Skills for Freedom: Welcome to another interview. I have a feeling that today's interview is going to be rather engaging, fun and extremely motivational because James Malinchak is one of America's leading keynote speakers and business coaches. USA today named him the world's premier speaker, trainer and coach is also been featured on ABC's hit show, 'Secret Millionaire', and now James, it's a great pleasure to welcome you to the interview.
James Malinchak: Hey, thanks for having me. I truly appreciate it.
Skills for Freedom: It's great to have you with us. As, I mentioned in the introduction, you're widely regarded as one of the best motivational speakers in the world. Can I start by asking? Was that always an ambition?
James Malinchak: No, it wasn't actually, I just remember saying, man, but if I can make two, $2,000, when I was getting out of school, I made $2,000 a month.
I'll be set for the rest of my life. Yeah, that's it I'll pay my rent, pay my car insurance. I'm good. Right. And, um, I have a friend who is a, kind of a celebrity pretty here in the US he's a former pro football player. His name is Joe Theismann. A legendary quarterback for the Washington Redskins. I went to see him speak back in 1995.
I'd never seen a speaker before. And, uh, I just loved what he did. Like he got up there and told stories. He motivated, inspired folks. And we went out to lunch after and I asked him not knowingly, very ignorantly. I said do they pay you to be out here? And he looked at me like, yeah. And I, said, well, what they pay you like $50 or something?
He looked at me, I got nine heads. He said, "no they paid me $10,000!" This was back in 1995. And I almost fell off the chair. "So they paid you $10,000 to do what? He said, "to deliver that speech." I mean, Joe's $25-$30,000 now. And I was like, what? They paid you to talk for 45 minutes? And Joe is the guy that started explaining the speaking industry and how it's really a business and I’m the kind of guy you don't have to hit me in the head with a two by four, twice.
I catch it the first time he did right. And I can help people. I can inspire them, and they will pay me? Oh my gosh, I'm going to do this. And I did. And my first talk was, well, actually I did about 80 for free. Cause I didn't know anything about the business side of speaking. And then my first aid talk was $50 and a free dinner. And that's how I got started.
Skills for Freedom: Which did you enjoy the most? The $50 or the free dinner?
James Malinchak: Well, I'll take the free dinner because I actually had to drive about three and a half hours one way. And I emceed an event for about four hours and then I drove three and a half hours back. So I think I used the $50 up in gas. I think the free dinner when I got there was better.
Skills for Freedom: Well, you're from a small town in Pennsylvania. So how did you go from such humble beginnings to becoming one of the world's most revered authors, speakers and business coaches?
James Malinchak: Well, you know, I think growing up in that small-town environment, Had a lot to do with it. Wonderful, great people. We had about 6,000 people in our town and we didn't have much. Dad worked in the steel mill,on the trains, hauling coal and all kinds of scrap metal... And moms was a lunch mother at the schools, meaning serving lunches to kids going to school. So we didn't have anything.
I think growing up in that environment, well, the blessing I had was I had a cousin. He was very successful. He came from that town and he would always invite you. You need to New York city to, uh, live with him. He was a commodity trader on the commodity exchange in New York and these gold, silver and merch and top pits and a very wealthy guy. He was the guy that showed me what's possible and that it doesn't matter where you start in life. It matters where you decide to finish and that you could be doing anything you want in life.
My father taught me that you can do anything you want life. If you listen, if you don't lose it, the people will tell you, you can't do something, and you just believe in yourself. So I think, and this is what I think is so important today for folks, you know, folks are doing certain things. They may want to do a bigger goal or a bigger dream, and they don't think it's possible. Cause they've never been shown the way or have the door cracked open and had some light coming in.
I think that's what my cousin did to me. You know, he was, I mean, I saw this whole world, you know what I mean? Like this guy had like Rolls Royce and things like that. I mean, I was a steel mill town kid. I didn't even know that was even possible for somebody like me, but because he cracked the door and showed me just a glimmer of light.
Now what I tell people all the time, people will give you a crack door with a glimmer of light and an opportunity, or, you know, some advice, but then you've gotta get off your ass and do something with it. You know, like, I, I was just fortunate that I followed and bid exactly. Here's my rationale. If this man is successful and very wealthy and has tons of celebrity people that look up to him, maybe I ought to listen to him and do what he says.
Skills for Freedom: Yeah. Yeah.
James Malinchak: So that's all I did. You know my part was easy. I just had to execute on that plan or the past that he already created for himself. I just had to do for me. I don't want to say it was easy. It was a lot of long hours and things like that, but I didn't have to kind of create it.
So folks look for somebody who already has what you have. They've already figured it out and then go up and ask them to mentor you. If you have to pay them to consult or coach for you, you do that because they're, they will not cut your learning curve in half. They'll cut it back 90%. Cause they already figured it out.
Skills for Freedom: I mean, a lot of people talk about luck as being a key element here.
No, I'm not, I'm not lucky enough and so on. So what would you say James, about what luck is, has it played a part in your success, would you say?
James Malinchak: Absolutely not. No. So saying, you know, relying on a that's an easy way out. That's like saying, you know, I watched the movie, the secret in the universe is going to give me everything. So I don't actually have to do anything. I'll just sit on my couch and I'll wait for customers to come in or I'll wait for money to walk in or I'll wait for the love of my life. Come on, let's get real. If somebody believes and they believe that it's just luck that gets handed them. I mean, you're better off waiting for more Mo, Larry, or Curly from the three Stooges to bring this up. No, it was when preparation meets opportunity and then you get off your butt and you do something about it. No, I absolutely do not believe it's luck.
Skills for Freedom: I, completely agree. So, I mean, in terms of your own business and your own success, how hard do you push yourself?
James Malinchak: Wow. I love this question because I grew up in a steel town and I watched my father who was the hardest working man I've ever known in my life. He wouldn't get off a day from the mill and he would like, you know, put a fence around the yard. That's his day off. Right. Or he would get a day off and he would dig up sewer pipes from the sanitation for the sewer.
Like he would do some work, like hard manual labor. And I used to believe that hard work is what it takes and so it wasn't until I got out on my own and started being an artist and thinking things through that, I realized something, um, it's not about working harder. It's about working and most people say smarter, and I said, that's absolutely correct.
It is not about working harder. It is not about working smarter. It's about working, right? If you do things the right way, you don't have to work hard. Because you got things I'm getting, here's how I learned this. When I was playing high school basketball, there was a playground. My goal was what if I work hard all day long, all in the summer for 12 hours a day, you're shooting, then, I'm going to be approved, pretty good shooter. I might get offered a scholarship too. And so I did that and I was out there. For 12, 14 hours. A matter of fact, I even worked really smart. I worked as a bus boy, I made some money. I went to the paint store and I bought a paint brush and a tape measure, and some paint and I painted a three point shooting arc out there.
So I could shoot from far away because I was thinking, boy, if I get used to this, when it comes time in a few months to be in regular season, I'm going to be ready. So I'm working. I used to wear weight vests. I used to do risk curls and I'd be out there 12, 14 hours a day. I used to shoot at night. Because my theory was, if I can make it, make the baskets, when it's dark, I can make it when the gym lights are on in the game. Right. I was working hard. I was working smart, right. Prepare myself, get my legs, my wrist got strong. I couldn't make a shot for about six weeks. And finally, one day I got mad.
I threw my shirt down and I kicked the ball down the street. And there was a man Mr. Mason, who would sit on the swing in our little town, in his yard, overlooking of the basketball court. He got up from his swing and his yard. He walked over to me and he said, man, check, come here. He said, I'll tell you why you're missing your shots. I said, well, did you play? He says, Nope, I've never played in my life. I asked, did you coach? He said, Nope, never coached. And I'm thinking, how the heck is this guy? He never played or never coached. Can he tell me why I'm missing my basketball shops? Sarcastically? I said good. Mr. Mason, tell me. He said, well, yeah, you're working hard.
I'll give you that kid. You're out here. 12, 14 hours a day in the hot sun. And in theory, you're working smart. Cause I see what the West, the white best song. And you're you got the paint and the paint brush and the line and all that he said, but son, you're not working right. I'm like, what are you talking about? I'm not working, right? He says, your elbow is sticking out. Every time you shoot the ball and I'm watching you shoot curve ball. And, there's an old line of basketball where the elbow goes, the ball floats. And he says, kid wants to get your elbow in and shoot the ball the right way. And I bet you make your shots.
And I did, and I made them then and I made them farther and it was so easy. To make the shots. I didn't have to be. I could go out there for an hour 90 minutes, shoot the right way. And I was done for the day. I didn't have to work hard 12, 14 hours a day. So, it's not about working harder. It's not about working smarter. It's about working. Right.
Skills for Freedom: And what helps you to now stay focused James? Cause I guess, you know, you've achieved so much in your career. How do you now stay focused on, on what you're working on now and what you're working on next?
James Malinchak: Well, it has to be very, fun for me. I mean, I got to enjoy it. It has to be fun.
It has to be easy, I heard this term one time, somewhere, ELF. I can't remember where I heard it. ELF, E.L.F and I kind of liked the term easy, lucrative and fun.
Skills for Freedom: I like it.
James Malinchak: Yeah, it's cool. Cool. Little term. And so, uh, I'm at a point, well, I'll give an example. I just got off a call with a guy who has this new site and it's to empower kids and teach them leadership and entrepreneurship and all that. And you know, he's got Les Brown and all these different celebrity thought leaders on there. And he wanted me to. To do some programs to help the kids. And I said, Hey man, I'm in, a part of my passion is helping kids. And so, I'm in under one condition, how much time and effort and work do I have to put in?
And he said, Oh, let's just be like, you know, one 40 minute interview that I do with you every three or four months, I said, Oh, because that's easy. It's lucrative because he's got just a thousands of folks that will find out about me. So that will turn into business. And it's fun because I love talking about stuff like this and especially love helping kids.
Well, easy to say, that's something that I want to do and focus on. So for me personally, it's gotta be, yeah. In my, my, uh, super power, if you will, and it's gotta be easy, lucrative and fun when you talk.
Skills for Freedom: Superpowers. So I I'd like to ask you about your heroes. Who do you look up to?
James Malinchak: Well, definitely my mom and dad, you know, I'm from a steel town, not having much, but two of the most wisdom people I've ever met because they gave me life wisdom. Right. Yeah. My mom said enjoy all the success that you could have that you want, but never forget never forget your family and your friends always keep them a top priority and always tell them you love them. That should be taught in every school and the world.
Skills for Freedom: That's great advice.
James Malinchak: Right? My dad was the one that told me, you know, you can do anything you want in life. If you don't listen to people who tell you can't do it. And if you always believe in yourself, I mean, why isn't that taught in every university, every school, every grade in, in the world. So it was nuggets like that, but I also, you know, I believe you, you don't go to school once in your life.
You're in school every single day of your life. The minute you choose here at me, the minute you choose to stop learning, you will stop earning. And I don't just mean an income. I mean, you know, earning growth where you continue to grow. I always said, if you want to go more, you got to grow more. Right. So earning is more than just money, but, um, so I'm constantly learning. I mean, I've read it 5,000 books. I just went on Amazon and got three more books last night. I just connected up with, uh, Billy Seinberg. Who's a, a super sports agent represents 300 professional athletes. If you ever saw the movie, Jerry Maguire with Tom Cruise, and this is kind of the real Jerry Maguire that they based the movie on.
I'm interviewing him for my coaching clients. So it was, coming up in about four weeks. So what did I do? I went on Amazon and I bought both of his books that he wrote. And I'll read those books before we do the interview. And I'll know more about what, how he thinks in his life and what he tries to teach people that probably anybody that's ever interviewed him.
Cause nobody took the time to read his book, you know? So, I'm always learning. I'm always, I'm always gettig new mentors in the form of books, podcasts, etc.
Skills for Freedom: And talking of books. I mean, you've, you've written many yourself. I mean, maybe you could just tell us a little bit about, about the books that you've written.
James Malinchak: Well, you know, pandemic things started a few months ago. I was telling my coaching clients, as soon as this all happened, that said, we're not going to be back to some normalcy for another year. So, don't, don't panic, protect yourself, but get into proactive production mode. Don't sit here. Don't go watch television. What can you move up that you are going to do 12 months, 18 months, three years from now. Move it up now and get it done. So, for me, It was like Hey, I got these books, two other books that I was going to do now in a year or two.
So I've written a book called middle success secrets. What I call them, billionaire top achievers, 33 ways millionaire, top and top achievers, how they act. They think because seven and eight figure entrepreneurs think way differently than. Everyone else. That's the reason they're seven and eight figure entrepreneurs, millionaire, success, secrets. I wrote millionaire selling secrets, um, all, all strategies and ideas from the seven and eight figure level people, a millionaire referrals, secrets, how to get a whole bunch of business referrals, millionaire, entrepreneurs, secrets.
I have millionaire networking secrets, and then I wrote a whole bunch of books on the speaking profession as well. Cause I do a lot of speaking.
Skills for Freedom: Yeah. I mean, and how, how do you go about that process of, writing a book? I mean, is it a case of, you know, you, open up your, your laptop or do you go old school with pen and paper?
James Malinchak: Ah, yeah. Great question. No, I first of all, what I try to teach people, who want to do a book is you already have a book done. You've probably have information out there somewhere. You wrote blog articles. You put Facebook posts out, you put a Twitter post out. I told a very famous celebrity one time. I was speaking in an event and I'm looking out as I'm on stage and I'm like, ah, I know, I know this guy who's sitting in the front row. And uh, this guy came up to me after and I'm like, Oh my gosh, it really is the guy. Right! So we were talking about books and all that. And then I said, you know, you have a television show and at the end, you put out tweets that are inspirational, that right. I watched some of your shows stuff. He goes, yeah, yeah, I've done that.
I said, why don't you just go get all the tweets and put one or two on a page and bond it up? That's your book? Because your stuff that you put out is very inspirational and, you know, encouraging, why do you have to sit down and write a whole bunch of stuff? He was like, dang, I never thought about that. And I said, you know, one of the best selling books of all time is life's little instruction book. And it's just one or two sentences on a page of other good wisdom and nuggets that people need to hear us. Just do that. Just go get your tweets, your books.
Skills for Freedom:Yeah. It's a case of don't overthink it. Isn't it just thinking?
James Malinchak: I did it. I did a book one time for somebody where it was a surprise as, a birthday present for her, she didn't even know it was going to be done. I went on her Facebook page and I pulled off. She puts out great wisdom and you know, encouragement. So I went on her Facebook page and I pulled off a hundred of her posts that she wrote from the previous three years. And I put one on a page. I had a cover designed and, you know, put it up and bottled it all together, presented that as a birthday present. And all it was was her Facebook posts that she already wrote, she had never thought of this but that stuff could turn into a book. I'm like, why? It's great wisdom. Let's just get it on some paper.
Skills for Freedom:Absolutely. I mean, I think people sometimes underestimate their own creativity, you know, just in terms of, Oh, it's only a Facebook post. It's only a tweet, but actually it is content in your own words.
James Malinchak: Yes. Yeah. A hundred percent. Yeah.
Skills for Freedom:And James, what's next for you? What are you working on right now?
James Malinchak: Oh man. Uh, you know, I'm actually, launching a podcast and a big YouTube channel and building up the social media aspect because it's something I never really cared about in the past. And now I realize that this part of my life, I can reach and help more people.
I get this all the time. I'll be working with somebody and they'll be like, man, I've been in like ten different coaching programs and I never get told the stuff that you tell me about, like how to profit and make money. You just cut right to the chase and you show me so many ways here's what I get. How come more people don't know about you? I'm not like that.
I have worked with some of the biggest thought leaders in the world behind the scenes and big celebrities. People just came to me and that's kinda like what I get.
It's a shame that I'm blessed to know so many people but I was like how do I get myself out there. So I hired an Instagram team. I hired YouTube team to build a YouTube channel and we're going to be in the next couple of months going full force. I had a podcast team doing our podcast and blasting it out.
Skills for Freedom: Great. how can people find out more about you, James? Where, should we head?
James Malinchak: Real simple www.BigMoneySpeaker.com
Skills for Freedom: Perfect James! Listen, thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate, you speaking with us. It's been great to catch up and good luck with the podcast, that YouTube channel and everything else that you're working on.
James Malinchak: Thank you, I really appreciate you having me. I thank you so much!