PP 682: The Way to Create Impact as a Thought Leader! with Matt Johnson

Have you ever dreamt of making the world a  better place? That’s a very noble passion. And by having that goal, you’re already sparking the most important change you could ever make- a change in yourself. Of course, you want to widen and deepen your influence in the most profound way, maybe you’re scouting a Thought Leader carreer. So, this week, Kim and Matt Johnson, the author of MicroFamous, share how we can start moving toward that goal in a realistic way. Matt answers fundamental questions such as:

Where do we begin to make a change?

Who can we begin creating that change with?

What things should we focus on?

How should we spend our valuable resources?

Why should we narrow our scope?

Making an impact is tedious, extensive work and it does not happen overnight. But it is possible! If you have a life-changing message, tune in for priceless wisdom and practical steps you can do to make sure your message reaches the right people, in the right way, at the right moment.

“Don’t try to appeal to everyone… Be who you are, figure out the right people, and then it opens up this whole world of awesome options.” – Matt Johnson


02:35 Start With Where You’re At Right Now
10:08 Podcasting
15:32 Focusing One Thing At A Time
27:57 Focus At The Right People
31:49 Finding The Right People
37:22 Go Wide Then Go Deep
42:00 Micro Famous Guy
46:54 Famously Unavailable

Make the world a better place! Join @thekimsutton and Matt Johnson as they discuss how to do that the right way with the right people in the right degree and in the right manner! #positiveproductivity#podcast #microfamous #rightpeople #perfectionClick To Tweet




Inspirational Quotes:

04:00 “If you want to impact millions of people, start with where you’re at right now, and become micro famous to the exact right people first.” – Matt Johnson

04:25 “Don’t try to appeal to everyone… Be who you are, figure out the right people, and figure out how to be famously influential to them first, and then it opens up this whole world of awesome options.” – Matt Johnson

08:11 “Don’t worry about being perfect.” – Matt Johnson

18:55 “If you can figure out how to take things off of people’s to-do list, you have a good chance of winning.”  – Matt Johnson

30:07 “You don’t need a huge general audience to make big money. You just need the right people.” – Matt Johnson

48:57 “You have to have time to make good decisions. Do lots of deep work and get stuff done- that pushes the business forward.” – Matt Johnson

50:35 “Business doesn’t depend on you sitting down and being productive in that computer.” – Matt Johnson

About Matt Johnson:

Matt Johnson is a marketing agency founder, podcaster, and musician. Matt runs a podcast launch & production agency based in San Diego, an international team that helps business coaches, consultants, and thought leaders use done-for-you podcasting to attract an audience, build influence & become MicroFamous. Matt is the author of MicroFamous: Become Famously Influential to the Right People and currently hosts the MicroFamous Podcast. He is a frequent podcast guest and event speaker to audiences around the US, Canada, and Australia.


Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity!

Hey, you all know that I have bloopers, I have kids who interrupt, who podcast-bomb. I don’t know if that’s a thing, I speak fluent typos. Well, today, I just want to let you know that if my audio quality is not as good as it normally is, please don’t abandon it right away. I think that one of my kids picked up, and maybe played drums with, my microphone in between my last recording and this one. And I only discovered it when our awesome guest, Matt Johnson and I popped on today.

So, Matt, I am so thrilled that you’re here. I’ve loved our pre chat so far. I know we’re going to have a fabulous time. Thank you for coming.

Yeah, absolutely! I think the audio will be just fine. You’ve got your official Apple earbuds at the built-in microphone, so I think we’re gonna have an awesome time. We’ll be just fine.

Thank you.

Coaching Thought Leaders

Matt is an agency founder and also the author of MicroFamous. I’m intrigued, and I know my listeners and readers are as well.

thought leader

“Become famously influential to the Right People”

MicroFamous, explain it to me please, because I want to know more.

Okay. So, I’ve been producing podcasts since 2015, and almost all my clients were probably the same clients you work with. So, business coaches, mostly in the entrepreneurial space. They’re experts at what they do, they’re experts at how to grow a business. However, they also have really, really big goals. A lot of times, that meant that when I was helping them with their podcasts, and even just with their marketing in general, they were basically trying to run before they even started to crawl. They didn’t really understand what it took to kind of stand out and cut through the noise.

So, I found a lot of the people that I worked with, they started off marketing themselves too generally. Trying to speak to too many different types of people, too many different types of ideal clients… We’ve all done it, I did it.

I’m pointing to myself. For those of you who aren’t watching on YouTube, for those of you who are listening… I’m over here pointing to myself.

Haha! Yeah, I think we’ve all done it.

So, I wanted to take some of the experiences and some of the lessons that I’ve learned from helping people find out who the right people are; helping them build an engineer influence to become famously influential to those people, and really put it into a whole methodology that’s very easy to understand, very easy to implement.

It really flips the script, so that it’s not about setting smaller goals, trying to crawl before you run, or anything like that, it’s about resetting the goal to where… Look, if you want to impact millions of people, that’s awesome! But you still start with where you’re at right now, and become micro famous to the exact right people first, and then set yourself up.

Build that cult following, and then build from there.

I wanted to set that because I work with a lot of emerging Thought Leaders, people that are kind of getting started in their Thought Leadership journey, and that’s the biggest hurdle to overcome: Don’t don’t try to appeal to everyone, don’t try to be everywhere online. Be who you are, figure out the right people and figure out how to be famously influential to them first, and then it opens up this whole world of really awesome options.

H3 Building your own

Oh, I love that so much.

I gotta tell you, back in 2015, 2016, I was watching Amy Porterfield, Brendon Burchard and all those huge names, and I wanted to build a course, so I thought that I needed to build a course like they had because it was working so well for them. I didn’t think about, “Okay, what am I good at? What can I share?”

And I remember sitting here, right at this desk, working on recording this course and thinking that I had to make it all the way through in one take.

Oh  gosh.

And I just broke down crying. I didn’t know what Positive Productivity meant, even to me, I had come up with the name, but I didn’t know what it meant and finally, my husband said to me… (Please, Amy, don’t take offense to this, should you ever listen) he calls up all other women, except for me, girls, so he said:

“Do you think all girls go through one hole? Like video without any bloopers? No! She makes a mistake, she stops, she probably uses a couple choice four letter words.”

That’s not exactly how he said that, he let me know exactly which ones he thought she uses…

“She takes a deep breath, and her team edits it out. She keeps on going.”

And it’s like, “Oh, I don’t have to be perfect.” But then, I still thought I had to be perfect for another few years.

Hahaha! So you learned the lesson and then, promptly, forgot about the lesson immediately.

Well, I got it as far as the podcast went. I mean, I introduced blooper reels really early. And now they are in everything that I do! I mean, probably the bloopers are just going to be included in this episode…

Yeah, hahaha!

Because bloopers connect me to people more. I mean, I don’t want to be perfect, to hell is perfect! And now I’m finally showing my messy house, the fact that I drive a car that’s prehistoric, you know?

Let people find you

I drive a 1996 GMC conversion van, okay? It is ugly as heck, but it runs. I think we may drive like 2000 miles a year, so why am I going to go invest? Why am I going to go pay more than my monthly house payment for a new car? Just as a status symbol of success? I don’t live in L.A., I don’t need to do that. My car fits in well around here.

That is true. I was gonna say, in the Midwest, you can absolutely get a house payment under what most people pay for their Mercedes.

Exactly! Oh, my gosh, yeah! My kid and I were looking at a new Ford van. He’s like, “Mom, it’s only 700 a month.” I’m like, “Yeah, our house is like 800 a month.”

I remember, that was twice my parent’s house payment.

Uh-huh, exactly.

Yeah. It’s so interesting that you say that, because I think a lot of people do look at it like the Brendon Burchard and Amy Porterfield of the world. I think they do their best to show their authentic side too but, at some point, when you’re running a business that generates $9 million in core sales, you’re just a little too unrelatable. Even when you do mess up, you’re like, “Yeah, but that’s Amy Porterfield. She can get away with that.” But it’s like, “No, no. That’s part of what makes them authentic.”

There’s just a lot of looking up to folks like that, that are already running it, and they’re running a wildly successful seven-figure business and you forget. Somebody told me the other day that Amy Porterfield’s first course launch was all of $2,000. I would never have believed that because I didn’t encounter Amy until five years into her business journey; well, well, past that point. We have to recognize that that’s where most people will find us, it’s way after we’ve got most of all these kinks worked out.

That’s when most people are gonna find us, so don’t worry about being perfect.

The perks of an Essential Business

Oh, my gosh, looking back at my first landing pages, my first sales pages, they’re so horrifically ugly! I hope that I deleted them from lead pages, Inever wanting to see them again.

But I thought that because I had zero sales. I was unsuccessful, and I should just give up. I wasn’t even microfamous, because I was not putting myself out there at all. I thought that since I couldn’t be perfect, that I shouldn’t expose myself to anybody. I don’t mean like flash my boobs; I just mean like, be out there and share anything.

I was sharing with you, and I don’t usually timestamp, but right before we hopped on, we’re in the midst of COVID-ish times. I mean, depending on where you live, you have different experiences, but my kids are back in school and somebody on the football team just got diagnosed. So, I’m over here laughing, because all of a sudden, 120 kids are getting sent home for the next two weeks.

I mean… Please do not send me hate mail, listeners. I’m just like, every single day is another report. Yep. “Here’s another staff member”, “Here’s another staff member.” But I know that a lot of people are not sharing this stuff, but there’s a lot of parents who are experiencing this right now and they don’t know whether to pull their hair out, or get another Margarita. I do both.

Hahaha! Yes, exactly.


It’s a very weird time. I thank God that both of us have essentially businesses where we work from home, it doesn’t affect us that much. And granted, having your kids roaming around the house while you’re trying to work isn’t the easiest thing, but it doesn’t completely disrupt your life. You don’t have to take the next two weeks of your life off of work, just to handle the kids that are now home. And that’s, unfortunately, reality for others.

Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Starting a Thought Leadership Business

How did you start your business? What inspired you to get some to do it?

Well, I come into what I’m doing, which is podcast production. I run an agency that just does podcast production for Thought Leaders. I came to it from that space, I was a partner in a couple of coaching consulting businesses, and the way that we marketed them was to run podcasts. I came out of an agency that kind of hooked me up with some of the first key relationships, and the CEO of that agency is still one of my best friends, so I got introduced to some people and I started to be able to host live Google Hangouts, back when that was a thing.

Is that still a thing, by the way?

It’s kind of still a thing. You can do YouTube Live, actually, we still stream our podcasts to YouTube, so it’s just called something different. It did morph and change a little bit, but when that was first coming out, it looked really awesome. A lot of people were doing some cool stuff with it, so we jumped on that bandwagon, and one of those people I was doing those Google Hangouts called me up one day and said, “Hey, man, we should start a podcast together in Real Estate.” So, we formed this unofficial coaching business behind the scenes, that led to me being a partner in a couple of other businesses. But the way that we marketed all was through podcasting.

So, I was running at 1.3 different podcasts in the Real Estate space. I was on live video between four and six hours a week. I didn’t have time for anything else between that, growing the business behind the scenes, so I had to put a whole team together that did the podcast side so that I could just show up and talk, and have somebody else do everything else. And when we started to book guests on those shows, they would ask me like, “Hey, man, how in the world are you doing all this content?” I would tell them about the team that I built, and they would go, “Can I like to rent them when they’re not working for you?” So, I started letting them rent my team, basically, when they weren’t working for me, and that worked for a while until we had too many people, and then that broke. So, then I had to turn it into an agency.

At some point, I realized that I was in four different businesses. I’m like, “Well, this is not a good thing.” I was walking away from every meeting with a mile long to do list, and I was having way more to do than I wanted to. So, I pulled back from all that other stuff. I’m still a partner in one of the Real Estate businesses, which is mostly passive on my part. And I just put 100% of my focus into the agency. That’s what led to all the experiences that I had with growing a coaching consulting business through podcasting, that led to all the content that eventually went into the book.

I have no allegiance to podcasting itself, my allegiance is to growing a Thought Leadership business and reaching the right people. And right now, just podcasting is one of the best mechanisms I think you’ll ever find for doing that. So that’s kind of my short story of how I got into doing what I do now, essentially just got pulled into running an agency by the demand. I just followed what people were asking for, and what got them to say,

“Wow! I did not know that existed. We need to talk about that again.”

Then when I started getting that response, I’m like, I really should go down that path. The stuff that really gets people saying, “Holy cow, I didn’t know that thing existed.”

One thing at a time

I want to go back to what you’re talking about renting your team out. I launched my podcast in 2016, and I feel so embarrassed right now like, here I am with a podcast producer, talking on my ear buds, haha! It’s not something I normally do.

But I launched my show as a daily show.

Oh, wow!

Yeah. I would never do that again.


Plus, my production team, let me go very early because they were too overwhelmed. So, I was trying to do everything myself. I didn’t know about tools like Rev, or Temi. I don’t even know what I’m using right now… I forgot Otter, I think we’re using right now, I’m not even the one doing it anymore.

I was trying to do everything myself. I was transcribing my episodes by hand, listening to the daily show, and I couldn’t understand why I was burnt out. I didn’t even realize I was burnt out, I was so far off the deep end of craziness, that I didn’t realize I was off the deep end anymore… Does that make any sense?

I know, it’s weird. I was talking to a thought leader, a client of mine, about that the other day, we’ll have these periodic chats. And one of the things that she said to me is, she said something to the effect of:

“Sometimes I need you to slap me when I think I’ve come up with this amazing thing that I want to do to grow the business. Because most of the time, I commit to it, and then two months later, I feel burnt out, I don’t remember why, and you remind me… Oh! It was because of that brilliant idea I had two months ago that I shouldn’t have done! But I got all excited about it.

And if we do that to ourselves over and over again, it helps just to have like an outside perspective of somebody else looking and going: Yeah, you feel burnt out now because of something you committed to two months ago that you forgot about. And now, it’s just part of your routine, and you think you have to do it.”

I think we get ourselves into those situations all the time. Like you’re transcribing daily episodes, because you made a commitment and you want to follow through. That’s great. It doesn’t mean you have to follow through on everything that you committed to. Sometimes, there’s a time to drop it, and there’s a time to hire somebody else and not feel burnt out.

That’s the part about productivity that I was never on board with is that, I don’t think productivity means doing lots and lots of things for eight to 10 hours a day super efficiently. Because I think, if you’re the owner of the business, you’ve got to have time and space, and space to think and make good decisions. You don’t make good decisions when you’re just booked back-to-back.


What a Productive Day should look like.

I have a good-better-best goal for each day. Three tasks, and that’s what I focus on getting done. Because I used to have the list of like 30 items, and if I got three done, that was a lot, but I never thought it was a lot. But now, having three items total, when I get one done, I’m thrilled.

I know! That was one thing I learned from the agency owner I used to work for, and I would have never guessed that being successful, entailed doing it this way, but I watched it in person. I would watch him get one thing done, one little part of the system built… Or he takes something and he would turn it over to somebody else inside the agency.

Mm hmm.

He would roll out of there one, 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon, go home, take a nap, spend time with the kids, stuff like that. I remember watching him like, “How can you be happy and satisfied with your day. I’ve got all these things on my to do list.” And he’s like, “I got something off of my plate, now, the system that’s going to happen without me.” So that was an extremely productive day.

And it was like a light bulb went on. I had to see it, I had to see that it worked for someone that was running a multi-million-dollar business to go, “Oh, this is how real deal entrepreneurs do this. They’re not putting 17 things on their to do list and beating themselves up for only getting 99% of them done. They put a lot less on his to do list, but it was the right stuff.”

Absolutely. Actually, when we cut back on our podcast, it was because my team told me, “You’ve got too much on your plate. You’re burning yourself out, you’re burning us out.” I mean, I couldn’t keep up with my own.

Well, you just said that you would be on camera four to six hours a week. I was on podcast interviews, for one show, 6 to 10 hours a week because I needed to make sure that I had some in the bag. I can hardly even keep up with the shows that I listened to, only released one episode a week. There’s no way I’m gonna keep up with shows that release seven…!

I know, I know.

Thought leader marketing, what’s wrong?

We’re in this weird place where I feel like every business podcast, aspires to leave you with actionable things that you can do.

Mm hmm.

And when there was nothing out there for business podcasts, that was an admirable goal.


Now, I feel like it’s flipped to where people have so many things rammed down their throat on social media and in podcasting, where we’re constantly adding more stuff to their to-do lists. “Seven tactics to do this”, and “Five ways you can do this”, “Three tips for that!”

I feel like people are overwhelmed to the point where they’re looking for ways to take things off of their to-do list. So, I shifted, my MicroFamous Podcast is about making good strategic decisions, taking a step back and breathing.

When you listen to the podcast, I don’t add things to your to-do list, I show you how to take things off of your to-do list.

I think we’re shifting a little bit. I think there’s still plenty of podcasts out there that focus on you walking away with actionable stuff. There’s nothing bad about that, but I do think the fact that every show seems to be about that has created an environment where people feel like we’re just adding stuff to their to-do list.


And if you can figure out how to take things off of people to-do lists, I think you have a really good chance of winning. Whether it’s in a podcast, or your thought leader marketing, coaching, consulting, whatever it is.

Mm hmm. Yeah, I love that.

“Who are the right people for me?”

I actually have found that when I’m super stressed and really busy. They don’t have to go hand in hand, but I cannot listen to business podcasts for exactly that reason, because they always inspire me. And I love how you’re talking about your client with the ideas, because I’ve been talking about writing my book for the past four years, Chronic Idea Disorder: The entrepreneurs guide to overcoming ideas overwhelm.

Heheh, okay.

And it had to go back on the shelf as for right now, because I really think that’s just another thing that I need to focus on:

Doing one thing really well instead of doing a whole bunch of things crappy.

Hahaha, yeah. I went through that too when I looked up and I realized I was in four businesses.

And here’s why, this is the mistake that I made, I think it’s one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made my entire life: I got this idea in my head, that because all the businesses I was in were in one industry that was focusing. The idea was, I’m gonna be in this world of coaching and consulting in the Real Estate space, so that I have all these joint venture relationships and stuff, and if anybody came into my world and they bought something I made a piece of it. Either was from a business that I directly was a partner in, or something where I had a Rev share, a joint venture agreement, or whatever.

So, I had all this stuff in place thinking that that was focusing. And then I looked at my mentor who ran my old agency, and they sell one thing to one type of person. That’s what gives them the freedom to take off at 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon, right? Because they get really, really good at doing one, that one kind of thing. I always had that example in my head, and I woke up one day, I just realized, I think I probably got off of a meeting where my to do list got 30 items longer and I went, “I cannot do this anymore.”

It dawned on me that my thinking about focus was all wrong. Just being in one industry and doing a lot of stuff, even for the same kind of person, that’s not focus. Selling one thing to one kind of person, that’s focus. So, when I started to apply that, I got out of all those other businesses and focused on just the one thing… That released energy, and clarity, and confidence, and it just made everything in my life better.


And now, because of that, I’m to the point now where I can run the agency in three to four hours a week, and I take off, and I don’t book any calls in the afternoon. I’m able to work on music again, which I had to set on the back burner for years when I was starting the business. Now, I’m able to work on that again. I’m going into the studio in two weeks. I wouldn’t have time to do that kind of stuff if I was working a 40-hour week in the business.

But all of those good things that happened, they came about as a result of focusing on one thing to one person. I think that all those decisions came from, “Who are the right people for me?” I really had to make a decision on who those right people were, and to kind of let everybody else go. That’s a really hard decision for most people to make, there’s just something inside of us that screams against making that kind of decision, that kind of cuts us off from certain types of potential clients.

And income, too.

Productive time focusing on You

It’s like, okay, “If I say, no, am I gonna get another opportunity?” I’ve just gone through that in the past year. And I’m kicking myself now that I’ve gone through it, and I’m seeing the sun again.

I mean, I’m literally going outside.

There was a while when you were trapped in your house, just kind of like keeping up with the workload?

Like Sandra Bullock, how her neighbors never knew who she was.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen that movie.

Listeners who are a decade younger than me, this movie is from 1994. Sandra Bullock was working on computers. I remember being so blown away that she ordered a pizza over the internet in 1994. That was never going to happen, right? But her neighbors wouldn’t have recognized her up until the end of last year. My neighbors wouldn’t have known who I was. I didn’t know that my next-door neighbor’s name was Anita.

And now… I think I had dinner in 2018, I had dinner with my family 10 times. Man, that’s a problem because I have five kids, okay. So, there’s seven of us, and there’s a set of twins so let’s just call them six because they share a birthday. Six birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, that’s nine, and then one, maybe one other dinner in there. I was so busy, being busy, that I couldn’t even take a step back to realize this is wrong.

I didn’t get myself to take a step back and say, “You should be charging like three to four times more than you are.” Then when I started to get a glimpse of that, I was like, “But can you? I don’t know, why don’t you try?” It was amazing, but I really had to hit rock bottom, like absolute rock bottom to be able to see that.

Focusing: The Thought Leader Strategy

Would you call coming out of that meeting and having another list of 30 items? Was that rock bottom? Or was there something more that led you to realizing that you needed to make a change?

No, that’s totally what it was. I was addicted to saying Yes.

Oh, yeah.

I was addicted to the prospect of doing cool things with people that I really enjoyed. And I got caught up into the vision of each of those businesses, and that’s fine… But yes, it happened over, and over, and over again, to the point where I finally hit rock bottom, like:

“I cannot keep up with this. I’m gonna have to work 12 hours a day, and I don’t have the energy for that.

I deal with chronic fatigue, adrenal fatigue, stuff like that… I don’t have 10 hours of good energy in me. I could not be Gary V. Even if you pay me a million dollars a year just to do what he does, I don’t have that kind of energy.”

All that to say, yeah, absolutely. I did the same thing.

My prices doubled, and then doubled again, since I first started my production agency. But not just because I decided I was “Worth it”. I was able to raise the prices because the more that I narrowed down and focused on who I served, and what we did for them, I was able to jettison the stuff that we were doing that wasn’t right, the stuff that wasn’t making an impact.

I was able to jettison, having a couple of different packages to appeal to different levels of people at different stages, I got rid of all that, and that got rid of variety, which meant I was able to build really, really solid predictable systems in the business so that everybody on the team knew exactly what we do for each client, because it’s the same thing, I was able to refine that down into intellectual property, that made the book easier to write because I knew exactly what system we’re offering.

All that came from just that one decision: One thing, to one time, one time a person.

If I hadn’t done that, none of those good things would have happened, and I wouldn’t have been able to raise my prices. Because it wasn’t, I didn’t raise my prices because I decided I was worth it. I raised my prices because I became more valuable to the right kind of person. I figured out who the most valuable slice of my market was, and I zeroed in on creating a service just for them; to get them very, very, specific results that were worth paying two, and three, and four times as much more for.

That’s the one problem I had with that, and I’m sure you run into folks like this, and maybe some of them are my friends, they would just basically tell you, “No, you just need to double your prices because you’re worth it.” That message would have never resonated with me.

Well, until you have the confidence. Yeah! You can go into a client interview and say, yeah, my prices are doubled. But if you don’t feel it, they’re not gonna feel it, and then they’re not gonna hand over their credit card number.

Why Micro Influential?

I want to thank you because you just took a big old exacto knife trough my business for me, in a good way.


Listeners, if you don’t know, since 2014, I’ve been building marketing automation for clients. And I have my Feel Good Funnels program, I have Do It for You, and this isn’t meant to be a commercial, I just want to tell you how Matt just inspired me. I have a course, and then I was doing Do It with You at the same time. But I’m trying to get out of the “Done for You”. Like the “Done for You”, is done for me…


That’s the best way I can say it. I’m building my agency so I can be on. I love the mentoring calls, but I don’t need to be the one that sits behind the scenes building everything out. I love having the brainstorming sessions, that blows me up, but I don’t want to be on these weekly calls walking through, “Okay, show me your stuff.”

I showed up to a podcast interview one time with a guy who had read the book and really enjoyed it. He showed up, and one of the first things you said when I hopped onto the podcast interviews is like, “I fired a client today because of you.” Hahaha, and I’m like, “Wait! I made you fire somebody?” He’s like:

“Yeah, I was reading the section on ideal clients, raising the standard for who an ideal client is. I realized that I was in discussions to take on a client who was outside of my normal category that I operate in. But I was going to make an exception for them because they were cool, I wanted to work with them again, they had a check…

I read that chapter, so, I called him up and I said that I really think that I had to help him find another coach that would be a better fit for him.”

And then he said:

“After that I felt amazing, because I realized that I was getting off track again because I could have done that. I want to be more focused.”

The only way you can do that and feel good about it, is you have to feel good about the belief that if you get more focused around who the right people are, you can be super influential in that very focused space. And there’s plenty of money in that space, that if you dominate that part of the market, that you’ll run the business of your dreams.

Mm hmm.

It just so happens that I saw it modeled for me by some of the people that I kind of got into business with, and I’ll give you a couple examples… The person I used to work for, and then three of my clients since, run multimillion dollar coaching, thought leadership, businesses where their services are around between 1000 and 2000 a month. All of those businesses operate in the same market, where the entire universe of people who can pay for their services is no more than 15,000 people in any given year. Usually closer to 10 to 12,000. That’s an extremely small niche market.


And one of the podcasts that we produce gets 10,000 downloads a month, and that’s only 12 to 15,000 people. So, think about that, they’ve got half the market or something like that, maybe even three quarters of it listening to their podcast. That’s powerful.

So, you don’t need to have a huge audience, and that was part of why I wrote the book, I have to push on that over and over again: You don’t need a huge general audience to make big money, you just need the right people. And you need to be famously influential to them so that when you offer something, they actually want to sign up.

And we just get ourselves tripped up over this stuff all the time. We don’t want to turn anybody away, we have five different packages on our website, when we show up to a sales call, we’re not sure even what we’re going to sell them because we’re just waiting to see what they need, and then we’ll figure out what to offer them. If one of our packages fit, maybe we’ll work out something custom for him, we do the stuff all the time! And it makes it really, really, hard to build any systems on the back and to give us any freedom as the owner.

Finding the right people

You’re giving me so much clarity, and I have already been like paring down, and paring down, and paring down, and knowing who I’m not working with anymore, and like just being really firm in my rates. And thank you. Have you ever met or read Mike Michalowicz?

Yeah. I’m re-reading Profit First right now, but I read stuff like Pumpkin Plan, years ago.

Yeah, I’ve read that one.

Which is freaking amazing, for an agency owner, it’s amazing because… Hey, take your ideal client, figure out exactly what makes them tick and then go out and find more of them. I took that to heart, 100%, I think that was one of those drops in the buckets that led to my decision.

Well, so I just read Profit First earlier this year. And when he’s talking about the lawn guy who sees that the gutters need clean, and then he sees that the roof needs repair, and now the chimney… That was always me. But I didn’t know how to do everything, and then I kept on getting screwed on the back end, when the team members that I would hire would just go AWOL and disappear.

What am I supposed to do now? I got paid to do this work, so am I going to learn it? Or am I going to spend like another 10 to 20 hours trying to find somebody new? And it’s like, why am I doing this to myself?

If I don’t know how to do it, then just don’t offer it!

Yeah, and there was, so I came to that conclusion through a different way. I was reading David Baker’s book, The Business Of Expertise, which is amazing. He said something to the effect of “If you are taking on clients in niches or industries that you don’t know very well, just understand that you’re getting the client to pay for your education, you’re getting the client to pay you to tinker.”

Mm hmm.

In a space where you don’t know, you don’t really have the expertise to deliver results. And you’re hoping that you’ll be able to figure it out on the fly. And that like, hit me right here.

“Oh, they’re paying me, I’m getting them to pay me to tinker. They don’t know it, because I’m telling them I can get them results in a space I know nothing about.”

That helped free me up because then I’m like, “Well, wait a minute? There’s a space where I do know exactly how to get people results. Why am I not hanging out in there and finding more clients in that space? Well, it’s because I’m getting distracted by all this other stuff.”


And the problem. We lose track of the people that are out there that don’t have names and faces yet, but could buy our core service, and we’re getting distracted by the people that do show up and they do have names and faces, and they’ve got a check that they want to hand us to do something that we’re not good at yet.

And we take that check, and we go off, figure out how to get good at it, and we shortchange those clients and ourselves at the expense of all the other people that are out there that could buy one thing from us that we’re really good at, where we know we can get people results, and our business would be a lot better off… But they don’t have names and faces yet because they’re kind of out there, we have to find them.

That’s the hard part, we have to turn away the check that’s right here in front of us, to go find the check that’s out there. And that’s where most people struggle, they just can’t turn down that check that’s right here in front of the right now.

Yeah, yeah.

But that’s where it all starts.

When there’s no focus in the Thought Leader Marketing, or Strategy

So, you work with Thought Leaders, and I work with Thought Leaders in a different capacity. One of my struggles has been with working with the Thought Leaders who I actually… Okay, this is gonna be really mean, but they’re not quite Thought Leaders.

They know they want a business, they know they want to be a business or life coach, because that’s who I was with at that point. But they don’t really know what they’re selling yet, need ideas on what they’re selling, how to set up a thought leadership business. They’re not hiring me, I just want to be perfectly clear there, they were never hiring me to coach them along this process or to consult with them about what they’re actually building. But they were actually working with me to build what they were building.

But all of a sudden, that turned into, “Can you write these emails?” “Can you come up with all the copy for the sales page?” and “I really don’t know what I’m selling yet, but I need you to put it into words.” Like… Heh, sure!


Let’s just get my magician hat. And this is making me sound really snarky today. Listeners, I am sorry, I am Snarky Kim today. But there’s nothing more that could drive me crazy than that. Because it’s like, “Wait, am I building your business? Or am I building another business for myself?” And then I get it all built, and they don’t do anything with it.

I look at some of them now. They have these amazing websites and amazing funnels out there, some great thought leader marketing was done. And these amazing blogs that I helped them put together, and there hasn’t been a new blog article put up. Okay, let’s not even get into whether or not you should be blogging because…


But nothing has been put out there. As far as content in the last few years, it’s like, okay, that’s not who I want to work with anymore. You know what your message is, now, you’re just looking for those perfect people.

Going Wide, and then Going Deep

How do you feel about people who talk about going wide and then going deep, or just going deep to start? I mean, I’m feeling like in 2020, I didn’t mean to go wide. I just sort of stumbled on it, and I found a whole new group of people that I love working with. But I unintentionally went wide, and I’m loving it.

So, maybe this is just not the year to be looking at it. But what would you say if somebody came to you and said, “Do I cast a wide net, and then go down?”

Okay, that is an excellent question. Especially this year, because all bets are off. When COVID hit, March and April, so many people had to pivot because they just realized that their core audience couldn’t afford to pay them. I mean, some people’s businesses just got wiped out. I know people that took hundred thousand dollars a month cuts on their business, so that’s one thing.

If this were a normal environment, I would tell somebody, you go wide until the point where you find out who the right people are. Find the people, then start narrowing down on what’s the one thing you want to sell them.

So, people first, product second.

That’s one of the things that really helped me.

The right person, the right pitch

The most helpful question I’ve ever stumbled across for that is… One time, I just randomly asked myself: If one of my clients texted me out of the blue and said, “Hey, I just flew into San Diego, can I buy you a drink?” Who would I love to hear from, and who wouldn’t I? Whose call would I want to avoid? So that helped me right away to figure out who my right people were. Who’s the person that would actually want to hang out with if they flew into town and surprise me?

So that allowed me to nail it down to exactly who I wanted to spend time with. I knew I wanted to offer podcasting. Then I was able to move in the direction of, “Okay, now that I know who the right person is, now I can start to take my service and customize it from the ground up for that person.” And that’s what led me to the one thing for one kind of person. I didn’t start off that way because I had to go wide at first to work with enough people doing enough different types of things, to figure out what I was good at. So, you have to go wide first.

But you have to understand, if you know what the goal is, you’re always going to be moving towards who’s the one type of person. And what’s the one thing that I’m going to sell them.

If you don’t agree that that’s the goal, you’ll never get there. You will always be stuck in that place of doing a million things for a million people. Because if you’re halfway good and halfway smart, those opportunities are just going to keep rolling in. And if you take every opportunity that rolls in, you’ll be stuck in Freelancer Land. You’ll be working 40, 50, 60 hours a week, making 50 bucks an hour, and you’ll never break out of that. The only way to break out of that is to figure out who’s the one person, and what’s the one thing I’m going to sell them, and then you start scaling that up.

So yeah, that’s what I would tell people: It depends on what stage you’re in, especially with COVID, do what it takes to survive. Some people had to go wide and that’s fine. But as soon as you go wide with the intent that you’re going to try to go deep as quickly as you figure out who that right person is, and then start narrowing down to “How do I tailor what I do so that it speaks so deep to that right person. When they hear about my service, they go, Holy cow, I’ve got to learn more about that!”

Margaritas to go

Okay. I shouldn’t be sharing this, but now that you’ve said that, I need to. If you had said that, who would I want to have drinks with question six months ago, right before COVID, I would have said, Well, I gave up drinking.

Notice, I said drink, not alcohol. So, you’re a coffee person like I am that could mean, “I flew into town, can I buy you a coffee?”

My thoughts immediately went to alcohol, haha.

That sounds like more of a You problem, than a Me problem hahaha.

So I had given up alcohol for nine, eight months. Nine months? I don’t know. I made it through August of 2020.

That’s pretty good. You went through the entire COVID thing with five kids and no alcohol, hahaha!

With five kids at home, yeah. And I did! And now that they’re back at school, I’m celebrating.


But I’m excited to share that here in Ohio, restaurants are reopen, and our Mexican restaurant is incredible. They’re back open 50% capacity. But we’re eating dinner there, celebrating a kid’s birthday, and I’d gotten a big Margarita and I couldn’t finish it. I was shocked when the waiter came up and said, “Would you like your Margarita to go?”

Like, that has never happened before this year…

We tried to do that eight years ago, and he said I couldn’t. Now he’s like, “Oh, yeah, no problem.” Styrofoam cup, pour it in, put it in a paper bag, seal it up with tape and give me a straw and out the door, haha! Awesome.


Yeah, but that’s a really great question, though. I love that. Regardless of whether it’s a margarita or coffee, like who would I want to have a drink with? Or who would I not? I think that’s a great way of determining it for the future.

Implementing the Microfamous Thought Leader Strategy

So as a Thought Leader, what would you personally want to be known for? Is it a strategic thought leader? Is that MicroFamous? Or is there something…?

Yeah. That’s taken a lot of time to kind of circle around, and figure out what I wanted to be known for. But yes, I’m 100% fine, if five years from now I’m still the MicroFamous guy.

A few years ago, when I was a Podcast Production guy, or even a Real Estate Uncensored guy, that podcast had a million and a half downloads. To a lot of people, I’m still the co-host of Real Estate Uncensored and that’s fine. But yeah, I figured out what I wanted to be known for. I want to be known as the guy that helps people engineer influence online. And if I do that for the rest of my life, for this group of people, I’m okay with it.

And that’s hard, to get to that point. So many people have a hard time going, “This is what I want to be known for. And I’m okay if I’m linked to this one thing”, because they want to be known for five different things. Well, that’s not how people’s brains work, figure out one thing, and you’re gonna have to be okay with the fact that they won’t know all the other amazing facets of your personality. Let the people that get into your world find out those amazing things about you.

The fact that I am a thought leader, and that I enjoy playing music and stuff like that in my spare time, I don’t expect to get “known” in my business circles for being a musician first, that doesn’t make any sense. I’m gonna get a MicroFamous guy; and then if you get into my world, you’ll find out other things about me like that, and that’s fine. You just have to add an identity level, you have to get Okay with being known for one thing.

I love that. And on so many different levels too… That’s something I never say in real life. I love that, hahaha. Like, this is like an alternate you.

What do you want to be known as?

Margarita inspired just a week and a half ago, I was like, “I need to make Mombie a brand.” I’ve been joking with clients and with friends, “Hey, don’t mind how I look when we go on video today because I’m in Mombie mode” Like, mom-zombie. I just need to make that a thing, Mombie.

So, I went and bought the URL, and for the longest time I was avoiding any type of mom brand because, well, my kids are going to be out of the house someday and I’m going to celebrate. But I realize I can have fun with this for a couple years, and then I can sell it, because I don’t want to be the Mombie forever. But in the meantime, again, this was a margarita inspired idea which is taking off… It’s going to be the non-PC place for moms to be. Like, come and say what you’re really thinking about the big pile of laundry in your living room and the people who didn’t do it, and let’s have fun! That’s part of it.

But my friend, you may actually know him, Ritchie Ottay, he asked me a couple weeks ago: “So what do you want to be known as?” We’ve been friends for a couple years. “Do you want to be known as the Funnel person, or the person who knows how to do Pinterest really well to get your podcast out there?” And I’m like: “No.” He’s like: “Well, then what do you want to be known for?” And I said, “I want to help people work smarter, not harder. I want to get people away from their computers and back into bed.”

Hahaha! That’s…

And that comes with a little wink-wink.


But self-care is important. Just like you, I can’t be working 10 hours a day. and that’s a big discovery. I feel like I’ve grown up from the collegiate self.

I went to school for interior architecture so I was pulling all-nighters all the time. But even just in the past couple years, I was pulling all-nighters a couple years ago, I can’t do that anymore. I can feel the anxiety go through the roof after one day of not enough sleep. I’m not willing to sacrifice that.


Famously Unavailable

What is one thing that you do for yourself every day that you’re not willing to give up?

Oh, man… After this year? I don’t know that I will ever schedule calls in the afternoon with any regularity ever again.


Yeah, I think I figured it out. Look, I work as a strategic thought leader, I’m single, I work six to seven mornings a week, because that’s how I choose to do it. But four of those days a week I don’t have calls, it’s just working on stuff that I won’t normally work on. I think I just came to the decision within myself that if I find myself having to book calls more than 20 hours a week, I’ve overcommitted myself.

20 hours a week, holy moly. I wouldn’t be able to do that, period.

Are you an extrovert?

No, introvert.

And you can handle 20 hours?

Yeah. I would say Tuesday through Friday. I’m usually on three to four hours of calls a day in the morning. From eight to noon, seven to noon, something like that.


So, I discovered out of all this, in the past six months that I don’t want to do morning calls, and I only want to do one to two calls a day. So, two hours max. And after that, leave me the heck alone… And if they’re trying to call my phone without texting to see if I’m busy first, be prepared for The Wrath of Kim.

Oh, I’m famously unavailable.

My clients know it. We’ve got account managers for the day-to-day stuff. I’m available only for strategic thought leader conversations, I’m not the one you text me if you have a question about the way the podcast looks on Apple today or something like that, I only get involved at the strategic level. And then, yeah, the rest of the time when I’m not running the agency, which is only Tuesday mornings, essentially. The rest of the time is my podcast, the calls that I choose, hosting, that kind of thing.

So, that does make a difference. I’m not managing clients for like 20 hours a week, I pay somebody else to do that, so that I do stuff that pushes the business forward. Like getting interviewed, things that I enjoy, conversations that are fun. So that does make a difference, but that is the one thing I won’t go back to. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to scheduling calls in the afternoon because that’s when my energy dips, and that’s when I want to withdraw, and be alone and recharge.

So yeah, I don’t think I’ll ever give that up.

Do Not Disturb!

I want to offer this one hack, and then I want to ask you where listeners can find you. But just recently, I updated the Do Not Disturb settings on my iPhone. My family is in New York so they all have the Do Not Disturb while I’m driving, message that comes up. But mine actually says, “I’m unavailable right now, email me to set up a time that we can talk.” It’s funny to think that I’m a child of the 80’s who would just pick up the phone and call. But don’t just pick up the phone and call me… Set up a time.

Yeah, I’m a child of the 80’s too, but I did not get that gene. I do not pick up the phone. My voice mailbox is permanently full, thanks to a script at Verizon. So literally, if you call me, I will not pick up and it will go to voicemail, and you will be unable to leave a voicemail. So, my clients text me if they do want something and they know that that’s few and far between.

But yeah, I’m such a fan of Dan Kennedy, and I love that approach of being famously unavailable, because it’s the only way to get things done and push your business forward. You have to have time to make good decisions, do lots of deep work, get stuff done that actually pushes the business forward.

I love that your voicemails are permanently full. I mean, it’s unfortunate that it was unintentional, but my voicemail messages for both our house and my cell phone both say: “I won’t listen to your voicemail so don’t leave one.”

Yeah, I used to have that. And then they’re transcribed and sent, stuff like that. I also did the thing on my iPhone where I have no notifications.

Yeah, me too.

No text notifications, no Facebook, no Instagram… I don’t even have Instagram on my phone anymore. No phone call, my phone ringer doesn’t go out, like nothing. If you call or text me, nothing happens. I have to decide to pick up the phone and check to see if somebody messaged me.

Which makes a huge difference too. I don’t have something distracting me while my phone is sitting here. It just sits there.

Is it the same on your computer too? Because the second that I set it off on my phone and my computer, I couldn’t believe how much more productive I got.

Yeah, yeah. I don’t have anything, zero notifications on my laptop ever.

Separate from the Black Mirror

Which, by the way, you mentioned… Just the promise of getting away from the computer, get back in bed. Until that is a very compelling idea to entrepreneurs. I have literally sketched out, almost like an idea, a thought experiment: What if I never needed to get on a computer to run my business? The thought leader marketing doesn’t always depend on being in a computer.


So, if you can get the technology and the automation set up, so that you can run things by phone by talking to people, you have somebody else checking your email, you just have automation and things running in your business so the business doesn’t depend on you sitting down and being productive in that computer… That is a big, compelling, interesting promise to an entrepreneur to just be able to run your business from your phone, because all the automation is set up on the back end.

I just thought I’d throw that out there, that is something I’ve thought about like I don’t need the latest, greatest computer. I don’t need the latest addition to Photoshop or Illustrator on my computer. The presence doesn’t depend on any of that, it depends on me leading, which means, I need to be able to talk to people on the phone, that is all. I’m doing this from a three-year-old laptop because I don’t need the latest greatest computer to run the business, which is really nice.

That’s awesome. Yeah, love it.

Final words and contact

Well, Matt, where can people find you, know more, get a copy of your book on thought leader strategy… All that great stuff?

So, the website is Getmicrofamous.com, we’re still building it out. But for now, all the links to the book, the podcast are there. You can actually get a free digital copy of the book, so you can get that. Obviously, if you want the physical copy, I’ve got here, I’m a physical copy kind guy, just go to Amazon.

Awesome. Listeners, if you are trying not to burn dinner on your elliptical and don’t want to fall off, or driving, you don’t need to write this down, but you can go to the notes below and you’ll find all the links for all the books that we talked about today, Matt’s social media links, the links to his books and all that great stuff.

Matt, I don’t cook dinner, I burn it. I don’t do any. So, part of the Mombie’s brand, I’m actually going to design an apron that says exactly that, “Eat at your own risk.”

Hahaha, yeah! “We’re not eating gourmet tonight.”

Or any night. Yep.

I have an 18-year-old, he just turned 18 last week. He knows how to cook better than I do.

I believe it, my sister got that way. I’ve got a much younger sister, and she ended up being the one that cooked for the family towards the end of her stay. And yeah, probably cooks better than all of us.

Yeah, yeah. Thank you so much. Again, listeners, go find Matt.

Matt, every bit of this, since the second that we’ve got on has been awesome now that my bloopers have returned whole. Holy moly, I think that’s a sign of peace. I learned that one from my 15-year-old, that’s how he responded to me when he’s getting out of the car. He gives me the peace sign. How about a kiss on the cheek or something? “Thanks, mom for the ride.” But peace out? No.

My co-host on The Real Estate Podcast does that. He ends off every episode with “Peace out, ninjas!”

I just feel like I’m too old.

He has no excuse. He’s older than both of us, so I have no idea what his excuses are, but it works. I guess it’s got a blast.

Yeah, it has. Thank you so much.

Listeners, readers, leave a comment down below. Let us know what you think, and until the next episode. Go forth and make it a Positive and Productive day.