Today, we’ve got the Founder of Obsessed Academy and Obsessed Conference, Evan Stewart. Evan helps others build a life they can be obsessed about through his private events, hosting thousands of world-changers at the Obsessed Conference, impacting lives on the Obsessed Podcast, speaking to the world’s most forward-thinking companies, and more. We get into his war time CEO mentality and learn about his replacements mentality that will help you make an immediate impact on your life. Check it out.
The Mastermind Effect: 03:06
The availability to have access to different people, has changed over the last 5-10 years. In my opinion, when we were younger, we learned from textbooks and teachers, and then that eventually became our friends and our co-workers. But it was like just a sliver of what was really possible out there. How has your learning changed from your early years versus today?
Evan Stewart: 03:30
There are some things that have changed and there are some things that have been consistent. I think, fundamentally, things can change in regards to where we get our knowledge from. But that doesn’t mean that the pursuit of the knowledge has actually shifted. What I mean by that is, mentors, for example, have always been a really important part of my life. The difference is that through the use of technology, we have an opportunity to learn from silent mentors and silent mentorship or just people that you don’t have relationships with.
So that’s maybe your listeners, they’re listening to the show, they say and I’m learning from Brandon. I have people that I feel blessed to call me a mentor that I’ve never met with just because of the content that you produce, you know, you can connect with pretty much anybody that you want to through their content and learn from them and wrack their brain or whatever it is you want to call it without actually meeting them. So that’s one thing that’s actually been a constant.
Ever since I was young, I’ve always had a relentless pursuit just to know more and a curiosity that has really never been quenched. I believe it’s so important to be curious, not just in trying to learn about something very educational in school, but also knowing why things work. You have to know how money moves, you have to know some basics. Also, one thing that has really helped me is when I’m curious about something, I feed into it, even if it’s something completely arbitrary. So like, I was curious about wanting to cook better. So I bought the Gordon Ramsay masterclass, and I wanted to learn a lot about cooking. It has nothing to do with my business. It’s not going to make me any money. I’m not opening a food truck. I’m not a chef. But I think when you work that muscle, what’s really shifted for me is kind of embracing this side of leaning into things that aren’t profession are going to learn how to make more money or close more deals. Because when you feed the curiosity in other areas of your life, you begin to open your mind to the point where you’re excited and fascinated, motivated and inspired to dive back into things that fulfill your work. And so for me, technology’s been great use of that.
The Mastermind Effect: 05:25
Diving back into what you said, you talked about mentorship. If you ever want to take a look back, or anyone that’s listening, episode nine talks about mentorship and the importance of finding those mentors. Mentors have mentors, at the end of the day. For sure, I love hearing that you believe the importance of having one, that it’s critically important to one’s success and future. So let’s move on and talk about who we’re learning from.
We can take a ton of information. Right now, like you said, over the last 10 years, Zoom wasn’t available. Facebook wasn’t what it is today, let alone Google. To take in all this information, some people learn from mentors. Others learn from accountability buddies, or masterminds coaches. Whomever that is, who are you currently learning from? More importantly, how did you find them?
Evan Stewart: 06:26
I have a couple of different people that I’m learning from. One of my most prominent mentors right now is actually a gentleman you mentioned, who’s coming to my conference, Tim story. We’ve had a chance to build an amazing relationship. Now I’ve got a couple other people that I learned from as well that I’ll keep those relationships quiet. But at the end of the day, one thing that I believe is that there’s five areas that make a whole person–personal, financial, spiritual, relational and professional.
The reason why I state that is because oftentimes, we look for one person to be the solution to all areas when in reality, we can have multiple different perspectives. I’ve got a great spiritual mentor in my life, who I wouldn’t take advice from financially because financially, my goals are not aligned with his. But spiritually, we have amazing and deep conversations and vice versa.
I’ve got amazing financial mentors who don’t have the same spiritual goals that I have. So the mentorship ends and just becomes friendship outside of that one financial picture. So I think it’s so important to find multiple different perspectives and take each one with a grain of salt and consider its applicability.
I also heard a saying about learning from one person. In reality, if there’s somebody in your life who’s telling you to learn from one person, chances are that person is probably selling you an opportunity to learn from them.
To answer your second question, how do you get to those people? Man, I wish I had a really awesome kind of sexy answer for you, Brandon, my answer is just ask. There are two ways to get the high quality people: pay for it, or ask, and don’t pretend to be something you’re not.
The Mastermind Effect: 09:58
I’m getting goosebumps from what you’re saying there. The reason? We’ve almost recorded 40 episodes. And the common thing that keeps coming back is, number one, have multiple mentors. Have people that align with you ask, just ask. And you’re, you’re amazed what you’ll get back in response, people are more available today than they’ve ever been, because of what’s going on out there. And then yes, the other one is, hey, listen, sometimes you’re going to have to pay to play. But the price of entry can take you to the front of the line. And it’s worth it. So everything you said there, every successful person that we’ve been talking with, and continue to, has that same mentality.
Evan Stewart: 10:40
Well there’s a narrative that you shouldn’t buy your friends and stuff like that. I get what you’re saying, which is, if you only like me because I’m throwing cash your way–well, we have a problem. That’s not a real relationship. But what happens is, this infects the mentality that I can’t use the resources that I’ve earned, to get close to the people who are important to me. Here’s the thing, reverse the conversation.
If you’re listening to this, and there’s someone who wants to make their way to you, you’ve got two people, one person that slid into your DMS and asked, and one person that wire $10,000 in your account and says, “I’m going to fly down to your hometown, I want 30 minutes with you.” Which one do you think is more committed? And you’re going to pay more attention to?
What I’m saying is, you have to use what people pay attention to to demand their attention. So if you’re trying to get the attention of someone, stop just waving your flags and start really getting down into the meat of what does this individual pay attention to? How can I demand their attention by bringing value? So many people ask that, right? How can I bring value to you? How can I serve you? Well, if you want to bring value, then be valuable.
Wartime CEO Mentality, Self-Education and Masterminds
The Mastermind Effect: 12:05
I can say if we ended the interview right now, which we’re not going to, you’ve already bought a world of knowledge right there in how you explain to gain access to people. You know what, you and I, we’ve paid for our friends from time to time, but I’m still talking with them. I still have a great working personal relationship with all these people that I’ve been able to surround myself. So let’s go on to the next one.
A lot of people get stuck. They kind of get stuck in their head, stuck in the bushes. You know, we’re still going through the pandemic. I feel it’s causing a reset and allowing us to find out ways to accomplish things that we didn’t think were possible before. How have masterminds or coaches and mentorship help you when you’re looking to, to reset yourself and how you do things?
Evan Stewart: 12:55
Going back to different parts of what makes you a person, where I’ve had the most help has not been in my work. Now, I’m not saying that’s for everybody. But for me, one of my strengths is I’m really good at building businesses and building structures this way my mind works. So I have had mentors in business and what not. But I have a wartime CEO mentality so when the pandemic hit, we shifted hard and we made it work and we’ve been blessed to see through this experience in a very healthy and profitable way.
But for me, what really helped was a mentorship that stirred the creative side of me. A mentorship that stirred the side where I can write, I can think, pray, create content, work on music and some of these other areas. The rhythm right now in the professional world right now is if you do anything other than work, you don’t want it bad enough. Listen, that’s not true.
I remember when I was dead broke. I was in the top 1% of professionals in my state and I was running an eight figure book of business. The interesting thing is when I had money, I was so poor that the only thing I had was cash because I was at the whim and the demands of my environment. Back then, I didn’t have control.
The reason why I think that’s important, especially now, is because the interesting thing about COVID is now people are really tired, not because of the bombardment of the news and all of this, but there’s no longer significant breaks in divides between work and life. So we now have this trudge through life, my commute is now 15 steps instead of instead of 15 minutes, I have my children working on their school I’m working in here, wife is on conference calls. Everything’s going crazy. We no longer have these breaks and these rhythms in our day. So the reason why I think that it’s time to start that creative side is because escapism is important. Human beings need escapism, but it needs to be escaping into something that still moves the needle in your life and brings you inspiration, fascination and motivation.
So, for me what I found and this piece in this mentorship and kind of moving that needle forward has been getting in environments and around people and engaging in dialogues that stir parts of my life that aren’t forced to be in motion. Because of COVID, I don’t need business mentorship right now. We’re profitable, and we’re moving forward, I don’t need it because the vast majority of my time is in business. But what I would love more than anything, what I crave, is to have really deep intellectual conversations and stir the creativity with great, inspiring people.
The Mastermind Effect: 15:47
So masterminds in itself have been around for a long time. From the apostles, to Benjamin Franklin, when he called it the leather apron club, and then eventually this guy by the name of Napoleon Hill. That was almost 100 years ago when he wrote this boo. So recently, I feel there’s been such a large boom, when it comes to self-education, moving away from traditional education over the last few years. Where do you really see it going?
Evan Stewart: 16:30
Well, I see two things. We talked about this a little bit before, masterminds are important, because everything that you need to learn and know is already been done or thought by somebody else. That’s it. So it’s just a matter of how willing are you to get yourself in environments where those other people are actually speaking.
Are you willing to walk in before your ego does and allow yourself to be quiet and listen? Listening is not just watching, it’s recognizing that when you speak, my intention is not to be thinking of a reply, but to be interpreting what you say. So to really dive into your question, in regards to self-education, I think that we’ve had this wave where we had a pretty prosperous global economy, actually, but especially here in the United States, we had kind of the age of the fake influencer, where you could fool you had just enough to access the life, but not enough to sustain it.
And, you know I’m from Texas, right? It’s what we would say it’s a champagne taste on a beer budget, right? Because we have all these fun little Texas sayings. But at the end of the day, what I think is going to shift is now to people going to start demanding your world in a virtual environment, not your content on someone’s platform. What I see more than anything is if I want you Brandon, I want your world, your technology, your content, your vision, your this or that, because right now we have so many different rebrands. Right? You remember when Gary Vaynerchuk came out on his videos, and he would say something for 10 seconds is the hook and then the logo would come up and do that and then come down. Then, how many different influencers have you seen do that exact same animation, the same sound effects? See, I think what’s happening is that we as consumers are getting tired of repurposed and repackaged environments, content, and information. So I think there’s going to be a giant demand as self-education continues to be more important, even in the traditional education environment.
As you get more online, I think what’s going to happen is, consumers are going to deeply demand authenticity, verifiability in your content and in your work. And then your own environment, your own platform, not you diving into kajabi. But what makes you truly different other than the content, and then a verifiable content. Like that’s something we’re doing with our courses, we were building out a deep case study site, like you can go back, learn from the business owners have their information, see immediately, and verify how we’ve been able to work so that we can go back and verify that you have no concerns about does this really work. I think people need that, but they’re going to really start demanding it in the masses, I believe in the foreseeable future. So if you’re listening to this, and you’re in a space where you’re either creating online education, or you’re engaging with it, either start demanding it or start providing it, depending on what lane you’re in, because that I think is going to be so important.
The Obsessed Conference and The Obsessed Academy
The Mastermind Effect: 19:27
Yeah, absolutely. We’re also building a platform based around that same mentality, that same theory of making sure that you can verify and make sure that it’s a trustworthy source.
Kind of going back into what people would expect. Typically, when someone invests in their future, they have a better than vague idea of what they’re going to get out of it. We’re able to have some form of expectation and typically the rooms that you put together, you kind of curate them, you know those types of people that are coming into your world. So what should someone expect when they enter Evan’s reality?
Evan Stewart: 20:10
My reality is built in a few key areas. I’m deeply relational. Relational, over transactional, I have a belief that a transaction is a byproduct of a vested relationship, not the goal of the relationship. I do what I do now, because I wanted to. Not because I had to. What happens, I believe, is that what you can make money doing isn’t necessarily what you’ve been called to do. What I noticed is that there were areas of my life that I would continue to wake up, drained and come home even more unfulfilled because I was earning money, but I wasn’t pouring in the way that I need to pour back into people.
I believe that my strength truly is identifying kind of who you are, what that means, why it matters, and then back to how it’s applicable to your work. In my work, I was doing one thing which was earning, but I wasn’t doing anything else, which is impacting, and that was a problem for me. So because of that, I made the decision to shift and shift my life and lean into a life that fully gives back.
Now the reason I say that is not to toot my own horn, but because that has given me an immense superpower—doing everything I do I do because I want to, not because I have to. And so we’re able to curate these environments to be unbelievably intentional.
With our Obsessed Conference, we’re doing something that Walt Disney did in a smaller way. So Walt Disney, when he opened Disney World, or I guess Disneyland when it first opened, essentially the idea was to create your experience. So with our conference, we tried to recreate that type of environment with such deep intention that we can spend an awful amount of money doing those things. Because we’re creating with intention, we don’t really have to worry about the profitability on the back end. So I think, to answer your question, my world is highly curated, highly relational, and highly value-driven.
The Mastermind Effect: 23:35
So let’s keep going on on this. I feel that people have a way of surprising us from time to time, you know, whether it’s their willingness to learn, their drive, whatever it is. Has anyone that has been through the Obsessed Academy or the Obsessed Conference surprised you? And what was the outcome of them being in that room with you?
Evan Stewart: 24:32
It’s been such a blessing to see that we’ve been able to help curate building businesses. It’s unbelievably difficult, but it’s the simple disciplines. Here’s how we talk with people. Here’s how we build relationships. Here’s how you master objections. Here’s how you manage culture. Here’s how you fire without being an asshole things like that. For me, we’ve had some amazing case studies of people that were making $60,000 to $100,000. And now, they’re making half a million. Honestly, for me, it’s an opportunity to play a role in transforming someone’s legacy.
The average company we work with are small, to mid-market and enterprise level corporations. But especially with our online platform, and with that kind of entry level, the average individual that we work with is usually a self-employed individual that is tired of running the rat race. They’re typically earning somewhere in between $45,000 to $65,000. And they’re stuck. So just to help people move out of self-employment into true business ownership, this may piss off some of your listeners, but self-employment is not business ownership, it’s you being employee of yourself.
If you walk away from your business, and it doesn’t still run, it’s not a business, it’s a job. That’s it, there’s nothing wrong with that, we just have to call it what it is. But many people get into a job because they want to build a business. We’ve seen amazing case study of somebody who went from three years earning very, very, very, very little–just $1,002 a month–to earning six figures. I’ve also talked to an individual who in one year is just almost two deals shy of quadrupling his business. There’s also someone who texted me a picture that his business grew 843% in 13 months. You know, to know that you play a role in that, it’s unbelievably fulfilling. People just want to grow, right? I mean, that’s the goal, just to continue to grow to give our children a better life, or even ourselves, or our spouse a better life than we had, when we were younger.
How to Create Success
The Mastermind Effect: 28:42
I was working with my coach recently. And we’re talking about what it takes to create success. We talked about mentorship, like you and I spoke about experimentation, partnership, willingness to fail. And then what we routed back with is a willingness to succeed with the sensitivity of social media. As you and I were discussing, I think people are actually afraid to talk about their successes. What do you feel it takes for someone to get over the hump of actually being successful?
Evan Stewart: 29:15
Well, I think it’s two things. First, you have to define what success means to you. That was such a canned guru answer, but it’s so true because I know some individuals that are very successful in many areas of their life and they make you know, $60,000 a year. Then I know some individuals that make so much money and I think it’s you have to define the parameters of what you want.
So how I do that is I look at what I call an ideal versus reality list. Again, for those five areas: personal, financial, spiritual, relational, and professional. I go down each category like for my spiritual life: my time with myself, and a time with God. How I earn my money for my financial life. And the time I spend with my spouse, friends, and family for relationships. I go down these five areas and I say, this is my idea, this is how I want to be living. Then I go to the reality, where am I at now, and I see where there’s misalignment.
So if you want to be earning a million dollars a year, but you’re earning 100,000, you need to do two things: you need to be taking steps towards increasing your revenue, which there’s a deep rabbit hole there, but broad brushstrokes, taking steps, and then how you earn that revenue too. So part of my goal is I want to earn a minimum of 85% of my revenue completely residually as a company, to where residual revenues increases. That’s why we’re leaning into our technology, because monthly subscriptions are amazing when you have thousands of people buying a product, that type of thing.
The Mastermind Effect: 33:20
I believe that there’s always new ideas brewing during prosperity, but I really think innovation and ingenuity comes out of times when we feel the squeeze. Right now is a perfect time for that. So what are you working on right now that’s going to happen over the next 12 months that excites you?
Evan Stewart: 33:38
A couple of things for 2021. After COVID, I have a North American tour. I’ve got a software project for Obsessed Academies. We build our own platform, a different way to experience virtual events. So building out an entire virtual studio, stage, light board, the whole thing. I think, for us the innovation was because a lot of what we do is live experiences, but we also work with a lot of companies and travel a lot. Before COVID, I used to travel a lot. So our big question that we were trying to overcome was how do we craft an environment where the minute that you hit what we do through the end of your experiences, you’re completely within our world.
We haven’t accomplished that yet but we will have that accomplished by mid of next year by building out our own software and technology and proprietary information in addition to our content we’ve already accomplished from a live setting. If you come into my conference, you’re like in my world now.
The second component that really drove our innovation was we dug deep into our data to see basically how do we create such a deep level of connection with our clients. Professionally speaking, we become an invaluable component and we don’t have to be a questionable expense when they fall into hard times. So that innovation has really led us to dive back into the data of what’s working, what’s not, what do people like, what people don’t like.
We have an astronomically low churn rate to begin with, and now, they’re not on a monthly subscription. But we have been really diving deep into that data, we called every single person in our database. When things really got bad, we tell them, “Hey, we’re here for you.” This is what we’re doing. What else do you need from us? What else do you need to see from us to become an invaluable component during this time of crisis? You know what, Brandon, we got some great data. So our next couple of rollouts were exactly what the consumer told us they needed to see to no longer question our value. So for us part of that innovation has just been creating systems that allow us to keep our finger deep into the pulse of our community. In times where a lot of people are becoming more physically distant, we remain socially present.
The Mastermind Effect: 35:40
You met the people on the playing field that they told you, you didn’t question it. You listen to them, and you gave them what they asked. How simple is that? How is that so many people miss that?
Evan Stewart: 35:53
Well, it’s like new Coke, right? Coca Cola executives said, “Oh, the world needs new coke.” No, they don’t. They love the original, right? The original flavor of Coca Cola has been around since the friggin’ dawn of time. And so the problem that a lot of businesses think is because I’m the one that’s in control, I know what everyone needs. Now, there’s a difference between being a visionary. And seeing my community has not told me they need us to develop our own software. They love what we have.
At the end of the day, everything that you need to know to actually grow and develop will be told to you by your community, whether it’s interpretive. I hear them saying this, but I know what they really need is this. And now, out of the hundreds of people that we’re working with, 60% of them said they really needed clarity. So that’s where we brought clarity. It’s just like I said, I wish it was simpler because I could sell some amazing course on how to read a customer’s mind if it was more complicated. But it’s not. It’s the reality of it. So yeah, it was huge, it was a great shift for us.
The Mastermind Effect: 36:57
Simplicity creates success at the end of the day. So what is one tip, tactic or actual item that if someone hearing you now, implements in the next 30, 60, 90 days, they would actually see a direct result?
Evan Stewart: 37:11
Well, you can see a direct result immediately. One thing that’s powerfully changed my life is simple. If you’re listening to this, the good thing is you can flip it off, and immediately take action on, is the concept of call replacements. When I started shifting my life and getting into motivational speaking and personal development, I don’t know who said it, but I heard a quote that said “If you lived every day the same as you did today, what kind of future would that create?”
So I looked at my life, at the five areas: personal, financial, spiritual, relational, and professional. If I live every day, in those five areas the exact same way did the exact same things have the same conversations? What kind of future would that create in those five areas? And so what I started doing is a concept I call replacements, which is what everything needs to move the needle forward, I’m going to take the thing that doesn’t and replace it with the thing that does.
I’m going to get rid of Netflix and replace it with masterclass. I’m going to get rid of time where I’m just screwing around and not doing anything and I’m going to replace it with intentional time with friends and family. I started plucking the things that weren’t good and I started replacing it with the things that were good.
When you do that across all areas of your life, what happens is every moment starts to have deep intention. Our little daily habits are actually creating our ideal future. If we start to replace, then we start to build daily habits that lead us into an environment that moves the needle forward for us.
So the days that you’re tired and you’re like, “Man, I just I’m exhausted, I just want to do this.” What happens is you’ve created a rhythm in your life that carries you from moments of inspiration to moments of inspiration. Anyone can be inspired and motivated but the long obedience in the middle is where people typically fall off. That’s what we’re trying to avoid. So that would be my recommendation for something you can take immediately and start to really shift the direction of your life.
“One of the best people you can learn from is the person that you share life with. Just because they’re in your home, doesn’t mean that their perspective can’t benefit you.” – Evan Stewart
“Fundamentally, things can change in regards to where we get our knowledge from. But it doesn’t mean that the pursuit of knowledge has shifted.” – Evan Stewart
“There’s five areas that make a whole person. You have the personal, financial, spiritual, relational, and professional. Oftentimes we look for one person to be the solution to all areas, when in reality, we can have multiple different perspectives.” – Evan Stewart
“If you wanna bring value, then be valuable.” – Evan Stewart
“Those that flaunt their toys, their cars, their houses, they’re usually earning less than you think they are. Because typically, people that flaunt are covering up scarcity and insecurities.” – Evan Stewart
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