Tom Schwab: Chief Evangelist Officer for His Marketing Company and Life | Episode 21

Tom Schwab: Chief Evangelist Officer for His Marketing Company and Life | Episode 21

Are you thinking of making the shift from your first half to your second half of life? What does retirement look like for you? Is working remotely the way of the future?

In this podcast episode, Billy and Brandy Eldridge speak to Tom Schwab about his company, Interview Valet, and how he built the life he wanted.

Meet Tom Schwab

Tom Schwab knows how to build an online business. He’s done it successfully several times and now helps others find online success with podcast interview marketing.

Marketing at its heart is starting a conversation with someone who could be an ideal customer. Tom helps thought leaders (coaches, authors, speakers, consultants, emerging brands) get featured on leading podcasts their ideal prospects are already listening to. The Interview Valet system then helps them to turn listeners into customers.

The author of Podcast Guest Profits: Grow Your Business with a Targeted Interview Strategy, Tom is also Founder/CEO of Interview Valet, the category king of Podcast Interview Marketing.

Visit Tom’s website, connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

In This Podcast

Summary

  • What brought Tom into the world of podcasting
  • The shift from Tom’s first half to his second half of life
  • Freedoms that weren’t there before
  • Working with your partner
  • The hardest lesson Tom has had to learn

What brought Tom into the world of podcasting

And my mom always asked, she doesn’t understand podcasts, ‘What does that have to do with podcast interviews?’ And I’m like, ‘Mom, it’s not about the podcast interview. It’s about the connection.

After travelling the world with the Navy, Tom moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan, concerned that his world would get small again. What he has since realized is that it is an amazing time to be alive as we can connect with people around the world on this free platform of podcasting and hear new ideas. To him, that makes a really rich life and that’s what he does as a business now. His team’s goal is to personally connect thought leaders to millions of people who they could serve for the betterment of all.

The shift from Tom’s first half to his second half of life

The pivotal moment for Tom was the loss of his dad to cancer. Tom was in his early 30s at the time and it struck him that life is not forever, we all have a limited amount of time, and we don’t know how long that time is. Tom started thinking about how he wants to live this life if he might only have another 25 years or so left, and while talking with a close friend they decided that for them retirement was going to be doing fun things with interesting people and writing it all off as a tax expense. Four years ago when he turned 50, Tom looked at it and said that he was now going to consider himself retired and do just that.

Freedoms that weren’t there before

We can do so many things from our phone, from our laptops. And really, you know, today people really don’t care if you’re in a cubicle, or you know, if you’re on the beach on your computer just so long as the work gets done.

10 years ago, work was where you went, not what you did. Technology wasn’t advanced enough and if the pandemic had hit 5 years earlier it would have looked drastically different. Tom looks at it as that it has pushed us 5/10 years ahead in remote work. They have a remote team and everything that he does, he can do from home. One week every month, Tom and his wife live in a different city where they get to see friends and meet people. It’s not so much work/life balance of how many hours you’re at work or at home anymore, it’s more like work/life integration.

The shift from the brick and mortar world into a more online-minded business was scary because it’s different but Tom thinks that if you focus on the good parts and have the vision of what it could be then then fear and the problems don’t seem nearly as big.

Working with your partner

It’s not something that we want to get vacation from or we’re looking forward to how many days until we can retire. No, this is our life, this is what we love, and it just gives us flexibility.

Tom and his wife, Karen, work with each other but don’t report to each other. In their last company, that was the case and it was tough. They would go out on date night and say that they wouldn’t talk about business at all but three minutes later they would. Their lives were supporting the business. When they started Interview Valet, they decided that they weren’t going to do that anymore. They also love what they’re doing so they do talk about it but it’s not business problems, more just funny things that happened in the day. Tom and his wife work in separate areas so when the day is over, they close the doors to their offices and go on to the personal things, and not reporting to each other has also helped.

The hardest lesson Tom has had to learn

God is very fair. If you don’t figure out the lesson one time, he’ll keep giving you the test until you pass it. And I take this test all the time.

Tom’s natural inclination is “I can do it” but he has learned that if he just picks his head up from the grindstone and looks around, there are all of these people that want to help him if he will just ask for help.

Books by Tom Schwab

Are you ready to find the freedom to be yourself as a beta male? Do you want permission and tools to be your best beta? Are you ready to join the revolution to find strength as a beta? If you want to be comfortable in your skin and be the most authentic beta male, then our free beta revolution course is for you. Sign up for free.

Useful links:

Meet Billy Eldridge

billy-eldridge

Meet Billy, the resident beta male. For Billy, this is a place to hang out with other beta males and the people who love them. We’re redefining what beta males look like in the world. I have learned to embrace my best beta self, and I can help you to do the same. As a therapist, I understand the need to belong. You belong here. Join the REVOLUTION.

Meet Brandy Eldridge

brandy-eldridge

Hello, Beta friends. I am an alpha personality who is embracing the beta way of life. I feel alive when connected with people, whether that is listening to their stories or learning about their passions. Forget small talk, let’s go deep together. Come to the table and let’s have some life-changing conversations.

Thanks for listening!

Did you enjoy this podcast? Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media! You can also leave a review of the Beta Male Revolution Podcast on iTunes and subscribe!

Beta Male Revolution is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Podcast Transcription

[BILLY]:
Beta Male Revolution is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a family of podcasts seeking to change the world. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Hey guys, I’m with Brandy today. Hello, Brandy.

[BRANDY]:
Hello. Hope everybody’s having a wonderful day.

[BILLY]:
Today on the podcast, we have Tom Schwab of the Interview Valet, which is a fantastic company. And more than talking about his company, we talk about the life he’s created, and the culture he’s created, after coming out of more corporate type jobs, after coming out of the military, he was…

[BRANDY]:
He built the life he wanted.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. He built the life he wanted, and that’s what we want to do.

[BRANDY]:
And it was so cool. He’s like, retired and just said, I don’t really want to retire.

[BILLY]:
Retired, but not retired.

[BRANDY]:
Right. And just like, this is what I want to do. I want to make my life around what I want to make my life around, and still while putting positive things out there and connecting with people in the world, and I think like you and I, I mean, everybody talks about retirement; one day we’re going to retire. I like the idea of not retiring. I like the idea of shifting into something different possibly.

[BILLY]:
Life’s not about retirement.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, it’s not about… I don’t know – maybe you do – I don’t know if I could not do what I do right now, or you do what you do right now. Like, the good thing about a therapist is you can always sit on the couch and help people. And I don’t know if I could ever get away from that thing in us that is, like, it sounds very altruistic and so oh, we’re so good. And that’s not it. But I do feel like right now I get to work in a place that helps child abuse, and work with these amazing people that have this mission out there to help kids, and children, that suffer from child abuse, and neglect, and I’m so grateful to be a part of that. And I don’t know if I ever want to retire from things like that.

[BILLY]:
Well, we always need a why to live. And it is when we stop doing that, that we begin to emotionally atrophy, and parts of us begin to die off, physically and emotionally.

[BRANDY]:
You’re getting all therapist on me. It’s kinda hot.

[BILLY]:
So we want to keep the momentum moving throughout our life, whether you hang it up on your day job and move towards something that you’re more passionate about, or you just do it in tandem while you are doing your day job – you find something that you can plug into that gives your life meaning and purpose. That’s what combats stagnation. That’s what combats depression, and finding yourself in a place of what’s life all about and why does it even mean anything? If you stay plugged in to the why?

[BRANDY]:
The purpose.

[BILLY]:
The purpose, that’s what it’s all about. And that’s the journey Tom takes us on today.

[BRANDY]:
Tom is a cool guy. And he’s got a cool little voice too. It’s like…

[BILLY]:
I wanna be a Tom when I grow up.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, I liked the way Tom was talking to us. He sounded like a…

[BILLY]:
He sounded… He is a professional.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, he sounded professional.

[BILLY]:
We’re not very professional.

[BRANDY]:
Oh. Okay.

[BILLY]:
Tom is a professional.

[BRANDY]:
Let’s listen to Tom.

[TOM]:
I am just thrilled to be here. Thank you so much.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, we’re glad to have you here. And we just want to get into your story and what brought you into the world of podcasting, kind of where you came from, and why this is a better fit for you, and your life, and your family, and just kind of how you do life and do work. So could you tell us a bit of your story, Tom?

[TOM]:
Well, I’m glad I’m invited now and not 25 years ago to be on the podcast because I didn’t have an inspiring story at that point. I was a Midwest kid, I got accepted into the US Naval Academy. Thank you to all the taxpayers for paying my education.

[BILLY]:
And thank you for your service.

[TOM]:
Well, thank you. And so, my first job out of college was running nuclear power plants on an aircraft carrier. It was about as alpha as it goes. And my job was to go to sea, to make the money, and everything, and the Navy didn’t teach emotional intelligence. They changed over the years but, you know, I saw what I have grown up with and what it meant to be a man, and a provider, and really lost out on a lot of things personally, because I didn’t enjoy what it really meant to be a man, and just tried to be alpha, and you know, the number one sales rep, the number one corporate person. And with time, with a lot of bruises, I realized that my best times in life was when I had great relationships, and those were the most valuable, the most meaningful. And the older I got, the more gray hair, that’s what I really loved. And to me, what I loved about the Navy most was connecting with people. I was a Midwest kid, I’d never been more than 100 miles from home. A year after being in the Navy, I’d been around the world and my eyes had opened up. And now, here I live in Kalamazoo, Michigan. And when I moved here, over 20 years ago, my biggest concern was, will my world get small again? And what I’ve realized is that we live in an amazing time, right? There’s a lot of problems in the world. But there’s no better time to be alive. We can talk here on a free platform, and connect, you can connect with people around the world, you can hear new ideas, and to me, that really makes for a rich life. And that’s what I do for a business now. I’ve got a marketing and engineering background, but our team, our whole goal is to personally introduce inspiring thought leaders to millions of people they could serve for the betterment of all. And my mom always asks – she doesn’t understand podcasts – and she says, well, what does that have to do with podcast interviews? And I’m like, mom, it’s not about the podcast interview. It’s about the connection.

[BILLY]:
My mom always tells me, if you’re going to talk about me on your podcast, tell good stories, not all the bad. And I said no, the people like all the stories, so. Well, we talk a lot about first half and second half of life living, and just in your first half of life you think you know everything, and you’re going out there in the world and then usually something happens – a pivotal moment. And it usually comes in the form of some kind of pain, or shift, or a moment when we realize life… we’re not getting what we thought we wanted out of life, and we do have to make a shift. You talked about missing out on things in that first half of life. What were you missing out on? And what brought about the shift in the way you saw the world?

[TOM]:
I definitely think the shift was brought on by the loss of my dad. So I lost my dad to cancer. We had a few years with him at the end there, but he died at the age of 62, and I was in my mid 30s at that time. And it just struck me that life is not forever, that we all only have a limited amount of time and we never know when that time is. And so that really opened my eyes up and it said, hey, if I’ve only got, you know, another 25 years left, how do I want to live this? And I spent a lot of time talking with a dear friend of mine, he was like a brother. We had become friends in high school, and I don’t think there was a week that went by since that we hadn’t talked together. And then he got diagnosed with terminal cancer – same thing Walter Payton had. So Christmas, he wasn’t feeling well and by St. Patrick’s Day, Brian was gone. And one of the things I realized at that point was that, you know, one of the things that we had talked about, Brian and I early on was, what retirement was going to look like. And we joked around that we couldn’t retire because our golf games weren’t good, and if we stuck around the house all the time, our wives would kill us. So we were both entrepreneurs, and liked doing things, and so we decided that for us, retirement was going to be doing fun things with interesting people, and writing it all off as a tax expense. So with that, when I turned 50, just four years ago, I looked at it and I said, I’m going to consider myself retired now. I’m only going to do fun things with interesting people, and write it all off as a business expense.

[BRANDY]:
You may be my hero, like, that is such an inspiring story, just creating the life that you want. And doing it with purpose. You have a purpose that’s larger than golf games, and being out of the house, and doing what you want. You are connecting people, giving them information, like you said, and opening up a world of relationships through a podcast.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. So how do you go from an aircraft carrier to Interview Valet where you work in the podcasting world? That’s a big jump.

[TOM]:
It’s a big jump, and it happened over a couple of decades. And really, in hindsight, it all makes sense. So I started as an engineer and I loved the education, I loved the processes, but I longed for the connection. Engineers aren’t known as being the most lovable and open people. And in the same way, I thought, okay, growing up in the Midwest, I thought job security meant having a stable employer. So I left the Navy, and then went to work for a Fortune 500 company. And it was a stable job.. All I had to do was stick around there, but I felt like I was trapped inside a building. Instead of being on a ship, now I’m in a building. And if you didn’t work in that building, if your kids didn’t go to school with my kids, if you weren’t a next door neighbor, or sat a pew in front of me or behind me at church, I probably didn’t know you and I just felt like I was isolated.

And so I had the opportunity to go into more sales and marketing which really opened my world up again, and I loved it. I thrived there, and had a company and we were one of the early companies to use inbound marketing – I was an e commerce company – and so that’s where I learned the marketing side of it. We built that company up from a regional player to a national leader. And after I sold that company, I started to think that with content marketing, the hack we used to use back in 2000-2005 was guest blogging. Instead of putting a blog up on your own site and getting it seen by three people – thanks, mom – put it on somebody else’s site. So I started to hypothesize right around 2013-2014 that you could use podcast interviews the same way. And so we really started to test that, refine the system, and really, it grew into what we do at Interview Valet now. It’s almost like guest blogging, but on podcasts.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. So in moving from an aircraft carrier, you’re stuck there, to a building, you’re stuck there, how does your life look different today, in the way you structure it and the way you work – what freedoms do you have now that you didn’t have before?

[TOM]:
Well, I think it’s not just me, but everyone. So even 10 years ago, work was where you went, not what you did. The technology wasn’t advanced enough. The Internet wasn’t strong enough. And I think, if 2020, that pandemic, would have hit five years earlier, it would have looked drastically different because we couldn’t work from home, we couldn’t do a lot of these things. Now, I really look at it as this has pushed us, you know, 5-10 years ahead in remote work. We’ve got a remote team here, so everything I do, I can do from home, but my wife and I, we’re empty nesters now, and one of the things that we always have been trying to do is live remotely one week out of every month. So one week out of every month, we’ll live in a different city. And we can still work with that but we get to see friends, we get to meet people. Like, if we’re in Texarkana, we could work there just the same, and meet you in real life. Now, granted, the COVID things have changed that a bit, for the short term, but I’m confident that we’ll be able to do that. So I think for everybody, it’s like, it’s not so much work-life balance, or how many hours am I at the factory and how many hours I’m at home. It’s more like work-life integration. We can do so many things from our phone, from our laptops. And really, today people really don’t care if you’re in a cubicle or if you’re on the beach, on your computer, just so long as the work gets done.

[BILLY]:
Man, that is amazing. So we’re on the front end of this life, starting a new podcast. We have a mutual friend, Joe Sanok. He just bought an RV, and he’s about to take off and travel around the world. He’s kind of how we got started in podcasting. You guys can go wherever you want, and that just sounds appealing to us as a couple, and the life. The reason we started a podcast, really, was Brandy had her work life, I had my work life, and we were in separate rooms all of the time. And we knew if we created something we were both passionate about, tha forced us to sit down in front of each other, we would spend more time together. But we want that time to be quality time, and we want to build something that allows us to have more freedom, but there’s a lot of fear. How scary was it to leave the brick and mortar world and shift into a more online-minded business that gives you the freedoms you have today?

[TOM]:
It was scary because it’s different. But I think if you focus on the good parts, because… here I am in Michigan, and so I would have to drive to work and if it snowed, oh, man, we’d have to shut down. There would be times where the roads… and it almost felt like you were putting your life in danger just so you could get there, to unlock the door, for everybody else to put their life in danger, to come to work. And you know, I pinch myself now sometimes, wake up on a snowy morning and I look outside and go, wow, I’m glad I don’t have to drive through that, and I get a cup of coffee and turn the computer on. And the other thing too is even, you know, we have a global clientele. So, some mornings, if I had to get up and go in early to talk with somebody in Australia, it’s a lot different than setting the alarm early instead of going for a run, doing a call. Or even we’ve got clients in the Middle East, and their weekend is different. Their weekend is Friday, Saturday. So for me, it’s really easy on a Sunday to do a quick call, and just knowing that I can make that time up in other areas. So we’ve got grandchildren, and my Sabbath is typically Wednesday afternoon. So we take Wednesday afternoon off to play with the grandkids; we call it Best Day Ever. So that kind of flexibility, the fear that goes along with it is okay, but if you can have that vision of wow, this is what it could be, the fear and the problems don’t seem nearly as big.

[BRANDY]:
So, tell us a little bit about Interview Valet, because we have used your services and loved the guests that you’ve sent us. And so our podcast is getting better because of your service. So will you kind of tell us your idea behind it, how it got started, and then what it’s really about, for our listeners?

[TOM]:
Sure. So my viewpoint is that today, our biggest problem that we all have is obscurity. There’s thousands or tens of thousands, maybe millions of people you could serve with your current product or service right now. They’d be happy to give you money; you don’t have to change anything. There’s just one problem – they don’t know you exist. Obscurity is our biggest problem. And a lot of people will talk about ‘breaking through the noise’. And I think it’s laughable. The idea that I’m going to break through the noise of Coca Cola, or Gary Vaynerchuk, or whoever else is out there. And I think a lot of times, it’s the people that are selling us the megaphones that are telling us to break through the noise, you know, just be louder. And to me, I’d rather get in on the conversation that people are already having. And so, early on, we just looked at that and said, how can we help people get in on those conversations, to make those introductions, and really, to foster the conversations?

So it started in 2015, Interview Valet started. We’ve now grown to a team of 18 – two in Europe, two in Canada, and the rest are in the United States. We serve about 100 clients at any one time; a lot of coaches, consultants, authors, brands, even speakers that are looking to get onto digital stages. And our whole business model is you’re the guest, we take care of the rest. So, one of our clients said, I work with you because Sinatra only sang. And I’m like, okay, what does that mean? And he’s like, well, he was a hard working guy, he was a bright guy, he could have done all those things, but he did the best when he performed. And he said, so I like that, that you get everything set up for me, you find the podcasts, you get me the equipment, you brief me on every podcast, so all I just have to do is show up, perform, drop the mic, and go on from there. So we’re really a service driven company that’s focused on relationships and return on investment.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. One thing I love about it is you connect people with like messages, and people I never would have gotten the opportunity to speak with, people across the world. We had a conversation with a couple of guys who wrote a book from Israel not too long ago, that we met through you guys, and to have that kind of connection, and to resonate with people across the world, and get to have those conversations and share that with our audience, it’s just an amazing thing. And when we first talked, you talked about the importance of connection and messages, and a lot of people have messages, but they just don’t have a platform where they can share them. And it seems as though podcasting has created that.

[TOM]:
It is and for most people, it’s very easy. Now, granted, doing a podcast is hard work. Anybody that says it’s easy, has never done it or never done it well.

[BILLY]:
We found that out.

[TOM]:
But, compared to other platforms, you know, if you wanted to start a television show, now you’re talking about millions of dollars. I always put out the, you know, if you wanted to get in front of Oprah’s audience, you’d either have to build a similar program and a similar audience, or you’d have to be invited as a guest on hers. So, to me, the easiest way is to leverage other people’s platforms. A lot of times in real estate, they’ll say, leveraging other people’s money. To me, it’s more powerful to leverage other people’s platforms. Get invited on their stage, whether physical or digital, get introduced to them. I was talking to somebody the other day, it’s like, what’s more fun – to go to a great party, or to host a great party? When I look at that, it’s like, boy, hosting the great party, you got a lot of work on there. Yeah, it’s fun but then you got to do the cleanup too. Just let me get invited to other people’s platforms.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah. So I also want to ask you, because we are the Beta Male Revolution, that you’re working with your wife. How does that… because I will tell you that when Billy and I started this podcast, I thought we had a really good marriage; I found out very quickly that we could not work together if we didn’t set some very strict guidelines and boundaries. We had some of our biggest fights in the beginning of this podcast, really worked through some stuff, and you guys work together – how does that work?

[BILLY]:
We need advice, Tom, is what we’re saying.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah.

[TOM]:
Well, I would say we work with each other but we don’t report to each other. In our last company, that was the case. And if I had the choice between an employee or a bride, I’m going with the bride every time. And so with that, it was very, very tough. Because we’d go out on date night and say, we’re not talking about business at all. Three minutes later, well, this one thing, this one thing. And so it was really, our lives were supporting the business. So when we started Interview Valet, it’s like, no, we’re not going to do that anymore. And we also love what we’re doing so yeah, we talked about it, but it’s not business problems, it’s more fun things that happened in the day. One thing that has really helped is we work on different floors. So my office is downstairs, hers is upstairs. I always joke, the executives are always on the top floor, right? But that helps; it gives us some separation. And you know, we’ll see each other when we’re getting coffee, you know, we typically run together in the morning, we’ll get together for lunch, and then when the day’s over, and we close the door on the office and turn the computers off, we go on to the personal things there. So I think it’s tough at times to do that separation there, but I think not reporting directly to each other has helped.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, so the takeaway is working with each other, not for each other, is the big key there, I would think.

[TOM]:
Very much so. You don’t want to go to bed at night with your boss, or an employee.

[BILLY]:
Absolutely. I love that. Well, I would think that it’s fostered… what we were looking for is more connection, more time with each other. And we stay very busy in our own lives. But we want more connection with each other and other people, and I hear that message coming through in your work. And I would assume y’all have more quality time together now than you did in your previous life, when you weren’t working together.

[TOM]:
Oh, very much so. And when we were going from our last company to this one, you know, Karen looked and said, well, what other opportunities could I look at? And at this time, we had… our two youngest were going into college, and she had an opportunity to work at the local university. And it made a whole lot of sense because tuition is half off, and all these other things, but then we started to look at it. It’s like, I didn’t want her to have to ask for vacation if we had an opportunity to go to some event. Or that if something was going on in the morning, well, sorry, it’s 8:30, I got to leave for work. So it sort of gives us the best of both worlds here. And in the same way, it’s not something that we want to get vacation from, or we’re looking forward to how many days until we can retire. Now, this is our life. This is what we love, and it just gives us flexibility.

[BILLY]:
Oh, it’s beautiful. I love it. You mentioned retirement. At 50, you decided… and it sounds very different than what I think of when I think of retirement, people slowing down, hanging it up, headed to the house, putting their slippers on. It doesn’t sound like that’s quite what you did. You sound pretty busy. What’s a day in the life of Tom Schwab look like?

[TOM]:
Well, it’s funny. If you ask my wife how long I work each week, she’d probably say, you know, 50 or 60 hours. If you asked me, I’d probably say, I don’t know, maybe 20. Because there’s probably 20 hours of stuff that you’d have to pay me to do. The other stuff is fun. I just, I’d do that forever. And I’m more of a morning person, so I get up in the morning, do some calls, do the email, we’ll go for a run, and then we usually try to wrap things up by five or six o’clock. But you’ll see me on the weekends doing client calls, or reading something for work, putting something together, but you’ll also see me on Wednesday afternoons, playing at the park with the grandkids. And so, recently we were down in Nashville for a business meeting, and we saw some podcasters, we saw some clients down there, we saw some prospects. And the question is, is like, were we on vacation or are we working? I don’t know. As far as the IRS knows, you know, we were working 100% of the time, but I would look at that and go, if I was going on a vacation, that’s what I would do. To me, that was fun.

[BRANDY]:
So you have this work-life balance that you’re working on, and you do it all remotely. And so my question is, do you ever feel that not being face to face loses some sort of connection?

[TOM]:
It does. There is something about getting to meet people physically, right? I’m sure when we meet, you’re gonna look and say, wow, I didn’t realize you were that tall, or that short, because you just don’t have those things. And it’s weird at times. We were at a podcast convention, and we’re there and all of a sudden my bride gives a hug to a guy that she’s just met in real life for the first time, but she knew this podcaster for years and years; they were friends, they have just never met in real life. And it definitely takes the relationship to a new level, and that’s one of the reasons that with our remote team, we try to get together at the podcasting conferences, and bring people in so that you can have that time. And at times, it’s just serendipity. If you’re around people, you just learn new things about them, and shared experiences, like you had mentioned Joe Sanok earlier and I had to laugh. I’ve known Joe as a podcaster and then we got to be friends when we both signed up for the same triathlon. It was both of our first triathlons and, you know, just in that hour and a half, or whatever it was, we got to be friends from that shared experience. And that’s one of those things that might not necessarily happen just with an online experience.

[BRANDY]:
Well, we will not be signing up for a triathlon with you, but we will meet you at the donut store one day. No, I think people, they’re dating online, they meet online, they talk online, they can develop these relationships for sure. But there is something to meeting – I’m glad that you said that – but for what you guys have been doing, you’re ahead of the curve, and you’re also ahead of COVID. So, for a lot of people, working remotely has just been out of necessity, and you guys were doing it normally. And so it’s kind of cool to see how you guys have done it, how we can get advice from you, how we can hear from you. And we just appreciate your service.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. So in your life, Tom, we want to know, from the beginning to the end, where you’re at now, what’s the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn up to this point?

[TOM]:
Well, you know, God is very fair. If you don’t figure out the lesson one time, he’ll keep giving you the test until you pass it. And I take this test all the time. My natural inclination is, ‘I can do it all’. If something is under stress, I’ll… let me work harder. I can figure this out. I can do it myself. And I’ve seen this when I was in school, as a young father, a young business owner, and even now, and what I always realize is that if I would just pick my head up from the grindstone there, look around, there’s all these people that want to help me, if I could just ask for the help. So for me, it’s asking for help. And thinking of who could I work with to make this fun, as opposed to how hard can I work to accomplish this?

[BILLY]:
And that’s gold right there. Just just enjoying life, and it can be so difficult but it can be so good too. And we just have to tweak a couple of little things. So when we talked about you retiring, but not really retiring, what’s kept you from hanging it up and putting on the slippers and checking out and just going to the house, what inspires you to keep going, Tom?

[TOM]:
I don’t want to get old, and… I don’t know if you know Dan Miller from 48 Days to the Work You Love – he’s my inspiration. Dan is probably in his mid 70s, and he’s more excited about the next decade of his life than any other decade before him. And he reminds me in some ways of my grandkids. He’s a curious… he’s excited about the future, he dreams. And I see that and I’m like, Dan has this rich life. And then I see other people that retire, they slow down, they put their feet up, and it’s just like, they’re counting the days until the undertaker comes and gets them. And it’s like, I don’t want that. And he’s inspirational to me. So I always look to him, and when you say, I’m halfway done, I don’t know. When my dad died at 62, in my mind I kept playing this thing where I’d start to subtract my age and think, well, I’ve only got, you know, so many years left. And somebody pointed out to me, don’t do that. You will talk yourself into that. So they encouraged me to think of the oldest family member that I could think of, and then add like an extra 5 or 10 years for medical advances. So I’m like, well, my grandma died at the age of 97. I’ll tack on another, you know, 5 or 10 years. So I figure I’m at about the halfway point now.

[BILLY]:
Love it.

[BRANDY]:
I love that. You really are speaking my language. Billy and I talk all the time, like, I don’t want to retire. I love what I do right now. We love doing this podcast together. I can’t imagine my life of sitting still, kicking my feet up, like there’s just so much world that needs to be explored, and so many people that I want to meet. Like, getting to speak with you. This is not work. This is fun. This is interesting. This is mind blowing. So I admire that about you. You’ll be hearing from us again because you have some pieces of advice, and a way of living that I think is very attractive to not only Billy and I, but to our listeners.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. Tom, thank you so much for taking the time to share your journey, and your story with us. You and your company connect people at a time that people feel connection is lost. Thank you for the work you do in the world. We can still have community, we can still have connection, through podcasts and technology. Thank you for sharing with us today, so much.

[TOM]:
Thank you, Billy and Brandy. I appreciate who you are, what you do, and the difference that you’re making in the world.

[BILLY]:
Talk to you soon, Tom. Thank you so much.

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