Inspiring Journey of The Blind Blogger

Episode art for Maxwell Ivey


In this compelling episode of the Dead America Podcast, host Ed Watters interviews Maxwell Ivey, known as The Blind Blogger. Maxwell shares his inspiring journey from growing up in a family of carnival owners to becoming a life goals coach, digital media publicist, and accessibility advisor. They discuss the importance of education, overcoming adversity, and the power of inclusivity in business and life. Maxwell sheds light on his experiences with blindness, blogging, and podcasting, emphasizing the need for better communication and accessibility. Tune in to learn from Maxwell’s remarkable story and gain valuable insights on inclusion and personal growth.


00:00 Introduction: The Power of Education

00:56 Meet Maxwell Ivey: The Blind Blogger

02:50 Overcoming Stigma and Embracing Inclusivity

03:56 Challenges and Communication in the Disability Community

11:26 Maxwell’s Journey with Retinitis Pigmentosa

13:56 Life Lessons from the Carnival

21:53 From Carnival to Blogging and Podcasting

25:43 The Accessibility Advantage: New Beginnings

29:06 Reflections and Final Thoughts

38:35 Call to Action and Closing Remarks

Maxwell Ivey

[00:00:00] Ed Watters: To overcome, you must educate. Educate not only yourself, but educate anyone seeking to learn. We are all Dead America, we can all learn something. To learn, we must challenge what we already understand. The way we do that is through conversation. Sometimes we have conversations with others, however, some of the best conversations happen with ourself. Reach out and challenge yourself; let's dive in and learn something right now.

[00:00:56] And today we are speaking with Maxwell Ivey, he is known as The Blind Blogger. Also, he has this tagline that, If he can do it, so can you. Maxwell, could you please introduce yourself and let people know just a little more about you, please?

[00:01:17] Maxwell Ivey: Sure. Thank you and I appreciate you having me on the podcast. Uh, I am a blind gentleman who grew up in a family of carnival owners, who started a website to help people broker amusement equipment after my dad's death caused our carnival to go out of business.

[00:01:34] Uh, from there I have, uh, transitioned into life goals coaching, digital media, publicity, and finally, uh, as an accessibility advisor, using my experience to help people appreciate the benefits of building, of building inclusive product services and content, including podcasts. I have written four books, two of them award winners, traveled the country solo.

[00:02:01] As you mentioned, I love to sing. I've written a couple of my own songs and I basically have done the next thing that came along. Sometimes it was my idea, sometimes it was other people's ideas, sometimes it was something I never expected to. And sometimes it was things I knew I'd have to do, but didn't want to.

[00:02:21] So here I am 15 years later, uh, a long way from that, you know, carny kid from East Texas. And I'm really looking forward to educating more people through podcasting, you know, transitioning from what's your excuse, where it was about inspiration to the accessibility advantage, where it's going to be about inclusion and, you know, helping people grow their podcasts and their other businesses by making them more accessible.

[00:02:47] Ed Watters: I love that. It's, it's so great. You know, sometimes disability, you know, you don't recognize it and see it upon people. And a lot of people that are actually truly disabled, they don't like to let people know they're disabled because they feel less than or ashamed about it. And I really think that we need to get over that stigma about disabilities being a bad thing. Because through disability, we can really achieve a lot of things that to us may seem like mountains, but to the ordinary person, it just seems like an ordinary day. So getting the inclusiveness of everybody, it's really key to having a successful journey in life. What's your thought on people being left out, uh, especially in podcasting?

[00:03:55] Maxwell Ivey: Right. Well, part of the problem is, is people with disabilities are hesitant to come up and say that they have a disability. And some of that is because they've been discriminated against in hiring or housing and some of that is just the fear that they will be treated differently if they admit that they have a disability. I can't tell you how many times over my career that I've reached out to a website owner or an app developer and I've said, Hey, I'm blind. I'm having trouble with your product or your service,

[00:04:25] would you please help me out? And their first response be, You know, you're the first person with a disability who's actually reached out to us and said that you have a disability and that you're using our product. So part of the problem is just, we don't let people know that we have our disability and it's really a shame because, you know, as you, as I'm sure, you know, uh, when you make things more accessible for people with disabilities, you make them better for everybody.

[00:04:51] So when people like me don't stick our hands up and say, Hey, your product needs to be improved and I'd like to help you improve it. Then we are really making things worse for ourselves. And so it's called disclosing your disability, it's one of those things as a community, we spend thousands of hours talking about it and writing about it.

[00:05:12] And pretty much it ends up being a roadblock that keeps us from communicating with people more honestly, to the point where we wouldn't accomplish more. So I'm really all about communication and collaboration and a whole lot less about compliance, and threats of legal action, and shame. And so that's part of it.

[00:05:30] Uh, another part of it is, for years, it just wasn't considered, uh, the thing to do to be really open about your disability. When I started The Blind Blogger in 2000, well, I don't remember the exact year, but let's say about seven, eight years ago, there were people who were my friends who stopped being my friend because I had a name that included the fact that I was blind.

[00:05:54] Now, I didn't pick the name of my website. People online had been calling me The Blind Blogger for years before I decided to use that for my URL. But there are still people sighted and visually impaired who decided they didn't want to be my friend anymore because I put The Blind Blogger. And back then, there weren't any people using emoticons with disabilities in their social media profiles.

[00:06:21] Now, to be fair, the disability emoticons have only been out a few years, but still, people just didn't do it. It was, it was considered vulgar to be, you know, brutally frank about it. So that's been part of it. Uh, and we really do have to try to break down some of these barriers that we put up as far as communication.

[00:06:45] Ed Watters: I believe in that. It's, it's tough, communication. And, you know, through my own disability, I've discovered people. Because it's allowed me time to reflect and I've noticed through, going through my own disability, noticing that I'm not alone and that is very important to be able to reach out to other people. And even have a goal of a community because, to me, for a long time, it was like, uh, put you in a closet and just don't even get involved because it's, it's just too much of a headache.

[00:07:31] And I really think that once we open up about our own issues, we find more and more we're far from alone. And that really starts that inclusiveness journey, trying to find others with same or similar things going on in our lives. Now I've noticed that a lot of people, they will click up and form groups and then

[00:08:05] be inclusive within the group, but they don't allow others inside the group. And I see that in podcasting a lot and I really want to say, I think we need to open up and be inclusive even If we don't have disabilities. I, I think that that's kind of a disease that has set into our community and our social settings in a way. What's your thought on that, Maxwell?

[00:08:38] Maxwell Ivey: Well, when it comes to podcasting, some of that is just the pressure to find and stay in your niche. And people will think that if I go outside of the area that I'm really focused on, it won't benefit my listeners. So it won't benefit my podcast and as a result, won't benefit me or my, my career. So that's part of it. Uh, and when it comes to little small communities, that happens everywhere. It actually happens within the disability community. One of the things I've been trying to do with a podcasting community that I started at is to try to bridge some of the barriers between the various disability communities. Because quite honestly, people with vision loss, people with hearing loss, paraplegics, quadriplegics, people suffering from mental illness or developmental diseases, quite often they advocate for their little slice of the disability community.

[00:09:37] And when I hear people talk about how there's 1. 3 or 1. 5 billion people with disabilities, I'm like, Yeah, that sounds great. And it would be awesome if we all actually had the same motives and the same goals. But if you drill down into the disability community, it is a whole bunch of other smaller segments of disability [00:10:00] who have their own communities and don't talk to each other very much and don't advocate for each other.

[00:10:06] And then within podcasting, yeah, it's, it is sometimes easy to get caught up in interviewing the same kinds of people all the time. And that may result in not being exposed to certain minorities, it may result in not being exposed to women, and it may result in not being exposed to people from other ethnicities or nationalities.

[00:10:31] So that, that does come into play. And then of course, disability is one of those things that makes people uncomfortable. So a lot of hosts, even if I were a perfect guest for their show, otherwise, they might be a little bit nervous about pressing accept or replying to that email I sent them. And I'm okay with that because I understand we all have a thing that bothers us. Everybody's got something. They may not call it a disability, we could call it a challenge or a life circumstance. Everybody's dealing with something. I like to say that everybody's blind about something, I just happened to have a white cane.

[00:11:11] Ed Watters: Yeah, I like that a lot. Uh, so that, that right there, you know, that's an inclusive mindset and once we get that, it's wonderful. So let's go back. You, you weren't born with a blindness, you got this later in life and you had a wonderful support system. You had a great relationship with your father. How did that help you along your disability journey? I know that's a struggle sometimes when we have something and we lose it, I know it was for me. What was that journey like for you, Maxwell?

[00:11:58] Maxwell Ivey: Right. Well, I was born with retinitis pigmentosa, which more often than not, most people nowadays know that, what RP is. And I started with perfect vision, I had a gradual degeneration starting at five or six, I had a big drop off in vision when I entered junior high school, which is pretty common.

[00:12:19] Men with RP tend to have a big drop off in vision when they go through puberty. It stayed constant until I went off to college. And by the time I graduated from college, it was down to what it is now, which is light perception with a very small visual field. So I can tell you if the light is on or off, but only if I'm looking directly at where it's supposed to be.

[00:12:40] And yeah, I grew up with a great dad. He was often caught between two desires. On the one hand, he wanted to encourage me to try things and to not just sit in the house and do nothing or sit in the house trailer, but on the other hand, he wanted me to be safe. So he was always being pushed and pulled. And for example, one of my favorite stories, my brother was always, always been great at fixing things up and he would get things for free because other people thought they were broken.

[00:13:14] And he acquired a moped. Now, a moped doesn't go very fast, and I felt like I could ride it around our, uh, our yards safely. But he didn't agree with me, but he never said nothing. What he would do is, at night when we were in bed or in the house studying, he would go out into our barn where the moped was parked and he would break it so it wouldn't run the next day.

[00:13:39] And then it might take my brother, Michael, two or three days or more to fix it again. So, you know, he's like, I don't want to tell him not to ride it. My mom told us this a few years after he passed away, he never admitted to this while he was alive. She's like, but it was like, I don't want to tell him not to ride it,

[00:13:55] you know? Um, and you know, we were part of a family that owned a carnival. And the fact that all my family were in that business in some form or fashion, we had kind of an insulated existence, except for when we were at school. And of course, back then, bullying in school stopped at the playground. And we really didn't experience a lot of it here because most people figured, well, if I start trouble with an Ivey, I may have to fight a Wagner, or a Serber, or a Crouch, or, So with an extended family, all of whom very large people in a business that required you to lift and carry heavy objects, we didn't, we didn't suffer a lot of problems at school.

[00:14:38] And when we were at home, we were either studying or when we were out on the road with our family, we were either working or in a house trailer. So there's a lot of opportunities to, to keep me safe. And then, uh, my grandmother, she figured out that if, the best place for somebody that you didn't want to get in no trouble was to put them to work.

[00:15:00] So she had me in her cotton candy stand and I would bag up the popcorn and put the butter on it. And I would put the ice in the snow cone cups and put the syrup on it. And then I would do any other dirty, nasty jobs she wanted done cause I was there. And in her generation, children were meant to be free labor.

[00:15:21] So you never wanted to tell my grandmother you were bored or didn't have nothing to do, because she would find something for you and you would not enjoy it. But one of the things that I learned growing up in a family of carnival owners is, is that nobody really ever cares about the show. They don't worry about, you know, uh, a broken down truck, a ride that didn't get inspected, uh, stuffed toys that didn't show up.

[00:15:47] They don't care about it. All they want to know is on Thursday or Friday night, can they ride the Ferris wheel, buy a funnel cake, and try to win a stuffed animal? So you are from an early age that you have to just find a way to make things happen. And that, uh, obviously a very important lesson as I've gotten older, trying to run various businesses as somebody with a disability.

[00:16:12] Ed Watters: Yeah, it's kind of interesting. I remember back in my younger days, I, I did some, uh, concessions in a carnival and, uh, ran a couple rides while they took their breaks. They would say, Hey, could you run the ride? And the big part of it was the tear down. That is extremely hard, the set up, tear down. And, here you are blind, and you are helping people set up and tear down a carnival.

[00:16:49] How did you get that instilled into you that you just do? You, you don't think about your blindness. Because I'm sure at one point you had to have doubts and fears associated with doing something like that. Because obviously growing up, you knew what it entailed when you started doing this. Losing your sight, now it's a whole different world. What, what really was that like?

[00:17:25] Maxwell Ivey: Right. Well, on set up and tear down, as you say, it's, uh, it's, it's a challenging, it's the most challenging part of your week, other than driving, which I obviously never did. Uh, tear down is the worst because usually you are tired and sweaty and you've already worked twelve or fourteen hours. And now you have to stay out there until all of that stuff is back on the trucks or trailers that it came in on so that you can be ready to move on to the next town.

[00:17:53] But, you know, you, you used a phrase there that was, fits perfectly, it just had to get done. And so people would go like, um, going back to what I was telling about my dad, if he could figure out a way for me not to have to set up and take down a ride, he would do it. But he would never let me be part of a crew unless at least one family member was there with me.

[00:18:19] Because as he used to say, I don't trust these people I'm paying a couple hundred bucks a week to look out for your head. So, um, Ed, a lot of the times I just basically was in the truck with him. I, uh, would ride with him to make that third, or fourth, or fifth trip to get the last pieces to the next town. And so I might be muscle to help change a tire, or load something, or just try to help keep him awake,

[00:18:47] or, uh, we would talk, we would share. Uh, you know, he would share lessons with me, would sing along to the radio. So a lot of good things happened, but for the last few years of his life. We had one ride in particular, it was a, um, a Schiff or Miler roller coaster. We were never a hundred percent sure which one it was, but, uh, it had fourteen pieces of heavy steel track to it.

[00:19:15] Now, this was not an amusement park coaster or even a fairground ride like you see nowadays a lot. The highest point of this ride was sixteen feet off the ground. So it would have been a family coaster and it had fourteen pieces of heavy steel track. So every week I knew that no matter what I was going to get to help on that particular ride and, and this is how it would work, on set up, I'd walk to the end of the trailer,

[00:19:41] they would tell me, Okay, Max, pick up on your side. Two guys would pick up on the other side and then I would follow them to where that piece of track was to be set down. And they go, Okay, Max, hold it while we pin it and I would do that. And then we'd do the next piece, we do it. And then on tear [00:20:00] down night, just unhook it, take the pins and the bolts out, carry it and set it back on the trailer.

[00:20:07] So it was really just, you know, routine stuff, lifting and carrying. Now people used to look at me and they would go, Man, he must really be strong cause he's only carrying his side with one arm. But what they didn't realize is that I've got a bad right shoulder so I would always carry it with my left arm.

[00:20:26] And what that did was it allowed me to walk forward instead of having to walk sideways. Because trust me, the most difficult thing to have to do is to have to sidestep 50 or a hundred or 150 feet while you're holding 200 plus pounds of your side of something in front of you. That's just really, really difficult.

[00:20:49] But if you can just grab it with the one side, then you get to walk straight ahead and really, it's not a whole lot different than just walking once you get used to it. So it's just one of those things. I spent more time booking events, and operating games, and ordering stock, and, uh, basically being around, uh, also to help encourage people. Because I've always had a, a positive attitude, which I also got from him, he was a consummate storyteller.

[00:21:20] And he felt like it was his job to make people laugh when there was no good reason to laugh or smile. And, and I've, and I did my best to learn from that part of him. So yeah, it was, uh, if, if other things had happened, I might've went into a different profession. There are a lot of professions that would have been easier for somebody who can't see. As my dad used to say, It's, it's hard to make a living when there's a chance somebody else might count your money first.

[00:21:51] Ed Watters: That's true. So, uh, let's talk about how you got into blogging and podcasting. How did that end up coming into the mix and the fold of your life?

[00:22:06] Maxwell Ivey: Right. So I started this website in 2007 called the Midway Marketplace, where I still sometimes help people sell used amusement equipment. It was the only thing I felt like I knew how to do after our carnival went out of business,

[00:22:18] so that's what I did. And once I finally got the website online, which I had to teach myself how to code HTML to get the website up and running, people said, Well, nice, you got a website. Now you need a blog. So I had to figure out how to get a blog. I started with Blogspot, I eventually moved to WordPress.

[00:22:36] I've been really happy with WordPress, although I'm not real crazy about it since they switched over to that Gutenberg mess, uh, but I had the blog. And I sold this carousel, it was a 125, 000 dollar carousel that had been in a shopping mall in Georgia. And several other companies had tried to sell it with no luck.

[00:22:57] So I said, How about y'all send me a video of that ride in operation? We'll see what we can do with it. So they did. I posted it to YouTube and I put it out in the world and a few weeks later we had a guy from New York driving down to Georgia to get that carousel. So I thought, Hey, if a video will sell a carousel, maybe it'll sell bags.

[00:23:16] So now I didn't think of this as podcasting at the time. I just thought I'm going to record some videos, I'm going to talk about some rides, I'm going to show some, some film of them in operation and maybe I'll sell some more rides and drive some traffic. So that's what I did. And at the same time, I started doing interviews on online radio, like Blog Talk Radio, and podcasts.

[00:23:40] And in the beginning I would talk about the Midway Marketplace and what I was doing to grow the website or, you know, challenges I had to overcome, that sort of stuff. So and people kept saying, You know, Max, you need to have your own podcast. And I said, No, I don't want to have one because I don't think I could manage all the technology and still be in the moment with whoever I'm talking to or whatever I'm talking about.

[00:24:04] But I made the mistake of saying, You know, if I had somebody who could handle the technical stuff while I get started, I would do it. Well, you should never say stuff like that out loud into the world because it will usually happen. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad. Um, but this guy, Frederick Bye from Canada said, You know, Max, I would love to help you start a podcast.

[00:24:25] So a little while later, I've got a podcast. We went through several names before finally settling on What's Your Excuse for the show name, where I've been interviewing people who have overcome adversity or difficult life circumstances. I've done that podcast. I continue to do podcast interviews, although I've changed the subjects that I talk about when I'm having conversations like this one.

[00:24:47] I've gone from having a cohost, to doing it myself from strictly audio, to video and audio. And, you know, it's, it's been great to be able to have these conversations and learn from my awesome guests while I'm letting them share their stories with my audience. I mean, that's, that's the really cool part of having an interview show is, and I like to tell hosts, if you have a show where you interview people and you don't learn at least one new thing or have at least one aha moment every week, then you're doing it wrong.

[00:25:22] And you maybe should look at doing something else because this isn't meant to be strictly information sharing, it's also meant to be information accumulating or receiving. So I try to have an aha moment every time I sit down with the mic, even, even if it's just remembering something that I haven't been doing lately that I know that I should be doing or shouldn't be doing. So that's, and, uh, you know, the most difficult part of What's Your Excuse came about six months ago when I started realizing that my future is in accessibility. Because going back to last year, a company named AudioEye, which does an automation option for accessibility, asked me to start writing for their website.

[00:26:05] They had to talk me into it, I told them no several times before they finally convinced me. Um, after I started writing for them, I got invited to write for PHP architect magazine. Which I love because every article I write goes out to over a thousand website developers and those are the people that are really going to change the world of accessibility and inclusion as it is online.

[00:26:27] And then most recently, uh, Reviewed magazine where I'm doing product reviews based on accessibility for the visually impaired. So as I've noticed that's, that was happening, the hard part was I know I can't do two podcasts. You know, I don't have a staff, I don't have a team, I have quite a few friends and followers who help out from time to time when I, when I really need it.

[00:26:48] So the hard part was do I change What's Your Excuse? Do I cancel it? Do I pause it? What do I do? And recently I attended, attended the Spark Media Conference, which just happened to be in my backyard so I had no excuse not to go to it. And after three days of being exposed to some of the greats in the podcasting world and having conversations with some of them, I said, You know, I don't want to cancel What's Your Excuse.

[00:27:15] I can be honest enough to admit that I may never come back to recording new content for it but the content that's out there deserves to stay out there on the chance that people discover those past episodes and can benefit from them. So I'm going, in my mind at least, I'm pausing What's Your Excuse while I started a new show called the Accessibility Advantage, where my goal is to, uh, is to promote the benefits of being inclusive. Because I honestly believe that business owners just don't realize that, uh, how, how much

[00:27:50] it is in their best interest and how much being selfish as it comes to app, comes to accessibility and inclusion is exactly what we want them to do because as soon as they realize that they can make more money, or reach more people, or build a more loyal audience, they're all going to be doing accessibility yesterday.

[00:28:07] And so my, my podcast, The Accessibility Advantage, I'm going to do some short accessibility one on one tutorials, I'm going to interview some business leaders who have embraced accessibility to their benefit. And I'm also going to do some website reviews from my clients so people can find out what they've been doing to make their content more accessible for people by hiring me.

[00:28:30] And I'm really looking forward to it. We're going to have our first episode, uh, the first monday after the new year. And my first guest is going to be Tyler King, who is the, the CEO of Less Annoying CRM, which is a very accessible content, uh, content relationship management software. So hope y'all, all join me after the first of the year on The Accessibility Advantage. In the meantime, please do check out What's Your Excuse there're some great interviews on there.

[00:29:04] Ed Watters: Yeah, I like that. So why did you not continue with the political science degree and get into politics and all of that?

[00:29:21] Maxwell Ivey: Well, think about, there's two reasons. There are two reasons. One, my main thing with political science, my main thing with political science was it was a degree that I felt I could do well in as I continued, as I attempted to apply for law schools. However, none of the law schools in Texas wanted me. At the time, my university, Texas A& M, did not have a law school so I couldn't take advantage of the provisions that most graduate programs make for taking people that are from their university. So at that time, UT didn't have a veterinary college and A& [00:30:00] M didn't have a law school. They've since agreed because basically there's just too much money in it not to. So now they, now they both have all the graduate programs covered.

[00:30:10] And if I had, were attending Texas A& M Corpus Christi at this point, I could probably get into South Texas School of Law, which is A&M's school. However, like I said, I, my, my grades were good, my law school admission test scores were bad, even taking into account the accommodations that we had to make for me to take the darn test.

[00:30:32] So I went to work for the Internal Revenue Service for a couple, three years, and then eventually my mental health became worth more than the 14, 000 they were paying me a year to take incoming calls from irate taxpayers who were having their bank accounts or, or wages garnished because they hadn't paid or filed. And I went back to the carnival business for a while.

[00:30:57] Ed Watters: Yeah. That's, that's an interesting way to live, Maxwell. You have, you have a interesting background. And

[00:31:09] Maxwell Ivey: Oh, thank you. I'm sorry about that, I handled three suicide attempts in a little over two, three suicide threats in a little over two years working there.

[00:31:19] Ed Watters: Wow. That's, that's amazing. So talk to us about your Eagle Scout. How did that come about? And does that play a role in your life today? Did it give you direction? How does that play into your life?

[00:31:42] Maxwell Ivey: Right. Well, I was, you know, since I grew up here in the Houston area, at one time we had a scout troop here in Houston, Troop 962, that had been founded through the Bell Telephone Pioneers that was for visually impaired boys in the Houston area. So we had our own troop. And as, you know, getting my Eagle Scout, you know, I, I had to go through and achieve all the usual skill awards and the merit badges and do my projects. Uh, what, I would say two of the most important things that taught me is one, breaking things down into, into smaller pieces. Because, you know, you really just start with, I think tenderfoot was the first rank and, you know, basically you had to, you had to learn like knot tying and a little bit of first aid and you were tenderfoot.

[00:32:33] So, and then you work your way on up to 2nd class and 1st class star in life and eventually eagle. Uh, it also taught me about having to work and collaborate with other people because obviously, sighted or visually impaired, you don't set up a camp and have a fire and sing songs around the, around the campfire if you don't work together.

[00:32:59] So that was a big part of it. And then, uh, finding creative solutions to things, which is something that I do a lot of nowadays. Because for, one of the easiest examples is, at that time the scout manual said that you gathered firewood with an axe and a hatchet. Well, those weren't necessarily the best items to be used by visually impaired boys. So we gathered our firewood,

[00:33:27] yeah, first we would drag in things that were already down, then we would use a saw, then we would use some really, really sharp printing shears. But all of those were safer than using an axe and a hatchet. So, you know, we had to find our own ways to do things. And a lot of things, you know, tents, cots, cook stoves, starting a fire,

[00:33:53] all that stuff isn't really all that different whether you can see it or not see it. I mean, some of that stuff has to be done in the dark. So, you know, you learn, for example, with a tent, you learn that you, that you're looking for the two grommets that go around the two holes and you stretch those out

[00:34:11] and that's where the, that's where the ridge pole goes, you know? And then you, They figure out, well, if you have the ridge pole in your hand, then the one of the two tent poles fits into that, you know? And then you raise it up and then you stretch out your, your ropes and stake them down. So, but, yeah, it taught us a lot about, like I say, having to find, having to find our own ways.

[00:34:39] Ed Watters: Yeah. I think that's very helpful, you know, because a lot of fear is associated with the unknown. Just getting in and doing it, that's, that's the main takeaway from today is you've got to do it. It might take you longer, it might be different from other people, but jump in and figure out it, the way you need to for yourself and then just do it. It's the same with everything, but our mind tends to drag us down a lot of the times on that and tell us we can't or get sorry for ourselves. So yeah, a lot of it is about attitude and just getting in and getting it done. So I really think, in your early days, having a father and a family that kind of worked that out for you, basically, and made you see it's okay, just try, do it. I love that.

[00:35:47] Maxwell Ivey: One of the things I think is a real problem for people when they start to do new challenging things like a blog, or a podcast, or a book is they think about the way everybody else is doing them. And there's a, uh, a former guru, she's, she's passed away now, Louise Hay. Who used to say that the most dangerous words in the English language are should and should not. So as you just said, if you're going to do something, evaluate it based on your abilities, your skills, your resources at this time, and don't worry about how everybody else does it.

[00:36:23] Don't worry about how the quote unquote experts say you're supposed to do it. Just find your own way, do it the best way you can today and do it a little better tomorrow and do it a little better the day after that. Cause trust me, it, nobody's going to get it right the first day. And you know what the great thing about podcasting is in this area? Is people will actually love you better

[00:36:46] if they get to watch your progress and your journey. They get to see you go from somebody that is not editing, or using a, a mic, or using the, the built in head, uh, the built in audio on your laptop, or, you know, is sitting in a dark room cause he didn't know that the lights were off or whatever. It just, those things that, you're going to make those mistakes in the beginning. When it comes to podcasting, all that does is make people respect you more, love you more, and want to see you succeed to the point they want to listen to you next week just to find out what you do next.

[00:37:20] Ed Watters: Yeah, that's the beauty of the podcasting space. There, you know, even though it's fractured into its own little niches, they are very inclusive to people once they see that you're going to do it, you're sticking out the process and you're trying to implement changes. And that growth process, I'll tell you, it's the best feeling in the world when you can sit back and watch yourself from, say, four or five years ago and you compare that audio to today's audio,

[00:38:02] it is incredible. And that's because you choose to stick it out no matter the, the condemnations you get or, you know, the, Oh, you shouldn't do it that ways, just get in and do it. That's the beauty of podcasting and actually the beauty of the space itself. Maxwell, our time's coming to a close do you have a call to action for our listeners today?

[00:38:35] Maxwell Ivey: Right. So since I am here in my capacity as an accessibility advisor, I would love to help your followers, the podcasters that listen to your show, make their content more inclusive. So what I want to do is if y'all will reach out to me through, uh, my email, until I get a new email address, or if you'll send me a message after this show goes live

[00:39:02] and say that you, that you heard me today, then I'll be more than happy to visit your website or your podcast player and let you know whether or not I consider what you've got out there right now accessible or not. Because I want you to connect with your audience, I want you to build that loyal following, and making your content accessible, making it, making it inclusive

[00:39:25] is just going to help you grow that audience. And as you know, the, those first few weeks or months trying to grow that audience is, uh, all consuming. It'll drive you crazy if you think about it too much. So I feel like if I can help people be more inclusive so they'll reach more people in those early days.

[00:39:47] And that's what I want to do. So reach out to me in some fashion and I'll review your homepage or your, or your podcast player and give you some advice on how you can make it more inclusive so you can reach even more [00:40:00] people and, uh, have the benefits of people like me who appreciate the effort and will promote you to our friends and family for making the effort.

[00:40:11] Ed Watters: Awesome, I like that a lot. So the best way to reach out to you is through your website, Maxwell?

[00:40:20] Maxwell Ivey: Yeah. If they'll go to, they can use the contact form on there. And, uh, or if they'll, you know, I look forward to hearing from them. And when you do reach out, uh, feel free to drop your social media links in your email message cause I love finding new people to follow and connect with on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

[00:40:41] Ed Watters: Maxwell, it's been a pleasure having you part of the Dead America Podcast today and I want to say thank you for just spending your time with us.

[00:40:53] Maxwell Ivey: Well, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity because I've been doing this for a long time, mainly because at one time there was really no way for me to get my message out. And I couldn't figure out how to meet people face to face and I was blessed to find podcasting. And the truth is without people like you, there wouldn't be The Blind Blogger, or What's Your Excuse, or The Accessibility Advantage. So I want to thank you for all the hard work you've put into being part of my continuing story and my continuing journey. I also want to thank your audience for, uh, being part of this great conversation that we've had today. And I do wish you, uh, so much continued success because really I do truly appreciate this opportunity.

[00:41:40] Ed Watters: And we reciprocate that. We, we wish much success for you in the coming weeks and years because what you're doing is so incredible and we need more people like Maxwell out there getting involved and bringing people into the fold. That's the great thing. Until next time, Maxwell, thank you, sir.

[00:42:06] Maxwell Ivey: Thank you.

[00:42:11] Ed Watters: Thank you for joining us today. If you found this podcast enlightening, entertaining, educational in any way, please share, like, subscribe, and join us right back here next week for another great episode of Dead America Podcast. I'm Ed Watters, your host, enjoy your afternoon wherever you may be.