A special shout out to Kirk Howe. Because they’ve been listening to Doubt the Doubts.
Welcome to Doubt the Doubts where we are killing the doubts that kill the dreams with your host Paul Blais.
Paul: Hey, howdy. Good to have you today. Thanks for coming to Doubt the Doubts. Nothing but happy about that.
Now, today we are talking with a gentleman that I’m really excited to be able to have in the show today. Antonio Centeno is kind of the fashion guru for men. He’s a go-to guy to kind of figure out how we ought to be dressing, not kind of over the top stuff but just the basic. So really good content here today.
But it’s not that information about to dress that I’m looking forward to talking about. It’s more the idea of how he got his business running. And so, take a listen to this. I think you’re going enjoy it. Let me know what you think of the episode. I’d love to get some feedback on you. But here we go. Let’s jump on it.
Well, welcome to the show. Excited to be able to have for you today, Antonio Centeno. So, Antonio, thanks for coming on the show today. This really means a lot to me that you’re going to come and share your story.
Antonio: You’re welcome, Paul. I’m happy to be here.
Paul: Well, it was a lot of fun kind of getting to know you a little before the show because as we talked, we got to know each other back story a little bit more and that’s always fun for me but I’m excited about what you were doing as a business because I think that there’s a lot of stuff that as I did a little bit of background research before I invited you on the show that I thought, “Man, this would be perfect for my audience.”
I think that a lot of people in our audience are going to really resonate with your story. So how about if we take a few minutes, Antonio, and tell us kind of what you’re doing, where you grew up and then tell us about your business. Can you that?
Antonio: I grew up in West Texas. I was actually born in California but we got up to Texas as soon as we could and grew up in a trailer park in West Texas. And it was one of those things that I wasn’t surrounded by any entrepreneurs, didn’t really know much about business. In fact, business and work was kind of a bad word. You really just wanted to work as little as you could and that kind of stuff. So I ended up going off to college, not really knowing what I wanted to do. I thought I wanted to become a doctor, ended up running into a Marine Corps recruiter in my junior year.
And he said, “Hey, come check this out.” I ended up going to OCS. Really liked the idea of the Marine Corps. Most of the men in my family, they have been enlisted, in fact all had been enlisted. I was the first officer in my family and I had probably one of the best experiences in my life being in the United States Marine Corps, having the chance to be an officer of Marines and just learning so much from senior staff and COs to other officers and really having the chance to lead from the font. I can’t say enough, but after my–
Paul: Real quick, Antonio. Where were you stationed for that?
Antonio: Camp Pendleton, most of the time.
Paul: Okay. Yeah. I grew up right next to Camp Pendleton. You know where Vista is?
Paul: So that’s where I grew up. As a young child, I grew up in Vista and when I graduated from high school and was going to college, I moved down of the beach, down in Leucadia, Encinitas, La Costa, Leucadia.
Antonio: I lived in Carlsbad.
Paul: Oh, nice, very nice. So you lived in Carlsbad and commute up to — Well, depends on which — You probably live or work by the front gate as opposed to the back gate by Fallbrook, correct?
Antonio: I was at Camp Horno most of the time, which is in the middle of Camp Pendleton. So it didn’t matter where I lived.
Paul: That’s kind of where the hospital is, right?
Antonio: A little bit farther inland, but it was a good 40 minutes. It was a 40-minute drive no matter what.
Paul: Yeah. It was just like — Yeah, it was painful.
Antonio: Were you with the infantry?
Paul: Yeah. Well, I used to go — My stepdad was retired Air Force which gives us access to Camp Pendleton and we used to go on to Camp Pendleton to the front gate and go surfing there. We call it the Del Mar Beach which is different from Del Mar, the city of Del Mar but it was Del Mar Beach. We call it DMJ, Del Mar Jetties and we would surf there. But the beautiful thing about that place, Antonio, was that when you were done surfing, the Marines had this beautiful shower.
And not only so much than the showers are beautiful, but it was nice and warm. So we’d get out in the middle of winter and we’d go and we’d spend an hour surfing and then we’d spend an hour standing in the shower warming back up again.
Antonio: And you didn’t have to worry about crowds. That is the best thing about the beach there.
Paul: No, it was beautiful. It was beautiful. In fact, there’s a — Here’s a California kid at that time, Joey Buran.
He was a pro surfer. I think he was like he’d won Pipeline Masters and was a big name for long time. But he would paddle across the harbor to be able to get to the spot and he called his secret spot. So, he’d paddle across Oceanside Harbor, climb over the jetty and then surf there. And then in order to get home, he’d have to climb out, climb over the jetties and then paddle across the harbor because he wasn’t allowed on base, whereas we got to just drive on there. Anyhow, reminiscing is not necessarily as fun for other people. So, anyhow, so yeah, continue with your story.
Antonio: The Marine Corps was a great experience. And after my latest vacation in Iraq, I was there for the initial invasion in 2003, I ended up leaving the Marine Corps and it was a great thing looking back, but I wanted to spend time with at that time my fiancée, now my wife, and she lived in Kiev, Ukraine. She’s Ukrainian. I had met her when I was visiting the embassy. And so I spent couple years over in Ukraine running a nonprofit, realized I knew nothing about business, came back to Texas, went to the University at Texas, got my MBA there at UT Austin and then pretty much figure out, okay, I don’t know what I wanted to do.
I’ve got this fancy education. I had played around with the idea of starting a company but went off and got a job as a CFO, was promptly fired and then realized this is probably a good time to start my own deal.
So my first company, A Tailored Suit, started in late 2007 and the whole idea is that basically we can make custom clothing, have it delivered to your door within a few weeks by you simply taking your measurements and sending them to us and you designing your own suit online.
That business is still operational today but I would have to say my business has really shifted because when I was running a tailored suit, I started blogging over another website called The Art of Manliness. And Brett over there, he showed me some of his [0:06:57] [Indiscernible] of how they would make money, how this actually worked. And I was like, “Wow. There’s a lot of opportunity here on the information side.”
So I started Real Men, Real Style in about maybe it was late 2008, didn’t really get into it, I don’t think, until — I started, I’m sorry, in 2010 but really didn’t start pushing it until 2011. And we used YouTube as our main medium for getting traffic. And I wanted to do something to stand out. There are already quite a few style blogs out there and I focused on using military history, using science, being very practical and using video as my primary means for communicating.
And because of that we’ve been able to grow a sizeable audience. Let’s say every day, I can reach out through YouTube or through my blog about 25,000 people every day and it’s really cool to be able to have that much influence and be able to touch that many people. And I just got a quick story of how you can use that. I mean, we just put out a book called Dress the Man, and literally within a week, we have sold a few thousand copies of it and really cool, I’ve got like 170, almost 5-star reviews on Amazon.
So we were able to come in and kind of dominate for a book that years before I remembered just going through and reading some of those books, learning about the industry and now we’ve got the number one book in the industry. So it was pretty cool to kind of see that go full circle and to now to be able to make a healthy living, doing what I love doing which is helping men understand the power of style and how they can use it to get what they want out of life.
Paul: Have you always been kind of a style dude? Like have you always been this kid that grew up and kind of like the Niles from Frasier?
Antonio: No, not at all. In fact, clothing is a vehicle. Most surfers, and we we’re talking about this earlier, I don’t think they fall in love — Like they don’t just look at their board all day. It’s not about — In fact, I mean, I guess my view of it, is about the camaraderie. It’s about the ocean. It’s about the whole experience. And for me, the clothing is like the surfboard. It’s the vehicle that gets me to the experience.
What I love is helping men. And I found this kind of unique niche. Because most guys, they’ll go to Harvard or they’ll go at Stanford. They’ll go to UT. I saw that UT, I had a good friend. He was going to an interview with Apple Computers and this is — He went to one of China’s top institutes. And going to that interview, I remember looking at him. This is before I started my companies. I just felt really bad for him because his suit was all wrinkled. His shoes looked — I mean, it looked like he had poured dirt on his shoes.
And he’s just looked really scruffy. And I was just wondering. Here’s a guy that’s so smart that I could just visually tell he was not going to send the message of what he could offer and bring to the table. He didn’t get the job. So whenever I’m helping men with their interviews, I think back to that particular moment, my friend, and I’m thinking I couldn’t help him then but I know I have helped thousands of men, whether it be a first date, whether it’d be a job interview, whether it’d be going in and trying to close a sale. I have helped them put on that armor, put on that bit of confidence, and used clothing deal they want.
Paul: Does clothing really make that big of a difference?
Antonio: Huge difference. There was a study that was recently done in the body. So look up “enclothed cognition.” New York Times just wrote about this. Clothing affects not only how other people perceive you but it actually affects how we perform. They did this study at Northwest University. They took two populations. They gave one a white jacket. They gave another one — They just let them dress however they wanted to dress.
And the guys who are wearing what they thought was a white lab coat performed statistically better consistently on every test that they took. Now, here’s what’s interesting, they did it again and they told one population that, “Hey, you’ve got a doctor’s jacket on.” The other population, they told, “You’ve got a painter’s jacket on”. Now the ones that had painter’s jackets, they didn’t perform any better. But the ones that thought they were wearing a doctor’s jacket, they consistently performed better on exams.
They were more meticulous. They were more careful. Because if you’re wearing the right clothing — I mean, think about a football player. If you put him out there on a football field in a ballerina’s tutu, do you think he’s going hit as hard? Do you think he’s going to feel as confident?
Paul: I think it depends on what they say to him.
Paul: No, but I get what you’re saying. Yeah.
Antonio: Yeah, it’s all about — It’s the uniform. Of course, it gives them protection. But it’s the right uniform for the right place at the right time. And that’s what I teach about clothing. It’s not about suits. It’s about you feeling confident in what you’re wearing. And oftentimes, I feel people will tell me, “Oh, well, I’m a t-shirt and jeans kind of guy.” Well, you know what? It seems like almost everyone else is a t-shirt and jeans kind of guy. So are you saying that you’re just everyone else?
Because when it comes — You act like you’re creative yet you are mimicking what other creatives in your area are wearing. And how about you take the time — What you’re really saying is that it’s not a priority and that it’s not important to you. And I can accept that if it’s not. But let me show you how having the courage to have individual style and to send the message and control that message. That’s what I focus on.
Paul: That’s brilliant. I know that from myself I have two sets of wardrobe. One is for when I’m doing grunge work and one for when I’m dressing up or just casual dressing up. And I know that when I show up in situations where I’ve come straight from a grungy job into a place where I need to have an intelligent conversation, I’m not taking it seriously as when I show up to that same place with the attire that kind of says that I’m a little bit more successful or says that I’m a little bit more knowledgeable.
And it’s just and it’s all about impression, I guess, what other people think of you also. It’s not just for yourself, of donning the doctor’s wardrobe but it’s also the perception of what other people, how other people perceive you and think of you, correct?
Antonio: It is. I just put out an article. It was actually geared towards Valentine’s Day and it gives three scientific reasons to dress sharp on Valentine’s Day. But in the video on the comments in my YouTube channel, somebody said, “Well, if you take out Valentine’s Day, this is going to apply at any time.” I’m like, “Yeah, you got me.” Because what I teach can be applied at any point. And in that, the three reasons I give are, number one, the enclothed cognition and how it affects you.
Number two, how it would affect others. And there are tons of studies how whenever we see someone who is dressed in a certain manner, we give — I mean, we see it all the time. We see a police officer, at least here in this country, not all the countries throughout the world, but here we trust. Here we’re not afraid to speak with them, to ask for help, to engage them to. We assume. I see a fireman at the door and he’s knocking on my door, I’m going to open it and immediately trust that this is a fireman, that he is here because of a purpose and a reason and he didn’t have to show me a badge.
He didn’t have to show me anything. It’s like I trust. His clothing there sends me that message. And then the third reason I talked about, I talk about an increase in sex appeal, which — I’m a happily married man and one of the reasons is I’m still very physically attracted to the woman I married. And that goes both ways. Gosh, there’s so many bodies of work. One of my favorites is showing an attractive woman trying to go up an escalator with a whole lot of luggage.
An attractive woman trying to go up an escalator with a whole lot of luggage will not wait. Men will stop cars to come running out to help her get up that flight of stairs, to that escalator. Now if she’s frumpy looking, she’ll wait on average two minutes. I mean, it is blatant. It is not politically correct. It is not fair. But that’s the way it is.
Paul: It’s the way it is, yeah. So you took this knowledge, Antonio. Did you have that knowledge when you started your online businesses or these things that you’ve picked up as you’ve gone?
Antonio: When I started A Tailored Suit, I started it more of as a mercenary. My friend Andrew Warner over at Mixergy, I like how he makes the analogy. Many people start businesses either as missionaries or mercenaries. Mercenaries are after the money, missionaries because of their belief in a bigger purpose. Now I would say I’m a missionary but I started off because — I remember talking with a clothier and he told me that how much money he was making, how little he was working.
Now, it had taken him 35 years to get to this point but he had a fourth grade education. And I was thinking, “Okay. I’ve got an MBA. I can get there a lot faster.” It was something. It was a battle to get when we first got started. But one thing I did know is that — I like guys like Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Edison, how they were self-taught. They really just dove into the books. So I didn’t have time to go get a fashion degree. I had already paid for an expensive degree that I really wasn’t using. I’m like, okay.
So I went and bought all these books and I simply taught myself and then started regurgitating the info. One of the best ways I learn is actually I write notes on what I’m reading and I put my notes into a — I just wrote articles and I put them on my website to help my customers. I didn’t want them to ask me the same questions again and again. And what’s funny is all of a sudden we started getting traffic. At one point, I was getting 100,000 visitors a month through those articles, 3,000 people a day, coming in and reading my articles because they were good. They were unbiased and they were–
And then I realized there’s a market for good information on the web. So that was really how I learned. I simply started typing and putting out that information and learning. And what I found is that once you get through one book, you know more than 90% of the people in the world on that subject. Read two books, you know more than like 95%, 98%. Read five or six books and you’d become an expert. Start talking about it, you’d become well-known for it. And so, yeah, I’d say within a matter of a couple of years, I became well-known for it.
Now, gosh, within five years, I would have to say — I mean, not to brag, but I feel like I’m definitely one of the top people in this space not because I’m the best, simply because I have the courage to get out there. I say courage but honestly, I guess, like about thick skin. Because you’re going have haters. You’re going to have people that are going to say you’re wrong. I’m in the fashion industry. I have people comment on my videos that my jacket is a quarter of an inch too wide. I don’t know how they can tell this on my video but they do and they come in and they say I have no authority to be giving this info because my jacket is not fit properly according to their definition.
Antonio: And I smile and laugh because when you’re getting paid well for doing something you love, you kind of look at people like that and you just feel sorry. You feel sorry.
Paul: Yeah. That is hilarious. The haters will always be there, won’t they?
Antonio: Haters are going to hate.
Paul. Yes. And I have never understood that. I’ve never understood why people have to be so obnoxious, so much of a hater about other people’s business. Maybe it’s in this weird desire of wanting to be the expert. And so the best way to do it is to belittle everybody else to show some prowess.
Antonio: There is a little bit of research on that. There is a psychology behind certain people, that it’s something that they get off on. But one of my favorite skits, I think it was Saturday Night Live. They had a skit in which they confronted hater and it was pretty funny. You can have your audience Google it. But yeah, it was very entertaining.
Paul: So you said that you started — What did you do? Did you do the YouTube gig first or did you just start just doing the articles first? Which was the first?
Antonio: Articles first.
Paul: The articles first.
Antonio: I wrote about 50 articles on A Tailored Suit. That brought me to Art of Manliness. Brett found me and he said, “Hey. You know, I’m starting in this blog.” He only had like ten articles at The Art of Manliness at that time.
And he was like, “I want to write about style but you know a lot more. You can do it better. Can you come in and guest post?” I didn’t know a whole lot at that time and I just thought he was a nice guy so I started guest posting for him.
I guess it’s has been almost six years that we’ve been guest posting and I don’t get paid. I do it every month, just because I enjoy. His bigger mission is to help men be better brothers, husbands, fathers. And I always liked that and respected it.
But that website just showed me the power of traffic because he started getting — I mean, I think now he gets like 5 to 10 million page views easily a month. And so, I saw how you could put great information out there. And if it got found, you can then turn that into a business. And that helped inspire me. And I think, it was realizing that I can’t type to save my life. And so, I don’t even like to type. But I was still going through — I mean, to write one of these articles for The Art of Manliness, it was an ordeal.
I would get up at 5:00 in the morning and worked until 5:00 that evening on that one focused article. And I was losing too much. I was like, “Man, this is taking up a lot of time.”
Paul: Just a real quick question about that. What is the average word count of your articles when you put them out there? Would you know that?
Antonio: Two thousand words.
Paul: So that is a significant amount of writing to be doing but usually, I mean, that — I mean, a lot of writing circles and I talk to a lot of writers, I can throw out — If it’s a subject I know, I can throw out 500 every half hour, where you think you got to think it through. But if I have to stop and research and ponder a point, man, it can take forever to get through to even just 500 words and you’re saying that you’re pumping out 2,000 and it will take you twelve hours to pull that off.
Antonio: Yeah, at that time before. Then I realized that I like to talk and it’s one of those things sometimes people send me messages and I record an audio message for them and just send it right back to them. And it’s not because I’m trying to be innovative although I find that people just love it. It’s simply because I can’t type and I’m lazy. And at the end of the day, I’m just like, “Yeah, I’m just going to record a quick two-minute audio because that will answer their question,” versus me typing it out.
So I found out those shortcuts were actually advantages because I love shooting videos. So I’ve got a system now where I will shoot a video of want I want to talk about and then from that, I have a writer who will then create an article. It’s so much more easier to go on and just edit his article which he created based of my video and that’s the system I have now.
Paul: So you’re talking about where he will transcribe basically.
Antonio: He does more than that. He actually takes it and makes it — Because transcription sometimes, they’ll capture the way we speak and that’s not as formal as I like to be in a little bit of my writing. So he will actually take it in and break up the thoughts to be a little bit more systematic there. When I create a video — And it was doing all this research and writing and going through that painful process the first couple of years, which gave me the ability now to be able to talk about this without — It’s second nature to me now.
Paul: That is so true, Antonio, about having — Communication is so different when you’re writing as opposed to when you’re speaking. I can think of one author that I absolutely love his writing. He’s so poetic in his prose. But when he gets into speaking — I’m not saying that it’s bad but it’s not captivating. I don’t walk away from his speaking engagements thinking, “Wow, that was amazing.” But every time I walk away from his writing, I’m astounded. I’m just like moved to the core of my being.
Antonio: And that’s why it’s important. People have to find their voice. For some people, it’s going to be podcasting. Other people, it’s going to be writing. Other people, it’s going to be maybe creating short little notes or little 15-second videos on — I forgot the platform that allows you to do that. I mean, there are all different ways to communicate. And it just happened for me when I found a video, it just clicked and I love it because it allows me to do what I want to do in a unique way, create my own audience and it has allowed me to do more with my business.
Paul: Now, how many videos do you have out there now? Because it sounds like that’s kind of like your favorite form of communication or it’s the content creation.
Antonio: I think I’ve got around 350 public videos. But I’ve got double that I keep as like hidden videos. And I usually use them for programs I run or other audiences. Yeah, I say at least. But, I mean, overall, we filmed probably, well over a thousand.
Paul: Let’s talk about equipment for just a second because I know that people are going to be very intrigued by the idea of doing videos, Antonio. So, when you’re talking about creating these videos, when you first started, is it completely different from what the equipment anyhow from what you do now?
Antonio: No, it’s not really. I mean, you’ve got to have — I mean, the first thing, you’ve got to have a decent camera. I mean, you don’t have to have — And most of us have it actually on our iPhone. If you have an iPhone, if you have a modern smart camera, a lot of these have really nice cameras that you could use.
I did buy dedicated camera though. I like it being set up. In addition, I like camcorder versus — A lot of people are buying these digital SLRs. I’m not a big fan of those because I don’t feel they’re focusing as well and they’re not made specifically to shoot video. And you could find a lot of good camcorders for just a few hundred dollars. Right next to that though is you’ve got to have good audio. So if your audio is bad, every time you’re watching a video, and if you can’t hear the person well or if it’s distorted or if it’s — Audio will ruin a video faster.
It’s actually better to have poor quality video and good audio. So at least then they could just listen and listen to it in the background. So those were the two things I focused on and we got right. And it took us a while. My first videos, I mean, the coloring is off. I think I’m like yellow in some of my videos, green in some of my videos. I mean, I look like I have jaundice in some of my videos. But that’s okay because the message — I was also passionate about what I was speaking about.
And when you get in front of a video camera, it’s like presenting on stage. You have to bring it. Think of the video camera as a little bit of like a vampire. It’s going to s suck away a little bit of energy. So I’m being kind of energetic here in this presentation. I don’t normally talk to people this way. But I do get, every time I’d normally be on a podcast interview, I get excited. I get a cup of coffee, I jump around. I’m moving. Because I realize that energy can be conveyed.
It’s the same thing in video, in fact even more because they see you. So if you’re normal, you’re five. The video camera will take you down to a three or two, so you’ve got to bring it like you’re an eight or a ten, and still you’ll only be like a seven or eight. Go watch Gary Vaynerchuk. Like he’s probably a great example of who you should try to go for. He always brings the energy. It’s almost like an impossible goal because he’s really out there.
And if they want, I think, more technical details, I would advise going Caleb Wojcik. He runs Fizzle and what else? He partners over at Think Traffic with Corbett Barr. He has some great information about setting up, how to film video, how to set up your studio. Because there are a number of other things but I don’t want people to get caught up. If they’re just looking at it, getting decent camera and focus on the sound. Everything else can be learned. It can be improved.
Lighting, yeah, it’s important, but first, film some videos. You can use outdoor lighting. All those other editing — I didn’t edit most of my first videos. I mean, simply it’s me talking and giving information. That will be good enough for your first videos. Don’t get stuck editing.
Paul: I really like the way you started that, Antonio, when you said that the equipment does not have to be that crazy expensive like going out and buying a Cannon D5 or something like that. You can do it with even something as simple as your iPhone. But the thing that I really appreciated is when you said your first videos were basically ugly. You had yellow, you had green, you had all these things.
I was talking a couple of days ago, we released my interview with Karen Goldfarb and she’s a copywriter from San Francisco. She said one of these just brilliant, brilliant — She said two things that were just brilliant, Antonio. She said, one, is that you’ve got to be willing to be ugly to start. And then she also said when we start doing something new, our taste or our abilities are far surpassed by our taste. In other words, we’re not going to have the skills to be able to pull off what we dream we want to be.
But that goes back to saying but I’m willing to just get started even if it’s going to be ugly. And I just thought that that is so refreshing to hear you say it like that because it kind of gives me the idea, Antonio, that if I wanted to do something new, it’s okay if it’s not professional level at that point. Just start it and you’ll get that expertise, as you said, by reading a book and then reading a second book. Or learning one thing and then learning a second thing.
And that knowledge upon knowledge will raise your skill level on skill upon skill to where you have this really great looking set up as you go on. Does that kind of capture the first part of what you were saying?
Antonio: It does. It does. I mean, you’ve got to be — Go back to when you were a kid. And I’m just going to share — I saw this last night. I was telling my wife this story. I take my daughter ice skating and she works with an amazing Georgian coach, who was just a Georgian champion. I mean, this woman can skate.
Paul: The country of Georgia, right?
Antonio: The country of Georgia.
Paul: Yeah, okay.
Antonio: And so she is there with two coaches and they’re all speaking Russian. Russian community sticks together. She’s there with my daughter and her friend Melana. And so Svetlana, Melana, they’re all out there and they’re practicing their twirls, their spins. Now, my daughter can only do her spin. Maybe she can get five spins in a row. But all these people who were there just doing normal skating, they’re stopping and they’re watching my daughter.
And I know my daughter doesn’t feel like it’s a big deal. But she has so improved in the last few months with her spins. Remember, she couldn’t even — I mean, it was scary to even do one. And for her just to have all these people stopping and looking at her, “Wow, she’s so small and she’s spinning.” Doing these spins on the ice. And to my daughter, it’s still, I don’t think she’s — Because then Ina, their coach, just pulls out this amazing, like she ends up spinning like 50 times, like super tight. It’s like something like out of the Olympics. And everyone’s then jaw drops.
But, I think, it just goes to show we’re always going to hold ourselves to the hype. Because we think as adults. But go back to thinking as a kid. You didn’t learn to ride a bike by reading a book on a bike. You jumped on there and you fell. And you kept going and you like had those trainer wheels and like your dad snuck them off when you weren’t looking. So, “Oh, look.” He’d let go before you knew it.
And go back to that because the only way you’re going to learn to shoot good video is by shooting bad video and then it gets better and better and better. And before you know it, you’ll be — I don’t think of myself as that great with what we’re doing. Yet if you look at our latest video, I have to kind of take a step back and say, “Wow, the latest one was actually pretty darn good. We’ve got the editing down. The background is looking nice. I’m actually pretty smooth. I make mistakes but I have fun with it and I let people — I kind of make it — I tell people let me know on the comments what mistakes they catch.”
Antonio: Make a game out of it.
Paul: I love it. I just love how you are breaking that down, Antonio, to where it sounds feasible. And I’m not talking just about the video. I’m talking about the approach to trying something new and just going for it. Because you were not the clothing guru. You were a guy that kind of became — Guru is really the wrong term. A lot of people don’t like that terminology.
Antonio: I say I’m a regular guy. That’s part of my pitch. Because if I wasn’t a regular guy, then I wouldn’t — One of the problems with my industry is that we see these fashion models on runways and we see these young 20 year old guys who have no fat on their bodies and are walking out there. And the problem is they don’t want to connect with the 35-year old dad who simply wants to look a bit better. He’s got a little bit of excess weight.
He knows he doesn’t have the ideal body. He knows he doesn’t have an unlimited budget. How can he dress great for this interview so that he can improve his family’s life? That’s who I Target. And I’m very clear because I speak their language. I’m very clear. I was just like you. I show photos of when I used to dress horribly. And, guys, if I can make this jump and if I can get this far and be perceived as this expert, I think that you can get 80% of what I’ve got by simply putting in the 20%. And I show them that 20%. And that’s why I sell the courses.
Paul: I love it. I absolutely love it. Well, Antonio, I kind of want to change directions here just a little bit. We’re coming into what I call the six shoot around, Antonio. And what I do is I want to fire some questions at you and I want you to fire back your answers very quickly. And these are going to be kind of from the hip stuff. You haven’t rehearsed these, so we’re going to kind of hear your gut instinct on each one of these. So, hopefully, in the process, we’ll take out a few doubts. Are you ready?
Antonio: I’m ready.
Paul: Okay, what’s the number one thing a person needs to do to succeed?
Antonio: To succeed, they need to care. They need to be willing to get up in the morning. They need to have something that’s driving them. Simon Sinek, I think he does a great job talking about figuring out your why. When you know your why, that’s going to get you out of bed. That’s going to keep you motivated. That’s going to keep you on focus and make sure you have to refocus when you need to.
Paul: How about happiness? What’s the number one thing a person needs to do to be happy?
Antonio: I think bringing down your expectations. And I’m not saying in the sense of not — I shoot for the best. I try to hold my — I mean, I still think I can become president of the United States. I know that I’m not the only person out there that still holds this belief. That we can reach the top. It’s an American thing. But at the same time, I don’t expect much. If you go somewhere and you always think that you need to get the best and that you need to get — And if you don’t just sit back and say, “Gosh, I am so fortunate. I am so lucky.”
My mom used to always tell me this. It’s a Persian saying “I cried because I have no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” Look at how far you are, how lucky you are, how fortunate you are. And just be happy for this time that you’ve been given.
Paul: How about mistakes, what’s the common mistake you see other entrepreneurs make?
Antonio: Common mistakes, right off, I would say that they don’t give it enough time. So my first three books on Kindle, I was kind of disappointed with. I wasn’t getting the kind of sales. And part of this was the industry. And I put out one more. I’m like, “Okay, let’s…” This one was kind of sitting. So this is tied to another mistake because this book was not perfect. I just put it out there. I knew it was going to have a lot of errors and people would find problems with it. But I just put it out there. And that one just broke right through, became the number one seller in my industry.
Paul: How about inspiration, what do you do to keep yourself inspired and motivated? Because I had listened to you talking and I think this guy is inspirational but it’s part of that energy level that you talked about earlier that you try to bring to the table. But what do you do to keep yourself inspired and moving in the right direction?
Antonio: Well, for me, it’s my young kids and being able to play with them. Like this morning, we got — I love playing monster with my two-year old. She calls it monster. Basically, I go, “Rrrr.” And I chase her around and she just loves it. Of course, she hides in safety and that kind of stuff. My other kids love it as well. I would say if you can’t find time to — You don’t find time. You have to make time to spend with your kids. And maybe just a few minutes a day. But, gosh, if that doesn’t raise your spirits and just make you feel lucky to have what you’ve got, you’ve got some serious issues that I would re-evaluate.
Paul: How about resources? What’s like a go to resource for you that kind of like an Evernote or Notability?
Antonio: I would say I do use Evernote. But one of my favorites — For resource, are you talking like a tool?
Paul: Yeah, a tool that you use to kind of keep your life going in the direction you want to be going or to keep your business running properly.
Antonio: We got quite a few. So I would say I love ActiveWords. ActiveWords is basically a shortcut that allows me to type in. It’s more for people on PCs. But this allows me to type out just like three or four words or three or four letters and then immediately it can send me to a website, it can send me to a folder, it can prepopulate an email. So that thing, I just love it. I love Infusionsoft. It’s more than just email. It’s a way of thinking. Infusionsoft, most people know are for the email marketing. But also, it’s a CRM. It allows you to be a business dashboard. It can track sales. It really forces you to think of your business in systems.
Paul: That’s not an easy thing to learn though, Infusionsoft. I’ve heard it’s called Confusionsoft.
Antonio: Some people do call it Confusionsoft. But I would say it is well worth with. But you have to make a commitment. They’ve got a $2000 sign up. It’s not AWeber. And I used to use AWeber. I love AWeber. But when you’re ready to start scaling individual conversations with people on your list and you know how to make money, you realize that $2000 is nothing if it’s going to make you $200,000.
Antonio: Yeah. You have to be at the right point in your business. I love AWeber, used AWeber. It really helps. But eventually, you’ll get to a point where you don’t want to start looking it at Infusionsoft or I think Ontraport is the other one. Office Autopilot is a great solution as well. So, yeah, those things, they just keep my days. Skype. I talk with my virtual assistant on Skype. Google Docs. I love how my Google Docs can update me. So I use that to manage my team.
I used to use Teamwork PM, pretty good, but now I went back to Google Docs. And let me think. Those are the ones that come right up to my mind. I’m pulling up my computer right now. Oh, Jing. Love Jing because it allows me to create a quick five minute video and I can communicate — I can use my favorite way of communicating. Just send somebody a quick little video. It’s hosted on the web. I really advise buying their premium service.
I’ve got like two gigabytes of storage. And so, anytime I need to send someone to do or something, I’m just going to record a quick, from 30 seconds to five minute, video.
Paul: How about a book? If you can boil down to one book, what book would you recommend our tribe to read?
Antonio: I can’t boil it down to one, but I would say Work the System, an amazing book. Sam Carpenter put that out. I know you can go — He’s doing some stuff. But Sam’s story, I really resonated with. He was a guy that almost lost it all, was working crazy hours.
His kids and him were living in the back of his call center. I mean, it was tough. I think the measure of success was that he was able to take a week off and just go biking. And so, at the end of that biking vacation — It’s in the book and not to spoil that for you. But at the end of that, he’s talking about that experience.
He’s got all these executives saying, “When I get back to the office, I’m going to have 300 emails.” “Oh, that’s nothing, I’m going to have 500.” When he got back, he had one and it was from his direct report who simply said everything is fine.
Paul: Oh, nice. I love it. How about the top three don’ts and the top three dos every entrepreneur ought to focus on? Give me in that order. Go from the don’ts and then move to the dos.
Antonio: Okay. So three don’ts. I would say make sure that you measure — You have to measure things in your business. I would say most of them don’t measure and they get focused in on the wrong things. So focusing in on analytics. So many of us get focused on it. Don’t focus on the analytics. Focus on your sales. And so that leads me to number two. Don’t think sales is a bad word. Sales is an amazing word. Selling thing is — Be an ethical salesman. Help people. They are giving you value.
So the third thing, don’t think sales is a bad thing. And also, don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth. I see so many people out there just undervaluing their skills and their ability and what they bring to the table. You want to go for the ideal customer. So how was that?
Paul: Those are great. How about the top three dos?
Antonio: Okay. So I’m going to take the complete opposite on what I said for the ones above in the sense of let’s focus, whenever you are measuring, you need to focus on what is measurable. I mean, analytics, you really don’t — You can measure it but it’s not really controlled. I would focus on things that — The beautiful thing about sales is that you can have a direct influence out there. You can go out there and you can create sales.
So by focusing and measuring and focusing on the true value in your business. Because we’re running businesses, not charities. And I’ve run a nonprofit. I understand what goes into a nonprofit. And with business, there has to be an exchange of value. Because if someone is not willing to part with their money to buy what you have to offer, then you really have to question, is the time you’re spending on this worth the time that you’re taking away from your family?
If someone is not even willing to give you money for this. And that’s, I think, a big question that you’ve really got to focus on with your business mates to make it succeed. I see so many people online. They’re just doing it for free and then hoping to monetize. That’s a really risky strategy. Now, the other one, I talked about how sales — Don’t look at sales as a bad thing. And, in fact, I want you to flip and do make it show that you love to talk about sales almost to the point that —
And that you become a missionary on this in the sense of let’s take sales back to where it used to be. It used to be that salesmen were trusted advisers. They would go in to CEOs who had so much, who had no time to go out there and make these decisions. And when you can sell as a trusted adviser, it’s an amazing thing. You can go in, you can sell it at a higher price. They want to hear you’re giving away solid — You’re showing them the value. How or what you’re going to give them for $1000 or $100 or $10,000 is going to make them ten to 20 times a return on their investment.
In fact, if they want you and they want to hire you to do it for them, you could quickly make it happen. I mean, that’s how McKenzie Consulting Company. There’s a reason they’re able to charge millions of dollars to go into companies and do what they do. Because they deliver. Versus a lot of these other consulting companies. They have trouble charging $100 an hour.
Antonio: The last thing is — And I talked about don’t undervalue yourself. So getting back to that, it’s you need to focus in and make sure you’re testing what is the price, what really can you be charging for your services? And experiment that. We did it with the Infusionsoft. One of my products, I just doubled the price. I just warned my audience. Instead of offering a discount, how about you just double your price and see how that affects your sales?
Because I can tell you in my test, we really didn’t see a drop in conversions. My bottom line for this product is just right now on a — It just doubled. And I’ve got so many — I see so many people out there that they’re offering services and they’re undervaluing. Because if somebody approached you, Paul, and they said, “Hey, I’ve got this Ferrari, $10,000.” What are you going to think?
Paul: Something is wrong with that.
Antonio: Exactly. Because price oftentimes is associated with the value of the product that you’re going to receive. So if you offer the best in your industry, which I advise you to try to do, it is that you need to charge the prices which makes sense of the best in your industry.
Paul: Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. How can we get in touch with you?
Antonio: Just Google me. Type in “Antonio Centeno” or “Real Men Real Style”. I’ve got a contact form, which is really fun. I try to have a little bit of humor with my businesses. We’re doing it. It’s our lives. So have a little bit of fun with it. But go check out my contact form and feel free to reach out to me via that path. I think that’s how you reach out to me.
Paul: Yes, very good. Well, Antonio, I have so loved our conversation. From the very beginning, when I asked you, does clothing really make that big of a difference, it wasn’t just to like — Yeah, it does. But you had resources to go to. You had studies you could quote. You had analogies that you could look back to and point to. I just love that. And I also really appreciate when you started talking about your approach to how you built your business. I love that you are willing to say that you had the writing that was a real struggle but you brought people on to make that happen.
You liked getting on to the video because you feel more comfortable with that. I really appreciated that basic approach. And you basically said it’s okay to be ugly to start. You can always clean up later. That’s just brilliant. And then in the six shooter round, I just love your answers as we went through there especially in those dos and don’ts. I mean, that was just absolute gold. So you have just given us some great information. You brought a lot to the table. I’ll tell you what, our lives are better because of this time. So we raise our cups to you and lots of love to you, Antonio.
Antonio: Thank you very much, Paul.
Paul: And that’s the end of the show today. Thanks for taking so much of your time to listening into Doubt the Doubts. Hey, I wanted to mention something that I’ve talked about last week and part of this week, was Podcast Movement 2014, which is taking place on this August, 16th to the 17th, down in Dallas, Texas. But they’re doing a Kickstarter campaign right now and I am just a huge fan of this idea.
Some buddies of mine, Dan Franks and Jared Easley are putting this thing together and helping this thing take off. And they did a Kickstarter campaign and I’ll tell you what, within eight hours, they had raised their money that they were trying to build to get, their goal. Now having said that, they got 23 days left to go. I would love to see you down at the conference down in Dallas. Basically, you’re buying your ticket early, is what this thing is doing. But they’ve got some amazing, amazing guests that are going to be on the show.
You got Srinivas Rao. You got Jaime Tardy. You got Evo Terra. I’m telling you, Jeff Brown, Darrell Darnell. I mean, we could just keep going on. And John Lee Dumas, Eric Fisher, Jessica, Daniel J. Lewis, Tim Paige, Cynthia Sanchez. I mean, please, please, please. This is just an amazing group of people. But if you are interested in learning about podcasting or want to become a better podcaster, this is the conference.
If I’m healthy, I’m going to be there. And hopefully, I’ll be able to get a chance to meet you down there also at the same time. But go over and buy your tickets early, basically, but keep — Let’s just keep throwing some money at this thing to make this one of the best podcast conferences out there. Hey, lots of love to you. I’m not usually doing this type of a gig. This is just a thing that I really believe in and I want to see these guys to be more than successful. I want them to be just radically successful. And with your help, I think we can make that difference.
Hey, don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and to follow us on Twitter. That’s @pdblais on Twitter. And Facebook, just look up Doubt the Doubts on Facebook. You’ll find me there. Lots of love to all of you. I’m just excited to be able to be part of your lives and you to be a part of mine.
You’ve been listening to Doubt the Doubts. Now, it’s your turn to say, “I can do it.”
Paul: Have you ever heard one of those bonus tracks on some CD? Like you get to the end of the CD and you just left the CD playing because you don’t think any of it, the last song came and went and there’s just this downtime. And then about a minute into it, all of a sudden, a new song comes up or somebody starts talking. Well, that’s kind of what this is. This is like a little bit of a bonus track.
If you found this bonus track, hey, I want to say congratulations to you. Because that meant that you just let it play. Here you are. Here we are in the bonus track. So, if you found me in the bonus track — I think I’m going to start doing a couple of these every once in a while. So I’ll just throw them in there. But if you found me in the bonus track, go ahead and tweet me @pdblais and say, “Found you on the bonus track.” And that would be awesome.
One of the things I wanted to say to you my faithful audience, I wanted to just say thank you. I am so in love with you guys. You guys have just been supportive. I get great emails from you telling me what you think of the show. Hey, that is so appreciated. So special message of love to you. Thank you.