The business world stigmatizes going on vacation almost as a forbidden luxury that messes up with your grind. Somehow, taking a break has become an unforgivable sin that gets in the way of success. Michael Hutchison, Founder of inCruises, aims to end this horrible perspective by raising awareness of seeing vacation as a human right. He explains how this impacts your overall business mindset, inspiring you to provide value and actual solutions to others. Michael also shares how cruise lines dealt with the COVID-19 scare, his well-kept entrepreneurship secrets, and what it takes to become an effective professional speaker.
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Michael Hutchison: Why Going On Vacation Is Human Right
I’m so excited by the gentleman that we have on and also, one of my business partners. A lot of you have known Mary Glorfield. By this time, you have read that amazing episode we did with Keith Cunningham. Mary brings the presence of our industry, the thought leaders and has brought most of them to bear in many years. I have no idea how we started when we were only five years old but it’s great to be on here. I’m going to go into the introduction because we’re doing live events again. We’ve been doing it for several months.
One of my partners that I work with found out that country clubs became necessary. He’s been doing events there and they never shut down. You do whatever it takes. You do it with safety. You protect those around you and you also make sure that the learning and education continue. This next gentleman I’m going to have on, Mary’s known for a long time. It’s brilliant the career he’s had. He’s going to talk more about it. I’m going to have Mary again do part of the interview because of their relationship. Remember, whenever you’re doing something, it’s all about a relationship. Here we go.
Michael Hutchison, Founder and CEO of inCruises. He’s an entrepreneur, author, investor and financial advocate. He has an international reputation for credibility and leadership. He began his career training when he joined, a lot of you will know who Robbins Research is but Robbins Research International, a Tony Robbins company, as a Regional Sales Manager and Trainer. Because of his success, he was promoted to the position of Worldwide VP of Sales and Marketing, Michael co-created Mastery University with Tony.
A lot of you at the event, even though there it was heavily business people, many said, “You know Mary Glorfield with Tony Robbins?” I’m going through Mastery. There were so many people who were in the Mastery program or talking about how they could get into the Platinum Partnership Program. The legacy continues. Michael is the Founder and CEO of inCruises, the world’s fastest-growing vacation travel community.Mentoring is all about helping others, solving problems, and providing value. Click To Tweet
Michael embraces a personal philosophy and company mission that is complimentary to help others see the world, overcome their financial scarcity, increase their income and become the personal best version of themselves. Without any further ado, we’re going to let them take this interview away. I’m going to give this up for Michael Hutchison and Mary Glorfield. Mary, take us away.
Thanks, Michael. Thank you so much. I’m thrilled that Michael Hutchison, Hutch, as many of us refer to him as close friends of his and that’s how you’d like to be addressed as Hutch. In 1990 was when we first met. He has become and been an incredible mentor to me. I reported to Hutch when I first started working at Tony Robbins’ company. Hutch is an unbelievable boss and mentor. He promotes people. He wants you to learn and if you make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world. He helps you resolve it and teaches you. He’s an incredible teacher and mentor. I’m so thrilled you’re here, Hutch. Thank you for doing this.
It’s my pleasure, Mary. Thanks to both of you. Michael, thank you for that warm introduction. I’m excited to be in your infectious and contagious energy. Mary, I’m so grateful to be with you. 1990 seems like yesterday and I was grateful to have this time with you and thinking about the team that we had. I was surrounded by outstanding leaders like you. I was thinking about the others that we have with us, Lauren, Jan Jones and Shari Wilson, that whole inside. We call them PARs, Personal Account Representatives. I spoke to Chris Hendrickson. You told me that you keep up with Pam. I’m still in touch with Chip, Scott Duffy and Brian Barrow. We could go on and on but thank you, Mary. I’m grateful to have this chance to visit with you.
I have a couple of questions for you. You’ve had an incredible career as Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Tony Robbins Global, as well as domestic. You’ve started several very successful companies. What’s your secret or your mindset that’s given you the confidence to create your own business to go out there and thrive?
If I don’t say it, I want the audience to know, I love you. I do appreciate you very much. If I haven’t thanked you enough over the years, please know sincerely how much I do appreciate you and how much I appreciate the time that we had together. With Tony, I look back with fond memories. Tony gave me an opportunity to be an entrepreneur within his company. I was an entrepreneur. That opportunity to start Mastery University and the only way I could make that decision was knowing that I was surrounded by leaders like yourself, Lauren and others that could help us to accomplish that we sought out to do. I’m forever grateful to Tony.
We put on within Master University, that first business mastery, you recall. You had attracted, sought out and your response was bringing in so many thought leaders. I was thinking about some of the first business mastery speakers that we had and meeting JP DeJoria, who started Paul Mitchell Hair Care Systems, Mattress Mack and Tom Facho who started a waste management company. That instilled in me that to create an impact with other people that I needed to be a business owner, to create wealth and not just in a monetary sense that I had to go out and figure out what it was that I wanted to do.
That all started with our time together with Tony Robbins. Big hugs to you, to Tony and our team, by instilling in me again, this quest to fulfill my dream, which was to be a business owner and give back and create an impact. I know you asked me another question but it was important that I got that out. Tell me the second part of the question, Mary, something about mindset or secrets.
What’s your secret or mindset that gave you the confidence to start your own business to take that risk?
Tony is all about mindset. That reinforcement of mindset is so important. The thing that I’ve learned, in terms of a secret beyond that, is that mindset is only part of it, Mary. Being a business owner, an entrepreneur, it’s your soul and health. You know what I’m talking about, you’d put every fiber of your being into your business. Maybe that’s the first answer is that mindset is only part of the way. You have to go all-in with your heart, soul, health, every fiber of your being. That makes up the remaining 75%. That’s number one. A couple of other things.
I’ve sought out to solve real, tangible problems for people, perhaps old problems that people didn’t think could be solved. In my latest business, we’ve attempted to solve an affordability problem. I believe that going on vacation is a human right, it’s not a luxury. That was reinforced by Mastery University, where we started to lead people around the world on an adventure. I had that exposure. Number one, mindset is only part of the game.
You got to go in with your heart, soul, love, physical being to make it work. Number two, you got to choose to help others, which you’re all about and mentoring is all about. You have to be able to solve a problem. The market rewards problems being solved and the value being added. The last thing I would say is maybe not taking yourself so seriously. I’m grateful for your and Michael’s kind words but it hasn’t been all success.
I’ve had a couple of “big hits”, if you will, but it took me many years to get to that point and to figure out what I was good at, which was taking people on adventures and vacations. My two businesses prior to launching inCruises were not successful. One, I wasn’t even able to launch it. I put a lot of money, energy and resources and getting it ready to launch but I never brought it to market.
Let me quickly recap for myself. Bear with me. Mindset is only part of the game. You got to go all in. You got to love. You got to breathe. You’ve got to put every fiber of your being into it, solve a problem, add value, give back. You’ve got to help other people. If it doesn’t work out, know that you have to learn from the failures and not take yourself so seriously.
I’m going to jump in on this, Mary. I know I’m going off script. Here we go. Hutch, that is so critical. How many times did we have students in the room or working with people? You say, “When did you take your last vacation? When have you spent your family time?” It’s not even on their calendar. How many times have we been taught to start with the personal freedom day, the family day? Start with that first. They look at you like it’s a foreign concept, “I can’t afford to go on vacation.” You can’t afford to do something with your family because that relationship means everything to us. I love what you’re doing. We’re going to hear more about it but I’m going to turn Mary back to you.
Hutch, I know that you are all about making a difference, and that’s part of your success, too, is your number one is to make a difference in everybody’s life that you touch. I know that you’ve had great success with inCruises. During this time, which is an unusual time in our history with COVID, what were the steps that helped you thrive in this time with COVID particularly because the cruise lines were impacted with COVID.Mindset is only part of the game. You've got to put every fiber of your being into it. Click To Tweet
Not a day goes by where you meet and greet somebody and variably people asking you, “What do you do?” I say, “I started a travel membership club and we focus primarily on cruises.” The look and the comments that you get in the South were the familiar phrases, bless your heart. It’s like, “Bless your heart, you poor thing. You started a travel membership club. By the way, you’re in the cruise industry and I feel bad for you.” I say, “Yes and no.” I say, “Yes, it has been tremendous adversity.”
It’s been very difficult and hard. It’s been the worst downturn that the industry has met in many years and our model is different. We have a membership model. It rewards loyalty. Here’s how we define success, Mary. It is that we’ve enabled and empowered upwards of 150,000-plus people around the world to go on vacation. Ninety-plus percent of those people have never been on a cruise. We take great pride to add to what Michael said in helping people to make that decision to block the time, get out of their comfort zone, leave the safety of the harbor behind and take care of your family and yourself and go on vacation. Upwards of 150,000 people, from around the world, all told we’ve saved those people in terms of booking expenses, to book and pay for their vacation in excess of $51 million over $50 million have been saved.
It’s important to quantify how we define success is by helping people again, get out of their comfort zone, to leave their familiar places, go see the world, travel, experience meet, greet, eat, soak up and enjoy. We’re still getting started but I answer your question specifically. We made some very bold decisions. We made leadership decisions but first of all, you have to understand, I have a business partner whom I trust and love dearly.
He and I bring out the best in each other. I looked at him and I said, “Brother, I got to tell you. I know you feel the same way. I did not come this far in our business to only come this far. I’m not going to allow an event outside of my control to control what we’re going to do during this COVID time.” He said, “I’m with you.” I said, “What can we do uniquely? What can we do differently? What can we do to separate ourselves?”
One of the first bold decisions that we made was every passenger whose cruise was canceled, we gave them their money back. The cruise lines wanted to give vouchers for obvious reasons. They wanted to keep the revenue on the books but I said, “Let’s give people their money back. We’re a membership site. Let’s create an agenda, more loyalty and trust.” That was one bold decision that we made. We created more trust and respect from our members in terms of loyalty. That was number one.
Number two, things were touch and go. There was a time when cruise lines are taking on even more debt and going out and raising more capital. My business partner and I self-invested. We haven’t taken money in terms of outside capital. We have remained debt-free. We made a decision to start paying insurance through a relationship with Barclays bank to every member payment that came in. We were going to ensure those payments. Why?
We wanted to give our members that sense of confidence. We wanted to give them that consumer protection, that in the unlikely event, that we were going to go out of business, they would get their money back. We would take it on the chin. We would be in financial disarray but we wanted to make sure that our customers were taken care of. That also created peace of mind, more loyalty and trust.
Any business owner, Mary, we sat down with our banks or banking relationships. We sat down with our merchant processors and we said, “You have to know who we are and what we’re about and what our philosophies. We’re going to put every ounce of who we are into ensuring that not only do we survive but we thrive during this time.” We, fortunately, have a very low refund rate, a minuscule chargeback rate.
Our customer relationship is strong. We shared that with them transparently. It was a combination of hard work, Mary, determination, and the culture of the business that allowed us to thrive and grow our top-line revenues. During the pandemic, our profitability plummeted because of the decisions that we made. The good news to all of that is that we’re were poised now. We are better. We’re stronger financially than we were. We negotiated with the cruise lines. We made payments to them, which gave us greater leverage with them. Maybe a little bit of luck was thrown into all the answers that I provided.
I forgot about your negotiation skills. It sounds like you have used those tremendously during this time. You were one of my teachers negotiating when it came to venues and hotels. There was no giving up on some of those. I totally forgot about that.
Mary, I never wanted to be on the opposite end of you because you’re tough. You are kind, considerate, thoughtful and generous as they come. You’re tough. Again, it’s one of the things I love about you.
It’s true too because of so many events Mary and I did together. For everybody out there, if you’re doing events or you’re speaking and training, you want to have a Mary Glorfield behind you. You want that person behind you. I knew whatever we needed, she would take care of. It’s solution-based. Hutch, you did the same thing with your business. It was always about the solution, not the problem. That’s a critical piece in everything that you said and that’s how we want everybody to get that mindset to continue. You can come to me, there’s an issue, that’s fine. What are the solutions? Sometimes the solution is not easy, which is what you’ve done is you have the business partners, your own mentors and those people that surround you. That was a great point. Mary?
I’m going back a few years but when you bring a problem to you, you have to come with three solutions to that problem. I don’t know if you remember that or not. You’re a professional speaker. You’ve been on some of the biggest stages. You’ve learned from the best there is in the industry. What is some advice you might give to someone who’s interested in becoming a speaker on big stages?
Think back to again the time that we were together, the first opportunity I had with Robbins was that we gave many presentations. We gave many “seminars” to give people a taste, a feel for what it would be like to be in a room with Tony. I got to speak many times throughout the day, the week. The advice that I’d give is what I lived, which was to focus on quantity over quality. Do as many as you can. In saying that, my first presentation for Tony was to a company called the New York Life.
I was so bad when I delivered that first presentation that people got up and left physically, right there in front of me. I said, “What’s going on?” A guy said, “I’ve heard enough.” A good lesson there is every professional was once an amateur and quality comes through quantity that the more that you can do that, the better that you get, thinking about some fun moments.
I remember introducing Tony at Madison Square Garden, you were there with me, looking out to these bright lights and not being able to see any eyes or any human connection out there was frightening for me. I remember starting to get dry mouth. If there was video footage, I would have looked like Godzilla on one of the movies where no words were coming out but struggling with it.
Here are some fun things that we did for those that worked with us at Robbins. Giving these new short presentations is we encouraged our teams to take improv classes, listen to comedians. Do you know why? Comedians, more so than anything, have an unbelievable ability to think on their feet. Tony’s very funny. Listen to humor and it’s super obvious. Being with you and Michael, you got to find a mentor.Being in a place of gratitude and blessings will keep you grounded and appreciate all your resources. Click To Tweet
Do what you guys profess, which is you got to choose to ask for help. I worked with Tom McCarthy and Dr. Nate Booth, Dr. Joe Colzenski, those are the guys that we went on the road with. We presented in front of each other. We gave each other feedback. It was like our own little improv training. That would be it. Find a mentor and figure out what your message is that again solves a problem, adds value and does it in a fun and unique way.
There are so many people that want to be speakers so that’s valuable information for them. I want to ask one more question if I might. You’ve had so many great successes in your life, including raising an amazing family. I remember when your youngest was born and the baby was a day old. You had him at Mastery University in San Diego. You have an amazing family. What’s next for you?
I’ll add a little color to that story. I sent a note to Tony on the 29th year anniversary of Mastery University. My son, Patrick. He was my middle son. Sean is the baby. Patrick, you’re right. Nikki did a Herculean job of waiting to have the baby until we had an opening night there at the Torrey Pines Hilton. I sent a note to Tony and I said, “Tony, I love you. Happy anniversary. Twenty years later, my son, Patrick is an investment banker. My son, Patrick, is helping my company to find a potential partner in a business combination. He was born that first day after business mastery. My indebtedness and my appreciation and gratitude to you.”
I’ve been so fortunate I have four children with Nikki, my first wife. I’m engaged to Heather. She has two children. Together we have six kids. Aaron and Kevin have two kids. I’m a grandfather now. I have a granddaughter and a grandson, all told four boys, two girls and everybody is healthy and is on a great trajectory. I’ve always said, Mary, that again, I’m very blessed to have accomplished the things I’ve been able to accomplish but the only thing I have left to prove is to improve, a fun saying. The only thing I have left to prove is to improve and get better.
To be that example, it’s not an easy time in life. I lost my dad in 2020, my hero, to cancer. My mom is 85 and she’s badly in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease. I’m trying to figure out all the opportunities that I can to bring my family and keep my family close together. I’m more excited now than I was years ago in terms of my business. We have to get better. We’ve got to improve. The only thing I’ll close with a saying is that whatever I do, like you, Mary and Michael, I’m going to set the bar high and strive to achieve it.
It’s been an interesting year. There’s no other way to put it. Mary knows all the time, I also have five grandchildren and a sixth on the way. There were so many calls that we did that grandkids would lean their heads in. At one point, my granddaughter, Evelyn, the boys were playing and she’d be like, “Shh, Papa’s on a Zoom.” It’s what they’ve gotten to know. At the same time, I realize as the grandkids are sitting next to me or they’re doing a little homework, they’re listening to this information.
With your son especially our oldest went through a lot of courses with us and she said it helped change her life the way she looks at things and her perspective. The one time we needed some crew out in Hongkong and she was there. We shot her out to Hongkong. It’s like the children who grew up with Zig Ziglar. The parents had Zig Ziglar playing on the tape in the car and can we listen to music?
To this day, they say it changed their whole mindset of that same thing about solutions. I’m going to ask one question, obviously not on anything we’ve talked about but the audience always wants to know. This is important. 1 or 2 things from your perspective, Hutch, that they could do now that could help further their life, business, relationships, a general question. 1 or 2 things that you do every day that keep you moving forward, that they could replicate or duplicate.
The best advice that I can give, Michael, is something that I do. It’s not something that I say but something that I do. I keep a daily gratitude journal and I’ve done it for years. Here’s an entry, “I had meetings this morning. I talked about the difference between leading and managing. Entry number three is speaking with Mary Glorfield and Michael about mentoring.” This is what grounds me. This is who I am. I’m a lifelong student. If there’s one piece of advice, it would be to start a daily gratitude journal and something nice. This is leather-bound. This is a keepsake. This is my legacy.
This is what I’ll pass on to my children but it helps me filter out all the noise and the adversity and all the stuff going on in the world. This is what keeps me grounded and focused on the resources that are within me. My life starts with me. I am who I am because of being in this place of gratitude, grace and blessings. That would be my advice.
Anything else, Mary, before I close out the show?
That’s interesting, Hutch because I don’t know if you taught us all that but I have one, too. All the successful people I know like Keith Cunningham, who you know quite well, Hutch, he carries a special rock in his pocket all the time. When he reaches in his pocket and feels that rock, he thinks of something that he’s grateful for. It reminds him to have gratitude in that moment. I love that. You must have taught all of us that at some point back in the days, a long time ago.
Congratulations to you for making a difference and an impact. Anything I can and do with and for you, I’m happy to do so. Michael, enjoy your event, stay safe. Mary, I can’t wait to see you soon. Have you up to North Carolina. Thank you for having me on. We’ll speak to you soon.
Thank you so much for being on and for your time. It’s been great and Mary too. We thank everybody for being on. See you all soon.
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