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Dylan Burns | Personal Branding is More Important Than Ever

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On this episode of Investing for Freedom, Mike is joined by guest Dylan Burns. For two years, Mike and Dylan have been working together to capture and create content. They discuss important topics such as the power of a personal brand, adjusting to the changing media environment, capturing “value-bombs” that can help to grow relationships, and so much more.

“Having an online presence, that personal brand, something that people know you for that you can use to promote whatever business you’re in, as well as yourself is incredibly valuable. I’m trying to help people with that.”


Dylan Burns has worked for Mike for the last two years building his personal brand, podcast, social media, and more. Recently Dylan moved on to launch a business to build personal brands for high W2 earners, investors, and successful business owners like Mike who haven’t started or are struggling to get their personal brand off the ground. Dylan’s business – KnowHow Media is focused on giving clients the system, guidance, and tools that they need for a successful personal brand, all while catering to their unique schedule and needs.


Instagram: @dylanhburns
Text Dylan at (480) 818-4836


0:00 – Intro
1:15 – Mike and Dylan speak about working together on content
4:11 – Mike asks Dylan who has had the greatest impact on his life
6:20 – Dylan speaks about how working hard has had the greatest impact on his success
7:36 – Mike asks Dylan what his greatest setback in life was and he learned from it
9:19 – Dylan shares his thoughts on how we tend to overcomplicate things in life, so the piece of advice he finds himself sharing the most is to just ask yourself “what do I really want from this situation?”
13:07 – Mike speaks on building your personal brand
17:54 – Mike and Dylan discuss capturing content vs. creating content
23:15 – Dylan speaks on the importance of adapting and adjusting to the constantly changing environment in terms of media
25:09 – Dylan shares his thoughts on why business owners tend to not want to spend a lot of money on an expert who can manage their brand
29:58 – Dylan gives us his advice on how to start growing your personal brand
34:32 – Dylan mentions how current technology is amazing and can make recording wherever you’re at super easy and accessible
38:14 – Mike shares his opinion on podcasts and why he thinks this is the best way for people to get to know you
45:53 – Dylan discusses how his business works
48:36 – Dylan talks about the type of people he hopes to help with through his business


Mike Ayala: Thank you for joining me on the Investing for Freedom podcast. Today we’ve got a pretty exciting show, and this is actually a subject that I’ve been wanting to bring to you guys for a while. And the person that I’ve got in studio, it’s going to be pretty fun chatting through this with the whole premise of the show today is the power of a personal brand and why I believe that is probably one of the most important things that you could do in this day and age regardless of what business you’re in or what you want to accomplish. So today though, my guest is Dylan Burns.

Dylan Burns: How’s it going?

Mike Ayala: Good, buddy. How are you?

Dylan Burns: Doing great.

Mike Ayala: So here’s the interesting part. Dylan has literally been probably in the room for the majority of the episodes that we’ve recorded or on the other end of a zoom line, or at least on the other end of editing or something. So Dylan’s been my personal content guy for how long Dylan?

Dylan Burns: Just under two years. July 1st, I think is when I officially started.

Mike Ayala: Yeah, so when I go backwards and I really first started thinking about, which was probably an even longer process than that probably, you know, three years ago or whatever. First started thinking about how important it was for me to build my personal brand, which I’ll get into that story a little bit. I really started this journey. And what I realized was, I can’t be one of those people that, you know, builds all my own media, records everything myself, figures out how to set my studio up, does all my own editing. I realized that the iPhone can do amazing things, but I just don’t have time for that. And so I set out searching as I do with everything. I constantly talk about time, freedom and leverage and finding amazing people in my life that you don’t can really do their job the way that they do it so that I don’t have to. And that’s how I met you.

Dylan Burns: Yeah.

Mike Ayala: Well actually, that’s not how I met you, but that’s how we started working together.

Dylan Burns: Right, right. Yeah. I actually met you through Dylan. I went and shot with him a couple of times on the boat doing some wake surfing stuff and Dylan invited me and my buddy Josh over for dinner. And I was like, okay, like, sounds good. I show up and yeah, it was great. I mean, you guys were right away just like super interested in whatever I was doing. Like I was in college at the time and so you’re just very inviting right away. And then we ended up working together at worlds and then kind of went from there.

Mike Ayala: For those of you that don’t know, my oldest son, Dylan Ayala is, he’s a professional wake surfer. And so when you say worlds Dylan Burns the guy who we’re listening to right now, him and his buddy came in and shot the whole world championships. That was like the whole thing. That was like really the first time that my eyes were opened to how easy things can go if you have somebody that knows what they’re doing. And like you guys have, you actually, I think did a lot of this, you’ve mapped out the entire weekend. You had a spreadsheet from the time that Dylan woke up until the time Dylan went to bed, like when you were going to be posting stories and when Dylan needed to be recording and when he needed to be doing interviews and what he needed to do and what you guys were going to do and how to get logged in to Instagram, all that kind of stuff. And that was like my first, I guess, just observation or insight into how smooth things can go if you’re working, you know, with people that know what they’re doing. So yeah, you opened my eyes to a lot.

Dylan Burns: Yeah. It was a lot of fun. That seems like a long time ago.

Mike Ayala: Well, here’s what’s interesting. I want to get right to the punchline and then we’re going to get to the four questions because we have to ask the four questions. That’s how we start. But Dylan Burns, you know, as we’ve talked about, he’s been working with me as an employee basically for almost two years and recently decided to go out on his own, which I think is going to be a great thing for him. And I think it’s going to be a great thing for the world. And it’s still a great thing for me because he’s still going to continue to work for me. So that’s awesome. But we’re going to get into all that, but let’s talk about the questions. So who’s had the greatest impact on your life?

Dylan Burns: Well, that’s interesting. There’s probably two answers to that. And always being in the room when you’re recording these, a lot of people say that, but I would say the first one would be my dad. He taught me, I just grew up watching him in the garage, watching him, you know, doing a lot of things. And I really learned how to work with my hands. I think that’s where I got that from. I’ve always felt like I could fix anything or just kind of figure out any situation because of that. And you know, obviously, a lot of other things, how to be a man and different things like that. And then I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this, but more recently, I would say it’s actually been you, it’s like five years ago for school. And then, like I said, had the opportunity to meet you and your family. And I’ve been in the room forever, recording everything you’ve ever done. And, you know, it’s been an incredible learning experience. So I didn’t know when I moved out here, like what I’d be doing necessarily. I was pursuing a dream at the time to, you know, be a film guy, be a camera guy, and I’m still doing that, but a lot has changed. You know, you’ve opened my eyes to a lot of stuff about real estate, investing, you know, what you want with your life. I’ve seen you and Kara’s relationship, and I recently got married and, you know, want to emulate a lot of those things as well. So yeah.

Mike Ayala: Well, I appreciate that, man. For those of you that are wondering yes, I paid him to say that. No, I’m just kidding. Yeah, it’s been fun watching you too. And I do appreciate that. You know just watching you grow has been super cool too. You’ve grown a lot in the last couple of years and, you know, there’s just because you get in the room, there’s a lot of people that get in the room, but that’s not enough. You know, you still have to show up, you still have to do your part and I’ve watched you do that. So just getting in the room isn’t enough. I mean, there’s a lot of people that get to be with me or anybody else that’s doing great things. And so hats off to you for doing it. I’m excited to watch you grow, man. It’s kind of fun.

Dylan Burns: Thank you.

Mike Ayala: If you could narrow it down to one thing that has had the greatest impact on your success, what would it be?

Dylan Burns: I would say just like working hard, it sounds kind of cliche. But you know, I had a background playing sports, playing football, and as a lot of people say that did play sports, I learned a lot about, you know, life and how you have to work really hard for whatever outcome you want. At the time It was, you know, working out really hard every day and training and everything to be good at the sport. And for me, that’s really translated, you know, to what I’ve done since then for work and just showing up you know, taking responsibility for your actions and just being real with people. I think a lot of times these days, people, you know, judge others or, you know, they maybe have one bad experience, or somebody gets on them for something and they kind of retract and then they just totally act different after that. And maybe you write them off. And for me, you know, just, I guess, believing in people, working hard, doing what I say I’ll do. And yeah, I would say that probably it.

Mike Ayala: Nice, I like it. It’s good stuff, man. I can attest to that. You’re a hard worker. The other thing I’d say too, not that this is solicited, but you know you’re one of those guys that like, if I ever needed anything, I’d be like, Dylan, I need this. And you’d be like, okay, what time? Let me talk to Abby, what was your greatest setback and what did you learn from it?

Dylan Burns: So my greatest setback was actually related to my football career. So I originally went to college to play college football back in Iowa at a school called Northwestern and the last practice of fall camp, I tore my patellar tendon in my left knee, and it was really painful you know, all that stuff. But I sort of came back, was able to practice a little more and it just was nagging me really bad. And, you know, I was 18 years old at the time and sometimes couldn’t even walk up the stairs without like serious knee pain. And I was like, this ain’t it anymore. So I was actually studying nursing at the time, like a totally different life path than I have now. And I just was having this really strong feeling like, this isn’t it for me anymore. You know, I made some really good relationships and friendships at the time, but just kind of had to make the decision for myself to walk away from that. And I had always grown up in the Midwest too, so really just getting away, like not out of a protest, but just like, you know, I really wanted to do something important for my life and like new big things. And I felt like I needed to go out and grow. So I visited GCU in Phoenix and liked it, met some cool people, and just moved out there and started pursuing a completely different path than I was going for. But none of that would have happened, you know, without the greatest setback. So I’m really thankful for it looking back. It was an interesting thing to work through like mentally and physically, but it’s gotten me to where I’m at. Like, we wouldn’t be, we wouldn’t have worked together. We wouldn’t be here. You won’t have the studio. Like it affects other people too, you know, so yeah.

Mike Ayala: That’s good stuff, man. What is the single piece of advice you find yourself sharing the most?

Dylan Burns: I would say, I don’t know if I’m fully qualified to give this advice all the time, but I’ve really found myself a lot lately. And this kind of goes back to like the things I’ve learned from you, but giving advice to people like simple, lower-level stuff or just the basics, I guess, of like, you know, people just over-complicate so many things in life, like whatever they’re going through. And I actually, especially Abby a lot lately, I’m just like breaking it down real simple, like, well, what do you really want in this situation? Like, cause we complicate things so much. And so just really kind of dumbing it down, getting down to the one thing or whatever like in any situation is kind of what I try to share the most right now.

Mike Ayala: I love It. So just for context why don’t you tell us how old you are?

Dylan Burns: I am 22 and three quarters.

Mike Ayala: I like it, you know, and that’s really irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how old somebody is, but I want you to understand for the audience that don’t know Dylan again, he’s been behind the scenes. He’s been everywhere, you know, the last couple of years as we’re building out the podcast and the personal brand and all of that stuff. And like literally when you came to work for me, you still weren’t even graduated from college, right?

Dylan Burns: Yeah, I actually my first day really working for you was the day after my 21st birthday. So yeah. I like working, you know, full-time on your personal brand, but I mean, yeah, like when I was, when I met Dylan, I was probably 20 or 19 had just turned 20.

Mike Ayala: That’s cool. Well, okay. So just to set this up a little bit for context, I want to just share with the audience a little bit about my journey around the personal brand and what brought me to the point that I really realized I needed a personal brand number one, but you know, also that’s brought me to the place that I really think at the end of the day that we live in a day and age where everybody needs to be building a personal brand of some sort. And I’ve shared this a lot on the podcast, you know, mostly, probably on the Monday Shorty’s just my philosophy around it. But going backwards a little bit, and I’d just, you know, at any point in time that you want to interject or give any insight, just throw your hand up. But going backwards, I’ve said often that when I sold my first business in 2014, it was the best and worst day of my life. And the reason why it was the best day of my life is because I’m 34 years old and I’m retired and I have achieved the American dream and I’ve got cash flow and my wife and I had a bunch of, you know, investment properties, which we still have a lot of them that we, you know, we’re out of the rat race. We’re 34 years old, best day of my life, but it was also the worst day of my life because my entire identity, my personal brand, if you will, which I didn’t understand this at that point in time. But it was wrapped up in that business. I was a plumber by trade. I’d been working for 10 years in that business. And then all of a sudden, I wake up one day and I realized like, I don’t know what to do next. And so it had nothing really to do with my personal brand, that that was the worst day of my life. It was literally like, I didn’t know, I didn’t know what I was going to do next in my life because I built my entire identity around that. And I’ll never forget one time we were sitting in a restaurant as you were you know, interviewing me and we were doing some video, you asked me, so were you just like super passionate and excited about starting a plumbing company? And I’m like, no, like it has nothing to do with that I was passionate about plumbing. I just knew that there was something more, but then you fast forward, like I knew I wanted to build out this business and just do a better customer service experience. And I had just you know, such a strong leading and guiding just like you were talking about when, when you blew out your knee or whatever, and then you just felt like there was something more. I had such a, just something pulling on me to go do this something bigger. So as I built that out, that’s why that was such a rough day for me, fast forward, you know, I meet my current partner Andrew, we’re building out the mobile home park business. We work with a consulting company that really advises us around raising capital and how we position everything. And Matt, who’s the guy that heads that up, you know, for a long time, he’s like, you need to build your personal brand. You need to build your personal brand. Like, you know, all these reasons, I just didn’t get it. And then all of a sudden, I woke up and, you know, for the audience, some people probably heard this story, but I woke up, literally woke up one day thinking there’s a date that I’m going to exit this current portfolio that I’m building in the manufactured housing space and I’m going to want to go on and do something different. I’m a firm believer that, you know, I exited that first business in 10 years, but I think things begin to accelerate for me anyhow. And I don’t know in this day and age, if most people, you know, this isn’t like the fifties where people, you know, had a job 40 years or whatever, right? This is like, we tend to change careers and mix things up. And so I literally woke up one morning and I thought to myself, when I exit this portfolio, I’m going to be in the same place that I was when I sold my first business, because I’m the manufactured housing guy. I’m the guy that’s you know, just going to events and I’m meeting with investors one-on-one and we’re buying properties one by one. And I quickly realized, like, that was my aha moment where I said to myself, you know what? I need to build a personal brand because no matter what if I have, listen, I don’t want to have, you know, 500,000 followers on Instagram, so I can be an influencer. It has nothing to do with that. It’s purely about the way that we communicate today and the way that we reach our audience, whether it’s manufactured housing, whether it’s sellers in the HVAC business, whether it’s potential investors, whatever it is for your business, whether it’s potential clients that want to figure out how to build their brand. So that was my epiphany moment where I’m like, okay, I have to build this brand out, but then I like jump on Instagram and I’m like, you know, there’s this, like, everybody’s talking about how perfect your Instagram page has to be. And you know, you can just do everything on an iPhone. And like, I started out with like editing your videos and everything. And I’m like, I don’t know how to do any of that. And so I think a lot of my audience is probably feeling that same way about building out their personal brand. And so I want her to set the stage because I went through the same thing that I think they’re probably going through, like the epiphany moment. Like I need to build the brand, but then I woke up and I’m like, I felt like I was staring up at Mount Everest. Like, how the hell do I do this? And we’re looking around at all these kids that are just like, you know, they’re just, they live on Instagram. They live on Snapchat. They live on Tik Tok, all this stuff. But then there’s us that are out there that are successful investors. We’re successful business owners. We don’t have a lot of time because we’re literally building out businesses already. So for some people, this is their business, Instagram, Facebook, etc. But for most of us that are, I would say 99.9% of my audience, maybe a hundred percent are not building their business. Their main business is not Instagram. They have something else going and they want to build a personal brand. So I wanted to set the stage there because number one, I’ve been there, but that sent me on probably a three-year journey, literally of like, how the hell do I build this brand out? That’s where I met you. That’s where we teamed up. And then, you know, I started coaching with Chris harder and we’ve really scaled this quickly.

Dylan Burns: Yeah. I mean, really, it’s now probably just officially been over a year, like since you started the podcast. And I felt like that’s really, when things took off, you know, I was learning some things at first, along the way, as well, too, like doing stuff with you. And thankfully it’s been really cool to have that connection through Chris Harder, as well as, you know, Laurie and like a lot of other people that are very successful in this, but, you know, we’ve all learned a lot and really kind of figured this monster out if you will. And yeah, I mean, it’s definitely a challenge. It’s daunting and it’s not something that I think especially comes natural to you know, I don’t want to say people your age.

Mike Ayala: Yeah, old guys like me.

Dylan Burns: Yeah, old guys like you, you know, like you said, like the kids that are on there, that’s what they grew up doing was like with something in their hands. And so whether it’s knowing what content to post or just knowing how to work it, like, you know, your time is very valuable to you. As I imagine a lot of people that are listening to this, you generally, if you start anything in business, you don’t want to just mess around and like, see if you can do it yourself and see, you know, try to do it on your own. Like, you’re going to hire an expert. You’re going to hire an employee. You know, maybe that has five years’ experience of doing, you know, whatever, like administrative work or something like, you don’t just try to take that on yourself when you feel like you need it. And I think that media, and, you know, having an online presence, that personal brand, something that people know you for that you can use to promote whatever business you’re in at the moment, as well as yourself and your experiences is incredibly valuable. So that’s why I’m trying to help people with that right now.

Mike Ayala: I love it. Yeah. It’s exciting. And you know, it took me a while to get it figured out and, you know, obviously you working alongside of me, but I think more and more people are moving this direction. And, you know, I can’t say it enough and I’d love to hear your opinion on this. I’ve really figured out, you know, one of the areas that I was frustrated with originally is I think a lot of times people think that they have to basically create content and we’ve been having a lot of conversations, you know, well for a long time, but even a lot more recently were like, I think we need to capture content. There’s a lot of content creators out there, but those are people who sit down and intentionally create content. Now we have to do some of that. You know, if we’re doing a launch, you know, whether it’s a couples mastermind or we’re going to do a course launch, or, you know, we’re launching a fund for a mobile home park or the, you know, the HVAC business or whatever, there’s been times that we got to go and we have to create the content like intentionally go into a studio, map it out, scripts. I’m really bad at that. Yeah, it’s tough. And you’ve watched it from the other side of the camera. Like you’ve seen me struggle there and you know, everybody number one learns different, but number two, everybody creates different. And the thing about me, I’m just a content creator. Like I’m out running businesses, I’ve got a big team, we’ve got multiple businesses that we run, got investment properties all over the country. And plus I love my time freedom. And so that’s the other thing. And again, I’d love to just hear you, you know, I’d love to hear your version of there’s two different types of people, I think. And maybe there’s three or four, I don’t know, but there’s content creators. And then there’s those of us that need to create and capture the content while we’re actually working, like capture the content. So run me through that.

Dylan Burns: Yeah. I mean, most people probably don’t realize this cause they’re not thinking about it. I mean, you even just told me the other day, like I’ve been doing say like coaching calls for a while and you’re like, you know, this is great. Like you know, and so we were like, well, let’s start recording that. We can break that up into some awesome content. Like, from my perspective, especially at the beginning spend a lot of time with you and Andrew and different people like in meetings and different things, or whether it was events, say like the GoBundance local chapters, all these things. And I’m always there like listening, hearing these like, wow, like value bombs, whatever, like, and just things that can help so many people. We’ve also had the conversation like, say something real simple, like a tax write-off that like, most people don’t understand. And that is actually super valuable to people like, you know, just talking about that, but back to capturing the content, you specifically, like coaching calls, you’re doing all these other things. Maybe half of like say a meeting, like a zoom meeting you don’t want to put out there whatever, but maybe there’s a five-minute segment in there where you were going on a flow. And like you get something that could be very valuable to an audience, capturing that and then like having, you know, a team to chop that up and make it into a shareable piece can be very valuable and not require a ton of extra time. So like, say like, we’re working on you coming into the studio for say four hours a month, like once a month on a Monday to give you content for that full month plus some, you know and so that’s like the creation part, but then besides that, we’re able to get a ton more stuff for you just out of your meetings, your coaching and whatnot like that. But even like, you know, your audience, like, they’re probably not thinking about that. You know, it doesn’t occur to them they’re stuck like, oh, I want to start this. Or I know maybe I should, or I’m following these people that are doing it. And they’re like, oh, well I don’t know what I would record.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. And I think what a lot of people, the reason why I really wanted to bring this up and pointed out is because I think it’s super overwhelming to a lot of people. And you said something, well, a couple of things. So you talked about how it just recently, even we’ve just realized that like I’m on all these coaching calls and you were talking about how early on you’d come into, you know, some of our team meetings and stuff like that. And it takes a while to really figure this out because a lot of times team meetings are not exciting. Like there’s nothing really like, you know, and that’s the whole thing that it takes us a while to really like comprehend, okay, where’s the magic actually. Yeah, because team meetings are good for the team, but there’s not like a whole lot of stuff. There are a lot of times that it’s like, you know, super inspiring and like a whole bunch of mentoring and things that are going to really rock people’s world. And so I think sometimes it’s really just breaking this down and having somebody that can see it from the outside. And I was jokingly telling you before we started recording today that you don’t get to edit this podcast because we’re so critical of ourselves. And I don’t, I was joking, I don’t think you’d actually be critical of it, but the reason why I want to say this with the audiences, what we think is normal, like you were talking about the tax breaks, what we think is normal because you know, I’ve got an amazing accountant and you know, we’ve been talking taxes for 10 or 12 years now and what’s second nature to me, something that I learned, you know, 10 or 12 years ago, I don’t really think is a value bomb as you called it. But somebody on the outside, having somebody on our team or with us, whether it’s, you know, full-time or on contract or breaking it down to four hours or whatever that is, that can see what you’re saying and talking about. And then, and see that magic through another lens is so valuable.

Dylan Burns: Yeah. And no matter what, anybody that’s trying to, you know, record their stuff and whatnot, like everybody’s situation is very different. Like, I doubt that you have a listener that’s doing exactly what you’re doing and your exact business, and that if they were sharing through a personal brand, that they would talk about all this stuff that you are. So what we found is like, it’s a continual adjustment thing, like you just said here recently, we’ve been talking about recording your coaching calls. Like that’s a continual, like having that awareness to adjust is huge with this stuff, not to mention like, you know, a year ago or however long ago, like Tik Tok wasn’t a thing. And like all these new features, there’s always going to be something, so adjusting is incredibly important. Like right now that short-form content is super popular. Whereas before we might’ve thought like two years ago, we might’ve been putting out 8-minute, 8 to 12-minute pieces, but now it’s like the 15 to 32nd value bombs are the good stuff. And then that points it to your podcast. And it’s all just kind of this machine that we boil and work it out.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. I love that you just brought that up too, because things are so, things are changing so exponentially quick. The thing that I love about what you’re doing now, opening your own business, which I’ll let you share what that is and everything. But I love that because things are changing so quickly. And again, we have to focus on our own business. Like I’ve said this over and over and over. I don’t want to understand the media side of the business. I don’t want to understand podcasts. I don’t want to understand Instagram, I don’t like, I don’t have time for it, but I’ve said this from day one. This has been like second nature to me. If I was a plumber in the field, the only way I’m going to build out a successful plumbing company is to find and hire the best plumbers, find, and hire the best dispatchers, find, and hire the best accounting team, find, and hire you know, the best technicians. Well, then we are like, well I’m going to launch a podcast and I’m going to do it all myself. Or I’m going to run my Instagram page. I’m going to do it all myself. It’s just, we need to look at it different because, and again, what I love that you said you were talking about, you know, two years ago, or even a year ago, we would have done some long-form content. Now, these little shorts, well, it’s going to be different in six months and it’s going to be potentially different in 12 months. And we can’t keep up with all that. So this is one of those areas though and I’d love to just get your thoughts on this. Business owners, they’ll pay a lot of money for good accounting teams, good lawyers, good accountants, you know, good dispatchers, whatever, whatever their business is. But people want to nickel and dime when it comes to your brand management.  Why is that?

Dylan Burns: I mean, I would imagine it’s probably because it’s a newer thing. It’s not something that’s like, I guess a part of just what we all assume comes with business. Like, we all know, like you need to have an accounting team and that’s going to cost X and whatever to do it the right way. Like media in like the personal brand area that hasn’t been around for super long. So that’s probably that it’s foreign to people. But yeah, like you say, like you get what you pay for in life. Like you see that all the time. Like if you, I mean, there’s endless examples. Like you get the saying like, you really get what you pay for. So if you’re paying nothing and you’re doing it all yourself, like you might get what you pay for with that. You know what I mean? And if you get, you know, somebody that really knows what they’re doing and has a system and knows how it all works, it’s going to make it easier for you. It’s going to save you a lot of time, like mental space, you know, and all of that. And so if somebody’s serious about, you know, anything in business, they invest the money into it and make it happen.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. And I think a lot of business owners don’t, they can’t connect it. And I remember hearing Gary V say, you know, it was probably three or four years ago that there’s a day coming where just like we have an accounting team and just like, we have an operations team and just like we have a sales team there’s a day coming where we’re going to have an internal brand management team. Like an entire media team internally. And that hit me, like that hit me right between the eyes. And I got ahold of that, but I didn’t really fully get it. And I think, you know, when business owners start talking to, or start hearing people like Gary V saying that, you know, we need to build our personal brand, I think we disconnect. Because we don’t, number one, understand it as you were just talking about, I don’t think we fully get it, but then number two, we don’t fully understand the benefit of it. Like, okay, well, if I go build this personal brand, how does that equate to dollars for me? And there’s so many ways, and I’ve seen this so many ways. I mean, we’ve seen it in my brand, which we can get into if we want to, but I’ve seen it in other people’s brands too. I’ve got a guy that I know that’s in the east of the US and he’s a real estate agent, and Gary V actually told him, he said, what you need to do to build your brand is to become the social media mayor of your town, just everywhere you go talk about how amazing that restaurant is and tag that restaurant and how amazing that business owner is and tag them and his business has blown up. And so, like, I think a lot of us business owners, if we don’t shift and get our head out of the clouds, we’re going to get left behind because the old school methodology of marketing, like, you know, door knockers and yellow letters and billboards. And I’m not saying that some of that still doesn’t work, you know, radio ads like yellow pages, like people are still spending money on that. Yeah, says the 22 and a half-year-old guy. Yeah. So we’re going to get so left behind because there’s this tsunami, there’s an exponential wave coming of transition, which is what you were talking.

Dylan Burns: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Yeah, I mean, you’ve got it figured out and, you know, I see a lot of people that do as well. It’s been cool to get into rooms with like, say Ken McElroy’s team has been killing it for a while, especially on YouTube recently. Like he took off during the COVID break of people being on their computers more and, you know, seeing their system and everything like people that are investing into this are seeing real returns out of it, both with a following. And like you said earlier, like you don’t want 500,000 followers and I know you well enough to know you don’t want to be an influencer, but you do want to help people and get your message out there. And that’s what you’ve done. And seeing the returns on that from the inside has been really cool.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. And it’s been a lot of fun. So Dylan, you know, one of the reasons why I really wanted to do this episode is because I’ve just, I’ve learned so much. And again, just back to the, you know, the busy business owner leverage all of that, this has been super valuable for me, understanding that, you know, there’s a process behind this and we can really create a system. That’s what I’m always looking at. How do I get more done with less? And I’ve said this so many times, like, I’m not really, but I’m lazy. I’m a hard worker. I really am, but I’m always looking for like the most efficient way to do things. And so I’ve said that so many times, because like literally I want to be like water. I want to find the path of least resistance and it’s taken us a couple of years, but I think we figured, you know, we found a pretty good process that works. And so for the busy business owner that were, you know, a lot of my listeners are still W2 guys or there, you know, early investors and they’re just grinding and getting stuff done. So what would you say to them about building a personal brand? How do they need to go about that? You know, just based on what we’ve learned and it’s, I don’t think it’s, I don’t think we’re anything special, but it’s been trial and error. And if we can shorten the timeline for them, I think that would be very valuable.

Dylan Burns: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, at the end of the day, like we talked about already, there’s a lot of things you need to do. I mean, that’s the reality, like really building that system out, finding somebody that can help you, kind of direct you, give some strategy and really build that system. Like what we’ve been doing recently, like I mentioned already, the four-hour recording sessions, we knock that out and it doesn’t have to be four, I mean actually, I haven’t even run this by you, but we might only need to do two, like based on the last one, but, you know, building that system, knowing, Hey, this is when I need to show up to create. And then also just being aware of that opportunity to capture, and then having that system of editors afterwards, which is like something that I take care of. So we have this editing system, we put it into basically a Dropbox, just a place where it lands. You have your access to pull those. I mean, we’ve been doing it long enough with you where you kind of know what you want to post. So for a while, we were planning stuff out. So there’s a lot of different ways. Like there’s no set way to do all this. It’s finding somebody that can work with you, understand you, understand your business and your day-to-day. But also like I’ve had to push you at times, right? Like there’s been things that we’ve needed to do. And there’s a little resistance a lot of times, cause it’s uncomfortable, you know, you value your time. Maybe something happens and stuff’s falling apart with part of your team at your business. And like that frustrates you. And then you’re like, oh, I got to put that off. But like you need somebody there to push you along to keep it going because I mean is it worth it.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. It’s totally worth it. And I love that you brought it up that way because there’s so many things in our business. Like if my daughter has a dance recital this afternoon at five, o’clock, it doesn’t matter if my business is on fire and blowing up and shit is going south and I’m going to my daughter’s dance recital. Why? Because I’ve made that a priority. But until people really understand how valuable this is, and that’s something that you connected for us a little bit earlier in the show, I think business owners still don’t get how valuable this is. And so number one, it’s frustrating because it’s new and foreign to us. We don’t understand it. And we think it’s going to take us eight hours a day. And what I hear you saying is, and I know the answer to this because we’ve been working together. But what I hear you saying is it doesn’t have to take eight hours a day. We don’t even really, there’s ways that we cannot even really think about it for more than 15 minutes a day if we want to.

Dylan Burns: Yeah. I mean, there’s even been periods that I think we’ve done very well together where you were more or less on cruise control, on the content side of things, because we knew what we were doing. You knew, Hey, when I’m doing these calls and doing whatnot, push record, sticking in your computer, send it off to me. You don’t touch it until you are posting it, posting something that has titles, and you know, graphics and all these different things. And that’s the whole goal, right? Is to basically have an easy button that you can push to say, I know I need to do this. I know I need a personal brand. I know I want to help more people. I want to have an audience, have a community of people that you are helping bring up, right? In whatever area that it is. And to do that, you need people to know you. You need people to know your message, know your experiences because each one of your listeners, everybody, everybody out there has their own set of you know, experiences that is very valuable. That if you position yourself the right way, you can charge to share that. I mean, I’m sure a lot of your listeners have paid a lot of money to go to conferences and go to seminars. And like those people aren’t putting on those conferences and seminars because I mean, they have the experience. That’s why they’re putting it on. That’s what I’m getting at.

Mike Ayala: Totally. What’s super interesting too and I can say this from experience, and we don’t need to go into the weeds on this, but I think another thing that a business owner would be a little concerned about, and you already answered this, but I’ve been on vacation, again, freedom of time is super important to me. And I don’t want to spend my whole vacation worried about what I need to post and everything else. And so it’s really just like anything else. As a business owner, if you ever want to take a one-week or a two-week vacation, you got to have people systems and processes in place that continue on when you’re out. And it’s no different with marketing through social media or a podcast or anything else. I mean, there’s been a couple of times where, you know, we’ve had to batch shows ahead of time, or even there’s been a few times that I literally was on an RV trip and I was recording a podcast in my Subaru. But that’s another thing that you’ve been super valuable with because we have, you don’t have to give up your life to build a personal brand. I’ve said to you, Dylan, I need to be able to record anywhere at any time and be able to do anything. And like, you’re talking about the Dropbox folder and you got me these little lapel mics, which I don’t even, it’s a great little setup, but basically, I told you what I want and how I want my life to look. And you designed it for me.

Dylan Burns: Yeah, I mean, thankfully the technology is incredible right now of being able to record really wherever you’re at any set of circumstance you’re in, like, what’s really nice about this personal brand stuff. Like I went to film school. So I know the background of like how to do everything perfectly and make it look great. But what’s nice about social media is like, it doesn’t need to be perfect. But you do want some production value there. Like if you’re going to stand out, you want to have good-looking stuff. You want to have high-quality audio. You want to have, you know, high-level things. And so, yeah, I mean, we’ve been able to work together. Create like these little gadgets and just knowing like, Hey, if you’re on the road record with your phone, like, you don’t need to take the camera with you. Or, you know, we set up studios like this and it sounds great. It looks great. And yeah, batching shows ahead of time. You’ve told me multiple times, like, you know, we’ve scheduled three guest podcasts back to back to back. And then afterwards you’re like, man, that was great. And then you don’t have to record for almost a month, you know, and you just carve out that little bit of time. You get in a little bit of a flow, you talk to some great people and boom, your stuff’s done. And there’s a of content you can pull from that. And that’s really a little bit of creation, but that’s really a capture, like being on the backside of the camera with your shows, for example, like you’re just having conversations with people. You’re pulling stuff out of them. You’re a great interviewer. And it’s capturing at that point.

Mike Ayala: Well, and pretty much anybody that’s listening right now you know, you gave me kudos that I’m a great interviewer. I just love people. And so, I mean, if you hate people, you probably shouldn’t start a podcast where you’re interviewing people. But like, when I was thinking about the podcast, I really enjoy being with people. And I like literally looked around and I’m with amazing people. I’m like, why don’t I just have amazing conversations and record it, but not everybody has to have a podcast either. I actually think that, you know, I heard somebody say a while back that no matter what, you should have a podcast today. Cause it’s so undervalued. And it’s going to grow so much still. And I think a lot of people wake up and they’re like, well, everybody has a podcast. People think that they’ve missed the boat and that’s just not true. This is where the boat is going. And basically like the old school methods of marketing, that’s all gone. I’ve already said this, but I just want to drive this home because you know, there’s this whole documentary out there right now. The social dilemma, right? Oh, we got to stay off our phones and they’re watching us and there, I get it. I’m kind of a tinfoil hat wearing guy myself. But the reality is, this is where the world’s going, and you cannot run a successful business. There’s some exceptions, but for the most part, I don’t think you can run a successful business without being on social media.

Dylan Burns: Yeah. I mean, that’s been my experience and you know, like you said, like I’ve seen the social dilemma. I’m sure a lot of people have and one way to be a good change for that is to be actually putting out good, healthy, helpful content to people and trying to help them as opposed to, you know, whatever else. But you’re also using the tools that are there. Like, like you said, like if you’re not on social media, you’re probably getting left behind in whatever business you’re in, personal brand, you know, business brand, whatever it is, you know, you’re getting left behind. I mean, everything’s digital, everything’s audio. But I did see a stat, like, I don’t know the exact numbers, but like Instagram, for example, there’s probably, I could be way off here, but I would venture to say there’s probably close to a billion accounts on Instagram. Like I would assume they’ve probably touched that many people but like podcasts are still, I could be wrong, but I don’t even know if there’s like a million podcasts. I still think it’s in like the hundreds of thousands based on stuff I’ve read within the last few months.

Mike Ayala: Yeah, the last statistic I heard there was like 731,000 podcasts and there’s already like 3 billion podcasts listeners. And so there’s huge, huge upside. And again, there’s some exceptions out there, but the reality is, I think this is the best way for people to get to know you. Because again, at the end of the day, people do business with people they know like, and trust. We can only have so many relationships in person physical, hey, can I take you to lunch and pick your brain? No, but you can listen to my podcast where you get to pick my brain all day long. And then same thing with the Instagram and all of that stuff. So, you know, kind of pulling this together, what would you say if we have a listener that’s like, you know what? I’ve known, I need to get on social media, but I just don’t know how, I don’t have the time to figure it out. If somebody worked with you, like what kind of timeframe and I know this is a loaded question. Cause there might be a million different things that, you know, I don’t do all the avenues. I’m not on, we’ve tested almost every avenue. But first off, they don’t have to get on every avenue. That’s where the content pillars come in, which I don’t want to get too far into that. But you kind of help them figure out, like, what’s their message. What are they looking at? And then where do we need to be? So to the person that’s listening, like how much time do they need to dedicate? Like realistically, what could they get a good brand going and getting built? Like how much time would they have to commit?

Dylan Burns: I mean, like you said, you know, it varies for anybody, but I’d say a good average to start, it’s going to be just slightly more time intensive on the front because there’s going to be a portion of like me teaching you, like, Hey, here’s where you push record. Here’s how you send a file. That requires a little more time, but you learn that. And I lay that out very clearly with like instructions and whatnot. But past that, like you put out a lot of content, so you’re probably actually a little higher on the time spectrum and you probably feel like you don’t do it a whole lot. You know what I mean? So two, four, six hours a month of, you know, concentrated and that’s not necessarily day one, like you’re going to look back, you learned so much about yourself when you were recording. Like I used to have to put a picture of Kara on the teleprompter so that you could talk to the camera. And now, you know, it’s nothing, but you know, so there’s a learning curve to it, but I mean, it is a low time investment for the return, once you know what you’re doing and you have somebody like me to say, you know, I think one of my skills is being able to kind of, and this is probably from being around the people in your circles and listening is like, I understand business owners and time, like, you’re one of the busiest guys I know. And I know how to kind of take that data and information and really like kind of work out the best, you know, way to do things. And so, but yeah, I would say, you know, you’d probably like to get down to that two, three-hour mark and it depends, you know, if you’ve got a guest podcast, your episodes go 60 minutes, but there’s a lot of people that have 8 to 15-minute podcasts. Every episode is that short. And that’s going to take a lot less time. So it varies but under 10 hours a month. So that’s what an average of like 20, 30 minutes a day.

Mike Ayala: And the one thing I will say, and again, we’ve learned a lot about this together, but when, you know, if you’re out there listening to this and you’re like, oh my God, I got to film. And then I got to take pictures and then I got to do a podcast. And then I got to, you know, write all these captions, and figure out a post-it. And we’ve really learned how to like and there’s a lot of people out there that would teach this, but like we’ve worked together to really get it done and streamline. Like literally, like you were talking about somebody having a podcast. So I think everybody should have a podcast. Because if you just work with Dylan and know-how, and you set your podcast up and get the equipment that we recommend, which is pretty simple, you get your podcast set up and then Dylan helps you turn the camera on while you’re creating the podcast. Not only are you getting a podcast put out, somebody can take that podcast and repurpose it as a blog or even tiles. Like I know you’ve taken a lot of the things that I’ve said in podcasts before, and then just turned them into little tiles for me, for Instagram.

Dylan Burns: Yeah, exactly.

Mike Ayala: And then also like if the video camera’s recording now you’ve got, I’ll let you just break that down. Like how you, I put out a lot of content, but a lot of its stripped down from other areas.

Dylan Burns: Oh, totally. Yeah. I mean, most of your you know, we try to keep, for example, on Instagram, your IGTVs like one to two minutes, but all of those are coming from either a full recording that’s in your case with the guests and hour long, or like a 10, 15 minute shorter podcast, but that’s narrowed down the one to two minutes. So I identify like, Hey, you said something valuable here that speaks to your brand and your content pillars, things that you’re talking about often. And then that’s where those posts come from. And as well as like now the reels and the Tik Toks, it’s like 15, 30 seconds. So you just pull something like that. And really once you know that this is something you want to do, you can follow a few people like the Gary V’s and the Bradley’s and the Grant Cardone’s like…

Mike Ayala: And the Mike Ayala’s.

Dylan Burns: And the Mike Ayala’s and you get a taste. You’re like, Hey, I like that. I don’t really like that. Like maybe I don’t want to swear in all my videos and maybe I don’t, you know, like, it’s really honestly handy that like, you can record for 10, 15 minutes and have 15 to 30, 40, 50 pieces of content pulled from that. Like you said, blogs, tiles, videos, shorts, like all these different things. It’s yeah, it’s not that hard when you know how.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. Well, I love that. I love that. And, you know, kind of just buttoning this up, I’m excited to see you flourish. I’m excited to see you go off on your own. You know, I’ve said this several times since we started working together, I remember listening to a podcast with Robert Kiyosaki and he had a bunch of employees on, and one of the employees said that Robert will literally come in and go through the office and be like, you’re still here. Haven’t I taught you anything? And so, yeah, I’m excited. I know when you came in and quit a few weeks ago after your you know, your honeymoon and you were a little nervous, right?

Dylan Burns: Yeah. I mean, you know, it was a tough decision. It’s funny, I’ve been going through these series of events that are just like, wow, they’re just like these big events that I can’t see myself on the other side of like, you know, like I said, I mean, you’ve had one of the greatest impacts on my life and everything that I know. So that was a hard thing to be like, yeah, I think I want to not be Mike’s full-time employee, you know, but you know, thankfully you know, you’ve taken this opportunity to still kind of be coaching me and helping me with things and you know, you still talk to me, so that’s a plus, but yeah, I mean it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I mean, I’m basically living out what you’re teaching, you know, just like you said, Kiyosaki does. So it was hard to sit in the studio every week and whatever and hear you talk about all these things and after a while, like not do it, you know what I mean?

Mike Ayala: Yeah. Yeah, no, that’s super cool. So for the guy or girl, that’s out there listening right now, it doesn’t matter if they’re a W2 employee business owner. It doesn’t matter if they are W2 employee, business owner, doesn’t matter where they are at. I would say you know W2 employee wanting to get out on their own, it’s just as important to start building your brand today as if you don’t have a business. And so I’ve said this several times in this episode, but I think everybody should be building their personal brand. And I think the thing that we’re really trying to communicate and get across is what I didn’t know a couple of years ago is that I didn’t need to know how, you just need to find somebody who knows how, right? So why don’t you just take a few minutes and whatever you want to talk about, let’s button this thing up, but for somebody that doesn’t know how to build a brand, you’re building a media company called know-how. So what does that look like? If they reach out to you, what’s the process going to be?

Dylan Burns: If you reach out to me and we decide that it’s a good fit for both of us, the first, I guess a couple of days is really like, I’m going to send a worksheet that’s like asking questions, learning about you, probably will do like a short little call as well, so we can kind of get that connection going. But you know, I want to know the names of the businesses you’re involved in. Like, what is the piece of advice you find yourself sharing the most, those kinds of questions. Like what’s your experience like, you know, there’s this worksheet and then.

Mike Ayala: And that helps you figure out what they’re going to be talking about.

Dylan Burns: Right. So then I can turn around and kind of coach them back on this, this, and that. And then depending on if they’re like we said, we recommend podcasts and things like that. So, you know, launching the podcast, figuring out a name, getting the Instagram buttoned-up, getting some branding, colors, or logos going, like that’s kind of the beginning stage. And then from there just building a schedule and a system that works for their time and their schedule and making the best of it and just being the most efficient.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. I’ve been watching, you know, from afar, but you’re not doing everything. You’re not like doing the website design. You’re not, you’ve just built a network of like affiliated people that are helping you with this too, right?

Dylan Burns: Yeah. I’ve been able, you know, through doing some work with you where I was doing everything for a long time to us growing and learning, like, Hey, these people make great websites. And like, I’m not an expert at everything. I know that as far as like the technical aspect of it, I can build a website, but there’s people that can build better websites. And so I’ve gotten to know people that do great websites, people that are great graphic designers, people that are great video editors efficient with their time and all of that. And so I’m using them to I guess, make this thing run. And then like, there’s things that but what I can do is point people in the right direction as to where they can find that.

Mike Ayala: Well, and the thing that I know, I mean, even just looking backwards and, you know, just want to be really clear on this. Like this could be as big or as small as somebody wants it to be. And you’re really working on helping people start building their personal brands and get that into a system that they can really get that off the ground, going into a system that doesn’t take them 10, 20, 30, 40 hours a week, you know, even just working together. We mentioned Chris Harder. I was in one of Chris Harder’s masterminds that really helped me develop like my big picture strategy for me, I have a media company that we’re building out. And so my brand in general and Kara’s brand and my son’s brand and, you know, the multiple businesses, they all have their own brand. And so, you know, I’ve spent a lot of money on the strategy piece. And so what we’re not saying is that you’re like the end all be all for every business owner out there. So who’s your, like, who are you really looking to help?

Dylan Burns: The person I’m looking to help is, you know, somebody who is successful in whatever sort of business that they are working in, whether it’s, you know, real estate or investing, or maybe it’s a product or like a car dealership, like literally anything. But if, you know, if you’ve got a good business going and you feel like maybe you’re successful at what you’re doing, like there’s definitely something that you can be sharing. Like that’s a little ding, ding, ding, you should have a personal brand and you should be sharing what you know with people and continuing to build your network. I mean, before you had your personal brand, you probably knew a lot of people, but you’re able to touch so many more people because of it. So that’s kind of who I’m looking for is successful business owners or, you know, whatever it is just, and somebody that wants to build their personal brand or knows that they need to.

Mike Ayala: No, that’s good. That helps in the clarity is good too. And I was just thinking about something, as you were saying, all that too. This has been so beneficial to me because like you were saying, I probably knew a lot of people before and that’s true, but I know so many more people, like I could go on and on and on at the level of personal relationships that I’ve built, including clients, you know, people that have bought products from us, people that have invested with us and these are not like $10 transactions. Like they’re literally investors in, you know, some big funds that we’ve had that we’ve built off this personal brand. And so the other thing too, that I want to say to the business owner, that’s listening, as you were saying, all that, this has really helped me in the way that I show up too. Because it’s a heck of a lot easier when you show up and you’re not having to introduce yourself or even if you already know somebody and then I go to an event, I knew him already. I go to an event they’ve been listening to my podcast or my content for the last three months, six months, whatever. And then when we get back together, we have deeper, better conversations because they know me better. And I know that that’s been something in my life. Like you know, Rock Thomas is a great example. Like I didn’t know Rock that well and I was listening to his podcast and then the next time that I went to breakfast with Rock, I felt like I knew him so much better. And so that’s the same with clients, customers, potential clients, existing friends. I literally have had friends that were already my friends that came up and I never, I didn’t know this about you. And so it’s such an easy way to, when we talk about a personal brand, it’s just about business transactions. It literally, and this might blow people’s minds, but I’m living proof that it can help you build deeper relationships.

Dylan Burns: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I’ve heard you come back from certain events, like you know, that one out East with, I think like Kyle Depiesse with the NASCARs or whatever, like you said, you were there, and a couple of guys were like asking you questions, and you  didn’t know. And, and you know, you’re not like some famous guy, but you’ve been putting in the time and the effort and you’ve invested into this process. And yeah, I mean, like you said, you’re living proof it can work and you know, that’s what I want to help other people do at the end of the day is like, share your story, share your message, share your knowledge with the world. And like, not to mention one of the big things that like really, it’s kind of like a way for me behind this is not only building deeper connections with people, reaching more people, but there’s a lot of these business owners out there and whatnot that have kids just like you do that, maybe their kids are a little younger. They’re five, six, seven years old. They have no idea what anything is that you’re talking about. You know, they’re just a little kid, but documenting that process of you talking about like what it is that you know, why you’re successful some of your stories of the past and like having that, if for nobody else in the world like is saving that for your kids to watch someday. Like, you know, I wish that I had that of my dad or my grandpa, especially, you know, like the things he’s done. Just that like a log of not only like there’s a lot of people that have written books, right. And like they can read like about dad’s books, but like having that or mom’s books, but having that like video and having that voice and hearing that and hearing the passion about stories and hearing the emotion and just the experiences and, and having that all documented, I think is a huge thing that I like, I’m going to want to do that for myself. And I want to help as many other people do that. If nothing else, if not for clients and all that, like, I think that’s a huge push as well.

Mike Ayala: Wow. That’s pretty amazing, man. That’s good stuff. So for the person that’s out there, that’s listening, that’s frustrated, they know need to do this. They need help. Where can they come find you?

Dylan Burns: Probably the best place is through Instagram. I am Dylan H. Burns with a D-Y the correct way to spell it. @DylanHBurns. You can find me on there. Just shoot me a message. And you’ll see my bio, but I have a thing that just says, message me know how, if you want to know how to take your personal brand to the start or to the next level, so you can find me there. And then that’s probably the best place to find me, honestly, I’m on there every day.

Mike Ayala: I Love it. And I’ll just button it up with this. It’s been a pleasure working with you. I appreciate all the help. This has been super valuable and that’s why I wanted to do this because I’m a firm believer that everybody should be building their personal brand and you drove it home even more so like the whole concept around the kids. And like, I’ve thought about that before, like, oh my will have this forever, but it didn’t really hit the way that you just explained it. And yeah, I mean, having somebody that, this is pivotal for me and it’s pivotal for my listeners. So having somebody like you that can help us organize this and create it and turn it into a process is super valuable. So I appreciate you doing that. I know you’re probably thinking, Oh, yeah, I’m just going to, you know, it’s my job, it’s my business, but this has been super helpful and it’s going to help a lot of people out there.

Dylan Burns: Yeah. Well, I’m excited to help as many people as I can. And I appreciate the opportunity to come on here after these hundreds of episodes you’ve done and get to share with people.

Mike Ayala: Yeah, go find Dylan @DylanHBurns on Instagram. And if for any reason you can’t find him just reach out to me, we’ll get you connected.

Dylan Burns: Sweet. Thank you.

Mike Ayala: Cheers brother.

Dylan Burns: Cheers.

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Episode 124