Jim Palmer is a marketing and business building expert and in demand coach. He is the founder of Dream Biz Academy and Dream Business Coaching and Mastermind Program. Jim is the host of Newsletter Guru TV, the hit weekly Web TV show watched by thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners and he is also the host of Stick Like Glue Radio, a weekly podcast based on Jim’s unique brand of smart marketing and business building strategies. Jim is best known internationally as ‘The Newsletter Guru’ and creator of No Hassle Newsletters, the ultimate ‘done-for-you’ newsletter marketing program used by hundreds of clients in nine countries.
Show Notes: Links Coming Shortly!
The Newsletter Guru
No Hassle Newsletters
No Hassle Social Media
Decide The Ultimate Success Trigger Book
Three Feet From Gold Book
Stop Waiting For It To Get Easier Book
The Purpose Driven Life Book
[What if I told you that you can design and live the life that you want on your own terms? Would you do it? Would you take a leap into the unknown? Or would you settle for a life of limits? A life of safety, but lacking true meaning. Zephan Moses Blaxberg here and I’m on a journey to help you ignite your inner passions, let go of your fears, and get more out of life. Will you join me and make this year your Year of Purpose? Welcome to the Year of Purpose podcast.]
Zephan: Zephan Blaxberg here with another round of the Year of Purpose podcast, and today I have to pleasure to introduce to you Jim Palmer. Now Jim is a marketing and business building expert and an in-demand coach. He is the founder of Dream Biz Academy, and Dream Business Coaching and Mastermind program. Jim is the host of Newsletter Guru TV, he hit weekly web TV show watched by thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners, and he is also the host of Stick like Glue radio, a weekly podcast based on Jim’s unique blend of smart marketing and business building strategies. Jim is best known internationally as the Newsletter Guru and creator of No Hassle Newsletters, the ultimate Done for You marketing newsletter program used by hundreds of clients in nine countries. Today I have the pleasure to speak with him. So Jim, thanks so much for being here today!
Jim: How you doing, Zephan? Congratulations on your new show! I think it’s awesome.
Zephan: Thank you! Thank you for spending some time with me today. Let’s just go ahead and jump right in—you know, I learned a little bit about you before we jumped on the called that you were unemployed for a certain amount of time, and ultimately wound up starting your business. If you don’t mind sharing with me, kind of, where you started, who you were working for, and what you were doing before all that happened, that would be awesome.
Jim: Yeah, I had a pretty good career. I spent a lot of years in retail, kind of like Bill Glazer, and I was in the bike business, he was in the clothing business. And then I went into franchise management, association management, and then the final job that I had as an employee, I was a VP of Marketing for a Training company. That position was eliminated, and so… That was in July of the year 2000. I knew I’d be an entrepreneur but I didn’t feel I was quite ready, because I had four teenagers at home, college knocking on the door, I knew my girls would want to get married—just felt like I need to go find another job.
That turned into fifteen months of unemployment, which really completely wrecked me. I mean, my confidence, my ego was crushed. We lost whatever meager savings we had. We were racking up a lot of debt. And then in August of 2001, while still unemployed, I got Stage Two melanoma. And, uh—so that rattled my cage even more. And then, after my surgery was successful, in October 2001, the job prospects just weren’t great. Because, remember, that was right after September 11th, the attack on our country, so I said “You know what….I’ve got no money at all, but maybe the sign is now is the time. Maybe that’s why I haven’t found a job yet. Maybe it’s cause I’m supposed to start my own business.”
So I started in October 2001. It took me a full year to get my first client, so I call my first twelve months in business revenue-free, if you will, and—but I did get my first client, second, third, fourth, and about four years, 2005-2006 time frame, I built a multiple six figure business. But I realized at that point that I had created a job for myself. I happened to own the company, but I was doing everything. And even though I was starting to make money again, I had no life whatsoever. And that’s when, in 2006, I started the transition into the online world. A friend of mine, Mike Capuzzi, introduced me to Dan Kennedy. I started reading all his books and just—oh, my gosh, it was just like “These speak to me.” You know, the No BS books and… So I became the Newsletter Guru. I started No Hassle Newsletters, and several other—in between, closed my first business, and now I just live in kind of the online world with—between No Hassle Newsletters, No Hassle Social Media, I got a printing business—publishing my sixth book here in a couple weeks—we had a number of info products, so it’s just really kind of blossomed into this whole new business model.
Zephan: So, you said that you spent an entire year before you got your first client, is that correct?
Jim: Uh-huh. Yes.
Zephan: What—what kept you going at that point in time? Because you knew that your savings was starting to get chewed up, you know that you’re kind of getting to the bottom of the barrel—
Jim: Savings were long gone by then!
Zephan: Okay, so savings is long gone. What, uhm—how did you kinda keep faith through all that and keep pushing? Because a lot of people kind of give up when they’re almost at that top, at the peak where success happens and they don’t quite make it over that last hump.
Jim: Well, Zephan—so my new book is called Decide: The Ultimate Success Trigger. And there’s a chapter in there called Decide to Survive. And one of the books I read a long time ago was called Three Feet from Gold by Sharon Lechter and Greg Reid, and really briefly, the whole book is about not giving up. So this guy, he digs this mine, and he’s—picture it this way, he’s digging, digging, digging, and here’s the diamond mine and then he gives up! And then he sells the mine for like a hundred bucks for what he thinks is a hole in the ground. This guy comes in, digs three more feet and hits diamonds. So I never let go of that thought.
So, here’s a couple things. Number one, I really believed in my heart that I was supposed to be an entrepreneur, so what I was doing…I was doing what I thought I was supposed to be doing, and—by the way, the other thing was I was doing everything. I wasn’t just sitting here bemoaning “where’s my clients?” I was—every networking event I could go to, chambers of commerce…. I was cold calling, knocking on doors, making phone calls, doing everything I could. The other thing I did, by the way, and I never really talked about this too much but I wrote about it in the new book, is I went and got a job stocking shelves at my local Target. I worked the four a.m. shift, so I stock shelves ‘til like eleven or twelve o’clock, then I came home, went and changed clothes, went out and quickly tried to sell my business. Went to networking events at night. Fell into bed. Got up at four to work the four a.m. shift. I did that for a year, until my business started taking hold and then I quit target. But, you know, I had four teenagers at home, and there’s this thing that they like called food, so… You know, a man’s gotta do what he’s gotta do.
But here’s the—here’s the real key. It is tough business starting a small business. And it’s never as easy as you think and it’s always gonna be harder than you think it is. It’s great when it works out, but those initial—you know, what I tell people is being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart, right. And the thing that I held onto—because truth be told I’m talking about it now and I’ve got a smile on my face, but those were some dark days, to be sure. And what I thought was “I know I’m gonna be successful. I know what I’m offering, which is a good newsletter service, it could be used by many, many people. I’ll be darned if I’m gonna quit.” Especially after month two, month three, month four. Every month that went by that was dry, I felt “Okay, the next month definitely has to be it.” And I said “I’m not gonna quit now after I went through all that!” and all that just got longer.
And as I look back on it now, all the things I was doing to build my business, I liken it to buying a big plot of land, and I cleared the brush and the fields, and I turned over the soil, and I was planting seeds by making all the calls, doing all the marketing. I was planting seeds. Little did I know, when I was in some really dark days, that the seeds were taking hold under the soil, so to speak, and I was about to reap a harvest, which when I got my first big client in months twelve, I got like three more in rapid succession after that. So, who says just because to have a business card, a website, a brochure, you’re supposed to instantly turn into a successful business? It doesn’t happen like that.
Zephan: Right, it definitely doesn’t happen overnight, as much as people on the outside watching what we do think that it looks really easy and anybody can just do it. You actually have a great book right behind your head there. I have an autographed copy of it, of the Stop Waiting for it to Get Easier—
Jim: Oh, do you? Good!
Zephan: And that’s really what it is, is people think that it’s just gonna get easier and that they can kind of sit back and relax, and the truth is you really just have to keep pushing. And you will get there, but you won’t really notice it until you have enough time behind you where you can look back and say “I did this, which lead to this, and because of that, I’m here.”
Jim: I wrote that book last year, and—there was a period, I do a fair number of interviews like this, but then I coach about thirty entrepreneurs and I always get questions like “What’s the best time to do this? To expand? To start this? To add a new program?” Then when I was doing interviews with some radio stations, whatever, it was like “Well, what do you think about the economy? Should people wait until things get ea—” I’m like “Stop waiting for it to get easier.” It kind of became my mantra, and I liked it, so I wrote it down. “Stop waiting for it to get easier.” And, create your dream business is kind of what I do with the Dream Business Academy and…so I said “there’s a book here…” and I just started writing.
And one of the things I first did was I went and researched all of the big brands and all of the successful companies that were started all the way back to like the Depression. And there are major brands who’ve started every single decade no matter what was going on. Crappy economy, depression, recession, whatever. Even Fred Smith started Federal Express in the late seventies, during the Iranian oil embargo. I mean, I remember gas lines back then. I do remember that. And, uhm, he bought these planes, which needed jet fuel! And some of those planes initially were flying across the country with six packages—or six envelopes. They started doing the overnight letters. And, uh—I mean talk about chutzpah! And so, he didn’t wait for it to get easier, he started and he took off. And there’s a lot—as I point out in that book, there’s a lot of reasons and benefits of starting in a crappy economy.
I mean, look at right now, for example. Interest rates are really low. You could start a business online for…I don’t know, a hundred bucks or less. I mean, almost nothing, right now? And so people that just kind of bemoan “When’s the right time? Should I wait for the next election?”
Zephan: It’s yesterday.
Jim: Stop waiting for it to get easier and just go now.
Zephan: So let me ask you this: with the mantra of Stop waiting for it to get easier, I know that you mentioned that you battled cancer. How has that affected your life? Both kind of like your outtake on life in general, but also has that given you a certain courage or strength in running your businesses? Do you run your businesses in a certain way now because of having gone through that?
Jim: Well, you’re—you’re very perceptive and profound with the question. Because—you know, I had a healthy ego, and I’d kind of like a free well lifestyle and was—when you go through—when you face your mortality like that, there was about a three-week period of time, Zephan, where I didn’t know if my chances of being alive in five years were eighty, twenty, or fifty-fifty. And when you’re told that, things get real clear, real fast. And as a result, I do three things differently now. I place a much higher priority on the important relationships, obviously my family and you know some friends. Relationships are the most important thing, not things. I like to have things, but if I get them, I don’t—if I get them, that’s cool, if I don’t get them that’s okay. It’s the relationships in your life, so I place as high value on relationships. My wife, Stephanie and I, we give back and serve more. In a way, we do so much—and I’m not saying that to say look at me, I’m saying we’re making up for lost time. So we give back and serve, and we volunteer and do things like that.
And then the other thing is, I laugh a lot more. I’ve always loved to laugh, but I laugh a lot. And the other thing I’ve noticed, Zephan, is that I don’t take things too seriously anymore. I mean, when things go bad, about the only time I really get upset is when somebody messes with my family or is rude or disrespectful to someone on my team. But I mean, if things go bad—like I’m supposed to have a new website up today. It’s—now I’m told it’s gonna be tonight or tomorrow morning. Ten years ago, I would’ve been like “What the hell! Come on!” it like “Okay, so we’ll go up tomorrow, I’ll miss one day.” it’s not a big deal.
It’s amazing, when you go through something like that, it’s like your whole, your vision, your priorities, and everything shifts. And every day—honest to God, I get up every day and I just thank God for the gift of the day because it’s not guaranteed. And I try and do something good during the day. I try and be productive during the day, but every day’s a gift, and trust me when I say I didn’t always have that in my mindset.
Zephan: So when you hear news like that, what kind of runs through your mind? What fears do you have? Obviously, you’ve got a family. You’ve got kids, you’ve got a lot going on. What was the first thing to pop in your mind when that happened?
Jim: Okay, I’m gonna have to be careful, because I mentioned this once or twice when I’m speaking and it causes me to choke up. But I remember sitting on the metal table in the surgeons office, my wife, Stephanie, was sitting in the chair next to me, and the surgeon walked in and he goes “Hey, Jim—” very matter of fact, right. He goes “From the biopsy, I can’t tell if it’s stage two or stage three. We won’t know until surgery,” which was like a three week period of time. This all happened very fast, and I’m telling you, two weeks prior to this, I never heard the term melanoma. I didn’t know what it was. And I said “Well that’s different? What’s stage two, stage three? I don’t know what that means.” He goes “Well, with stage two, your chances of survival are eighty percent to live past five years.” And I thought “Eight percent, okay that’s pretty good.” I said “What if it is stage three?” He well “Well, it’s fifty-fifty.”
Instantaneously, my girls—I have twin girls. I have two older boys and two twin girls, and they were thirteen at the time. And thought “Thirteen and five is eighteen. Oh, God, I might not see my girls graduate high school. I probably won’t see them get married” and I just—I completely lost it and Stephanie kind of took over the questioning and helped be me schedule surgery. So for three weeks, I had to think about that and what that meant.
I look back on it now, and as hard as it was, I’m so glad I went through it because I’m a much different man right now, I’m a different person. And, like I said, I have a much higher priority on important things. I have a better relationship with the Lord, and it really—I can it my season of crisis because it took who I was, absolutely brought me to my knees, and made me a better person for having gone through that.
Zephan: And you mentioned that—you know, after going through that, you wanted to make up for lost time by giving back a lot more. How important is it for us to give back, or to learn to give back sooner? Because I know that, at least people in my age group, we’re going through college, we’re getting out of college, we’re getting jobs—it’s kind of like this me, me, me time of our personal growth and our development, but it—what I’m hearing from a lot of people is it seems very important to start giving back at an earlier age or as soon as you possibly can.
Zephan: Tell me a little bit about the value that you place on giving back.
Jim: You know, the very first sentence in the book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren is “It’s not about you.” And so, I totally believe that and I get it now. And so I believe—being a Christian, I believe we’re here to serve God and to serve others. And there was a time in my life where I didn’t go to church all the time, and when I did, if I put twenty dollars in the offering plate, I thought it was a big deal. I know that’s—that’s—I mean, that’s not a big deal. It’s only a big deal if you’re grossing two hundred dollars, right. Because we’re supposed to give ten percent. And what I—I started getting into that more and more, and I—it’s funny, I had some mentors in my church, but I actually, believe it or not, will credit Dan Kennedy for helping me become a tither. Because as much as I knew you’re supposed to tithe from my church upbringing, and my learnings, I don’t know which book it is, but Dan actually talked about the power of ten and ten. You take ten percent and give it to charity, and you take ten percent and save it, and live off the eighty percent.
I don’t know which book it is, but—somehow, because Dan said it, I believed it, and so I started doing it. Well, I started growing. Because depending on how much you make, it’s like a chunk of money. And then someone told me as we were doing more and more and they said “You know what, don’t worry. You cannot out-give God.” And so the more we gave over the last five years, the more we’ve been blessed, both in our business, in our personal life, and it works. And I sometimes will talk about this when I speak depending on the venue. And I’ll say, you don’t even have to believe in God. Just if you believe in the universe, or some power, giving money and also your time to help others—those less fortunate—it comes back to you. And it’s kind of hard to understand if you don’t do it, but I’m living proof.
So I’ve gotten involved with this charity called Good Works. I was on their board, I helped them with marketing, in addition to monthly financial contributions. I also donate one Saturday a month. And me and about six or eight guys from my church, we go out and rehab homes for low income people. Good Works provides all the materials, and we provide the labor, and we like reinsulate their house, we replace window, we do it all! And it’s a full day, every month, for free basically—not basically, it’s for free. Donating our time. And we make such a difference in the lives of others who, otherwise, there’s no way in the world they’d be able to fix their homes. And what I tell people if they struggle with this whole concept of giving back is, I said “Just try it. Because no one would ever convince me that the last five years where I had really big growth in my business cannot be tied to the fact that we give and serve more.” There’s a definite correlation there.
Zephan: So, I want to get into your book in just a second, but real quick, let me ask you this: How has your quality of life changed since both going through this transformation of realizing the value of life, and when it’s kind of like you don’t know if it’s today or if it’s tomorrow or next month or next year when it could end, to this place where multiple successful businesses, author, coach, speaker—how has your quality of life changed? And on top of volunteering your time more and being more selfless and giving and—?
Jim: You know, it’s interesting and this, again, may be because of my personal transformations effort, but if I had the success that I have today and the businesses and the books and that—if I had that thirteen, fifteen years ago, I probably would have been an arrogant SOB, you know. I would have been so full of myself. I realize now that—and I, again this goes to my faith—I believe everything that I have is a blessing and a gift from God, right. I also know it can all just disappear. I’ve witnessed that.
So it’s one of the cool things about going through my season crisis. I have lived with almost nothing. I mean, I had my home, we never missed a meal, but I mean talk about when you lose your income, and you lose a large—kinda, your way of life. I mean, there’s no going out to eat anymore. Frozen pizza from the cheap grocery store. There’s a lot of things you do to survive, because that’s what you have to do. But, uhm—again, I don’t take things too seriously, things don’t bother me too much. I mean, you know, last year I bought a boat. I scratched a thirty-four year itch and I bought a nice boat. And if next year I didn’t have my boat anymore, I’m so glad I had my boat for two years, you know what I mean? I don’t know. It’s this thing where I just kind of roll with what’s happening. I work really, really hard cause I do believe we need to work hard—you know, you don’t just get handed success, you do have to work hard.
But by the same token, if something happens, or if it doesn’t happen, I believe that’s that was it’s supposed to be. You know what I mean? So, I don’t get super bummed if something doesn’t happen. I think “Okay, there’s something better coming along.” It’s kind of like—you know the expression, when one door closes another one opens.
Zephan: Exactly. So being grateful for what we have right now, whether it’s a small amount of time, or a big amount of time, because nothing really is permanent. Let’s jump forward into your book that you’re getting ready to release. So you’ve got a few books out right now. You’ve got the Magic of Newsletter Marketing, Stick Like Glue, the Fastest Way to Higher Profits, It’s Okay to be Scared, and Stop Waiting for it to Get Easier. What do we have to be excited for that’s about to come out?
Jim: Yeah, it’s called Decide: The Ultimate Success Trigger, and you know, I wrote five books in five years, and so last fall, I decided I need to take a break from book writing. I don’t want to write anymore books. And…you know, I’ve learned not to ignore the nudges. Okay, that’s another thing. I get taps on the shoulder that says “You gotta do this.” And I think “Okay, I didn’t hear that.” And then I get another tap on the shoulder, “No, you really need to do this.” And it’s interesting, one of my live events called Dream Business Academy, there was one in Philadelphia last September. And I thought this module for about an hour. It was called Mindset, Money, and Success. And I share a lot of my story that I’ve started to share with you, Zephan, about the early years, the debt that I incurred, really balancing my early business on credit cards, and doing all this different stuff.
And so I’m really pulling back the current. Not only just saying “Hey, there’s some good strategies.” You go to seminars—good strategies—that sort of thing. I like it when somebody—when you learn about the struggles they went through also. So my commitment to people, kind of, my event, I’m very transparent, real. So I started sharing some of this stuff, and…I looked out in the audience and I saw four grown men with tears in their eyes. And I thought “Wow…I’m really hitting home here.” I didn’t call them out or “Hey look at you crying—” but thought…I made the connection that this is really hitting home.
What I kind of realized from that conversation—or that talk I was giving was that these people are struggling right now. One person came up to me after it was over and said “I just want to you know, what you shared was really impactful.” And he said “You’ve given me the power to keep on keeping on. Cause I’m there right now.” I thought that was—I mean that was like Wow! It was hugely powerful, and so…a couple more things like that and then people started telling me, because my events are kind of small, they said “You need to write a book on this stuff that you teach here, because it needs to go out there to a bigger audience. And uh…so that’s when I wrote the book.
Zephan: That’s great. And so this is launching when? Cause I know this is coming up really soon.
Jim: It’s launching Monday, March 9th. Is the official launch date. And we’re actually gonna do something kinda cool. It’s a strategy that I’ve seen other people do. We’re gonna give the book away for free. The actually paperback, just cover the shipping and handling, and I hope to sell—or I hope to give away up to a thousand books for free, with just shipping and handling. That’s my goal.
Zephan: Great, so definitely, we’ll have to let everybody know who’s listening and watching this.
Jim: I appreciate that.
Zephan: Claim a copy of this book, cause we’ll be releasing this episode pretty my right around when the book comes out, so…
Jim: Oh, good! Well the website will be decideforsuccessbook—decide for—f-o-r—successbook.com.
Zephan: Awesome, awesome. And, you know, I’d love to have people learn more about your story, so everybody, I highly encourage whoever’s watching and listening. I know this is both on iTunes and YouTube, so you might be watching you might be listening, but definitely look into this book and head over to that website. We’ll be sure to have a link on our website that way you can click and do straight to that, if you’re watching this one www.yearofpurpose.com. Jim, you have an absolutely amazing story. I know that thirty minutes doesn’t really give it enough time and enough justice, but I really want to thank you for being willing to share that. I know there’s some private information in there, and you’ve been through a lot of hardship. I really appreciated you book Stop Waiting, so I just wanted to let my viewers know and let you know that I’m thankful because that has made an impact on my life. I worked at Apple, and quit my job there because it was one of those “Well, do I start a business now or next year?” and it really was—it was right around when I got that book.
Jim: Are you kidding me?? So my book helped you to quit your job and start your entrepreneurship?
Jim: That—you just made my day, man! That’s awesome! Thank you for sharing that.
Zephan: Yes. So it was one of the tools that I used on my road to success and it was amazing because somebody had actually gifted me a signed copy of it. I had never met you before, but we kind of connected through out past, me working with Glazer-Kennedy and the marketing world, so…you know, I just want to take this moment to thank you and let everyone else know that is definitely worth check out. Not only your new book, but your other books as well. What is the best—I know you have a lot of different channels, you have a podcast, a couple things going on—what’s the best place for people to kind of keep track of where everything’s happening?
Jim: Yeah, I mean...gosh, I don’t even know how many websites. There’s one for every book, every program, everything, but getjimpalmer.com, www.getjimpalmer.com. From there, links to the video show, the podcast, all my books, everything. If you go to getjimpalmer.com, you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Zephan: Thank you so much for being here. Thank you everyone who is watching this episode. Don’t forget that we do put show notes and a transcript up on our website, at www.yearofpurpose.com. And you can find our video on YouTube and or podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio. This is Zephan Blaxberg and we will see you guys next time. Thanks, Jim!
Jim: See you.
[You probably heard me talk about designing a life that you actually want to live. You might have even heard about my travels and experiences and thought to yourself “Yeah, I do want to do that…eventually. Someday I’ll probably do it.” And my guess is you’ve probably been thinking about doing it for a long time. So I want to tell you this: Stop thinking. Your time is right now. You don’t need any more time. You don’t need any more info. You don’t need to keep putting it off and planning for the perfect time, because the truth of the matter is this: You can be the person who sits around and things about living a better life, or you can be the person that decides that today is the day that you’re going to actually do it, and I want that for you. Because you already have what it takes. You’ve got a fire inside, even if you can’t see it right now. It’s lit, but you need to open yourself up to the possibilities and throw a couple logs into the flames. So join me and the Year of Purpose tribe by subscribing to our YouTube channel and iTunes podcast. And if you really like us, please leave a review. This is Zephan Moses Blaxberg, and I can’t wait to see you again on the Year of Purpose podcast.]