I Interviewed 28 Outrageously Remarkable People In 15 Months & This is What I Learned (So Far)
Last week, I was speaking to Pat Williams, author of 100 books & co-founder of Orlando Magic, about writing a book. He asked me if I have something burning to get out and I told him that the problem is I have a dozen things. I did, however, throw out the idea of sharing the common threads I’ve learned from interviewing people. He loved that idea, and this is why this post was born. It’s the seedling for a book.
I started my blog ‘Outrageously Remarkable’ 15 months ago and it has been a fun ride. It’s my passion project and I plan to keep it going indefinitely. The best part about it is that I get to meet with people I’ve always wanted to meet, have a conversation, document it & learn from them. It’s been a privilege and I wanted to pay it forward by sharing what I’ve learned from the experience.
[Note: click on any image to go to the interview pictured]
Here are 5 things that I’ve learned from these remarkable people:
1) Successful people read a lot. Yeah, A LOT.
Seriously, I’m not talking 3 or 4 books a year. Way more. Learning is a continuous thing for them and is part of their routine. There has never been a better time in history than now to make the choice and consume books anywhere at any time and choose to become an expert. There are many things in life that are accidents and knowledge usually isn’t one of them.
2) Leaders start off as stand-out followers.
I’ve heard it before from a college student I met with, “I am a born leader. I need a job where I can lead”. Great, well, many of the ridiculously accomplished people I met with kicked major ass as followers first, for a while. They never anointed themselves a leader, they grew into one. Nothing was beneath them unless it required lowering their ethical standards. They never said “this is too hard for me” or “that is not my job”. They followed with a smile and learned along the way. This takes patience and grit.
3) Do-ers spend more time doing than thinking.
If you are a writer you need to just write. If you are a painter you need to just paint. We get too caught up in over-thinking things and getting ready to get ready. Most of the changemakers I interviewed could care less about the haters, they do their craft because they are women & men of action. The time you spend on Reddit, forums, social media, gossipping or critiquing others is time taken away from getting 1% better every day. P.S: getting 1% better every day is something I like to say because if you do the compounding interest on that, you can do amazing things in a short period of time.
4) You can’t do it all alone.
Most of the people I interviewed had mentors, family members and teams that gave them a push along the way that meant the world to them. I wish I would have known this early on in my career. I thought that help was a sign of weakness and I felt like I had to do it all alone. It isn’t. Another person can change your trajectory more than anything else in the world.
5) Find what you are really good at & get hyper-focused.
One of the consistent things I noticed with my interviewees is that they have a keen self-awareness. They don’t seem to have any delusions about their strengths or their weaknesses. They understand where they need to outsource and where they should focus in their time. My takeaway is that it is important to spend more time with smart people that aren’t afraid to give you a thoughtful opinion. You’ll be better off. Hang with too many “yes men” and you could go deep down the wrong rabbit hole.
After 15 months, here is my blog by the numbers:
- 28 interviews
- 17,471 views
- USA is top viewing country with 5,971 users
- Age 25-34 are top viewers (33.5%)
- 54% male / 46% female audience
- Seth Godin interview was the most popular
- Direct link to website was the top traffic source
- Facebook was the top social traffic source
Recently, I posted that I would be sharing lessons from my blog and fielded a few questions:
Pell Davis asked: “How do you choose whom you’d like to interview?”
Generally, I pick a space that I am interested in and then identify a few people that I would love to meet. I do my best to interview a diverse set of individuals. I also have a small committee that I run ideas by that help me select. I have one rule though: I don’t take requests, only recommendations. My blog is for fun; there are no advertisements, I will not accept money for a feature & I don’t want to be in an awkward situation where a person requests to be on there – so I’ve set these ground rules for myself and it has worked well.
Renee Seltzer asked, “I would love to know what personal sacrifices they have to make along the way?”
That’s a great question that I will definitely ask future guests. Looking at the body of work that most of my interviewees have accomplished, I’m going to guess that they have made personal sacrifices that many people would not be willing to make. Renee, you had expressed trepidation about this personally, about the trade-offs in life. My thought is that it all goes back to your personal objectives. It’s a personal decision, and you can’t have the time back, so there’s no right or wrong answer.
Sandee Rodriguez asked, “What is the biggest mistake you made in launching the blog and how did you adjust?”
At the very beginning, I didn’t have a photographer with me. That was a mistake. Since then, I have a photographer at every interview. It really helps me bring readers to the interview itself, and it also elevates the perceived importance of the interview in my opinion. Another mistake I made was launching an interview every 2 weeks. My main gig is the founder & CEO of a company, which you may already know is pretty time consuming, so switching to an interview every 3 weeks gave me the breathing room I needed.
Several people have messaged me, “How did you start?”
I spitballed for about 6 months coming up with ideas for the names, website, interview format, etc. I spent a lot of time on that so that I could focus on the content when it launched and I wouldn’t have to keep coming back to the basics to tweak them. It wasn’t on a whim. Then, I thought about how I wanted to conduct the interviews, and purchased lavalier mics, and downloaded the Rev app so I could have a mobile recording studio with me. To start, I reached out to a few friends who I would love to interview so that I can get started in familiar territory before I reached out to people I have never met. At that point, the train had left the building and for me, time management was the most important part of keeping it going. I always talk about a constant drumbeat in many important long-term goals. Everyone wants a rocket to the moon but that rarely happens. The key is to keep a steady beat in the perpetual game.
The best part of the modern age is that anyone can launch a blog, a podcast, a video channel, etc. The barriers to entry are low. Literally, anyone who is willing to dedicate time towards it can start a project. The biggest barrier is fear and the discipline it takes to keep it going. If you can set these aside, then you can pick a domain and turn it into your own personal autobahn with no speed limit on the skills it can accelerate.
If you’re on the fence about launching something, then don’t do it. If you’re a “HELL YES” then reach out to me if you have any questions or need a push. I can’t wait to follow you.
Dean Caravelis is the CEO/Founder of Blezoo, a promotional agency founded in 2008 located in Orlando, FL. Outrageously Remarkable is his personal blog founded in 2017. You can also follow Dean at: LinkedIn/ Facebook / Twitter / Instagram