In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Joe Polish. Joe is the Founder of Genius Network, one of the highest-level groups in the world for entrepreneurs. Joe has helped build thousands of businesses and generated hundreds of millions of dollars for his clients. He’s the author of a book — 9 Genius Networking Principles to Get What You Want By Helping Others Get What They Want.
There’s no shortage of networking and entrepreneurship advice online in today’s world—but it’s harder than ever to know what’s authentic. Taking the wrong advice can result in superficial connections, transactional relationships, and unsatisfying interactions with others without any real rapport. Joe Polish is the Founder of Genius Network and is known as —”the most connected person on the planet.” In this episode, Joe talks about the many challenges he has overcome in his life to get him to where he is today and how relationship-building and building a network play an essential role in achieving success.
Questions I ask Joe Polish:
- [1:27] Is this the first time you’ve been on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast?
- [1:40] What’s the three-minute version of your life?
- [5:11] What made you wanna rewrite this book now?
- [11:35] You talk openly about your struggles with addiction and one of the things you mention is to find out how people are suffering and how you can help – does that come from your own suffering?
- [17:55] You have an exercise in the book where you guide people to create their own Genius Network – can you explain that concept?
- [23:35] Where can people find the website for the book with the bonuses and resources you mentioned?
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(00:54): Hello, welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Joe Polish. He's the founder of the Genius Network, one of the highest level groups in the world for entrepreneurs. Joe has helped build thousands of businesses and generated hundreds of millions of dollars for his clients. He's also the author of a book that we're gonna talk about today, what's In It for Them, Nine Genius Networking Principles to Get what you want by helping others get what they want. So Joe, welcome to the show.
Joe Polish (01:25): Thank you John. Super great to be here with you. So
John Jantsch (01:28): I, is it possible this is the first time you've been on the Duct Tape Marketing podcast?
Joe Polish (01:32): It is. Which is hard to imagine, you know, cause you've been on my podcast but I've never been on yours so this is, well this is really good.
John Jantsch (01:38): We're making up for it then. So do you have like the three minute version of your life story?
Joe Polish (02:05): No, thank you. Yeah, and by the way, I try not to be famous cuz oftentimes I work with a lot of people in the world of addiction recovery cuz I've been in recovery myself. Yeah. So I focus on entrepreneurs and people that struggle with addiction and oftentimes they're the same people. And so my life's story, the real quick version is boy crazy, bit of a childhood. Uh, mother died when I was four. A lot of abuse growing up, a lot of disconnection, a lot of moving around. Very introverted, very shy, very disconnected. And so it's weird that today what I have built is like one of the best connection networks on the planet and really try to connect people. And a lot of that came out of just pursuing entrepreneurship and just trying to do something in the world and make a living and survive.
(02:47): The other part of it is it feels really good to be around people that you feel connected with cuz people are either communicating, they're connecting or they're trying to escape. Those are like the three types of ways that I would frame it. And I write about that in, in what's in it for them. Trying to describe what is connection, what is disconnection, how do you connect? And so I was a Deborah Carpet cleaner was my first endeavor into running a business. I lived off credit cards. I went pretty deeply in debt, you know, back in 19, late 1989 to about 1992 when I first discovered marketing. Then I turned this small carpet cleaning around and then I just fell in love with marketing and with words and how to use education based marketing. And even back then, what's in it for them was, you know, one of the best ways to sell something to people and you're a master at this, is you educate them on how to make a buying decision so that your advertising isn't about price, Your advertising is about education and leading people to make buying decisions.
(03:44): And then I started teaching other carpet and upholstery cleaners in the nineties. I built the largest training organization in the world for that industry. Over 12,000 cleaning restoration companies worldwide became members. I licensed it to all kinds of other service businesses. And along the way I started doing group, you know, programs and that became Genius Network, which it is today and now it's as high level entrepreneurs. It's a connection network. And I bring people together to focus on health, mental and physical health wealth. Not just making money but not losing it, which are two different skill sets in what I call elf, which is easy, lucrative, and fun. So you can have an elf business which is easy, lucrative, and fun or easy, liberating and fun if it's in the personal relationship or health, Uh, or elf half versus elf, which half is hard, annoying layman frustrating. Or it could oftentimes be hard, annoying, lucrative and frustrating. But not all money's created equals. So my whole thing, it used to be elf marketing, now it's people projects. And I think that was longer than three minutes, but close
John Jantsch (04:52): So, so on the surface, maybe somebody read this and think, oh this is a networking book, which I guess on the surface it kind of is, but it's not your typical networking book. You're not gonna read things in this book that you've probably read in other books about you know, how to go to networking events or how to build relationships. What made you wanna write this book? Now we'll get into like the details of what I just said, but what made you wanna re write this book now?
Joe Polish (05:17): Yeah, well you know, oftentimes I'll hear authors say you and I just really wanted to share my message with the world and I feel so blessed in all that sort of stuff. And to a certain degree, I mean I think a decent human hopefully comes from that place. I mean, most people write books and stuff cuz they wanna make money, they wanna build their businesses, they wanna do stuff like that, right? This is my fifth book. This is the first book though that I have done as a mainstream published book by Hay House. And so there's gonna be a lot of effort put behind it. Almost all of the proceeds, probably all of 'em. I say almost all because we haven't, you know, we'll see how this plays out. We'll go to Genius Recovery, which is my Addiction Recovery Foundation. So I didn't do this book quote unquote for money.
(05:53): I mean I have very high price programs. I give very well. Most of my clients are very successful. All that. The reason I wrote it is in a lot of ways for myself, my own purpose is I wanna sift, sort and screen narcissists and sociopaths and psychopaths from entering my groups and entering my world. And the book is a roadmap of who I like doing relationships with my value system, my moral system, my ethical system. But hopefully I want to empower the givers of the world to be better givers, better boundary givers. And I want people to be quit coming at the relationships from being a taker because everybody wants something. I mean, you know, everyone listening to this listens to you cuz they want something and they want more business, they want a better business. You know, they, for me, people often want an elf business.
(06:41): They want to make money, they want to sell their stuff. But ultimately we all want something like later today I'm gonna want lunch and so I want to go eat lunch. Uh, when it comes to relationships with people though, you wanna show up with a give that's either greater or equal to your want. Because if we think, you know, in our own lives, who is it that annoys us? It's people that ask for things, but all they have is an ask. They want something from you, but they don't show up with something. So all they care about is themselves. And so I wrote the book for the younger version of myself. You often hear people on podcasts, What advice would you give to your 18 year old self or your 16 year old self or your 20 year old self or your 30, you know, whatever.
(07:20): And I'll be 55 next year, you know, in February. And it, I, this book is the combination of how do I meet people, how do I connect with people? What are some of the methodologies and the strategies and the capabilities. So it's a capability book. Uh, however, it's really a character book disguised as a capability book cuz it's not just about having capabilities to connect and how to connect, but it's also, uh, to be a decent human and to protect yourself from the takers of the world because life gives to the giver and takes from the taker. And I've had so much horrible situations with people that I have helped in my life. And there's that famous Zig Ziglar line, which I really like in the right context, which is you can have, get anything you want in life or have anything you want in life.
(08:09): If you help enough other people get what they want possibly because you can spend your life helping a lot of other people get what they want, that not only won't do a damn thing for you, but they will abuse you. They will mislead you, they will betray you, they will take from you. And I love how to win friends and influence people. Amazing book. Even in the beginning of my book, I, you know, say if you ever read that book and this book wouldn't even exist, I say, this book I'm pointing to, this is what it looks like. It's got this crazy little yellow cover. It says what's in it for them. That's the question to ask yourself. That's the, that's the point behind it is you know, how to win friends and influence people is great, but not if they're not great people. So my whole thing is how do you win the right friends and influence the right people?
(08:53): How do you develop relationships with people that are aligned with you? Because I don't want to work on relationships like our friend Dan Sullivan says, I don't wanna work on a relationship, I just want a relationship that works. And not that networking requires doing no effort. You know, networking though, handing out business cards, making contacts is a total waste of time. If you are coming at it from, let me have an agenda, let me pursue, you know, let me be an opportunist. So there's nothing wrong. As a matter of fact, both me and you have spent so much of our time helping people identify and access and reach and make real the opportunities that they have in their life. But there's a big difference between pursuing an opportunity, developing an opportunity versus being an opportunist. So the point of the book is to protect givers from scoundrels and to be a better giver and to hopefully create a culture where there's, people are more thoughtful of why they're going into relationships.
(09:51): Because it's not only, you know, more fun that way, but you just don't leave scorched earth and people that are these, you know, there's connecting where you really connect with someone. And then there's connecting where people connect by conning people,
John Jantsch (10:22): And now a word from our sponsor. Marketers are a key part of business. Uh, funny I would say that, right?
Joe Polish (11:53): Absolutely. You know, my mother died when I was four. My father lost the love of his life. He was broken hearted. He never recovered. He was tormented. He, you know, would move every year or two. We would, you know, just start to develop friendships cuz you know, depending on if someone's extroverted, introverted, shy, not shy, et cetera. It was really hard for me to develop relationships then. I had a lot of physical and sexual abuse as a kid. And that really messes with you. I mean, you know, a lot of trauma. And so addiction is a response to, to trauma. And so with, you know, with that level of, of disconnection, I had a lot of pain. But I found that if I smiled, which in the beginning as a kid, it was a way to protect myself from my father. You know, getting very angry.
(12:39): And so it started as a survival mechanism. Now in the business world, enthusiasm covers many deficiencies.
(13:24): And there are certain things that are ah, but they produce woo like exercise or I do cold plunges and saunas almost daily. Believe me, stepping into a 32 to 38 degrees cold plunge is ah, in the beginning. But the dope mean that you get the feeling that you get how you build up a, you know, just a physical tolerance that then leaves you feeling better, produces more woo. So there, in order to have a really good network, you know, everyone's probably heard that saying, you know, your network is your net worth. You're going to have to work. Just spoken in an event a couple days ago at a friend of ours and I said, Yeah, I had on the screen, you know, it was about 450 people in the audience. And I had a slide that said, gyms don't work. And I said, People often come to me and they'll say, you know, 12 step groups don't work.
(14:15): Which are often said by people that have never gone to a 12 step group or have only sat in it. If someone said, you know, to you like, you know, John, I read your book, I've been to your, you know, I've went to your strategies, I've been to your events, It doesn't work. It's like, that's like saying gym's don't work you, you can't join it. Jim, sit on the bench and then say, you know, I'm not lifting the weights, I'm not riding the bike. Gyms don't work. You would never say gyms don't work. But people say that about personal development, learning, marketing strategies, learning every sort of education. Well you're gonna have to work it. You have to put in your, what I call Tammy, your time, attention, money, effort, and energy, which are the things that you can spend. But where I try to suggest is come at it from pain.
(14:59): Find the pain in someone's life. Because what entrepreneurs do is they solve problems for a profit. You know, look where you can find pain, look where you can find suffering in there. If you can reduce the suffering or in many cases eliminate it or at least give them ways to do it, Not only is that a quicker way to build rapport with people, it's a more authentic way to build rapport. I love people that come into my life and not only help me remove angst and pain and annoyances, but they actually come and approach me from a very thoughtful way. So if there's any agenda, because I suggest don't go, don't interact with people with an agenda. What I really mean is make sure your agenda is not a taker agenda. If your agenda is to be a giver, that's a much different agenda. If your agenda, because pain is where, you know, I wouldn't have, I wouldn't have recovered from addiction.
(15:52): And when I say recovered, I could easily fall back in the, in into addicted behavior. If I have enough stress, enough angst, enough overwhelm, consuming my life because addiction is a solution to pain. The opposite of addiction is connection. So when I'm disconnected for myself, I'm disconnected for others. And I will look for oftentimes negative ways to scratch the itch. And so we're in the middle, like right now, I think the timing for what I wrote this book for, I took a one year sabbatical last year and the one thing that was helped me, you know, I didn't publish the book, they wanted me to publish a book. I'm like, I'm not going to do it. But what I did in a one year sabbaticals, really look at the world, really look at what happened with the pandemic, the global trauma that has been created of what, through, what everyone's went through.
(16:38): And I'm like, okay, you know, what do I know? What have I learned that I could write about that would be the most useful for people? Not only to connect with others, but to connect with themselves first and to, you know, if I could just help people by 5%, be more focused on what's in it for them, what pain do they have in their life and how could I be useful to them first before I want them to be useful for me? I think it, it just takes away so much of the crap that people try to do in order to get what they want in life. I mean, get what you want in life by helping the right people get what they want, the useful people get what they want, help the givers become better at getting what they want. And if you approach people in that way, really focusing on pain reduction and reducing suffering, man, they will appreciate you. Just like the economic definition of appreciation or depreciation is you go up in value. And so that, that was one of the things that I hope do with the book.
John Jantsch (17:35): I think it's a good practical way for people to think about something that I think we all get
Joe Polish (18:18): Yeah, absolutely. It's called My Genius Network. And I believe any problem in the world could be solved at the right genius network. And what that means is a genius network versus a network is a genius network is a group of people and individuals that have capabilities and skills and resources that if you can access them and you can combine them with yours, it will actually produce results. Cuz there's a lot of talk about thought leaders in the world, but any idiot can come up with a thought. As a matter of fact, a lot of thought leaders steal other people's thoughts, present them as their own and then they're called thought leaders. But I actually like result leaders like John, you're a result leader. You do work that actually produces results for people. So it's like, okay, so who do you know in your life that has skills or capabilities?
(19:02): What is their name? And then the exercises, I have people write circles like eight circles and they put a line through it, a uh, you know, a horizontal line and they put the name of the person on the top and they put the skiller capability in the bottom. And I say, think of people that are dominoes, like in in the book, what's in it for them? I and every chapter with the dominoes, which are what are the ideas or the things that could make a big difference? So who's been a domino in your life and what is the skiller capability? Then once you've identified their names, you list who they are, what skill or capability do they have? How can I help them? That's the next question. After you've identified who they are and what their genius is, what that genius skill or capability is. And it doesn't need to be like Einstein genius, it could just be an expertise or a capability that's useful. They've
John Jantsch (19:49): Done something you want done, right,
Joe Polish (19:51): Yeah, if you want, if you wanna do a genius network on I wanna get in better shape, you want, you may want a personal trainer, a nutritionist, a yoga therapist, you know, a massage therapist, you know, I mean like people that can help you if you wanna write a book, do you want an editor? You want a ghost writer If you want, you know, web design. I mean what are the skills and capabilities? You can niche it or you can just take who are the most eight most important people that I wanna be a hero to and who, who have been a hero to me? And then you ask how can I help them? And then when you direct your brain to that and you all of a sudden you're like, you know what, I really admire these people. I respect these people, I appreciate 'em, they're part of my genius network. And you approach your interactions with them, then they will naturally wanna help you. And that's the
John Jantsch (20:32): Goal. And there can be stretch names on there, right? I don't have to know that person or have access to that person yet today. Right?
Joe Polish (20:39): Well and that's one of the best ways to, to future focus your future relationship is who is this person and then how can I be useful to them? I'd say in order to develop a genius network, you have to be a genius networker, which is approaching people with the question what's in it for them? And you have to do genius networking. It's actually a behavior, but it's not just, it's be, do have. In order to have a genius network, you have to be a genius worker and do genius networking. And if you actually approach it that way, and this is not complicated, I did not write this in a way that, you know, no one could do it. You have to be some superstar, you have to be some extrovert. As a matter of fact, I'm an introvert that forced myself to go and meet people because the one commonality is everything that is good in my life comes through relationships with other people.
(21:29): Even the things I do like meditation and that I do in quiet that was taught to be by someone, that I was helped by someone. No one, you know, silent battles are the hardest battles to fight. You're as sick as your secrets when I, you know, all the stuff that I do in addiction recovery would not happen had I not had other people that cared about me and in many cases cared about me more than I cared about myself at a certain point in time. So I wanna be a domino for people. I want to help people with all. Cuz the number one question I get, how do you meet all these famous people? And people think it's knowing famous people. It's not. I mean, you know, John, you've met a lot of famous people, you've met a lot of rich people. Some of them are jerks, some of them are miserable.
(22:09): You know, I mean you don't want to just meet well known people. Some of the greatest heroes in the world are, you know, people working at hospice centers, you know, single moms raising kids. I mean, there's amazing people in the world that are not celebrities. I don't want Genius Network to be known for me. I want it to be known for the people in the group. It's a connection network. And so, you know, I'm just wanting to convey those things that I've learned so that other people can build it. Cuz a more connected world is a happier world, A more connected person is a happier person and I would argue to say way more likely to make a lot more money and do a lot better when you're coming at it from that way. And there's a lot of people that make money in the world that go to bed every night with guilt and shame and remorse because their methods of getting to the money, getting to the opportunities are not coming from a place of giving.
(22:56): They're coming from a place of taking. And so I, I want to give, you know, even in one of the things I have in the book is like how to use marketing to find true love and actually show an, an example of a singles a on how to actually write a letter about yourself so that you can identify the right aligned partner. And I have people that are already in relationships and married that use the process and it improves the relationship that they have with their existing partner. And I learned it from a brilliant love coach and we have an interview with her as part of the bonus of the stuff that I talk about in the book. So I really try to cover not just business, but yeah as a human. It's really about being a better human.
John Jantsch (23:35): So you mentioned bonuses and resources you wanna tell people where they can find the website for the book. Obviously the book will be available anywhere depending upon when you're listening to this November of 2022. But people where they can find out more about the book and uh, connect with you and, and however you'd like to invite
Joe Polish (23:51): Them. Thank you. The website for the book is literally the name, What's in it for them.com. We have shorter versions of it, but I finally secured, I had to pay a lot of money. It's so funny for the website what's in it for them.com, but now we have that set up. And one thing too, I wanna point out, there's some really amazing people, uh, Steven Pressfield, Chris Voss, the top former FBI hostage negotiator read the whole book. He's one of my genius network members. BJ Fogg, the Stanford professor, one of his students used his model to create Instagram. His book, you know, was voted the best Business book of the year by Amazon in 2020. Robert Chaldini the Best Influence Guy. Mm-hmm
John Jantsch (25:00): Awesome. Well Joe, thanks for taking a moment to stop by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast and uh, hopefully we'll see you again one of these days soon out there on the road.
Joe Polish (25:08): Thank you John. Thanks for all the work you do too. You're awesome. I
John Jantsch (25:11): Appreciate it. Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy, strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It's called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find it @ marketingassessment.co. Check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That's just marketingassessment.co. I'd love to chat with you about the results that you get.
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