You could be HOMELESS, and still not be that different from Elon Musk
December 21, 2020
“You only get 70 or 80 years; it could end tomorrow. Stop wasting your life not doing things you are passionate about.” I really love the premise of Ben Courier’s podcast Failure Guy. We all hear about the “ten-year overnight success” stories, but no one talks about the ten years spent spinning your wheels before getting it to click.
We talk about how many people live uninspiring lives, wasting years avoiding
“ripping off the bandaid” only to discover that it only took a few hours of grinding, with life-changing results. And I’m not trying to be condescending when I say that — I did it too! It’s a lesson I learned the hard way many times.
We also discuss:
- Why you’re really not that much different from Elon Musk.
- Why the world isn’t as scary and dangerous as you think it is.
- Why if you spend $100 on Facebook ads and only make $40 in sales, that’s actually an epic win.
- Why I love talking about the twelve years of failure I endured before breaking through to a seven-figure business.
About the Show: Ben Currier is the host of Failure Guy.
Ben Currier: Hey there, this is Ben Currier, self-proclaimed world’s number one failure. In this podcast, we’ll learn about the hardest moments my guests faced, and the failures they endured on their path towards making it. I hope you enjoy.
Hey there, friends of Failure. This is Ben Currier here, and I am hanging out with my friend here Dylan Ogline. Hey there, Dylan.
Dylan Ogline: Hey man, how’s it going?
Ben Currier: It’s going pretty well. Before we get into the subject of the podcast, do you want to give the listeners maybe a little shameless brag about some of the highlights of your career or lifestyle?
Dylan Ogline: Shameless brag. Okay. So, man, I’m not used to this. I’m not used to the bragging part. I guess, okay, if we’re going to be bragging. I own a seven-figure digital marketing agency called Ogline Digital. I hate to sound so clichéd, but I kind of do live like my dream version of my lifestyle. Like my dream version of my life I kind of live now. It’s hampered a little bit with COVID. Can’t really travel. But if there wasn’t COVID or once COVID’s over, I have a successful business, I have an incredible team in place. I could easily get away with working one to two hours a week on my main business, my marketing agency, and just travel around the world. That is my shameless brag.
Ben Currier: Nice. I think you said you’re kind of the digital nomad, but are you in a fixed location right now, or are you still traveling?
Dylan Ogline: Right now, no. I haven’t been outside the United States since 2019. Yeah, I did not go outside the United States this year. But no, like yeah, I live in Orlando right now, I have a house here. And I definitely want to have a home base no matter what, but once COVID’s over, once the vaccine, everybody has them, I’ll definitely be three to four months out of the year on the road traveling constantly.
Ben Currier: I’m definitely envious of that. I’ve only done a little bit of traveling here and there like backpacking across Europe and stuff. But it is easier than people think to carve out the time, but we just don’t usually set aside the mental space for planning something like that. And hopefully, after all this is over, it’ll get better.
Dylan Ogline: I try not to plan when I’m doing any kind of traveling. I try to just go. Like those have been the trips that are the best when I’m just like, eh, I’ll figure it out when I get there. Maybe I have an AirBnB, but that’s the best kind to me.
Ben Currier: Yup, I had a previous guest who was a digital nomad, and he said the best advice is just to book a one-way ticket and don’t think about it and don’t plan it as much.
Dylan Ogline: Yes. Yeah.
Ben Currier: So that’s definitely the mentality you have to get behind. It could be hard for people though, for sure. Oh sorry, go ahead.
Dylan Ogline: No. I mean it’s a lot easier than what you think. And if you have that itch, if you’re sitting there like, “Wow, that sounds cool.” Because it doesn’t apply to everybody. Like there’s some people who like they don’t want to travel outside the United States, or they don’t like flying, or whatever. That’s 100% okay. But if you’re sitting there, and you have that itch, and you’re like, “Wow, that sounds incredible,” you have absolutely no idea just how incredible it is. Life’s too short, man. Right now, we all got to play safe. I’m not jumping on any planes to Southeast Asia right now. Because of COVI got to be safe, but once this stuff is over, once the world returns to normal, just jump, just do it. Life’s too short.
Ben Currier: I think the great thing about the whole COVID thing is it definitely has proven that we can work from home and that home can be anywhere in the future. So when we do get able to travel, I’m sure it’ll be a lot easier for people to embrace that kind of lifestyle because a lot more companies are open to the idea of remote workers and stuff like that.
Dylan Ogline: Oh, absolutely. There was definitely a stigma. I would still get weird looks from people. Be like, “How do you make any money working from home?” Even though before COVID it was becoming more and more common. People still looked at me like I was weird. But now like everybody was forced to work from home. So yeah, that stigma’s over. Going forward, a lot more people are going to be doing it.
And I think it would be worth mentioning, when I’m talking about traveling, I’m not looking to go to some resort for a week and just sit on the beach and drink pina coladas. Like to me it’s going and living in a foreign city where I don’t speak the language, I know nobody, I know nothing, no nothing around me and living there for several weeks on end, immersing myself in the culture while I still work. That is, to me, the digital nomad lifestyle. And that’s what it’s all about is being able to do what you want when you want where you want.
Like I said, if you’re sitting there and you’re like, “Oh man, that sounds pretty cool,” like you have absolutely no idea just how amazing it is.
Ben Currier: Yeah. I’m jealous of it myself. I know when I went to France I remember one of the funny stories. So I took Spanish in high school, so I really didn’t know much of anything for French. And I was told the way to say sorry was “Je suis desole.” But I think some of my Spanish kicked in or whatever and I kept saying “Je suis dejeuner,” which I think is “I am breakfast,” or something to do with breakfast, I’m not really sure. But I remember the crazy looks I was getting from the people when I was over there.
But I agree, if you’re going to do travel, you want to be really immersed in the culture and not doing it as an arm’s length kind of a thing where you can just kind of dip your toe into what it would be like to be near them. It’s nice to see how different people live and like the perspectives that they have, and the things you can gain, in terms of insight. It’s awesome.
Dylan Ogline: Absolutely. You’ll learn. The world’s not as bad as you think it is. I come from more of a conservative area so I kind of had this vision that like outside the United States was scary and everybody was going to stab you or steal your money. Once you go there, bad things could happen, but generally speaking it really shocked me just how nice people are. It’s the complete opposite of what you think. And people tend to be nicer than what they are here in the United States.
Ben Currier: Yeah. They can break down some of that like nationalism or us versus them kind of stuff when you just realize it’s other people in a different part of the world usually.
Dylan Ogline: For me, a really life-changing element of it was I had been in places where I make more in a day than these people make in several years and they’re so happy with their lives. And it kind of puts everything in a perspective of like, “Dude. What? What are you complaining about it?” Like just really makes you appreciate life more, makes you appreciate life, makes you appreciate other people, humanizes everything. It gives you a lot more compassion for your fellow human. Other people in your country, other people worldwide. It’s definitely well worth it.
Ben Currier: And your online marketing business, I’m curious just what kind of actual stuff are you doing. Is it mostly SEO, and digital marketing, and trying to figure out how to increase brand awareness or what is your niche?
Dylan Ogline: Our niche is direct response digital marketing. So in English, we are simply managing our clients’ Facebook, Google, and sometimes YouTube ads. That’s it. We create the landing page typically. We’re going to write the actual ad. We’re going to choose like the picture for Facebook, et cetera. And then our job is to spend the money and get the leads, essentially, at a certain cost. That is pretty much what our job is. How do we make money? We send the client an invoice for 10% of whatever their ad spend was at the end of the month. So they spend $50,000 throughout Google, Facebook, YouTube, we will send them an invoice for $5,000.
Ben Currier: That sounds like a really good deal because I know I’ve put plenty of ads out there that had no response because I have no idea what I’m doing. And it can be easy to think, “I’ll just throw a little money at it and whatever throw a sentence or two up or some picture,” but it’s a lot more. It’s really difficult to convince people, especially nowadays, to give you their attention and their time because there’s so many things battling for it.
And I know as a guy who just works by himself and doesn’t know anything that just how hard that advertising part is. Because I can do the content, that’s good, behind the paywall, but figuring out how to get people to want to get past that is tough. And certainly, generally, ads are even harder because they’re doing something else and you’re just trying to get their attention away from whatever that is.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. Absolutely.
Ben Currier: Have you had any big ad campaigns that failed miserably? I’m curious if anything like that has happened to you because you thought, “Oh this is a great idea,” and then it resonated with no one or something to that effect?
Dylan Ogline: It happens all the time.
Ben Currier: Good. Okay. So that’s a normal part.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. So when we’re onboarding a new client, which we’re really small, I don’t want more clients right now. Because once I got to seven figures I was like, “I don’t really want anymore. I want to focus on other passions.” Even the clients that we have that are doing great, we are constantly running tests for them. So like a Facebook test might look like throwing up like 600 different versions of a concept. Different targets, you have five different versions of pictures, four different versions of the actual ad copy, and then all these different variable targets.
So you might throw up 600 different ads and like 20 of them are actually successful and have a positive ROI. That happens all the time. And then you just copy those ones that works and try to create even more iterations. That’s how we do it. So it’s typically not we spend $50,000 for a client and didn’t get anything. It’s typically we’re testing things at the smallest level as possible, and then once we figure out things that work, then we ramp it up in scale.
Ben Currier: That makes a lot more sense. I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there like me who are going, “Why didn’t my one type of ad work? The one try? My one slogan that I came up with?”
Dylan Ogline: That’s the problem.
Ben Currier: Yeah, variant testing, and A-B, and A-B-plus, however many variants. It is certainly a good way I’ve been told to not only do ads, but email marketing, landing pages, all of that, because you can use the info. My problem is I never get to the point of using the info that I get back. So I’m working my way towards figuring out how to get some of that working for me. Because, to your point, there’s a lot of tools we can use to take out a lot of the complexity.
Dylan Ogline: Absolutely. And one thing I would mention when it comes to if we’re specifically talking marketing here, it happens all the time when I talk to people, they’re like, “I spent $50 on Facebook and it didn’t work.” I’m like oh my God. It’s not something we need to spend $50,000, but if you spent $100 and you got like $40 in sales back, that’s incredible. Like if your first campaign you spent $100 in three days, and you got $40 back in sales, like you just hit a home run. Like that was incredible. Because nobody does great their first ad, nobody does great with their first variations.
And if you took that and then you did another $100, and maybe you got $60 back, you’re still losing money, that’s okay. But you keep doing that and doing that, and eventually you get where you spend $100 and you got $110 back. And then you spend another $100 and you got $150 back. And before you know it, you’re spending $100, and you’re getting like $300, $400 back. But yeah, if you spend $20 on Facebook ads and it didn’t work, I kind of wonder why. Like there’s your sign.
Ben Currier: It’s a pretty low sample size to base your decision on.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. You got to be committed to just beating it until it works.
Ben Currier: So how did you get into the business of online marketing and digital advertising? I know when we talked a little bit in the virtual green room you told me that basically you spent a lot of time not knowing what you were going to do. You were kind of 12 years a slave to nothing and no specific ideas as to what you were going to do.
Dylan Ogline: So I started my first business when I was 14.
Ben Currier: Wow.
Dylan Ogline: And this was back, this was 2003, 2002, 2003, around there. So this was like the infancy of what we consider digital marketing. I don’t even think Facebook had launched yet. Facebook was a twinkle. Wasn’t even a twinkle in Mark Zuckerberg’s eyes yet. So Facebook ads certainly wasn’t--
Ben Currier: Yeah, that came a lot longer.
Dylan Ogline: I remember playing around with Google for my first business. I don’t know if it was called Google Adwords at the time, but it was Google Ads. That was just blew my mind. Because I saw, even at that age, and like just reading about it, like I saw where this was going where there was an infinite number of people on Google who are searching for stuff. And you can measure this stuff. This is not throwing up a billboard where you’re like, “Did I get more business or not?” Like you’re going to be able to spend $100 and know that I got $110 back. And from a marketing perspective, like you’re playing in the big leagues now. You can track your growth and you can purchase growth. So that just shocked my world. So yeah, started my first business, and then that got shut down because my merchant account provider found out I was under the age of 18.
Ben Currier: What was the business?
Dylan Ogline: I was selling cellphones on eBay. And I think I had like-- was it Geocities? Like I had like a Yahoo shopping thing too. But basically, this was before like the iPhone. And any pre-smartphone, like any kind of good smartphone was European made. And like in the United States we just didn’t have them.
Ben Currier: Yeah, the Nokia brick with the Snake.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah, yeah, with Snake. I used to be able to send a text message without looking at my phone because you’ve had the muscle memory from the buttons.
Ben Currier: Oh the T90 or whatever when you had to click whatever T-U-V, each number it was a different set of letters.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. Back in the day. Back in the day. So anyway, I somehow applied for like a wholesale website where they wholesale these cellphones, and somehow, they approved me. Then I was able to get these European cellphones at wholesale cost, ship them to the United States, pay all the fees and everything, and then flip them on eBay, make like $50, $75 a phone or something like that. That lasted for about a year, got shut down, and then--
Ben Currier: Did you have like a lot of inventory or something that you were stuck with?
Dylan Ogline: No. No. It was I basically drop-shipped it.
Ben Currier: Okay. Something like that.
Dylan Ogline: Essentially it was on demand. So it wasn’t until I sold the phone that it would be shipped to me and I would tell people like, “It will take three weeks to get to you.”
Ben Currier: Gotcha.
Dylan Ogline: And then I would like overnight it to them. So that got shut down, and at the time I had dropped out of high school. I kind of really was running out of options. But I had learned a little bit about web design, learned a little bit about I could design a logo and stuff. So I spent the next 12 years getting absolutely nowhere, bouncing around from one project to the next. We talked about this preshow where like I didn’t really have any failures that went out in a blaze of glory. It was more like just a marathon of failure. Like just little thing that just never got off the ground.
At my peak I had like ten to 15 different business projects. And it was like working a thousand hours a day. I didn’t know what sleep was. I looked fried and burnt out because I was. Never went on vacation, was absolutely broke, nearly a million dollars in debt.
Ben Currier: Wow.
Dylan Ogline: And then I had a conversation with a long-term mentor. And essentially the lesson was, “Focus on a high profit margin business and focus.” Like that’s it.
Ben Currier: Yeah. Don’t have 10 to 15 businesses?
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. Instead of having 10 to 15 businesses, just have one. I remember the night I had that conversation. I went down into my freezing basement office where I didn’t have a chair, I sat on a five-gallon bucket of dry wall compound. I have a picture of it somewhere. And yeah.
Ben Currier: How long did you use that bucket? How long did you sit on the bucket? I feel like you could find anything to sit on, but I hope you didn’t spend more than a couple days.
Dylan Ogline: A long time.
Ben Currier: Oh wow. Yeah, that’s rough. I mean, like a free recliner on the side of the road that was really beat up would be better I imagine.
Dylan Ogline: Probably. Yeah.
Ben Currier: You probably had other concerns at the time.
Dylan Ogline: I wouldn’t have known how to get it home. I drove around in a Jetta. So I feel like I don’t know what to do.
Ben Currier: That makes sense.
Dylan Ogline: But looking back, I was like, “Man, I probably could have found something on Craigslist.”
Ben Currier: Yeah. Because of the back pain that you might have.
Dylan Ogline: Oh yeah, it sucked. I still have back issues from it.
Ben Currier: I was wondering. I had a question about part of your story. How soon after starting to make money online did you drop out of high school? Was it like, “Hey, I got a dollar, see ya.” Or was it more of like a gradual thing that you were like, “I don’t have to do this anymore,” kind of thing?
Dylan Ogline: So long story short, I was starting to think about college, and I didn’t know specifically what, but I was like I want to kind of do something business. And I’m from a small country rural town in Pennsylvania. And the prospect of my parents paying for college like that wasn’t going to happen. So my only ticket out was hockey, but I wasn’t that good. I’m really trying to condense this story here.
So what I realized is, is all the players that were much better than me had started way earlier than me. So I was like, “Man, like it’s a long shot for me to get a scholarship to go to college. I know my parents can’t afford to send me to college. What if I were to somehow do this business thing and be ahead of the game?” So I’m starting to take these business classes like in high school. I think I started then in ninth grade. And I only finished ninth grade I quit halfway through tenth.
But I was taking these business courses and like it was stuff that like I had read like four business books and I was like, “I know way more than the teacher does.” And I’ve read a couple books so I was like, “Damn.” Like in my 14-year-old mind I was like, “if I were to somehow get into business now, 10 years from now when everybody else is getting out of college and they’re starting their careers, I’m going to be 10 years ahead of you. I’m going to have this massive experience gap.” So like I’m 31 now, I have 17 years of business experience. Like I’m 31, like that’s more than half of my life.
Ben Currier: Impressive.
Dylan Ogline: And I saw that somehow, some way. And listen, this is really stupid. Don’t do this. If you’re 14, don’t quit school, like finish high school. Don’t be an idiot.
Ben Currier: I think the people who would do good in school, and would do well dropping out, would do well in either one regardless. So I think it depends on the very specific person. I wouldn’t say anybody should or shouldn’t drop out of anything. But you should definitely try your hardest, and if you find a way outside of school, you can always do both at the same time. You don’t have to drop out of school. But yeah, but you did it, so and it seemed to at least for a while worked or maybe not. The bucket didn’t sound glorious.
Dylan Ogline: No, it wasn’t glorious. But no, so I had the cellphone business. I think I was doing a few other things and I convinced my parents to let me do homeschooling. And I was like, “Oh yeah, yeah, then I’ll be able to focus on the business.” Like I’m making more than they are. And I’m like, “Yeah, yeah, just trust me guys.” I had to pay like a couple thousand dollars to do the homeschooling. It was completely different than what it is today. I bought all the books and stuff, and I don’t even think I ever opened the box that the books came in. Like just never opened it. Once I started the homeschool, like I just went 100% into business. I might have just messed around and “tooken,” taken-- "tooken”?
Ben Currier: I like “tooken.”
Dylan Ogline: My lack of education. I might have taken a test or two, but that was it. And eventually I was just like, “Listen guys, like I finally got the business rolling. Can I just quit so I’m not even wasting my time looking at this stuff?” And they were like, “Oh, okay.” That was it, and I quit.
Ben Currier: If you could now talk to a younger you, the one who was quitting, is there any specific advice you’d give yourself to like make it easier, the trajectory?
Dylan Ogline: I’ve gotten asked this a lot before. I don’t particularly like looking back. Because I think about like that stupid bucket and how it wasn’t glorious. Like I feel now I’ve kind of got things kind of maybe figured out a little bit. And maybe I’m doing okay. But it’s also like compassion and appreciation, and gratitude, and things like that. If I had figured it out way back then, would I be the same person I am now? And I don’t know the answer to that. So I really try not to think in terms of that. If I was talking to somebody else who’s 14 and they’re thinking about it now, it would be stay in school, don’t be me, and focus. Even though you think that the path to success is working a hundred hours a week, the path to success is more likely working smart and focusing on a high profit margin business.
Ben Currier: And I think it’s funny because a lot of people do what you did and it happens a lot when I ask a similar question, which is as if time travel’s real and we can somehow ruin our own existence. But I would hope the idea behind it would be what advice would have been beneficial for you, even if you wouldn’t want to give it to yourself, or you would only take it I guess for other people in the same situation. But it’s kind of a confusing question and I kind of want to figure out a way to either incorporate time travel more or figure out an easier way to ask it.
But there is something cool as a guest of this show that you get, which is a get out of fail free card. This is a card similar to the Monopoly one where you can use it to go down the path of another career, or hobby, or interest, or something that you might have avoided because of the possibility of failure. Maybe it was hockey if that was something you wanted to do and if there was no failure you might have pursued that more. But perhaps there’s many other different kinds of hobbies or things that you think would be a super interesting thing to pursue, and if you didn’t have to worry about the failure of it you’d go forward with it.
Dylan Ogline: You’re asking if I didn’t have to worry about failure what would I go forward with?
Ben Currier: Yes. Yeah. I’ll give you my example would be either like stand-up comedy or music. A lot of things that are really like getting judged heavily. If I didn’t have to worry about that, I feel I could approach it better.
Dylan Ogline: My answer surely would have changed over time. So I’ve talked about gratitude and everything. And I look at myself and I’m very lucky to be where I am. My goal now is to try to help other people and help other folks start their businesses and whatnot. My answer would be politics. My answer would be politics. Not because I’m scared to fail necessarily. For me, it’s more just like I feel like the world could be a little bit better. I believe I could maybe help make it a little bit better. I believe the world could use a little bit more compassion.
Ben Currier: Absolutely.
Dylan Ogline: Sure as hell have that. But it’s just so dirty.
Ben Currier: Yeah.
Dylan Ogline: It’s so disgusting and dirty and it’s gotten out of hand. So I’m not necessarily scared of like failing and like losing an election per se.
Ben Currier: Yeah.
Dylan Ogline: I’m just scared of like just getting into the mess.
Ben Currier: Yeah. That makes sense.
Dylan Ogline: That would be my answer.
Ben Currier: I think you either have to be an amazingly generous awesome person to go into politics, or an insane egomaniac. To your point, you have to do a lot of crazy things with not only your own persona and who you are outwardly, but then all the things that are going to happen from people attacking you and going into all the negativity. It’d be nice, and I have no idea how it would happen if there’s a way to divorce the negativity out of politics so we could talk about the issues divorced from a lot of that emotion. But it seems like it’s impossible and getting even worse.
Dylan Ogline: It’s harder these days.
Ben Currier: Yeah.
Dylan Ogline: It’s getting worse, not better.
Ben Currier: I think that would be a good way to use it because then if success is guaranteed, hopefully you’d have less of that aspect of it and you could focus on what matters. And hopefully that success would be also those changes you mentioned about compassion and things like that.
Dylan Ogline: Absolutely, man.
Ben Currier: What is the next big fail that you’re going to do? What is the thing you’re trying to now? Are you going to form a nonprofit? You had mentioned you wanted to give back. Is there something you’re going to pursue that you haven’t yet started?
Dylan Ogline: Right now, my main focus, what I’m putting 95% of my time into is my education company. Basically, I have a training program where I teach people how to start their own digital marketing agency. I’m already in the middle of doing that.
Ben Currier: Train the trainer kind of thing?
Dylan Ogline: Yeah, something like that.
Ben Currier: Nice.
Dylan Ogline: I don’t know what comes after that. I don’t know. I think about starting a nonprofit, but the truth is, is that I don’t have any experience in that. I don’t know. Those are fields I’ve never played in, and I don’t know anybody who plays in those fields. Whether it is public service or it is a nonprofit or something like that. Or it’s organizing people to empower them and make change in the world. We live in a democracy. I believe if you gather people, and we come together, we can enact change and make the world a better place.
And this is something I’ve thought about for years. But I have no experience and I don’t have anybody in my circle. I thought maybe going into this previous election that maybe I would somehow get involved, but COVID kind of got me to not do that.
Ben Currier: Yeah.
Dylan Ogline: So maybe the next one. Maybe the nonprofit. I don’t know. I don’t have an answer for what’s next.
Ben Currier: That’s cool though. To your point about nonprofits and how to give back, like I wish it was as easy as just-- well, I don’t have much money to give to people, but let’s pretend that I was richer and wanted to give back. It’d be cool just paying for people’s groceries at the grocery store and do other random acts of kindness that isn’t like forming a 501c3 or whatever and trying to come up with a way of having it be all above board. Like it’s more fun to just be randomly generous.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. I’ve done that myself, man, and it’s a fucking awesome feeling.
Ben Currier: Yeah. And then how do you take that feeling and then scale that to a large thing? It usually gets complicated and weird, but that’s kind of the fun challenge of what you’re talking about is figuring out ways to give back that still feels that good but isn’t all red tape and everything.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know the answer to that. But I would add this: I think this is important for your show is if you were to ask me five years ago like where are you going to be in five years, I would not answer this. I would not answer where I am now. I would have absolutely no idea. So and I continuously see that happen in my life. So where will I be five years from now? I don’t know, maybe I’m in public service. Maybe I started a rock band. Which, for anybody who knows anything about me, they’d be like, “No!” I don’t play an instrument, I don’t sing. But maybe , I don’t know. Maybe I move to China. I couldn’t tell you. I’ve learned to like--
Ben Currier: Sometimes that’s the best way to live life is knowing that it’s a choose your own adventure and you don’t know what that page is going to hold till you get there. But having low expectations and high hopes, I always found is a good way to go.
Dylan Ogline: Oh, absolutely, man. I’ll always have the best hopes. And I like that like choose your adventure. I believe that you can choose how you want your life to go. Very few things re actually chosen for you so get out there, man. We started this show talking about travel. Like if that’s what you want to do, go do it. You only get 70, 80 years if you’re lucky. It could end tomorrow. Stop wasting your life not doing things that you’re passionate about, working some dead-end job that you hate. Being in a bad relationship that doesn’t make you happy. Like don’t waste your life doing that stuff.
If I could somehow like shake a lot of people and be like, “Don’t be stupid like that,” I think that would be a really good thing. If you want to enact change in the world, there’s something that upsets you, or you think could be better in the world, like put your voice out there. And this is advice for myself too.
Ben Currier: Yeah.
Dylan Ogline: Put your voice out there and find a god damn way to enact that and to put change into the world. And don’t just let life happen to you. Make life happen.
Ben Currier: Yeah.
Dylan Ogline: That’s good advice.
Ben Currier: Most of the advice that I get in this show is advice that I probably should be taking myself, and maybe I’m not. And I think it’s easy for us, like you were saying, to put ourselves in a box and pretend like that box is inescapable-- the relationship, the job, whatever it is. But usually the years or whatever that you spend doing the thing you don’t want is far worse than the whatever that ripping the Band-Aid off feeling actually is. We can convince ourselves that there’s no option. And once you just open your mind a bit you realize that there’s a lot of options.
Dylan Ogline: And every time I’ve ever gotten over one of those situations in my life. And I’ve talked about this with friends before. Like it is remarkable the amount of suffering. And then I’ve ripped that Band-Aid off and it was an hour or two of work or something. For years I was like, “This is going to be this massive thing, and it’s going to take months to solve, or whatever.” And then I took action on it and it was like I procrastinated for years on end. And then I took action, I’m ripping the Band-Aid off. It was literally like an hour’s worth of work and it was like, “Oh my God, that just changed my life.” That has happened time and time, time and time and time again. So you would be surprised. Whether it’s a business idea, or a bad relationship, or some job, or something, like don’t waste your life in fear of ripping the Band-Aid off. Just do it.
Ben Currier: You can spend literally years just mustering up the courage to do that thing that literally would take less than a day to figure out all the--
Dylan Ogline: To get over.
Ben Currier: And experience but we just built things up so much, and the more we make it something that we are scared of and think we can’t, the more we tell ourselves that we can’t do it, it just becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And it’s scary, of course, and the easier way to do it is to have nothing and then have to do whatever. If you lose everything, sometimes you get a free pass to write your own story and do whatever, but to people who have a mediocre job or life, and want to make something better, there’s not a lot stopping you besides yourself getting in the way, usually.
Dylan Ogline: Really there is only yourself stopping you. Like I see that with my personal life time and time again. Especially now that I have the education company and I’m teaching students, like it is incredible the amount of people that live their lives that way. And like that might come across as condescending, but like I did it too.
Ben Currier: Yeah.
Dylan Ogline: This is a lesson I learned myself by making the mistake myself. So yeah, don’t waste your life. There you go, there’s the lesson.
Ben Currier: And it’s amazing to me because I think what we’re saying while it would still kind of fundamentally be true 40 or 50 years ago, now with the internet, it’s insane how much more ability people have. You don’t have to spend a dollar or two per ad, per person, like for Yellow Pages or whatever the hell they were doing, direct-mail marketing. It’s insane how much technology has allowed almost anyone to be a business owner. Whereas 50 years ago it would take a lot more investment from yourself. Now you can start a website for free, do all sorts of things, try to get sales before you even have a product. Like there’s a lot of ways to do stuff that now is just so insanely easy compared to what the same thing would do or cost even 50 years ago.
Dylan Ogline: Even ten years ago.
Ben Currier: Yeah. Last year.
Dylan Ogline: Even ten years ago. And, yeah, it’s getting cheaper and cheaper everyday. It’s getting easier and easier. The access to information and education gets better and better
Ben Currier: Yeah.
Dylan Ogline: One thing that I am really excited about is with education. So go back just a couple years ago and you would take, say, training programs similar to like what I have, and the training programs would be very broad. Now there’s so many of them that they’re getting very niched down. So if you want to start a wedding photography business, I guarantee you that there is somebody who has a training program out there that teaches you everything you need to know to start and grow a wedding photography business. Guarantee it’s somewhere. I don’t now who it is, but I guarantee that there’s a program out there that talks about like how do we onboard clients, how do we actually take the pictures, how do we handle bookkeeping, how do we get clients how do we do the marketing, how do we handle our Instagram?
There are programs for literally just about everything now. And that really excites me because now we’ve had access to information, but it was still kind of all over the place. But now people are creating their own program and be like, “Hey, I solved this problem so now you can learn after me.” And I think that’s going to help a lot of people.
Ben Currier: Yeah. And it’s not even one, there’s thousands of those wedding photography classes. And so you have a good bit of competition to allow you to pick something that’s not even just the random one that it happens to be. I teach Microsoft Excel online. And I know there’s a lot of people who do that as well. It’s amazing how many people are trying to teach different things and that just makes it better for everyone because education used to be something that was kind of-- well, not only certainly forced on you by public education system and everything, but it lacked a lot of enrollment, which is the students wanting to be there and be involved.
But now with these kind of training programs the people who are seeking them out want to learn these things so it can improve not just what’s “education,” but actually improve the amount of learning that’s being done. And so it’s not just for a test so you can memorize and forget, but so you can actually learn the skill and not go into debt, too, for it.
Dylan Ogline: Take action.
Ben Currier: Because I know in college and undergraduate and graduate that I did not learn almost anything about Excel and that’s all I do in my job. So it’s insane to me how much money I’m still paying for the training that didn’t really give me what I needed for the job.
Dylan Ogline: Didn’t do anything.
Ben Currier: I’m sometimes envious of folks like you who left education earlier on. But also, I needed that structure to feel like I knew how to get anywhere. I was too believing in the system in order to have wanted to carve my own path. I needed to realize the system was bullshit from the inside in order to finally feel like I could go do something else because I would have been too scared doing it kind of the way you did. But I definitely envy that kind of gusto and risk-taking.
Dylan Ogline: Well, if you’re talking about risk-taking when it comes to like starting a business or something like that, you got to be a little bit crazy, that’s for sure.
Ben Currier: Yes.
Dylan Ogline: But no, I understand what you’re saying.
Ben Currier: It’s cool. And then we both might make it to the same place but with very different paths of how to get there.
Dylan Ogline: Whatever works, man.
Ben Currier: Yeah. Before we get into any kind of plugs or anything like that, is there anything else on the topic of failure you want to mention before we tell people where to find you?
Dylan Ogline: We talked about this a little bit before the show about-- what was the term you used--glamorous. What I like about your show is that it’s not just talking about the success and painting this incredible picture. For those of you out there who might be sitting there thinking like, “Well yeah, this person, they have incredible work ethic. Or they are really smart.” Or you can make excuses for yourself because you typically when you’re hearing about other people, you’re hearing the best version.
You’re not hearing about the bad days. You’re hearing about the good days. And that’s why I’m not afraid to talk about the fact that I dropped out of high school. Because I don’t want people sitting there who are like, “Well, you need to have an education to be successful, and I didn’t have an education, so like I’m never going to be anything.”
I like talking about how I spent 12 years bouncing around and failing and failing. Because a lot of people we all hear about the ten-year overnight success stories. But nobody really talks about the ten years of taking forever to get things going before you actually get it to click. I might have a seven-figure business now, but I spent 12 years barely making $40,000 a year, like if that.
Ben Currier: Yeah.
Dylan Ogline: Being up to my eyeballs in debt. I think it’s important for people to recognize that when you’re hearing stories about others, looking for inspiration, just always remember that nobody hits a homerun their first at bat. If you have failed yourself. Failed yourself. If you had failures, it’s okay, and you just have to pick yourself up, keep going, and recognize that anybody you know who any successful story that you hear, those people did the same thing. And they also had bad days too. There’s days where they sleep in, they’re not 100%.
Ben Currier: They lose money.
Dylan Ogline: They lose money. They have a bad marketing campaign. I mean just anything, recognize that the very best person, the Jeff Bezos, the Elon Musk, they aren’t much different than you. Like no matter what you see in the media, no matter what you see in the webinars, or the videos, or listen to on the podcast. Like you could be homeless and you are not much different than Elon Musk. And at the end of the day, you’re going to choose your version of life. It is a pick your own adventure. There’s no reason to settle and go out there and give 100%.
Ben Currier: Yeah, I think it’s especially important nowadays with social media when everybody now has a highlight reel. And even not successful people have just their all the things they want people to think that they’re doing and feeling, and everyone is kind of hiding a lot of those failures or stumbles. And we get to curate how we look online. And it’s important for people to realize that what we see people showing is not all that there is.
And a lot of times to your point, I was on a podcast recently called Broken Bulbs, and it’s all about the broken bulbs that led to that good idea that actually worked. And you can’t do that, you can’t get there without the failures. You can’t get there without trying those things that don’t work. And it’s amazing, I’ve been trying a lot lately to be a lot more intentional with when I do have a success, figuring out all the pieces of it that I would have messed up if I didn’t mess up other things in the past.
Like all the pieces that prior failures said, “Okay, make sure you don’t send that email before you check, whatever, all the links or whatever.” There’s all sorts of things that you learn from doing it the wrong way, and it’s sometimes just the best teacher. But a lot of times when we succeed we don’t think about all the little things that we learn through the failures, we just think, “Oh, we’re awesome,” in that moment for a little bit. But really, that’s what life is, you’re just stacking up a lot of failures in order to-- I say fail it till you nail it--but really, try to figure out what is this thing, how do I get better at doing it, and usually that’s by being bad at it for a while and trying.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. And this can apply to so many things in life. We were talking pre-show about your podcast and everything. And I’ve talked about this on other shows. Where if you’re starting a podcast, or a YouTube channel, or something like that. It’s okay to look for inspiration. Like who’s the number one podcast? It’s Joe Rogan, right?
Ben Currier: Probably.
Dylan Ogline: Probably. He’s on like show 1,600. Like that’s a lot of shows. Don’t expect your third episode to be as quality a production as his 1,600th. He might be getting Elon Musk, and Kanye, and whoever on his shows, but like he’s on show 1,500 or whatever. Your first episode’s going to suck. Your first video is going to be terrible. It’s okay to look at these people for inspiration. But a lot of success is just beating on your craft over and over and over again. Whether it’s a podcast and just continuously putting episodes out there until the 800th episode gets really good. Or putting out YouTube videos until the 310th episode actually gets 10,000 views. Or a marketing campaign where you just keep beating on it, and beating on it, and beating on it until you finally get it to be profitable.
Let me back that up. There is a colossal difference between skill and talent. Talent you have naturally. Very few people are talented at anything. Like very few people have talent. When you’re looking at somebody that’s skilled, whether it’s a really good interviewer for a podcast, whether it’s somebody who makes great videos, whether it’s somebody who writes great ads, whether it’s somebody who’s a great writer. That’s a skill. And the only way that you get good at those skills is just beating on it over and over and over and over again until you get good.
Don’t expect your first article to be incredible. It’s going to suck. Don’t expect your first YouTube video to be good. It’s going to suck. Put stuff out there and continuously beat at it and beat at it until you get good. And anybody you see who is “successful,” they only way they got good is by just doing it over and over and over again until they got good.
Ben Currier: Yeah, I think that’s great advice, and I’m the same way. I try to convince myself to instead of looking at how many downloads this podcast gets, my goal is to finish an episode. If I finish an episode, that’s all I need to do. I don’t care about how it then performs. That’s a different thing to care about at a different time. But to your point, the only way to get better is by making stuff. And if the goal is to make more of it, and that’s how you measure your success, whether or not it’s good and catches on will come on its own, but it doesn’t happen, and you don’t get good unless you start making stuff. I think that’s great advice.
Dylan Ogline: Don’t be scared to fail because you will. Everybody you know who is “successful” has failed. The last thing you want to do is to spend two years. You want to start a podcast, let’s go with that. Sitting there thinking about wanting to start a podcast and spending two years, but not actually doing it because you’re so damn scared about how do I get the absolute perfect episode? Whereas if you were to just have done it, if you were to actually just started recording one episode a week and spent two years on it, two years later you got 100 episodes in. You’re probably pretty good at that point.
Ben Currier: Even if that idea was bad, you could now be skilled enough to go do another podcast that is a good idea.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. You continuously iterate yourself and create a better version. And the skills you learn, the skills, the relationships, the experience, that is way more important than putting out some kind of perfect version that you might have in your head. Then again, this applies for literally everything in life, whether it’s sports, or business, or you need to get a girlfriend. Like go ask ten girls out, you get nos, like I’m sure like if you get to 20, you only get good at that stuff by just continuously doing it.
Ben Currier: Yeah.
Dylan Ogline: Don’t be scared to fail.
Ben Currier: I think that is part of the idea where I originally got it was, I don’t know if you ever heard of The Rejection Guy? The guy who was going around and he had like a list of a hundred things he was going to ask people for, let him pump their gas, and all sorts of things just to get better at rejection and stuff.
Dylan Ogline: Rejection.
Ben Currier: And that’s what I was kind of thinking with the failure thing is like it’s better to view that as a necessary stepping stone towards success. Not a bad thing, but just, oh, this is what I learned from this, and let me take that and apply it, and not having expectations that the first thing’s going to be amazing, or successful, or whatever. Or the tenth thing or whatever, I mean, you just got to keep doing it until you get there. And if you aren’t there yet, you keep going, there’s no real other way around it. Because the alternative is just giving up and that’s something we certainly wouldn’t want anyone to do.
Dylan Ogline: That’s no way to live.
Ben Currier: Yeah.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah, building that muscle, that failure muscle. If it’s weak, then yeah. I have not heard of the failure guy, but I’ve heard of other like challenges and people have done stuff like that where they’ve randomly gone up to people and asked them stuff, or they’ve like bargained with people.
Ben Currier: Haggling or something?
Dylan Ogline: Yeah, like they went into like a 7-Eleven. Like it was some business guy, I think, where the person really struggled to like ask for a discount or something on services or whatever. And the lesson was, is to go into a 7-Eleven and be like, “This pack of batteries is for two batteries is like seven dollars, but I only need one.” Can you open the pack and can I only buy one battery from you? Like that’s so weird, right?
Ben Currier: Yeah.
Dylan Ogline: But like you just like go to ten 7-Elevens and do that, and you’ll probably get one that’s like, “Yeah, okay. Like, really weird, but okay, sure.”
Ben Currier: Yeah.
Dylan Ogline: But just realizing that like something so weird like that, like getting a yes to that, can just builds that muscle.
Ben Currier: Yeah, and it is a muscle.
Dylan Ogline: Absolutely, man. The muscle of being uncomfortable is very critical for trying to do anything worth living for.
Ben Currier: Yeah. It’s tough. I try to view fear as fuel, but there’s a lot of times where I certainly don’t live that. That I’m going towards the right thing and I should keep doing it because it’s scary and new. But a lot of times sometimes the old ways of resisting can creep up, so it’s a lot of times two steps forward, one step back towards that thing. And whatever it is, a lot of times with me it’s trying to get over myself with selling things online or reaching out to people who are direct marketing, or whatever. All these things that I’m trying to do by myself because I have no idea what I’m doing. And so I’m like, “Ah well, don’t want to go interrupt everyone’s day, or my whole mailing list, and whatever.” And I got to get over that and try to think of it more of the what would they miss out on if I didn’t do that instead?
Dylan Ogline: Just keep doing it and eventually you’ll get comfortable with it. I think that’s the lesson there.
Ben Currier: Yeah. Where would you like to point people to these days to find out? Is it the education that you’re doing?
Dylan Ogline: Yeah, absolutely, which is on my website: dylanogline.com. I did recently put out a free book, The Six Steps to a Six Figure Agency. If you go to dylanogline.com/six. I’ll spell it out, S-I-X. You can download that book.
Ben Currier: Cool, I’ll make sure to put those links in so people don’t have to spell it out or think too hard about it. Well, thank you so much for being on the show, I appreciate you sharing some of those not so glamorous times, and letting us have some insight into the story behind where you are these days.
Dylan Ogline: Absolutely, man. It was an honor to be here. Thanks for having me.
Ben Currier: Awesome. Thanks for joining me on The Failure Guy podcast. If you enjoyed it, feel free to tell somebody. And don’t forget, always try to fail it till you nail it. Until next time.