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Episode #1 Featuring John Smith, Founder & CEO, Company Inc.
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024: $20M/Year Making Independent Films with the “Michael Moore Nemesis,” Jeff Hays
Jeff Hays
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Today, I'm chatting with my friend Jeff Hays, who is an award-winning filmmaker who has been producing films since the early nineties.

Between his production company, Jeff Hays Films and his film studio, he pulls in $20M/year with a nimble team of 20. And aside from a few projects early on, all of his work has been self-funded.

Jeff first gained national attention in 2004 with Fahrenhype 9/11, a response to Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. He's released many other documentaries and multi-part series throughout his career—some acquired by major companies like Lionsgate and NBC. 

What's fascinating about Jeff is the way he monetizes. Generally, independent films don't make a lot of money. It's just not very lucrative. But Jeff is doing things differently…

In this episode, I dig into the unique business model that allows him to make millions off his films—and how he then leverages existing buyers to sell other people's products, generating even more money on the backend. 


The more money we give away, the more money we make.” – Jeff Hays

If you can bootstrap, bootstrap. I have $1.5M in personal money out right now in my own productions. My partner has money in addition to that. And I sleep like a baby because I know I'm the one that's responsible for getting that money back. I'm investing in something that's going to pay a dividend and I'm in charge of seeing that happen. More importantly, if I fail, I don't have to apologize to anybody.” - Jeff Hays

Real wealth to me is what you have after you’ve lost everything else.” – Jeff Hays

Key Takeaways with Jeff Hays

✔️The million-dollar launch strategy Jeff uses to monetize his films—and how he generated $250k in 10 days with a film that people could access for free.

✔️How Jeff leverages affiliates to build awareness, grow his email list, and make even more money selling other people's products.

✔️How far should you scale? Jeff explains the anticipated risks of growing beyond his current $20M/year revenue.

✔️Mapping a path for employee success and happiness.

✔️Jeff distills real wealth down to 3 key components—and money has nothing to do with it.

✔️Identify your operating values so you can make better decisions.

✔️Does true altruism even exist? Consider "rational selfishness" instead.

✔️Why all the best films are sales letters.

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