“The real biggest thing that I would recommend is is building habits, especially with creativity and how we have to run our businesses. So it's really hard to output creatively on an ongoing basis because sometimes you've got it and sometimes you don't”
Welcome to Thrive by Design, the podcast for ambitious independent jewelry brands, looking to profit from their products, get ready to make more and sell more doing what you love, without spending every single waking minute doing it. Hey, and if you're a creative fashion or product-based business, I want to welcome you to the show. I'll be dropping big tips on launching, growing, and scaling your business. Spend more of your precious time using your creativity to make you ready. All right, let's do this.
Welcome to the Thrive by Design podcast, Episode 290. Oh my gosh, I can't believe it, we're coming up on almost 300 episodes, we got ten to go, Hey, there, it's Tracy Matthews, the Chief Visionary Officer of Flourish and Thrive Academy. I am thrilled to be here today to talk about one of my favorite things ever to talk about creativity. In fact, I even started a company called Creatives Rule The World. So clearly, I am passionate about helping you be more creative in your business, be more creative in your daily life, and also use that creativity to make more money. And it starts really with getting in the right zone. I know, I get questions all the time from our students at Flourish and Thrive Academy, like what do you do when you have a creative block?
Like how do you move through it. So I give people a lot of different tools, which we're going to talk about in today's episode today. And one of those tools is an app called Brain.fm. And I have the CEO of the company on the show today, he's my good friend, Dan Clark. And we're going to be talking about how to get into flow state so that you're more productive so that you can overcome creative blocks. And so that you can get more done in the hours that you're actually working. I really think you are going to love this episode.
Now before I dive in and introduce Dan, I wanted to talk a little bit more about, you know, the state of the industry, right? If you have a jewelry, or creative product brand, you're probably feeling it by now that you know, you have to actually train your customers to be buying from you online. If you have built a business based on offline sales, and you're trying to transition those offline customers into like your digital audience and turn those people into online shoppers, then I feel you, but one of the main concerns that people have is they just don't really know how to do it. Like how do you actually build that list, when you don't have a huge budget for ads, and you're not really sure how to make that transition.
So I would love to invite you to just get on the waitlist for a 12 week workshop that we are having. It's called the Train Your Customers to buy from you online workshop. And it's designed to help you turn those offline customers into online buyers and build your audience online. And it's designed to help you sell more using your website as a sales tool.
Now we've run this workshop, I think, three times already and it has been a big hit. Our students get great results. And if you're someone who really wants to dive in and go deep into strategies that work that don't require you to be like a tech genius or anything like that, then I'd love to invite you to head on over to www.flourishthriveacademy.com/tyc click the button that says Get on the Waitlist. And all you have to do is give us your name and email address and we'll send you a notification. As soon as we open up the application process for this 12 week workshop.
We're actually starting in April, we're gonna be running this for three months or 12 weeks. And as I mentioned, we're starting in early April, and we're bringing it back by popular demand because people keep asking when are you doing it again? So there you go. And you're welcome. So if you're interested in learning more, as I mentioned, head on over to www.flourishthriveacademy.com/tyc and get your name on the waitlist today.
All right, so today I am talking to my good friend, Dan Clark. He is the CEO at Brain.FM. It's a functional music app to help people focus, relax and sleep better. After he tried Brain.FM. He wrote the company nonstop and believed in the product so much that he offered it to work for them for free. Two years later, in 2017, he became the CEO and the same year that the National Science Foundation awarded Brain.FM a grant to study its music technology. You are gonna love this episode. And if you want to check out more about Brain.FM, we're gonna have links to the show notes. But all you have to do is just head on over to Brain.fm or find it in the App Store. You are going to love it is one of my favorite applications. And you're going to learn why in just a minute. So let's dive into today's episode.
Tracy: Welcome, welcome. I am super excited to have my good friend Dan Clark on the show today, Dan, welcome to the show.
Dan: Thanks for having me.
Tracy: Okay. We've been talking for Long time. I've met you, how long did it I mean, ago? Did I meet you two years ago? Three years ago?
Dan: I think three years. Yeah, something around there.
Tracy: Have you been friends, we were in an entrepreneur's group together. We both live in New York City, or I'm about to not live in New York City. But I often say I lived at a certain point. And you haven't. I have become great friends, for a lot of reasons. But in particular, I tout the amazingness of the app that he is the CEO of so we're going to talk a little bit more about Brain.FM and Dan's journey, but I wanted to bring him on to the show today, in particular, to talk about creativity, productivity, flow state, and how to use music to get into the zone, or get into your zone of genius. So with that being said, Dan, why don't you share a little bit about your journey? And how you became the CEO of Brain.FM?
Dan Yes, sure. So um, you know, I've always been involved in tech, I started my first website when I was 13 years old, dropped out of high school and did the whole tech route. And I hit this point where I wanted to, you know, help people and do more. And I've always been interested in how we can be the best version of ourselves. And right, when I was having this, this thing, I discovered Brain.FM So I'm not the founder. But I was one of the first users when it launched. And I remember my first time using it, where normally I'd work and find my flow state, around 10pm to 4am.
So I'd work at night, and then, you know, sleep all day as a developer. And I remember using it for the first time, and it was like, in the afternoon, and I was like, Whoa, and let me jump into this place where I, you know, you feel like you can fly and you can do anything. And what I thought was, you know, maybe 90 minutes of work was really 30 minutes. And I became quickly obsessed with the product, ended up calling the company non stop, I think I, I reached out 12 times before they got back to me, I started working for free. And then fast forward to today. Now I'm the CEO of the company. So it's been a wild ride.
Tracy: That is a wild ride. I mean, I've been a part of your journey, we don't have to go into the nitty gritty of that. But I love this app so much. And if you don't have it yet, I'm gonna keep talking about it. Because Brain, it's Brain.FM and the App Store. And it's literally changed my life. And so before we kind of dive into like how the benefits of listening to this type of music, while you're working and forcing you into that flow state, why don't you explain to us a little bit more about what flow state is for people who are unfamiliar?
Dan: Sure. So flow state is really been coined to where you're in flow. And that's like anything between finding this place where everything is effortless. So your flow state is really being able to drop into this zone where you're playing, you know, like sports, and you're not really trying, you're just reacting and doing and really enjoying the game. Or it's getting into this creativity surge, where things just feel like you've unlocked and you've hit this magic place where you're like, that's a good idea.
That's a good idea. And it's like the opposite, almost of like, writer's block, right? And really, yeah, reaching flow, what I always tell people is, it's like, you have a project due tomorrow, it's two in the morning with three cups of coffee, and you feel like you just met this place where you could work forever. Obviously, that doesn't last. But it's really unlocking that and being able to control that, which is your flow state, which is individualized for every person.
Tracy: Do you know, I mean, you do a lot of research and data and you talk to scientists all the time. Yep. You know, like, what the ideal time line for flow state is like, how long can someone stay in flow state?
Dan: Well, that's a great question. It really depends on the person. And it also depends upon the activity that you're doing. So there's a lot of different people that say different things. You know, I usually tell people, it's between 45 minutes to 90 minutes, if you hit it for specific focus areas, but it really depends on you know, the amount of effort that you're putting in and who you are as a person, and it comes down to how your brain works and all that stuff, which we can get into later.
Tracy: Okay, awesome. When you're in flow state, like you kind of start surpassing that, like we talked a little bit about writer's block, like overcoming writer's block, right? And so what I would say is like creativity flow, or getting into this space, where people are like, what's your creative process and when you kind of get that creativity block, so how does getting into flow state help you become more productive and creative when you're in that zone?
Dan: Yeah, so flow state is this place where from inside of your brain you have all these like neuro chemicals and stuff. And it's a place where all these neuro chemicals are like, balanced and It's really feeding what you need to be into this effortless place. And I really keep coming back to the word of effortless because if you're in a flow state, it should be this place where it's almost like everything is possible. And now it just comes down to you, you know, applying it. I don't think it's more about what you can do in a flow state. I think it's more, it's more like what you cannot do and what you can't do, right. But it's more about how can you unlock it more than just by accident? And I think, you know, if you think about it, right, we have all gotten into flow state at some point, right? But it's, it's really hard to get into it. And, you know, that's really the quest that we're doing at Brain.FM to really give someone the power to switch it on.
Tracy: Okay, that makes perfect sense. Because I've been in those zones where I'm just like, Oh, my gosh, like, I got so much done today. And I was like, the words were just flowing. And a lot of times that happens when I'm actually using the app. Other times, it just happens, and I don't know how or why. And so it's basically being able to create a flow state almost on demand. Correct?
Dan: Yeah, totally.
Tracy: Okay, cool. So why don't you talk, tell the listeners a little bit about the app? And like, what, what you're doing with it? Because I think that's important. And then I have a bunch of other questions for you after that.
Dan: Yeah, sure. So Brain.FM we create functional music designed to help people focus, relax, and sleep better, the way it works, and we're talking about flow state, the way it works is that you have these neuro patterns inside of your brain. And so if we break it down, the You and I are talking to each other right now, our brain, if we looked at it under a FMRI scanner, EEG it would have a certain kind of pattern, right? Now, when we're in flow state, or we're sleeping or doing other activities, it has different kinds of neural patterns, right? And what we do at brain FM is we make music that you want to listen to. And then what we do is we add certain kinds of rhythmic pulses, which emulate these patterns, which allow your brain to synchronize and to adjust or switch into flow state, or creativity zones, or you know, better sleep much quicker. And then as you're listening to the music, and you have these patterns in the music, it allows you to stay in them longer, which allows you to really control when you jump in. And when you jump out rather than not really knowing or having control of it before.
Tracy: That is. Yeah, that's so true. And I know from experience, so that actually it really does work. So it sounds like it honestly, it sounds too good to be true. But I know that it works. Kind of like a proof of concept already. Tell us why you think this is really important right now in the world? Like why do people need this?
Dan: Yes. So I think you know, before even before COVID, you know, with technology, and with all the things that are around us at all times, they're all vying for our attention, right? And it's so easy to be distracted from, you know, emails, and Facebook, and Instagram and all that stuff. And then on top of that, we have our own daily stresses of like, What did my partner said to me last? Or what am i friends and, you know, trying to remember, all of this stuff is a lot of stress, right? And then on top of that way, the world has changed today with COVID. And even more things on our mind.
You know, I believe that if you can't control the outside world, the best thing you can control is the inside world. And it's really about controlling the environment. So, you know, the reason why meditation or even going to spas, where it's like relaxing is because you go to a really relaxing environment. And the best way to control your mental state and influence it is really controlling your environment. And when the easiest way to do that is sound, we always already use sound and music to escape things right or to help us get into places. And what we're doing is really harnessing that and then adding science to all of this to make it even more effective. And you know, especially now where maybe we don't go to coffee shops anymore, that used to be your outlet to go you know, in the focus zone, or see friends . It's a little bit harder to get into those creative places. And I think now more than ever having an opportunity or like this button that you can press on and just listen to music and get in there is more is needed now, because of that.
Tracy: It is so needed so I I know that like a while back. You were talking to hospitals and a bunch of different types of organizations about the app. Why do you think you know what, how you see Brain.FM actually like changing in a way that sounds really weird, but like the world?
Dan: Yeah, so Brain.FM has three core missions. One is to help people be their best self on demand. Another thing is to help explore and understand the brain. So You know, a lot of this stuff and we can go into science if we want to. But we test all of our stuff on FMRI EEG, and we do video game experiments and all these fun things. And the last ladder thing is how can we help medical practices, whether it's removing or reducing medication or helping people in surgical settings and things like that. And that's really, why we have neuroscientists and have this model because the bigger brainstem gets, the more we can invest in science, and the more we can understand about how our bodies and our brains work, we can then apply and make the product better.
So with that, we are doing pilots with different kinds of surgical centers around the US, where people listen to Brain.FM, relax, we have a specific surgical setting that's really powerful, that helps people fall asleep before they're doing anesthesia. And our whole goal is to help people have a better patient experience and to lower blood pressure. And then we play Brain.FM wakeup, which is something to help people come up on anesthesia, it's pretty amazing. We actually are waking people up from anesthesia naturally, with just music 200 to 300% faster in some of our primary study or pilot studies. And it's things like that, which are helping us learn more about science and learn more about our brain, but it's actually helping people have better better surgery outcomes, which is really powerful.
Tracy: That's so cool. I mean, it's not really about getting into flow state, but it's about like, improving experience, or the surgeons listening to the music to
Dan: Not not on this test. Yeah, for right now, this is just more so for the patients. You know, it's it really comes from my girlfriend had a, her tonsils out. And I went in there with her. And you know, she's signing her life to me, and I'm, like, stressed out and I'm not even getting surgery. And I realized that, you know, we could help people in that because surgeries are very, you know, you're right, it's not about getting into flow state, but it's still very stressful. And if we can help people switch their mental state from stress to relax, that's a place where brain FM really shines with technology. So that's why we investigated that.
Tracy: I love it. I want to hear more about the science. Like why don't Yeah,
Dan: Yeah, sure. So, you know, on a deeper level, besides those patterns that we're emulating, what we're doing is we're actually creating certain kinds of modulations in the music. So if you listen really closely, you'll hear kind of like a helicopter ish pattern, you know, when you put like to when cars windows down, right. And it's very subtle. But that, in addition to certain kinds of 3D sound, and things like that, it's triggering this effect in your brain, which is actually aligning the functional networks of your brain to communicate all at the same time, which allows it to your brain to communicate more effectively, allowing you to trigger that flow state quicker.
We test all of our stuff with, as I mentioned, like some FMRI, where we look at the blood flow to your brain. And we can see that whenever you're using Brain.FM it distributes blood flow in a way that we can influence and have it sustained there. And then we also look at EEG which is the measurement of electrical impulses from your brain, which allows us to, you know, predict, and then also refine, you know, our programs. So, yeah, we do a lot of different tests. And we also were winners of the National Science Foundation award to validate that we can be an effective treatment for ADHD. And that's something we're continually testing as well. So lots of science, happy to go in more, but it does get very sciency from here,
Tracy: Super sciency. Okay, so I'm actually really curious, because I remember when I first met you, we were talking about the app. I got it right away, of course. And then you're talking about how you hire these musicians to actually make the music like how you figure out which types of music do the different types of things?
Dan: Yeah, that's a great question. So the genres of music actually have small effects on the brain, because a lot of the stuff is technology driven. So it's about all that science we were just talking about. But genre does matter. Because people have specific likes, like some people like country, some people don't like country, some people like jazz, you know, so on and so forth. And we find that some people they really like working to music that they're familiar with. And some people perform best at music that they're not familiar with.
So if you really like classical music, and you'd like listening to that, maybe you're best listening to electronic music when you're focusing for example, because it's so novel and so different. And the interesting thing about music and the reason why, you know, you can't get the same kind of flow states from like YouTube or Spotify or something like that, is because if you're familiar with songs, say the words in them things like that part of your brain processing that language and recognizing it.
So I don't know, let's say it's, you know, your favorite Justin Bieber song. And I'm just saying something ridiculous, but I'm sure there's people that love Justin Bieber on here. But yeah, right. So if you're listening to a song by him, you're decoding and you're recognizing, and maybe you're thinking about the next words that you're doing. And all of that is taking away this, like the RAM, like the, your brain power from trying to be creative, or focusing into singing the song. And, you know, it's really important to listen to songs that don't have lyrics and things like that. But then when you add the science on top of it, that's really, you know, the real power where it begins. And that's kind of how, and why I think Brain.FM is an effective medium, and why, you know, people invest in using us, in addition to Spotify for just enjoyment purposes.
Tracy: Now, I have a question about, you mentioned something earlier about that low helicopter noise, or something like that, which your mind reminded me of like the white noise app, right? Yeah. What's that? Okay, so two things here. Like, it's funny, because like little kids, like my sister, when she had her twins, she's like, I'm getting these kids to sleep no matter what. So she has this app that plays a hairdryer. And, or like, like a wind thing that moves around. And the kids fall asleep immediately. So like, how is this different than like, like for sleep? It's specifically how is this different for sleep versus like one of those just white noise apps?
Dan: Yeah, sure. So the idea of functional music, where music designed to do something has existed for since the 50s, if not longer. And there's things of white noise, pink noise, brown noise, I'm sure you've heard of that before. There's also things like binary beats or isochronic tones. And what we're doing is markedly different. So white noise is more of this idea of this masking noise of something that just covers noise in a room. So let's pretend that you know I have sounds coming from the street because we live in New York, and we having a fan on is going to be more effective, because it's a noise that stays constant. And then your brain normalizes to that noise, right? It knows what's happening. And then it's easier to block out the sounds that are, you know, random, like the horns and things like that. Right? And, and that's probably what's happening with the kids, right.
So like, white noise does help people because it's masking all these random sounds, right? The difference is that what we're doing is we are having certain sounds that are masking, but then we're also adding these rhythms to the music. And with sleep, it's like longer rhythms. Because you can think about it your you want your brain to not be fast, you want it to be slow, and your brain doesn't have to move as fast because it's sleeping, I guess, is a better way of saying it. So what we're doing is we're playing this nice sound that you want to listen to. And then we're adding this modulation that's long, it goes up and then down. And that's really the secret of allowing us to influence and then keep you in a deeper sleep than just something like a vacuum, you know, cleaner playing and things like that.
It's the same thing for focus and focus in it because it's opposite of sleep, if you listen to it's actually a faster noise, because your brain has to move faster, right? And it's especially effective when you're waking up in the morning and you're kind of groggy still from sleeping, and you need to go from sleeping, you know, to write into focus, it's really hard to do that. And even if you have a coffee, it's really helpful to have you know, another thing that's helping your brain get there. And that's what again, we're brain FM comes in.
Tracy: Okay, awesome. Okay, so we talked about a lot of different topics here from flow state to science, and how music can affect your productivity and all those things. Now, when people listening to this are typically like solo business owners who have a creative business in particular, most of the people listening to this are selling a physical product or jewelry. So from a productivity standpoint, and an entrepreneurial standpoint, like, Is there anything else that you'd recommend to use this app in addition to to help increase productivity and creativity for an entrepreneur and in their business?
Dan: Yeah, totally. Great question. I think the real biggest thing that I would recommend is building habits, especially with creativity and how we have to run our businesses. So it's really hard to output creatively on an ongoing basis. Because sometimes you've got it and sometimes you don't, yeah, but if you build a habit of, you know, trying or getting into that place, it really does help. So I'll give you an example. So for me, we know, we started out as three people, four people. And now we have 21 people on staff. And I'm responsible for all the branding and all the logos and all that fun stuff. And we're getting ready to do a cool brand refresh, which I'm excited about. But I have to do it.
Thanks, JC. Yeah, so we, you know, we had to do that. So I have to, you know, run this company. And then I'm also trying to do this creative work and things like that. And it's challenging. And the biggest thing that I always recommend to people is building a habit of having focus time. Yeah. So, you know, really, I believe in every single day, like I, my personal routine is waking up, having a cold coffee, and iced coffee every single day, no matter if it's snowing or not. And turning my brain off, I'm on. And what I do is I journal first for about 10 minutes, and I write what we need to do today, and what's on my mind, and I try to dump everything on my mind into, you know, a journal, and then I have a 90 minute focus session.
And by then my brain already, like, you know, warmed up, I can feel my life flow state kicking in, and I just, you know, do whatever I need to do, then I usually take a break, jump on meetings, things like that. And depending on the day, I literally have on my calendar, these focus blocks, and sometimes they're 30 minutes, sometimes they're 60, I would encourage you to try and figure out what is your best FLOW ZONE, like how long you can do it. That's not like muscling it, but just feels effortless. And then then build a habit out of that. So every Monday through Friday, you're jumping on, you're starting your focus, and then you go into the workday or whatever you need to do. But it really helps I think, to build a routine around that. That's been huge, like a big difference for me, and then also a lot of our users.
Tracy: Okay, that's amazing. And it's so aligned with one of my core concepts that I teach, it's, I call it creative days, where you have one day a week where your only work is working on your creative projects, but also time blocking and sectioning out specific days for specific activities. Because it's a little bit of a different methodology than what you've mentioned. But it's, it's basically the same because you're like, protecting the time that you have for certain things. So you're not always switching tasks. And you're not forcing yourself to try and get into a creative space, like in between meetings, like if you know when, and you might have a flow block in between meetings. But if you know when that's coming up, it's easier to switch gears and move quickly into that.
Dan: 100% and I know, I've done the creative days, myself, actually. But sometimes I know for me, it's a little hard luck all day. Yeah, it really just comes down to you know, what works best for you. And I felt like I I used to be a night person and night owl. And now I'm a morning person because of Brain.FM And you know, it just I always, always recommend it's what works best for people. Do what feels good, because that's when you're most effective.
Tracy: That is awesome. Well, this was an amazing chat, Dan, thanks for coming.
Dan: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Tracy: Okay, so tell everyone where they can get Brain.FM?
Dan: Yeah, sure. So you can google Brain.FM it's Brain.FM Or you can go in the app stores and type in Brain.FM Our logo is a smiley face with, with headphones on. So it's pretty recognizable. And then we give everyone three days free to experience it, and try the different kinds of modes that we have. And you know, I'd love to hear feedback from your listeners on where they're at and how they're feeling.
Tracy: I have to tell you guys that I highly recommend this app. I talked about it all the time in my webinars and training that I do for our Momentum program and all that stuff. And many of our momentum members are already using it. And Wendy Hively one of my students, or graduates of one of our programs, says like, Oh my gosh, she like posted something, I swear in the groups like thank goodness for Brain.FM like I was able to get like a whole day's a whole month's worth of content done in like literally like a 90 minute block. So like it really does work. So I want to really encourage all of you listening today to download it. And I think the monthly fee is super inexpensive, right?
Dan: Yeah, it's because we're trying to help, you know, many people around the world, where $7 a month or $50 a year. And we have 2 million or so users right now. So, you know, really the goal is to, you know, help people grow. And, and yeah, that's, that's where we're at.
Tracy: Super awesome. Well, thanks, Dan. And thanks for being here. I am so excited. And we'll have links to Brain.fm in the show notes as well.
Dan: Thanks, Tracy.
Tracy: Thank you so much for listening to the show today. This is Tracy Matthews, signing off. If you'd like to learn more about Brain.FM head on over to Brain.FM or download it in the app store as Dan mentioned, you can try it for a couple days for free. And I believe in this so much. We're not an affiliate of this application or anything. I believe in it so much that I have been harassing Dan about getting him on the show for a very long time. We finally work. So you're welcome. I am super excited for you to get more creative, get into a flow state more and be more productive by listening to music that is awesome. Anyway.
And if you enjoyed the show today, I would love for you to give us a little five-star rating and review. We love hearing from our audience and it really brings me joy to know what you are enjoying about the show. So if you feel inspired, go give us a rating over on the apple podcast store. And thank you very much for doing that. Anyway, this is Tracy Matthews signing off. Until next time.