Ep 9 with Jason Croft- Credibility Craftsman: Empowering the World to Connect

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Jason Croft, founder of Croft Media, is a connector of people, businesses and ideas.  Typically the guy behind the camera, Jason trained himself to get out from behind the camera and engage with people. Today, he specializes in connecting people and building their credibility and brand through professional podcasts, authority interview videos and client testimonials.

I started my business because . . . I wanted a way to combine my specialties and loves of media, marketing, and connecting with people.  My agency does all of that and helps connect people to their ideal clients in a meaningful and profitable way.

The thing I enjoy most about my business is . . . the human element.  The one-to-one connection to my client.  That’s the fun part – getting to know that person who happens to be a prospect and building that relationship further as they transition to being a client.

The biggest surprise for me as a business owner is . . . my lack of focus and meaningful action even when driven to do both inside.  My biggest frustration point with myself.

One question people should ask me is . . . “How do I tell my story?”, because that’s where I can help them the most and what I enjoy doing for them.

One thing I wish I knew when I was younger is . . . the exponential power of building a network.  It’s been the most transformational aspect of my business and personal life over the last three years.

Hear Jason share his secrets on connecting people, ideas and businesses in today’s episode of LIFT Speaks.  

Intro : Welcome to LIFT Speaks stories of what people do and their impact on the world. LIFT Speaks as a show and an idea powered by an innovative coworking space. We are the entrepreneurial hub of the Grapevine, Southlake, Colleyville area. Our members operate at the forefront of business, technology, and leadership. We’re showing you how they do it, so you can do it too.

Catherine Miller: Welcome to LIFT Stories of what people do and their impact on the world. Today I’m talking with Jason Croft of Croft Media and the Jason Croft show. Take a few minutes and tell us what you do.

Introduction

Jason Croft: I simply put Croft in front of anything I do name it and make a company. I promise I’m not that of obnoxious. There are strategic reasons behind it all. The Croft Media is a video agency that really specializes in this type of video work. The authority interviews I like to call them, which we work with, especially with consultants and other entrepreneur and really helped them take their credibility and authority that they already have and make sure that remains as they move into video because they know that they’ve got to jump in there and level up and then with the Jason Croft Show, that is a fun online show. We’re on Youtube and Itunes where we throw CEOS and company founders and sales and marketing folks into a moving vehicle and forced them to give us some great insights and tactics.

Catherine Miller: It’s car time. I have to tell you though, I have watched a few of the sessions and I always get nervous that you’re going to miss a turn or run into something.

Jason Croft: I get nervous watching how much I still talk with my hands and then I’m driving.

Catherine Miller: It should make you nervous too. But the interviews are great and car time is good. It’s always good to get somebody in the car and not let them out until you get all the information you want.

Jason Croft: That’s right. And it’s, it’s just a fun, relaxed environment, and a little different take on it while we talk about serious nuggets and interesting, interesting tactics.

The Honest Truth About Wild Animals

Catherine Miller: I think people will enjoy them. I also know that there’s something about you with wild animals.

Jason Croft: Yes. My wife calls me animal dumb because instead of, I guess many people’s natural reaction is to go the other way, I usually go towards them. That’s fun. I’ve been to Alaska. No really since probably ’06 of the absolute best productions I ever was a part of was, we shot a pilot for a reality showdown in a snake farm down in Nacogdoches and at the time a new owner had just bought the place. And so it was great little concept reality show. And I met the owner there and we hung out there for a week and then did a shoot up here by Pilot Point. It’s another wildlife ranch. Besides the snake farm, besides every venomous snake that exists in the world, there’s a bunch of stories there. Outback are the monkeys, wolves, hyenas. And it was so much fun. Like every day I would just make come in a little bit early and I would just make the rounds. Pet the wolves. Pet the hyenas. See the lemurs.

Catherine Miller: Are they tame? They can’t be tame.

Jason Croft: Every animal is tame. They just need pets.  

Catherine Miller: Apparently you’ve never been on a safari in South Africa. They’re not tame.

Jason Croft: They just need pets. Well the hyenas I was petting – proved my point.  My buddy up here in Pilot Point he’s got a couple of black bears and so I’ve been in there with them quite a bit.

Catherine Miller: We may just have a whole other session just to talk about wild animals. My husband lived with a black bear for a while because we are Baylor Bears (sic ‘em) and his roommate was the bear trainer. They’re stinky. What I will tell you is they’re really stinky.

Jason Croft: But they’re very nice. As long as they’re outside.

Catherine Miller: We’ll have a whole other show on this one.

Jason Croft: We will. I’ve been to Alaska too, so I have been around some quiet ones. That’s good.

Catherine Miller: Your wife calling you animal dumb, I think is good. I think that’s probably a good name.  Anyway, one of the things I do want people to hear about besides wild animals is you’ve been in business now for yourself for how many years?

Jason Croft: Freelancing twenty-five years now.

Catherine Miller: A long time. You have a breadth of experience underneath you as far as doing that kind of work and we have a lot of people who come into our office who are entrepreneurs or doing startup companies and so I’m curious. Let’s just say you’re riding up an elevator. You have 30 seconds. They know you’ve been in business for yourself for 25 years and they say, “Hey Jason, what advice would you give me? I’m thinking about going into business for myself. What would you tell them?

Jason Croft: Don’t do it. No, I preached the opposite quite a bit. The biggest, the biggest blind spot I think for anybody transitioning from working full time or even right out of college and then going into either freelance or running their own business is the tax side of things is always preparing that side of things because especially for those working a full-time job, their whole lives, getting a W2 and taxes are taken out, you know, when you’re in business for yourself, like that’s completely your responsibility. You’ve got to think of that as, you know, even with write-offs 30 to 40 percent, put that away because you’ve got to pay it at some point and that’s one of the biggest blind spots I think.

Catherine Miller: Yeah, that’s true in. And it can be such a big surprise when you first start.

Jason Croft: Because even when you know it intellectually, it doesn’t hit until.

Catherine Miller: Then all of a sudden it’s, whoa. Or you could do like us and we have a woman who does all of our accounting and she makes sure we turn every receipt in because we’re not that good at it. So we have someone holding our feet to the fire. Because you’ve been in business that long, clearly you have discovered the best way to promote yourself and your business. What, what is that best way?

Jason Croft: I mean, the greatest way I’ve found and really honestly stumbled into starting with the production company I worked for. I was at this company for five or six years, and really the best way of that self-promotion and marketing is the show. The show I have now is my second one started one in when I was at that production company interviewing. We had a studio shoot. It’s called Startup Dallas, very specific audience, right? It was exactly who we wanted to go and target as a company. And it did. That first show did three things for me. It did exactly that. It got me a seat at the table in the startup community. It’s just like, wow, here’s somebody shining a spotlight, and I was known instantly throughout  there to it. You know, it really built an amazing network of people and incredible people because when you sit across from somebody for an hour during an interview, I mean, you build that relationship there. And the third thing it did was for me was it lit something up in me like, I love this. I’ve got to keep doing it. That’s why I’m still doing the show now. But that format and whether it’s an audio podcast or a video show, or you could even do this with a written blog. It’s one of the absolute greatest sales tactics and techniques to really build, to build a network, get through gatekeepers and you have an audience with somebody and really get to know them.

Catherine Miller: I can see that, and plus when you have them trapped in a car, you can ask them anything you want to.  Put them on the spot.

Jason Croft: I’m trapped. Light shining in my face. I actually have handcuffs on my ankles right now

Catherine Miller: Which brings us to the rapid fire questions. Now you get to the answers. You get to be on the other side of the table. You Ready?

Jason Croft: I don’t appreciate that.

Catherine Miller: Oh, but you do. This one’s easy. I’m going to start really easy for you. Describe your best day. What does that look like for you?

Jason Croft: My ideal day would be waking up super early in a small mountain town. I’ve got the, I mean, you can see the house and everything. I’ve thought about this in the past certainly. Even if it’s still working, kids are still in school doing that kind of thing. But getting up early, having my own routine. I’m taking two oldest to school and my youngest to work with me it and just spending half a day at the office with him and going and having lunch together. Take him home, get a little work done on my own. Pick up the other boys, and have a great evening at home. That does include some work in there. I think I’ve got kind of a work day version and a weekend version, but for me, I need that outdoors. I’m certainly working towards a good part of my life being out there.

Catherine Miller: Texas is a great outdoor state. We have a lot of sunshine.

Jason Croft: It honestly is the tough part because I love Dallas Fort Worth. There’s just everything here. I think part of that’s going to be part time. Part time some like Colorado and part time here.

Foundational Wisdoms

Catherine Miller: I’ll go for that part time. Colorado is good. What is your key to productivity?

Jason Croft: Oh goodness. That one’s tough. The time I’m best is when I absolutely make a schedule of my day because of the pile of my to-do list. I’ve got to do that too. I’ve got to get it out of my head and have that there. It’s the hardest for me to do and I’m not entirely sure why, but the hardest thing is making myself, you know, from nine to 10, you’re doing this from 10 to 11, you know, and leaving some space, leaving some room to breathe, but I’m always, I get the most done.

Catherine Miller: If you actually block out your time.

Jason Croft: Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s huge. I don’t know what that little fight is to that keeps me from doing that more. I think because the reality is, it’s a dose of reality, right? You sit there and you’re like, I only have four things on here, but you know that’s right. Because that’s what it takes.

Catherine Miller: That’s a hard one. We could talk about that when we can do a whole video on that one too – prioritizing and block scheduling a day. What is one foundational business principle that you are committed to executing?

Jason Croft: Heard 100 of these. You’d think I’d have an answer.

Catherine Miller: I always figured you’ve thought about them while you’re standing behind the camera.

Jason Croft: I was thinking about the other ones, but didn’t think about this one. Actually, I was thinking about a little bit yesterday or the day before we were doing these. I was like, “I really don’t know” and then I didn’t think about it again.

Catherine Miller: One foundational business principle that you’re committed to executing? I would say it’s joy.

Jason Croft: Is that a business principle?

Catherine Miller: It is because I think when you have fun, people have more fun.  You appear to enjoy what you do. It’s contagious and it makes people relax in front of the camera. I would just say that’s what I see coming out of you. You enjoy what you do. You make other people enjoy the process with you. I think that I see that in you pretty much every day. I answered the question for Jason. It’s a good one.

Jason Croft: I got a better one. Mine is joy. I think I get to edit so I can just edit it out.

Catherine Miller: I think that’s a good answer for you. Alright, next, but you can come back to that one and answer your own. But that’s my answer for you. It does. It puts us at ease on the other side of the camera. We’re not used to it. Do you have a personal or business mission state or an overall philosophy that you follow?

Jason Croft: I do. I mean I’ve put together for me what’s a mission statement that I’ve since been corrected from one of my business coaches. That is more of a vision. I’ll just let you know. For me it’s connection. I’ve explored everything that I do and enjoy doing, it all revolves around connection. It’s me connecting with other people. It’s me connecting two people together. It’s connecting people to new ideas and then connecting businesses to their ideal clients and prospects. I understand his distinction too. That’s over to your point, that overarching philosophy in that vision of life. I think there’s a higher level mission with quantifiable. Here’s how you get there and milestones and stuff. I think I’m working on that a little bit, and what that’ll be. But that vision side of things for me is connection.  Everything that I do tends to revolve around that.

Catherine Miller: How does that play out with your business? How has connecting impact what you do?

Jason Croft: It’s everything. For me, I still remember years ago listening to the tipping point, Malcolm Gladwell. He talked about people who are described as connectors, maybe mavens even. The connectors, and who just you get to those people because they know everybody you know those people in your life. I still remember just thinking about I do know people like that. I want to be that. I want to be that person. I was so far from that person you have no idea. I was the person that went to a networking event, if I ever went, it was just I stood up against the wall and hoped somebody talks to me and all that. I made a decision. I was like, “I want to be that.” For me, it’s that connection is everything in all those versions of it, because that’s what leads to business and sales. You talked about being behind the camera, making somebody comfortable that plays out in my job here to do that. It’s that connection.

Jason Croft: It plays out in the show to connect to somebody in. To help them connect to the audience and that ultimately that’s what drives business and everything. Is that connection, so you can do business with people you enjoy being around. For me it’s everything. Then one of my absolute greatest joys in life is connecting two people together. It’s the greatest thing in the world. I’m getting chills talking about. It’s so much fun because I’ve constantly introducing, “you have to know this person.” I’ve got a good list of people now who I don’t even have to go and say like, “Hey, I’m kind of, you know, I met so and so. Would you like me to introduce?” They’re just if you’re introducing me, just introduce us, period. To hear and then I’ll get the feedback later. “Oh, this person was amazing. We’re doing this deal” or this, that lights me up.

Catherine Miller: I can see how that would work. I can see you doing it too.  And I think you answered the greatest joy question that clearly. That’s right. What impact do you hope that your work has beyond making money?

Jason Croft: I know it doesn’t even have to be a hope, but I’ve been able to see it both with the show and with the videos that I make. It is a chance to put other people in this spotlight right here. I get that feedback for when it’s the videos I make for folks. Oh wow! Even when they see, their first reaction is “oh, don’t look too bad” To have that feeling of ‘I know what I’m talking about’. We do work through them and we create a beautiful picture with it all. But then also really get their true essence out and their knowledge out.

Jason Croft: Then with the show, it really is a chance for them to sit and talk about themselves and really have another platform to point people to. It really does bring people’s credibility up and their authority. I’ve been on a show, and it’s happening with the Jason Croft show as well. But you know, especially with Startup Dallas, that was the first one. And I just, I remember we did 80 something episodes of that and I still remember that feeling of people constantly like, “Hey, can I be on? Can I be on?  Can I be on?” That feeling of “you know this just a little Youtube, Itunes show? Right?” You know that, that voice in my head thinking that. But it didn’t matter because it was about the product. It was about that opportunity.

 Benefits of Coworking

Catherine Miller: That’s cool. Very encouraging for other people. Alright, last question. What is your favorite thing about working at the LIFT office and how has it benefited you either as an individual or for your business?

Jason Croft: Oh, well. I’m certainly having the space to come and be. Just having an office space. Having that square footage of desk. It is mine, that I can go to and leave the house. I’m 45 seconds from home. I have a 45 second commute. It’s fantastic, but it’s also, it just doesn’t work for me working at home. Number one, just being an office space is great, but it’s set up and run so that you can be as involved in community with other people around or not as you want. And that’s what’s I think is really great for me because I go through times like I need this. We talked about focus. Nobody talk to me. I’ve got to do this. It’s so great when you can have that, but when you also then come out of that. Even if it’s once a day, twice a day, “Oh, awesome! Other people around.” You can talk to somebody in the kitchen and have that human interaction. I think it’s really the perfect blend of those two things.

Catherine Miller: I agree. Of course, I think that about all of our members, but it is true. It’s nice to have a place to be focused, but it’s also nice not to be so isolated. Because that can get old too. I’m really thankful you’re here. I love having you at the LIFT Office. You do light the place up literally and bring great connections. I see how you live that out here, so. Thank you.

Conclusion: Thanks so much for listening. To hear more, go to the LIFT Office.com forward slash podcast for all of the show notes and links to what we discussed on the show. And if you’re close by, drop in for a hot cup of coffee and a free day of coworking when you mentioned this episode. If you’re flying into the Dallas Fort Worth area and need a place to work or meet with your team for the day, reach out to us on theliftoffice.com. We’re located just two point seven miles from DFW airport. You want more episodes like this, make sure you subscribe and make sure you share this episode with someone who needs it. Remember, building your business starts with lifting those around you. We’ll see you next time on LIFT Speaks.

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