This Episode is brought to you by
Steve McGuinness, Founder and CEO of Setco for the Outback-Grill and Energy Seal
From a young age, Steve McGuinness has been founding companies – three in college alone. And despite some ups and downs (sometimes with disappointing business partners), he went on to found a successful roof coating company for which he developed innovative products.
But his curiosity about the world and drive to push himself to new heights has caused him to do even more.
In the past two decades, he’s climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, completed full Ironman’s, jumped out of planes and started an acting career. “I call doing Ironman’s my midlife crisis,” laughs McGuinness, who also has a pilot’s license, snow skis, kayaks and scuba dives.
And the middle-aged entrepreneur isn’t done yet. He’s launched another passion project: a portable grill for outdoor enthusiasts inspired by how bonfires naturally attract people to congregate around their warm flames.
“Since I was a kid, I’ve always camped and loved to hike. I did a lot of backpacking in college and when I had kids, we did a lot of family camping,” McGuinness says. “I wanted to create a product that would create these warm memories for people and be incredibly versatile.”
The Woodstock, Georgia resident created a grill that is light, adjustable and adaptable, and portable for car camping and RV travelers: The Outback Grill Explorer 300. It also can serve as a firepit.
The entrepreneur believes that while it’s important to go “full throttle, it’s even more important to know how to slow down, sharing food and fellowship around the campfire.”
As CEO and founder of Outback Grills, the undertaking has had its own share of adventures, including travel to China to find a manufacturer and creating a niche in the world of grills.
“It’s definitely David vs. Goliath. I’m up against some major, major names. From production to the website, strategy research and start-up capital, it’s been a big undertaking.”
But training for Ironman races has inspired him to go the distance with his business endeavors.
“The Ironman triathlon and climbing Kilimanjaro pushes you beyond what you think you can do and that inspires me. And it transfers over to business – to be able to endure things that you thought you’d never be able to endure and keep going.”
The Explorer 300 burns any kind of fuel, from hardwood logs to lump charcoal. It’s sturdy and portable with 300-square inches of cooking surface. Telescoping legs means people can put it at a comfortable height and the adjustable grill surface means outdoor chefs can control the heat of the grill. And it only weighs 22 pounds, while being sturdy and well crafted.
Steve McGuinness is available for interviews about his inspired journey, can-do attitude, and the Explorer 300.
Anna Teal, Author and Owner of Aphasia Readers
Aphasia Readers is book series developed by a husband and wife team who realized a need for simple readers with adult-themed content to help practice reading aloud as a form of speech therapy for those with aphasia and apraxia. Each book was thoughtfully designed with a spiral-bound construction for easy page-turning for those with a weaker side. There are icons and visual support throughout the book to help with word retrieval. The illustrations are done in calming colors to help keep the mind at ease while practicing. Our first book has six sessions for scalable practice (practice as much or little as you desire). We also included customizable sections to build on practice sessions. Each session included dialogue relevant to everyday issues that a reader may encounter in real life, making it easy to recall those phrases in everyday life outside of practice times. A portion of the proceeds from each book set goes back into supporting aphasia awareness.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Speaker1: [00:00:07] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Woodstock, Georgia. It’s time for Cherokee Business Radio. Now here’s your host.
Speaker2: [00:00:23] Welcome to another exciting and informative edition of Cherokee Business RadioX Stone Payton here with you this morning. And today’s episode is brought to you, in part by Alma Coffey, sustainably grown, veteran owned and direct trade, which of course means from seed to cup, there are no middlemen. Please go check them out at my alma coffee JD.com and go visit their Roastery Cafe at thirty four point forty eight Holly Springs Parkway in Canton. As for Harry or the brains of the outfit Letitia and tell them that stone, since you, you guys are in for such a treat today, a little bit later in the broadcast, we are going to welcome back to the Business RadioX microphone. Miss Anna Teal. She’s got a completely new and different project. She’s here to talk about, excited to get caught up on her work and learn all about that. But first up on Cherokee Business Radio, please join me in welcoming to the broadcast with outback grills. Mr. Steve McGinnis. How are you, man?
Speaker3: [00:01:25] I’m doing great. Great. Thanks for having me today.
Speaker2: [00:01:27] Well, despite the fact that we let you in the lobby for, you know, half hour there as we were visiting about Hannah’s new project before we came on here, we are delighted to have you on the on the show. Outback grills give us a little bit of an overview of that, that business and how you’re trying to help folks, man.
Speaker3: [00:01:44] Sure, sure. It’s a portable grill that can burn hardwood logs, lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes. It’s portable. It has adjustable legs so you can sit it down and use it as a fire pit or raise the legs up. Put the cooking grate on top. You can cook on it steaks, burgers, whatever you want.
Speaker2: [00:02:07] Well, it sounds marvelous to me as many of our listeners know and certainly are one in this room knows by now because we spoke for five minutes. I love to hunt and fish. I love the outdoors. I’m not near the the athlete or outdoorsman that you apparently are. We’ll learn more about that in a moment. But no, I find this whole idea attractive. The portability, because I hunt in different places. In fact, we’re dark after this episode through Thanksgiving because I’m headed down to Northwest Florida and I’m thinking, maybe I should have an outdoor grill in the back of the truck right next to a case of natty lights, right? Absolutely. Show up prepared. So, yeah, talk a little bit about your background, if you will, and maybe within that. What prompted you to create a product in a market that I would think, you know, there’s already some activity in this sector, right?
Speaker3: [00:02:57] Yeah, I’m learning that the hard way I got the idea years, 25 years ago, I went on a trip to South Africa selling another. My day job is roof coatings, so I had a distributor in South Africa and they have barbecues very similar to ours. But they call it a Bri’s and it’s more of the event. The cooking is the event, whereas here in the states, you’ve got a guy on the back porch flipping burgers. The other guys are watching the game on TV and then women are in the kitchen drinking wine. But in South Africa, everybody came to the braai, everybody came to the cooking feature and it was very relaxing, very fun in the sense that you got to to interact and talk with the people who you’re having the barbecue with. And I brought that idea back, and I try to explain it to my friends and they all said, Well, just don’t get it. It’s just a barbecue. So I worked with with a CAD drawing company, and we’ve designed the cad drawing for the grill. I had a couple of prototypes manufactured and shared the prototypes. My friends are like, Are now I get it. And it’s just not the grille on the back porch. You could take it with you car camping RV to the beach, tailgating. And once we had the CAD drawings drawn up and the prototypes made, I actually applied for a patent and got a U.S. patent on the design. Yeah, that was that was kind of a neat adventure.
Speaker2: [00:04:25] So what made it patentable? Is that a word in a patentable patent worthy? Yeah. Well, it
Speaker3: [00:04:33] Had some features that other products on the market they don’t have. It has telescoping legs. So again, you can raise it and lower it. Yeah, it has a cooking grate that also can be raised and lowered above the flames. And what’s really cool is when you’re finished with it, you take the legs off, you close them down, you put them under the cooking grate and then you can carry the grill like a briefcase. Oh, sweet. It’s about it’s about twenty two pounds, about 18, 18 and a half inches across. So it’s not really large. Yeah, and it’s not overly cumbersome to to work with.
Speaker2: [00:05:10] Now this is not your first entrepreneurial rodeo. Yeah, you have an entrepreneurial background.
Speaker3: [00:05:17] Yeah, yeah. Some people call it a bent, so. Yeah, I’ve I’ve always been into business. I mean, when I was 13 years old, the only thing I wanted for Christmas was a file cabinet. Yeah, just to organize things. I know it’s really weird. I think back and I still think it’s weird. But when I was in college, I started three companies and that’s where I think I really got the taste for. It is, you know, once again, I get out of high school and into college. You’re making big, big boy decisions. And I really enjoyed the three companies I made, and I’ve kind of always had that mean going forward. Four or five years ago, I was in St Thomas with my family. We were diving and the Dove Master had his little plastic PVC tube with like bibs in it, and she would rattle this tube to get your attention underwater. Well, I was always down on the reef out in front of everybody, and it sounded like coral rolling across the bottom of the ocean, so I never really heard her shake that. So when I got back, I said, he’s got to be a better way of communicating on the water. And I came up with a product called the Dove Cricket. And basically, it’s when I was a kid, we had toys that mimicked crickets. You know, you push the metal tab and release it and make two tones. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, I found something in a different market, in a different industry and repackaged it and relabeled it. And now I sell it as a Dove Cricket underwater communication. So that was, yeah, that was fun. That’s really cool.
Speaker1: [00:06:58] As a fellow diver, I can appreciate that. Do you
Speaker3: [00:07:00] Guys? Yes, we’re going to. We’re going to Key West for Thanksgiving. So I think about that.
Speaker2: [00:07:06] That’s awesome. So and now roofing coatings, roof coating.
Speaker3: [00:07:11] This is my day job. I’ve been in the roof coating business for almost 30 years. It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years. Basically, the liquid applied coatings that’ll make a roof waterproof and reflect about 90 percent of the heat from the sun. So they’re very energy efficient. Yeah, primarily used on commercial and industrial roofs. And that that’s that’s taken me around the world, I had distributors literally in 16 different countries. So that was that was a big adventure.
Speaker2: [00:07:40] Wow. So let’s go back to this to this grill. You can see the idea and then you get the CAD drawings. Or maybe I’ve got the sequence wrong when you’re when you’re launching something like this. I mean, it’s all beautiful. You’ve got to go to his website. Is it outback grills, outback dash grills, dot com
Speaker3: [00:07:57] Outback dash grills?
Speaker2: [00:07:59] I mean, it’s cool. It’s got video, it’s got explanations. It’s got I mean, they’ve got a great guarantee. The whole, the whole bit. It’s beautiful down. It all look so easy, right? Oh yeah, of course I could have done that, right? No, that’s what it looks like when you see the finished product like that. Tell us a little bit about the process, what was going on in your mind and sequence. Did you put a lot of energy and thought into the marketing side of things? Or was it more on the production? What was it like getting a product to market?
Speaker3: [00:08:29] Yeah, it was. It was a much bigger lift than I thought it was going to be. Once we had the design and a prototype manufactured, then I had to find an actual manufacturer. And I searched a number of fabricators here in the states, and I just couldn’t find anybody who would who would manufacture it. So I had to go offshore. So that was that was an adventure. I found the manufacturer through a outfit is based in Texas and they have an agent in China in this guy. This company, they partner U.S. manufactures with Chinese production facilities. So in essence, I have a guy in country that Swatch watches out for our interest, but finding him and making sure that fit worked. Then he identified three potential manufacturers. We settled on one, and then I went over to China and met him toward the facility. Fascinating. It was absolutely fascinating.
Speaker2: [00:09:32] And then so did you know early on what your marketing channels were going to be? Is that still evolving for you? And I mean, if Cabello’s or whoever approaches you, you’re open to a conversation or absolutely.
Speaker3: [00:09:46] Well, when I got the first prototype, I took it to Cabello’s. I talked to the store manager. I said, Look, I don’t want to sell you anything. I don’t. I just want your opinion. And I brought the gorilla and I set it up. I said, Could this live on your shelf? He goes, I’ve never seen anything like it. Absolutely. This is great. He brought three or four other managers in and they looked at it and they thought it was wonderful. So right now we’re developing, excuse me, the product through social media. We have a Facebook presence, Instagram. We have a website. And I’ve learned that bricks and mortar Cabello’s Bass Pro Shop REIT, which you might really my target market. Right? Right? They want to supply the market, they don’t want to create the market. So what we have to do is we have to create the market, create the demand right and they’ll fulfill the the supply and demand. So we’re still in that stage of of. Going up against, you know, David versus Goliath because of other manufacturers out there that really don’t have a similar grill, right? They have portable grills, but it’s it’s nothing like the Outback Grill, but they have much bigger pockets, much deeper pockets and we’re trying to to to create that demand and and control it. You know, we don’t want we don’t want this thing to take off like wildfire and then we can’t supply the demand. And then it kind of peters out, right? We got to control the growth and then show the bricks and mortar that there is a market for it.
Speaker2: [00:11:20] So my world is probably a little bit small. But what immediately comes to mind for me, because everything I know about hunting, I get off of YouTube brain and all my buddies that tell lies with me at the campfire. So there’s Steve Rinella on the Meat Eater YouTube, and then there’s deer meat for dinner. Rob, Robert Harrington and I would love to see. I would love to see Robert Harrington deer meat for dinner or Steve. I’d love to see him cook it on your grill sometime. But sometimes a little boost, a little. Somebody that has some notoriety like that can really provide a boost. But to your point, maybe too much. Too quick, too. I don’t know.
Speaker3: [00:11:55] Right? I mean, I’d love to talk to him. I mean, that could be a great opportunity.
Speaker2: [00:12:00] Yeah, that would be fun. Well, if I get further down South Florida hunting, which I want this year, then I’ll just I’ll pick up an outback grill and I’ll just drop it off, you know, because I think the one guy the deer meat for dinner guy lives like in South Florida somewhere. So maybe you should drop one off on your way to Key West?
Speaker3: [00:12:17] Not a bad idea.
Speaker2: [00:12:20] All right. So so what’s next then? What’s the what’s the plan? You got it up and running. You got the website, you’ve got your Oh, you know what? Let me ask you about that. This this guy. This is one reason to have your own radio show. You get all this free consulting here. Business RadioX. We’re trying to get our arms around more of a some e-commerce for our for our product service suite. How did you land on the on the whole e-commerce infrastructure? Did you get some help on that as well?
Speaker3: [00:12:45] Oh, absolutely. That’s that’s above my pay grade. I graduated from LSU in marketing.
Speaker2: [00:12:51] Yeah, so you played ping pong and pool like me? I did.
Speaker3: [00:12:56] And now the the way to go to market is just completely alien. I don’t I don’t understand social media, so I have a company that I work with, does the marketing and then have another company I work with that does the PR. So I’m delegating.
Speaker2: [00:13:13] You hear the wisdom of this guy, you’re you’re trying to work with best in class and all these different domains, you’re staying in your lane, you’ve got this idea, but and you’ve got an idea this practical because you’re out there living at two, I think, is a big piece. We talked a little bit about this before we went on air and about, and we’ll dove into your stuff here in a little bit. But it’s the design is so much more functional and has such better legs. I guess when the people who are involved in creating the product or the service are actually living the challenge?
Speaker3: [00:13:44] Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. It is a challenge, but it’s fun. It’s been a lot of fun.
Speaker2: [00:13:50] But you do. Have you got a lot of irons in the fire, man? I mean, I can I can tell in your voice, you just you have a great deal of passion for it. You’re having a good time. You’re finding the work rewarding and inspiring, and sometimes you’ve got to run out of gas. Where do you go for for inspiration and ideas and to recharge? Is it this outdoor activity? Is that your thing?
Speaker3: [00:14:13] Well, yeah, I think I’m not one that sits still very long. You know, I have to go. I have to have do something. My midlife crisis five years ago, I ran my first Ironman. Holy moly. So that’s it’s cheaper than a girlfriend.
Speaker1: [00:14:31] Congratulations.
Speaker2: [00:14:32] But before you go on and I do want you to go on what exactly is entailed in an Iron Man because it’s several things right?
Speaker3: [00:14:37] It’s a 2.2 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride in the twenty six point four mile run. Wow. Oh, it’s so long.
Speaker2: [00:14:44] I don’t think I could do any any of those a little bit combo.
Speaker3: [00:14:49] Yeah, it makes for a long day.
Speaker2: [00:14:51] I’d imagine I was complaining before we went on air that I wasn’t complaining because I had a great time, but I went to hunt in Utah. That’s completely different terrain. I’m about to go hunt. Tallahassee, Florida, right? It’s just like flat. And I mean, here’s this old fat guy me and making it up these hills and I mean about killed me. I mean,
Speaker3: [00:15:09] In the Alps, dude, I’ll get you two. Yeah, yeah. I learned that I climbed Kilimanjaro about 10 years ago, and that was one of the things you couldn’t train for is altitude. You know, here in Georgia, we got a thousand feet right, but you get almost half of mountain. It’ll get you.
Speaker2: [00:15:23] All right. So you got good at this. You got good at the outdoor stuff. You clearly have reached a level of accomplishment that many of us could only aspire to in that in that regard. How do you think what contributed to you becoming a good businessman?
Speaker3: [00:15:42] Hmm, that’s a great question.
Speaker2: [00:15:43] Well, hey, it took me a minute to get it out, but I thought it was fantastic. I thought,
Speaker1: [00:15:46] That’s a great yeah, that’s a great question.
Speaker3: [00:15:52] Perseverance. I think I think it’s perseverance, you know, you want to do something, you set your mind on doing something and you just do it. You have to persevere and take the good times of the bad times, but always have that goal in sight.
Speaker1: [00:16:07] That’s a good answer.
Speaker2: [00:16:08] That’s a great answer. And we haven’t recorded it. So now it’s like a Business RadioX answer. You just think that it’s not just a steve answer, right? You want to know stuff. Tune into Business RadioX. All right. So where can our listeners get their hands? And let’s throw in the clicky clicky thing. What’s that thing?
Speaker3: [00:16:26] Dove Cricket.
Speaker2: [00:16:28] Where can they get their hands on time cricket? And, more importantly, for the purposes of this conversation? What’s the best way for them to get their hands on the on the grill and or if they are in some sort of marketing channel potential environment like that? Or maybe even investor? I don’t know if you want to have a conversation with you or someone on your team. Let’s leave them with some coordinates in a way to connect man and get the product.
Speaker3: [00:16:52] Absolutely. The website is W WW Outback Hyphen Grylls. Okay. Ok. You can order the grill there. You can contact me there through the Contact US link on the website. The Dove Cricket that’s on Amazon Sweet, the Outback Grill. We’re working on getting on Amazon. It’s just a little bit more difficult than than I thought it was going to be to get on Amazon, but it will be there probably next week.
Speaker2: [00:17:21] Really? Yeah, yeah. All right. So I was getting ready to wrap, but now I got to ask another question on Amazon. Is it when you weigh that thing, that opportunity? Obviously, you feel like it’s worth it. I was operating under the impression that you’re giving up a lot of margin when you do that. Is that not the case or is it just worth it?
Speaker3: [00:17:41] Well, the exposure, it’s huge exposure, OK? It’s a great opportunity to reach a lot of people really quick, quick, right? And it is it’s a different margin. It’s a different equation, different margins. Absolutely. So it’s. At first, I thought it was a really big hit, right? But the number of people that you can reach out to and the ease of the sale, right, I guess it’s going to outweigh the loss of margin. As you pointed out earlier, you know, if any of your listeners are interested in investing, you know, we could be open to to that opportunity, either financially or maybe somebody’s been down this road and has done something like this and understands the markets we’re trying to go after. I’d love to talk to them.
Speaker2: [00:18:22] Ok, so there is an investing opportunity, or at least a conversation absolutely around investing or contributing, playing, playing in some way? Sure. All right. Well, I’m going to get my grill. I’m not going to wait for Amazon. I’m going to get my outback grill from the website. Perfect. You know, and since since I got the inside track with you, I’ll I’ll I’ll just drop your name a little bit. Perfect. Or are they going to charge me like a surcharge if I?
Speaker3: [00:18:51] Take care of it.
Speaker2: [00:18:52] I do that. All right, before we before we do rap, and we really will wrap this time because I want to talk with Ian as as well. What can we be doing? The the folks who are tribe, if you will stay, the folks who listen to this show, the folks we attract and candidly, the folks that we’re sort of attracted to. Yeah, they listen in and they definitely want to advance their own interest. But I got to tell you, man, our crowd really tries to help each other. What can we what can they what can the Business RadioX movement be doing to support you, man? What can we be doing to help
Speaker3: [00:19:28] Buy a grill? And I think what we need more than anything is reviews. Ok, I’m learning that reviews on the website. All right. That’s going to help, I think, establish the market for us and get get the word out and you push the push, the website, you know, all the traffic we can get, I think is going to help as well.
Speaker2: [00:19:48] All right. Well, we’ll make it happen. We’ll continue to try to get the word out for you. And we’re going to continue to follow your story as it unfolds.
Speaker3: [00:19:57] And you know what? I tell you what if you place an order for the grill and there will be a coupon code if you put Radio X, 10 will give you a 10 percent discount on the grill.
Speaker2: [00:20:08] Oh baby, what if I put Radio X 90? Give it a try. Guys, see what happens. No, that’s that’s what we’ll do then. And I mean, I mean, you know, they’re a little bit and just have it because I can have it shipped to Rusty’s House. My my brother’s house, right? Absolutely. Yeah. And you know what? Holly, my wife, my boss, would probably approve the purchase if I said it was a present for the Thanksgiving House. There you go. I like it. It’s all coming together, man. All right. One last time. Let’s leave them with some coordinates website, LinkedIn, email, whatever is appropriate, man.
Speaker3: [00:20:41] Sure, outback hyphen grills. That’s grills, plural.
Speaker2: [00:20:47] Fantastic. Well, Steve, thanks for coming in and hanging with us, and I’m quite sincere. Let’s have you come back as this as this story unfolds. It might be an interesting conversation. Maybe, have you? And if you do have a market partner, you know, like a channel partner at that point or just come in with a delighted guest, but it might be fun if you’re, you know, if at that point you’re working with some other marketing channels, have them come in and talk about the work together, but we’d love to have you back. Yeah, I’d love to do that. Yeah, fantastic. Hey, man, how about hanging out with us while we visit with our next guest?
Speaker3: [00:21:19] Oh, absolutely.
Speaker2: [00:21:23] All right. Next up on Cherokee Business Radio this morning we have with us with aphasia readers LLC. Miss Anna. Good morning.
Speaker1: [00:21:34] Good morning, St.. How are you?
Speaker2: [00:21:35] I’m doing well. So what did you learn in that last in that last segment?
Speaker1: [00:21:39] I feel like I share a lot of the same pain points. You know, the Amazon issue, you know, just listen, those for who are listening like for a business, if you really want to contribute and help buy through their website because we have to pay a larger margin on Amazon. And so we get the more bang for our buck through our website. Even though Amazon is a great channel, like you said, to reach a huge audience and it’s a great tool, we do make a little bit more to, you know, for our products and services, so. But yes, that that totally rang true for us and what we’re going through too. But for us, we our main mission is to give back to our community through, you know, for the aphasia community. So that’s that’s a big push for us for like if you’re going to buy our product, then please go to our website. We love Amazon, but you know, we make a little bit more money if you buy direct.
Speaker2: [00:22:35] All right. So tell us about aphasia. Maybe, maybe it’s appropriate for you to share your back story and maybe you can. We can kind of ease into what this this this thing is that you’ve created here.
Speaker1: [00:22:46] Right. So my husband, he had a stroke. Ryan, he’s here with me. Hi, say hello. He had a stroke at the age of thirty four, so it’s been three years now. And as most people probably don’t know what aphasia is, but one in three people who have a stroke are left with aphasia. So aphasia is a speech and comprehension disorder. And you know, it’s one of those things where it affects your language, not your intellect. And that’s one of the things that we’ve dealt with is some people who try to communicate with Ryan. They’re like, What’s wrong? You know, we’re like, No, he’s he’s still smart and as bright as he ever was. But you know, it’s it’s that communication the the, you know, the pathways that were there before are no longer there. And you have to kind of with speech and practice and in different levels of therapy, you have to reroute your brain to get it out. So it’s it’s a very lonely condition. And, you know, people just without the practice in the speech therapy, they don’t have the confidence to communicate with their family, which is sad because before the event that may have caused the aphasia, they were so freely able to say, I love you and communicate to your loved ones and have, you know, tell stories and you know, and but it’s it’s not there anymore.
Speaker1: [00:24:14] So it’s it’s kind of a heartbreaking condition. But, you know, through Ryan’s journey, we really, you know, he did so great with trying to read out loud like and that’s been a proven source for those recovering from aphasia. The repetitive practice of reading aloud is very important, and it can help recreate those pathways. Look again. Yes. And so, you know, through, you know, because we’ve been involved in all kinds of therapy, you know, occupational therapy, speech therapy, so that’s been our life for the past three years. But the speech thing, you know, Ryan has said to me multiple times, if there was one thing I could get back, it would be my speech. And so that’s something that we’ve really tried hard to get that back and make him feel more confident and communicate. But one of the the ways to do that is reading aloud and, you know, reading and practicing aloud simple sentences, functional phrases, which are phrases that you would typically use every day like, I’ll have a beer, I’ll have a beer. That’s a great
Speaker2: [00:25:20] One. Right, right.
Speaker1: [00:25:22] Ryan definitely can say that, you know, beer. Yeah, he’s actually ratted me out in a couple of speech therapy sessions for that which he’s not really happy about. But so. But yeah, so yeah, those things are so important. And throughout our journey, like I said, we have noticed a severe lack in resources and supplementary tools for adults with aphasia to practice on a simple level and a lot of our friends in the aviation community, they’ve had to resort to children’s books because those are the only form of simple readers available, which they’re not relevant number one to an adult. And they can make you feel a little demeaning. You know you’re you’re already going through a tough time. You’ve lost your speech. You you can’t do what you, you, you know, used to do. So, you know, it’s just a hard time and you want something that’s supportive and that’s relevant to you. So we were shocked that there was nothing available on this level. And so we were like, Well, you know, we’ve gone through it. We know what it’s needed. Let’s create it. And you know, Ryan did a stint in intensive therapy stint and university admissions Michigan speech and language clinic there, the number one aphasia clinic in the country. And we made great friends with the people that run that clinic, and they have helped us over the past year develop these books.
Speaker1: [00:26:52] Well, the first book we just released, but we have a plan for three to help, you know, fill that gap of adult supplementary simple form of readers to help you recover help you practice on a relevant level. And so, you know, the aphasia readers book, it’s comprised of six sessions. That’s like I said, it’s it’s relevant early on in your recovery. So you’re just, you know, overcoming and you’re you’re not far along with your speech recovery yet. So we’ve got six sections that you would typically have filled with functional phrases and sentences that you would typically need in that setting. So, so one is about a good morning. So helping you have a conversation with your spouse. So practicing that dialog so you can practice with with a friend or a caregiver or, you know, whomever, or you can read it by yourself, you can practice it by yourself. And we also tried to be very thoughtful in the design of the book because most people are recovering from a stroke that’s the most common form. And so they have a weaker ride right or left side. So we we did it with a spiral bound structure. So it’s easy to open, easy to keep open, easy to use, easy to, you know, just, you know, use on a simple on a simple level.
Speaker2: [00:28:16] This came up in our previous segment when we were visiting with Steve. When you’re living it, you’re there. Whether you’re you’re grilling wild game out in the field or whether you’re living this, you are uniquely qualified to create something that is functional and productive. Good for you.
Speaker1: [00:28:35] Yeah. So I mean, we know more than ever and we’ve been to so many, we’ve we’ve lived in speech clinics and we’ve done so much practice. So I in a way, I’m not a licensed speech language pathologist, but I kind of feel like I could be. You got your street degree. Do I have my street cred or sloppy? But yeah, so we took all of those things and put them together in a resource and put them in a book. That would really be a helpful tool. That’s affordable, number one, because speech therapy is so expensive and insurance doesn’t cover it. Hardly ever.
Speaker2: [00:29:10] And I did not realize that.
Speaker1: [00:29:12] Yeah, yeah, it’s been a big struggle, you know? But we had to fundraise to get Ryan to the speech clinic in Michigan because it’s just it’s ridiculously expensive and, you know, insurance doesn’t cover it. So that’s that’s going to be that’s one of our missions behind this book is to rate, you know, whatever proceeds from the book purchase, they go to create a vision awareness and to kind of fight to get. Insurance insurance to cover more therapy for people who need it and to really further that mission to educate people about it because we didn’t know about it before Ryan had a stroke. Like what is aphasia? Sure. And so, you know, and a lot of people in the medical field don’t really know what it is. You know, people would try to communicate. The Ryan were like, Oh, he has aphasia. What is aphasia? It was like they didn’t teach you that in medical school. So, you know, there’s there’s just a lot of awareness that needs to be done and in that area. So we’re committed to that and we we want to be able to do like more books and we want feedback from people who buy our books. If they want to see a certain session in their or a certain theme, we want to know about it. We want this to be a community thing and something that you know, we pull together and, you know, help each other get better and find their find your voice, you know?
Speaker2: [00:30:39] All right. So this book and we thumbed through it a little bit a little while ago before we came on air, but it’s illustrated as well.
Speaker1: [00:30:49] It is illustrated. It’s kind of a comic book style, illustrated book, and below it, it has simple sentences with visual support. So with aphasia sometimes to route to kind of get the word out, you need different types of support. And sometimes icons above certain words can really help with word retrieval. And so we found that that’s very important to include. So all of the sentences have that support in there, as well as illustrations that that can help. And at the end of each section session, we included a a illustration or a scene to help with writing practice because that’s important. And we also have customizable sections so people can write in it, customize their coffee order, you know, practice that so you can feel more independent in the community because that’s important. So, yeah, so we are just we are really happy with the result, and we’re so pleased to be able to provide a really multifaceted tool that’s going to help someone with aphasia really get the most out of their recovery and to help practice.
Speaker2: [00:32:02] So as you build out this, my frame for this is like this user community, right? And I envision this community returning the learning to the organization, right? So I’m working with someone and then returning what we learn, I suspect, and maybe you’ve done this already, certainly from your own personal time and energy investment. You’ve probably learned how to use a resource like this to a long, long time ago, when I had black hair and something much closer to a real job. I kind of came from the training consulting world. And so like in my mind, I’m thinking facilitator, guide, additional job age, you know, like resources. And I’ll bet as this effort continues to unfold, you’ll get some great input from other people who are actually living and say, Hey, here’s the book. Love it. Thank you. Here’s how we’re using it. And here’s boy next time on the next edition, think about doing this right?
Speaker1: [00:33:02] Absolutely. That’s what we want. And we’ve from the very beginning of conceptualizing this book, we worked with University of Michigan and their network to do some focus groups, and they were so excited about it. They were like, Yes, yes, yes, like, you know, get it out. Like, We want it, we need it. They were so hungry for that resource. And it’s, you know, one thing about our community is they’re so supportive and so, you know, helpful. Everybody is dealing with the same issues, same things. And we’ve gotten so much like love from them and so much support. It’s just been overwhelming. So we’re trying to we were trying to get it out quick and get it to them so they can use it and feel good about it. Because I mean, it is a common thing. A lot of people have to resort to children’s books to to read
Speaker2: [00:33:52] And never even occurred to me makes again in retrospect, you know, makes perfect sense. And I think we have the storyline for the level to book. I think it’s grilling outdoors. Yeah.
Speaker1: [00:34:04] Yes.
Speaker2: [00:34:05] That at have Blake and he’s already he’s he’s texting his marketing partner, his guy in China right now. Yeah, yeah.
Speaker1: [00:34:14] Yeah, I know we are. We’re open to any kind of feedback. And you know, like I said is, I just I’m really excited. This has been a total, you know, work in process for a while now. So it’s kind of like birthing a baby. You’re sending it out into the world, which I’m sure you can really do too. Absolutely. It’s like you had do all this work up front and you go through the highs and the lows like you. Mentioned and like we dealt with paper shortages and like all kinds of things, you know, trouble with illustrators, you know this and that and the other. And so, you know, it’s it’s really a good feel, good feeling when you can just say, OK, like this is sick and really sick.
Speaker2: [00:34:55] So aphasia challenges aside, and I don’t mean to minimize that, but just for the moment, aphasia challenges aside, writing a book, creating a product with your spouse. That has to have some of its own challenges, right? And rewards, I’m sure.
Speaker1: [00:35:13] But yes, Ryan is anybody who knows Ryan. He is a very sweet spirited person and very patient, and I’m very thankful for that because he has been a guinea pig on so many different levels. And I’m very appreciative for him being being so wonderful in dealing with my crazy harebrained ideas because I’m like, Oh, what do we do about this? What do you do? No, I ask him questions and feedback, and he is a very good about editing, and he’s got a great creative eye. So I constantly go to him to to make sure that we’re doing everything the way he would want to see it. And so he’s been a very important part of of creating this tool. So it’s been nice to have him as a partner. So no conflicts, you know, we’ve had no conflicts, but we’ve we really work well together, so I’m thankful for that.
Speaker2: [00:36:11] So, so this initial product, what all comes with it because there are some other resources right or right, or at least once you get the product, you’re aware of the other resources available because you have a whole website, the whole bit, right?
Speaker1: [00:36:26] Yeah. So we have aphasia readers and on there you’ll find a lot of resources, like if if your spouse or someone you love is just recovering from a stroke has aphasia, they can go and get really great resources again. We partnered with University of Michigan. Some of their resources that they developed are on there. They were so kind enough to let us link to their website. So they have a wonderful library as well as we have fridge functional phrases available which to elaborate on that. It’s really the whole mission of those worksheets is to help those with aphasia be able to practice and prepare for social events. So with the holidays coming up, you know, for Ryan, you know, practicing how to communicate what’s words to practice that are relevant to that time period so he can be able to communicate with family and feel confident about it? Did you say
Speaker2: [00:37:21] Fridge
Speaker1: [00:37:22] Fridge as in refrigerator fridge and the whole fridge part comes in? It’s because we
Speaker2: [00:37:28] All have heard that
Speaker1: [00:37:30] We always struggled to find time to practice and sometimes we would forget about it. And so what we did was create a worksheet that was just easily printable to put on the fridge. And so, you know, you’re always around the fridge. You’re always and, you know, I don’t know about you guys, but you know, the kitchen is our center of our home, you know? Yeah, it’s the center of our home. So we felt like that was a good place to put it to remind us that we needed to practice this. And so
Speaker3: [00:38:02] Certainly he thought of everything
Speaker1: [00:38:04] I’m trying. Yeah, we my whole goal is, you know, it’s been a really tough three years and anything that we can do to help others who are going through a similar situation. I feel a duty and a tug on my heart to to provide everything I know and to make it easier for someone. If I can make it easier for someone, that that’s just that, that’s where my heart is. I want to be able to provide some sort of I know I can’t do a manual. I would love to have had a recovery manual, a step by step guide as to how to get my spouse, you know, better. But the the thing that I just I felt really passionate about is helping others through through tough and tragic times. So, I mean, for us with him, we we didn’t know what the future held and it was a scary time and it can be a very stressful time too. And you know, if we can help provide resources that are easy and just turn key, then you know, that’s what we want to do. We want to help others through difficult times because we know how hard it is.
Speaker2: [00:39:12] Well, you clearly do. And when you and I asked a similar question of Steve earlier, when you do just sort of run out of gas and you hit a wall and and I’m operating under the impression that occasionally you do for you personally or for you guys as a couple. Where do you go to recharge? And I don’t necessarily mean a physical place, you know, are you reading or are you where do you go to? Kind of. It refreshed.
Speaker1: [00:39:39] Well, I turned to my Bible, OK? You know, my God has been such an instrumental source in our life, and I mean, Ryan is a miracle. And we’ve seen God work in his life, in our life, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without, you know, our faith. And so when things get tough and when you hit those roadblocks, that’s been our go to and that’s what keeps us strong and keeps us going. And you know, like I I don’t know how people who who don’t know the Lord do it because he’s just been my I mean everything. So. And we accredited this book to to that. And you know, he’s been all over this project, and I know that it’s just it’s going to help. A lot of people say that’s kind of been, you know, that’s where we go to get our to get our peace and in relaxation and to kind of refuel a little bit because we know that he’s got good plans for us. And, you know, he’s notorious for taking a tragic situation and turning it into good. So that’s that’s kind of what we’re we’re trying to achieve.
Speaker2: [00:40:47] Well, the story is fascinating. Your story is amazing. The two of you are nothing short of inspiring. I mean it. You know, when you know, we all hit snags and then and then when you find out you learn of a story like this and how you’ve chosen to deal with it and work through it, I mean, it’s, you know, it’s like stone to grow up and just deal with your little itty ant bite, you know? But it’s just starting. You’re just getting going with this thing. This you have plans well beyond this first product. You have to speak to that a little bit before we wrap.
Speaker1: [00:41:27] Yeah. So the aphasia readers level one, which you can buy on our website and on Amazon. That one just released and then we’re now working on level two. So that’s going to be slightly harder, a little bit more like two syllable, three syllable words to challenge you. So, you know, once you get comfortable reading level one, you can kind of, you know, take a step up and to continue to work on improving. So and then we’ll have a level three as well, which will be even harder. So but they’ll follow the same kind of template as our current books do. So we’re not going to switch anything up on you. But, but yeah, that’s that’s our plan is for three books, and we’d love to do more than that. And that’s where I’m kind of relying on our community to kind of, you know, tell us what they need, what they want to see because we do have those resources available to, you know, get something out or to do something special. So, you know, we’re we’re really hungry for feedback and, you know, happy to happy to work on new things and to help.
Speaker2: [00:42:34] Well, we mentioned this. We touched on this earlier in the conversation, but I do think you’ll find we’ve discovered this with the Business RadioX community, and some of our clients have discovered this with communities that that they continue to build. Your community is going to be such a marvelous asset because they really will feed that feed that to you, an idea. And it’s a conversation to pick up off air, something that that we started doing a little over a year ago. And my business partner, Lee Kantor, whose idea I can’t take any credit for it. We’re about to do another session after this show is the reason it comes to mind. We do these pro tips and Lee and I, we’ve just been around a while. We’ve got some scar tissue. We’ve learned some things about using this platform to help people and make money. And so we’ll just record like a dozen. We call them pro tips today and then we just, you know, consistently drip them out there. And I I wonder if that’s not something, and you may or may not choose to use this medium, or maybe you do it in text or whatever. But if the whole community got behind kind of creating some tips on just dealing with all the aspects of this, that could be fun for you.
Speaker1: [00:43:43] Yeah, absolutely. We’re we’re totally up for that. I think it’d be great. You know, we would be the perfect fit for that.
Speaker2: [00:43:51] I’ll send you a bill. Yes, thank you. Appreciate that. All right. For those listeners who would like to learn more about this topic in general, who might want to have a conversation with you or anybody on your team or in your community, let’s leave them with some easy ways to do that, whatever you think is appropriate.
Speaker1: [00:44:11] You can go to our website, aphasia readers. So it’s a P-H or a page, a CYA readers dot com. I had to think about that for a second. And then we’re also you can also shoot me an email info at aphasia readers dot com as well. And I wanted to mention that we’re also with Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up. We’re going to do a promotion to where, you know, any order placed for the first 200 orders, we get there get like a silicone aphasia awareness band, Yap in our colors. So we’re going to run that promotion. And but yeah, we’re we’re looking to to really we’re really excited to see how this does in the marketplace. So we can’t wait. We’re also going to do a Giving Tuesday promotion to for those who feel like they want to donate and contribute. We’ll be offering a T-shirt, which a person portion of the proceeds will go back into, helping us fund the second book because illustrations aren’t cheap. So we’re going to be running that. So if you follow us on our social channels at aphasia reader Adcom, you can see those things come through and as a reminder, if you if you’d like to donate or participate, so.
Speaker2: [00:45:27] All right, so but Grand Central here, Ground Central, what is ground zero anyway? The place to go is aphasia readers. That’s the place to get. Yes.
Speaker1: [00:45:40] Hey, I have to spell that out for everyone who doesn’t know what aphasia is because they’re like, How do you spell out? I don’t know.
Speaker2: [00:45:48] So yes, that’ll be in level six of the book series, which is
Speaker1: [00:45:53] Really odd because if you have aphasia, that’s one of the hardest one said they weren’t very kind to naming
Speaker2: [00:45:59] That.
Speaker1: [00:46:01] So, so yeah, so we’re we’re excited.
Speaker2: [00:46:05] Well, it has been an absolute delight having you and Ryan on the show. So much, so much you got going on. Thank you for joining us and and yet come back and keep us posted when the next book in the series comes out. Let’s circle the wagons and let and let folks know about it. But please don’t be a stranger.
Speaker1: [00:46:26] Of course. Thank you so much for having me on the air again.
Speaker2: [00:46:29] All right. This is Stone Payton for our guests today and everyone here at the Business RadioX family. Sam, we’ll see you next time on Cherokee Business Radio.