YOP069: As If You Were Dying with Clint Arthur

By November 26, 2015 Podcast Episode No Comments

Bio: CLINT ARTHUR is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business, the GKIC Info-Marketer of The Year, a successful entrepreneur with 15 years of experience running his own gourmet food company, and the #1 Bestselling author of “Break Through Your Upper Limits on TV,” “Break Through Your Fear of Public Speaking on Local TV” and “What They Teach You At The Wharton Business School.” His famous personal transformation experiences, keynote speeches, and frequent appearances on Network TV, iTunes Podcasts, and syndicated radio shows inspire millions of people to live larger, more intensely, and with more impact on the world.

After studying Creative Writing with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt, Clint went on to graduate from the Wharton Business School, then pursued the Hollywood Dream for more than a decade, hitting a crisis point on New Year’s Eve of The Millenium when he became terrified that 5+ years of driving a taxi to survive would be irreversible career suicide. He quit writing, dove into an intense transformational period of self-help and personal development work, and focussed on making money for the next 8 years, becoming fat and happy. Obese, actually. As the economy collapsed in 2008, Clint was at a men’s self-help meeting when the shaman pointed at Clint across the yellow and orange crackling flames of the camp-fire and said, “You don’t know it yet, but you’re already dead.”

Inspired by that, Clint lived 2009 as if it was going to be the last year of his life. He lost 40-lbs. (and has maintained that weight-loss), built a factory which allowed his business to thrive during The Great Recession and beyond, wrote his book about the timeless lessons he learned at Wharton (which would become his first bestseller,) and revived his crumbling marriage. All of this reaffirmed the wisdom he learned at Wharton about being a well-rounded, healthy, happy, and self-expressed person, and led Clint in the direction of Local TV Publicity, where he has since appeared on 64 Local and National TV News & Talk shows across America, and has helped Clients book themselves on more than 1996+ appearances since 2012. Most recently, Clint was anointed Dan Kennedy’s “GKIC Info-Marketer Of The Year.”

His clients include everyday people who are Authors, Speakers, Coaches, Doctors, Dentists, Psychologists, Entrepreneurs, Celebrities, Reality TV Stars, Television Personalities, Leaders and Messengers who are committed to making a bigger difference in the world and with their career. He also serves the top chefs in America and hospitality industry leaders such as Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Hilton, Starwood, JW Marriott, MGM-Mirage, US Foods, and Sysco through his Five Star Butter Co.


Hey everyone, this is Zephan Blaxberg, and today I am joined on the Year of Purpose podcast by Clint Arthur. Clint is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business. He is also the GKIC Infomarketer of the year, a successful entrepreneur with fifteen years of experience running his own gourmet food company, and the number one best-selling author of Break Through Your Upper Limits On TV, Break Through Your Fear Of Public Speaking On Local TV, and What They Teach You At The Wharton Business School. His famous personal transformation experiences, keynote speeches, and frequent appearances on network TV, iTunes podcasts, and syndicated radio shows inspired millions of people to live larger, more intensely, and with more impact on the world.

Today he came back all the way from Waikiki to hang out with me for a little bit. How are you doing Clint?

Clint: Donald Trump could not be doing much better than me, actually. You know, as much as I am unhappy that my thirty-day vacation is over, I just came back from a thirty-day vacation. You can’t be doing too bad when you’re coming back from a thirty-day vacation.

Zephan: Right. Yeah, I’m a little bit jealous of that. I haven’t taken a vacation that long since about December of last year. That was when I did a two-month vacation around the country. It was definitely a blast. I didn’t want to come home.

But I’m grateful to have you here today, and the reason I wanted to bring you on was I heard you speak at Angelique Rewer’s event in Scottsdale this summer. You told me a little bit of a story of your personal transformation, and so I was hoping maybe we could start there. If you could share with the listeners what happened in your life that has kind of brought you to this point.

Clint: Okay, well, I made the biggest mistake that any entrepreneur can make: I tried to do something without being somebody special. I know everybody is special in their own way, and we’re each a unique, individual snowflake, and all that, but what I was trying to do was become a filmmaker and a movie star in Hollywood without being famous. That is really, really tough to do. It’s really tough to get cast for any parts, or get selected to do anything, or get investors to give you money for anything, if you’re nobody in Hollywood.

I didn’t know that lesson, and I made that mistake, and that cost me thirteen years of my life pursuing the Hollywood dream. Six of those years I was behind the wheel of a taxi, and what made it all the more difficult for me was I’m a graduate of the Wharton Business School.

I remember one time I was out to dinner with my dad at a steak house in New York City. This is probably eight, nine, ten years into this whole ordeal. One of his best friends comes up to the table at this steakhouse, and goes “Look who it is, it’s the Wharton taxi driver.” That was really, really painful! That was really, really painful because I felt like I had not just let down my dad, but I had let down myself. The many years of hard work, and struggle, and positioning that I had put myself through to get into the Wharton Business School, to get a 4.0 GPA in my Entrepreneurial Management major. It’s like, I had such great opportunities in my life, and I felt like I had thrown them all away pursuing the Hollywood dream.

It all came to fruition on New Year’s Eve of the millennium. I was driving a cab that night and I made five hundred thirteen dollars, and when it was all over, I went back to my little boat in Marina Del Rey where I was living; no hot water, no running water, no toilet facilities, no electricity, no heat. I’m in my bunk on the boat, shivering, under my heavy down comforter, wearing all my clothes, and I just broke down crying. Because I felt like I was never going to be able to get out from the ditch that I had dug for my life. That was the night I said “That’s it. I can’t take this anymore.” I quit writing screenplays. I focused everything I could on changing who I was and how I was going to show up in this world.

I got into the gourmet food business and slowly, slowly, slowly started working my way into that business and changing my life. Really, I had an advantage in that business. That is essential for every entrepreneur. I started this whole thing out by saying “The number one mistake to avoid is not being somebody special.” So what does that really mean?

In entrepreneurship, as an entrepreneur, the most important thing you can do is be different than everybody else. There’s two ways to be different from everybody else. The first way is to have a unique product. If you have a unique product that nobody else has, that makes you different. It’s not so easy to have a unique product. It really isn’t. Luckily for me, I had this super-gourmet butter from a little tiny farm in the middle of nowhere. That was my product. That was my gourmet food that I was selling. And lucky for me, it was actually an amazing product. It was very difficult for people to get. People wanted it because it was so special. Unless you have a special product like that, it is very, very difficult to be successful as an entrepreneur.

The other way to be different than everybody else is to be a celebrity. As difficult as that may sound to a person listening to this podcast, it’s actually easier to be a celebrity than it is to have a unique product. Because a celebrity can be manufactured with an actual formula. I have come up with an actual formula for how to create celebrity by going on TV news and talk show interviews. It’s amazingly easy once you know the formula to do it. That’s how I’ve been able to help about five hundred authors, speakers, coaches, and entrepreneurs use my formula to create celebrity for their personal brand.

You hear a lot of people talking about a personal brand, right?

Zephan: Right.

Clint: Well, what does that mean? That means, what do people think about when they think about you? When your name comes up in an e-mail, do they delete it, or do they open it, excited? You have to get them to be excited about opening your e-mail. That’s a good personal brand, and unless you have a good personal brand, you’re not going to be successful as an entrepreneur.

So how do you do that? You have to become somebody special. The easiest way to become somebody special is to start going on TV news and talk show interviews about any topic, whatever topic. Get these people to start thinking of you as “celebrity.” Somebody who is famous; somebody who is a news-maker. If you can do that then the whole world starts to open up for you.

That’s basically been my journey. I started going on TV news and talk shows interviews about 4 and a half years ago, five years ago. Since then, I’ve done more than sixty-four television appearances, including the Today Show, CNN Headline News, a whole bunch of shows, NBC New York, CBS Los Angeles, ABC Chicago. I started out going on little, tiny shows and I just worked my way up: the old fashioned way. I worked my way up, and that’s what anybody can do. That’s really the most important lesson I have to offer.

Zephan: It sounds like you really discovered quite some amazing things here. In the process of that, you had mentioned in your story that on New Year’s Eve, was a night after many years of effort being put into your potential future. I’m curious, I’ll jump back to creating the celebrity in a second, but how do you know when to give up? Because there was definitely, year after year, there was an effort that was put into this. What was it that was different about this New Year’s, as opposed to maybe a year prior, or perhaps waiting two more years to make that choice?

Clint: That’s a great question. I think that it comes from the perspective of looking at your life on New Year’s Eve. You have to look at your life in what Tony Roberts refers to as peak situations; when you’re in a peak state. When you’re in a peak state, you have a different perspective on the world. You need to have some kind of really powerful perspective so that you can see clearly what the hell is really going on. Because it’s difficult, when you’re in the middle of a storm, it’s very difficult to see what’s going on. That’s why, many times in my life, changes have happened for me where my whole destiny got altered on a New Year’s Eve. That was one of them.

Then we fast-forward to New Year’s Eve 2009. New Year’s Eve 2009, I was obese. I was “fat and happy.” I had been married for seven years, my marriage was on the rocks. My company was teetering because of the Great Recession. My body was in the worst shape of my life. I was two hundred thirty-six pounds, compared to my high school wrestling weight of one hundred forty-five pounds. I didn’t even realize how obese I was. All I knew was, I could barely bend over and tie my shoes. That’s when I was at a men’s self-help campfire, and the shaman on the other side of the campfire pointed at me and goes “You don’t even know it yet, but you’re already dead.” And I said “What are you talking about, man? I’m the most successful guy on this team. Eight years ago I was driving a taxi. Now I’m a millionaire. I was living on a little boat. Now I live in a mansion.” He goes “You’re already dead, and you just don’t know it.”

I was thinking about that; that happened like October, September, October 2008. I was thinking about it for months after he said that, and it came to me on New Year’s Day on 2009. That’s when I decided, hey, if this was going to be the last year of my life, what would I want to accomplish? Once I started living my life as if it was going to be the last year of my life, that’s when I was able to make the change. It happened on New Year’s Day. Again, one of those peak situations.

The situation is this. What I would recommend to anybody who is listening to this show: if you’re thinking about changing your life, why don’t you try living your life as if you were going to die at the end of the year, or at the end of fifty-two weeks. See what happens for you. That was such a powerful experience for me. I’ve done it four times. I’ve written a book about it called The Last Year of Your Life, which guides you through the whole process. It gives you all kinds of different exercises and experiences to try out, so that when you’re living the last year of your life you can get a really full experience of it. I’ve done it four times, and I kept refining the process. I led my men’s team through the process, the first time. Then I did it with people around the world. Then I did it, again, with people around the world that I recruited by going on TV and radio. It’s a very, very valuable and powerful experience.

I’m not saying you should quit your job. I’m not saying you should quit your job. I really believe in straddling. I really believe in starting a business on the side while you’re still an employee, so you don’t run out of money; and then you have to become a taxi driver, or a waiter. I don’t advise anybody to quit their big 6 figure job. Keep your job, but start something else on the side so that you can possibly be successful and get out of your job one day. Above all, I would say “Hey man, ask yourself that question. ‘If this was going to be the last year of my life, what would I want to accomplish?'” Write down the list of things that you would want to do. Make a list of twenty things you would want to do if this was going to be the last year of your life. And the best times to do this are either when it’s New Year’s Eve, or New Year’s Day, or on your birthday. That’s another really good time to ask yourself that question.

Zephan: It’s actually surprising, and it’s not surprising, to hear you say about New Year’s Eve. Because, for me personally, a lot of how this podcast started, a lot of where things started to click together in my life started, were both out of A. My birthday last year, when I went on a spiritual retreat, very similar, quite possibly, to your men’s retreat that you had been on. That led me to a decision where I was traveling around the country, couch-surfing and travel hacking, and taking essentially a break from my life and my business to figure out who I was. I actually came back on New Year’s Day, and that’s where I kind of had this epiphany that I don’t want to be this person who makes all of these New Year’s resolutions, and two weeks out of the year I’m not even going to the gym anymore.

Clint: Yep, yep.

Zephan: I’m a bit surprised that we have both had experiences happen on New Year’s, but I’m not surprised because it definitely is the time of year where you start to think about yourself and what you’re doing in life, and where you’re going. That’s really great to hear from you.

It’s cool to hear that we can build a business. What seems to be much easier than we previously thought, with what you were saying, in either having a unique product or being able to create this celebrity factor. I was hoping we could go into that a little bit, because this could be very helpful for a lot of the people listening in. Maybe if you could expand a little bit on what it means to be a celebrity. Does this mean I’m like Michael Jordan and I’m doing Hanes t-shirt commercials, or am I Tiger Woods and doing golf and Nike commercials? What does creating a celebrity for yourself actually mean, or involve?

Clint: Great question. There’s never going to be any paparazzi camped out in front of your doorway. You’re never going to lose your privacy. The celebrity that I’m talking about is a manufactured form of celebrity. It’s not easy to make it happen, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you know my formula, and if you follow my strategy of starting in little, tiny markets like Reno, Nevada, or Fargo, North Dakota; those are good places to start your pursuit of celebrity because they’re happy to have strangers from out of town come on, share their expertise. You have to understand something: when you talk about having a unique product, what do you think the product really is, man?

Zephan: I would say it’s probably you.

Clint: You are the product. That’s 100% correct. Especially if you’re in a corporate job right now. You’re the product. You are providing a service to an employer, and the employer is buying your product: you, your time, your labor, your services. You’re being paid based on their perception of what your value is, so the best way to invest your time and effort is to improve the perceived value of your main product, which is you. That’s the beauty of celebrity. It’s yours, nobody can take it away from you.

I like to say, hey, you’re a person right now; once you’ve done ten, or fifteen, or twenty TV appearances, you’ll be a different person. Once you’ve done forty, there’s no stopping you. I got many students who have done forty, fifty television appearances. Once you’ve done that many appearances, you become a different person. You have a different perception of yourself, and you have a different perception of you in the marketplace, and what your real value is. I’ve walked into meetings and the person looked at me like “Wow, I Googled you and checked you out after we set up this meeting. I had no idea who you were.” I’m thinking to myself “Who am I? Why does this guy think I’m so hot stuff?” Well, it’s because of all the TV news and talk show interviews. At that point I had done eleven interviews, and the guy said that to me. So far, I’ve done another fifty-three appearances since that date. The perception of me is way different.

How do you do this? It comes down to the fact that when you go on TV, you don’t need a book, you don’t need a product. It’s better if you don’t even have a product. You’re much better off if it’s all about one thing: delivering value to the audience. That’s what this is all about. You want to go on a TV show, on a news or talk show, and you want to deliver three or four minutes of valuable information with a takeaway, something that the audience can take away from your appearance that day. What do I mean by that?

Well, I got this one client, he’s a mechanic from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Auto Mechanic. He has his business, Elizabeth Auto Care, which is an auto repair shop. Then he also coaches auto mechanics on how they can make more money in their auto repair shops. He’s got two things going on. As an entrepreneur, you got to have multiple things going on because sometimes one thing is really hot, and another time another things get really hot. That’s the nature of commerce. Things change. Sometimes one business is hot, another time, another business gets hot. That’s why Google has a million different divisions.

Anyway, this garage mechanic Dave Striegel, he started out doing TV news and talk shows in little, tiny cities in Kentucky and Illinois. Little, tiny cities, and he worked his way up to bigger markets like Las Vegas and Phoenix, ultimately to Los Angeles. He did two TV appearances in L.A. All the while, his real goal was to become a speaker at a big auto mechanic conference in Las Vegas that’s only held once every ten years, called the NAPA Auto Parts conference or convention; and because, all along the way, he kept mentioning NAPA, and he kept sending the NAPA executives his appearances where he kept talking about NAPA auto centers on TV news and talk shows, he was able to distinguish himself from the other auto repair coaches who all wanted to speak at this conference. He was able to get fourbreakout sessions, each one with four hundred and fifty attendees. He also got to be part of a three-minute presentation on the main stage in front of twelve thousand prime prospects.

It’s really interesting because a lot of people listening right now aren’t even going to care about what I just said. They’re not going to be impressed because they don’t enough to even be impressed by what I said. To get in front of even one audience of four hundred and fifty people is not an easy thing, especially without paying for it. He didn’t have to pay any money to get in front of those audiences. He just showed up and got do his thing. In front of 4 of them, in front of four of those audiences.

For example, you and I met at a conference called The Inside Edge. The Inside Edge, there was only three hundred and fifty people there.

Zephan: Yeah.

Clint: And that’s a big conference that I was a speaker at. It just shows you: in one year, my auto mechanic client Dave Striegel was able to do twelve TV appearances, and use those appearances to leverage himself into a prime speaking position in front of thousands and thousands of prime prospects for his coaching services. His whole world was transformed. He became one of the most famous auto mechanics in America in a year. That enabled him to accomplish amazing feats for his coaching business.

The point is, a lot of times you don’t have to even go on TV for your main thing. Sometimes I go on TV to talk about—one of my books that I wrote specifically for getting on TV is called The Presidents Code. I created that book just to position myself to get on TV during the 2012 election. That’s how I broke into the number one market in America, NBC New York. My first appearance on NBC New York was because of that book, The Presidents Code.

How do I make money with that? I don’t, but there’s two purposes to TV publicity. Number 1, is to create celebrity for you, by going on TV shows, any TV show; it just creates a special lustre, celebrity, for your personal brand. The second reason is to help you get on bigger TV shows down the line. The more TV you do, the more TV you will do.

Zephan: Right, so it’s kind of like knocking over a smaller domino, and as it keeps going along, eventually it’s going to hit the bigger dominoes, and eventually the really big ones fall. It’s a small step that you put into place, but it really pays off in the long run because I’m sure a TV appearance has you—like you said, in front of twelve thousand people, that can pay. Maybe the TV appearance, you can’t necessarily correlate that to money coming in, but ultimately that’s going to lead you to huge things.

I was actually surprised that you said, you don’t necessarily need to have a book to get on to a TV show. I’m just curious: if you don’t necessarily have to go in with a book or with some sort of previous celebrity status, what is it that the TV networks are gaining by having you on? How is it that they become interested in you as a person?

Clint: You have to positioned as a credible guest. For example, the garage mechanic. He didn’t have a book. He was just an auto repair mechanic. What did he talk about? He talked about three mistakes to avoid when you bring your car in to have it serviced by an auto mechanic.

Zephan: Gotcha. It’s pretty simple, and I guess you’re only speaking for three or four minutes. For everyone listening in, this is not a thirty minute—you’re sitting there trying to speak as if you were in front of a stage for people. It’s a very small segment, is what I’m hearing.

Clint: It is, it’s only three minutes. Usually it’s three minute, tops, and it’s not like you’re trying to cure cancer, or that you need to be a rocket scientist. A lot of times the simpler your topic, the better off you are. Like this one: when he got on in Los Angeles, he was demonstrating how to change a tire.

Zephan: Yeah, so it doesn’t really require all that much. That’s very interesting to hear.

Clint: The book itself is created so that you have more credibility.

Zephan: Right.

Clint: For example, if you’re a professor of economics at a major university, you don’t need a book. You’re a PhD in economics. You go on to talk about economics, and they say “Here today, to explain why the Fed did not raise the interest rates, is economics professor from Cal Davis, Mr. Joe Smith.” That’s the way they would introduce you. See, what they’re trying to do is, they’re trying to put a person on TV who the audience is going to want to watch.

Zephan: Ah.

Clint: How do they do that? They do that with their introduction, with the anchor or host says about you. “Here today, is the number one selling, platinum recording artist Faith Hill!” See how exciting that is?

Zephan: Yeah.

Clint: How do we make you sound exciting? The easiest way to make you sound exciting is to say … Think about how simple this is: a Kindle book. For those of you who are not aware, you can publish a Kindle with as little as two thousand words in it. Five pages, four pages of typed document could be a Kindle book. Now you can go on TV, and let’s say your Kindle book is The Fine Art of Walking Dogs. “Here today, to talk to us about the mistakes to avoid when you’re walking your dog, is the author of the new book, The Fine Art of Walking Your Dog, which just came out on Amazon today.”

Zephan: Yeah.

Clint: Think about all of the excitement that you were able to generate by publishing a two-thousand-word Kindle book.

Zephan: Which is crazy, because I could write that up tonight.

Clint: I know. The only reason we have books is to add credibility. You don’t make money off your book. Even if you have a giant, best-selling book, chances are you’re not going to make money off of it. Let’s count the number of people who have made money of their books. J.K. Rowling: okay, good, that’s lightning striking. Literally, the lighting struck Harry Potter right on the forehead, right?

Zephan: Right.

Clint: Then, the other one is 50 Shades of Grey. Okay.

Zephan: Right.

Clint: In the last twenty years, those are the only authors who’ve made any money.

Zephan: Yeah. I mean, those are at least the two I could only think of.

Clint: There are no more. You don’t write books to make money, unfortunately. If you do, wow, amazing. You write the book to create credibility.

For example, one time I was at a conference. I spend a lot of money going to conferences, or, let me rephrase that the way one of my mentors—believe me, I invested a lot of money on mentorship. One of my mentors always says “Hey, it’s not spending money, it’s investing money in your education.” Okay, I’ve invested a lot of money in education by going to seminars, and conferences, and events. One of them I was at, it was a five-thousand-dollar weekend conference. I spent five grand to go to this conference for the weekend. A big part of why I’m there is to meet other people who are five-thousand-dollar conference attendees; and I go out to dinner with a bunch of guys, and I’m telling them what I do about creating celebrity. The next morning, I get a text from one of these guys. He goes “Hey, can we get together for brunch.” Sure.

I meet him in the café in the hotel. I walk in, he’s got his iPad in his hand. I sit down at the table, he goes “Hey, look what I’m reading.” He’s reading my book, Break Through Your Upper Limits On TV. Thirty minutes later, he had signed my consulting agreement to be an eighteen thousand dollar per year consulting client. That’s the value of a book.

Zephan: Yeah, wow. I guess, for anyone listening in, the book is not necessarily to make money at all. You might make a few hundred bucks here, maybe a thousand bucks here or there, but the book is leading to such bigger things.

That’s so neat to hear from you. It’s really been great to hear your story, and I know that you have a great program that educates people on how they can create this celebrity and really build a brand for themselves. If you wouldn’t mind, Clint, if you could share how people could keep track of what you’re doing and to learn more about what you do.

Clint: Clintarthur.tv. Clint—like Clint Eastwood—Arthur—like the king—dot-TV, like I am looking forward to seeing you on television.

Zephan: Awesome. Clint, thank you so much for spending some time with me. It’s great to catch up with you. I’m sorry you’re back from Waikiki, but it sounds like you had a great time.

Clint: Thanks, man.

Zephan: All right. Have a good one.

Clint: Have a good night.