Creighton Wong about how to turn failures, bad reviews and self doubts into perseverance




Today's guest is a serial entrepreneur business growth specialist who studied animal psychology and neuroscience in college then studied the law at UC Davis School of Law then became an attorney in the state of California before foundation numbers of multi-million dollar businesses who now owns his own dishon marketing service his name is Clinton so welcome thank you thank you yeah so I actually didn't notice that you studied I'm most psychology like wow I think that's some super interesting well it's really funny because even though I don't practice it as a way of living I still very much enjoy and I'm currently binge watching our planet on Netflix right now so I throw up me some David Attenborough and some nature shows well no I genuinely I don't think I know anyone who studied anyone psychology like other than you it's amazing yeah it's physiology and cell the body's work not not necessarily how the animal Minds work okay so today I wanted to talk about you today okay I know that you're entrepreneur right thank you started multiple businesses and you were also a lawyer what turning before can you give me some background of your story did I get that all the story rights or did I miss anything I can you know I think I think you I think you've got the big overview okay give us more juice like what what's your background what's your story can you tell tell us like overall yeah I mean just you know it's everything that you mentioned kind of an eclectic background of you know studying the Biosciences to studying law to you know kind of being an entrepreneur and starting several businesses some of which were very successful and some of them which quite frankly failed and so it's been a it's been an up-and-down learning process you know and I think I learned early on to that you know for me I'm happiest when I am creating that there's something in the creation process that you know gets me out of bed and you get to be excited about the day even even if the days are longer or harder then if I'm just punching a clock and and showing up you know from a typical nine-to-five so you know that's what sort of led me into the entrepreneurial world and that's what kept me here as well because I love the you know like I said ìlook building and you know and and when it's we're talking about building we're also talking about making a serious impact on other people's lives that's what that's what we do as as businesses that's why we hold up our shingle and put out our services or our products it's really to make others people's lives better so if that actually made me another question um so you said that like pretty much when you wake up like you have some purpose to live up to right like that that's what excites your good morning but you know as business owners as we are I have already also experienced something like this where I just couldn't like keep up with my energy like I just felt like oh this is gonna be so hard like another day like this is like a early you know phase of startups like pretty much anytime you're starting your new thing like nobody's giving you the confirmation that you're gonna succeed or nobody's giving you you know the permission that you can't feel you you would be successful like you know what I mean and then um even then like you have this such a strong mental gravity and self-doubts you still have to get up and do it I think other for you to create something you want to build right so how would you manage that like when nobody's believing in you right like how would you go about God boy you've unpacked a lot of questions there so let me let me see if I can get you all of them okay you know the first thing I want to address is I want to debunk a myth that's out there where a lot of guys like to say oh just just take the first step the first steps the hardest right we have famous quotes that says the journey of a thousand miles starts with it you know the first step and that's very true but I'll also say that you know the first step sometimes is the easiest one because you can work yourself up into a lather of enthusiasm and excitement and you know you can take that first step mm-hmm and whether it's starting a new business venture or whether it's starting a new workout routine you can get up for that first step and you can game plan the whole thing and in the words of the great Mike Tyson you know we can all have a great game plan and it goes out the window when you get in the face and so I you know so I also have a background in sports and did the competitive paratriathlon for about ten years and the first steps always easy but it's can you show up on that second day when the body's a little bit sore can you show up on that third day when you don't really have the same amount of energy how about on the fourth day when your mindset just isn't into it and and and so you have to play these little games to trick yourself but those are the days that are the more important days to just show up and do something I could trick myself like like if I were sick or I didn't feel well I made a deal with myself I said all right Creighton you go to the gym and pound weights or you go to the pool and you you you swim for five minutes because if you could slap your way pack everything up get over to the gym get into the pool and work out for 5 minutes if you still feel lousy you can go home no no problem I never once did that where I didn't finish the workout because I always felt better workout too so to bring it back into the entrepreneurial in the business world it's it's really the same thing we ride this Sonoita wave up and down and up and down and when you're down you know sometimes you need to give yourself a physical break sometimes you need to give yourself a mental break sometimes you give yourself a spiritual break and you know really disconnect for a small period of time and on those days I follow the words of Tim Ferriss where he says look you know if you look down your laundry list of two do's and you simply don't have the time or the energy to get everything done what's the one thing what's the one singular thing that you can do today that will move your business forward the most and so if you can get that done even if it only takes an hour or two hours and by the way it's usually the hardest thing and the one thing you don't want to do on that list yeah but if you can do that then then you had a good day hmm and then you can take a little time off to yourself go get a massage go go meditator or whatever it is you need to do to get yourself back into an energetic state of mind because managing managing your energy is a big big deal when it comes to being an entrepreneur when it comes to be being a business owner mm-hmm so I want to take a little bit more deeper into that work so I'm super nervous going to be more correct right like you said um and I personally met a lot of entrepreneurs and you could be myself I tend to be like just working working working without nonstop Greg and then it's just like by the nature and I think a lot of people have a hard time understanding the importance of taking a break you know and then I still kind of have problem with that that I'm I'm the kind of person who's either either or kind of person so I'm at the very extreme side of everything so you find in I'm like all the way good like that's the kind of personality I have but then because I have this personality I tend to in the past I've experienced a lot of burnout so I slightly you brought out a very good point right there you said you know taking a break it's something that tactically you can use to keep the momentum will keep the motivation going right like how do you for all the work or take people who are listening how do you advise like you know managing that energy integrating the habits of you know taking risk and rest I'm sorry I'm taking rest yeah I mean it obviously it's an individual you know tactic for each person I think it's very important to from a physical standpoint you got to move there's just no no two ways about it you got to move mm-hmm so if you're into lifting weights and pounding weights at the gym go go to the gym you know three four five times a week and pound weights if your if your jam is in the pool if your jam is just walking at the local park I mean there's there's there's so much you know if you're just sitting there at your computer pounding away and by the way entrepreneurs are the dumbest people in the world we are you know we'll trade in a 40-hour a week job where we have no responsibilities when we go home so we can work 80 to 100 and be yeah into our business 24/7 and never give ourselves a break and make less money so yeah it's really important to figure out you know what your jam is when it comes to moving around I had a friend of mine who or a colleague who said I hate going to the gym that's it cool don't go to the gym go do what it is you've got to do I strongly stress figuring out what hobbies that you want so that you can you can mentally disconnect I mean the reason why I love the pool so much is because I actually can't bring my phone into the swimming pool and by not being able to bring my phone into the swimming pool the moment I jump into the water - the moment I get out I am completely cut off from the rest of the world even if that's only for a half an hour or an hour of time I'm disconnected and in that moment of being disconnected I can recharge my batteries and recharge my energy so that I can come back stronger and you know and from a spiritual standpoint you know it's whatever you know again I think it's very individualistic if you're if you're Christian or Catholic and you believe in God you know go to church if you're into you know some of the Eastern philosophies and meditation then go meditate but whatever it is you have to do quieting yourself is really really important as well because if you're constantly in putting in putting in putting you never get in you never get that opportunity to to digest it all and then that just continues to build your stress levels up so can you tell me a little bit more about about the maybe hard experiences that you had building up your businesses your pastors businesses what were the hardships that you have to overcome yeah I think uh I mean there's a lot there's a lot and I know worn entrepreneurs or those who are on the fence trying to get into it I mean I it's not a matter of if you'll fail you will it's when and and not to say that you'll fail massively but there are going to be bumps in the road it just doesn't work smoothly you know and so you got to be prepared for it there was a great TED talk that said that successful entrepreneurs um it didn't matter what their education was it didn't matter what their socio-economic class was it didn't matter what their ethnicity was the one the one common denominator that they all had was grit or perseverance and so we've got to be able to you know persevere through the good times and the hard times and by the way the hard times are actually really really important because I those gives you a huge opportunity to learn to learn about yourself and to learn about your business and what you're all about because there's nobody nobody in the world even the most seasoned business veteran that can imagine all the different possibilities that will happen and so things will come up and you gotta roll with the punches as they say and and you got to learn from them you know manage your energy mm-hmm so what are you thinking about though like is that what you're thinking about when you are going through um like anything particularly like when you are going through a hard time something but security particularly I think that I I mean every time that something hards coming along I mean obviously the fur the first thing that comes to mind it's how do I get out of this right like but there's nowhere to go because you are the business and you know you the buck stops with you so it's like okay how do i how do i how do i ask better questions so that I can get better answers so if you want to keep going down the black hole the rabbit hole and deeper into that you know bottom Valley you ask bad questions you say oh gosh why me or why is this happening or why does this keep you know you know happening to me and that's how you get stuck really quickly and so what I try and do is I try and asked you know better questions and reveal it you know so let's say we have a you know a client that's unhappy it's like okay well what would it 10th to turn this thing around and make this client you know happy and and what would it take to improve this situation what would it take to have ourselves become you know better so that this situation never happens again and so then we can take a potentially upsetting situation and turn it into a very big positive and grow from that that's really has to be the mindset of every entrepreneur I talked to you know for example restaurants guys you know they get all upset because a customer or will come in and then write a terrible review on Yelp and you know you gotta be careful because some guys are trolls and they're just gonna do what they do but you know I tell them I say look when somebody writes a bad review on your restaurant it's a grant opportunity like it feels bad your initial reaction is to feel bad but it's a grand opportunity because 94% of the people who have a bad experience at your restaurant won't tell you they just won't return so that small six percent that had a bad experience and felt compelled to write about it the reason they write about it is because they expect it better and they want better from you and so this is now your opportunity to reach out and say hey we hear you we listen to you and we're committed to making your experience better and so you can flip that bad situation into a good situation you invite them back and you say hey look you know we've had you know we've whatever the issue is we fixed it we'd love to have you come and then they come back and now they've they've turned somebody who perceived it as a negative and now it's a gigantic positive because now they're a fan of yours because they're like wow these guys really really cared mm-hm and and so that's the the belief and the mentality that you have to have is that even the negative or seemingly negative experiences are really opportunities for learning opportunities were growing and opportunities for getting better mm-hmm so I heard someone saying that you want to have both you know positive and negative views well not the views I guess positive and negative voice around your public figure because we were talking about negative and positive and negative views in a context of less strong businesses now but then we can also kind of say the same thing about you know if you are trying to be the public figure like be the spoken person or something like someone said you want to always have negative and positive reviews right like can you kind of elaborate on what you just said about businesses into you know personal figures like who are trying to be you know the spoken person is getting printed or something yeah so I'll address that in two ways I mean the first is if you have nothing but five-star reviews on Yelp or or whatever the review board is for your business Angie's List what have you people get skeptical but they don't they don't believe it they want to see at least one or two negative reviews because they don't think that there's anybody that can be 100% perfect for everybody so there's a little bit of credibility that goes goes along with that but you know I think when you're building a business you'd have to put your foot in the ground and you have to you have to decide and we'll get into this a little bit more later or maybe on your other podcast but you have to decide what what it is you stand for that is so important right now especially in the United States in America where we're going through a lot of social reform and you know people are gonna be pickier about what you know consumers are gonna be pickier about where they spend their money and they want to know now because because of the internet that the information is readily available what what do you spend you know what do you stand for as a person the CEO of this business what does the business stand for because I want to give my money to somebody or you know or a business that is in alignment with my values and I don't want to support you know a business that is not in alignment with my values but the hard part about that is when you put your foot in the sand and you take a stand on something you're gonna piss somebody off like somebody's going to going to disagree with you and and that's okay because maybe that's not your target client that maybe that's not you know the best person that you should be working with or aligned with and so even though you'll gain many many more followers and many more customers and many many more clients you're gonna lose with you along the way as well but at least you stand for something and you know there's a oh gosh I think there's Robert Collier or one of the great copywriters who said look you're not pissing somebody off by noon you're not getting your message out there enough and you know God yeah yeah that's that's just how that's just how it is you can't if you're trying to please everybody eventually you're you're you're gonna please nobody you have to know who your client base is who are the people you could serve and and then serve them to the best of your ability mm-hmm so this is something that I explore a lot about in my book Cleavon I talk about the difference between being correct person and then being helpful person right and the way to go about it in the topic of leadership especially it's about being helpful rather than correct person but that being said I think wanting to be correct is a common desire like I think it's integrated into our human nature that everybody wants to be correct in some eyes right including ourselves oh but I want to know your opinion about around this area because for example this is a little bit like very extreme side of philosophy but then if you think about like really anything any information in this world like being 100% accurate or being like super like concrete's legit source of information is almost impossible but then a lot of people a lot of me have the need of like having to be the correct person of what what are really present right and maybe this is just me but sometimes it triggers me as a box that and also I grew up in a culture where the things were either correct or wrong so I had to always approach these things from the perspective of is this correct or is this wrong like that's the only two things that I knew growing up right now I kind of really changed this so I'm not there exactly anymore but sometimes that fear of not being correct still arises in me you know I mean so my question to you is how can how do you think person can raise like absolute certainty about whatever they stand on and this is very like philosophical Sam sorry doridori


okay so let's let's let's unpack this here I mean the the reality of it is each of us as persons we're in a constant state of flux we're in a constant state of change the the person that you were ten years ago five years ago even a year ago it's you're not the same human being because you have a different set of experiences and life experiences that have shaped you and so I think we need to practice a little bit of self care and forgive ourselves and say hey it's not about being absolutely right it's about doing the best we can with what we know because as you mentioned yeah you know especially in the Asian culture that there seems to be a lot of very black and white but in the reality of the real world there are an infinite number of shades of grey mm-hm and you know I think that we are also in a time in a place where a lot of us need to do a little less talking and a lot more listening and to find out you know why why people feel the way they do and you know when when you know to swing it back into the entrepreneurial world businesses would be better off doing a lot more listening to their ideal customer to their ideal clients and and understanding what they want and what's important to them and what makes them feel good about themselves so they think you know the businesses can deliver those things because your business ultimately isn't about your product it isn't about your service it's about how you make somebody feel in the moment when they buy it so all the crazy sales tactics it's like great you've got the sale but if immediately there's a buyer's remorse it's like you've not done a really good job because somebody doesn't feel good about doing business with you they feel duped but if if you listen and you know to their needs and you listen to to what they're all about I think you deliver them now you're in a relationship with and especially like for us you know we're in the service industry oh we do we do marketing we see everything as as a partnership we want to build that relationship so we can't we can't afford the you know somebody who's got buyer's remorse immediately after they're after we don't want that so you know and and I think that also kind of going forward


it's okay to recognize that there may not be an absolute almighty correct answer but there may be many many shades of grey and and you know it may be a very a nuanced way of looking at things so this is my final question then so you brought up a very interesting point I think we don't have to be certain about our knowledge as they are but then we also always should have this space for growth right or their groves and then we also talked about like how businesses should act in that dynamic right okay like understanding of like how we should behave so I want to ask you when it comes to leadership like when you when you have to manage team so when you have to manage even my client services like how did you apply what we just talked about in this context where you have to deal with customers who are concise fiber where you have to deal with like a team members where your opinion was different from them theirs but then you still have to kind of act as a leader who is helpful not being correct person but who is helpful for the team like were there any particular time you can kind of you know talk about sure I mean again I think that it's it's important to listen because every but he wants to feel like they've been heard whether it's somebody that is on your team or whether it's you know whether it's a client who is bringing up their own suggestions and we welcome that we won't we want to hear their suggestions because they the reality of it is nobody knows their business more than they do nobody knows your business more than you do nobody knows my business more than I do it is impossible because of the amount of time and effort that I spend on it nobody could possibly know my business more than I do so you know you have to you have to listen in the context of business and leadership leadership is about making decisions and if you don't make decisions you're not leading and again this is where you know I'll bring it full circle you do the best with you do you do the best that you can with the information that you have so you don't concern yourself with making necessarily the correct decision you just make the best decision and you move forward with it and you move forward with conviction and you move forward with certainty and you move forward with the flexibility that if in the event you get different information that comes in you have the flexibility to pivot on that decision so to give you an idea of how all of this works the way we work is we take a company and the first thing we do is we do research research research we want to know about the person we want to know about the company and what it stands for and what the values are who their ideal client is what the marketplace looks like we study their competitors like we do a deeper dive than anybody else in the industry because we want to know all the data or all the Intel that we can possibly gather on that business and then and only then do we take that and set out a game plan as to okay here this is your goal this is the data that supports that goal this is the best course of action you take in order to achieve that goal by the way that's the exact way that professional sports team you know put out their game plans for their for their next game it's the same way that military forces they gather Intel to put together an operation but then once you actually get into that operation once you actually get into that game hmm you start getting new feedback and you start getting new data comm you know coming in and you have to have that flexibility if you change the game plan to change the operation you know as you go and especially in the marketing the world you know you could probably reverb whatever you could be digging three feet away from a vein of gold but you would only know that if you weren't stubborn and kept digging the hole in the same place but if you looked at the data and said you know what if we just move this just a fraction over here to just extract the extra 1% out of things then the whole thing explodes and then everybody's millionaires right but but that's how that's how you behave as a leader you just have to have the conviction that given the data that I've got given the Intel that I've got I am making the absolute best decision that I can but it's not set in stone no I have the flexibility I have the knowledge I have the leadership to pivot that decision or more modify that decision as new information comes in and to me that's the only way that's the only way that you can really have massive success because if you if you come up with one decision and then it's that way or the highway mm-hmm you know in the new data comes in and says hey look you need to just adjust things just a little bit maybe not mm-hm you have to have that flexibility going forward right I see it as a little bit of dilemma to there because well we cannot Japanese businesses corporations I think the culture the work culture is very different in that sense I think a lot of those corporations contain on water see leaders who are like I guess who are the managers right and then the way it works in the pen is that once your managers like it's really hard for the younger people to come in to take over the management right so they kind of they can't fire people that's the thing and in Japan Japanese rule they can't hire people of fire people even if you're older so I think and then also we have this respect culture respects of elderly culture right like in the culture so that being said I think sometimes our leaders fail to accept that like innovative concept they just want to sit sit on they're like um seeds of management and I guess so to speak eagle of being that you know authority figure in the company because just because I'm like kind of and then we still have that environment I think and then now it's changing a lot compared to before but then if you even look at the numbers of startups or the ecosystem that's built around startup companies for example particularly tech startup companies it's very surprising because Tokyo has like such an amazing you know advanced technology and everything but then the numbers of these businesses being born the new businesses being born it's like really really lower compared to America for example I think in Japan also like we kind of needed to have that trick scible thought as you were pointing out human either sure it was very interesting okay so I want to cross this interview go today and before closing I had really such an amazing time interviewing you today you brought out like many many interesting perspectives so I really want to thank you for that and before I enjoyed it focusing up I wanted to ask you like where can people find you on social more wherever like where can they go yeah there's two places you can find me again my name is Creighton along with exponential clients and so I hang out a lot on LinkedIn because I'm constantly working with innovative business owners to help them grow their business and and then the other place is you can you can go to my website which is exponential clients dot-com and I've got a cool training over there a lot of the stuff that we talked about here called the the ultimate business growth playbook and you can check that out as well but yes send me a message and reach out to me I love having these conversations and seeing where businesses are and seeing where where we can help them perfect and also this drinks on the description perfect well thank you very much for coming today all right thank you for having thank you okay bye thank you

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