Bonus: David Siteman Garland – Rise to the Top


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This week we have the pleasure of hearing from David Siteman Garland. In his own words:

Smarter, Faster, Cheaper: Non-Boring, Fluff-Free Strategies for Marketing and Promoting Your Business

“Hi! I’m David Siteman Garland. I’m the Creator Of  The Rise To The Top.

I’m super passionate about helping mediapreneurs grow their biz like a weed & dominate online.

What is a mediapreneur you ask? Good question, my friend! Mediapreneurs (a term I came up with in the shower a few years ago) are personal brands, coaches, speakers, experts, Internet marketers/information marketers, authors, etc.

Here are 11 fun facts about me:

1. I’m the creator/host of one of the Internet’s most popular, successful and longest running web shows, blog & resources The Rise To The Top: THE #1 Badass Show, Resource & Community For Mediapreneurs. To date, The Rise To The Top web TV show & podcast has been viewed over 6,000,000 times in over 100 countries. The Rise To The Top is all about helping mediapreneurs grow their audience & generate big time revenue.

2. I’m super passionate about helping mediapreneurs generate revenue (the bling bling…the right way!), build their online platform & grow their audience like a weed through my products and programs (with thousands of happy customers getting big results throughout the world) including:

Create Awesome Online Courses: The proven step-by-step system for creating, promoting & profiting from your own online course. Nab the free video series: How to turn what you already know into an online course that sells 24/7 right here.

Create Awesome Interviews the #1 program to help folks create their own interview-based web TV show with hundreds of graduates creating shows on everything from inspired travel to car racing to healthy living. These are all my secrets to interviewing and exactly the steps I took to gain credibility and ‘put myself on the map’ so to speak.

3. To date, I’ve had conversations with well over 300 diverse, awesome people on the show with a special focus on interviewing experts, thought leaders and & personal brands about how they build their biz. Some of my favorites include The Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger, Two-time New York Times Best Selling Author Tim Ferriss and creator of Wine Library TV Gary Vaynerchuk. About 10,000 times a day (slight exaggeration) I get emails & messages from people who want to create and profit from their own web shows which led me to develop the most comprehensive course on the subject called Create Awesome Interviews: Learn “The Rise To The Top” System for Creating, Promoting & Profiting from Online Interviews which teaches all my secrets.

4. My first time “on air” was at the bright age of 24 when I wrote & hosted a radio show on Team 1380 in St. Louis, Missouri called Get Inline: Your Source For Professional Inline Hockey In St. Louis. In 2008, at the age of 24, I took all of my Bar Mitzvah money I’d saved up and started a television show in St. Louis, Missouri on ABC with literally zero experience writing, producing or hosting a television show. The Rise To The Top TV show focused on entrepreneurship and aired for 36 episodes.

5. In 2010, Wiley Publishing approached me to write a book to help aspiring & rising experts, thought leaders and personal brands market and promote themselves and their expertise online based on knowledge that I’d picked up while growing my show from 0-200,000 viewers, hundreds of media hits and more despite spending (pretty much) $0 on marketing…and hundreds of interviews with others who had done something similar. My book Smarter, Faster, Cheaper came out holiday time in 2010.

6. I went to college at Washington University in St. Louis and majored in (brace yourself) Women’s Studies. Yes, that was my actual major and it was a blast.

7. My first “job” I was supposed to have out of college in the hockey industry was eliminated before it even started as the place I was going to work at became a parking lot two weeks before I moved out to California. Ended up being the biggest blessing-in-disguise ever.

8. From 2006-2008 I played Professional Inline Hockey (yes, hockey on wheels) and ran the league in the Midwest which included St. Louis, Chicago and Cincinnati. It was one HECK of a learning experience and led to me somehow hosting a radio show on one of the top sports stations in St. Louis (again, no experience).

9. I live in exotic St. Louis, Missouri where I was born and raised. I’m a huge Blues, Cardinals and Rams fan and love being so close to my family (family first!). My wife, Marcie, is also a St. Louis native and is the love of my life and soul-mate (awww warm fuzzy moment!).

A few more random fun facts:

  • My interests are always changing, but I’m a family guy (not the TV show) and husband first and a junkie for passion and excitement.
  • In 2009 to promote a unique event we were putting on, I dressed in women’s shorts and a spandex shirt to play the character “Ron Ballsiak – Professional Ball Kid Coach.” The video still haunts some people and was probably a felony in most states.
  • I’m lucky to be raised by two of the greatest parents in the history of the world and have the greatest wife ever. Not that I’m biased or anything…
  • Some of my (eclectic) favorite movies include anything by Christopher Guest (especially A Mighty Wind & Best In Show), Animal HouseScarface and Rudy.
  • Some of my favorite TV shows include Curb Your EnthusiasmArrested DevelopmentShark TankThe ApprenticeModern FamilyReno 911 and Seinfeld.
  • My mom had a live chimp at my Bar Mitzvah when I was 13.
  • I’m obsessed with anything really freakin’ funny. Example: Larry David

In case you are into that sort of thing, here are a few of my favorites sayings & philosophies:

Money follows passion and not the other way around.

Never apologize for following your passions no matter what they might be.

There is far more to life than work. Even if you are (and you should be) doing work you are passionate about, remember to find the time for things outside of work that are important to you (friends, family, hobbies, sports, travel, reading, whatever they might be).

Never stop investing in your education and learning new things no matter your age, sex, background, etc.

Average effort produces average results.

Entrepreneurship and doing work you love is much more than “just business.” It’s a lifestyle.

Life is an epic quest if you allow it to be.

Here is my official “Press Bio”:

David Siteman Garland is the creator/host of one of the Internet’s most popular, successful and longest running web shows, blog and resource The Rise To The Top: The #1 Badass Show, Resource & Community For Mediapreneurs. To date, The Rise To The Top web TV show & podcast has been viewed over 6,000,000 times in over 100 countries. The Rise To The Top is all about helping mediapreneurs (Mediapreneurs are personal brands, coaches, speakers, experts, Internet marketers/information marketers, authors, etc.) grow their audience & generate big time revenue. Passionate mediapreneurs (known as RISE Nation) tune in to watch & listen and learn from David’s advice as well as his entertaining and informative conversations with a wide range of mediapreneurs from “The Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger to New York Times Best-Selling Author Tim Ferriss and a slew of additional awesome content including articles, resources, products and more.

David is super passionate about helping mediapreneurs generate revenue (the bling bling…the right way!), build their online platform & grow their audience like a weed through his products, programs and trainings with thousands of successful students/customers all over the world.

Instead of taking a “normal” job out college, David immediately began his mediapreneur journey with a hockey startup that led to a radio show on Team 1380 AM in St. Louis, Missouri. In 2008, After falling in love with the “mediapreneur” industry and learning from successful and interesting people who followed their passion/expertise and turned it into a business online, David took his Bar Mitzvah money (saved up from when he was 13) and created The Rise To The Top. Originally a TV show on ABC in St. Louis, Missouri focused on interviewing successful expert entrepreneurs, The Rise To The Top ran for three seasons and 36 episodes and was named “Best New Show” by Alive Magazine.

After a successful run on ABC, David took The Rise To The Top to a purely digital medium. Now, over 250,000 RISE enthusiasts tune in around the world on their computers, mobile phones, tablets and even traditional televisions.

David also wrote his first book, Smarter, Faster, Cheaper: Non-Boring, Fluff-Free Strategies for Marketing and Promoting Your Business published in late 2010 by Wiley. Using humor and drawing on his own experiences, as well as those of the highly successful people he interviews, Smarter, Faster, Cheaper was written to educate, encourage and even commiserate with experts, thought leaders and personal brands looking to grow their audience and market their expertise.

Besides being named one of the web’s “Top 60 influencers” by The Influencer Project, a “Living Legend” by Live Your Legend and one of “100 St. Louisans To Know” by Small Business Monthly, David has been featured on CNNABCNBCCBS, as well as in The Wall Street JournalInc., ForbesThe Dallas Morning News, and The New York Times.

David’s passion for fitness and nutrition has led him to embark on an incredible fitness transformation featured by where he got into fitness-model shape in 90 days. Now, David is a spokesperson and fitness model for the fitness program Jet Set Body.

David is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis (with a degree in Women’s Studies) and lives in St. Louis, Missouri with his brilliant and beautiful wife Marcie. In addition to spending as much time as possible together, he enjoys sports (especially hockey), delicious food, fitness, movies and anything really funny.”


The Slim Is Non-Profit Nutrition Education Effort



Full Transcription

Jonathan: Hey everyone, Jonathan Bailor back with another bonus Smarter Science of Slim podcast and you know this show is about much more than just slimness, it is about living our best lives, so I always like to look out in the broader world for people who have turned inwards and trusted themselves to not only achieve health, but to achieve happiness as well and today’s guest is a great example of that. He has a very fun story. He is a very fun guy and the reason I wanted to bring him on the show was David Siteman Garland, who is our guest today has created from the ground up with nothing, one of the most popular online resources out there and he is helping individuals to change their lives and just having folks live better and doing that on his own terms is awesome and we should figure out how we can live better from him. He is the owner of website and so David Siteman Garland, welcome brother.

David: Hello, hello, hello Jonathan. I am excited to be here my man, thank you for having me.

Jonathan: Absolutely my pleasure David. I know a lot of my listeners are not going to be as familiar with your work as some might be. So, can you take us through your story from when you were little David to where you are now and just paint that picture for us.

David: It is a pretty unconventional story. First of all, I am born and raised in exotic St. Louis, Missouri, right here in the Midwest and by the way I love St. Louis. I think St. Louis is one of the more underrated cities, but I might be a little bit biased.

Jonathan: David, I was raised in Columbus, Ohio, so I understand where you are coming from.

David: There you go and I am big family person and I kind of like enjoy the simple pleasures in life and I think St. Louis kind of offers that along with great sports and things like that. I am from St. Louis and what is funny is I am not one of those people that were sort of the childhood entrepreneur or anything like that when I was going up. You hear some stories where people had like 17 lemonade stands at the age of 2 or whatever they did, that is not me. I kind of sort of childhood and growing up pretty typical, I was big into sports, big into having fun, I really did not have the business bug yet at all when I was growing up. Actually, my number one love growing up, believe it or not, my passion was hockey.

That was really what I loved to do as I grew up here in St. Louis. I went to University or college depending on where you are from whenever you went to college, at Washington University here in St. Louis and again I still did not have that game plan of like “Okay, I am going to go to school, I am going to study this and I am going to become that”, like my wife she is the opposite. She had a game plan when she was 18 years old, 17 years old. She is like you know what I want to do, “I want to become a doctor”. Somehow she knew this and went to medical school and got it all done. For me, I did not really know what to do, so I went to Wash. U. and Jonathan you might know the answer to this. Do you know what I majored in Wash. U.?

Jonathan: I do, but I will let you tell it because it will be fun.

David: Okay, my major in Wash. U. and I am not kidding, was Women Studies. Straight white male in women studies, I think the first one ever in Washington University history. That was my actual major in college. I think it kind of sums up a bit about me is that I do not love the conventional path. I do not love doing things just because I think I should do them and what I realized in college was you got four years to do something awesome, I would rather be excited to go to class everyday than trying to plan to what I am going to be doing the next 15, 20, 30, 40 years.

So I majored in Women Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. No, I did not have plans to become a woman, but that has been asked before. That was not on the list. I came out of school, no idea what I was going to do for a living, ended up working in the hockey industry for a couple of years in the Inline Hockey Industry, which was like crazy here in St. Louis, that is its own story by itself and then I really got into the internet business world in 2008 when I decided to start kind of a TV show and resource called ‘The Rise to the Top’ and that has evolved so much since then it has evolved into a big lifestyle business with hundreds of thousands of people and customers and people that come in for products and training and things like that and really what we were centered on in ‘The Rise to the Top’ is helping what I call mediapreneurs which are people that are creating sort of lifestyle businesses usually around like a blog or a podcast or a webshow or something like that online and they want to turn that into income and a business where they can actually help people and I think that is such a key thing here and we have become a resource for those mediapreneurs to teach them the finer things in life like how to make money, how to market themselves, how to turn this into a legitimate business because I think the ability and the independence of being able to work basically behind the computer when you want, from where you want is one of the coolest versions of entrepreneurship out there for sure.

Jonathan: David, I want to dig in to the life you’ve lived. You studied Women Studies, you did not major in mediapreneurship, you did not have a “How to” book or a blueprint for how to build, what is it about you and can others cultivate this inner drive to create and to find that path rather than looking for the next “How to Guide” or looking externally for that path?

David: It is a great question because I have always been someone where I can pivot on a dime where I can kind of go one direction and then see if things are working and then really quickly able to go different direction. So, ‘The Rise to the Top’ what you see now is very different than what it started back in 2008. It has evolved and changed like so many times, we could do a four-hour conversation about how many times it has changed and what I have kind of gone with it, but I think the key like underlying factor for it for me was that there was some criteria that I wanted as I started to build this over the years and the criteria, I did not even know when I started, it is just funny, it is just like it changes over time, but one of the criteria that I wanted was I wanted to work from home/anywhere if that makes sense.

I did not want to build a business that was confining me to some kind of space. In the near future, we are planning on having kids and I wanted to be at home, I am a big lifestyle proponent and I always put that kind of stuff first when it comes to designing a business and making decisions. I do not always think about this is going to generate the most maximum revenue of all time, sometimes I think of like how much time and effort I have to put into it as well. Lifestyle is a huge component of something that I am very passionate about. The other thing is that I wanted to have a business that had an impact on people and I think that when you think about it in those terms, it could really change your perspective as opposed to like how do you sell more stuff to people or thinking like that.

You got to know and you have to believe that whatever you are selling to people is changing lives and as corny as it sounds in some form or fashion. For me, I know that if people get training or people come in and buy my products and programs, it is going to help them earn more money, which of course could change their life. It is going to help them be able to achieve the freedom that they want out of their business, work from home or spend more time with kids and friends and family like whatever it might be because I think for me that is a lot of the driving factor for sure.

Jonathan: David, getting clear on your goals that to me just resonates so deeply and I think it is so important in so many areas of our lives because you mentioned too, we all have somewhat similar goals like to be happy and blah-blah, but there are sub-goals underneath that, so the flexibility, the having a positive impact, I love that you call those out because if your goal is to do something that gives you flexibility and enables you to have a positive impact, another person might look at that and say “David, you are doing it wrong, you should do it this way” and they are not right, but they are also not wrong because may be this way, their way is more effective at let us just say making as much money as possible.

David: It is funny because when I started what I did was I interviewed, this is before I kind I tailored down to mediapreneurship, I interviewed entrepreneurs in person, on camera, through the internet, hundreds and hundreds of them in all different types of businesses. Like Tech Startups, Mom and Pop shops, every type of business you could possibly imagine and I interviewed all these people and I was always curious not only about the business, but also the lifestyle and kind of stuff that went along with it and to me it was kind of sad when I would find these people that on their outward appearance were very successful, so they had built something that was generating a lot of money, but they were working 23 hours a day, they never saw their family, they were overweight, there were these issues that came in and I was like “God, I do not want that at all” and I started to find the happiest subset of people were kind of these mediapreneurs and for me that is the way I look at it.

Let us not beat around the bush here Jonathan, you can make a big time living out of this. This is not something where you have to compromise lifestyle for money. At the end of the day, you can make a huge income from this, but for me, I just love the flexibility, like last week my wife and I we just decided let us just skip a full thing, let us go down to our favorite hotel downtown, let us have a little steakation, let us do a spa day, let us have fun with it and we just did it. We were going out of town for 10 days, coming up and walking away from it. Having that ability and also fitness and nutrition are something very important to me too Jonathan as I know to you.

In other business models, sometimes you do not have that flexibility to be able to do those things, so for me it is very much a perfect storm and that is why I do it and that is also why I am kind of an advocate for the industry itself because I think it just can be, I hate to use the word “balance” but it is one of those things where you really can kind of achieve all those goals at the same time.

Jonathan: You used the phrase “perfect storm” and I want to isolate that word “perfect” because it sounds like what you found is a lifestyle that is perfect for you and that is so important I think we sometimes lose sight of that as individuals and a culture where it is like this is the path, go on this path versus what is your path and for you, you want that ability to be flexible, you want that ability to have fitness and to easily go on 10-day vacations and the only way it sounds like you found that was by looking inward and saying first I have to identify that which matters most to me and I now I need to figure out a way I can accomplish that, but all over those things are putting the responsibility and then also the opportunity back on to you as an individual, is that fair?

David: Yes absolutely and the thing is what works for me might not work for you, might not work for other people. The key is what the principles of the idea that you can design this around what you want to do and how you want to live. If you want to be traveling 24/7 city to city, there is business models for that, there is business models for living in the countryside and whatever it might be, it is discovering the challenge right and sometimes it is not so clear and it takes little bit of time to uncover is what you really want that is what you really want. That is the thing where people struggle.

Jonathan: Let us say that again and celebrate it. Listeners that is the key is finding out what you really want because let us go back to health and fitness here for a second. People say, Jonathan, David you probably hear this when you talk about health and fitness were clearly just like starving yourself and eating and exercising obsessively works, haven’t you seen “The Biggest Loser” and I say well the goal of the people on “The Biggest Loser” is to one, make entertaining television and two, to drop as much weight as quickly as possible. Aren’t those your goals, because if they are not, you probably want to take a different approach?

David: Right, very well said.

Jonathan: That applies to all areas of life it seems like as evidenced to the lifestyle you teach people.

David: Yes and sometimes what it takes is sometimes you do not know what you want and that is perfectly fine, it takes time to figure that out. I think a good way of looking at it is, what is great about all these sort of personalities that are out there and mediapreneurs and people like that, I am always a big believer in trying to find people that inspire you a bit where you are like “Oh man, I like that lifestyle.” You just do not know what is out there until you see how people are really living their lives and I think that sometimes you are going to change over time and also life events that happen are going to affect how you approach these things. So for example, meeting my wife completely changed my business back in the day. Because before then it was all about me, I was traveling around, I was doing interviews of people over the country, I could leave when I want, I did what I wanted, but as soon as I met my wife, I didn’t want to do that anymore.

I wanted to spend time with her, I wanted to spend more time with friends and doing more stuff here, so I was able to adjust our business to fit with that as opposed to the other way around and I think that it is funny as some of the more interesting stories that I have heard from people, there is often times a life event that changes how they approach business and how they approach their life, like it could be meeting a significant other, it could be having a child, it could be God-forbid an illness or something like that and people adjust on these sort of big-time events and I think there are something to that as well as the bottom-line is things are going to change and the question is are you going to change with it or are you going to stick with the old style that you are kind of stuck in?

Jonathan: It is so important to highlight the inevitability of change because if you are looking externally, if you are looking to some fixed rule-set that does not have the ability to change whereas if you have that principle-centered nature and you have that map, although the terrain may go up or down or there might be a fallen tree in the middle of the road, you can then navigate it and adapt to that change, right?

David: Yes absolutely and changes can be inevitable and people that I see struggle in business or lifestyle, it does not matter whatever, it is they get so stuck in certain patterns or ways where is it like they just write things in stone and they do not want to change even when there is change obviously happening, like for me. It is funny, it is like something consciously that I have done over the last couple of years like one of the lifestyle and of things is that when you get into a business like this online, you are going to spend a lot of time behind the computer, you are going to spend a lot of time talking to people and stuff like that, but you have to really be active to make sure that you are spending time with friends and being social and getting away from the computer and that is something that I had to like actively pursue.

I wrote that down. I was like, listen I need to make sure that I am making plans with friends, am I grabbing lunch, am I getting out of the condo, am I doing these different things because there is a huge social aspect to this as well and I think it goes right along with the lifestyle and it is all about again what you want.

Jonathan: David, speaking of what we want and adapting to change, I know you have some exciting new projects on the horizon, what is next for you brother?

David: Lots of cool stuff, I am always thinking about what is next and where I can kind of help people the most. A couple of things that are going on that are pretty exciting. One is, we have been doing these really cool workshops and I am like super-excited about that. I think any cool business is often bigger than yourself. For me, I love bringing in very cool experts to teach on specific topics to people, so we are doing lots of really cool workshops where I am bringing in people and we are doing some cool workshops in that is something that I am very excited about, all about again helping mediapreneurs and things like that. I also launched a big program this year that was pretty exciting called “Create Awesome Online Courses.”

In an extreme brief nutshell is that one of the top ways that people can basically make money from their passion or from their expertise or from something that they already know is by packaging it up and turning it into an online course and that is one of the top ways that I make money and it is a top way that a lot of my students make money and a lot of my friends make money is all through these online courses. I couldn’t find anything out there that really taught a really, really simple and step-by-step way of creating your own online course and selling it to people, so I decided to create that and that has been kind of our big flagship project this year, it has been “Create Awesome Online Courses” and that has been pretty exciting for sure.

Jonathan: David, I appreciate having life that is focused on making a difference and I appreciate living that example of finding that which works for you and helping others find that which works for them as well and folks you can learn much more about David and all the exciting stuffs that he has going on at his website, which is and our guest today again was the electrifying David Siteman Garland. Thank you again for sharing your time with us David.

David: Jonathan it was an absolute pleasure, I hope everyone enjoyed it and I look forward to connecting with listeners of the show and keep up the good work my man. It is always great to see people doing cool stuff that you can just absolutely tell that they love, which I know you do, and it has been an absolute pleasure.

Jonathan: Thank you David and listeners, I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did and please remember this week and every week after eat smarter, exercise smarter, and live better.

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