Search Interviews:

Jeremy Weisz 9:07 

I’m curious, Craig, you mentioned masterclass, right. And you were the early on masterclass, essentially. And all the other ones that came after you are not only following your footsteps and looked at what you did, I’m wondering when you look at masterclass what do you see them doing really well and what do you see that may look at improving even I mean, if people haven’t heard of masterclass you know, if you want to learn basketball, they have things with Steph Curry, if you learn tennis, Serena Williams, I mean, they have the ultimate people in that industry teaching some of these particular skills and it’s pretty cool just the people that they’ve had on so I’m curious, from your standpoint, been doing it for so many years? What do they do well, and what do you think they should maybe look at improving?

Craig Swanson 9:56 

Well, first of all, I would never, I believe that they are having exactly the business that they want to have. And they are absolutely killing it in terms of what they are creating. When I look at masterclass at some point I realized when we were building CreativeLive that a lot of us were talking about the reinvention of online education. And I really realized in a lot of ways what was happening is we were also getting this reinvention of what TV was, and I see masterclasses a lot of that, because when we were competing with these large classes for CreativeLive or time, we were not actually competing with colleges, we were competing with Netflix. And it was a matter of creating what I was calling bingeable education, education where people could watch and absorb and really get something where they could get a lot more out of the hours that they put into that than necessarily watching on Netflix. And I would say, masterclass is an extraordinary example that their production values are tremendous. And also, there are times where you look at the topics and you realize it really is a little bit more like a interpersonal documentary or conversation with someone more than education. I think one of the masterclass topics I thought was really fascinating is how to be an astronaut by I don’t know which astronaut taught it. But it is a great example of something that you don’t really take a class online to learn to do these things. So there’s a lot of masterclass courses that are not actually providing what the box says they’re providing. It is providing a educational consumption that a lot of us really love to basically just improve ourselves intellectually, while maybe not being actionable in our lives.

Jeremy Weisz 11:40 

Yeah. Yeah, I want my money back. I watched how to be an astronaut. Do you have any other favorites on either CreativeLive or masterclass favorite all times classes?

Craig Swanson 11:54 

Well, I mean, in terms of me, in terms of my taste, Brene Brown is one of my favorite educators, which is a lot more interpersonal and more deep, self-worth work about basically how we show up in the world. But masterclass, a lot of cooking classes, I think, are really extraordinary. They’ve got some really amazing ones. And then personally from my taste, I love the ones that are with the directors, I think we’ve had a whole series of directors basically talking about what it is to do filmmaking. And there are a lot of pearls of wisdom, not just in terms of video production, but also in just in terms of leadership in terms of like getting things out of talent that makes sense.

Jeremy Weisz 12:33 

What about what were some of the fan favorites on CreativeLive?

Craig Swanson 12:38 

So we had a huge amount in photography. So I would say in terms of fan favorites, CreativeLive really broke down into photography. So if you’re in photography, you’re probably watching Sue Bryce, you were watching Vincent lafer re Zack Arias. And then we had an entire business division that came in with Tim Ferriss. And so you either lead with Sue Bryce or Tim Ferriss, in terms of what you love on CreativeLive, and then it branches out from there.

Jeremy Weisz 13:06 

Talk about Sue Bryce, you worked with Sue Bryce Education? What did you do?

Craig Swanson 13:12 

So, I met Sue when I was recruiting her for CreativeLive years ago, in 2012. I think her first course was and she basically taught us a creative level was possible in a course, we had all of our metrics and standards that we thought an extraordinary course was, and she broke all of them. That’s the point.

Jeremy Weisz 13:42 

Yeah, if you’re watching the video, and if you’re on the audio, we are showing a screen share. And we can see the here.

Craig Swanson 13:50 

Absolutely. So at CreativeLive, we did live three-day courses that anyone could watch for free. And so what ends up happening is people would watch it, they’d see exactly what’s being taught. And then a portion of that large audience that was watching would want to be able to have that course for themselves to rewatch or be able to do anything they want with. And so they would purchase it. And a good class at CreativeLive had a conversion of like one to 2%, if we did above one to 2% we were okay.

Jeremy Weisz 14:22 

So you can watch it free. If they like it, they purchase it so they can watch it forever.

Craig Swanson 14:28 

Exactly. And you also have to keep in mind, these were three-day courses. So it was a Friday, Saturday, Sunday. You could also look at it as you can have it for free or you can buy your weekend back for $99. And then you can watch on your own schedule. So Sue converted at 8%. And what that basically meant was she didn’t come in with a large audience. She didn’t come in with a topic that even people were so hungry with. But Sue was someone where when you start listening to Sue you realize you cannot have enough of what she is sharing. And there is nobody I’ve worked with that has created that energy more than Sue. And she, after about four years, building exclusively on CreativeLive, started her own education company her on education platform in 2015. Wasn’t Sue Bryce Education at that time, it was just in bed was Sue Bryce, it was Sue Bryce. And around that time we’d had some transitions in terms of CreativeLive in terms of leadership, and I was transitioning out. And in 2016, I joined Sue Bryce, in her company, along with George and Aaron, who had been part of my team at CreativeLive previously, and we spent the next five years building Sue Bryce Education into what it is now, which is pretty amazing.

Jeremy Weisz 15:57 

Wow, that is amazing. Can you talk a little bit about conversions? Right, the factors of conversions. And you mentioned obviously, there’s a factor of a personality, right, a compelling personality and Sue had that what are some other factors that help with conversions?

Craig Swanson 16:17 

So let’s just start with the basics, ultimately, and this is for online education. But this is for anything, online, people make choices for what they are purchasing based on their needs, not based on the instructors needs, or the company’s needs or anything else. And so I think Sue has a really soothing voice, she’s really easy to listen to. But ultimately, the most compelling thing about Sue is the audience that was attracted to her and the audience that she spoke to, she knew intimately. And she knew intimately the pains that they were experiencing, because it was pains that Sue had worked through herself. And she connected with people on a more deep and visceral level in terms of the challenges that people face creating a creative business. And she spent probably more time digging into an understanding of what kept people from moving forward in that area, rather than spending her time trying to tell everybody how great it was gonna be and how much he had personally accomplished. In terms of online education, or different things like that, one thing to keep in mind is there’s a sliding scale, depending on how one what you’re charging, and who your audience is. What things I would say for the book publishing industry, if authors got paid, based on everybody who finished the last page on the last chapter, the publishing industry would look very different. At the price of books, for book readers of the $12, to 25 to $50 range, there’s a lot of people that are signaling their own value system to themselves in the books they’re choosing even before they read them. And there’s a lot of people that get value out of the books that they choose, where they maybe only consume a small portion of those books, or they go to the chapter they want, or they go to the section they want. I always use books as an example, because somehow online content creators somehow feel like their market success is when someone consumes 100% of their content. And so a some content creators will create courses, in which they think their only value is for something where everybody in the audience experiences every single piece that is in that course, which in my mind, is a very instructor-focused mindset. As opposed to understanding that different people get different values out of things at different stages. And allowing people to pick the value they want out of what they’re purchasing and not prescribing the value that is necessary. I kind of went off on a tangent there.

Jeremy Weisz 16:32 

No, I totally, I was talking to someone a couple weeks ago, and they bought, you know, a multi $100 course. And we are discussing, and they said the page, whatever the sales page was like, whatever it was 10 pages long. And they said they bought the core for one bullet on one of the pages like the rest of it, whatever they bought it for one bullet on one of those 10 pages to your point.

Craig Swanson 19:36 

Absolutely. And hopefully they got what they wanted out of it. And I think there’s a lot of people that just feel like everyone needs to like read all the fluff and all the video production where I think it’s a huge benefit in concise organization of what you want to deliver and an understanding that people come in for their own needs and let’s help people find their needs as opposed to putting them on an educational track. Is that they must not deviate from?

Jeremy Weisz 20:05 

So you’re mentioning from a conversion standpoint, online education and pricing, how do you think how should people think about pricing their course or products?

Craig Swanson 20:17 

For me, I think in the range of, let’s say, $199, down to $20. So in this sub $200 range, and probably somewhere in the 37 to $90 range, there’s just under $200 range. Conversion is driven almost entirely by the needs of the audience. And generally, that is a price point that is not going to put someone at risk. And generally, people are going to make purchases in that range, based on what they need, not based on the length of the product, or based on anything. So I have seen people that for example, I have sold for KaisaFit, we sold a 15-minute mobility course, it was our number one selling course that we really ever did, we sold probably about 60,000, or 60,000 units of this 15-minute video, none of us thought it was gonna sell it was an experiment. And it was a great experiment. And he got extraordinary reviews. And that 15 minutes was incredibly valuable to the audience. And I think we sold it at $29, something like that. And it was an incredibly productive product. And before that, there was a time where I thought I had to have eight hours’ worth of content and everything I sold. So there was a time where I thought that there was a sliding scale where it’s the number of hours of content on a sliding scale between x dollar and y dollar and that’s what matters. And in the under $200 range. Almost none of that matters. In my opinion. Now, it is all about the needs of the audience members. And they can serve those needs with one bullet point, as you’re saying, like there’s an integrity piece for me that that I’m a huge believer in putting in a guarantee and putting in the ability to like, honor things if you didn’t live up to what you promised to a client. But people get so caught up in the instructors idea of what they need to deliver that we get lost in terms of not listening to what the clients in the audience wants. And that’s the under $200 range. And that’s in part because hopefully people that are spending that amount of money are not putting themselves at personal risk. And then there is the more expensive courses in the $2,000 the you know, the $2,000 up to $10,000 courses. Those there’s generally a sense of risk and commitment that is different from in from inexpensive courses, it’s completely different psychology, it’s completely different mindset for the instructor. And probably it’s not an ethical or there’s not a lot of integrity of going in there assume that people are not going to be consuming those, there is less of a opportunity to say, hey, only 10% of the audience actually complete something like this, there’s probably a greater commitment to those people. And for that I think that it’s really important to build out your expertise and be able to basically deliver what you’re doing, and basically building that out. So I have purchased a number of expensive courses, I purchased a $4,000 Facebook advertising course that I gave to one of my employees and that I audited with them, which I thought was fantastic. I have purchased $12,000 programs of masterminds around building things. So I have invested in some of these types of things. And there’s a very different mindset going into that it is much more of a risk. To me personally, it’s much more of a risk, both in terms of time, and money and everything else and so it’s a very different sales process. And the one that I will say is a lot of people, I think there’s a lot of trainers out there that are just teaching people how to create online courses and a lot of people just copying and pasting a sales strategy that ends up being mismatched with whatever content they’re creating, or with what the need that they’re serving in the marketplaces.

Jeremy Weisz 24:36 

Thanks for that, that was hugely instructive. I love how you think about that. I love to hear and I want to talk about KaisaFit in a second, but just in general, who are the you know, I know you’re always partnering with people in the future and you really have a limited capacity to partner When people think who is an ideal partner? What is the criteria look like for you?

Craig Swanson 25:07 

So a little bit background. So I effectively work as a back-end business partner, to generally one person at a time for or I come into a new relationship about once a year, to basically help someone build out their business. And so that process is usually a three to six-year process of basically helping them build out this business, create product market fit, create something that can scale build out a team that can run it to the next level. And so generally, the type of person I partner with is, they are a visionary, they’re a really strong visionary. And they are often very mission-driven. They are a very strong expert in their field, whether it’s Sue Bryce, who is a absolute master of photography, and a master of portrait photography, specific or KaisaFit, who is a master coach and has been working with, with helping getting people moving for her entire life, or other. I’ve worked with hairdressers, I’ve worked with these different people, they’re basically masters of their industry. And they have a fairly significant audience that they already know how to speak to. So they’re speaking to over 250,000 people in some fashion, whether it’s on YouTube, Instagram, some form of communication. And they have created and sold some form of digital product before. So generally, I would say they’ve sold somewhere around $100,000 of digital products in the last couple of years. And that’s kind of a key number, because it’s a relatively small number, sales wise for the type of person that we’re talking about. Because the partners that I’m really good at or where they themselves are running into issues that they can’t get around, that are keeping them from being able to go to the next level. They have the audience, they have the knowledge, they have the mission, they have all these pieces, but they may not have the business acumen, yet, they may not be able to run a team, yet, they may have very often there’s a little bit of ADHD or a little bit of over creativity that they don’t know how to control or funnel into something that they can get completed. And I basically come into relationship as the integrator, the executor, the back-end business partner, that basically helps build out a business platform with them and for them, that allows them to shine and allows them to basically serve this market to the size that they are capable.

Jeremy Weisz 27:50 

I have talked to people personally and have also heard that someone’s got hundreds of 1000s of followers, even million followers are millions of followers, and they haven’t been able to monetize it. Right. And so what you’re saying is, that person may not be a fit, because they haven’t sold any courses at all. But I mean, we hear this all the time. Someone who has millions of followers, but they aren’t able to monetize what they’re doing. Do you find that to be common?

Craig Swanson 28:25 

I guess it depends a little bit on why they have followers and why they’ve been unable to monetize. So I will say for myself, I definitely come from an educational or coaching or digital product mindset. So if someone has hundreds of 1000s of followers, because they are doing something that is around them, their fashion, their style, their lifestyle, but they don’t really have either a desire or an area to be able to share expertise or share education, there’s probably not a fit for me just because they are playing a different game, they’re probably playing more of a brand game. And hopefully they’re playing at that level. Maybe they haven’t sold any digital goods for themselves. But they have hopefully got some brand relationships, maybe they’ve launched in products, like there’s a lot of other ways to monetize an audience like that. My area of monetization is around that mix of really extraordinary education combined with a mission driven to a specific audience that has already responded.

Jeremy Weisz 29:30 

Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. I think, who out there do you see? And do you do coaching or consulting? Can someone come to you and go listen, I don’t know. I want to pay you to consult with him. Maybe it’s a fifth partner, maybe not I don’t you get any of those requests.

Craig Swanson 29:48 

You know what I smiled and he said, Can I pay you because honestly, that’s the part that I don’t do. So I do a lot of coaching. I do a lot of coaching. I actually lead the coaching program at EO Accelerator for Seattle, which is a coaching program for entrepreneurs in general, they’re trying to break a million dollars. And I also just have a large network of creators that know they can call me and just book an hour with me to just talk out stuff. So I do a lot of coaching, one of the things I don’t do is I don’t have a mechanism right now where I charge for consulting or coaching and don’t really have a place for it. Part of that is a block on my own part. Part of what got me into creating digital goods is I had an IT company, I was a service based company back in 2000. And until 2010, I made a really hard mental break between trading my time for money, starting around 2000. And creating this boundary between 2000 2010 Where I don’t trade my time for money in really any fashion whatsoever. What I do is I invest my time in people and relationships and building stuff and platforms. And I get paid by the stuff and platforms that I helped build and create. But nowhere in my life do I trade and amount of money for an amount of time. And I don’t even know how to do it.

Jeremy Weisz 31:15 

Yeah, I was just asking, because if someone’s listening to this, and they contact you, I want to make sure that your time is respected. And whatever you donate it to charity or whatever, it’s not like you said, it’s about the relationship and the help, but it truly means someone’s serious in getting your advice and possibly working with you, hopefully beyond that, to see if that fits on both parties sides.

Craig Swanson 31:41 

I will say the big thing that’s coming up a lot for me is I’m getting a lot of content creators that are calling that have created their course that they’ve poured their heart and soul into creating a course that they are not able to take to market. And I’m actually thinking right now there’s probably about five that have some of the most beautiful production values I’ve ever seen. And I don’t know what to do with those people. I mean, I’m not saying that I…

Jeremy Weisz 32:10 

You need many Craigs. You need many Craigs?

Craig Swanson 32:13 

Well, the thing is, Craig, I don’t actually know how to get the first 100 customers, so what I know how to do is I know how to watch somebody that can get the first 100 customers and I can build matching systems and systems at scale on the march from the first 100 customers to the first 1000 customers and in that march from the first 100 customers to the first 1000 customers I basically build learning systems to master the sales and scaling process so that we can go from the first 1000 customers to the next 100,000 customers. That’s what I am extraordinary at what I don’t know is I don’t know how to get the first 100 Customers.

Jeremy Weisz 32:57 

Who out there do you see in the universe maybe it’s in social media wherever that you think you know they have a really cool brand I really liked their mission. It’s someone that is in the realm that I should be working with. Who sticks out to you?

Craig Swanson 33:18 

There are a couple, one of the tricky things here is most people that are playing on a big enough field that I am seeing them a lot of times have solved this in various ways. But there are a couple homeschooling communities that I have seen that I have a lot of engagement so that some of the topics I’m really interested in is food and cooking education. Homeschooling and I have a daughter with down syndrome so also I’m particularly interested in potentially communities around homeschooling for parents with children with disabilities of some fashion, I’m trying to think here.

Jeremy Weisz 34:08 

Is there an expert out there in that field? Like who are the experts in homeschooling especially geared towards parents who have kids with disabilities? Is there an expert out there?

Craig Swanson 34:21 

I don’t have anyone like off the top my head i There are some communities I have seen that are really engaged but I don’t have a person’s name off the top of my head.

Jeremy Weisz 34:30 

So homeschooling food, what other?

Craig Swanson 34:33 

There’s this whole other category of basically creative industries that people turn to for both personal development as well as building their next business. So years ago, there’s a lot of people would turn to real estate agents early like they become real estate agents at a certain phase because they had really strong relationship skills, yoga studios or a lot of yoga instructors in there, wedding photography really hit that niche where there are a lot of really talented photographers that come into wedding photography as the business that they can grow and start growing. Sue Bryce with portrait photography, a lot of personally creative, expressive outlets that women and men are attracted to maybe mid-career. So in their late 30s, early 40s, when they’ve got some skills under their belt from a previous job looking at being able to branch out into a more of an entrepreneurial business that has a little more creative flair and a little personal connection. That type of intersection of creativity and business development is what I love to create platforms to support.

Jeremy Weisz 35:53 

Let’s talk about KaisaFit, and what you do with them. You mentioned them before. I’ll pull it up here so we can begin take a look at it. What do you do with KaisaFit?

Craig Swanson 36:06 

So I knew that I was really attracted to doing something in the fitness space, I was really attracted doing something in the fitness space. And this was in early 2019. And I was working on some of my own personal health issues, one of the things I was going through as I was exploring whether I had an eating disorder or my relationship with food. And while I was going through this, I was also really interested in fitness as a business model. But I was really bothered by the fact that I knew how to make money in fitness, which was to show a bunch of bodies with a before and after. And to basically make women specifically feel bad about the body they’re in promise a change and have them drop money. So that is if you’re looking for a business model. I mean, like if all you care about is money, there’s a business model that works every year forever.

Jeremy Weisz 37:00 

Yeah, I think I see those ads all over Facebook and wherever else.

Craig Swanson 37:06 

So I’ve had friends that have done that. I mean, I know the business model I did not want to do, it didn’t reflect the values I had didn’t reflect what I was working on with myself. I had a list of influencers and people I was interested and Kaisa, I had known about Kaisa and Kaisa is incredibly badass fitness coach, she is like a tremendous fitness professional. But what got me is she gave a speech to other trainers, about her personal mission, which was very much against tying movement and working out to weight loss and body shape change. And basically that movement is for improving our joy of life and our ability to show love to our bodies like basically live in the body that we have, rather than trying to sell fitness as a punishment to be able to change the way we look. And when I heard that I said, actually this value that she is expressing is really something I would love if she believes that. And if she wants to build that I would be really excited about building something with her. And I had a friend that could introduce me to Kaisa she had about 870,000 followers on Instagram at that point. And I had not taken him up on that introduction because I didn’t feel like I was ready to have that conversation. I didn’t feel like I had the economic argument. I didn’t feel like I had the examples. I didn’t have the business plan everything else. I hadn’t figured out how I could make a business that could really sing within this space given what I wanted to do, and basically said, hey, would you introduce me and I had a conversation with her basically said, If this is the value that believe like if these words that you said in this video, are you? I don’t know if you’d want me as a business partner, but I would really like to help you build something. And I think I was one of the first people that ever approached her that way and honestly, the really crazy thing is I didn’t even know how badass she was. I came to her because of her mission and because of her stated purpose. And then I discovered how incredibly amazing she is in terms of like her physical feats of strength and skill and everything. So I came in completely reversed from I think from everyone else that had been approaching her.

Jeremy Weisz 39:55 

Yeah, if you’re watching the video, you can see I’m scrolling through the About page you can see obviously, she’s on the cover of strong and American Fitness and oxygen and all these magazines as well.

Craig Swanson 40:10 

Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, and if you go back to, if you like, click on just move the whole idea with just move, which was the platform that we built out. It is a fitness movement at home membership for people that want to get the feeling and basically want to feel better in their body and be flexible and enjoy life, and to take out all the conversation around body shape, and weight loss and everything else that gets tied in to trying to change people’s appearances and just focus on being able to change the way people feel in their body, and the health that they experience in living their life.

Jeremy Weisz 40:53 

I’d love to hear some of the nuances in the beginning, again, you’re partnering with someone, and you are vetting them just as much as they’re vetting you in this process. So how does that initial you start the conversation with KaisaFit? How does it progress?

Craig Swanson 41:13 

Well, it even ties back a little bit to what you were talking about earlier about, do I do a coaching? Effectively, all I do, I mean, I am helping people who have online content companies or want to build online content companies all the time. So the conversation will usually start somewhere in there, or it’s a referral from someone I’ve helped in the past, I only go into business with maybe one new person a year. But that’s because I’m often helping people, and they don’t need me as a business partner. And kind of what I’m looking for is I’m looking for a couple things in a business. So I’m just looking at the business opportunity because I love the challenge of getting a business to above a million dollars in revenue. And then I want to find something that’s big enough where we can march up to above $10 million a year in revenue. So there’s this size and scope and opportunity that I’m kind of looking for. And I’m looking for someone that has a vision and a mission that I can really get behind because I am going to be helping them build a platform to make their voice stronger and broader. And it is their mission and their voice. But I need to be able to really buy into it and really believe that this is something that I want to make real in the world. And then really the last piece is whether there’s a fit for me whether what they uniquely need is what I’m going to be bringing to the table, and it’s this combination of things. Because I tell people if they can do this, without me, they should do this without me. I mean, I’m only working with people for whom I am a real unique fit to make something possible. One of the things, the most common thing is a lot of what I do, you can hire people to do. So you can hire people to do the back-end site, the marketing, the IT the web development, the video production, all this are horrible things. But when you hire somebody, one of the dynamics that relationship is unless you are willing to give up so much control that they can override you or that they are a stakeholder in the conversation. They basically have to serve at your pleasure. And ultimately, if you’re paying them, they are working for the money that you’re paying them. And they may suggest things, but ultimately, you’re the one driving the boat. In the partnerships I’m in, really those people need an additional stakeholder, they need a business partner who is a stakeholder in the business that can negotiate and advocate as a stakeholder in the business. And in that case, rather than paying me I’m often bringing the money into the relationship. So it is definitely something for someone who is ready, who is looking for a partner and there’s a lot of conversation a lot of times we months of conversation before we get into something along with some test runs because most of this is building out trust and making sure that there’s a right fit for everybody involved.

Jeremy Weisz 44:39 

How do you recommend, Craig, like when you do amplify this voice for people, the internet and social media can be a dangerous place where people make comments and negative comments and negative things. What are some of the examples and how should people handle the scrutiny? Because now there’s 100 people listening now there’s a million people listening, and someone’s gonna not like what you say, I don’t care how nice or good it is, right?

Craig Swanson 45:17 

Yeah, I think first of all, that is one of the things I’m also kind of getting a sense of is how ready someone is to, to play at that stage. So, I think one of the challenges is to be able to play at that stage, I think, this works best when someone has such a strong mission and purpose for what they’re sharing. And such a clear idea of who they’re serving, that their own ego can be set aside to some degree. So, it becomes a little bit less about them and more about the mission and the people they’re serving. And I think it’s also really, really important to have a support group around ourselves, that know us, that have our best interests at heart that hold us accountable and hold us to our own truths. Because ultimately, the thing with the internet is, I can find any reinforcing opinion on the internet for any opinion that I want to hold. And so what ends up happening is, one of two things happen, I think, when people end up getting a lot of feedback from the internet. One is they can be so overwhelmed, that they just shut down. Or they can become so big, they can become so aware that so many opinions exist at once that are contradictory, that they ultimately have to decide to follow themselves. So I think there can be something freeing for being on the stage because a lot of times, so it’s just back out a second, because a lot of times, then we’ll just talk about someone who has a large following, let’s say that they’re doing something, they create a large following that 250,000 followers. A lot of times those people unless they came up through a media organization, or they came in from a professional place beforehand. Most of the people I work with that level of prominence is something that they got to somewhat unexpectedly. And they have a bunch of stories about themselves. That around whether they are well educated or around whether they have this skill or that skill, like being public in this way, creates a lot of opportunity for us to feed whatever self-fulfilling delusion we have about ourselves that we want to. And there is this process of using that to learn about ourselves and become more clear on what’s important to us. And then if you can get to a place where basically, you can become truer to yourself in the process and try to find a way for your voice to be louder in what is true to me to a point that I’m willing to be wrong, that we’re not that willing to be wrong. Or I’m willing to be misunderstood. I think that people can release some of the energy that they’re fighting with the internet, because here’s the thing, like I said, you can find whatever you want as feedback. And so you can tell yourself any story you want to tell yourself about yourself from what’s happening out there on the internet. And you will have as much evidence as you need to make it true. The trick is to become clear on what’s true for me, for us for you. And to own it as much as possible. And to have people that are supporting you be people that you listen to that you trust that have your interests at heart that I feel like I was rambling a little bit there. But that’s really tough. I mean, but it’s also.

Jeremy Weisz 49:18 

I mean, I get what you’re saying. It’s like if someone’s kind of sticking to their ultimate mission, and also not having a huge ego and not taking things personally, then you just try and serve as much as humanly possible.

Craig Swanson 49:32 

You know what, here’s only actually back up I think I’d say a little bit simpler. I said people come in, if you look at people who have media experience before they became internet famous, they understand they have a different relationship with their image than someone that comes up more organically. Someone that is media trained, knows that there is this caricature of themselves that they’re putting out. They try to make that caricature as genuine to them as possible maybe, but they understand That thing that they’re putting out is not them. It is a kind of this image or caricature of themselves that they’re putting out. People who build an organic following out of something that feels really true, may find at some point that they really resent the caricature of themselves that they have created in order to be an efficient marketer of their own image. And then they fight against wanting to be more than will fit into a social media relationship. And either they’ll blow it up, or they have to like go find another place to be able to go a little bit deeper.

Jeremy Weisz 50:38 

Yeah. First of all, Craig, I have one last question. I just want to thank you for sharing your journey and your knowledge with me and everyone else, and people can learn more, at And on LinkedIn, or whatever channels Craig’s on, since we’re talking about online education, and education in general, my question is some of your favorite. It can be your mentor personal mentors or distant mentors, meaning books or resources that you love.

Craig Swanson 51:12 

Okay, so if I go back, if I go back to the very beginning, one of my favorite books, and I think actually, he got rewritten and retitled but a book that my dad gave me when I was just going out on my own as an IT consultant. It was a book by Jeffrey Bellman called The Consultants Calling and the subhead was Getting Things Done When You’re Not The One In Charge. And there is so much about what I have created in my life that kind of harkens back to that, which is this idea of being a leader and being an influencer without doing it from a point of being the one in charge without, like leading people who don’t have to follow you. And I think the skills and like the mindset that’s come up out of that, for me in my career, it’s really like where I’m at in a lot is, is this whole idea of being a kind of a professional business partner, and being a partner of basically being able to advocate without necessarily being able to tell people what they must do, but being able to help lead people who are leaders.

Jeremy Weisz 52:32 

Love it. Any other favorite books?

Craig Swanson 52:36 

Right now, I really love EOS, the entrepreneur operating system. So the one book that I encourage everybody to read that’s in this space that I’m talking to these creative leaders that are struggling to figure out how to organize their business is Rocket Fuel. It’s the book in the EOS series that basically talks about the relationship between the visionary and the integrator. And I can’t say how many people said, read the first three chapters of this book. And once you’ve read the first three chapters of this book, you get to decide what happens next, will either resonate with you or it won’t, but for me, it was life changing.

Jeremy Weisz 53:13 

Yeah, love it. And I actually did a an interview check out the one I did with Mark Winters, who’s the co-author and I also did an interview with Gino Wickman who authored that and Traction so check those out as well love that. And I think they have a quiz somewhere. Craig I did take at some point which is like they rank how much are you visionary and how much you integrator and most of the people out there at least in the CEOs are visionary. So hence you coming as an integrator is very valuable and they even say in there. It’s less common in that position to be more integrator than visionary.

Craig Swanson 53:53 

Yeah. It is great to have a good integrator backing you up.

Jeremy Weisz 54:00 

Check it out. Go to Learn more. And Craig. Thanks. And thanks, everyone.

Craig Swanson 54:07 

Jeremy, thank you very much.