Author Michael Mogill: I’d like to encourage everyone to pursue a life of “holistic growth”

While I don’t necessarily know that this is a “movement,” I would want to encourage everyone to pursue a life of constant growth, reflection, and improvement. By that, I mean holistic growth — not just physical improvement, but mental growth, meditation, and building a strong support system that supports your endeavors through thick and thin. I had the […]

While I don’t necessarily know that this is a “movement,” I would want to encourage everyone to pursue a life of constant growth, reflection, and improvement. By that, I mean holistic growth — not just physical improvement, but mental growth, meditation, and building a strong support system that supports your endeavors through thick and thin.

I had the pleasure of interviewing: Michael Mogill, Founder and CEO of Crisp Video Group, the nation’s fastest-growing legal video marketing company. He’s helped thousands of attorneys — from solo and small firms to large practices — differentiate themselves from competitors and earn millions in new revenue. Crisp has been named to the Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest-growing companies and has been awarded Best Places to Work. A sought-after speaker, Michael often presents at national conferences on innovative ways to create exponential business growth.

Thank you so much for joining us! What is your “backstory”?

I’m a European-Jewish immigrant. When I was four, I immigrated to America with my family — my parents, my grandparents, and my younger brother. When we arrived, we had $500 to our name, little command of the language, and no other family to help us get started with our new lives.
 By the time I’d finished college years later, my life was at a crossroads. I’d scored well on the MCATs and had been accepted into a few medical schools. But after spending over a hundred hours shadowing doctors and seeing what their day-to-day jobs were like, I decided that profession wasn’t for me. Now, I have the utmost respect for doctors, but the amount of politics and bureaucracy they have to deal with just didn’t gel with my entrepreneurial spirit.
 Essentially, I was always an entrepreneur at heart. When I was thirteen, I worked out of my living room running my first business, a web design company. I’ll never forget how funny it was watching my mom letting my much older clients in the front door. As an adult, this drive led me first to do some marketing work for an events company and then to an important role in a fledgling streaming-music business.
 Eventually, I found the perfect balance between both my entrepreneurial side and the creative elements of my life that were near and dear to me, and I started a video marketing company.
 Crisp had found some success in our early years producing video content for some major brands, but because we hadn’t defined our ideal clients, we were having trouble differentiating. 
 However, after working with an attorney passionate about her craft but struggling to get the phone to ring, I saw a wide-open market with a lot of passion and a pressing need, so I decided to pivot our business to focus on helping attorneys like her. We now almost exclusively focus on providing video and marketing services to law firm owners.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?

I pitched to a certain famous beverage company for their big marketing blitz during a certain famous worldwide soccer tournament. They were interested, but before signing any deals, they wanted to check out my operation, meet the team, and see how we worked.

“All right,” I said, not missing a beat. “We’d love to have you stop by!”

That’s what I said out loud anyway. Internally, I was screaming, “Oh, shit! I have no operation! I have no team! I have nothing but a tiny one-man office!” I knew I could execute the project myself, but I also
 knew they wouldn’t be willing to take that risk. Sitting alone at my desk, I didn’t look like the powerhouse that could deliver what they needed. However, I presented my business — or didn’t — would dictate whether I would land the biggest opportunity of my young career. If they saw I was a struggling kid, they would run screaming out the door. They needed to see how far I would go for a successful campaign.

Desperate, I called a bunch of my friends and said, “Guys, here’s the situation. I’ve got a client coming by that I need to impress. Would you be able to come in, sit in front of some computers, and pretend you’re part of a big creative agency?”

They were skeptical, but also a little amused, so they agreed to play along. I grabbed my credit card, headed down to my local Apple Store, and bought six iMacs. As I set them all up, I realized I only had one license for my video editing software. How was I going to show our team hard at work at their computers when they had nothing to work on? With the company’s marketing team already en route, I took a
 screenshot of my own computer and set it as the wallpaper on every iMac.

If their marketing team hadn’t been caught in traffic on the way over, they would have caught me literally taking the iMacs out of their boxes and setting them up in a mad rush to make it look like I actually had an office. Fortunately, I had just enough time to set everything up, get my friends to their stations, and greet the team as they walked through the doors. As I began showing our guests around, my friends were silent, intent on looking like they were working diligently on an important project.

“Man,” one of the team members said, “is everyone always this focused in here?”

“Oh, yeah,” I said, laughing. “We’ve got a ton of projects on some tight deadlines right now — and we never miss deadlines.”

Under the guise of not wanting to distract my “employees” — but really to make sure nobody noticed all the screens looked exactly the same — I led them into my office for our formal meeting. An hour later, I got the job. As soon as I knew everyone was in their cars and on their way, I turned to my friends, and said, “All right guys, thank you very much. Power down those iMacs, because I have to go back to the Apple Store and return them.”

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

While I can’t reveal any specifics until we formally announce them, we’re working on a lot of exciting new projects and initiatives right now. First and foremost, we’re planning a second conference that is going to be twice as big (and twice as exciting) as the last. In addition, we’re rolling out some updates to our ongoing client engagement program.

There are a few new Crisp services we’re hashing out the final details on that I can’t unveil, but it’s going to push the envelope in our industry. Basically, every year we have new and exciting projects to work on. No two days are the same for me.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

Marcus Aurelius — his famous work, Meditations, provided me with invaluable insight as an entrepreneur and as a person in general.

Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?

Some specific books that have influenced me are The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz and Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.

I also draw inspiration from books that outline entrepreneurial case studies — you know, the ones where the CEO goes from zero to hero, or starts with nothing and builds an empire.

Reading those books reinforces my passion for entrepreneurship and also provides sage wisdom and advice for keeping yourself in the right mindset in tough situations.

What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an author like you?

Give yourself a deadline. Don’t worry about making your book “different” or “groundbreaking” — your book is your book. Do what you do best, and don’t worry about what other people in the industry are doing. Your book doesn’t have to be for everyone — but it should appeal to at least one niche group of people.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

While I don’t necessarily know that this is a “movement,” I would want to encourage everyone to pursue a life of constant growth, reflection, and improvement. By that, I mean holistic growth — not just physical improvement, but mental growth, meditation, and building a strong support system that supports your endeavors through thick and thin.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Be your authentic self

Your book is your own book. I got caught up in wondering how I can make a book that stood out in this industry and found myself looking at what other people in the space were doing. I realized that doing so would limit my own potential. So, I created a book that captured my own personality and demonstrated my authentic self. I stopped worrying about what other people were doing and just worried about putting together a good final product.

2. Have a focus

Less than a day before my publishing deadline, I was removing entire chapters from my book draft. I realized I had been trying to cram information in that wasn’t adding tangible value — and that by tightening it up and narrowing my focus, I could end up with a book that had a very clear, intentional focus.

3. Have a deadline

When I decided to write a book, I gave myself a very clear deadline: I wanted to release my book at our first ever conference in November 2018. That meant I couldn’t procrastinate because I had a deadline as well as a consequence if I missed that deadline (the book wouldn’t have been published in time to release at the conference). Deadlines are very powerful motivators.

4. Don’t operate in a vacuum

My book never would have been sent to print without a key group of people who supported me throughout this process. After a while, words start swimming on the page and you get stuck in your own head. It doesn’t have to be that way. Step away from the screen, take a walk, and send it off to someone you trust for feedback and guidance. If you operate in a vacuum, you’ll end up in a spiral of constant edits that will cause you to get off track from the real goal you’re trying to accomplish.

5. Educate and Bring Value

While I was writing this book, I wasn’t thinking about a personal agenda I wanted to push. I was thinking about the ways in which I could provide tangible value to my readers, and how I can best communicate that value. Not every book has to have an agenda — sometimes, you should just focus on teaching someone something new.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

I would love to have lunch with the coach of the Vegas Golden Knights, Gerard Gallant. The story of that team is truly astounding. In fact, we even created a video about it to share at our recent conference to highlight the perfect example of ambition, perseverance, and mindset.

I would want to ask him about his experience during that famous season, and what was going through his mind during that time. I’d also love to find out what he learned from the experience.

So Gerard, if you’re reading this — lunch is on me.

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