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James Swanwick of Swanwick Sleep is an Australian-American investor, entrepreneur, speaker, former SportsCenter anchor on ESPN and podcast host.
He’s the CEO of Swanwick Sleep and creator of blue-light blocking glasses Swannies, which help people sleep better. He’s also the author of The 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge, which helps people reduce or quit alcohol.
Forbes listed James as one of 25 Professional Networking Experts to Watch in 2015. He’s interviewed celebrities including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, George Clooney and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
James is also the host of The James Swanwick Show and has been interviewed on podcasts including Art of Charm as well as news sites including Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Psychology Today and Yahoo Health. He’s also been on the TV show Live with Kelly.
In this podcast episode, James shares how he got his product in the hands of celebrities such as Rihanna. He shares a smart roadmap to timing your product launches. We also discuss why wearing blue-light blocking glasses will transform your sleep.The sooner you can put out a secondary product to complement your first product the better your business will be. - James Swanwick Click To Tweet
In This Episode of the Start Fierce Business Podcast:
- James shares how he turned an idea from a napkin at a bar into a six-figure a month business.
- He talks about the factors that affect your sleep and what you can do to get better quality sleep. (Spoiler: Even brushing your teeth with the lights on affects your sleep!)
- He shares when and how to launch products that complement your initial product offering and increase your profits.
- James also tells us how he got celebrities from Game of Thrones actors to Rihanna and Chris Rock to use his product. And how he was able to score pictures of these celebs wearing his product.
- We discuss how James got a dream job of being an ESPN sports anchor, but left it behind for entrepreneurship and barely made $20k a year for two years after he quit.
- He also shares how after 2 years of very low income he made a major breakthrough which resulted in $10k a month in revenue, to now six-figures in revenue per month.
James’s Favorite Online App:
(Some of the links listed below are affiliate links, and I will receive compensation for you signing up for service using my links.)
Mentioned in this Episode:
- Managing Oneself by Peter F. Drucker
- Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
- Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Charles T. Munger
Reach Out to James:
- James’ Website: JamesSwanwick.com
- The 30 Day no Alcohol Challenge
- James’ Personal Instagram: @JamesSwanwick
- Business Instagram: @sleep
Note: Transcripts are created automatically and are not 100% accurate. However, they help our visitors find relevant content using our website’s search feature.
Welcome to the show, James. Cindy Thank you for having me. Great to be here. It’s great to have you tell me about yourself outside of your business. Well, I’m from Australia, grew up in Brisbane, on the east coast of Australia. I got a job as a newspaper reporter right out of high school for about six years. And then I moved to London, England, where I was a sports journalist for about four years. And then I made a big mistake. I fell in love with a British woman who broke my heart and I was like, I gotta get out of this country to escape my heartache. And I got on a plane for Los Angeles, California, and I just ended up staying. I’ve been there pretty much
ever since. It’s been 14 years now. I’ve been in in the US and in that time, I’ve started a few businesses. I’ve lost one business
became a TV hosts hosting sports in or on ESPN fell in love again and got my heart broken again
there’s a recurring theme here
and now I’m now I’m I guess you could say I’m I’m a pretty much a digital nomad in the sense that I run to online businesses.
One of them I help people sleep better. The other one I help social drinkers quit alcohol for 30 days and I run those businesses well while traveling around the world. For example, I was in Uber in Bali in Indonesia last week, and now I’m in sorry, then I was in Mexico a couple days ago, and now I’m in San Diego, California, where I’m speaking to you. Okay, well, tell me more about those businesses and how you got started with them. Yeah, well, the first one I started was the 30 day no alcohol challenge. And I was always just a social drinker I never drank to access or at least not a lot and then
I just quit drinking and. And initially it was going to be for 30 days. And in 30 days, I lost 13 pounds. I my skin got better. I slept better, the quality of my relationships improved. And then I just kept on going. And I haven’t drunk since. And over the years, people asked me about it. They were like, Is it true that you don’t drink? And I’m not. Yeah. And so I one day about three years ago, I just sat down with a friend of mine and I said, I think I should create a program that helps social drinkers quit alcohol, and I got a napkin from the bar admittedly I was in a bar but I wasn’t drinking but I got a napkin and I just sketched out how I would create this online program and and essentially that’s what it is now. You can find it at 30 day no alcohol challenge calm and when people sign up. I send them a video every day for 30 days. Just teaching them how to not drink that day. What to say to friends who are encouraging you to drink some some alcohol some not.
alcoholic drinks drinks you can drink. And then members also go into a Facebook group where there’s a really engaged on community and we do some live calls where people can ask questions and it’s a really positive fun kind of community and you know people people pay to be in it and it’s a really nice little online business. So that was the first business and then later on I created a sleep company and I created these these stylish blue light blocking glasses that I call Swan ease my last name is Swanwick and so the nickname kind of stuck Swan ease and you wear these blue light blocking glasses about an hour before you go to sleep each night and you wear them while you’re staring at your cell phone or on the computer or watching TV to block out the artificial blue light from screens which can disrupt your your sleep patterns and yeah I started it two years ago we did a million dollars in sales on on Amazon in just over 12.
month and and then we’ve we’ve increased the sales from there and we’ve released a sleeping mask which was voted the world’s best high end sleeping mask. It’s 100% pure silk. We’ve released some other products. And my brother, my youngest brother Tristan, and I created that company together and I run it while traveling the world. And Tristan runs it from a from a Brisbane Australia office. He likes to stay in one place. Let me ask you a question. Cindy. How How do you what are your sleep patterns? Like? Like, how would you describe your sleep really bad? Like so I put lavender on my pillow and I put on like thunderstorm sounds Mm hmm. To go to sleep. But I know sometimes especially when I’m busy looking at my phone and thinking about business and stuff. I just don’t get any sleep because I have so many ideas and I just don’t get any sleep sometimes.
Yeah, yeah, that’s pretty common. And and so tell me what you do in the last hour before you go to sleep. What? What are you actually doing in that last 60 minutes before sleep? And sometimes I’m watching TV or I’m on the phone and I usually check my email at least one time before I go to bed. Yeah. So if I if there was a rating of five stars, I would give you not even one star for your sleep routine.
So So do you know what you’re doing wrong? Or would you like me to tell you You can tell me I know it’s this. The screens is a big part of it. Yeah. So every time that you stare at a screen, whether it’s your cell phone or a TV screen or your computer you are exposing yourself to artificial blue light which tricks your body and your brain into thinking that it’s daytime now when your body thinks it’s daytime it does not produce melatonin and Melatonin is the
hormone that helps you sleep. We’re all addicted to our devices, right? So every time you stare every time you lie in bed, scrolling through your phone, every time you sit on your sofa at nighttime watching TV, every time you brush your teeth with the bathroom light on and that light is hitting your eyes,
you are preventing your body from producing the amount of melatonin that it wants to produce. And that can show up as you either having trouble falling asleep or you toss and turn and the night you’re a bit restless in the night. Or even if you get seven or eight hours sleep you wake up still feeling lethargic and tired. And a lot of times it’s because you’ve just been staring into too much light at night. So wearing these blue light blocking glasses, the glasses we call Swamis, but that orange lens repels the blue light which means you can continue watching TV you can continue working on your computer you can continue
continue scrolling through your phone while wearing the glasses but also be producing melatonin and ultimately you will sleep considerably better later on and wake up feeling nice and refreshing. Makes sense. Yeah definitely one of the things that we’ve actually found is that I found as a business owner is that when people buy the glosses that is terrific but but because we have other products like the award winning sleep mass and 100% pure silk and then we have
a earbuds as well so not a bad
yeah yeah yeah but it’s you know, the ones that you stick in that that that get rid of the noise when you can sell those supplemental products your business can really start increasing so when we started you know, obviously we just had one product and one idea but it but as soon as we introduced other products, like the sleeping mask and then created a sleep bundle where you get the the glasses and the mask and the end
You know that the sales as a business owner started to increase exponentially and we were able to help more people and more people got the benefit of all of our products and then that increases revenues which increases profits. So just from a business sense if anyone’s listening has it has a business the sooner that you can put out a secondary product that complements the first product, the better that the business of your business will be. So how soon after you launch the glasses? Did you add the secondary or the complimentary products? Yeah, it was about four months in and as it just as a as a rough guide. I think releasing a second product three months after launching the first is about right so so launch with one product, get anything you can and if you’re launching on Amazon and you’re selling a physical product, you want to spend three months really getting reviews, getting customers testing the price, you know, just making a few mistakes, talking to customers getting free.
back. And then once you’ve kind of dialed that in, and you’re and you’re off to the races with that first product, and then I think releasing a secondary product is a great idea. And then you just rinse and repeat. You do the same thing that worked with the first product with the second product. And then you know, let’s just say that that goes well also then wait another three months and then release another product. I think that’s a pretty you know, releasing a new product every three months is not a hard and fast rule. But I think it’s a good it’s a good guide. So I see that you have a lot of high profile people wearing your products. How were you able to get them in their hands? Yeah, well, some of those people include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Game of Thrones actors, there’s a there’s a British actor called Alfie Allen who plays the character thi on great joy or Reek in Game of Thrones, the HBO series anyone who’s listening who watches that show will know who I’m talking about. And then Rianna and Chris
Rock. And then in the health space, we’ve got Ben Greenfield, who’s obviously a pretty big, big health guy, and, you know,
some other big health enthusiasts, the answer the question really is, because I’ve been living in Hollywood, in Los Angeles, I tend to go to events where I run into these kind of movie stars, I guess, if you’d like. And I always take two pairs of glasses with me, one that I always wear, okay. And then when I keep in my pocket, and then whenever I talk to these, these celebrities, they always asked me about the glasses. And so I always go, Oh, I got another pair here, here, try these on and then I say, oh, let’s take a photo or a video and that’s it. Really, then I get the photo and then and then I’m, you know, I’m able to share that on social media and people go Wow, that’s amazing. Look at that. And that just creates some what I call authority bias. And authority bias is kind of like, you know, a cognitive bias that makes people consciously and subconsciously think are you know, this is something that’s worth paying attention to, and then with health people health personalities.
A lot of it really is, you know because I’ve had that product the 30 day no alcohol challenge that I was talking about I move in that world you know I go to health conferences I I’ve been to the bulletproof conference in Pasadena California for example I’ve exhibited at the Paleo FX conference in Austin Texas I go to the to the natural products Expo
in in in Anaheim, California. You just meet a lot of health personalities when you’re in those environments and people ask about the glasses maybe you give them a pic complimentary, they start posting about it on the social media. Just putting myself in a pool of people who I would just naturally navigate naturally warm to my product has really helped us you know, get photos and and and share those photos and imagery, you know, on our side and on our social media. Well, when did you know that you were an entrepreneur I was always the person who had a job.
And I had jobs right up until I was in my late 30s. I’m 42. Now as we’re recording this, and I had a job as a sports center anchor on ESPN and Sports Center is a is a nightly sports show pretty iconic in the US. And ESPN is course one of the biggest sports cable shows out there. And I had a job and it was great and I was paid handsomely. But there was this little voice inside of my head, which was I want to be an entrepreneur and I wanted I wanted to determine how much money I get paid. And I don’t want to have to answer to a boss and I don’t want to have to be in an office at the time that my boss tells me that I have to be in and I want to create my own my own hours. And so in 2012 when I was 37 I ended up quitting my cool job hosting a TV show at sports center at ESPN and I decided to go and try and be an online
entrepreneur and to be honest with you, Cindy, I really struggled for two years I I was a man who was 3738 years old. And I barely earned more than $20,000
a year in both in both of those years. And as a man approaching 40 is it felt pretty soul destroying, to be honest with you,
you know, you want to be able to provide for family, you want to feel like you, you can go out there and hunt and create resources. And, and there were time there were dark times where I was like, Did I do the right thing. I gave up this, you know, six figure, well paid job, but I just kept I kept going and I kept trying, kept failing, keep trying things. And then finally I paid for coaching. I paid a business coach a lot of money to mentor me and within three months I’d made a breakthrough and I was able to push past that and then you know, make $10,000
a month and then sit and then ultimately
We start my 30 day no alcohol challenge program and then start wanting sleep business. And now you know, we’re doing six figures a month in in those businesses. So I think the turning point for me was deciding to do it and taking action and then ultimately hiring a paid coach, which really gave me the big breakthroughs. So aside from not wanting to work for someone else, and aside from your family, what’s your WHY? Yeah, well, my wife really is wanting to do what I want, when I want with who I want, how I want. And then the secondary to that is to provide for my future family. I’m not married and have children but I intend to be and so the money that I make and that I invest is all with my future offspring in mind. That’s what drives me Well, what drives me is providing for a family
and then also ultimate freedom and
ultimate freedom to me means the choice the choice to, to, you know, two weeks ago be in Bali in Indonesia. And then the choice to be able to go to an entrepreneurial mastermind in in Mexico. And then the choice to just come to San Diego where I am now where I’m actually staying with a friend of mine who also does my Facebook ads management. And then the choice to fly to Austin, Texas this Thursday to go and meet a friend of mine, a fellow entrepreneur called Ryan Moran. And then the choice to go to a relationship seminar back in Long Beach next Monday, where I’m going to be working on intimacy and trying to, to have me open up a lot more and have more intimate conversations both with women and with and with, you know, platonic relationships and friends and colleagues, family and then the choice after that to go and do a landmark forum conference in Los Angeles where I’m going to, you know, set goals
So my life and and create what is really possible for my life and then then the choice to go to go and visit my mother in Brisbane, Australia in in March if I if I want, which I will probably do so. So I guess it’s it’s it’s it’s creating wealth for my future family and it’s also creating choices now here’s the thing that most people will say most people will say I want to help people Mm hmm. And that’s true. I do want to help people. But I actually I only want to help people. Third, that’s my third priority. And I want to be totally honest about that. Because I hear people say all the time all I just want to help people and that’s why I do this. That’s actually my third reason. So yes, I do want to do that.
But first, I’m going to take care of care of me. And then after that, my my motivation is to help to help others. Yeah, definitely. You can’t give out if you’re not totally there, right? That’s right. If you could have lunch with one
Business thought leader who would it be? If this is I’ll tell you who it would be. But it’s not that he’s not necessarily a business thought leader. Although he is a very, very astute business person. And it is the the rock star Jon Bon Jovi. I was a massive Bon Jovi fan when I was a young kid growing up in Australia. The first concert I ever went to, was that the Brisbane entertainment center in 1987, you know, Bon Jovi was singing living on a prayer living on a prayer was like the number one song in the world at the time. And I’ve just followed Jon Bon Jovi over 30 years and watched him create a business empire with Bon Jovi. It’s not just a rock group, it’s like a real massive organization. He got married to his childhood sweetheart Dorothea, he has four children and he gives to charities. He and his wife have created this restaurant called soul kitchen out in New Jersey, where people who can’t afford to eat can eat for free, so
long as they then
volunteer to do the dishes or something else, and people who can afford to eat will pay whatever they think is appropriate. There’s no prices on the menu you know, he’s he’s been on former president of the United States, Barack Obama’s Council on in terms of charities and health and social issues. And I really admire him as a business owner. And he also owned an arena football team. He attempted to own an NFL team, the Buffalo Bills, but he ultimately wasn’t successful in that I would love to sit down with him and pick his brain about his business acumen. But also you know, how he balances his business life with his family life because from what I can see, he has a very happy successful marriage has been married for 30 years to the same woman and he has great children he’s healthy he looks terrific and he runs you know, very successful Corporation So that to me, you know, my
My idea of him and what he’s created is the perfect balance of business acumen and happiness in family life. What’s your favorite business book I think managing oneself by Peter f Drucker is terrific. And it’s only a very small book. And you can read it in about half an hour, 40 minutes. Peter Drucker is considered the greatest business advisor or coach, if you like in history, the book managing oneself is terrific. I’ll throw in another couple, if I may. There’s a book called never eat alone by Keith for Ozzy, which is all around making contacts and connections and networking if you like. And then I think probably the greatest business book ever written is a book called poor Charlie’s Almanac by Charlie Munger, who is the business partner of Warren Buffett considered the greatest investor of all time and both of them own the company Berkshire Hathaway which is, you know, one of the most successful companies of all time as well. Thank you all.
So my list I haven’t heard of any of those. Well, just a warning. Portuguese Almanac is a very big heavy book with big, big pictures and everything. So it I think it costs like 100 and something dollars. One of the one of those easy books but it’s terrific and and I go to Omaha, Nebraska every year to watch the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting to watch those to speak. And they’re both in their 90s. Now I think, well, maybe I know, Charlie Munger isn’t these nannies and Warren Buffett is and he’s at so I would get I would get out there quickly if he if he couldn’t hear them speak. What’s your favorite internet resource or app that just makes your life easier? I like slack for communicating with my staff. We used to do things on WhatsApp and I still do things on WhatsApp. But that got messy for all the communication going back and forth with stuff. So we use slack now. And that’s just a good way to communicate with different team members. Yeah, we use slack. I love it. It’s so
essential if you have a remote team and where can listeners find you online What are your websites and where can we find you on social media so Swanwick sleep a dot com is the is the place where you can learn about the dangers of blue light. And you know if you’re interested get a pair of Swan ease, blue light blocking glasses. My the way you spell that is Swanwick sleep. So it’s swa n w IC k sleep dot com. My last name is pronounced Swanwick, but it’s actually spelled Swanwick on Instagram you can follow us at sleep because we own the app sleep handle on Instagram and also at one week sleep and then for me personally You can also follow me at at James Swanwick and also James Swan calm and if you’d like to join our our 30 day, no alcohol challenge community and just quit drinking for 30 days and do it in a really fun way. We can help you if you just
Go to to 30 day no alcohol challenge dot com Okay awesome James thank you so much for sharing your story with us today thank you so much for having me Cindy I really appreciate it.
Cindy Rodriguez is the host of the Start Fierce Business Podcast. When she’s not interviewing awesome entrepreneurs, she’s working on growing her startup, going to Disney World with her daughter, or reading a book.