Maxwell Ivey is known around the world as the blind blogger. He's transformed himself from a blind, failed carnival owner to a respected amusement equipment broker, to a self-help author, motivational speaker and online publicity rock star. He's the host of What's Your Excuse? and founder of the What's Your Excuse or WYE network and you can find him at theblindblogger.net.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 452
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See Tom's Stuff – https://linktr.ee/antionandassociates[03:03] Tom's introduction to Maxwell Ivey [13:00] Winning an award with Amtrak to New York City [17:40] Singing on The Voice in a virtual casting opportunity [18:50] Inventing a face mask for the pandemic [22:50] Sponsor message [24:23] A typical day for Max and how he stays motivated
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Episode 452 – Maxwell Ivey
[00:00:09] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.
[00:00:23] Hey everybody it's Tom here with episode 452 of screw the commute podcast. I'm here with Maxwell Ivey. Wow. Is he an inspiration to all of us with his What's your excuse brand. He's a sight impaired person and he's everywhere. I even saw his book cover on Pinterest, Japan's version. So he's really prolific. So we'll bring him on in a minute now. How'd you like to set me to send you big cheques and PayPal and gold bullion or whatever else you want other than crypto? Because I don't understand that crap. But but if you're in my affiliate program, you can get referral fees for telling other people about me. And I hardly ever get refunds because I do really high quality work and services. So I love sending those checks to people. So email me and check it out if you'd like to be involved. All right. Grab a copy of our Automation eBook. It's screwthecommute.com/automatefree. And I'm just going to say you're welcome right now because you will thank me if you use this darn book. It's allowed me to handle up to 150000 subscribers and 60000 customers without pull my hair out. So grab a copy for yourself. And while you're at it, grab a copy of our podcast app at screwthecommute.com/app. And the book is at screwthecommute.com/automatefree. And of course we'll have this in the show notes along with all of Maxwell's.
[00:01:57] Great stuff. Now I usually tell you about my school here, but I want to tell you about something big way bigger than my school that involves my school. I'm involved in a program where we're helping people with physical disabilities go through my school and it's a pilot program. And when we make it successful, I'm actually taking a grant writing course so I can really ramp it out really big and help loads and loads of people with physical disabilities. I've always thought that my school was perfect for them because they can learn from a distance and they can legitimately work from home, which I have known for forty four years since I've been working from home but but online for twenty seven of those years. But now, since the pandemic, everybody is like, oh yeah, you can work from home. I didn't know that. Yeah you can. So this I said this is a chance to roll this out. So we're doing a big go find me program to help finance it. We're going to hire several people with physical disabilities to help run it. And so please watch for that announcement coming up soon.
[00:03:04] All right. Let's get to the main event. Maxwell Ivey is known around the world as the blind blogger. He's transformed himself from a blind, failed carnival owner to a respected amusement equipment broker, to a self-help author, motivational speaker and online publicity rock star. He's the host of What's Your Excuse? and founder of the What's Your Excuse or WYE network and you can find him at theblindblogger.net. Maxwell, are you ready to screw? The commute?
[00:03:39] Yeah, you're right. I've been doing this for years now. We're now it's popular, you know, screwing.
[00:03:47] Yeah, yeah. At least the online version. That is one of the beautiful things about the pandemic is so many people have realized that they don't have to work from home. What's even more beautiful is so many employers have realized that their health doesn't have to come to work in an office building. And it looks like maybe the next generation of work in this country that a large majority of people will be able to live in small towns or suburban communities and not have to worry about traffic and driving back and forth. So, you know, this may be like the whole beginning of a spree to commute generations, so to speak.
[00:04:27] Yeah. Revolution, yes. So, yeah, it's it's well, like I said, I've lived it my entire business life long before the Internet started. And, you know, my my resume looks, be it like B.S. because I've done so many things when you're not in the car, you know, wasting time and and making somebody else rich. So so you have got lots of things going on here. But tell me about your your publicity program for people.
[00:04:55] All right, well, I have built my brand from being online. It started eight years ago, mainly because I didn't have an easy way to get out of my house and go to and from networking events or meet people face to face. I started doing radio and podcast interviews. I eventually realized that what I was doing for myself in self-defense was something that other people needed and it's become a service. So now I teach people how to be great podcast. Yes, I do. The outreach of book award shows. All they have to do is show up and have a great conversation. I mentor them in their businesses, coach them as as as online media personalities and promote their interviews and appearances on my social media by email. So it's it's become a thing. And since I didn't, I still don't have a really good name to call it. I just say that I'm an online media rock star and a bit of that.
[00:05:50] There you go. Yeah. And the podcasting arena, I mean, I do way more of them now than radio interviews that I've been doing this for a long time. But I like the podcast better because a lot of radio interviews, even though they are kind of posted, I'm a little bit on their their websites, the podcast lasts forever. So you get Konya three years later to do stuff and buy stuff. So I love the podcasting arena and the a lot of people don't know how to book themselves, and you already have a leg up on that. A good connection. So I encourage people to to check that out. Where would they go to just theblindblogger.net, right?
[00:06:29] Yeah, you can find everything from there as a professional online business person. You know, somebody who's really successful with this. You know, you don't ever want to push people to read it properly. You know, always send them back to the website or send it back to where, you know, they're going to find your content and not somebody else's. But I agree with you on what you said about radio, but for one more reason. Even now, a lot of radio interviews are still 15 minutes or less. And on a podcast interview, I'm you get 30 minutes to an hour, sometimes more than that. And so you get a better opportunity to connect with the host and as a result, to connect with the audience. And that's just not something you do in 30 minutes on a radio program or a national television or. Yeah, or
[00:07:17] If you're lucky, it could be three minutes. It could be three minutes and 30 seconds and you're gone, you know, so they're on to something else. So now you've really had your fingers in a lot of stuff. Tell us about this carnival to the carnival business. And and you did correct me when I was talking to you about this earlier. I said, well, I guess being blind, you're probably not a trapeze artist. And you said, that's a circus, you big dummy. You didn't say big dummy.
[00:07:44] I didn't say much. But, you know, I got into the car business the way most everybody gets into it. You were either born into it or married into it. So I'm third generation carny and I have a nephew. I have a cousin whose family is still operating in the business. They have an art show that travels from Corpus Christi to Nebraska and back every year, Waggoner's kiddie carnival. And they're still in the business. His sons and I'm sure his grandkids will be in the business, you know. And so that's how I got into the carnival business. After my dad's death, we realized that we weren't going to be able to keep our show going. So we connected up with my uncle's carnival and I just really didn't have a place on his midway. So I started this website called The Midway Marketplace. It's still out there. I'm still helping people sell used equipment in the marketplace.com. And the really cool thing about it is, is I didn't have the first clue what I was doing this was this was two thousand and seven, which was before WordPress, wifi or Facebook. And I'm a bad guy with no money, skills or talent or even really good equipment. And I just had to figure out a way. So I had to figure out how to get the website online at first, which meant for me, I had to teach myself how to code HTML.
[00:09:08] Oh, jeez. Yes. For anybody who's ever done that, you know how bad it is and you know how thankful I am. WordPress eventually came along and you know, you have to figure out how do you recruit clients and what do you charge them and you know, how do you tell people about their stuff? So writing copy social media when it came along, email list building just one new thing after another that I had to learn. And basically I had to earn it because I didn't have anybody else to do it. And so most of the time I did do it. It won't get done. Now, I was able to connect with friends either by email or phone or online and get help over the course of my journey from a lot of amazingly talented people. But I hardly ever paid them, you know, that generally volunteered or did things on his. Almost, or they did them in exchange for me doing stuff for them, but I was good at but, you know, because I was taking on all these difficult challenges, people started to say, hey, Max, what you're doing is really inspiring. We are just amazed by the way you take on these difficult challenges. And they encouraged me to share more about being an entrepreneur who happens to be blind. And that led to the blind blogger, that net.
[00:10:20] Now, I didn't choose the name it was given to me by people on Wakan who said, Max, we've been calling you by blogger for two years. So if you're going to start a website, that's where you ought to be. And thankfully, I was smart enough to say thank you and run with it. And it became a thing to become a brand. And as a result, a lot of people over the years have setbacks. If you can do this stuff, that was my excuse. So that kind of went to the whole. What's your excuse brand that you mentioned earlier? And now that I'm the blind blogger, I've written four books. I'm working on the Fifth. I've traveled the country solo. I sing in public to public speaking, coaching, traveling, and I basically just up for whatever comes next. And as you know, the next thing for me, of course, is going to be just what's your excuse podcast network where I'm going to be helping other people with disabilities or strong podcasts to hopefully turn those podcasts of the business. So it sounds like me and you have something in common, even though, you know, we kind of are intersecting at this point where we're both trying to do things to help the people with disabilities. That's weird. It's amazing. It's crazy how the Internet could work that way sometimes.
[00:11:30] Well, the university to. Yes, regardless of the Internet. But yeah, it's so inspiring because I it's hard enough for me to get sighted people to do all this stuff. You just ran off and
[00:11:43] Said, well, I like to I like to remind the side of people that I don't do it all at the same time or and I don't do it all every day. I you know, I do what has to be done on a given day, depending on the project I'm working on. So, yeah, there, there these are things I'm capable that I have done and am doing, but I'm not doing 13 things at one time for anybody that just got depressed listening to me.
[00:12:10] Well, there's two there's two things that stand out to me. One, I kind of doubt you're going to tell us how to win stuff at a carnival
[00:12:20] That's I would say only go to the midways at stake and multiple county fairs. That would be my suggestion.
[00:12:27] The little ones, you never win anything.
[00:12:29] I would have voted. Yeah, I'd avoid the smaller operators. That's the best the best advice I could give.
[00:12:35] And then the other thing I was looking at one of your websites and I saw this little choo choo train. I was thinking, man, I'd be great to have in my house to go around my house. I don't know if there's enough electricity to home.
[00:12:46] I but we can't we can get you set up. I got I got a friend in California who has one, but it cost you about 20 grand plus dragging it across the country.
[00:12:57] It's probably an Amtrak train. And speaking of Amtrak, you got to be I mean, you're not inspirational. I figured I was looking at your stuff. You just crazy because you went you got one some kind of award with Amtrak and you could go anywhere you wanted. And as a blind person, you pick New York City. And I saw I saw that I'm thinking this guy is legitimately crazy. I said I go up there. I normally carry a gun all the time. I've got massive, massive self-defense training. The worst place on earth to go is New York City, when when they had loads of police like you go down the street and the the cab drivers know you're a tourist. So they'd run you to death and then and then you're afraid to get on the subway. You never know where you're going to end up. And then they said, oh, just, you know, just walk to your hotel. It was like a hundred blocks and each one was bigger than my hometown. So. So you're crazy, man. So tell us about that award.
[00:14:02] Yeah, well, when I won that award, it started telling people about it, half the people said I was amazing and the other half said I was nuts. So you're in that half of the community. So and my little brother even said, Max, you want to be happy that you want it and sell the tickets. Don't don't go. Oh, brother. Michael in Florida, he's like he's like, I don't know why you want to go. He said, because the tickets were worth quite a bit of money, apparently for a private coach to New York and back. But I told him not. So what happened was I entered a competition called the Amtrak Writers, Writers of residents, which they have discontinued. But the thousands of people would enter every year. They would submit a along writing sample and they would pick twenty four people and give them the opportunity to go anywhere they wanted to in the US. Now, to me, there are two really important things about this story. One is that I entered in the first place because when you when I read the blog post about the award, it had a link to their previous winners. And I go and I click that link, which I advise anybody in that situation, do not click the link and look at password or make you think that I should be entering it because there were people who had had plays performed off Broadway.
[00:15:19] There were people with multiple book awards. There were people who had Amazon best selling books. These people are better than you and I actually I was actually humming the same songs, the old song from Sesame Street, which is which one of these things is not like the others. I was reading those, but eventually I said, You know, Max. You're saying that you've always felt fallen back on is if you don't ask, they can't say yes. So I filled out the form and sent it off. I included the first three chapters of my first book, which was titled Leading You Out of the Darkness Into the Light of Blind Man's Inspirational Guide to Success. So I sent them the first few chapters of that book. They picked me. They told me I could go anywhere I wanted, which to me is the second most important thing because I honestly, I have not always been the guy I am now. So that was one of the first times where I said, you know, Max, I'm not going to go where everybody expects me to go. I'm not going to go where it would be easy, where I have family and, you know, I know I'd be taken care.
[00:16:26] Where does Max want to go? And I just said, I've never been to the Northeast. I've never been to much of the East Coast, and I want to go to New York City. And so that's what I did. And, yeah, it probably was a little crazy in hindsight. But, you know, I think that there. I think that I've benefited one because I was blind, too, because I'm kind of a large man and three, I just have this attitude that I'm going to meet people that are going to help me along my way in some capacity. So I don't want to spoil the book for people. But just a couple of examples of problems in New York. I had a cab try to give me his umbrella. I had two blokes from the UK pay for me to ride a pedicab from Rockefeller Center to the Wyndham Theatre because they couldn't figure out how to get me out of there to a taxi. Because New York doesn't allow taxis to pick up at Rockefeller Center, you have to walk a long way away from there to get a cab. So, you know, just a couple examples where you're like, yeah, New York is a crazy, dangerous place, but a lot of people are nice to me while I was there.
[00:17:40] That's awesome. But the what's the deal with America's Got Talent?
[00:17:45] I didn't I entered myself to the voice.
[00:17:50] Oh, the voice.
[00:17:51] Yeah. Just no, I applied to America's Got Talent and never heard back from what that was before I entered the Amtrak award contest. But just recently I applied to voice because this year they were offering a virtual casting opportunity. And I sent the video of me singing The River by Garth Brooks, which is my theme song. The song I sing about as good as I sing any song. And they sent me back a one sentence email saying, Sorry, Mr. Ivey, but your version of the river isn't good enough for us. And I was like, OK, I was hoping for more explanation or maybe a reason as to why. So so now you know you know, I love to sing on my podcast. I do. Public speaking. So now when people ask me about my singing or they tell me how good I am, some of them even say how great you are. I go, Yeah, but I'm not good enough for the voice. So then we just have a nice conversation and we make fun of the voice for a while.
[00:18:52] Yeah. And and you invented like with this pandemic, you pivoted again and invented a face mask.
[00:19:00] Well, I had so I had some friends help me to come out to come up with a with a blind blogger face mask, and I thought it would sell better than it did because it has the what's your excuse on there? And we we market it as if, you know, come on, people, the mask is is going to is going to protect us all and help us all through the pandemic. So what's your excuse for not wearing one? But, you know, not not all campaigns work like we want them to, as you know, but the experience of creating it and hoping that a few people decided to wear their masks because of it, you know, maybe we maybe we save one life or maybe we made one person's life less difficult because they didn't get covered. You know, that's what I like.
[00:19:45] Maybe made her smile because, I mean, I saw it. I was like, oh, man, that is cool.
[00:19:53] Yeah. Yeah, of course. You know, now that we're starting to come out of covid, who knows what the next thing will be. Although, you know, with the number of people in Asia that were wearing masks already because of air quality, who's to say that the that, you know, that's the face mask is a is a thing of the past. I mean, whether we wear them or not, the US fur coat. But there are a lot of places around the world where they wear masks just because they really don't have a choice given the population density and the air quality.
[00:20:24] Well, I'll tell you what, I'm going to get one, because the next time I rob a bank, you know, I'm big, too. They might think it was you.
[00:20:34] You know, anything could happen. And who knows if the police come to my house, I'll be sure to tell them how to get a hold of you.
[00:20:42] I don't think they listen to this broadcast, but,
[00:20:44] You know, but, you know, that would be something not that I'm encouraging anybody to do it, but, you know, that could be a viral moment for my brand. Yes. One of my masks during a robbery that's see people. That's the kind of stuff just marketing us online business people. That's the kind of stuff we think about, you know. Right. That's guerilla marketing, robbing a bank with my mask. Now, that could be something.
[00:21:06] Exactly. So just wait outside the prison when people get released, but they all go back anyway and just hand them out to people.
[00:21:15] You know what? You know what I wish is I wish I could find somebody who could hook me up with selling my books in prisons or get some of the prisoners to buy my motivational books. I think that would be cool, but I don't currently have a connection for that. It's one of the few places I don't know who to ask.
[00:21:29] Well, yeah, but if you robbed the bank, you would have an inside. Oh, so
[00:21:36] I'm going to I'm going to help you out with that. You know how they tell people in a shooting situation, run, hide, fight. OK, yeah. Or whenever I hear that I'm going, OK, I don't run or hide well and I've never been in a fight in my life. So what do I do?
[00:21:53] Spit on them. So you can't get the mask on, so.
[00:21:59] So but yeah, you know, you know, I guess I could see it, but. Who knows, maybe there's somebody listening that works for the president. I'd be willing to donate a few copies if it would help somebody, you know, not go back inside again, just
[00:22:13] Call him up. Just call the prison and say they have I'm sure most modern prisons have at least a small library, so or.
[00:22:22] Yeah, so so, you know, you mentioned seeing a picture of my my book cover on the on the Japanese person of interest right now. So so really, you know, it might be cool to get somebody to send me a picture of one of my books on the on on a shelf in a prison library. It might be cool. Yeah.
[00:22:42] Yeah. And and you got lots of books. I mean, how many you got
[00:22:47] For so far. For four.
[00:22:49] Yeah. I saw saw on the Amazon the author page. So, so we got to take a brief sponsored break. When we come back, we'll ask Max, does he have any kind of work routine morning routine to get through the day or how and how he stays motivated. So folks, you know, normally tell you about my mentor program, but I'm going to get rid of that today. A lot of you regular listeners know about that. But just want to go back to this program that we're in the midst of to help people with disabilities. I mean, the stories are just something. If you could go to the Facebook page for the Internet Marketing Training Center, three of the candidates are listed there and people are dropping comments like crazy, wishing him well and encouraging them. So that would be a beautiful thing that you could do to help this out. And then if you are so inclined to contribute anything on crowdfunding campaigns, if people contribute a lot right at the beginning, even if it was only a couple of dollars, the the campaign looks better to people and gets higher ranking on Go Fund Me and and a lot of other people could contribute to really ramp the program even bigger than I imagined, which is will help more people. So check that out. It's the Internet Marketing Training Center of Virginia is the Web site, but the Facebook page is Facebook.com and then slash Internet marketing training center. Check it out, say something to the folks, really encourage them. And and we're going to make this a program that that changes people's lives forever.
[00:24:26] All right. Let's get back to the main event. We got Maxwell Ivey's here. He's the blind blogger at theblindblogger.net. And he's got lots of cool stories of his exploits around the world and and what he's been doing to help people with publicity and so forth. Max, so what's a typical day look like for you?
[00:24:46] You know, this is one of my least favorite questions, because I do not have a typical day.
[00:24:51] Should be easy.
[00:24:52] I wish I could say I was one of those people that rolls out of bed at four thirty and does an hour of exercise and takes a cold shower and never checks his e-mail. All the things that the coaches tell you you should do, but be the most one of the few things I do every day is, is I always take like the first five minutes when I wake up to do nothing but to just basically feel my body and say and maybe maybe clear my mind before I start worrying about what I got to do for the day. And then I, I try real hard to get at least 30 minutes of exercise in a day, which is generally riding a stationary bike or what I like to refer to as my bike. That doesn't go anywhere. And and, you know, speaking of marketing potential, I keep trying to convince the two major interactive bike companies that they need to provide one to the to the blind blogger for, you know, so I can evaluate it for accessibility and promote it. But so far, I'm going to keep using my my old. It's not one of those fifties bottles that hurts your butt. It has no bells and whistles. So basically, I listen to audio books or or talk to myself while I ride it. You know,
[00:26:10] Like you said, if you don't ask, they can't say yes.
[00:26:13] Yeah, I ask all the time to the point that there are now people who think I'm asking for stuff even when I'm not. You know, a while back, I connected with the marketing person from Buchardt Boogity. And that's a maker of really expensive sports car. Right. And in my reply to Connect the World, I said something like, you know something, I hope I hope to go for a ride in one. And he thought I was asking for a media test drive and I had to write back to him. I go, look, I don't even I don't even cover this arena. So I don't know why he would say that, that I would be asking for a test drive. So that was basically just saying something like, you know, maybe someday I'll have that kind of money and I could buy one and hire a driver or I'll have a friend who owns one or something along those lines. But, you know, if you if you ask for enough things, whether that be asking for help or asking for opportunities, eventually people will think you're asking even when you say, you know, well, that's good.
[00:27:13] They might say yes, even when you didn't think they were. So, yeah, and that's the only people that Bogarde people miss the beautiful opportunities there to let you drive one. That would be a media event of the world right there.
[00:27:29] So you might be right. You might be right. But I don't know. But, you know, before I forget about it, that kind of leads me into something I talk about a lot and I want to make sure I talk about, because I find that a lot of people that are working by the side hustle or they're starting a business or they're thinking about starting one, is they think they have to do it all by themselves. And if you try to do it all by yourself, yeah, some people can accomplish that. But for the most part, we aren't meant to do things in a solitary form. We're social people. The big things that we want to do in life usually happen quicker and they happen with more joy if you allow the people to be part of the journey and to be part of the story. And so I like to share this expression with people because I think it helps really unlock the whole fear that surrounds asking for help or asking for opportunities that, you know, people they're are scared they're going to look bad if they ask for help. So here's what I like to tell them, is when you refuse to ask you, Rob, the other person of the joy they would have received from helping you. Mm hmm. And it also applies for opportunities because, you know, you might be that exact, perfect, perfect person for a podcast interview or a business opportunity. But if you don't ask them, they don't know about you. So, again, you could be making somebody else's life more difficult by not reaching out, not asking for help, not asking for the opportunity, as I like to make sure that I get that across in every conversation, especially interviews like this, because it is so important, I, I feel like there are so many people who quit. I get frustrated, they get tired to get depressed because they're trying to do it all by themselves and they're not making the progress they want to be.
[00:29:16] This is a beautiful, beautiful sentiment, kind of. And and one other quote that I wanted to get in from you is I would rather do something pretty well, then not do it at all while I wait for things to be ideal. I love that. It's just kind of a spin off of what you just said. You know, you just got to go and do it and try and keep trying. And you are just such a perfect example that an inspiration to everybody. So the people that noticed that you were an inspiration, they were right. So thanks so much. Well, thank you.
[00:29:51] Thank you so much for the opportunity and for scheduling me and for what you're trying to do for people with disabilities, and I I sincerely hope that the other if if you if you are somebody with disability, take him up on the offer. It is it is a legitimate opportunity to change your life. If you know somebody with a disability, be sure they see the link. And if you have a dollar or two, you can afford to contribute, you know, go there and make the donation. Because as he says to the more visits, shares of donations it gets in the first twenty four hours, 48 hours, first week determines how many people go fund me. We'll see that going forward. So what what happens this week is critical to what's going to happen long run and his ability to make this opportunity available to even more people with disabilities. So we'll check that out. And just one last thing from from from me, Tom. I wouldn't be where I'm at without the ability to go on podcasts of radio and share my experiences and teach the life lessons that I've learned along the way. So without people like you, there would be a lot of bloggers, there wouldn't be a what's your excuse or no excuses. So I just want to make sure you know how important you are to my journey into so many other people's journeys and let you know that just how much I appreciate.
[00:31:16] Well, that's that's really awesome. And I appreciate you saying that. And and Max can help you if you're listening this and want to get on the podcast and doing them, he can help you ramp that up really quickly and and just think. The one of the best things he told you, this whole podcast that you could use the money to give to my program is don't play at small companies
[00:31:47] I only go to. Oh, man. I would think you would pick up on that one or that one important point.
[00:31:55] But it's money related. Yeah, it's
[00:31:57] Funny. Right. There you go. Yeah. Yeah. Well, you know, I, I've had fun with you. This has been one of the more entertaining conversations I've had in a while that was recorded at least. And I hope you have a great day. I hope this school you're doing is very successful. And so, you know, we don't I'm sure that you will make this happen because that's just the kind of person you are. But with other people's help, that can happen a lot sooner,
[00:32:26] That's for sure. We appreciate it. So, OK, well, thanks everybody for listening and we'll catch y'all on the next episode. Make sure you visit theblindblogger.net. We'll see you later.
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