Hey there! I’m Craig Garber and I host and produce the Everyone Loves Guitar Podcast.
On Everyone Loves Guitar, we sit down and talk with interesting professional guitar players, and find out what makes them tick. This is a biographical show - we’re interested in how guests got from point A to point B in their lives - the highs and lows and their life story. The overall theme of the show is personal growth and self-development, with the guest’s career as their backdrop.
A few interesting things about the show:
- Over the last 26 months, we’ve dropped 600, 1 ½ - 2 ½ hour episodes…
- We’re by far not only the largest show in the guitar space but we’re actually in the top 15-16% of all podcasts (over 750,000 of them at this point)...
- I’ve only been playing guitar for 4 years…
- I have no connection to the music business, the guitar industry, any music magazines or other media, and yet... somehow, we’ve had some of THE best and most well-known guitarists, bassists, and drummers in the world on the show….
Currently, the main products we sell are advertising spots and full show ads, and we have a merchandise store (t-shirts, etc) opening up very soon.
What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?
I became a CPA straight out of college, working in the audit department of a (then) “Big 8” accounting firm. I wasn’t really the corporate type and so I left to take a series of increasingly advanced sales positions over the next 6 or 7 years. Ultimately I was working in the financial and estate planning field and I left a national company to form my own firm doing this same thing. 5 years into this, I stumbled across a marketing course on how to sell life insurance, which then led me to study emotional direct response marketing and copywriting. For some reason, I had a natural gift for doing this… along with understanding how to set up effective marketing strategies and how to attract qualified leads. I then reached out to copywriting legend Gary Halbert (RIP) who wound up mentoring me for a few months. He then launched my career as a copywriter and marketing strategist by promoting me at one of his seminars.
For 17 years, I was a successful marketing and copywriting “guru” online. I sold info products, and have consulted on marketing and sales funnel strategies, and written ad copy in 110 different industries for over 300 clients.
You only have one life, why not enjoy it?
In 2009, besides the recession, we all went through (which crippled my business), I also experienced an unusual series of personal and family setbacks that were overwhelming and quite difficult to handle and process. I’m a very strong person and have had to battle through many things in life, including a very troublesome childhood... but handling a half-dozen intense, and quite serious issues hitting my family and I, all at the same time... was difficult, even for me.
When things like this happen, I tend to look at the event(s) that occurred and ask myself, “What can I learn from this?” And from these experiences, which were both sad and tragic at the time… I actually learned a lot:
- First, I learned that I needed to ask for help in the future. And this sent me down a spiritual path of finding a higher power to have a relationship with…
- Second, I learned that I needed to focus more on bringing happiness and joy into my life. And that I needed to find a career that was more meaningful to me, beyond what I was doing and the financial rewards that came from it…
- And lastly, I learned that needed to start trusting the universe more and start believing it was there to support me. Which is inherently difficult for people that grow up in abusive or violent homes, as I did...
Along the lines of bringing more happiness and joy into my life:
I’m not ashamed to say I’m quite competent when it comes to direct-response marketing strategy and copywriting. I’ve produced some incredible results on a variety of projects over the years, published a book on the subject (“How To Make Maximum Money With Minimum Customers”), and published a paid-for monthly subscription newsletter for 10 years, on this same topic. We had subscribers in 30 countries.
But I came to the conclusion that while I genuinely enjoy developing marketing strategy, writing copy, and consulting… the “guru” thing was not for me, at all. I’m not really someone who is driven by ego and external likes. And frankly, for most people, that’s one of the things that needs to motivate you if you are going to be “rockstar” successful at it. You have to be on social media all the time, dropping deep quotes that show you’re a very wise person, and constantly sharing all the wonderful things going on in your world.
There is nothing wrong with this, but it’s just not me. I basically derive happiness from my family, and a few hobbies, like music, guitar, traveling and photography - all of which I should have done much more of, by the way. Plus, I’m a relatively private person. And I think posting up photos of my fish tacos dinner deprives me and anyone looking at them, of precious time they can (and should) be using to make memories doing something fun. So I began looking for other things to do, career-wise, that I was more passionate about... while continuing to run my marketing and copywriting consulting practice (which I still run, by the way).
Over the next several years, I ran a couple of e-commerce companies… was wholesaling single-family homes, raw land, and mobile homes (which I actually enjoyed), and dabbled in a few other projects. As you would expect, some of these projects were successful, and some weren’t. But none of them really got me “excited” any more than my marketing business did.
Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?
As a kid, I was very musical but never really had the support at home to pursue it more than as a casual thing in school. In fact, I actually played Tenor Sax in Carnegie hall back in 1976 (I was 13), as part of the Bronx Borough-Wide band. I also got into the High School of Music & Art in NYC, but I wasn’t allowed to attend.
As part of doing things that made me happy, in 2015, I started playing guitar, and it changed my life. You see, when you’re playing and improvising on an instrument, you HAVE to be right there, in the moment. You can’t think about something that happened last week… or about a meeting you’re going to have tomorrow morning. If you’re anywhere other than in “the right now,” your playing suffers and you can’t possibly communicate and express any musical thoughts and feelings.
I genuinely liked being “in the now,” and somehow I was able to extrapolate this, from playing guitar... to the rest of my life. It freed me from needless worry and anxiety and changed my character in a profound way. It also made me want to start becoming more open with people, although this was a challenge for me. Again, because of the trust issues I had, from my childhood.
One day in the Spring of 2017, I was sitting at my desk playing guitar when I literally heard a voice tell me, “You need to start interviewing guitar players.” It was kind of weird, because I had never heard voices like that. Sure, I’ve had gut instincts guide me on decision-making, but I’d never heard an actual voice out loud, like this one.
As I said, one of the things I’d promised myself a few years back was to start trusting the universe more. And since trust is an action word, I just said, “OK, I can do that. I'll trust this is the Universe supporting me.”
I found someone online who was able to introduce me to a couple of students who just graduated from the music program at Belmont University in Nashville. I asked them if they wanted to be interviewed, and they were totally up for it. Our first episode dropped on August 31, 2017… and since that time, we’ve published close to 600 episodes of new content and currently have over 82,000 listens per month. And that number continues growing upward, and has consistently grown since Day 1.
I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to have very deep, and lengthy conversations with some of THE most successful, well-known, and talented players from all over the world. Most of my interviews are with players here in the states, but I’ve had players from India, Sweden, Russia, Brazil and 21 other countries on my show.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
The future is looking great. Right now, I’ve systematized guest bookings for the show and this is running smoothly. We have a decent-sized email list, our Facebook following is strong, and our Instagram following is growing (we were late to the party with this). We’re about to open a merch store very soon (GuitarMerch.co), and I spend most of my free time prospecting for advertisers. We’re also putting together a Facebook ad campaign to get more advertisers, which will give us marketing scalability.
Because our audience continues growing, I am also planning on offering publishers the opportunity to launch rock star autobiographies from Everyone Loves Guitar, as a form of advertising for their new books.
And although the show is called Everyone Loves Guitar, 15% of my guests are bass players, drummers, vocalists, producers, and engineers. And while I will always have guitarists as my core guests (because Everyone really does Love Guitar, you know :-)... I would like to expand into other niches. Since the show revolves around the success and life story of my guests, and not “What string gauge someone plays,” I believe my audience will be very open to, and interested in hearing these same stories from other cool, creative people outside of the guitar space, every so often.
By the way, when I set up this show, I had no specific plan on how I would monetize it. I knew I would do something to make money with it, if it was meant to be. I just wanted to push myself to trust the Universe, and to (for the first time), do something I genuinely liked - which was to be involved in music. Music has gotten me through some very dark times and I can’t remember ever listening to good music and NOT feeling better afterward.
And what an opportunity I’ve had. I LOVE music and have been turned on to TONS of new bands and songs… and successful musicians are absolutely wonderful people to talk with. They are very comfortable opening up to you, and are incredibly respectful, professional, and have great work ethics.
I’ve also developed a handful of friendships with some of the guests I have had on the show.
My marketing skills have definitely helped me in growing this show and attracting advertisers. Knowing how to market the show and how to write ad copy has not only helped get more listeners via paid advertising, but it’s also helped me attract advertisers and create opportunities therein.
For instance, when an advertiser comes to us, I can put an ad together based on the experience of working with over 300 clients in more than 110 industries, both online and offline. I know what works - and maybe even more important, what doesn’t work.
Very few, if any, podcast hosts can offer this kind of service. We’ve had clients run ads with us that are now coming back because their ads performed so well. Which is great because it’s a win-win for everyone.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Yes, I’ve learned so many things:
I’ve learned it’s OK (and fun) to open up to people. Sure, some people are more receptive to this than others, but the reality is… you generally get back similar vibes to the ones you’re putting out, so why not put out good and honest ones?
I’ve gotten to learn the ins and outs of a new industry. Being a musician is incredibly difficult. It’s very much like being a professional athlete in that you have to constantly practice and perform, and in between that, you’re hustling for new ways to make a few bucks…
The music business is all about networking. If you do a good job with one person, and you have a great attitude, it’s almost impossible for this NOT to turn into another opportunity, somewhere down the line. And although there is competition, for the most part, the top performers are very supportive and encouraging of one another. The same rules have applied to me. I have been taken into this community and Everyone Loves Guitar has gotten nothing but incredible support from musicians all over the world. And for this, I am very grateful…
And lastly, I’ve learned how important it is to do something you’re passionate about. I see this spark in everyone I interview. And while it’s great to get paid well for what you do… money alone, without that spark… leaves you feeling a little less fulfilled, a little empty. And since you only have one life, why not enjoy it?
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
I have a relatively simple set up here in my home studio - recording video of the shows on Zoom, and audio recording through AudioHijack. We edit audio on Sound Studio. I use OnceHub (formerly Schedule Once) for my guests to book appointments, which integrates with Zoom, so it’s all very neat and minimizes extra work.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
- The Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families Workbook
- The Science of Getting Rich - Wallace D. Wattles
- Thomas J Stanley - The Millionaire Next Door
- Breakthrough Advertising - Eugene Schwartz
- High Probability Selling - Jacques Werth
- Scientific Advertising - Claude Hopkins
- How to Write A Good Advertisement - Victor Schwab
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Running a business isn’t easy, and you’re constantly finding new challenges. A few lessons I’ve learned:
- First and foremost, do something you have a passion for. Something that in “some way” gives you emotional satisfaction and offers room to grow, personally and professionally. And remember, “passion” goes beyond mere “liking” something. Every business gets stale after a while, and if you don’t gain any other satisfaction beyond the money you’re making, it’ll be near impossible for you to overcome the “grind” you sometimes have to go through…
- Make sure you can access leads at a cost that is feasible for the product or service you’re selling. As a consultant, one of the biggest downfalls of most businesses I’ve seen, is NOT taking take this into account. Customer or client acquisition cost is usually the biggest marketing spend you have - make sure you can afford to acquire the specific customers and clients you need, before going into business!
- Ideally, you want to run a business where you have multiple sources of income. After all, everything changes over time. If you’re 100% depending on one customer buying one thing only, that’s somewhat of a dangerous position to be in. Having multiple sources of income, or serving the needs of a variety of customers, minimizes your dependency (and therefore, your risk) on ONE thing. This allows you to sleep better at night once that one thing is compromised - which almost always happens…
- Be balanced. I worked W-A-Y too much for most of my career. And while I still made all my children’s events and always managed to spend time with my wife, I deprived myself of relaxing, and participating in hobbies or just taking time to recharge my batteries. Spending time with friends and doing things you like, changes your life and gives you more energy than you realize. Time is precious, so use it positively…
- Save your money for a rainy day! Live below your means, because whether you like it or not, rain always comes at some point…
- And lastly… I say this at the end of every single episode of Everyone Loves Guitar. Partly for people to hear, but also to remind myself: “ Most important… remember that happiness is a choice, so choose wisely!”
Where can we go to learn more?
You can check out the Everyone Loves Guitar show online, and anywhere else podcasts are broadcast or distributed. For us, iTunes seems to be the main place people listen, but there are several dozen other apps listeners use.
We also post each show to YouTube.
Check out our merch store for cool guitar t-shirts, hoodies, and other items.
Also, feel free to contact me on social media, or at contact, if you’re interested in advertising on Everyone Loves Guitar, if I can help you with anything marketing related, or if you just want to say hello
Thank you for listening and I wish you all the best in your own ventures!
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