You went into your business as a way to help and support other people. So many of the clients I work with have started their business from a personal passion, and a desire to make a positive change in peoples’ lives.
Today’s episode is different from any other episode I’ve done before. You may not recognize our guest, but he’s a master at online content. I discovered Paul Churchill last summer through his Recovery Elevator podcast. It was right around when I started my health journey and started toying with quitting drinking.
In this interview, we talk about the moment when Paul realized that the podcast was so much more than an accountability tool—it was a way to help others and, eventually, to grow a business. I invited Paul onto the podcast to share that your passion CAN become a business.
As you’re listening, I would love to have you listen with the lens of…what’s your passion? Have you built a business around it? Because your audience is waiting for it!
Mentioned in This Episode
Café RE: Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the setup fee
Alcohol is SH!T
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
Johann Hari Ted Talks
“Rat Park” Experiment
Episode 61: Take Care of Yourself and Your Business with Allison Jordan
Client Journey Ebook
The Content Mastery Lab
About Paul Churchill
In 2006, Paul Churchill moved to Granada Spain where he purchased a bar. In the following three years he became dependent on alcohol, blacking out close to 7 nights per week. In 2009, Paul walked away from the bar hoping a geographical cure would curtail the drinking but continued to drink for another 5 years.
In February 2015 Paul launched the Recovery Elevator podcast as an accountability tool to stay sober. Today, it’s been over 5 years since Paul had his last drink of Alcohol and the podcast has surpassed 5 million downloads, and evolved into a private membership community with over 1,300 members from all over the world.
Paul is the author of the best-selling book Alcohol is SH!T, has delivered two TEDx talks, was a featured speaker at My Brave in Los Angeles, and plans to continue eradicating the stigma surrounding alcohol and addiction.
Follow Recovery Elevator on Instagram and Facebook.
Abby Herman 0:08
Hey there and welcome to Episode 130 of The Content Experiment podcast, a podcast that supports the idea that content and marketing are ever moving targets in any business. And it’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re doing it. All right all of the time, you have permission to experiment with a little tweaks and changes in your content, to find out what works for you, what increases value for your audience, and what grows, your business and most importantly, what feels good for you. I’m Abby Herman, a content strategist and coach for online business owners who are ready to make a bigger impact online. I firmly believe that success isn’t about what big marketing brands and so called gurus think is the right thing. It’s about you and your business, your lifestyle, and frankly, your values and belief systems, you get to do business in a way that works for you. Now, today’s episode is different from any other episode I’ve done before. And I’m so excited to bring it to you. You may not recognize our guest, but I can tell you that he is a master at online content.
Abby Herman 1:13
I discovered Paul Churchill last summer through his recovery elevator podcast. It was right around when I started my health journey, which I talked about in Episode 61 with Alison Jordan, and I started toying with quitting drinking. And I want to say up front that this episode does touch on and talk about addiction and substance abuse. So if that’s going to be a trigger for you, you might want to skip today’s episode. So Paul started his podcast in 2015, as a way to hold himself publicly accountable for not drinking, he really put himself out there in such a big way, with really the only goal being to not drink, and guess what it worked. And it proved to be so much more as well. In this interview, we talked about the moment when Paul realized that his podcast was so much more than a kind of an accountability tool. It was a way to help others and eventually to grow a business. I invited Paul on to the podcast to share that your passion can become a business. It takes a really powerful message and a boatload of consistency. But it can happen. Up until now, this episode, this podcast has been all about creating content and marketing your business, a lot of how tos and best practices. But I really wanted to spotlight someone who has seen success in the way they create content for their business.
Abby Herman 2:40
And I want to keep doing that. So if you know someone who has done something really amazing with content, please reach out and let me know. Paul didn’t know when he started his podcast that he was building a business, but it happened. And now his podcast and business is going strong. But he’s no longer the voice of the podcast, which I find really interesting. He’s firmly in the CEO and visionary role, at least as of this recording. And he talks a little bit about that during the interview. And the amount of content created by Paul’s team is absolutely incredible. As a member of his community, I’m floored by what they’re doing and how many lives they’re changing. So many of the clients I work with both in my membership and one to one have a similar passion to change lives. They go into business as a way to help and support other people using their passions using their unique gifts. At the same time, I think a lot of people hold themselves back because they don’t think that their passion can carry over to someone else. That’s just not true. And I think today’s episode proves that. As you’re listening in, I would love to have you listen with the lens of what’s your passion? have you built a business around it? Do you dream of building a business around a passion that you have? Our guest Paul Churchill gives so many great examples of tools and resources that he has used over the years.
Abby Herman 4:10
Paul shares in this episode how he is niched down the importance of story how it was a blessing when Chelsea Handler canceled on him why Trust has a big seat at the table and so much more. selfishly, I also had to outcome what’s next for recovery elevator and cafe Ari, which is his online community, because as a member of the community, I’m excited about the possibilities he has. And he did turn the tables on me to ask me a few questions about my own journey because I shared a milestone with him right before we hit record. Now before we get into the interview, I’m going to tell you a little more about Paul Churchill. In 2006, Paul moved to Granada, Spain where he purchased a bar. In the following three years he became dependent on alcohol blacking out close to seven nights per week in 2000. Nine Paul walked away from the bar hoping a geographical cure would curtail the drinking but he continued to drink for another five years. In February 2015, Paul launched the recovery elevator podcast as an accountability tool to stay sober. today. It’s been over five years since Paul had his last drink of alcohol. And I actually imagined that it’s been longer than that. And the podcast has surpassed 5 million downloads. The recovery elevator podcast is in the 97th percentile of all podcasts on iTunes has been downloaded in all 50 states and over 145 countries. The recovery elevator podcast has evolved into a private membership community with over 1300 members from all over the world. Paul has spoken to 1000s of students about alcohol awareness across the country. Along with putting on alcohol free well wellness retreats and seminars across the country, he hosts sober travel itineraries across the globe. Policy author of the best selling book alcohol is shit has delivered to it TEDx talks, was featured a featured speaker at my brave in Los Angeles and plans to continue eradicating the stigma surrounding alcohol and addiction. I am so excited to bring you this conversation.
Abby Herman 6:17
Hey, Paul, thanks so much for joining me. Yeah, it’s great to be here with you. Yes, I am really excited to have this conversation because it is so different from the right the other conversations that I’ve had on the podcast up to this point. And I already introduced you and gave a little background about how this is going to be different. But I would love to have you share with the audience, what you do and who you do it for sure.
Paul Churchill 6:43
Yeah. And Abby, thanks for having me. It’s good to be here with you. So my name is Paul Churchill and I have the project called recovery elevator and it started in 2015. On February 25, every Monday, I was a podcast host for the recovery elevator. And that was geared towards helping me actually selfishly to quit drinking, I recognized that I needed some extra accountability when it came to quit drinking. So in 2014, I said, dang it, I love podcasts, I need to I need to try something a little outside of my comfort zone, actually real far out my comfort zone, started a podcast, I hosted it for 277 straight Mondays, and I cover a topic and then I interview somebody else. And then last June, I took a break. And season three is coming up this June. And we want to keep it under wraps. So if I’m coming back, we’re on the mic or not. But for sure I’ve been creating content since then. And we also do in person retreats. That was difficult with COVID, as you can imagine, but we’re ramping back up in August. We do alcohol free trips. We were in Thailand, Cambodia, right before the pandemic hit. We do online courses. And that’s what we do now. So we’ll see and that keeps me busy now, but we got a great host name Odette Kressler. She’s filling in for me. And she’s rocking the mic. Yeah.
Abby Herman 7:55
Awesome. I love it. And I think I found you through doing a podcast search. I think I found recovery elevator through that. I’ve talked a little bit on the podcast before about my journey and quitting drinking. And the podcast itself has been really valuable. I love listening to other people’s stories and, and hearing their journeys through the process. I wanted to have you on the podcast
Paul Churchill 8:20
because weighing on Abby, I’m gonna interject there real quick. I want to I want to let listeners know of the content experiment that Abby had a big day yesterday, that was seven months of consecutive alcohol free time. And I just I don’t know if she’s mentioned that milestone to you guys. But I just want to recognize that that’s a big milestone, and I’m gonna ask a question right now, how do you how do you feel the in seven months alcohol free? Is that okay? Can I do that? Yeah, sure, sure.
Abby Herman 8:46
I feel fantastic. I actually just did a podcast interview right before this, and someone who I know in real life as well. And so she’s seen me in person. And so like, she can just tell like the difference in my skin and my I’ve lost weight. I just feel fantastic and never want to go back to the way I felt before.
Paul Churchill 9:06
Oh, one more thing before I hand the reins back over is any alcohol free date? I think in 2020 or during the pandemic, looking back is going to be those those big time ones right there. Because when you had all the reasons to not quit drinking and say, You know what, I’m gonna deal with this after the pandemic. You didn’t. And seven months ago, yeah, you did it. You’re doing the work. So awesome job. And and thanks for having me. All right, you’re out.
Abby Herman 9:29
Yeah, thank you. Well, and I should mention, too, that and I talked about this before I hit record that I’ve had clients and business friends who have reached out to me since I first talked about this on the podcast. I talked about it last fall briefly when I talked about my health journey. And then I also talked about it at the end of December as well. And so I’ve had several people reach out and ask me about my journey. And yeah, I’m always happy to share so if anybody wants to know more, they can definitely contact me. So thank you. without mentioning that, so I wanted to have you on the podcast because you started your own podcast, you started this whole content journey, because creating a podcast is content that you’re putting out there as a form of accountability to not drink. And that has grown into a business that’s grown into a membership that you have you have in person retreats. Would you mind sharing that journey? And what that has looked like? I mean, when did you At what point in the podcast experience that you had? Did you realize this is something more than just me? And I don’t mean just but this is something more than than me holding myself accountable. This is something that is beneficial to others and can help others as well? Sure.
Paul Churchill 10:51
Yeah, great question. Let’s unpack that for a bit. I think. I think around Episode 10. I had I had a pretty big Oh, shit moment. And oh, shit. Mama going Oh, crap. People are listening. Oh, what have I? Oh, no. Because Abby, to tell you the truth. I thought it was gonna be me, myself, my brother, my mom and dad listening. And as long as I stayed away from drinking, that was totally cool with me. In fact, I got my first email from a listener, I think you have maybe four or five episodes in and I was too afraid to open it. I thought it was gonna be criticism. Yeah, there’s a stigma around addiction. I was too afraid to open it. I was. And I opened it up and they said, great job or what? Like, keep going, you’re inspiring me. And so about 10 episodes in I started was getting emails and again, I was like, Oh, no, what have I done? And for the first three months, Abby, I kid you not I had trouble going to sleep at night. Because every night after I launched my biggest, deepest, darkest secret to iTunes. I would say to myself, What have I done?
Paul Churchill 11:54
But, but I was I was staying sober. Right? I was I was remaining alcohol free, which was the number one goal of why I did it. And I think around Episode 70, or 80 was when I got like a sponsorship nibble. And I didn’t make any money on the podcast in terms of sponsorship. So I think like early hundreds, and this is a weekly podcast, and that’s the cadence. So you do the math there. It’s like two years of doing it without without seeing any revenue. But to me, it didn’t matter. Because that was that was on the back burner. And I’ll be honest with the Abbey, I’m an entrepreneur, I’ve had businesses before in the past, I built it, knowing or hoping that down the road that Yeah, perhaps this could turn into something, but I just didn’t care. I was in such a rough spot in my life in 2014. The thought of building a business or anything like that was just too much pressure, like screw that. I just knew I had to do something different. I knew that getting sober was extremely difficult for me. And I’m your average Joe. So if it was hard for me, it’s hard for others. So I said, There’s got to be an easier way to No, I don’t want to say easier way.
Paul Churchill 13:01
But like if I if there’s a way that I can do this to help others that don’t necessarily fully resonate with a and I do go to a still like there’s nothing wrong with that program. But there’s a lot of people who are looking for their content. Plus, we’re in 2021 there’s just so many ways that content has changed. And the way the online communities conform and look these days with zoom and that pandemic, my goodness, Abby, but let’s back it up a little bit the name of this whole game with the content and people who are hoping to do an online endeavor a business or a project. And if you want to make money doing your online business in the health and fitness world no problem go for it. There’s there’s like a stigma in the recovery world to make money doing recovery. It’s like wait a second, a meetings are free on my wrist? Well, I usually don’t i don’t engage in any of that stuff. I say, well, they’re not free. Every time I go, I put $1 or two in the basket cheapskate if they’re free. But it’s there’s nothing wrong with that if anybody wants to make money in the recovery world, or the nutrition world or the exercise world, it’s all the health and fitness world is it’s not a problem. But the name of the game is content and consistency. And I’ve had, you know I did podcasters paradise with I think is john Lee Dumas. That’s how I learned how to podcast and I found the community helpful. But what I found that if your goal is to start a podcast to make money and do an online business, I can tell you right now 78 ways that are a hell of a lot faster and better to make money. It’s just not it’s not like a an overnight thing.
Paul Churchill 14:30
And so a lot of the people in my cohort, my accountability partner, they fizzled out after like 15 to 30 episodes just because they haven’t quite seen the return on their time or what they thought it was going to look like. The days of quick podcasting are gone. However, I do still feel the future is very bright for podcasting. And even though Gosh, I read there’s almost 2 million podcasts out there 1,750,000 that there’s still so much green space in podcasting, mostly because cuz of the niche, like if so if I made a pot, so right now the podcast helping those who are trying to quit drinking, and you can niche down and then you niche down again and niche down again. And with that, if I tried to reach everybody who was trying to quit quit drinking, I wouldn’t hit anybody. So I really took some time to, to focus on my listener, and my listener is somebody who this is like a blanket statement. It’s somebody who hasn’t yet been doing a meeting, they haven’t quite burned the ships yet, knowing what that means is they haven’t quite told anybody in their life, most likely, their significant other, their spouse doesn’t know that they wake up in the morning, usually on a Saturday or Sunday morning and go, Oh, crap, like, I think the gig is up. But they are the first person to admit it. So it’s really when they begin their journey. I that’s that’s who I imagined I was talking to for my first 20 episodes. And that’s actually what I was talking to. I mean, we I like narrowed it down a little bit more. But with this content, and I think it’s uniform across the board. If I were to take my podcast and say, You know what, I’m only going to talk to males. I’m only going to talk to guys named Paul. And I’m only going to talk to guys named Paul who have a standard poodle named Ben who also live in Montana or Colorado, I would actually have a more engaged audience and I think I’d have you maybe even more listeners you never get like, I think you understand the point that I’m trying to make, right, Abby?
Abby Herman 16:21
Yes. Yeah, absolutely. So you talked about that moment, that Oh, crap moment where people were actually listening. How did you realize that people were listening? Because they were emailing you? How did you get past that? self consciousness? The, the, you know, stigma of I’m putting myself out there? How did you get past that to really start to because you’re the format of the podcast has changed over time, too. So the very beginning episodes is you talking? I think you have I can’t remember, maybe your first interview is pretty early on. I don’t recall off the top of my head. But you know, you you’ve kind of shifted a little bit. And now of course, you have a completely you’ve got someone else who’s hosting the podcast, but it is hard to put yourself out there. It’s hard to create content, it’s hard to, you know, make yourself vulnerable. Is there anything that you did to like help you get past that so that you felt more comfortable with podcasting in general? The hobby? Here’s the secret. I don’t care what other people think about me. Oh, I love that. You know, like, I’m kidding. Well, okay. That’s a good attitude.
Paul Churchill 17:33
thing, Abbi, I’m straight blind you because if I said that, I wish I could say that with 100% sincerity. But it’s it’s completely out of line with how we’re wired as humans is because we are wired we are pack creatures. And we are no different than all the other animals you see, in nature. We are nature and we are social animals that are pack animals we run with the herd. And when we are not in the community, we don’t survive, right. And so we are wired to care what other people think about us, no matter how thick of skin we have, and how big of bravado we want to talk about but I will tell you that Ari has been the best teacher that I’ve ever had in in and I like we’ve it’s like a 95 to 5% ratio that 95% of the comments we get our Yeah, keep going great job it’s helped me out but you have 5% it’s been really challenging and and as I mentioned, this project has been a great teacher there’s a big people pleaser side of me, there’s a big codependency side of me when I get those emails, like, the first year I was like, I quit, I’m done. Where’s the nearest desk table bed comforter that I added can hide under. They suck to read, they always do.
Paul Churchill 18:41
But you can start to clump them and say, all right, I got 19 emails, as I said this and one email that said that, is there something that I can pull out of this? You know, maybe in our arena, maybe the person’s drinking when they sent that out in our arena? There’s a lot of deflection. Well, it’s it’s I can’t get sober. It’s got to be this Paul guy. I mean, like I have ruined people’s lives before according to emails that I have received. And it’s not true. Like I haven’t. Right. And you know, Teddy Roosevelt has a quote and I had this printed out and taped on my wall for a long time and I can’t recite it right now. But it’s about is it Teddy Roosevelt, I’m gonna feel like an idiot right now. But it’s about being in the ring. And all for sure take criticism from people who are in the ring as well. But for people who are sitting up there in the stands, if you say whatever they want, yeah, like I’ll get it I’ll read it maybe and but don’t quite put as much stock into that and, and this is where I got to grow in my life right? To Abby, I don’t like receiving emails that aren’t that aren’t nice, right? But that’s just that’s part of it. And it’s, it’s like I’m consciously choosing. I’m consciously choosing this challenge began. It’s also extremely rewarding to because I mentioned we get emails, long emails of how people’s lives were in rough shape, and they took one of our courses or they listen to a podcast.
Paul Churchill 19:59
What Ever, in the transformations on real, and so I really wouldn’t change a thing. Number one, I’m saying that because I can’t really don’t point to even think about that. But yeah, like it gets, it gets easier each time. And I even heard Joe Rogan on one of his podcast, talk about putting yourself out there. And occasionally you get this rogue email from someone, and it hurts, it does. But you get you get back on track faster each time, and it doesn’t quite naki off your stool like it used to. And also I recognize I’m out on this journey. It’s it’s less about the story. It’s less about me upsetting someone or something like that. It’s more about that email is illuminating where there’s a lack of consciousness in my body. And most likely, in this space, it’s going to be your solar plexus or your chest area. That’s where we feel that anxiety, once I realize this, my goodness, like I’ll get that, I’ll get that triggering email. And I’ll go, oh, that sucked. And then I real quickly go to start breathing in circuitry, your breathing and awareness into that area. And I tell you what, I that’s been a, that’s been a game changer, it really has of getting out of the story. And recognizing the illusion of life and saying, Oh, this is illuminating areas of my life or my energy field where there’s a blockage, lack of energy flow, lack of awareness. And when I get out of the story, there’s some real recovery work can be done quick.
Abby Herman 21:24
Yeah. I love that. So in your journey of podcasting, where was the point where you realize that this was something bigger, where you realize that there were other ways that you could help and support people like the courses that you have, and the programs and the retreats? When did that come about in this whole process?
Paul Churchill 21:49
Gotcha. Great question, Abby. So I think this is, this is true all across the board is you know, you might have your own idea of where to take your project, your goal, your idea endeavor. You might even have a business plan. how I’ve been an entrepreneur for a while what I’ve learned is sometimes you gotta check that business plan out the door pretty quick. And if you don’t, you can almost get you’ve already pigeon holed yourself. Right. So it’s when listeners started to email me with recommendations, I everything recovery, all that is done. Yeah, I’ve steered it a little bit, but most of it is just from the community saying, Hey, we should go we should get a sober travel trip. Hey, like what about a Facebook community? Hey, what about this? And you know, Mike, Oh, all right, let’s, let’s, let’s try it out. And so, you right around episode like 50 or 60.
Paul Churchill 22:40
That’s when I recognize Okay, there’s, there’s something sustainable here. Something can be built here. I still didn’t have any of the the know how about like email lists and funnels, like I’ve been to those conferences and you hear the word funnels, and like half the crowds, like what? They’re, they’re hard, they’re hard to pull off because they’re really just like, not fun. There’s a lot of nitty gritty work. Everybody wants to outsource their content marketing and their funnels and but this is neat. Abby about 40 or 50 episodes in there was a gal named Chelsea Handler. Do you know who that is? Uh huh. Okay. Yeah, they were she was doing a Netflix series. And they were gonna come out to Bozeman, Montana and film one of our episodes in my condo. One of our whole episodes is going to be at recovery elevator. I was excited. Yeah, it was neat. Like, oh, finally Netflix the big time. And she canceled the week of or maybe 10 days leading up to it. And they had flights booked and everything, I believe, if I if I recall correctly, and I was really bummed. But looking back, Abby that would have tanked recovery all later, I just wasn’t ready for that type of growth.
Paul Churchill 23:48
As I mentioned with the circuitry inside my solar plexus wasn’t quite ready for those that the amount of emails are for that type of exposure. I mean, people in recovery are raw. avi and, and I feel addictions represent part of your personalities that are really out of balance. It doesn’t mean anything’s wrong with you are not genetically flawed. You know, we’re not we’re not messed up people with unscrupulous values. It these addictions are part of represent part of us where there’s a lot of fear, we’re scared. All right. And I’m so glad Chelsea Handler did not come to my condo, because my downloads would have gone up. And then I would have been too stressed out and I probably would have drank after I don’t know. And it’s as simple as like if they if she was supposed to come she would have and she wasn’t supposed to come. But to answer your question around like he may like Episode 50 to 75 is when I said all right. We got something here and at that time, I owned an adult sports business. This is like flag football, dodgeball, and for hockey, I had a wedding DJ business. We’re doing like 150 weddings this summer. And I had an arcade actually several arcades across the state of Montana and still Then for like two years it was this for a year there. My goodness, it was too busy. How’s that for businesses myself trying to stay sober? It was a lot. But I offloaded the three businesses.
Paul Churchill 25:11
And right now I’m doing just recovery all later. And it’s a great feeling. And I’ve got a team. And it’s also have, I’m not the best with, with with managing people and the visionary Abbey, and I imagine you are as well, like you can you can relate to this as a lot of content creators. Your creative people are visionaries, they see the big term project. But then once it comes to adding your first subcontractor or your first employee on Elance, or however you want to call it, it’s tough, you know, and I was a technician, which means that like, I can build it, and I can see it, but then managing the people and overseeing the people has been the hardest challenge, but the most rewarding as well. I think I think he Jesus had a quote that says, like, I alone can do nothing. And that’s so true with all these and especially in the recovery world, one dude named Paul is, yeah, I can, I can do a couple things. But if I can get enough people on the same page and work towards one common collective goal, we add sobriety, but really, it’s being our most authentic self, without an external substance. So we were going to alcohol, some really cool stuff can happen, especially the time right now, Abby, we just we’re going through a pandemic, right? It’s like, when are things gonna be normal, they’re never going back to normal. People people got toasted, this last year, they went through challenges they never thought they would go through in their lifetime.
Paul Churchill 26:35
People split the ages, it was so hard. And for a lot of people, including myself, right. And so I think that’s why I’m doing this. And that’s why I’m doing this for the people that need it. Because I was there the feeling of hopelessness that I had for like three months there in 2014. When I quit drinking, just it’s just all I got to think about that. And I go, all right. That’s why I’m doing that. Because the feel that hopelessness feeling with an addiction, it’s the worst feeling you’re ever going to feel in your entire life. And that’s what and that’s why I go back to it, to show others and to hopefully teach others that there is a there’s a different way. There’s a different way. Yeah.
Abby Herman 27:12
I totally agree with you about Chelsea Handler, you know, coming a year. So it sounds like it was about a year end. And you have to have things in place and ready. I’m a big believer in slow growth. And I mean, I’ve been full time in my business for eight years. And it’s been a really long process. And I think I said before we hit before we hit record that like I’m finally passed the blood, sweat and tears part where I’m not wondering where the next paycheck is coming from. But it’s a process. It’s a long process. And especially like you said, when you have team members, too, so you have team members, whether they’re contractors or employees, they like you feel a sense of responsibility for them, and for their paycheck that they’re counting on from you. And so it’s a lot, it’s a lot of stress. I can’t imagine doing that with multiple business, all at the same time. So kudos to you for that. So, you have transitioned in your business? I think it was was it in January of 2020. That you stepped away from the podcast and Odette stepped in to become the host. Is that is that right?
Paul Churchill 28:24
Yeah. About that summer. So June 2020. But with the announcement came in February,
Abby Herman 28:29
okay. Okay. So tell me about that. Because you were the visionary and are the visionary of the business. You started it, you started the you started the podcast, can you share the thought process behind stepping away from being the voice of the business and allowing somebody else to have that space? what that was like for you to let go of that control? And to let someone else take the reins on that? Yeah.
Paul Churchill 29:02
Okay. So I really didn’t have the consciousness to think about building a whole team and having them run it while I’m not on the podcast. So I’m still heavily involved. And while a dad has been on the podcast, Abby, I’ve been setting up the team have been really involved. In the back end with the courses. We have a new member coordinator. We have independent meetup coordinator. And we have a lot of people on the team now some volunteers, and we have about eight or nine paid staff members. And I didn’t quite have the circuitry or I’m an ideas guy. I’m a visionary guy, but like I said, the management part the day to day stuff. I got nothing sometimes. I mean, it’s it’s frustrating. In fact, there’s a book club book called I think it’s called the E myth revisited, which talks about, you got three types of people who run businesses, you have visionaries, you have the technician and you have the manager to find somebody that has all three of those skills. It’s basically impossible. And so if you’re a visionary You better hire a good manager, you just find you know what your strengths, make sure somebody, there’s for it for your weakness.
Paul Churchill 30:06
And so I was chatting with a debt about the ideas like, Well, you know, like, maybe if somebody could do the pie, and she is like, and that’s how that idea showed up. But you right with that came a lot of challenges. I had to learn how to give away control. It’s been my baby, you know? And what if, what if it wasn’t well received by the audience? Fortunately, it was. And that is an absolute Rockstar. But with that, yeah, I recognize that there was an internal voice, speaking louder and louder that I needed a break. And on this journey, there’s this gut wisdom, intuition that gets louder and louder. And on the journey before he quit drinking, that, that voice that intuition is gonna get louder and louder. Anyways, we tried to squash it with alcohol. But I was about five years into the podcast. And I was like, you know, things just things are a little stagnant right now on my end. And there’s other projects that I wanted to explore. And again, I didn’t quite have the consciousness is the word I’m using. But like the know how, or the experience, or haven’t quite navigated this yet, in any business, of handing it off while I go on a sabbatical or whatnot, but you just got to figure it out.
Paul Churchill 31:15
And all this stuff is a school of hard knocks, I went to, I went to major in business, school, and college. And all this stuff is just learning going through it. And if you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to fail, you want to fail fast. You want to learn from it. But fortunately, without debt, or the current podcast host, that was one of the smoothest transitions I’ve ever been part of which tells me it’s almost like the bread crumbs of the universe. It was like meant to be it was just part of it. It wasn’t that big. It wasn’t as big of a challenge as I thought and she’s done such a good job. And, and me, I think the biggest lesson out of that is trusting other people that they could deliver the same goal and vision that I wanted to. And guess what, some of their ideas were better than my ideas. I go figure, Abby, that doesn’t work that way. I’m kidding. Yeah, it’s just been so it’s been fun to open up. And and have other people helped me on this journey. Because you know, five heads are better than 110 is better than you get the point. Right. So as I said earlier, recovery, all that has been the best teacher I could have ever asked for it, it keeps taking me down these pathways of tremendous growth, and for that I’m very thankful for.
Abby Herman 32:23
So talk to me about some of the other content that you have out there. So you have you’ve got courses and programs, you have a an amazing, multiple Facebook communities, because I know that you’re committed to keeping the group small so that people can connect, you have regular meetings, sometimes like three and four meetings a day. Can you share a little bit about how you structured or how your team structured those meetings, and that other content that you have out there, specifically the Facebook groups and the daily meetings that you guys have like the community chats and things like that?
Paul Churchill 33:04
Yeah, great question, Abby. And so there’s a TED talk by Ted Talk by Johann Hari. And the takeaway is the opposite of addiction is connection, I fully believe, fully believe that we are so disconnected, we’re reaching for an external substance for internal wholeness, to feel happiness, join us all that stuff. Okay, so what I set out to start, and us as a team, our number one goal is to create a safe container non judgmental, private, unsearchable place where people can move the energy of the addiction. And what I mean by that is they can talk, they can connect with others in a safe environment. Not everybody is a big fan of Facebook, and I’ve got my own issues too. But Facebook is closed, private groups are a really good way to do this. And I wish we had one group, but we don’t actually it’s okay, we don’t. But there’s a law of 150 that I kind of accidentally stumbled upon. Were the human brain, it has to do with the way our neurons fire. We can only make deep, sustainable connections with 150 human beings. This isn’t new technology. hutterite colonies and Amish colonies, they split that 150 there’s there’s human colonies have known this for 1000s of years that wants you at that 150 range, you just you split, right.
Paul Churchill 34:18
So our groups are capped at about 300 to 350. And you say, wait a second, that’s not 150? Well, about half of our members aren’t active, they just read the posts. So that still takes us back down to around the 150 range. Yeah, so we keep our groups around three to 350 to keep that the intimacy within, right. And then we have about I think it’s about 60 to 90 chats per month, which is so cool. I think that’s the best part, the cafe membership. And again, we try not to let those to go over 30 to 40. And some of our meetings we have men’s meetings that are like nine to 12 guys. And so we really what we try to do at our in person events, as well as put people in a container Yeah, where there’s a group but we also split them off. into smaller areas as well. So that’s the content, or the container that we’re trying to create where Yeah, we’re casting a large net, but it’s the individual that has to feel okay, this is a safe place, I can talk to this person without judgment. I’ve been holding this secret in called a drinking problem for way too long. It’s bursting at the seams out. It is. You get people in these in these groups, and more specifically at our events, and like three hours into our events. It’s day one, but it’s like day five. At another event, we just build these relationships so fast, because we have such such as a strong thing in common, which is the drinking problem.
Abby Herman 35:39
Paul Churchill 35:40
I love it.
Abby Herman 35:41
So what do you see coming next for Recovery Elevator and your content and your growth? Is there any kind of teaser you can give us or something that you’re thinking of that you might want to try and do differently than what you’re doing right now?
Paul Churchill 35:59
Yeah, sure. I can talk how much time we have. I’m a visionary. Like I said, Abby, things out here and don’t hold hold it to me if it doesn’t work. That’s just how it goes. Right? Yeah, I’m gonna, I’m gonna shoot for the moon. If I if I hit the, if I come close, great. If not, who cares? We tried. There’s Yeah, there’s a couple things. The short term, we’ve for cafe or groups, I think group five on the horizon, perhaps this July. I’m loving her online courses. We got restore this July. And it was January July with that one more long term is I’m still looking at retreat centers, I looked at several in Costa Rica. And it’s this hemisphere that I want to do actually put an offer in on a retreat center in Costa Rica fell through in the financing component. There’s part of there’s like a certification program that I’m toying with, that’s probably the next three to five years where we do our own type of coaching, like inner coaching, right.
Paul Churchill 36:53
And again, I don’t think the sponsorship sponsorship program of AIA needs to be reworked. It’s just a different, it’s a different vein of that, right? There’s just so many ways to do things with technology these days. And I think even further down the road, is is a real life rat Park experiment. And what that is, is, it’s the environment that creates the addiction. And addiction is not genetic. I will, I’m a firm believer that scientists have yet to find the addiction gene. I do feel that most of our Western illnesses today are environmental, including, including addictions. They are adaptations, they are learned behaviors in certain environments, and plenty of experiments, and Bruce Alexander in the 70s, notably with the rat Park experiment, as you can check that out. But I want to I perhaps want to create a community where where we test this theory out in real life, right? It’s not just a bunch of rats in a cage, I guess I can say it right now to give listeners context is, if you put a rat in a cage, with water, and water with water with a drug, cocaine is what they did at least the water with cocaine, and it’s just by itself, it’s only a matter of time before the lone rat will overdose and die.
Paul Churchill 38:00
But if you put that rat in a larger cage, with the same water supplies, you get water, and you get water laced with cocaine. But also in this cage, you have other rats, you have companions, you have friendship, you have mates, you have wheels, you have toys, you have containers and the fun passageways to walk through that the rats don’t even touch Well, actually, they will. Some of them will touch the water with cocaine, but they never go back or they do not become dependent on it, right. And rats, dopamine systems are very similar to dopamine systems in human beings. In fact, several organisms in nature are there, a lot of our dopamine systems are almost identical. And so what that’s showing is, is this the environment, and Bruce Bruce, Bruce Lipton with epigenetics, again, there’s a really cool division of medicine. That’s, that’s, that’s coming to the front, right? Because a lot of the Western medicine is just curing or no, no, no, not curing, it’s treating symptoms, it’s not carrying the source at all. And so that’s something down at the pipeline that I want to try is a real life community with the CFO.
Paul Churchill 39:03
Yeah, if the environment does create the addiction or not, and But back to the short term, I’m the visionary all over the place. I do love her in person events, happy. There’s some things that I want to do with sound healing, but more of more of electronic music. I’ve been working a lot with that. And essentially, in this break, I’ve learned logic learned Ableton have learned these electronic music software’s and I think our live music, our live events are gonna be heavy with a live music. We’re gonna do a meditation but with a meditation music perform live. So a lot of fun work we can do moving energies in a room and expelling and purging energy in a group format that are sober travel trips or alcohol free trips across the globe. I’m really excited for those two are going to Costa Rica in 2022. A lot of this stuff is on hold with COVID. But just timing wasn’t right last year, so hopefully it’s better this year.
Abby Herman 39:55
Well, yeah, it just gives you more time to plan more time to to envision The future. Yeah. So thank you so much for being here and for saying yes to this interview, I was really excited to talk about this and just the unique way that you have used content to and turn it into a business. If someone is interested in finding out more about cafe RV or recovery elevator, where can they go to find you?
Paul Churchill 40:25
Yeah, Abby, its recovery elevator.com. And then Instagram at recovery auditor, we’ve got a lot of promos and a lot of info on Instagram, recommend that one. But those are the best ways to do it. And the private community is called cafe airy, like you said. And we also have events that are open for anybody.
Abby Herman 40:43
Yeah. Awesome. Yeah.
Paul Churchill 40:47
Thank you so much, Abby, great job. I’ve interviewed a lot of people on my own podcast, and you’re really skilled at this. And it was really fun chatting with you. Thank you.
Abby Herman 40:55
Pretty amazing story and journey, right? I know that there are listeners out there with a passion who are afraid to speak out or who think that no one is listening. Paul’s story is proof that they are open that email that a follower sent you put your passion out to the world. Sure, we want a need to make money in our businesses, but it takes time. Sometimes it takes a lot of time. And sometimes we don’t even know that we’re building a business when we start, probably especially if we start creating content as a passion or personal accountability. But if you keep your mind open, you never know what might happen. Now if you are ready to start experimenting with content and marketing in your own business without having to do all the guesswork yourself. You can join us inside content mastery lab at thecontentexperiment.com/lab and use the coupon code podcast to get your first month for $1 Pricing starts at just $97 A month after that is the place to go to get support in starting to grow your content. If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram stories. You can tag me @thecontentexperiment or tag Paul @recoveryelevator. The more you share it the more we can get the podcast into the hands of more business owners just like you who need to hear the message that they are not alone. Until next time, take care.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai