Raymond Aaron is a New York Times best-selling author and professional speaker. In this episode, Raymond shares how he's shifted from teaching seminars on location to virtual seminars and exponentially expanded his reach. Raymond also shares his MTO goal-setting system and how it helps you look at your goals differently.
John Meese 0:24
Raymond, thank you so much for joining me. How are you doing today?
Raymond Aaron 0:27
Terrific. I'm so excited to be on your show, John.
John Meese 0:29
Well, good. Well, I'm glad to have you and I'm eager to get your perspective. And so I would love actually, if you would start though, by just letting us know and those who are listening, you know, who you are and what gets you out of bed in the morning.
Raymond Aaron 0:43
My name is Raymond Aaron. I am a New York Times top 10 best selling author, a serial entrepreneur, professional speaker, and seminar leader for the last 37 years. I've given over 5000 speeches in dozens of countries around the world. And I'm also an adventurer. So I have led and guiding life a very, very exciting life for all these many, many years.
John Meese 1:08
Well, that's great. Well, excellent. So I love that and adventure. So is that true in business and personal life as well?
Raymond Aaron 1:14
Well, it's true in my athletic pursuits I have. I've run three marathons, I've run 110 K's, I've run wild, a 62 mile ultra marathon. And I've run a 350 mile super ultra marathon to the North Pole, hauling a wind sled at minus 40 degrees dodging polar bears.
John Meese 1:40
Okay, so that's definitely sounds like adventure. I mean, I was thinking just just double checking my math, but just 110 K's alone. I mean, that's a million K's. Right. So that's pretty great. Yeah. So Well, I appreciate you joining me, and I appreciate you being willing to do this interview. And I wanted to get your perspective, you know, the current economic crisis and health crisis that we're all going through, it is unique, it is unusual, it is out of the ordinary, but the idea of you know, being a leader and an entrepreneur that has to adapt to crisis, as it happens, I mean, that's, some of that is is true all the time, you know, sometimes a crisis might hit a specific industry, or we might have I mean, at this point, I'm still young, but I've had my third, you know, once in a lifetime economic crisis at this point. So, you know, the odds of us having another one are pretty high. So, but first, I would actually love to just talk about your personal experience, even before we jump into the, you know, advice there. And I love to know, when did you first realize that COVID-19 was a real threat? Do you remember where you were or if there was a conversation you had or something that happened? That really made you pay attention?
Raymond Aaron 2:48
Yeah, I live in Toronto, Canada, which is a great blessing. Because Canada is very sweet and calm and nice. Everybody's very polite. There's almost no guns. There's almost no terrorism, there's almost no racism, like it's a really clean, litter free country in which the health care system actually works. And unfortunately, our dollar is very low. When Trump was elected, the US dollar went straight up, meaning the entire world appreciated that he was elected. I'm not making a political comment. I'm just making a financial comment. Right, a US dollar went up, the Canadian dollar went down. And so we we live in a quiet little gentle country. And I love to travel to the United States when I used to be able to, and earn my living in big US dollars, and then come back home and spend little tiny Canadian dollars. So big revenue and tiny expenses. It's kind of a nice life.
John Meese 3:42
It's the best of both worlds.
Raymond Aaron 3:43
Yeah, I flew back home from the United States on March 15. And I was supposed to turn around again three days later and fly to England. And I'll cancel that thinking I was the leading edge that I was doing something that was unheard of. And then three days later, like nobody was flying anywhere. And I realize this thing could last a whole week. Well, it's now been several months, and it doesn't look like bending, but I want to say something about what I've done. In mid March, I contacted my dear friend jack Canfield. He's the CO creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series books. He was the star of the movie, The Secret. And we both had the same problem. We're both 75 years old. And we both run seminar businesses and have done for about 40 years. And we both had many, many people who had paid us for events that that hadn't come yet. Now if those events couldn't go on, we would be in trouble of returning maybe a million or more dollars of prepaid tuitions, which is quite scary. And it's scary, not because we can't afford it, but rather because nobody wants to lose a million dollars. But even more so. And here's the interesting thing. We'd already spent a lot of it Not on lollipops, but on hotels and staff and booking airfare. So a lot of the money was gone. So when when a client says return it, we didn't have a lot of it. And right, it was very scary times. And what we decided to do is go online, which at that time was like news, it was like big news. Now, of course, everybody's on zoom, and it's not so avant garde any longer. But what we didn't know back then, John is whether students would accept it, whether they will get the same benefit. And what to our shock, people are giving me better feedback forums, higher quality feedback forums, on zoom, like we keep track every single day, at every event, we always have the students get feedback forms, and they're better, they're higher. I mean, they've always been very high, but they're even higher. And I think because when you John are sitting in a classroom, you can't see the faces of the people behind you. And you can't see the faces of the people in front of you. And you can only see part of the face of the people to the left and right of you if you happen to look. But on Zoom, you look straight into the eyes of every person, well, straight into the eyes, it's more intimate, and you don't have to hunt around to try to find their name tag, their name tag is right in the bottom left corner, you can call everybody by their name, you're looking straight into their face. It's a far more intimate experience. It's really, really exciting. And so that was successful. But it's, of course, it's not exciting for your listeners today to hear that people went on zoom, because everybody knows that. Well, what we, what we did notice is that there's going to be a lot of people losing their salary jobs, and are going to need an income opportunity. And there's going to be a lot of people who are going to suffer, physiologically they're going to get sick. And we wanted to do something. And so Jack and I joined a network marketing company, I'm not going to talk about that. I don't want to, I'm not gonna even say the name, I'm just going to say that we've joined a network marketing company that has the double benefit of an income opportunity, which all of them do, but also its products, increase your health and increase your immunity. And it's shocking, the network marketing company that I joined, has 6 million customers after 28 years. And in the last two months, they've added another million customers in one months, because people are desperate for money, and they're desperate for health. And they're in fear. And so this is the absolute best time to be in a network marketing company.
John Meese 7:41
Hmm, that's interesting. Well, I appreciate you sharing that. So and let's talk for just a second. I know you said it's not as avant garde anymore, but still about the transition from these seminars that you've taught for decades to the zoom layout. So what does that look like? Did you guys do a zoom meeting? It sounds like you did it. You had it set up wherever all the other participants could see each other on the screen. And then you also had a presenter, whether you or someone on your team, is that right?
Raymond Aaron 8:06
Yes, yes. And so the thing is the See I used to have an, had a live event called Get your book done. As I I'm one of the top people in the world offering to teach you how to write a book to brand yourself. And we used to get I go to a city, Miami, Los Angeles, Ljubljana, Slovenia, Kuala Lumpur, I go to different places. And I'd get about 20 students and I teach them how to write a book in three days. And now that I've gone online, 60 people are showing up. Because people from all over the world, someone from Slovenia, and someone from Singapore can go to the same event. So I'm teaching three times as many people and I'm getting a higher quality feedback from them, saying they love it even more than in the classroom. And so it's really, really working. And I'm helping way more people and my costs are lower. So even though that doesn't help the participants, you're asking me about my life as an entrepreneur, if my revenue is the same, and my costs are lower than I'm more profitable, March April, May June, the four months so far of the lockdown, my monthly revenue has been higher than in any previous month in this calendar year. So every single one of the lockdown months, my monthly profit, not revenue, profit has been higher than January February.
John Meese 9:34
Wow. So what does that look like in terms of moving forward? Do you think this is the new model? Are you gonna explore going back to in person seminars at some point or do you know yet?
Raymond Aaron 9:43
Yes, there will be in person seminars, people will always want that excitement. If I bring in a big guest speaker like Dr. Ivan Meisner, who started DNI or jack Canfield, or john gray who wrote men are from Mars women are from Venus. People will always want to sit in the front row. People always want to have a meet and greet with them. People always want to have their photograph with them. Unfortunately, there's no photographs on zoom. You can't you just can't get
John Meese 10:11
There's screenshots. I guess there's little, you could take a little screen.
Raymond Aaron 10:14
But that ain't it. That ain't it doesn't say no, yeah, that's like standing beside somebody and having a professional photographer, take your picture. So there will be in hotel meetings, and there will be airplanes, but nowhere near as much. For example, the airline industry, they may pass a rule like maybe the airline industry will pass the rule, or maybe each individual country will pass a rule that there has to be six feet between passengers. Well, that means in a seating of three across, you'll only have one person, which means that an airline that used to hold 300 people can only hold 100 people. I don't know how the airline industry is going to survive that.
John Meese 10:53
No, I agree that's really complicating and concerning. I'm not really I don't really see a clear path out for them.
Raymond Aaron 11:00
John Meese 11:00
So then do you think that even if you go back to having in person seminars, do you think you'll also keep the virtual seminars as a standing offer?
Raymond Aaron 11:07
Yes, yeah, what we're planning to do is in every in hotel, seminar, we're also going to broadcast it, so people are still afraid, okay, maybe see, listen, I don't know, maybe you're too young to remember. But 911 was September of 2001. That's 19 years ago, 19 years ago, and the world hasn't forgotten it, the world has recovered, we still have to take our shoes off. In an airport, we still have to have our bags searched, we still have to go through these scanning machines. This is 19 years later, well, 911, just affected two buildings in one city. This affects the entire world and everybody in the world, which means if 911 has lasted, the effects of lasted for 19 years, maybe the effects of this lockdown will last for 100 years. Like I don't know what's going to happen, maybe the six foot rule will last forever. That means I'll have to, I'll have to rent this gigantic ballroom just for 100 people, because they come in far apart. But that doesn't work. If people sit far apart. And I say something funny, you'll hardly hear the laughter. Because people want to be close together when they laugh and vibrates. And it rolls. I don't know, I don't know what's going to happen. But we're going to be doing a few live events, mostly by zoom. And maybe there'll be a new platform that will be even better than zoom, it will take over. like Apple came out with the iPhone 10 years after cell phone started. So maybe somebody will come up with a better zoom, which will solve the problems in some way of giving you the feeling of being in a classroom. But we are we are committed for the rest of eternity to be holding events, virtually. Some will be in a hotel, but even those we're going to have to broadcast around the world.
John Meese 13:06
Yeah. So when you mentioned that your revenue has stayed the same with those events, have you changed your price at all for a live or like an in person seminar versus a virtual seminar?
Unknown Speaker 13:15
I've spoken to a lot of my colleagues, and some of them are steadfast, they are not changing their tuition. If you don't want to come and see it. You can watch it on zoom. It's your choice, but we're not holding the price. And other people are giving in to clients saying, but the reason I paid five or $10,000 is because the excitement, the hugging, being up close seeing you sitting in the front row. And so some people are giving in and lowering their price. Some people are giving a to price structure that it's like $5,000 to come to the classroom, but $2000 to see it by zoom. Everyone, we're just no. And you mentioned entrepreneurs, and an entrepreneurs job is to react. And I don't mean to react to the World Trade Towers falling over or react to the COVID lockdown worldwide. I mean, react to anything. If you are an entrepreneur, you have a team of 10 people going out to do a job. And two people don't show up for work that morning. And you've only got eight any 10 that's a crisis for you. The only job of a entrepreneur is to manage crisis and to prevent crises the best they can. And this is a gigantic crisis. You remember the boxer mike tyson? He said something many years ago that is wildly appropriate today. Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face
John Meese 14:37
till they get punched in the face.
Raymond Aaron 14:38
and the entire world just got punched in the face. This has never happened before. The Black Plague of the 1300s only affected Europe killed a third of Europe that it only affected Europe and the horrible Second World War just affected Europe and a little bit of Asia. That's it. That's it. This is the only thing ever in history that's affected the entire world. And so yes, the effects are gonna last for a long, long time. And we don't know yet. What will happen, because I don't know if you've heard of the concept of the butterfly effect.
John Meese 15:15
I have. Yes, please, expound.
Raymond Aaron 15:18
Yeah, the butterfly effect says something like a butterfly can flap its wings in Japan, and a building can fall over in New York City. And it doesn't seem possible. You can't, it's hard to draw a line directly from the butterfly flapping its wings to a building falling over. But the butterfly flapping its wings is noticed by somebody who because he's looking at the butterfly smashes his car and dies. And yet he was running for president, so someone else's president and then that person does something and creates a new law. And all these events occur, and you can't know in advance what all these crazy sequence of events is actually going to be. So the world is going to be different. We are not returning to pre COVID life. We are not right. And one thing I horribly fear, let's say there's a date, let's say, January 1 2021, the world is declared safe, and everything is totally normal. Even if that's the case, there are still people who are going to be afraid to travel in crowded airplanes, they're still people are going to be afraid to ever again, enter a cruise ship. So even if the reality comes to pass, there are people who will still be afraid.
John Meese 16:41
Yeah, no, I think that's true. And I think even now, I mean, I there's been a couple times where I've been watching a, you know, a film or a TV show and something I've seen, Oh, come on as a crowd of people and I'll just kind of flinch. You know, there's like this. I'm training right now. Like, what are you doing? why there's so many people out of you know, it's like, it's obviously been recorded long before this. But I think that's a sign of what we'll all be experiencing for years to come.
Raymond Aaron 17:37
Many years. It's very strange. And for some reason, the World Health Organization is committed to increase falsely increasing the number of reported covid cases. I've actually read it myself, if you go to the World Health organization.org and look up death certificates. The World Health Organization is giving doctors around the world the strangest advice, for example, listen to this, if you have cancer, and you get hit by a truck and die immediately, but the doctor thinks you had COVID-19 he is required to report COVID-19 as the reason for death. Hmm. And so as a result, the number of COVID deaths is wildly and negligently exaggerated by the World Health Organization, not by Donald Trump, but the World Health Organization. It's very, very strange. I don't know why they would do that.
John Meese 18:40
Yeah. And then and so that will take a long time for us to recover not just from the health crisis. I think the reality is like in this in these interviews that I've been doing, the health crisis is really just the spark, right? The economic crisis, the fear, you know, the policy changes the six foot rule, those are the things that are actually going to have this long term lasting effect on on business and life.
Raymond Aaron 19:00
Yes, the, the actual physiological issue that is the illnesses and the death. Now I'm not making light of someone who does I am not, but right, relatively speaking, very few people are dying, considering the 8 billion people on earth. Very, very few people are dying. But everybody is getting affected financially. Some people are going down very badly, and others are skyrocketing. There's some industries that are skyrocketing. All of my internet marketing friends have never made so much money because everybody's buying online because there's no stores. Mm hmm. And network marketing I mentioned before is skyrocketing. JACK Canfield and I are having so much fun making so much money because everybody everybody needs health and an extra income right now. And courier businesses. Oh my God, because everybody's buying online. There's a need for like, 100 times as many couriers.
John Meese 19:57
Yeah, I know that primarily first to You know, a lot of the modern services but I just ran into my, at a ice cream shop, a couple doors down from my co working space where I am right now. I ran into our ups driver and I bought him a milkshake because he has been. I mean, he's like the downtown Columbia where I live. He's like the downtown club, a UPS driver. And he's been doing 12 hour days, 14 hours away. Yeah, just for four weeks, you know, like weeks and weeks as if it's Christmas, you know, like, yeah, just because, yeah. So he was getting a milkshake. He's like, I'm just trying to cool down. So I wouldn't bought it for because I was like, No, no, no, I've seen because He's, uh, he happens to be the UPS driver in our house and in our business. And so I'll see him all day, you know, dropping things off everywhere. And it's crazy. Yeah. So, alright, so the world changing, right? We've established that, you know, what advice do you have for the business owner, the entrepreneur is trying to figure out in the midst of this. So I mean, we've kind of got a couple different groups, right? We've got business owners, like yourself, who have an existing business model, and you're trying to adapt it, you're trying to adapt it to the new economy. But we also have this other group out there have all of a sudden these 30 million or so just in America, and I don't know the numbers globally, or in Canada, but in America, more than 30 million people who are recently promoted from employee to entrepreneur. And so
Raymond Aaron 21:12
Because they've been laid off.
John Meese 21:13
Yeah, exactly. So the question is, like, what advice do you have for them about how to build a profitable business in this economy, but in any economy, I mean, other timeless strategies you found that you think apply now, that will also be helpful. Once this passes, or into the new normal?
Raymond Aaron 21:30
Well, the first rule, and it's going to shock you, because everybody says, find out what you love and do that. That's not a very good idea, because you might like squirrel clothing, but there's no market for it. So the rule is not that you should find out what you love and do it not. Because there may not be a market for it. The rule is find out what people are desperate for, and sell it to them. Right. So for example, if there's a in the olden days before COVID, if there is a 90 degree temperature day in an open air Stadium, and there's a peewee game, and all the parents are in the stands, and they're all sweltering, but they dare not go out for a drink, like for water or something, because they don't want to miss their kid. Well, if somebody walks down the aisle saying ice cold Coke, nine bucks, you say nine bucks, I can go across the street and get it for one buck. Like I say, go ahead. And listen. I'll take it. And so yeah, and you find out what people are desperate for and you provide it. One of my friends decided she's, uh, she likes sewing. She's just like sewing and she happens to have a sewing machine. And when the crisis started, she started sewing facemasks and put a little note on LinkedIn and Facebook that she's doing facemask. She's inundated. She's working 12 hours a day selling facemask. And she's got some other gals helping her with a little cottage industry. There's sewing face masks, she can handle all the orders. She's pulled her her comments down from LinkedIn and Facebook, she can handle all the orders. So Wow. Now does she likes sewing? Yeah, she likes so it's not her favorite thing. But find out what they really wanted, and deliver it to them, you'll have more business than you can ever imagine.
John Meese 23:15
I love that. I love that. So I want to make a ticket a little bit of a right turn in the store. Because I think as we're talking through, like in that example, right? Where business is going good. You got all these customers coming in, sometimes just not doing good. I know that in times of uncertainty, which is a little bit of all the time. It's hard to set goals, right? It's hard to like pick a goal, throw it out there, set it and achieve it. But it seems like right now that's true more than ever, right? Because there's so many unpredictable factors going on. Yes. And so I actually learned about a goal setting technique called the MTO technique originally from your writing. Yes. Would you take a minute just kind of explain that technique? And I'm curious if you have any thoughts on how that relates to today's climate?
Raymond Aaron 23:54
Yes. Well, I have received quite an exciting honor. That my goal recording and achieving program has been rated better than Brian Tracy's and Tony Robbins, as mine is the only one that has ever allowed the participants to score their success. See, I asked you at the end of a month, how was your month? You'd say I guess it was okay. Kind of good. You say kind of weak English words. But with my program, you actually say a number like 61 or 42. You actually have a number, even though one person might want to buy a house and another person might want to fix their sewing machine. How can you have a number that relates to those two people? But I figured it out because I've created a system of goal recording that no one on earth does have copyrighted it and it's called MTO. And everyone who hears about it goes wild. Mm hmm.
John Meese 24:51
Including myself. By the way. I'm a huge fan.
Raymond Aaron 24:53
Thank you. And MTO stands for minimum, target outrageous minimum Target outrageous. If you intend on setting a goal, like you want to run a 10 K, let's say, and you want to run a 10 k in an hour, and this attend k race during this month. So instead of saying I'm going to run a 10 k in an hour, if you say that you have a binary result, either you run it in an hour, and you say Yay, or you don't run it, or don't run it in an hour, and you say, boo, I did bad. And since you only write goals, listen carefully. Since you only write goals in which you're bad in, you only write goals of what you're bad in, you have a high chance of not achieving it. Let me give you an example. JOHN would never write a goal. I am going to brush my teeth every morning and every night this whole month, Why? you already do it,
John Meese 25:49
Raymond Aaron 25:50
But what would you write a goal and I'm going to meditate every morning, I'm going to jog every morning, I'm going to stretch every morning, you only write goals on what you're not good at. Well, if you write goals on what you're not good at, you have a high chance of not achieving it. And if you if you fail consistently, you'll pretty soon stop doing it. So MTO relieves you of that horror. Because you don't write goals and the dreaded binary way of maybe you'll get it maybe you don't get it you try and reach your goals, you triage your goals. So minimum is what you can be counted on to do this is really important. So definitely minimum is what you can be counted on to do based on your past performance, not on your bloated ego, based on your past performance. So I say to people, if you have a weight loss goal to lose five pounds this month, the minimum is to gain no more than one pound, like honest to god gain right one pound because some people go on a diet and gain weight because they get starving and then they eat chocolates and cake and they so it's hilarious. But if I wanted to lose five pounds, yeah, I would say minimum gain no more than one pound target breakeven outrageous lose five pounds, or minimum breakeven target lose one pound outrageous lose five pounds, no minimum is which you can be counted on to do target is the stretch and outrageous john, this is hilarious. Outrageous is what you know you cannot achieve. No, you cannot achieve it. Because what we learned from the secret is just because you think you can achieve it doesn't mean you're not going to achieve it. And there's many times I write six goals every month, because I've divided the universe into six goal categories. And they're called mainly ma i n l y m is you clean a mess every month. A is if you acknowledge a person or a group, that's a spiritual goal, i is the financial one increase in wealth and is doing something new. l is learning something. And y is doing something just for yourself. So you write six MTO goals every month. And what's really funny is sometimes I won't even achieve my minimum and one of the six goals. And then another one of the six I achieve better than my outrageous, which means at the beginning of the month, you don't know who you'll be at the end of them.
John Meese 28:12
Rightn Right. Yeah. So I love that. So I know I've primarily found this helpful when talking about financial goals or sales goals in the market, like marketing digital marketing projects. Because that's one of those things where it's notorious to have a big launch. And you'll still throw out there, they're like, let's try to make I don't know how to make $300,000 with this launch, or $600,000. And it's all fine and well to have a have a target. But what I love about the MTO technique is that it allows you to, to have a mature target where you recognize, okay, 600,000 maybe may very well be our target for this promotion. But if we look at past performance, we look at we've done we know we can probably we're pretty sure, we're pretty sure that we could do $300,000 I mean, that's pretty safe bet that's safe bet, we've done that before many times 600,000 would be a stretch and so that becomes their target, let's build the whole campaign around 600,000. But if you'd fall short of 600,000, as long as you've you know, you've you've gone higher than your minimum, you're okay, and you're satisfied, you're not you haven't risked your business or your or your self esteem on the success of that one goal, right. And then I do love setting the outrageous goal because that that $1 million goal, or whatever it is, it's fun. It's fun when you hit it.
Raymond Aaron 29:22
And just because you write it down, your mind starts creating it in ways you could never even believe coincidence of bumping into people or seeing an app that can dramatically improve your performance or something. Yeah, it's fun.
John Meese 29:38
So I think the MTO technique in general, I think it's always a great technique for goal setting. But do you have any thoughts on how that relates to the kind of the uncertainty in the air right now in terms of if that makes the MTO technique either a more helpful or less helpful tool because of the climate we're in.
Raymond Aaron 29:52
It's always helpful. It's always better than the binary technique of writing a single goal and wondering if you're going to get it or not. However, with this crazy crisis, sometimes I wildly underachieved my minimum. I'm like, Alright in and you have to look at the actual wording of the goal. So right in March, I had a goal, there will be 150 people in my classroom. Oh, and there were zero because they were all like, yeah, it's weird. Sometimes, you wildly underachieve your minimum, and sometimes you wildly over achieve your maximum. For example, this event that I expected 150, maybe 200 people, it was the end of March and the lockdown was middle of March. We converted it to an online we corralled some affiliates. And we had just under 10,000 people register and 3000 people show up. This is why nine days, we had 3000 people show up and we were hoping for 150 in the classroom. We got 3000 somewhere around the world. And so we walk the underachieved our minimum and we wildly overachieved, our outrageous, it was like a crazy month.
John Meese 31:13
Yeah, that's interesting. That's Yeah, well, it was a crazy month. And everyone's a little bit of that right now. So reminisce has all been very helpful. I appreciate all of this insight that you're sharing. Where can we find you and learn more about you online and how we can learn more about your work?
Raymond Aaron 31:27
Well, my name is A-a-r-o-n Raman Aaron. And my website is Aaron.com I got it a long, long time ago.
John Meese 31:38
Aaron.com that's great.
Raymond Aaron 31:39
If you go to Aaron.com, I have a book hardcover bestseller, double your income doing what you love. And you can download it for free, no charge obligation, just downloaded for free my hardcover bestseller, double your income doing what you love. And that means you'll automatically be on our database. And next time you get an emailing from us saying come to an event, please do. And I'll talk to you about the monthly Mentor Program. I'll talk to you about MTO I'll talk to you about the network marketing company. I'm in whatever you wish, whatever the event is about.
John Meese 32:12
Excellent. Well, I love that they use so much for sharing your your wisdom and your experience with us. This is incredibly helpful and insightful. And I appreciate your time.
Raymond Aaron 32:19
JOHN, you are really really good interviewer I really appreciate it. You drew lots of good stuff out of me. I think you're doing a great job. Well, thank you. We'll keep up the good work. Thank you.
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