#3: Things I Would Tell My Younger Self [WOYG Podcast]

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What would Dre Baldwin tell his younger self? In this episode of the Work On Your Game podcast, Dre tells you exactly what he would say and why. Pay attention.


Things I Would Tell My Younger Self

One of the things that I tell people when it comes to building their brand is:

“Your audience is very easy to find. They are the people who you used to be.

The person who is sitting in the seat that you sat in 5 years ago, 6 months ago or 10 years ago or 2 weeks ago, is your audience. ”

I’m going to share with you some things that I would tell my younger self, the person who is sitting in the seat that I used to sit in, because it’s the exact path that I came from. And, maybe, some of the things that we talk about will rub off on you, and that could help you.

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  1. Start educating yourself outside of school, ASAP.

We all know what school was designed for. The American Educational System, as it exists now, came about around the time of the industrial revolution. It was when we were starting to rebuild the United States after a couple of wars, so we needed factories. These factories produced products, goods and services. People bought these goods and services that ran the economy. In order for the factories to keep running, moving along, and producing goods and services, there was a need for reliable workers. People worked in the factories by showing up every single day at the exact same time. They had an assigned role and assigned job that they needed to do over and over and over again, all day.

When the bell rings, they go eat lunch.

When the bell rings again, they stop eating lunch and go back to work.

When the last bell rings, they leave and go home.

Then, next morning they come back in at the exact same time and do the same thing over and over and over again until the boss tells them to change jobs or do something different;

That is why the American Educational System was put together.

It was to produce factory workers.

How many people are looking to work in a factory when they get out of school?

There probably aren’t many people.

The reason you need to start educating yourself outside of school is because the system was made to produce automaton employees who didn’t need to think independently. IF you plan on doing anything that requires you to think, decide and act independently in any way, employee or not, you’ll need some education that school can’t teach.

Growing up, I’ve had people who taught me that harbored no real-world experiences in their fields of “expertise”; Music teachers who have never sold one piece of music; People teaching business classes who never owned a business; Professors teaching law, who’ve never practiced law – they may have had a law degree, but they never practiced law so they lacked real life application to even draw from.

Am I saying that every teacher fits this description? No. There are some teachers who are actually business owners, entrepreneurs, musicians;  People who have actually done the things that they’re teaching. You need to check the background of the people who are teaching you. I’m not saying that you stand up and curse them out in the middle of class, that probably wouldn’t help your situation. What you can do is you can add some extra education outside of what you’re getting in school.

I knew I wanted to be a business owner or an entrepreneur because…

I didn’t know any entrepreneurs around me. All the adults around me growing  up were employees, and these are a few things that  I noticed about them:

  • None of them ever seemed happy about going to work.
  • They always seem to be having discussions about money – not what to do with all the money they had but their lack of money.
  • They were always at work. Nobody ever had any time off.

If that’s the situation and none of them ever had the things that I wanted to have, then of course, I don’t want to follow in that path.

The only thing I knew about entrepreneurship was the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous where they have six cars, six-seater limousines, a butler to serve them food, and a big house with many bedrooms. I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur but I wasn’t able to verbalize and explain it. But now, being my older self talking to my younger self, the number one thing I would tell myself is:

“Start educating yourself outside of school.”

Business owners are in the real world. They are learning, making mistakes, meeting people and going through these situations. They share what they know in books, in speaking, in audio tapes and when they do interviews. You need to consume those things, and read those books. Find a successful person and ask them what they have read, and then you read everything they said. As you read, those books are going to mention other people — read that stuff, too.

Start educating yourself outside of school. Not today, not tomorrow, but yesterday.

  1. Learn how to sell.

Everything in life is sales.

If you are not good in sales, you’ll be stuck with the handouts. This means that you’ll end up with an hourly nine-to-five job. People will tell you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, where to do it, who to do it with, why to do it, when to show up, when to go home, when to eat lunch, when to get sick, when to be healthy, when to have kids, when you can’t take a day off and when you can take a day off. You will  get handed with the things that you have no control over when you can’t control your outcomes.

Understand that sales is the key driver of everything in life. If you have a boyfriend/girlfriend or a husband/wife, you made a sale to that person to be in a relationship with you. If you’ve ever had a kiss after a date or if you ever had sex, that was sales. If you have been to a restaurant before, somebody sold you that food. If you have clothes on right now, somebody made a sale in order for you to put those things on.

Every single thing you do in life is sales.

Sometimes, I talk to people about business and some opportunities they have or an opportunity I might have for them and they say:

  • “I don’t like sales.”
  • “I’m not into sales.”
  • “I’m not good at sales.”
  • “I never wanted a job that has anything to do with sales.”

It makes me chuckle inside when people say things like that because it tells me that they don’t like being in control of their outcomes.

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like to be in control of your outcomes, you don’t have to be in sales. You can take the handouts. You won’t have that much say and that much control if you don’t know how to sell, because sales is taking your emotions, thoughts, feelings, and vision. You transfer it to someone else so that they think, feel and see the exact same thing you think, feel and see.

If I can walk up to Robert and say,

“Robert, I think, feel and see that you should pay me $10,000 to coach you on how to do better on your blog and make better YouTube videos.”

If I’m able to transfer that idea to him, he’s going to say,

“You know what, Dre? I think, feel and see that I should pay you $10,000 too. Who should I send the check to?”

If I did not have a conversation with Robert or transferred those thoughts, feelings, and emotions to him, there’s no way I could get the $10,000.

But I still need to eat, keep my cell phone turned on, go to the movies once a month and go to the bar for happy hour every Friday so I can drown all the sorrows from the five days I’ve been at work. I have to take a handout of a job because that’s the only way I’m going to get a paycheck, so I had the money to actually do those things.

You are either going to be good at sales or you’re going to be getting sold at all times.

Everybody is in sales. The only difference between person A and person B is that one person can be good at sales and another person can be terrible at sales. If you bury your head in the sand and say, “I’m not good at sales; I don’t like sales; I never want to do sales”, that’s fine. All you have to do is get yourself a job and work for somebody who IS really good at sales.

  1. People skills are more important than “book skills.”

I would tell  my younger self, “Yes, Young Dre, even though you got your Business Management and Marketing Degree at Penn State, you have to understand that people skills are more important than anything you can learn in one of those dusty textbooks that are already outdated by the time they get into your hands. Your skills with people are more important than anything you can learn in a book.”

Why is that?

Who does business? People.

When you sell things, who are you selling them to? People.

Business involves an exchange of resources, money or legal tender, between people. If you read a bunch of books and you study all these books but you don’t have any feel for people, and you don’t know how to have a conversation with somebody, you’re not going to do much business. And, I mean just having a normal conversation with a person, not a sales call.

If you start a business, you’re going to need employees. Employees are people.

If those people don’t like you, they’re not going to work for you, or at least they’re not going to work hard for you. They’ll work hard enough to keep the paycheck, and you’ll pay them enough to keep them from quitting.

Businesses need customers in order to make money. Customers are people.

If you don’t have people skills, you will not have a conversation, which means you can’t sell and you will not have any customers. If you have no customers, you have no business. So, you must learn people skills; learn to interact with people, make friends and influence others.

I would tell my younger self,

“10 years from now, Dre, these same people you’re looking at it in college who you’re having a toast with your beer cans at the frat parties, those same guys could be your best business allies.

That guy might become a lawyer, and he can help you get through a situation where you’re dealing with somebody suing you.

The other person might become a great receptionist, and she might be your right-hand lady when you start your business.

The other guy over there might start his own company and you two might have a strategic alliance 10 years down the road that may make both of you $1 billion in the long run.

So, you have to learn how to start making friends, how to influence people, how to talk to people and how to just have a normal conversation like a normal human being.

A lot of adults don’t know how to have a normal conversation with somebody where they’re not trying to sell them something or ask them a bunch of questions. I know many people who are not good at it and they’re in the sales business. It makes me even more curious how they actually even make any sales in their business because they don’t know how to talk to people.

So, to recap: the third thing I would tell my younger self is develop people skills and understand that people skills cannot be taught in a classroom. Going out and having actual conversations with people is a necessary step to developing people skills.

The 3 Things That I Would Tell My Younger Self:

  1. Start educating yourself outside of school, ASAP.

Go buy books and listen to audio tapes. Start personally developing yourself. Find personal development by finding a successful person, and listening to everything that they’ve listened to, read everything that they’ve read, and then get references from those materials and keep going. Always keep feeding your mind with things that you can learn outside of the classroom.

  1. If you want to be a business person, you must learn how to sell.

Every business must have customers. Customers are people, and you must learn how to sell to those people. If you cannot transfer your ideas, thoughts, feelings and emotions to another person, you can never sell anything to anyone. You will never get a date, you will never lose your virginity and you will never do anything successful in life if you do not know how to sell.

  1. You must learn people skills. 

People skills will serve you much further than anything you can learn in an outdated, dusty, $60 textbook that’s really worth $15. You must learn people skills: how to talk, listen and communicate with people, make friends and influence people and have a casual conversation with somebody without you having any ulterior motive.The only way you develop those people skills is by talking to people. Find somebody who’s really good with people and ask them:

“How did you get that good?”

“What are the things that you do?”

“What books did you read?”

“Who do you listen to?”

“What are some things I can do to get better?”

“Can you give me one specific tip I can do to get better in my people skills?”

You have to ask questions to people who already have what you want.

2 Comments

  1. Great episode Dre, set my mind racing. I’d agree with all the points and if you’re young, still in school or college, take note and do this. Wish I’d of had this advice when I was still in school, whether I’d of listened is a different matter. Put your ego aside and take action on this podcast.

    What I’d add is use school, you have to be there so use it rather than it using you. Learn your strengths and weaknesses, find the subjects you’re passionate about, learn all you can about them. Then use these subjects to learn things about the subjects your not interested in. Example you love films, you want to make films but you hate history so learn about the history of film, you’ll pick up what the era was like, what was going on at the time. Same with geography, film locations. Keep doing this, will make those subjects more bareable.

    Network with other students, help those who are weaker in your strong areas, get help in your weak areas. Focus mainly on your strengths. Learn as much as you can about alot of different things and how they relate to your chosen subject. Marketing, sales in film.

    Use the resources around you to develop passion projects. Get pro active. Get other students involved. We’re all in media now, no matter what career path you take, you can make videos, blogs, podcasts. Detail your learning journey for other students to follow or expand upon.

    Loved this episode. What would you tell your younger self?

    • Thanks, Colin, for your feedback! Happy the show got you thinking.

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