“I was making great money,” Michler informed me. “But I felt like something was missing. I believed there were opportunities to assist guys. And that is when I began.”
What he began was Order of Man, a website, podcast, Facebook group, and paid membership to help men become better fiscal stewards, better fathers and husbands, and better leaders.
I talked recently with Michler on establishing the company and growing the community, among other subjects. What follows is our whole audio conversation and a transcript, edited for length and clarity.
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Eric Bandholz: Inform us yourself.
Ryan Michler: I am the creator of Order of Man, which is a company centered around giving guys the resources, discussions, frameworks, and tools to be more competent. We’re helping men step up in their own families, their businesses, their communities — where it is they are showing up. We found in 2015.
Until recently, I had been doing all roles, from podcast host to editor to site developer to social media man. But over the last year, I have attempted to bring in other folks who are better equipped to manage that stuff. It frees up my time to concentrate on the ideas and the vision and the direction — all of the higher-level thinking. I don’t have workers, but I do have many contractors who handle various jobs, such as podcast editing, social media articles, YouTube videos, things like this.
And I have a rather sizable crew that helps me manage our electronic membership known as the Iron Council. We have team leaders — a community manager, an event planner. I have tried to outsource plenty of stuff. It’s been a fantastic change. Challenging but good.
Bandholz: What is driving earnings?
Michler: the principal revenue source is that the Iron Council. We have over 500 members. I started that a little more than four years ago with one educational class. That class developed and turned into this electronic fraternity. But then we’ve got guys asking for product or shirts or hats. The shop now generates 10 to 15 percent of our earnings. Roughly 70 percent is from memberships to the Iron Council. And then we provide one-on-one classes and two to four live events annually.
Bandholz: What about sponsorships in your podcast?
Michler: Yes, I do this, but it is not a material revenue generator. I don’t concentrate on it. I would much rather share what we have available .
Bandholz: Can you market your podcast to push listeners?
Michler: I have never seriously advertised. The most I have ever done is fostering Facebook and Instagram posts. Our biggest social media station is our closed Facebook group with approximately 68,000 members. So between the podcast and that group, we create a whole lot of awareness and excitement about what we’re doing.
Bandholz: Is your Facebook group free?
Michler: Yes. It’s free of charge, exclusively for men. And all they have to do is request access. We’ve got a few minor barriers to be certain that these are guys that are motivated to contribute in a meaningful manner. And then we would have a moderator team which retains all participants concentrated.
Bandholz: Talk about what it takes to construct a successful Facebook group.
Michler: The difficulty was not in the first days, surprisingly. When it was 500 men or a million men or even 5,000 men, it was a lot simpler to manage than today. There are a good deal of negative attitudes. The discussions quite often escape hand. There is some disrespect and rash and crude behavior. We eliminate those people. However, if members have a healthy, respectful debate, by all means let us do it.
We do not allow posting of memes from the group. We minimize the self-promotional stuff. You can not share links to your sites and programs. We need respectful, meaningful discussions.
Bandholz: Let us go back to the first days, five decades back. Can it be a side hustle for you ?
Michler: It was. I began in March 2015. I possessed a financial planning practice . I was making great money, but I felt like something was missing. So I started a podcast for this financial planning practice. It was known as”Wealth Anatomy.” It was geared towards providing financial advice for medical professionals. And I realized I like podcasting.
I believed there were opportunities here in order to help men. And that is when I began. I moved about seven months or so before I left my very first dollar. Originally, I was going to get ads on the site and the podcast. However, I realized quickly that I did not have the audience. And I am glad it worked out that way. At approximately seven months, my wife and I had a conversation. She said,”I appreciate that you are doing this Purchase of Man thing, but you are not making any money, and it is detracting from your clinic, which is taking away from family income. So you should probably scale back or perhaps find a way to earn a little money doing it.”
And I told her something like, “Well, I’m not scaling back. If anything, I am doubling down on this thing.” I had listened to a podcast, which suggested making a program. I am like,”Perfect. I’ll do a program.” I released it in about October or November of 2015. It was called the Iron Council. It was available for 12 guys. That’s it. And over 12 months we were planning to talk six topics. We had a weekly phone call, a mission per subject, and a personal Facebook group — all focused on the Iron Council membership.
I charged $100 for it and sold out instantly. I didn’t know what to do . So that month, October, November, we left $1,200. And two-thirds of the way through, the men are asking,”What are we doing after this is over?” I had not even thought about it. I had my earnings from the financial planning practice. But I decided to start up the Iron Council and turn it into a membership. And we ramped up that to about a hundred members, fairly quickly, when we opened it up in the start of 2016.
And it’s been on fire ever since. I ended up selling my financial planning practice. This is all I have done for the past few decades or so.
Bandholz: The podcast and the team are a huge catalyst for building your community. You also wrote a book, “Sovereignty: The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Men.” Can you speak about that?
Michler: I wrote the book as another medium to receive my message out to folks who would not hear it through the podcast or be in the Facebook group. It was access to a whole new set of guys. Individuals who read books are motivated, ambitious, and want to learn and develop. However, the thing that I did not understand in writing the book is that it helped me crystallize and solidify my message.
Additionally, it gave me an additional level of credibility with my community.