage basically from my house every day and walking people through it and people saw the value in it. And every time I put this thing back up for sale, people see the value in it it’s closed right now. If you go there right now, it’s probably closed if it’s open by it because, uh, it’s not always open, but like I said, it worked and it worked really, really well.

And so I guess the lesson is this it’s number one, don’t put off the things that you want to do. Number two, don’t be afraid to document yourself building whether you’re a construction worker, whether you’re a carpenter, whether you’re a chiropractor, whatever you do. And right now, if you document some of the stuff, it’s interesting to people they’ll pay you for it. And I think that’s the thing is while I was building this product, this escape, your office brand and the products that are inside of it, um, which were showing people how to take their expertise and, you know, turn into an entire business. I was lucky enough that I decided I was going to document that whole process and turn the whole process of building that brand into a documentary because people seem to find it fascinating. And so that’s what I did and that’s how I kickstarted without using Kickstarter.

That’s how I kickstarted, um, a documentary about what I do for a living, which is build digital representations of expertise. And, you know, like I said, I learned a lot through that. I learned, um, what people really find is interesting, what people find that I do to be interesting and were importantly, it really got me closer to a sense of what I’m actually really, really good at and what I can offer. So, um, if you’re, this is at this point in the podcast, I don’t know if any of that was interesting to you, but just some, some links to sort of keep in mind, if you want to go kind of spy on, um, what this turned into, you can go to escape your office.com pretty much click on any link and you can sort of walk through what what’s there and what’s not there.

Like there’s still some stuff that’s not there. We’re building a brand around this, right. It’s just, it’s a start, it’s a baby. But there, there was a lot that was done in a week and you can see that. And, uh, you know, if you kind of want to see the documentary and how, how we put that documentary together and what we sold, uh, before we even built this product, you can go to serial progress, seeker.com/seven days with the number seven and the days. And you can see the exact video of the exact page that we sold the documentary beforehand. And like I said, people paid us, ended up paying us a lot of money, um, to build something. So instead of building it from scratch and waiting to see if it was ever going to come together and anybody was going to buy anything from it, we charged admission for people to watch us build it live and it worked out really great.

So yeah, that’s the ballgame, uh, hope that, uh, you know, just going through my train of thought, this is sort of the documentary behind the documentary. Right. And I’ll put that, uh, that was something that was interesting to you. So what I’m gonna try to do is this, um, the, the moral of the story, the lesson that I took away from this is I have been really poor at doing these podcasts because I felt like I didn’t really have anything polished enough to talk about. And, you know, I like having things polished. I like for things to fit in a box. And, you know, I think what I learned with the documentary is you can do really, really well by not doing that, just hitting the record button and walking people through your process, walking people through your thoughts, walking people through what you’re thinking at the time.

And that’s what I’m gonna try to do. Uh, I’ve really locked into the fact that some of the value in what I do is just walking you through what I’m doing as I’m doing it. So this podcast is going to serve as that moving forward. I’m going to do my absolute best to keep going through and doing these on a regular basis, because there are people that enjoy this. Um, if you learn, if you got to this far, it means that you actually do enjoy listening to this. And I appreciate you so much. Send me a message, Bennett, serial progress, seeker.com. Send me an email and say, I liked the podcast, man. Uh, subscribe on iTunes that lets me know that you’re digging it. And this sort of keeps us in a mode to where I know that, Hey, keep doing this thing. And like I said, what’s so funny is every time I publish an episode of this podcast, tons of people listen.

But for some reason, um, I think that it has to be this polished thing and really the best episodes that we’ve put out the most listened to are never a polished thing. It’s just me doing this. So all that said, I hope you enjoyed the story today. It’s a behind the scenes of the documentary that we did. And like I said, it was called seven days until launch. It did amazingly well in terms of, uh, an actual product that we sold, even though it wasn’t intended to do that. I was just literally trying to trick myself and creating the, you know, the escape, your office brand, but in the process of creating the escape, your office brand, we built this really cool thing. That’s really cool documentary called seven days until launch. And so, uh, if you wanna check that out, go to, seven-day go to, uh, sorry, serial progress, seeker.com/seven days.

And you can sort of see how that came together and, uh, let me know what you think. Alright, so that’s it. Uh, my plan is to be here a lot more with you. Uh, even if it’s five 30 in the morning, now I’m going to get up and I’m going to do these and talk to you because, um, I know you’re there listening. And during this lockdown also, I’ve started to discover my need for interaction with people. And, you know, I think that we all need more of that, that maybe we realized. And, um, this is a good way that I can do that. So hope you’re doing good, hopefully that, uh, you know, you’re come through the lockdown. Great. Whether you’re someone that’s completely locked down or you’ve decided that you’re going to be out there, um, doing a little bit more, no judgment here, no judgment here.

Just be safe, take care of people and try to make good choices for yourself and your family. And I know that I know that’s what you’re doing. Uh, you know, the kind of people that follow me and listen to my stuff are smart people. Uh, but they’re also considerate people. And like I said, even if we don’t line up exactly on having the same lockdown protocol, that doesn’t mean that you’re bad or I’m bad. It just means that we’re doing different things so that you know, that that’s cool. And I respect that. And I know, I know that, uh, you respect kind of what I’m doing too. So, uh, let’s keep doing this. Let’s meet up, uh, every week at least. And let’s talk and I’ll keep telling you these fun behind the scenes stories. And you let me know if these are something that you’re enjoying, leave me a comment on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts, leave me a message by email, send me something I’d love to hear from you and then subscribe and you’ll get notifications every time we, uh, rock this out. All right. So that’s it. I will be back as soon as humanly possible with another pods to walk you through some more crazy stuff that we’re doing because, Oh my gosh, what we’ve been building behind the scenes during a lockdown, it’s been pretty amazing. And it’s been a new journey for me. I’m learning some new things and I’m not real good at them yet, but I’m going to tell you about them. All right.

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