This post is an interview transcript. Click here to listen to BIB Podcasts' Jonathan Taylor interview Antonio Centeno.
Are you ready to start an online business that's fun and profitable?
Welcome to the Beginner Internet Business Podcast, the weekly online show that gives you the inside scoop to making real income online.
And now, here are your hosts, Jonathan Taylor and Russell Portland.
Jonathan: Welcome to the BIB Podcast. This is Episode 186. This week's episode is brought to you by TechKnow247, PC monitoring and support for both residential and commercial. You've got a PC problem? You need to get Joe and his staff, contact them over at TechKnow247. They've got an updated site. They've got new services listed.
You don't want to spend your time doing all the techie stuff when you can let Joe and his guys take care of that for you. They've got a monthly maintenance plan and Russell, it is good stuff.
Russell: It is absolutely good stuff. Good morning or afternoon or evening or whenever you happen to be finding us on iTunes or the Internet or wherever, glad you could join us. I'll have to second that Joe and the guys over at TechKnow247 can keep your machine running smoothly. I would recommend that you contact them before you have a problem. That's techknow247.com. They will fix you up.
And we've got a great show today. I can't wait to get started. We've got a great guest and some questions about style —
Jonathan: It's been a while since we've been on.
Russell: I know. Yeah. Yeah, I was out gallivanting across the country. We grouped up some shows into a short period of time so that we'd have them ready and stay on our weekly schedule, but that was a while ago. Now, here we are.
Jonathan: We were talking before the show. You had a great trip. Just to let everybody know, you were out to visit your daughter. She had a graduation.
Russell: That's right. She graduated out on the left coast in Seattle, went out there and had a great time. She had a lot of news all at once. She got her Master's and a diamond all in the same week so —
Jonathan: Oh, wow.
Russell: — I'll have a son-in-law too.
Russell: Yeah. She graduated and engage-uated too so all kinds of crazy stuff there.
Jonathan: Well congratulations for you guys. That was a big week for you guys.
Russell: A big week, yeah.
Jonathan: A lot of celebrating there, huh?
Russell: Lots of celebrating, that's right, took a couple of bottles of grape juice to celebrate that. I love the juice.
Jonathan: Oh, yeah, definitely, definitely.
Russell: Love grape, yes, indeed.
Jonathan: We're glad that you're back and safe and sound. We're back in the saddle again this week, so to speak, in our weekend show.
Russell: That's right.
Jonathan: We've got a super interview this morning. Just to give you a little bit of background, I came across our guest actually from an interview that he did on David Siteman Garland's podcast show. I'm like, wow, this is really good stuff. I had a chance to catch the interview that he did with him and really thought that his story is very inspiring for anybody who really wants to get started within their own niche.
You're going to hear about Antonio's — not only about his business, but he's going to be sharing about how some of, what I called, his ninja YouTube tips. He really stayed focused on the whole YouTube video marketing thing and I think, really, it's paid off. I believe at this point, as of today — we'll ask Antonio — he has over a million views on his YouTube channel.
Jonathan: With that said, I want to welcome Antonio Centeno of Real Men Real Style. He's going to be telling us a little bit about his site, his business and a little bit about his background and how he got started. Antonio, thanks for joining us this morning.
Antonio: You are welcome, Jonathan and Russell. Thanks for having me on. I appreciate the very kind introduction.
Jonathan: Oh, absolutely, absolutely.
Russell: We're glad to have you. Wait till you find out about this stuff. I tell you, I may even learn something about how I should be dressing too.
Antonio: Well we can go into style if you like that as well.
Jonathan: Oh, you know what? I've watched quite a few of your videos. I tell you, from a standpoint, typically its business casual during the week, but I picked up some tips even on that. You share, really, a lot of good information on your channel. Before we begin though, why don't you give us and our listeners a little bit of background about yourself, how you got started, and we'll go from there.
Antonio: All right. Well, my name is Antonio Centeno. I'm not Italian, even though a lot of people mistake that. My father, he's an immigrant, came over from Guanajuato, Mexico, although I grew up with my mother in West Texas. Really I think a pretty normal childhood. It wasn't until I think I moved and went to school in the middle of Iowa that I started realizing how unique West Texas and that area was. I'll come back to that in a second.
So I went to a small liberal arts school in college, decided to really change things up, joined the Marine Corps, had a great time, spent five years as an officer of the Marines. Really, I can't say enough about the men and women that I served with. They really, I think, helped take me to the next level. A lot of officers had this view that we're the ones in charge. It's not really. I learned so much from my gunnies and my staff sergeants.
Well, that experience matured me, put me in a position where I was dating a woman, decided after I returned from Iraq that, hey, I need to — I'm very fortunate to have this life, and I decided that I was going to settle down, marry her.
We lived in Ukraine. I ran a nonprofit for a while, realized I knew nothing about business then thanks to Texas and — they've got something called the Hazlewood Act that any combat vet can go, pretty much, to any state school for free.
So I signed up to the University of Texas, got an MBA there, and thought I knew something about business, got a job right out of school, and got fired within a few months because I didn't know Jack, and I decided I would start my own company.
That's where I'm at now. It's been five years. I realize that running your own business, being an entrepreneur, it really helps that you are naïve and that you're willing to just run at that wall because you're going to run into tons of problems.
One thing I learned growing up and having to make do with not a whole lot of money or anything is that you find a way to overcome. We always talked about that in the Marine Corps is that you improvise because we're going to all face problems.
But the way I look at it as a business owner and entrepreneur is that those problems are there, and I'm happy for them because they're going to stop my competition. They're not there to stop me. They're obstacles for other people. You keep finding a way around it.
That's where I am today. That's where YouTube spun out off is that I was facing a problem and just used that to get over that hurdle.
Jonathan: So what led you — getting into your niche which is style which is, it's interesting. It's not style in general. It's style for men. It's a masculine approach to style for men, for how to dress. As far as dressing, whether it's business casual, professional, you cover all of that information. What led you into that? Plus, you have your own clothier business. What led you into this niche?
Antonio: Well I would say it was initially feeling the pain of traveling and needing — when I first was going to business school or even getting married in Ukraine, I couldn't get a decent suit for a decent price. I realized that there was a huge pain here. I remember reading about Mark Cuban bought a jet online. So I'm thinking, a guy can buy a jet online, but you can't buy a custom suit?
So I was already thinking about this in business school. I was about to probably sign up — so I was interviewing with McKinsey, all these big consulting companies, out of UT. I'm like, “Okay. You're going to pay me 100 to $150,000 a year to sign away my life and work 100 hours a week.”
I was like most guys were comfortable with that. I felt there was something wrong. I was coming from the Marines, used to having a lot of adventure, a lot of fun, and being an Excel jockey didn't excite me. So I looked at the opportunities.
I met with a tailor. He was telling me his story. This was a guy from India with a fourth grade education. He was explaining it took him 35 years to get to this point, but he was only working six months out of the year and making 3 to $400,000 a year selling clothing.
I'm thinking this guy has a fourth grade education. What can I do with a good degree and where I'm at right now to, in a sense, copy what this guy's doing? So looked into the industry, it was very attractive. I have to admit, I went in more with a mercenary approach than a missionary approach. I really saw an opportunity and said, “Why not jump on it?”
I enjoy clothing, but the more I got into it, the more I realized that what I really enjoy — I mean the clothing is cool — I really enjoy helping people. I saw a real problem with the industry. Like you said, I take a very masculine approach because I look at fashion and style — if you say that to most men, they immediately turn it off.
Russell: Oh, yeah, right.
Antonio: So we don't like to go shopping for clothing, but we do love to go to Best Buy. We do love to go to the Bass Pro Shops. Why?
Antonio: Exactly, and we understand it because we can sit and we can talk about engines and the amount of cc and the power, the torque because we understand that. I'm like if men understood the basic fundamentals of style and if I presented it in a very clear, in a logical way, they would actually enjoy it.
I mean if you've got the best boat out there on the lake, it's not because you need it to be fast, because you know that it feels good. You get noticed. You enjoy the pride of having that piece of gear, the same with clothing.
So I'm teaching a course right now called the Style System. We spend an entire week talking about the science of style. I bring in research from Stanford University and other places because I really want men to understand that this is why you dress. You don't dress because you love the clothing. There are guys that do that, but that's not my style.
For me, this is a uniform. It's a tool. I try to teach them the history and why this is important. That's what I love about what I do. The clothing is a small part. But really helping men be better men, whatever their path may be, that's what I love.
Russell: I love your approach. That's such a great idea helping people, well basically, get started on that right path so it really goes beyond clothes to a larger philosophy.
Russell: I love that. I love that. Now I understand that within this realm, you started doing some things on YouTube.
Antonio: That's correct.
Russell: I hope I'm not jumping the gun, but I just can't wait to hear about what you did with YouTube in order to, more or less, give this thing a real kick in the rear to make something happen to it. How does that story work? What happened that got you started down that path?
Antonio: Well I've got to say that I'm only successful on YouTube because I know what I'm talking about. That was five years in the making. So it doesn't take too long, but I think Malcolm Gladwell says you need to have at least 10,000 hours in something to be an expert. I totally agree.
If you work a normal 40-hour-week, that 10,000 hours can take five years. I think I got to that 10,000 hours in two years because I was working 100-hour weeks teaching myself about men's style because I had no background in this, but I didn't have time to go to school for it. I truly believe that a man can learn anything.
So I wrote hundreds of articles on men's style and that's really how I first created a base, and I built up my expertise. I dressed thousands of men. What I realized though is that it was really hard to scale that and not — when I would watch other — a secret weapon of mine is mixergy.com, if you haven't checked it out, great entrepreneur's website.
What I love about what Andrew Warner did over there is for every time he published an interview, he gave you a transcript, he gave you an audio, and he gave you a video. I was like that's beautiful because, really, I listen to only the audios because I can listen to them when I'm out and driving. In fact, I downloaded two more this morning.
So I'm thinking my audience, how am I going to stick out in a crowded niche? I was looking to increase the marketing. A lot of people were coming to my articles, but there were already a lot of style bloggers out there. They were writing really good stuff.
I'm like, well, what if I added a video to it and even did a podcast as well? I haven't really kept up super well with the podcasts but the videos I just found it was easy to get up there and talk. Yes, my videos don't use a lot of images, and I could make that better but, again, listening over to an interview at Mixergy — I think it was Laura Roeder. She talked about don't edit. If you worry about it being perfect, you're never going to get it out there.
So I challenged myself to do one video a day. I didn't know how long I was going to be able to do it. But I think with David Siteman Garland I said 200 videos, 200 days. I don't think I was that aggressive at the beginning, but I did realize I needed to have that initial snowball starting to roll down the hill.
Right now I'm actually starting to pull back. I've got almost 250 videos. I'm going to pull back to maybe one, two a week because I guess the snowball is already rolling down the hill. That's the way YouTube is. It's an amazing platform.
Unlike text or articles, it's a different connection that you form with people. I find that a deeper connection, it's great for sales which is very important to anyone in business. It's also great for just the deeper connection.
Whenever I have a meeting with a new client or people in my Style System, they've already watched 100 of my videos. It's like they know more about me than I've ever talked with — and that's a very deep connection.
Jonathan: Two hundred and fifty videos. To me that sounds a lot to be putting out. You say you did this over the course of about 200 days.
Antonio: Yeah. I challenged myself to do one a day.
Jonathan: One a day.
Antonio: There were tricks to doing that. I talked about that over at Rise to the Top, some of my tricks. You've got to remember, I started with one. My first video is still up there. In fact, you can go to Amazon, and you can look.
I do a review of the book, Gentleman, and I think my jacket at the time, it was one of my favorite jackets, but it's just too big in the shoulders. I've had people comment on that, that my jacket or my shoulders are too big. You know what? I'm not going to use bad language here. Let's just say I don't care because you've got to have a little bit of thicker skin.
I think that what keeps a lot of people off of doing a video is that they cannot accept that someone's going to criticize them.
Jonathan: Criticize, yeah.
Antonio: I think you just need to go right out the gate, say, look for it. Expect it. Revel in it and just laugh. Because what kind of person — the only people who are going to criticize you are people who — well, I think there's something wrong with them. I'm always looking for the good in people. I just move on. I don't try to look back like that.
Russell: That's interesting.
Jonathan: Let's do this because I want to know and I'm sure people want to know, okay, how did you do this? So let's do this. Let's pretend for a moment that we want to get started. I, myself, I want to get started in video. I don't have a video camera. I don't have anything to start with.
Let's start at the beginning what you did because it's real interesting. The reason I say this is because listening to your interview with David, you talked about you had a budget of $2,000.
Jonathan: Okay, so you had to get the right equipment, obviously. It doesn't have to be super expensive, but you said a budget of two grand. Tell us exactly what did you invest with that $2,000? How did you go about — what kind of equipment did you get set up with?
Because I know — and you're going to tell us here shortly — it's not like you have this massive studio to do this video. You didn't have this professional — plenty of studio space and all this. So if you would, let's start at the beginning and share how you got started setting everything up.
Antonio: All right. Well let me ask you guys a question. When you're hungry, do you set out a plan as to how you're going to eat lunch? Or do you just go get the food?
Jonathan: It depends. My wife sometimes plans everything, and I guess I go get it when she fixes it. But yeah, I see what you're saying.
Antonio: You find a way to get there because you're not going to starve to death and over-plan this. When you're hungry, you're going to find a way. I'll give you guys some details, but don't follow — planning is important but the plan is nothing. I learned that in the Marine Corps, gosh, while we were going through Nasiriyah. If you don't remember, that's when Jessica Lynch and her army —
Jonathan: Oh, yeah.
Antonio: Yeah, that was a big deal going on. We were right there for it. We were having an issue. Right there on the front, on the top of the Humvee, I watched, basically, my commanding officer — I was a staff officer with him — he threw out a plan as to how we were going to do this.
We'd been planning for two months as to how we were going to go through that town. That plan went out the window and in 30 seconds, we had a plan as to how to do it. Because we had spent enough time but then we were there to take action, we took action. So again, I'll lay out exactly how I did this, but —
Jonathan: Sometimes you've got to improvise.
Antonio: You have to improvise. You're a human being. You're not a robot. People need to look at themselves and say, “Do I really want this,” because you can find a way. Let's address the first thing, the camera. That's a BS excuse because somebody around you has a camera they're not using. You go borrow somebody's iPhone.
I think David Siteman Garland did an interview with a guy who talked about how you've got a high definition camera on your iPhone. You can spend $20 and get a lavalier mike that will hook up to that iPhone to give you even great sound. So you can shoot this whole thing on a used iPhone with a lavalier mike.
I put $2,000, but we spent $800 on our camera. My wife, she's a frugal Ukrainian. She was very hesitant to even spend that money because she didn't see the return on — she didn't know if we'd get the return on investment. But I was like I really want it so that we can — it's a high definition camera.
We used a shotgun mike initially, but then we switched to — I used the Blue Yeti actually down in the studio. When it hangs right above me, you can't see it in the shot, but we piece that together when we record directly onto the computer. So we've got a computer recording the sound.
I'll link you guys because I shared that on Google Docs. I don't know if you saw that on my interview, but I list out everything that I bought.
Jonathan: Oh, okay, cool.
Antonio: So that stuff is right there, and we can go to that. Initially you want to focus on making it a seamless process. That's really important. I said 200 videos in 200 days. I didn't shoot a video every single day. That would kill me.
I found that it takes me one hour to shoot a video that's ten minutes long. That's because I spend 50 minutes getting ready for it and then ten minutes shooting. I don't edit. If I had two or three hours and if I decided — I could actually shoot ten to 14 videos in a single shooting if I did it in three hours.
So you see right there what I did is I batch my videos together. Also, I really kept it really simple. I didn't try to make a 15 or 20-minute video. Most of my videos were under five to ten minutes. I talked a little bit long, and I only talked about what I had already written about so I knew the material.
I also had in front of me a very — not a teleprompter but basically a whiteboard. I just had some bullet points there so if I ever got lost, I could just look right at them.
Russell: I love the idea of the massive action because I know that I'm many times guilty of getting ready to do something to get ready to get ready to do something. I mean preparation is important, and you brought that up. You spend the time to get ready for your video and then you don't have to edit it.
But it seems to me the real key here is the taking action. Like you were talking about, you had this plan on the mission, and it went out the window. But you had the information, and you were able to come up with something in a short period of time when that went out the window to be able to — here's the term again — take action.
Tell us about your action mindset and how you decided that you were going to do these 200 videos and what motivated you to do so much stuff in a short period of time.
Antonio: I'm actually looking at them. They're right above my computer. It's always is this project worth time I could be spending with my family? I also have is what I'm doing going to enable my family have a better future? That's a huge driving force.
I don't know — whoever is listening — I don't know what your driving force is, but you need to find it. Look at that and really hold yourself accountable.
A friend of mine — now he's a friend, initially he was someone who was a driving force. I was watching a friend of mine. His name is Aaron Marino. I looked at his YouTube channel and how quickly it was growing and how his content —
In a sense, I felt like I was more of an expert when it came to clothing and suits and ties and trend shirts because I make these. I saw that opportunity. I was like I have to jump on this. I kept telling my wife. I think by voicing it and by getting a little bit upset that I felt this opportunity was going to slip by, that's one of the drivers that forced me.
The other one is making sure, before I go to bed, that everything is prepared for when I am going to do this at — here's a secret. I just shoot a lot of my videos at 4 or 5 in the morning. The reason being we shoot them in our basement of our 110-year-old Victorian house which all the pipes run above the studio.
We've got three kids and my mother-in-law was coming to stay with us, and people start moving at 7 a.m. Then I've got neighbors who they have — here in Wisconsin, people have to mow their lawn, at least my neighbor does, every other day. I've actually got the window open so I'm hoping he doesn't go out and start mowing.
I knew I would use that as an excuse. So I had that window of from 4:30, get up, shower, everything. But everything would be laid out. The whole studio would be ready before we went to bed so when my alarm shoots off at 4 a.m. I'm up out of bed, getting dressed.
I have to prepare myself because I'm talking about style so it's not like I can just show up in my pajamas. So there was preparation. But I realized that all of those were going to be sticking points, and I prepared the night before so that I couldn't use that as an excuse.
Those were actually some of the times I really got upset, is that I would get up. I get distracted by an email that came in. So I finally just determined I would not open email in the morning. It's really about getting up and doing what needs to be done and having everything laid out and prepared.
In the same way in the Marine Corps that we would have pre-deployment inspections, everything is — you probably remember this, Jonathan, from the Army. You have inspections not because — well some guys are pretty anal about that, but for me it was all about, hey, this is important as an officer because you need to be prepared if you get the call and you're going to be deploying in 24 to 48 hours with some contingency.
This post is an interview transcript. Click here to listen to BIB Podcasts' Jonathan Taylor interview Antonio Centeno.
Antonio: So treat your business like that and what you want to accomplish and, yeah, just make sure you're prepared [Indiscernible] excuses.
Jonathan: You call it squared away.
Jonathan: That's interesting because you're getting up at 4 in the morning, and you're dressing almost like you're going to work which you are. You're shooting a video. But you're getting up at 4 in the morning. You're putting on a suit. You're dressing for the video. That's actually interesting.
Antonio: My videos would actually start at probably 8:00 the night before because I would prepare then I would — I have everything laid out. I would have all of my scripts set. I would even go down and make sure all the batteries — checklist, another thing people need to be doing is have a checklist.
We have a checklist because I had to turn off the heater and we were shooting in the winter which, here in Wisconsin, I can only leave the heat off so long before the house starts to cool down. You go down there. You have to flip off the heater because you don't want that noise — you're in the middle of a great video and all of a sudden there's a noise which you could have —
So don't rely on memory. I had checklists. I had things that had to be done. I remember one time for some reason I didn't check my — little things with your hair. It bothers you whenever you're looking, and you notice these details.
So I have it on the checklist that I would have to look at myself in the mirror. I have to double check my tie. I'd have to look if I had a pocket square in or if I didn't. All these things are on my checklist so that I wouldn't have to think about it at 4 a.m. I just follow the checklist.
Some people don't like checklists because, oh, it takes away from their creativity. That's a bunch of — again, that's an excuse. Checklists help bring forth creativity because they allow you to not worry and think about things which otherwise would take away from that. So you're able to focus on what is really important.
Jonathan: It eliminates all of the possible things that can go wrong like the heater coming on while you're two minutes into a video.
Russell: Or having a dog bark on you when you get cranking. That's something that happens over here on a regular basis because of these crazy animals. I see the point. In fact, I've got a great idea. I think to do some videos, I'm going to start doing that, get up at 4 in the morning because I know everybody around here will be asleep. I'll have a nice quiet time and be able to do that. I'm getting all kinds of great ideas from this.
Antonio: But the key is you have to go to bed at 9:00. That's why I say it starts at 8 because you're preparing for an hour. Then you have to be in bed at a certain — my wife had to sacrifice because with three young kids, she's up all night taking care of our daughter, Arianna, who's only eight months old now so it was one of those things.
For the last year my wife was either pregnant or she just had a newborn. We have three kids while we're doing all these videos too. Yeah, you've got to systemize it. You've got to really work around. Looking back, I've had videos interrupted because my son comes down. So you definitely want to give yourself — that 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. window worked for me.
For everyone it's going to be different. Some people just are not going to get up. Perhaps they're a night owl. Perhaps they need to shoot from 11:00 at night until 2 in the morning. You just find what works for you and go for it.
Jonathan: Your videos are just so — you've got the nice white background while you're talking so there are no distractions. Do you use a green screen or anything, or just a white background or something?
Antonio: One of the investments — I think I accounted it on the $2,000 — is we signed up for Easy Video. Go check out Easy Video. It's $80 for six months. You want to have some skin on the game. A lot of times, we are always looking for the free solutions especially when you don't have a whole lot of money. I know how that is. The problem with free is it's not always well-organized.
Easy is well worth the money because you get in there, and he will teach you all these lighting tricks. I've got a great partner in my wife. She studied Easy Video. She didn't know anything about video creation. She edits all the videos. So she does a little bit of after effects to help get the screen a bit whiter.
I can tell you that she also spent a lot of time experimenting with lights. We didn't go out and spend money on lights. We built our own. I went to the hardware store and just — we understood what temperatures to look for in lighting.
Again, we learned all of this because we went and paid 80 bucks and because we had skin in the game, over the six-month-period, we downloaded tons of his videos, watched them because we put money in. We bought $100 version of Sony Vegas which if you're on a Mac there are other things that are equivalent to it.
So we made those investments in those key tools. We also focused on sound. Sound is a huge thing. A lot of people — our sound is pretty good. I'm using, again, I mentioned a Blue Yeti mike. You can grab it for 100 bucks I think on Amazon. Also we have a lavalier mike. We have a shotgun mike.
I keep coming back to the Blue Yeti which I record separate from the camera. I find that that can also give me a backup sounds just in case the Blue Yeti or the computer crashes, I've always got my shotgun mike that's hooked up to the camera and that's recording as well.
Jonathan: That's interesting. I've heard on more than one occasion from people who do video that it's important to record your audio separate from your video, I guess for that reason. If there's a problem, you've got the two separate, and it's probably a lot clearer.
Antonio: It does help. Another thing to look at is I went to audiomutesoundproofing.com. It's a company out of Ohio, I believe. They sell sound-absorbing sheets. Our studio again is a 110-year-old basement. I've got dirt on the floor of my basement. This thing is old-school-basement ugly.
Antonio: But no one sees the basement. That's the thing. It doesn't matter where you're at. People always ask me, why don't I show my full body? Well, really, I can't do it. Simply because I don't have enough room down there for that camera shot.
You have to look at, okay, these are my limitations, but the limitations are good because they help narrow down what you can do and help you prove the concept. People get all wrapped up. They think, “Oh, well, what am I going to do when I have this problem?”
You worry about that problem when you get it. Right now, you get out those headshot videos. Don't worry about having to throw in the fancy designs. Simply get up there and put some videos out there and give good solid information. You're going to be amazed at how it's going to work for you.
Jonathan: Now you recorded these videos. The next step of the process was, I guess, uploading. Did you just simply choose YouTube alone to post? You just focused on YouTube?
Antonio: I did. I don't remember where I heard this saying. It was basically focus on your winners. When I look at YouTube, I just look at that. It's got its own built-in community. It's the number 2 search engine in the world. It just made perfect sense for what I was trying to do, and I had already seen proof of concept in the sense of someone who at the time I thought was a competitor, now is a good friend.
There are all these benefits to YouTube I didn't realize at the beginning, but I can highlight them now. One thing I love about YouTube is the community that's within YouTube. I'm really proud of my channel. It's pretty cool we passed well over a million views now. I really am proud about the comments in my videos. If you put something negative or you attack somebody, you're gone. I ban you, gone.
Jonathan: Oh, yeah, definitely.
Antonio: Stuff like that. But if you look at most YouTube comments, they're embarrassing. I really encourage strong commentors. I always go in there, even if it's just a quick thank you. I try to engage with my audience to let them know I see it and thank them.
I take the broken window approach. I don't really know how accurate this is, but was it in the 1990s? New York City, one of the new mayors — I don't remember who the mayor was at the time — he took the approach that we're to fight crime. Everything that you can get a ticket for, it was going to be enforced.
It used to be they only went after the bigger things but he said, “No. If you break a window, it needs to be fixed and it needs to be fixed within a couple of days, otherwise you're going to get a big fine. Because whenever we see a broken window or we see a bit of graffiti, it invites more.”
So that's the approach I take with my YouTube channel. That I don't allow anything that is an attack or anything that is negative or anything really isn't adding value to it because it's not — I don't treat it — it's not free speech. I put all the work into this. This is my channel. But I also don't take it for granted because YouTube —
I want to be very clear. I don't own that YouTube channel. YouTube owns it. You give them the rights. I've got other platforms, as you've seen, websites. I've got an emailing list, all these other stuff where I try to bring my audience off of because YouTube is a great marketing platform but it's not mine.
Jonathan: Yeah. And if you want to see Antonio's videos over at YouTube, you can go to — or you can go to his website — but you can see his channel over at realmenrealstyle.com/youtube. One thing that really impresses me on the YouTube is the way you've got your images for each of the videos. Is that something that you did? I guess you're a YouTube partner?
Antonio: I am. After I got about 100,000 views, a friend of mine — this is where it's important to really mastermind a bit. I like to stay in touch with people I respect, other entrepreneurs building up. One of the gentlemen, actually his name is Ryan. He's a friend of mine on YouTube. He's doing a lot of weight training. He's more of an AdWords expert in YouTube, promotions guy.
So he just mentioned, he's like, “Why don't you become a partner?” This is something I didn't even know about. I was growing my YouTube channel. I didn't care about advertising money. For me it was just a pure marketing ploy. Also, marketing, and I wanted to scale up all these questions I was getting asked.
I was like instead of me answering them again and again via email or over the phone, that was another reason I went to YouTube is I was like, why don't I just answer it once, answer it really well, and I can just point people there or they'll find it, and they won't ask me this question anymore.
But what happened about 100,000 views in, my buddy, Ryan, he's like, “Hey, you need to go apply for YouTube partnership.” I looked at what they're going for. And because my channel was so specific and I do keep it pretty clean, pretty professional, I'm not stealing content and putting stuff up there like that, that it was a pretty easy approval process for me. I hear that they make it really easy.
The key to get approval understanding with a partnership is that you need to be something that's unique. You need to be looking to build your channel. You don't want to be a one-hit wonder. You're looking at continuously adding content.
Jonathan: Add content, yeah.
Antonio: That's what YouTube is supposedly always looking for, so get really specific. That's been another key to our YouTube channel. If you look at my titles, my titles are very, very narrow and specific.
Jonathan: Oh, absolutely.
Antonio: I talk about how to dress as a finance guy. I talk about how does a financial student in India dress for his interview. Now that is really specific.
Jonathan: That is very targeted.
Antonio: I realize it's not going to go after everybody, but my goal is not to try to compete with the bigger companies who are going to be able to drive more traffic and get more likes and stuff. My goal is to go after that very, very narrow focus and really resonate with.
If you're at Barnes and Noble and you're looking for a book on how to build a deck, are you going to buy a general woodworking book or are you going to —
Antonio: If you see a book that has the exact type of house that you have and how to build a deck on that for your area of the United States, that book may cost two or three times more, but you're going to buy it.
Antonio: Or you're going to just sit there and buy coffee and read it. But eventually you're going to invest the time into that product versus something that is general. That's my approach with what I'm doing on YouTube. I want to be so specific that you'll never be able to out — five, ten years from now my videos are still going to pop up in the search engines because they're incredibly relevant and very narrowly focused.
Jonathan: And it's timeless information. This stuff will apply — for the most part, styles change a little but the fundamentals of colors and matching and things tend to stay.
Russell: Oh, a lot of them, yeah, if you wear classic clothes. When I look at the titles of the stuff you have; Single-Breasted Jacket and Peak Lapels, Man's Guide to Shorts, Wool Trousers; this stuff is very specific. If I'm looking for information on that, I can see where a search is going to bring that up, not just at YouTube but at Google or Bing or whatever search is going to bring this stuff up.
That's a great marketing tip for anything. Regardless of what your niche is, that's a great idea to be able to pull people in. You know if they're interested in that, more likely they're going to be interested in other subjects that you address and be interested in purchasing whatever products you have, information products, or maybe click on the ads now that you're a YouTube partner or whatever.
That brings me to another question about monetizing your endeavor here. Did you have a plan upfront on how you were going to create this in order to create an income? Or what's the bottom line as it were? How did you use this information to actually create an income?
Antonio: There were two initial forces that were driving me. One was I just wanted to be more efficient and so I started using videos to better explain concepts on my websites. I have another YouTube channel which I haven't really focused much on, but that one was with my clothier, A Tailored Suit. That one I would actually go in and try to explain concepts better.
With Real Men Real Style, I looked at it more as a marketing platform. I could help — 99.9% of people who watch my videos are never going to become a customer. That's fine. That's cool. I love helping people. But the goal was that a small percentage of them will, in a sense, watch a lot of my videos and eventually become a custom clothing customer.
Now that's evolved over the last year. What I realized is that, well, people are willing to pay for information, so you're seeing me transition. Right now I've got a course with a 100 men in it. It's called the Style System. We're in the middle of it right now. But this is all about men taking action. It's a college course-equivalent. It's a seven-week course on the basics and foundations of men's style.
I've got one guy in there who has been on Ask Andy. It's a popular men's style forum for eight years. We did a one-on-one conversation. I was talking with him, and he was like, “I've been learning about style for eight years but going through your course, your whole focus is about action.”
So I use the Kaizen approach which is a Japanese term for little minor improvements each day. That's my goal with the Style System is I've got 42 tasks that they have to do. Individually they take 20 to 30 minutes. But overtime, if you can imagine, do 42 of those in a 60-day period, you can't help but become more knowledgeable about style and all of a sudden —
One thing we created is — I had them take their measurements which most men, if you ask them, “What's the size of your chest,” they can't tell you. Well my guys maybe can't remember it exactly but since we created an online measurement card which they can access from any smartphone that they have all of their measurements.
When they go to buy something, they will know their measurements, and they can ask — let's say you walk into Macy's. Oftentimes, why do guys hate shopping? Because they grab some clothing and it will say a medium. You are a medium. You know what? It doesn't fit you. That is frustrating.
Because whenever you buy a computer, if it says it's got a whole bunch of [0:45:29] [Indiscernible] — I'm thinking old school — let's say, 2 gigabytes of RAM. You're familiar with that. That number is universal. It doesn't change.
So I teach them that, hey, sizing is not universal, what is universal are your measurements. You always go in. You ask for a tape measure. You measure the shirt before you go into the fitting room. That way there's no question is it going to fit you. There's only a question, does it look good on you?
That little change in how they actually buy clothing is going to encourage them to enjoy the process a bit more and just make it easier. I don't think that they're going to just love shopping after that, but I just don't want it to be something that's frustrating.
Jonathan: Right. And you as a partner, you're generating, probably, residual income from YouTube on a regular basis from all the videos that you've got up.
Antonio: Yeah. That's just icing on the cake. I didn't expect that. It's just something where they're now just depositing a check in my account every month, and I go with it — YouTube, another nice thing about it — you look at Vimeo. It's beautiful, but it's so much more about artists and the look. Ads on Vimeo don't feel natural.
On YouTube, you're used to the ads so I didn't feel I was imposing on anybody to basically allow ads on their — in addition, people are used to getting free content and getting some ads.
Jonathan: Now I'm curious on your — one more question on your YouTube channel. I really love how you've done the thumbnails for each of your videos. Do you have to be a YouTube partner to be able to do that? Because that's kind of unique, I've not noticed that with too many other videos or on people video channel.
You've got these thumbnails that give a nice title which is really cool-looking. Is that something that you need to be a partner to be able to implement onto your videos?
Antonio: At the time that I became a partner, it was. I'm not sure anymore if it's still required. YouTube is always changing. But I will say is that I stole that idea. I don't come up with a whole lot of concepts. I think a great businessman he's always looking for ideas. He's not afraid to take something that works in one industry and transplant it into his.
There's this amazing entrepreneur, you've probably heard of her, Marie Forleo. She's got a great — go look at her thumbnails. I stole that from her.
Jonathan: Ah, okay. It's awesome.
Antonio: Yeah. I love it because it's so much clearer. You look at my thumbnails, and you clearly know what the video is about. That's the whole point. Some people, yes, I could get more click-throughs if I put half naked women on my — you know what? That's just not going to work. I'm going to get a lot of dislikes. It's disingenuous. It has nothing to do with my brand and what I'm looking to create.
A thumbnail is important. It's like the headline to an email. You've got to get them to click on it. At the same time, I want to get the right person to click on my thumbnail. I'm not looking for huge numbers. Another thing I'm proud of with my YouTube channel, I don't have anything that went viral. Well I guess I'm not super proud of that. I would love for something to go viral.
But really, my whole thing is — it's like in baseball. You're not going to win by going and having a team stacked up with sluggers. You may, but you're going to lose oftentimes because they're all going to strike out. Sluggers, they strike out quite a bit. Babe Ruth, not only was he the Homerun King, but he was the Strikeout King as well.
I gear more towards singles and doubles. Everything I know is going to resonate. It's good, solid info. I don't expect it to hit a homerun, but I do expect it to have a return on the investment I put into it.
Russell: I love that approach.
Jonathan: Do you create those thumbnails? Are those images that are created to and then uploaded to YouTube if you're a partner? I mean it's really impressive how those look. Is that something that is just created as an image file?
Antonio: That's correct. It's created as an image file. YouTube gives you the stats on exactly how big it should be, and we just put simple lettering in it. We have created a system for that, and I've handed that off to an assistant. It's one of those things that once a week, whenever we're creating especially seven to ten videos a week, he would just go in once a week and just do them all at once. We had a worksheet set up.
Another thing that we do to get traffic and to embed — I embed them into my websites, just encrypt it as a separate page for that video alone so that it, in a sense, is embedded out there on the web. Other people can find it in that path. I found that works really good for searches as well.
Russell: Wow, very nice. I like the way you systemize things. It sounds like you really make very good use of your time.
Antonio: It wasn't always the case. So I go down to the University of Texas. I'm an alumna. I got my MBA there. I'm privileged to be basically one of the judges at the investment lab competition they have down there. It's kind of like Shark Tank except it's been around for 30 years, and it's real. Anyway, it's really cool.
I'm always surrounded by these people who are so much smarter than me. They've been in the business for 40 years. I was talking with this guy. He was a Major in the Air Force, Michael Dunning. He's a professor at Arizona State. I was bragging that I was working 100 hours a week running my companies.
He pulled me aside after that speech. I'm feeling great. Everybody's congratulating me. He's like, “Tony, you're an idiot.” I'm like — I love ex-Military guys because they just lay it out. He's like, “You should not be working 100 hours a week. You're going to burn out. You're not going to last. I see this again and again. You need to systemize.”
I've got a number of friends who are business owners. Again, try to surround yourself with people who you want to be like and —
Jonathan: Oh, absolutely.
Antonio: — and respect because you're going to become them. A lot of them have always been saying that it's all about systemization so that you can let the creative juices flow in other things but not the mundane tasks. So I've got another thing up here. What do you hate doing, Tony?
The solution is to systemize and give away. So I'm just still in the middle of this process, but I can tell you I'm not working 100 hours a week anymore. I'm working probably 60, but that's a lot better. I'm actually going to the gym every morning now.
Things like that are — I had lost them about a year-and-a-half ago. I think it's really scary for entrepreneurs because it's like going to school again. You feel like you have always more to do. You will always have that feeling. You've got to learn to be very efficient with the time you have and to be able to turn it off because you are not a finite resource.
Jonathan: Yeah. Oh, absolutely. I'm sure a lot of the discipline that you have, I'm sure a lot of that came from your experience in the Military. I know from a personal standpoint. I was in the Army. I think the routines of getting up early, everything being dress right dress, squared away, everything planned to a T, that carries through other things in life. That carries through in the business.
Antonio: I think you hit it when you said routine and habits. There's a great book out there, and it's called, “Change Anything.” Actually there's another one called, “Switch.” All the stuff has been researched, but they have clearly shown that willpower is a finite resource. Think of it like a glass of water. Every time you're forced to make a decision, you take a drink of it. You will run out of that if you are forcing yourself to —
I think the example they used was this chocolate chip cookie one where they put people in a room in two different groups. One of them had chocolate chip cookies. They were told not to eat it. The other one, radishes, told not to eat it. Of course the radishes didn't have to use willpower, but the cookies, very difficult.
Then they say, “Okay, you're done.” But then they gave them another test. They said, “Oh, we want you guys to try to answer these questions. High school students could do them so we think you college students can do them.”
What they found is that the people that had to use their willpower for two or three hours and they were hungry, who had tried to resist the chocolate chip cookies, they gave up on problem solving in half the time or like one-third the time than the people who had not expended any willpower.
They saw this again and again, the one study that's been replicated many times. So you've got to think that if you're getting up and you're opening your email, and if you're expending your limited resource, willpower right there, that is a waste.
You've got to focus initially on doing what's important and realize that your willpower is — you can set up a game. That's how I've been doing it is just setting up a game that you've got to knockout the important things first and then leave calls and interviews until the end.
Jonathan: Right, right, absolutely.
Russell: Oh, man, what a great idea.
Jonathan: It goes back to that Stephen Covey. You begin with the end in mind and then you prioritize what's the most important thing that you can be doing to accomplish that.
I tell you, we've really enjoyed having you on this morning, Antonio. We can probably talk probably another hour or so just talking about all this stuff.
This post is an interview transcript. Click here to listen to BIB Podcasts' Jonathan Taylor interview Antonio Centeno.
Russell: Easily, yeah.
Jonathan: But we're short on time. We're really appreciative of you coming on today and sharing with us about your business, about some of the strategies that you've used in regards to YouTube. I tell you, buddy, we'd certainly love to have you on again.
Antonio: I appreciate it, Jonathan, Russell. If anyone wants to contact me at my website — you can find my YouTube channel. They can do Google search on me. Instead of giving out my email, just use one of the contact forums. Those will be there and the best way to get a hold of me.
Just send me a quick message if you want to talk about something, or you've got additional questions. I'm looking actually this fall to actually create — because I do get a lot of business questions, and I've got a number of people I'm working with on the Master class. We're calling it Business with Style, but —
Jonathan: Oh, very nice.
Antonio: We're having fun with it. I'll send you guys, info once it's up.
Russell: Sounds like a blast. If anybody does want to find Antonio, just do a search for Real Men Real Style. You'll find the YouTube channel and your Real Men Real Style site. It's good stuff. It's really worth taking a look. We really appreciate your sharing all of this great information, a lot of stuff that you can take away and put to use right away. We really appreciate it.
Antonio: Well, Russell, I think you hit it on the head. All this information is great, but information is not power, otherwise librarians would rule the world.
Jonathan: I love that.
Antonio: It's true. People have to take action. Russell, you hit on it. So if you're listening to this, take action. Pull an all-nighter. You're not too old to pull an all-nighter if you're in your 40s, your 50s. You're just going to be passionate. And find a way. Don't let excuses hold you back. You've got to get out there and take action.
Russell: All right.
Jonathan: Well he is Antonio Centeno of atailoredsuit.com. Again, I would encourage you to — just as an example — to check out his YouTube page over at Real Men Real Style. You can see some of the stuff he's doing. Plus, get some great tips on really, how to dress. For men, there's nothing wrong. You can be masculine and still come across and still dress with some style.
Jonathan: That's one thing that I've gotten from your site. You don't have to be a –what do they call it — a metrosexual?
Antonio: At the beginning I talked about West Texas and how that influenced me. I thought some of the best dressed men I ever saw in West Texas were cowboys because it was function, and they did care how they looked.
I've never heard of anyone calling a real cowboy, basically, a metrosexual or calling him a fashionista. These guys simply dress for the occasion. They wear clothing that looked good, but it was always about function. That's exactly what I teach.
Jonathan: Great stuff. Antonio, thanks again. Hey, have a great weekend.
Antonio: You too.
Jonathan: Look forward to talking to you again.
Russell: Thanks a million.
Antonio: You're welcome, guys. Bye-bye.
Jonathan: Great interview, Antonio Centeno, check him out. Russell, good stuff, man.
Russell: Oh, yeah, this is excellent stuff.
Jonathan: Yeah. Style doesn't have to be — you don't have to be a girly guy to —
Russell: That's right. That's right.
Jonathan: — to appreciate good style and good.
Russell: That's a great lesson too on how, whatever your niche is, whatever you're interested in, you can become successful. I tell you I think the big lesson here is the last one he gave us about information and librarians. If information was power, librarians would rule the world. You've got to take action.
Jonathan: Very true.
Russell: This is a great example. I hope everybody that's listening learned as much as I did from this show because these are great lessons.
Jonathan: Very true, very true. And the fact of the matter is here's a guy who started — following up on that action deal — he didn't have the best facilities. He didn't have the best circumstances in the world. He's got a family of five. He's got kids running around. He's got a 100-year-old Victorian house that he shoots videos from a basement.
Russell: With a dirt floor at that.
Jonathan: With a dirt floor. Okay, so what's your excuse? Nothing, you don't have one.
Russell: You don't have an excuse, yeah. Do it.
Jonathan: Get out there and do it. He invested $2,000 on some equipment. You don't even have to do that these days. Think about it. You can get a Kodak — Russell, we talk about the Kodak PlayTouch that's less than 100 bucks. You got yours for about, what, 40 or $50.
Russell: Yeah, 40 bucks.
Jonathan: Does great video. You don't need expensive lighting. You can go to Lowe's, get a simple light set. Maybe get a little digital recorder or something like that. You don't even have to start out with that. The PlayTouch has an external mike port that you can hook in to begin with if you're on a small budget.
One thing's for sure, you do need to have a computer that's capable of processing the HD video and stuff like that when you've got to edit it. Even that these days doesn't cost a whole lot of money, for a computer that's got 4 to 6 gigs of RAM. And it's worth the investment too especially if you're going to be doing this.
But over 2 million views off of 250 videos —
Russell: Imagine that. Imagine that.
Jonathan: — that's pretty impressive.
Russell: Massive action. Do it.
Jonathan: Yeah. I can tell you, he's making a nice residual. I didn't want to ask him the specifics, but I know he's doing quite well just off of the Google ads, the YouTube ads that are running on his videos.
Russell: Yeah. Well great interview, great information. Thanks everybody for joining us. Hope you'll join us again next week. As always, we've got some great information. Not that necessarily we do it, but I tell you, some of the people we have on are super sharp and well worth to listen so check it out.
Subscribe to our podcast through iTunes or whatever is easiest for you so you don't miss an episode because you never know. You may miss that one thing that really makes a difference in your situation. So don't miss any of them. Listen every week. I'm glad I'm here every week to hear it.
Jonathan: Absolutely. Well I guess we had a few questions, but I tell you what, given the timeframe, we'll probably —
Russell: Yeah, it was short.
Jonathan: We went a little long on the interview so we'll probably wrap, maybe do a midweek segment again and take care — we had about three questions that we wanted to get to, but we'll get to those at a midweek episode. Hope everyone has a great week. Thanks again for listening. Russell, good to have you back as always. Good to be back in the seat.
Russell: All right, see you guys next week.