All About Steve Harrison
The fact that you clicked on this page tells me you’re curious to know a little more about me. I’m honored! Here are some of the most common questions people ask me.
What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
I enjoy writing, speaking, consulting, learning and leading my team as we train people to share their message with as many people as possible.
The thing I love most is that I get to use my creativity to help an extraordinary group of people change other peoples’ lives. I am delighted when I receive emails and phone calls from authors, experts and entrepreneurs thanking me for helping them achieve an important milestone. It might be landing their first national media appearance, finishing their manuscript or making their book a bestseller.
I get a real thrill when people tell me that I’ve helped them make their dream come true. And then, when I realize that I’m helping them help thousands – maybe millions of people – well… it’s all pretty mind-blowing to think about.
What kind of work did you do before you got into this?
I grew up in Westchester County, New York, just 17 miles north of Manhattan. One of my very first jobs was working as a freelance writer for the Gannett Newspaper chain. I reported on local high school sports and absolutely loved it. It was there I learned the basics of good journalism, including how to write in AP style as well as the five basics of any good story: who, what, where, when and why.
The summer before college, I worked for a legal publication, then off I went to be an English Major at Davidson College outside of Charlotte, North Carolina.
During the summers, I worked for a very successful publishing company before graduating in 1987, ready to take on the world.
How did you enter the field of helping authors, experts and entrepreneurs promote themselves and their messages?
When I graduated from college, I was madly in love with a girl I’d met there. She happened to live in the Philadelphia area. My brother, Bill, had graduated from Haverford College and was living in a little 2-bedroom apartment. He was launching a magazine that was designed to let radio and TV producers know about authors and experts they could interview. I figured I’d help him out for a few months while I dated my girlfriend, to figure out whether or not there was a future.
You know what? Turns out there was a future in both. Laura became my wife, and we’ll celebrate 25 years of marriage in September 2014, and Bill and I have been working together ever since.
Back in those days, we had no money and no staff. It was literally launched off the kitchen table. If we didn’t bring in sales, we didn’t eat. But it was great fun too.
What is the magazine called and how does it work?
It’s called Radio-TV Interview Report (RTIR), and while it began as a printed magazine, we still publish it online today. It’s been called “the bible of the industry” by producers looking for guests.
The e-magazine consists of paid write-ups for potential guests. I discovered early on that when I wrote the author’s copy, they got a lot more interviews than when they wrote their own. That’s because I learned which headlines or “hooks” tended to grab the media. Word of mouth traveled fast as our clients received dozens of interviews without having to do any work.
There were a lot of thrills along the way. I’ll never forget the day we sat down and watched one of our guests who’d been booked right from our magazine to appear on Oprah. When Oprah introduced her, she read the opening paragraph of our write-up, word for word!
It’s been really gratifying to help unknown authors become massively famous. When Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen contacted us, their credit cards were maxed out, but they were committed to investing in their future and in doing as many interviews as possible. Today, almost everyone has heard of their Chicken Soup for the Soul book series which has sold over 500 million copies.
When Robert Kiyosaki’s wife called my office, she had 3,000 copies of Rich Dad Poor Dad sitting in her garage. They had self-published the book and wasted a lot of money with a PR firm which got them almost nothing. As a result of our efforts, Robert was booked on radio talk shows around the country – exposure that led to Rich Dad Poor Dad becoming a New York Times bestseller.
The fact that many bestselling authors and successful experts give me a lot of credit for helping them become well-known feels great, but I also learned a lot from them. Very early on I noticed the authors and experts who got the most publicity and made the most money approached the whole “author/expert game” differently than the rest.
What do you think separates the bestselling authors and most successful entrepreneurs from everyone else?
Well, obviously, you need to have a compelling message or book. But the fact is that just gets you on the starting line so you can enter the race. Bestselling authors and top experts/speakers have learned to feel comfortable promoting themselves month after month, year-after year. They’re open to outside-the-box ideas and set up their business so they have other income streams outside of their book (products, programs, speaking, seminars, and consulting). So when someone hears them on the radio, they can generate more revenue than simply $12 for a book. They might get $1,000+ for a seminar … $3,000 for a speech … $10,000+ for consulting … etc. I also noticed the most successful authors and experts are committed to learning how to market themselves, whereas the unsuccessful ones feel marketing themselves is somehow beneath them or distasteful.
In 2001, I began offering seminars, coaching programs and virtual trainings to help people build a successful career around their information and expertise. And I love it.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I love watching my daughter dance. She’s now 14 and I’m getting a little teary as I write this, thinking about it how I used to dance the Nutcracker with her in the living room when she was three. Now she looks like an absolute pro on the stage. She’s also an excellent athlete. She floats across the soccer field and scores!
I really enjoy playing tennis. My father took me to the U.S. Open when I was a kid. I saw most of the greats play: Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, Chris Evert, and John McEnroe. Although I didn’t play much in high school, I took it up again about 15 years ago. I recently fulfilled one of my bucket list goals of actually winning a tennis tournament. I’m between a 4.0 and 4.5 player, if that means anything to you.
Every other Tuesday I run a small men’s group at my church. We’ve been meeting for 20 years! Can you believe that? I’m now 48 years old and it’s been a wonderful experience to be part of that kind of fellowship.
I also love sitting with my wife and chatting over a good cup of coffee on a Sunday morning or reading The New York Times even though I can get it on my mobile device (I like to actually feel the paper anyway). I love getting calls and emails from my boys and watching them grow up from afar. And I love singing in the shower when no one else is home.
Every Sunday, my wife Laura and I love watching the Philadelphia Eagles, as long as we can convince ourselves they actually have a chance to win.
Getting together with friends for coffee or breakfast is also a favorite. I’m fortunate to have a few very close friends. Plus, my parents live about 15 minutes away. But I find that if I don’t actually schedule a time on my calendar to get together with them, I miss the chance to catch up. Do you notice that too?
What are your pet peeves?
Dishonesty, even in small things.
Politicians who want to grandstand but don’t want to reach across the aisle to solve real problems.
People who complain about their life or a situation, but don’t take responsibility for their part in the problem or potential solution.
When I’m in a restaurant, I can’t stand it when waiters try to give you the worst table in the house. I’m usually super-friendly and talkative to them, but I don’t like it when they just interrupt my conversation with someone and blurt out the specials. Can’t they wait five seconds for a pause in the conversation?
People who are intolerant – they’re often the ones who talk so much about tolerance.
I also hate taking out the trash. It’s such an interruption to have to remember it. Can’t someone invent some sort of robot-timed garbage can that goes out there automatically? But, I love making my wife happy … so I do it without complaint (please don’t tell her I’m complaining here).
Tell us about your family… feel free to brag a little.
I married my best friend. Laura and I are really lucky to have found each other. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, once said one of the questions he’d ask before picking a wife was, “Is she smart enough to be able to figure out how to get me out of a Turkish prison?” Well, I can confidently say that Laura could. She’s very smart. She could be running companies if she wanted to, but instead, she’s committed herself to run the Harrison household, 24/7. She does it with lot of love and laughter. She and I love going for walks together, eating out, traveling, and yelling at the TV during Philadelphia Eagles games (see above).
I told you a little about my daughter in the question above. She’s the only one left at home nowadays. My two older boys (ages 20 and 19) are in college. They’re loving college life and they both are excellent musicians. My oldest son just came out with his first album. And my middle son is getting straight A’s as a computer science major.
What’s it like to work with your brother?
It has been one of the great blessings of my life. Although I tend to be the “front man” for our business, without him, there simply would not be a business. I tend to be “Mr. Outside” and he is “Mr. Inside.” Bill is a brilliant strategist, voracious learner, and a person of high integrity and quiet generosity. Neither one of us has much of a temper, so we get along quite well. And there’s a wealth of trust there.
We’ve always put our relationship as brothers ahead of the business. Another reason we work so well together is we respect each other’s talents and insights. We’re also mutually committed to serving our customers. When we have a disagreement, we’re usually able to talk it out passionately and honestly without the other one feeling personally attacked.
What are some things about you that hardly anyone else knows?
When I was growing up, I wanted to be a pro football player. I was super serious about it. I played for the #7 ranked Pop Warner Football Team in the nation. But alas, the other boys grew much bigger, and by high school, I decided to run cross country and track instead. I became a league champion runner, but always wished I could have been bigger and stronger to play big-time college or pro football.
My parents are great people. They’re both in good health and they live 15 minutes away.
One of my earliest jobs was digging graves in a cemetery.
I set the jump-rope record in my high school when I was in 9th grade. I can’t remember the exact number, but it was 516 or something like that.
Before entering college, I saw an ad in Runners World. It was a photo of the Paris Marathon. I promised myself that I would go to France during my junior year and run the marathon under three hours. I did: 2 hours 44 minutes.
I have begun a collection of autographed tennis memorabilia. I have a ball signed by Jimmy Connors and a shoe autographed by former #1 ranked Jennifer Capriati.
My grandfather is 102 years old and still in good health.
Sometimes when I’m speaking in public about something I’m passionate about (my kids, my clients, etc.) I start to tear up. My staff gets a little embarrassed. People tell me they appreciate my authenticity, but the truth is, I myself get a little embarrassed when my emotions get the best of me.
I love Shakespeare and Derek Jacobi is my favorite actor of all time. Rent his Hamlet on Netflix and prepare to be amazed. I actually met him in person.
I have one leg longer than the other. If you ever meet me in person, you’ll notice that my right shoe has an extra half-inch added to the sole. No one seems to notice or mention it – except my wife who calls me “Gimpy.”
I’m a HUGE fan of Christina Aguilera, Air Supply, and Barry Manilow. If you think that’s weird, then you my friend need to stop being such as musical snob. Seriously, I love a good voice and a good melody even if it’s just a “silly love song.”
I enjoy reading Puritan Poetry and listening to Led Zeppelin (but NEVER at the same time).
When I first saw Les Miserables, I told Laura at intermission, “Not only is this the best thing I’ve ever seen, it is the best thing I ever will see.” Now more than 25 years later, that statement has proven true. It took me a while, but I’ve also become a big Steven Sondheim fan.
I LOVE my iPhone and my Mac Book Pro, but I am seriously worried that the company won’t be nearly as good ten years from now without Steve Jobs.
My staff often gets stressed out because they say I wait until the last minute to do things. They’re right. But it’s hard to change.
Little things I’m working on improving about myself:
See the last comment about how I sometimes drive my staff nuts.
Saying “no” more often.
I’m trying to slow down and actually talk more to my neighbors rather than being in such a rush to go here and go there.
Drink more water, eat more vegetables, and get up earlier.
What are some of your favorite places in the world and in the Philly area?
- Santa Barbara, CA – especially when we have our Retreat meetings at Jack Canfield’s house
- New York City
- Mohonk Mountain House Retreat in Upstate New York
- Jesuit Spiritual Center in Wernersville, PA
- Ocean City, NJ
- Wrightsville Beach, NC
- Asheville, NC
- Ft. Lauderdale, FL
- Valencia, Spain
- Florence, Italy
- Paris and London, of course
What are the strongest convictions that you hold?
Hmmm… that’s a dangerous question… but here goes…
BELIEF #1: As a Christian, I believe that the most important thing in life I can try to do is to love and serve God with all of my heart, soul and mind and to love others as myself. The problem is, I often fall short of that standard every day. I don’t always live my life in a way that God wants me to. I’m often too self-centered, proud, uncaring or rebellious. But I believe in, and have personally experienced His unconditional love and forgiveness. By His grace, He is slowly changing me into the man he wants me to be.
BELIEF #2: I can learn a lot of valuable lessons – spiritual and otherwise — from people who do not share my faith. Many of them are already my close friends, employees, and clients. ☺
BELIEF #3: Marketing and selling are good things, provided that you offer something that’s valuable and you do so with honesty and a sincere desire to love and serve your audience.
BELIEF #4: Don’t tie your self worth with your performance. You are not your results. If you just had a big win, great. Don’t let it go to your head. If you just had a loss, that doesn’t mean you’re a loser. Stop comparing yourself to other people. Focus on using your gifts, doing your best, and serving other people. And make sure you have a lot of laughs along the way.
Anyway, I hope the above gives you some insight into what makes me tick!