Allison: I'm Allison Triarse and this is the Businessmakers Show, heard on the radio and seen online at thebusinessmakers.com. Joining us today, I'm very excited to tell you about Dayna Steele, the success speaker, entrepreneur, author, and yeah, everybody you know or we all know are from KLOL, the radio Hall of Famer, Dayna Steele.
Dayna: Thank you for having me.
Allison: Absolutely, Dayna, we're excited to have you. Talk to us about all the things you've done because it's amazing. I mean, you've got three books over there on the table, two of which are yours, one's your husband's. You guys have turned basically you into your own walking business.
Dayna: You know what? What I've learned through all these things I've done, from rock-and-roll DJ to television to talk radio to ecommerce - each time I decided to try something new, there's been a lot of things I've tried you'll never hear about, you'll never see, they failed miserably. There's some things that I have done that didn't work, that maybe you did hear about. I moved to LA to try acting for a living and discovered I couldn't act my way out of a box but I had a really good time in LA. I think what I've learned through all of this is each time I tried something new, I discovered that even if I failed, I didn't fail because I learned something, I met new people, I grew my network, I gained knowledge about something, and then I moved on to the next thing. So I've now tried and done so many things - some that have worked, some that have not - that I'm fearless. My poor husband, I wake up at 2 in the morning and - I used to keep a pad of paper and a pen, now it's just Siri on my iphone, which drives him even crazier. But I'll say, "Okay, Siri, make me a note to look into what goes into opening an ice cream shop," and I'll just hear my husband groan and go, "Noooo, no, no."
Allison: That's how it works, though.
Dayna: But yeah, I have these ideas or I see, I see a void in something. I see a need for something and I immediately start formulating how I could form a company or what I could do, or I see where customer service is lacking in a company that I go to and I immediately start seeing, well, they need to be using Twitter this way and they need to be using Facebook. It's only because I've tried so many things and met so many people and learned that when you do fail - I'm not a brain surgeons, no one dies, that I can just pick myself up and keep going, and it makes it a lot more exciting when you get up every morning.
Allison: And that's not easy to do when you have such a great career. I mean, radio 20 years, at KLOL, you know, and a whole lot longer besides that.
Dayna: Yeah, I was at KLOL just under I think 17 years, total radio starting at Texas A&M was about 22 years. I think if you add the talk radio thing in there, maybe 23. But you know, you can only play "Stairway to Heaven" and "Pretty Bird" so many times and then you're like, "You know, I think I have to try something new. But I was scared to try something new, and when first child was born, Dak, who's 16 now, we couldn't come to an agreement on maternity leave so we sort of, you know, parted ways, and I was terrified. I had never done anything for a living in my adult life other than radio.
Allison: So many people can relate. They can all relate to that.
Dayna: Yeah. And I think that's one of the reasons I wrote the first book, Rock to the Top, was I wanted to get this message across to people that you can do it. You have so many things you learn and so many skill sets, as they say, and so many people in your network that can help you, but you don't think about it because you've been doing this other job, the same thing, day in, day out. If you really stop to think about what your talents are, you can go in a lot of different directions.
Allison: And this is what you do now, you tell people how to do it.
Allison: And you speak all of the country.
Dayna: I do. I do.
Allison: And it all starts with passion, it seems, like that's the real big key that when you go out --
Dayna: Oh, it has to be.
Allison: and you're speaking all around the country now, you're telling these folks, "Do what you love."
Dayna: I had a banker come up to me after a speech a couple of years, the senior vice president of a pretty big banking system here in Texas, and he came up to me afterwards and he kind of waited, he looked around, and he said - and he got tears in his eyes and he said, "I love what you said about passion. I really want to sing." I said, "Well, --
Allison: Buddy, don't quit your day job.
Dayna: Yeah, basically, don't quit your day job if you want to sing, go sing. But, I mean, if you're really serious about wanting to do something with this, you know, if go to church, sing in your church, find a, form - if you're into singing rock, form a local rock band with people in your office and then if it goes somewhere from that, fine, but also let your wife, your loved one, your significant other know you're unhappy. One of my many incarnations was the space store, ecommerce, and I did that for - I guess I did it for about four years and then I sold it to a NASA contractor and ran it for them for another five years.
Allison: And just so everybody understands, that was basically something that you came up with because NASA did not have a store to sell all these great products that every kid in America wants.
Dayna: Oh, yeah. It was another 2 o'clock in the morning, "Okay, I'll figure this out."
Allison: So you leave radio, you start brainstorming, and this was one of your babies.
Dayna: And you can teach yourself. You can buy books. You've got Google and YouTube now, anything - nothing is too crazy. I think it was --
Allison: You opened the store in your basement, that's a little crazy, and it works.
Dayna: Well first of all, that I had a basement in Houston was pretty crazy.
Allison: And it worked, and it was successful, and you sold it.
Dayna: Yeah, it worked, yeah. I grew from 9 products to, I think by the time I sold it to Space Hab and then Space Hab sold it to an individual, it was doing about a million dollars a year.
Allison: And it's not in your basement any more.
Dayna: No, no. I sold it and then they moved it into a storefront, but you know, a perfect example is people would call me and say, "Do you have a PO number?" and I'd say, "No."
Allison: What's that?
Dayna: Well, I didn't want to appear stupid. I'm a firm believer in you can fake your way through anything until you figure out. That's how I got my first job in radio in Houston is I told them I could type, and just figured I would figure it out, you know. When they would come in I would sit [typing noise on the table], and then I'd have to go back and fix whatever it was because I hadn't typed really anything, but eventually I taught myself. But with the Space Store, what I did finally, I would say, "Oh, no, I don't have one," and nobody said, "Well, then we can't take you order or "Oh, my God, you're a fraud." They'd just go, "Oh, okay," and they'd take my order." So finally after about, I think it was almost a year, I decided, 'You know, I'd better look up what a PO is." I was like "Oh, a purchase order," and I still wasn't even sure. I had to go research that. I didn't know a whole lot, and when I first started the Space Store, I didn't know anything about programming, and there was no Yahoo store, no Amazon store, there were no storefront templates. I literally found a guy who was doing this. He was a banker by day and coding by night and creating these storefronts for mom-and-pop type small business, but I couldn't always get him because he was a banker and he was busy, I couldn't get him. So I bought HTML for Dummies and then I taught myself. When I would see something on somebody's website I really liked - and I still do this to this day - if I can't figure out how they did it or where they got it, you can go up into View and I think it's like source code, and you can open that up, and I could literally find the code, and I'll copy and paste that and try to make it work on my website. But what is it, "Necessity is the mother of invention?" Isn't that the --?
Dayna: That was it. I didn't have the money to hire any other programmers, and I could only wake Charlie up so many times in the middle of the night and go, "The website's broken! Fix it! Help me!" - That I had to teach myself.
Allison: And you did the same things with your books because your first book, you spent a fortune.
Dayna: Yep. Spent, all set and done, the publisher in Dallas ended up charging me about $42,000, so when I ran out of those 5,000 books and it was time to reprint it, I went to iUniverse, which is a big self-publishing house, and you know, I'd learned a lot of lessons and that's why we sell Publish Charlie's because we like the process. We're very organized but we've educated ourselves just by getting online and looking things up.
Allison: And you basically took $42,000 down to a cost of --
Dayna: And making an expensive, yeah, I think --
Allison: Yeah, but it went down to what, $1,000, 5,000?
Dayna: It was less than $1,000 the second time I published Rock to the Top, and it was even less for this new book.
Allison: 101 Ways to Rock your World?
Dayna: 101 Ways to Rock your World because I learned that iUniverse has a 50% off sale about three times a year, so I had the book and everything ready to go but I waited till they did the 50% off sale sale -very frugal also. So I figured I'd just wait a few more weeks and sure enough, they did a 50% off sale and I was able to publish it. Again, you just - you have to be organized.
Allison: And you have to have passion, I mean you did these things. These are crazy ideas that, you know, people would say, "That's a crazy idea, Dayna." But yet you did it because you believed it, you had passion for it, and the next thing you knew, you had a Space Store in your basement. You had books.
Dayna: There you go.
Allison: That you wrote.
Dayna: Albert Einstein once said - and I'm probably paraphrasing here - if at first the idea doesn't seem absurd, there's probably no hope for it. So don't ever let anybody tell you, you know, "You can't do that. It's a crazy idea." You know, I have that in my makeup. When I was told, when I was 18 yeas old, "You'll never make what the guys make in radio and you'll never do morning drive or afternoon drive," that was like laying down the gauntlet, "Don't tell me." So I watched these really popular DJs that I worked with. I watched these rock stars. You know, we had so many people come through the studios that were so talented.
Allison: Not a lot of people would buy that you learned from Gene Simmons and Sammy Haggard, but you loved them.
Dayna: ________ brilliant!
Allison: Yes, and I love it!
Dayna: He's brilliant!
Allison: You can barely see you through the hair in some of your pictures. His hair is like -
Dayna: Oh, I know, I know, I know. But look it, I mean, everybody knows how good Gene Simmons is --
Allison: Where did you learn cellist?
Dayna: Gene Simmons is so smart. First of all, Gene Simmons has never touched a drug in his life. He will have a glass of wine occasionally. The man's gonna OD on diet coke. That's what he drinks. He doesn't drink. He is extremely sharp. Everybody's seen him now on Celebrity Apprentice or Family Values.
Allison: Oh, yeah. We can't turn it off.
Dayna: And he controls his business. There's a quote, I don't even know who the quote's from but I keep it on my computer now and says, "If you control your business, you control your creativity."
Allison: And that's what you do. You control your business.
Dayna: I totally control my business. Now I delegate to good people. As you grow, you must learn to delegate to good people and I do that a lot. That was probably the hardest thing for me to learn to do was to relinquish that control because I am such a control freak and I do want control of my business, but I've found good people and I've been able to relinquish some of that. But when you control your business and the people you hire and what's going on and you keep up with your finances and your marketing, your promotion and everything, and you're organized with all of it, then you control your creativity. You can go off and have these crazy ideas and try these new things.
Allison: Well, and that's what you're doing because you continue to grow, and that's what people who listen to our show and see it go, "You don't just stop at a book or a store. You keep going like your daily success tips." Those darn tips - there's one that I love, it said, "No matter what happens, you've got to be fluid with your day."
Dayna: Oh, you have to.
Allison: Because everything will change, your day will go to crap, and just hold on to one thing that you want to do, and do you honestly know as a mom with three kids, that's my mantra now. Every day I will pick out one thing. But in that daily success tip, which is emailed all across your membership base, right, it's all about you at the bottom too. You've got advertisements about your books, what you're doing, where you can find out about you speaking at a corporate event.
Dayna: You've got to be. If you're going to be successful, you've got to be able - I say the beginning of my speech, this is what I always, "The very first step to being a rock star is believing you're a rock star. Once you believe you're a rock star, then you can convince everybody else." You know, back to the story I just told. Once you believe you're a typist, then you can convince everybody else. You have to believe. In fact Gene says, Gene Simmons once said, "Life is too short to have anything but delusional notions about your self." That's the first step is you have to believe, and you have to be able to tell people what it is you do and then let them know why they need you, and help other people.
Allison: You probably had no idea that day you took that last cigarette, which you have a picture, of on your radio, the last cig, you probably had no idea you would grow and all the things that you'd accomplish.
Dayna: Oh, and I feel like I'm already half-way through. There's so many other things I want to do. Somebody asked me the other day, "What's your next big thing?" And I said --
Allison: Tell us.
Dayna: either taking 101 Ways to Rock your World and turning it into a series, which I've had people say, "I wish you had one for teenagers. I wish you had one for college students. I wish you had one -" - so we're doing one for golfers, teachers, college students, teenagers, smart girls. We've got several in the works. It's either that or get a better golf handicap, which I'm really, really sorry to say, I discovered that stupid game three years ago, and it's still a stupid game but --
Allison: But you're addicted to it.
Dayna: I'm addicted to it. I'm not any better but I attempt a couple of times a week to get better.
Allison: Well, Dayna, we'll be watching you.
Dayna: Well, thank you.
Allison: It's amazing. Thank you for being with us today.
Dayna: Thank you.
Allison: That is it. That's our interview with Dayna Steele, and this is the Businessmakers Show, heard on the radio and seen online at thebusinessmakers.com.