Social Capital

Welcome to Social Capital, a weekly podcast where we dive into social relationships and how the investment you put into them establishes trust, reciprocity, and value within your network. Your host, Lori Highby, will connect with top business professionals to dive into their best techniques and stories to share with you!
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Dec 2, 2020

Meet Kate:

Kate Paine works with executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals to develop their brand and share their stories which differentiate them from their competition in the marketplace. She's an expert on using LinkedIn as a powerful personal branding tool and discovering an individual's story which makes her expertise unique in the world of online promotion. Kay volunteers her time training members of the US Special Forces on how to use LinkedIn as they transition out of their military career. 

So personal branding is a space that you support on LinkedIn. When when you discuss or talk about identifying your personal brand, what does that look like? And why is it so important to know what your personal brand is? 

Well, the personal brand piece is really something that you sort of need to self identify with. I think a lot of people when they hear the term "personal brand" or "personal branding," I think they have this notion that they're going to go around and sort of like shake someone's hand and say, "Hi, I'm Kate Payne, and my personal brand is," and you fill in the blank. That's not what it is at all. The personal brand is really similar to that other marketing term we love, it's like your unique selling proposition or unique value proposition. Except I prefer the person the term personal brand because I think that when you're thinking of a platform like LinkedIn, a lot of people see LinkedIn as a quote-unquote, personal branding platform. So it's a way for you to kind of consider your expertise. Your personal brand is essentially your reputation, and your reputation is made up of your values and your integrity, certainly your professional expertise. So really understanding your personal brand and how you're going to message that via your personal LinkedIn profile is really important. Then I add a component to that, which is a personal story, which helps make your personal brand more personalized, and really true to who you are, and helps you sort of creating that unforgettable feeling in someone's mind when they meet you because they know your brand and they know your story. You're now more unforgettable, so they'll remember you going forward.

I'm the type of person that's like, "Here are all the facts." That's my storytelling and it's not that I don't want to, I feel awkward telling the world my story. How do you help people overcome that?

So that's, that's sort of my niche that's sort of my superpower is I pull from my journalism, marketing, and PR background. When I interview a person I'm working with, I really kind of go back to, "Alright, so how did you get it, why did you want to become a realtor?" or, "Why did you go into the military, and then decide to get out of the military and go into being a financial advisor?" So there's this little nugget and I call it a nugget of your personal story that you can kind of identify and write about in like a short paragraph. So it's not the story from the standpoint of this long bio, you know, dirty laundry kind of thing. It's like you're taking this little slice of a life story or that story nugget. For example, when I have people kind of identify what that might be, is when you literally look at your LinkedIn profile, I want that to really stand out in the about section which used to be the summary and that's the most read section of one's profile. So for example, on my profile, I start out with like, the first line is I was an avid news junkie in eighth grade. Then I go into like my internship at CBS News and then I kind of say, I learned how to become a storyteller, and now I help people find their own. So it's like, I've taken that nugget and I've also made it relevant to what I do now. so that then sort of tying it all together and it's not like this all about my story thing, it's just a little slice of life. A lot of people when they start their about section in their LinkedIn profile, they don't really know what to do. So some people either ignore it don't have one there at all, which is not good. Or they start off with like, "I've been in the digital marketing world for 15 years doing blah, blah, blah." You know, and there's nothing wrong with that, but it's sort of formulaic, and it's what everybody else does. So if you figure out what that little story nugget is, if yours, you know, you can really use that as an introduction and really hook your reader and want to learn more about you.

Let's talk about some of the new features that LinkedIn has rolled out. What do you think is one of the best features that they’ve come out with recently?

Well, their whole user interface has changed, and it didn't change drastically, but it's very white. It's looking very much like Facebook and Twitter so I'm not real thrilled about that. I liked that LinkedIn had a little bit of an aesthetic structure. But some of the new things I like, their privacy and settings is probably one of the biggest changes and it's so you can make your user experience much more the way you want it to be. Because a lot of people when they're on LinkedIn, especially if they don't use it a lot, they're like, "All I do is get these annoying notifications." Now you can go in and really create the user experience you want. So they created more privacy and settings, which makes that user experience much more the way you want it to be. They also came out with stories and some people are finding really great engagement with stories. I still haven't wrapped my head around stories on LinkedIn, because I barely wrap my head around it on Instagram and Facebook. I mean, it's funny, I know, you're asked me like, what's my favorite and now I'm telling you kind of the opposite. To me, stories are really something that just belongs on Facebook and Instagram. I mean, what are you going to do in the course of your business day, that's going to be so particularly exciting that you want to throw it out there for 24 hours. So I haven't wrapped my head around that, I've tested it, and it's kind of gotten average engagement. But you know what? Just because LinkedIn or any platform creates a new feature doesn't mean you have to use it. Again, you should always be utilizing these features if they're aligned with your personal brand and your efforts on social media. The one thing I love the most on LinkedIn right now is the Featured Block and I think it's completely rolled out to everybody. It's on your personal profile page and you don't see it there if you haven't taken any kind of online asset and made it a featured link. So if you want to feature a post you just wrote in the feed if you wanted to feature a LinkedIn article that you've done on the publishing platform, if you wanted to link to anything on a website, anywhere on the internet, or if you wanted to upload an infographic or a PDF, you now have this really great Featured Block and it creates this really big visual block in the middle of your otherwise text-heavy profile page. You can put up as many links as you want, some people have put up like 60, but it's like this side-scrolling thing, so I don't advise that. So I put in four to six things in that featured section and you can change them as you go. But it's a way to get targeted eyes on something and it's finally something LinkedIn did, where you can literally click on that piece of content in the featured block, and it will take you directly to that online asset. Whereas before, you could have up to three websites in your contact information, and you still can. But when you click there, it’s a two-click process to get to the final thing. It's just a way to really get targeted eyes on something you really want people to see on your profile page.

So can you share with our listeners, one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you’ve had?

I just had one today, actually. So you know, we all know what influencers are right? And LinkedIn, actually, long before they opened up publishing to the average user, there were a lot of quote-unquote, LinkedIn influencers out there like the Richard Bransons and the Arianna Huffingtons of the world. So now anybody can be a so-called influencer on LinkedIn. They're rolling out newsletters, which is a subscription thing. They're certainly still in beta with LinkedIn live, you do have to apply for it. But there are all kinds of ways that you can now become an influencer. So anyway, I'm part of a virtual summit that's going on this week called the LinkedIn Lead Generation Summit, and the woman that's putting it on is a woman from Australia, Kate Hore-Lacey is her name. So she got 21 speakers to share some lead generation tips of which I'm one of the speakers. One of the speakers, the primary sort of keynote, if you will, is a New York Times bestselling author, Dave Kirpan. He's written the Art of People, and he's written some other books about social media in general. Anyway, he did his video today and I was watching the recording this morning and I thought, "Well, I'll go in and see if I can connect with him," you know, somebody who's got almost a million followers, it's really hard to have a meaningful networking conversation. He was actually sharing some of his best practices and so I actually took his advice, went into LinkedIn, I followed him on his profile, and then I found a way to send him an inmail and I very rarely do that. I sent him a very nice message saying, you're the keynote, I'm one of the speakers. I've read your book, I would really love to be connected here and I just kind of gave a little blurb, about, you know, what my talk will be about. I didn't try to sell him or pitch him, and within five minutes, he accepted my request and wrote me a really nice note. So you just never know, and you've got to try and find ways to kind of do some work around some time.

So regardless of the size of our network, and how many people are in our community, it's extremely important to nurture these relationships. How do you best stay in front of or nurture these relationships?

I'm so glad you brought that up because I've been doing this now for nearly six years and LinkedIn is really like my platform of choice. Even though I work with the foundational work on personal branding, LinkedIn is my tool of choice. I do not have a lot of connections and that's totally by design. I'm actually one of those people that truly wants to make connections with people on LinkedIn where I feel like when I'm serving them and connecting with them and nurturing them, that I want to feel like that the circle is not small, but just more intimate. So I'm not one of these people that connects with every single person just to build up my numbers. I care more about my numbers, if you will, on Facebook and Instagram. Even then, I don't worry about it as much. But on LinkedIn, I really want those connections to be just more intimate and I feel like even though I don't have multiple thousands of followers, I'll get there at some point. But I also feel like I'm walking the talk because I teach the people I work with the same thing. You know, don't just accept an invitation because you want to get your numbers up and there's a lot of people that are using LinkedIn who are spamming, and I don't want those people in my network, either.

So let's talk about building your network. What advice would you offer the business professional who is looking to grow there, there are a number of relationships that they have?

Well, certainly and this is true on every platform and I know you would agree with me 100% on this is you need to have a Service mindset first. So when you are putting out content, you need to think of yourself as an up other LinkedIn is to not think of yourself as a resume, but instead, think of yourself as a resource. When you are positioning yourself from the LinkedIn platform, you need to be seen as a resource. So whatever content you're putting out, put out everything you know about that topic, whatever world you're in. Share that stuff, share other people's content, reshare other's content as well if something aligns with you, put out videos, put out some of your own promotional stuff, too. But back to that good old fashioned 80-20 rule, 80% service, and 20% of your own stuff, here and there. That's the best way you're going to serve your people to build relationships, and then lead to either a connection on LinkedIn, which then may lead to a transaction at some point. But always go into it with wanting to build the relationship and build the network first and nurture it by giving them really great content and serving them.

Let's go back to your 20-year-old self. What would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regard to your great career?

My 20-year-old self would have been a junior in college. I think I would have told myself to step forward more. At the time that I was 20, I was actually in college in New York City and I'm from Vermont so that was a major culture shock. I was interning at the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, so I was in a pretty cool internship. A lot of the people I had admired from journalists we're literally walking through the building all the time, and I had to get away from being starstruck and really do the job. But I think I was a little too shy and didn't speak up enough or ask questions enough. So I think what I would have told myself back then is to lean in, step up, raise your hand, wherever you want to call it. I certainly do that now and that's why I've gotten where I am and doing what I do in my business. I mean, it's been a major characteristic of what I need to do in my business.

So we've all heard of the six degrees of separation, who would be the one person that you would love to connect with? And do you think you could do it within the sixth degree?

This is going to sound so trite, but I would absolutely love to meet Ellen DeGeneres. I followed her since she was on Carson, like when she was brand new. Actually from the degrees of separation, years ago in the late 90s, I worked at one of our state colleges here in Vermont at Johnson State College and Ellen DeGeneres;, his mother was on a speaking tour, and she came and spoke at our campus. So I met her mother and the reason she was speaking out, was it was at the time that Ellen was coming out as a gay woman. Her mom went around and told the story about how it was hard for her when she first learned but how she came to be very accepting and loving of that. So I always felt like I had this little hint of closeness to maybe someday meeting or and if I ever did, I could say, "Oh, I Met Your Mother." Not many people could say that, not that her mother would remember who the heck I was. 

Do you have any final word or advice offer listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

You know, I keep it real. I think that's why that my use of personal story really resonates with people is, I think a lot of people when it comes to LinkedIn, think they just need to show their professional side, and you absolutely do. But also, don't be afraid to let people peek behind the curtain a little bit and see who you are as a whole person. When you write in your LinkedIn profile, speak and present yourself in the first person in a conversational tone. Some people still using like, the third person, in their bio, speaking about themselves in the third person in their profile. That's not a way to try to connect with people, you know. Be that on LinkedIn as you would be in real life, so that get the real you so keep it real. You don't have to go into the nitty-gritty, but be authentic and be relatable.

Connect with Kate:



Kate’s Website: 

Nov 30, 2020

Meet Nicole:

Nicole started her first entrepreneurial journey in 2007 with her husband. They decided to start an organic farm & micro-brewery in the Cascade Mountains of the Pacific Northwest. During the seven years that they ran Acadian Farms & Brewery, she was in charge of all things marketing- everything from events to social media to website design. Learning + doing everything on her own, Nicole created an SEO-friendly website that reached #1 on Google and utilized the power of social media and influencer outreach to get featured in prominent publications like The Oregonian, Portland Monthly, and The Seattle Times, as well as popular craft beer blogs.

So let's talk about marketing because this is obviously your world. I know that you do a lot with marketing plans as we do as well. But how would you recommend that small business owner get started with a marketing plan?

So that's like, the biggest kind of problem I see when I work with a lot of different business owners. They have ideas, and they have a little bit of a plan, and then maybe they have some people kind of helping them, but there's no overall cohesive strategy. So that's where we start and it kind of starts with your foundation, like, what are your goals? Who are your potential customers? Where are they hanging out? What are their struggles? It doesn't have to be like super overwhelming, once you kind of even just start writing everything down, pulling all of that information out of your head, looking at a calendar, and again, knowing who your customers are, and where they're hanging out online, or what their hobbies are. Just really starting to brainstorm all those ideas helps create a plan and an effective plan, and they leave feeling so less stressed. I was working with someone last week and she goes, "I am just so excited to finally have a marketing plan!" So that's what I love doing, and a little bit of planning really, really goes a long way.

One of the things that I've learned is, even though you have a plan, it may not work out the way that you want it to, it's a lot easier to adjust when you have a plan versus trying to make changes when you have nothing fleshed out.

Yes, totally. A lot of them will work out their strategies and just put their notes down all that and like a Google Drive folder, which is super easy, or you know, people can use Dropbox or whatever. But being able to refer back to that, as you said and be like and look like okay, maybe we need to shift like this isn't working or like, you know, we all just went into lockdown again, like how can we adjust where necessary, but having a place to look and kind of keep track really just really helps. 

So what are some of the most common things that you're coaching your clients on right now?

So a lot of it is this planning that I've been talking about. Some are a little bit further along and then so it's just really trying to figure out which channels are best for them. Then we start exploring different ways to reach their ideal customers, whether it's, one of my clients just had a big challenge within a Facebook group, and it went really well, she got so many sales, and then another one is planning to expand her YouTube channel because that's where her potential clients are and spend a lot of time. So it's really just getting that plan, and then getting even more granular about where we're gonna execute this and then going into best practices with that, and their schedule, and then just kind of holding them accountable as well. We have so many things when we're running a business so just having that little bit of accountability is super helpful.

Your LinkedIn profile says you offer simple marketing strategies. So can you elaborate on the use of the word simple and what are some simple ways that other small businesses can market themselves?

Yeah, totally. So yeah, in my bio, you know, it mentioned that my husband and I ran a small business for seven years. It was a farm, so not like, huge profits. So we had to figure out simple, easy, and pretty low budget ways to market our business. So I used a lot of what I did in that in what I do now in helping clients. But so it's a lot of social media and I know, some people like, "Ugh, I hate social media." But when you are able to understand the different nuances of the different platforms, and why you're doing it, and then like some stats of like, so many people are on social media. Then just sharing all of these different things and how to do it, then it is simple because we don't know what we don't know, you know what I mean. So, I just like to provide all these different ways and I really come with the approach of teaching them how to do it, even if I'm going to be doing it for them, I want them to know why we're doing, what we're doing, or where we're doing it. So even a simple one, for example, when we had the farm, we had beer, and we're in a very, like craft beer world here in the northwest, it's huge. So I would hold an open house event for all of the craft beer bloggers, and they would come and taste all our beer and then they would go back and write on their blogs and put it on their social media. So we were able to like really grow and gain brand awareness. That kind of like, evolved into like, a lot of the newspapers and publications, even from Seattle coming in and reaching out to us because they saw us on other blogs. There are so many ways, like once you kind of get these small business owners talking, and they get into the strategy, they hit so many great ideas. Once I get past that overwhelm, and not quite kind of like understanding why it's happening, then it just opens up the floodgates, which is awesome.

So this podcast is all about networking and relationships. Obviously, that's something that you're doing and you shared some great examples of fostering those relationships from a grassroots marketing level. Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking stories that you've had?

I can't think of a favorite story, but when you say networking I just think that there are so many things that popped into my mind of so many people that I've met through networking, I'm just a huge advocate of it. I'm an ambassador for our local chamber here in Hood River, I'm a chamber member because we live on the Columbia River. So it's like Oregon, and Washington right next to each other, so I'm in another chamber, but it's like, two minutes away. Also, I do a lot of online networking, and this podcast too was really started with that in mind to create a community because being an entrepreneur can be hard and lonely and I have met people from around the world. I just got an email last week from a gal that had been on my podcast last year, introducing me to someone that needs what I do. So that was almost a year ago, and I was still top of mind enough for her to think of me and reached out and now I have a meeting with her next week. Networking is essential and I just love having that community of having people that know what it's like trying to grow a business, maybe you don't necessarily own it, but, you know, just that whole community.

How do you stay in front of and best nurture your network in your community?

Usually, it's a good bit of social media of just really reaching out and making those connections a lot. Whether I work with them, or they're on the podcast, or people that have been on the podcast will introduce me to other people on social media. So just trying to stay in there because it is meant to be social, you know, that was first and foremost. So just really going back and forth and meeting these people and having a genuine interest in just getting to know people. I introduced two ladies today that both have podcasting interests and they both live in Boise, Idaho. So I was like, "Hey ladies, y'all need to meet," and now they're going to meet for a social distance coffee soon. So really trying to stay in touch with people and follow up and see how their lives are going. Lately, it's been social media, more so, than any other channels. 

What advice would you offer that business professional who's really looking to grow their network?

I know, it's kind of hard right now because we don't have any of the in-person meetups or networking occasions, but there are so many opportunities online. There are so many Facebook groups, there are so many LinkedIn groups. I've met so many people those ways, and have been referred business and just met people and had zoom chats and ended up working together. Even local chapters like ours are having online coffee networking meetups. BNI, I know I think they've moved to an online platform as well, so there are opportunities. It's not the same as being in person but I would start researching those and just getting involved in joining those groups and just kind of observing and getting involved and introducing yourself just like you would at in-person meetings.

So if you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

So this is something I've just recently figured out so I would definitely, I guess, tell my 20-year-old self. Just say yes and just start. I've watched so many opportunities go by me just because I was kind of scared to put myself in that position of being out of my comfort zone, or just to try it. I probably wouldn't have gotten past that had I not started my podcast, because that really put me out of my comfort zone a lot. Now, I love it and I can't imagine it not being in my life. I probably wouldn't have gone into coaching, either, because I'm pretty introverted. So those two have really forced me out of my comfort zone. So at 20 I know, I was not doing things that put me out of my comfort zone. So I would say just get started and just go because who cares!

So we've all heard of the six degrees of separation, who is one person that you'd love to connect with, and do you think you can do it within the six degrees? 

I'm gonna say Mel Robbins, or Shonda Rhimes because I read both of their books this year, and they were amazing. It changed my life. Yeah, I don't know, though. There's gonna be somebody that knows somebody. I guess so with both of them it kind of ties back to maybe that is why it did have such a big impact on my life this past year. You know, Mel Robbins, like breaking into the psychology of why we do or don't do things, I thought that was really fascinating. Also, she talks about you're not ever really going to feel like doing some of these things, so you just count backward and go. I was like, "Oh my god, she's right," don't get so emotionally attached and just do it. Then I really, really enjoyed Shonda's book, The Year of Yes. Again, just starting saying yes and finding out what happens. The way she writes is awesome and just seeing her transformation was just really eye-opening. So I would talk to them about their books and dig deeper. 

Do you have any final word or advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

I would just say that having a plan for networking and reaching out to these people should be part of your marketing plan. But you know, really just taking a little bit of time, even if it's 30 minutes or an hour. This is a great time of the year to do it before we go into the new year. So just, you know, taking a little bit of time, like, how can I reach out to more people? I have one client that I help with, who is an attorney, and she wants to grow her network. So we've come up with the list, and she's gonna send $5 Starbucks digital cards, and ask two attorneys a month to go on coffee dates, virtually. I thought that was a really fun and creative yet simple way to really open up our network. So yeah, just kind of pulling all of those ideas, but putting them down on paper will really help you not get so overwhelmed.

Connect with Nicole:




Nov 25, 2020

Meet Rocky:

Rocky is a certified profit first professional who was shocked to learn most business owners don't look at their financial reports. Most business owners are not accountants and don't want to be. When he realized how much of a problem this was, he knew his purpose was to help business owners be profitable.

Why do business owners struggle to create profitable businesses?

First of all, accountants don't even know how to create profitable businesses, right? They know how to do taxes, they know how to put all the transactions where they belong, according to a formula that says, this is how we do things, this is generally accepted accounting principles. So there's really nobody focused on teaching or helping business owners to understand profitability. That's why I think so many of them struggle, the system I use is from Mike Michalowicz, he wrote the book Profit First. He is a serial entrepreneur, he thought he did it right, sold his companies walked away with a lot of money, and then lost it all, you know, the quintessential thing and it's because he struggled with this just as much as everyone else did. Then he came up with this idea of when we look at things, we're given the wrong formula and if you use the wrong formula, you're going to have the wrong results. So the formula your accountant will tell you is sales minus expenses equals profit. Where is profit in that formula? At the end, it's a leftover, it's something you find out at tax time. You go to your account, he goes, "Congratulations, you're profitable, here's your tax bill!" And the first question is, "Where is that cash?" Then they just laugh at you and they go, "You spent it." Mike said that's broken let's fix that. Let's do sales minus profit equals expenses. So we change the whole way we think about business, because we take our profit first, upfront because your business plan said you were going to be profitable. Well, why not take the profit upfront, remove it, and then learn to spend less. I think too often business owners, are told you got to spend money to make money and that's not necessarily true.

Why is the bottom line far more important than the top line?

So you've heard this so many times where people who've made millions upon millions of dollars and gone bankrupt. The saying we have is, "The top line is vanity, the bottom line is sanity, and cash flow is reality." What that basically means is, I don't care how much money is coming in. If more money is going out than is coming in, you're never going to win the game. You can't grow your way to profit if it's costing you more than what you're selling it for and that's why the bottom line is so important. The problem is, and it's kind of where we started this, if I wanted to know your top line, you can go look at your bank account and go, "Hey, I had a bunch of sales, look at all the money that came in." But if I said to you, "What's your bottom line?" It's very hard to figure that number out, you don't really know. All you know is I have money in my bank, or I don't have money in my bank, and if you don't have money in the bank, you run out and you get more sales, or you do collections. But it's really a struggle if you don't know what that bottom line is. As we talked about before, most business owners may not know until their accountant tells them four months after the year is over. That's a problem and that's why you've got to create systems and processes, and go in and figure out how much is my bottom line really? And am I appropriately charging for my products? And where is my profit coming from? That's something that even large companies don't have the answer to, is where is profit coming from? So if a big company with a CFO and all these big systems can't figure it out easily, it's really hard for the little guy.

What exactly does a certified profit first professional do?

So basically, what I do is, I serve with one simple goal to help you be profitable. The system that might create it as a cash flow system. So you get your money in your paycheck, and you put your money where you're going to spend it for rent, for groceries, for utilities, and when that money is used up, then you stop spending, and you figure out a better way to do it. That principle works all the time, so what Mike did was use the same principle for businesses. You set up multiple bank accounts, which I know is a little scary upfront, but as soon as your revenue comes in, the first thing you do, is you put money in your profit account because you're supposed to be profitable. The second thing you do is you put money in your owner's pay account, because you deserve to be compensated for your work, and the efforts and the risk you've taken. Then we put money in the tax account, because it's not your money, it's the governments. Some businesses may have some other accounts for special purposes and then the rest ends up in your operating expense account. But what's happened is because you've covered your big nuts first, when you look at your bank account, and that operating account, you know how much you truly have to spend. So it forces you to be more resourceful. This whole thing is built on Parkinson's Law. What Parkinson's Law says is that whatever resources you're given, you'll use them up. So if you have three months to do a project, it'll take you three months. If you've got three hours to do a project, you'll find a way to get it done in three hours. If you've got a $100,000 budget to do something within your business, you'll spend 100,000. But if you've got a $10,000 budget to do something, you'll figure out a way to get it for $10,000. By separating the money and giving it a job and putting it in smaller piles, you learn to be more resourceful, you don't spend as much, and what I do is I kind of create accountability. I help by looking at the actual financial reports and then bringing to light where revenue is coming from whether it's properly priced. In other words, I have customers and you go down and you look into their accounts and you're like, "You didn't realize just put that item on sale, and you discounted it and you sold it for less than what your actual costs are, you actually lost money this weekend by doing that sale. I know you needed to get revenue in but this is a problem." So somebody's got to go in and figure that out and that's basically what I do. Sometimes it's easy to see, sometimes it's more difficult. So for example, I have one customer that I looked at who has two different service lines. His one service line is good, provides a reasonable living, a lot of work. He has another service line that's seasonal. That seasonal service line just put so much money to his profit, it's incredible because he's got so much margin in that business. I said to him, "Stop focusing on this service line that's doing okay, put your efforts where most of your money is coming from, you can work a fraction of the time and make a lot more money by redirecting your efforts."

Do you work alongside bookkeepers and accountants? Are you kind of in competition with them? How does that play out?

I'm not in competition with anybody. I work with whoever your bookkeeper is, and whoever your accountant is because your bookkeepers are putting the transactions in. One of the things I do is provide a second set of eyes on your bookkeeper to help make sure that they're doing things appropriately. The accountants are mostly doing taxes and so that's fine. What I'll do is I will help you put money aside for taxes. So I'll tell you the story of Mike because this is a phenomenal story. Mike was in the recruiting business and he had a blowout year, he had so many placements that year and his revenue went through the roof. Well, the tax accountant based his quarterlies on the previous year. So tax time comes around, and she's hesitant to call them because there's this massive tax bill. She finally calls him and says, "Hey, I've been dreading this call, you owe a lot of money." He said, "I know my sales have been up, I expected this, how bad is it?" She said it's almost six figures, and he said, "Oh, alright, I'll drop off checks tomorrow," and she's like, "I've never ever had anyone tell me that in over 20 years." He was using profit first, so he was putting his tax money aside, and it was ready for him. I've heard that story from practically every person that implements profit first. Tax time is no longer a season of angst and worry. They're like, "I hate taxes, but whatever that bill is, I know I'm ready for it, and I can strike a check."

Let's talk about networking because business is all about relationships. Can you share with our listeners one of your favorite networking experiences that you've had?

So you know how you felt about money? This is how I feel about networking. But I will tell you this because I realized the importance of it. I've probably spent the last eight, nine years working on this skill, from taking courses on social capital, to reading books about networking to learn how to do this. So I just want to encourage the people listening if this isn't something you enjoy doing, it's just a matter of practice. Now I've come to learn how to do that. I think one of the things that COVID did for me is overnight, is I was doing all this in-person networking, and overnight, all my in-person networking got canceled. Essentially, we went to the online world and I've got to tell you, I have found online networking to be much easier, much more enjoyable, and a much more diverse group of people that I get to meet than I was meeting in my local networking meetups. There are so many online groups that I have found and one gets me to the next, gets me to the next, and that's how we met, Right? We met through a networking group that you had started in the middle of COVID. I don't think in a non-COVID world that we would have ever met. Also, the quickness that the group came together and was willing to help. I think that was the other thing that I've noticed is in online networking, the speed of networking, and the building, the Trust has gotten faster and faster.

So Rocky, as you continue to build and grow your network, how do you stay in front of and nurture these individuals that you're connecting with?

So that's been another struggle for me because I have one of these CRMs and it gets overwhelming, there are all these people in there and I can't find the people that I want. So I've learned a couple of things. Number one, I've learned to take much better notes. I use Evernote and what I do is I have a whole folder that's called "Meetups" and whenever I go to a meetup, as people are talking and networking, I'm just putting my names and notes as I'm listening. That's searchable, so if somebody emails me three weeks from now, I go to my Evernote, I search, I find the note and then I go, "Now I remember everything." I'm kind of just basic, you know, I'm a spreadsheet geek, and so I have found it's just easier for me to create a spreadsheet of the people that I want to kind of nurture and keep track of. So I just put Date, Name, some really basic stuff, and maybe a follow-up date to it. The other thing I do is if I know that I need to specifically follow up, so let's just say that we met and, and you said to me, "Hey let's chat in three weeks." What I will do I will do is I'll go right into my calendar immediately and I will create a task three weeks out, that says, email Lori, and I might put one sentence there about to remind myself. So it's kind of different levels for different people, but I'm still struggling with how to do a better job of nurturing all the relationships. I think what I need to do is probably to create a bigger block of time for me to sit once a week, and just go through the list and at least pick a handful of people and send an email. Some of it I'm good, like if they're good on LinkedIn, then I tend to be more social on LinkedIn. The other thing I find is if there are people who are at events that are somewhat regular, then that creates that natural rhythm as well. If I meet somebody, maybe three events over three months, and we haven't connected for one on one, I'll just reach out and say, "Hey, let's do a one on one." I find having an automated calendar is a godsend. When I left corporate and I was able to turn on my automated calendar, it made my life 10 x easier.

What advice would you offer the business professional who's looking to grow their network?

So I have been told that the purpose of networking is to serve, and just go out and serve. If you want to grow your network, go out and see how you can help people. Of course, you've got to do it in an appropriate way so that you can manage your time. But I think that's a big part of it is to go out and serve and help others, because if you help them achieve their goals, they're going to help you achieve yours.

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

So that's a long way back. The world has changed quite dramatically since then. I think there were a lot of things that I just didn't understand back then. So one was this whole networking and relationship thing. It was not something that I understood and it wasn't something that I worked on. It was also a different world in the sense that there was no internet so it was hard to keep in touch with people, you'd actually have to pick up the phone and call them. Then if they move, they got a new phone number and if nobody sent you a letter in the mail, you lost connection, right? Yeah. So I think just going back and telling myself to understand that. The other thing is I didn't understand what my super skills were like I didn't know what my superpowers were. I've been playing with spreadsheets since I was in high school, so back then it was VisiCalc. I was going into fortune 500 companies going, "Hey, accountants, here's how you get off of a paper ledger and you use an electronic spreadsheet." I always thought I was going to create a business around spreadsheets, but I didn't know how. The power of spreadsheets now, I mean, it's a billion/trillion dollar business because nobody can figure out the numbers. If you understand spreadsheets, and you can see the stories that the numbers are telling you, that's very valuable. Now I'm finally in the place where I figured that out, and that's why I do what I do. So those are probably the two things, figure out your super skills, and then learn how to network and build social capital. It's okay, if you don't know how to do stuff, go ask people who will help you. I grew up in the area of you never ask for help, you do it all, you know, it was the lone gun kind of timeframe. So it took a lot of personal development to move out of that and get a little bit smarter.

So we've all heard of the six degrees of separation. Who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with and do you think you can do it within the sixth degree?

I would love to interview Tim Ferriss because he's an interesting guy, he's a little nuts. But I love to learn how to do things and he's also kind of a thinker like that. I've met people who are friends with Tim Ferriss. So I know, I'm not that far away. I've got multiple people that I'm probably one degree of separation away. Whether or not they listen to him, or he'd entertain my ideas, is a whole nother reality, but I do know people in the circle.

Any final words of advice to our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

Just go out, and remember, you have two ears and one mouth so listen more than you speak.

Connect with Rocky:


Listen to Rocky’s podcast:

Nov 23, 2020

Meet Ann:

Ann is the owner of reCollect2 Company and creator of the reCollect2recycler, a recycling receptacle used in hospitality and corporate office settings. Manufactured in Wisconsin, you can find her products, specifically in hotel guest rooms and various businesses and organizations in 49 states throughout the US. She's had the privilege of working alongside some of hospitality's most recognizable brands. But her goal has always been to offer a product that's functional, motivational, and impactful.

So why don't we start a little bit about talking about being in the hospitality space and how this year has affected your business?

Well, dramatically, like any business and travel, and tourism and attractions. So yes, I mean, the industry is hurting as a whole right now. But it's really important to notice that there are some markets right now, throughout the US that are seeing an uptick,  they're getting busier, and they're doing better. Right now the overall goal is to restore that confidence in travel again, and I know that we will get there. But I would say the immediate need right now is to focus on just keeping hotels open, like literally keeping their doors open, because it's really a hard time especially coincidentally, today is the election and a lot of things are actually surrounded around what will transpire there. So our industry has been in a holding pattern, it's been hurting, but I just feel confident that we will see a light at the end of the tunnel here. It's also cool to kind of put out there that even though all of these hotels that we might see in like our backyard, or our surrounding communities, they have these globally recognized brands, but we need to remember that several of these properties are actually owned by small businesses, like ours. I mean, many are family-owned. So yes, we are hurting, but I do see that we will see some things moving here, hopefully, in the near future.

Your business has a big emphasis on sustainability. Why should this topic be important to businesses and organizations in general?

Yeah, that's a good question. I think that there's immense value within businesses that really choose to incorporate sustainability. And that's it any length or level big or small, whether it's environmental or social. I think that most of us have this inner voice that wants to contribute to a greater good and find ways to give back to something other than just ourselves. So I think that it's important that we can embrace small, incremental, and actionable steps that we can take and conquer larger issues. So this carries over into business. And yes, we definitely see how businesses want to operate more efficiently. Whether that's reducing waste or other operational tactics that they're putting in place. But it's also important not to overlook the people aspect as well. I think now more than ever, we're connecting the dots and we're recognizing how this mindset and social sustainability, their commitments are directly and positively impacting and serving the well-being of the people that make up our communities.

Speaking of people, you've been compelled to bring awareness to human trafficking within your business, can you talk about that a little bit? 

Yeah it's a big issue, and I'll be honest, especially lately, it seems like there's been more conversation about it, which there are pros and cons to that, for sure. But I'll kind of start back up a little bit that I first heard about human trafficking, probably five or six years ago. Long story short, I was very triggered about the staggering statistics that I was hearing and seeing just from a global aspect, but nationally, and then even here in Wisconsin. So that was really my first glimpse into hearing about human trafficking. At first, I'll be honest, it's really easy to become overwhelmed by just the sheer magnitude of this crime, and I'm talking about just the number of people that we're finding out are actually enslaved. This includes children and adults, and also the aspect of the money that's involved, the billions of dollars that make up the industry, and all the moving parts that kind of allow this industry to grow. So as I became more aware, and hearing more about all of those aspects, it's hard to, it's hard to ignore, really, and as a mother, and as an individual who strongly believes that people should live in freedom, I felt that it was kind of my responsibility to help be a voice in anti-trafficking efforts and try to support the local causes here that we have in Milwaukee, that who are really the real experts in this field, especially in aftercare. I felt like it was important to help get their voice out there, and just increase that awareness. But that's really like how I became involved in it and hearing about it, I just felt like if I was that angry about it, and felt that compelled that I couldn't really stay silent. So overall I believe it's our calling to respectfully care for each other and speak up for those who can't speak for themselves. And little by little, I think that we can make a change and being in the hospitality space, because our product is literally in this space, and many of our customers are also trying to bring awareness and training to their own properties. It just seemed right to try to join forces, hopefully, sparks of dialogues and conversations, if we can provide resources, and I just thought it was an opportunity for us to unite.

So a number of people have this fear when they hear the word networking, and my goal is really to eliminate that fear and bring some hope and encouragement to our listeners. So can you help me do that by sharing one of your favorite networking experiences that you've had?

Yeah well actually, it was a couple of years ago. I'm kind of laughing about it because we just were talking about this on a separate project. But it was a couple of years ago that I had met someone by chance at a networking event, here locally, and how that connection has just led into education and training on my part and other opportunities, and then introductions into other networking communities and how those communities kind of overlap. It's been kind of incredible how that whole journey how that actually began in that trajectory. Honestly, part of that connection actually led to you as well. So it's kind of neat how that all transpired. I think that you never know who you're going to meet. But I'm also a firm believer and things kind of working behind the scenes, too. I think that things are orchestrated, people are met and connected for a reason and it's pretty neat to see when that transpires.

So as you've got contacts, and you've been networking nationally, and potentially even globally, how do you best nurture and maintain these relationships with your network in your community?

Well, technology has obviously made this more accessible. There's more group dialogue, webinars, workshops, and events that we can take part in. And I think that those opportunities lead to conversations where you really get to meet other people and grow into more of a trusting relationship. Technology specifically, has allowed these educational trainings to happen and I think that this time that we've been living through that we shouldn't underestimate that. I think that being involved, participating, and taking that time to kind of invest in these connections is important. And it's really neat to hear people's stories and I think when you hear people's stories, and you learn their passions and their expertise, and you're just willing to see what they have to offer. I mean, I think that those relationships are reciprocated and I think that participating and hearing all these different areas and stories is something that I try to take part in as often as I can because I think you learn a lot about the person and in those particular avenues and those ways of community and networking.

What advice would you offer that business professional who's looking to grow their network?

I would say to step outside of your comfort zone. I think that we need to embrace and enjoy the journey of taking some risks. This year, more than ever can show us to be bold, to be a voice, to not apologize for taking on something new, learning something new, and I think that taking those steps would be my advice. Because I think sometimes we can kind of stay in our area of what we know or how we've normally done things. But let's be bold, let's break through some barriers, and let's try something new. That would be my advice, and it’s advice to myself because it's been a different curve for all of us. That vulnerability, I think there can connect you to other people as well. So that comes and goes, I think to be bold, enjoy it, take the risk!

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

All right, so let me just say that, before I answer that I'm kind of an odd duck. I was married to my husband at 20, we had our son at 22 and I jumped right into my quote-unquote career not long after, because I was like this planner. I had this kind of all set out what was going to be my timeline, I was adamant about staying on that, and I wasn't going to deviate from that. Quite honestly, I remember specifically telling myself I am never going to be an entrepreneur, I have no desire to be an entrepreneur, this I'm going in this direction because this is more predictable for me. So I think what I've learned for sure is don't count anything out. Because here I am doing something I never ever imagined but really had no desire to do in my mid-20s at all. So I think that's something that I can look back on often and just be like, "You know what? You can't count anything out." I think also, as professionals we can just get extremely immersed in our work which is great, right? But I think my 20-year-old self, I was definitely immersed in my work, I think for the wrong reasons. I think that I had different goals and intentions of where my plans were going. I look back and you know what? I think those weren't the right intentions for me, I think I was able to recognize the time that I was putting in and knowing that I also had a family, and what I was missing out from, you know, the family aspect. Also the bigger picture and doing more and giving back, and how can we affect other people and things like that.

Let's talk about the six degrees of separation. If you could connect with anybody, who would it be, and do you think you do it within the sixth degree? 

So recently, I am just very fascinated with Tim Tebow right now and not only from the football aspect, because our family is in the sports world, football was kind of in our blood for a while. There's that aspect, but right now what he's doing with his nonprofit and the anti-trafficking arena, and just legislation, and how he is connecting, how he's getting his message out there. I'm very intrigued by that. So I think recently, that's really been catching my eye a lot and I would love to sit down and have a conversation with him because I think his passion is burning brightly, and I just love the direction that he's going. The other person would probably be Joanna Gaines because I'm not very handy. So I don't know if it's just because I am attracted to the fact that she can fix anything. But she literally, you know, took Shiplap to a whole new level. She's now going to be starting a network. I mean, hello, I'd want to sit down and have a conversation with her because that is taking things to a completely new level. I just find the way that she just delivers her message and all the different projects that she's in and she has family, and she's got this design aspect and now she's you know, getting in again to this network. I just think holy cow! I feel like we could talk for days on just how that has transpired and all the different steps along the way to allow that vision to come to life. 

Connect with Ann:


Instagram: @annieriphenburg reCollect2 website:

Nov 18, 2020

Meet Lorraine: 

After spending too many years in corporate America, Lorraine said goodbye to the bureaucracy, glass ceilings, and bad coffee. Today you can find her at Round Peg, a digital agency located in Carmel, Indiana building smart marketing strategies for businesses who want to use internet marketing tools to grow Laureen is also the host of More than a Few Words, a weekly marketing conversation for business owners. In her spare time, she loves to travel and take photos. 

So you actually started your agency in more of the traditional sense but migrated to digital. How and when did you know it was time to make that transition?

I would love to tell you that I strategically planned that out that I saw this whole digital thing coming and I anticipated it, but no. Actually what happened was, we were doing small business marketing and I hired a couple of young professionals who were like, you know, you need to take a look at this Facebook thing. This is going back 2007 or whenever, you know, right in that time frame. We started looking at it and what we realized, as we were looking at it is we were working with small businesses who didn't have a lot of money. We saw this, wild west where there weren't a lot of rules and there were a lot of opportunities to make a big splash on a small investment. That’s what really intrigued me so much about the early days of digital marketing. It's gotten a lot more static since then, but in the beginning, it was a great place to try out so many different things. One morning, I woke up and realized that that was most of my business and I've never looked back, I really enjoy it.

Why don't you share a little bit about some of the lessons that you learned during this transition?

I think the biggest lesson that I learned it took me a little while to figure this out was that the basics of good marketing, knowing who your customer is, knowing what their pain points are, knowing what your objective is when you have a conversation with them. A conversation can be a television ad, it can be a direct mail piece, or it can be a social share on Instagram. Starting with who your customer is, and applying all the same strategies of traditional marketing to digital marketing makes your campaigns much more effective. I said earlier that it was kind of the Wild West, but as digital marketing has matured, understanding that I have to go back to my roots as a classic marketer and apply that same strategy makes the content much more effective, makes it drive the results, and makes everybody a lot more satisfied with the content we're putting out and the results that we're getting back.

So can you help our listeners remove any fear that they have around networking by sharing one of your most successful or favorite networking stories?

So I love networking, I have to admit that when I first started the business, I was a bit of a networking junkie. I didn't have a lot of customers and didn't have a lot else to do so I was running around any, any, and all networking events until I kind of create a little strategy there. But one of my favorite stories is I was at BNI when I first got started. And I thought that was a great way to learn the basics of networking. One of the rules and BNI is that if you can't attend an event, you have to invite someone to take your place. I called a friend of mine who was a marketer. So I thought she'd be a perfect replacement and she couldn't come. But she said, "You know, I got this friend, Eric and he is trying to get around to all the BNI chapters in the city. I'll hook you up, he'll take your place. And so I was like, great. And we chatted on the phone, and Eric took my place." So I wrote him a thank you note and we went off on our merry way. Two months later, I'm at a different networking event and I'm walking through a doorway. Coming through the doorway exactly the same moment is this very large gentleman. I mean, he's built like a football player. S I do what I always did at a networking event, we almost bump into each other a step back, and I said, "Hi, I'm Lorraine," to which he replies, "I'm you." And I'm looking at this guy, and I'm thinking In what world does a God who's built like a football player think he's me? So I take a step back because I'm not quite sure he's all there and I asked him, "So why do you think you are me?" And he explained, he's Eric, he's the guy that attended the networking event in my place. So I started to laugh and I told him what I was thinking. Eric was a contractor, his customers were homeowners, I was running an agency, my customers were businesses, there was no reason for us to really do a follow-up networking event. Except he made me laugh. So when he suggested that we grab a cup of coffee, I thought, you know what, every now and then you just have to spend half an hour with somebody who makes you laugh. Well, we had coffee, and we had coffee again, and we became friends. What we discovered was, even though our markets were completely different, he would run into people who needed me and I would run into people who needed his services. We had a great referral partnership, we ultimately started looking for office space, we decided that we were going to buy a building. We bought a building that we could house both of our businesses in. Eventually, I bought him out and he's gone on to other things, but all of that I would never have had the courage to move out of my home and buy a building. I can't tell you how many different customers I have relationships with today because of that, and it all started because he made me laugh and because we recognized that as people we really liked being around each other. So that's my favorite networking story is that you know, being willing to have a conversation, even if you're not quite sure there's a business reason to do it.

Now, can you share a little bit about how you nurture these relationships? Because regardless of the size of your network, it's extremely important to maintain and nurture your community in your relationships.

So one of my favorite strategies is every now and then I particularly do this when business slows down. I go through my online address book, but whatever and I make random phone calls and I'm not doing it to sell anything. I will call people who I've met in networking events, maybe we've collaborated, and I haven't heard from them in a while. And I just randomly say, "Hey, I was just calling to touch base." Now, pre all the COVID stuff, I'd be like, "You got time for a cup of coffee?" What I found is, if I would make five of those calls a week, they don't take long, every one of them makes me smile, because these are people I genuinely like and all sorts of things come out of those conversations. Number one, in some cases, it just reinforces the connections. In other cases, I'll get a, "You know? I was just talking to someone and I didn't think about you, but I'm going to hook you up." Or someone mentions maybe, "Hey, I'm going to this event or this conference." One of my favorites was I called somebody I'd known for a long time and she said, "I'm so glad you called, I'm moving to Florida and this will be a great opportunity to say goodbye." Then as we connected, she said she was selling the business and that she would introduce me to the person buying it. Had I not picked up the phone at that moment, she might already be in Florida. I might never have had a chance to say goodbye, but also I might not have had a chance to build that relationship with the person who was taking over.

What advice would you offer that business professional who is really looking to grow their network?

I think that you have to kiss a lot of frogs and I think you have to be particularly in the beginning, willing to kiss a lot of frogs and just go to a lot of events and meet a lot of people. But don't go with the intention of shoving your business card in everybody's face and talking about yourself. What you really want to do when you walk in the door at any networking event, is meet people and look for those people you want to have a longer conversation with. Because it is that follow up conversation that will tell you whether this is a connection that's going to go somewhere. If you approach each conversation with more of your detective hat on, who are you what do you do, who are your customers, is there a place where we overlap? A question I like to ask is to ask them about one of their favorite projects. That's because if somebody starts talking and they light up because they're excited about their customers, that's somebody I probably want to hang out with. If they immediately start with, you know, "I'd love my job if it wasn't for my customers," that's not necessarily somebody who approaches business the way I do. Then one of my other really favorite networking questions is, "Hey, have you been to any other events that you think I might like?" I've asked that question twice in my life and both times, I ended up in organizations that had dramatic impacts on my business, that maybe I would have found eventually. But I found it exactly the right moment because somebody said, "You know, I think you'll like this group," and I went. 

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

I think the first thing I would say is to be braver sooner. I don't want to say the older I get, the more experienced I am. But the more comfortable I am with my gut instincts and my ideas, the more comfortable I am speaking up, and the less likely I am to sort of second guess myself. I might not have had a depth of experience, but I definitely was smart and I think I spent a lot of time in the early years, hiding that a little bit by couching my suggestions or taking a backseat to someone else. Particularly I was a woman in a lot of male-oriented industries so there's certainly a lot of that in play. But I think I would, even when I started my business, I had some male peers, who basically said, "You've got to raise your price, you're worth more than this," and just being braver sooner and being willing to just say no, this is what I think and it's okay if you don't get that.

Any final word or advice offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

I think that I would suggest that you never stop building. Often I think business owners get into this. It's almost a high school attitude where they say, "These are the people who were in business when I started, we've grown up together, this is this is my network."  It's kind of like my graduating class. But you know what, when I was a junior in high school, I had some friends who were seniors and some friends who were freshmen, and my senior friends graduated and they went off somewhere else. So those younger people coming up were or newer people coming up were bringing in filling in gaps. That I think, is also very, very true of your network. You may have that core, but always make time to bring some new people in for some fresh ideas, because also some of those other folks may roll away from one reason or another. It's not like you have to have that same sort of high level of thinking you have to build out an entire network. But after several years of doing it, and you have that solid core, you always want to be on the lookout for those one or two new people who are going to just add that extra spark which helps you grow a little further.

Connect with Lorraine: 

Round Peg Website: 

Lorraine’s Podcast: 

Lorraine’s Website: 


Nov 16, 2020

Meet Kirby: 


She is the founder of a PR and digital media firm The Impact Kind, based in Michigan whose clients had been featured in Business Insider, Parents Magazine, Thrive Global, and other mediums to increase lead sales and brand awareness. She's got some amazing tips and resources on her website at


Let's talk a little bit about what you did before starting your own firm, and how networking has impacted your life in corporate America.


I worked in sales at SME Society of Manufacturing Engineers, which focuses on conferences and events for the manufacturing community. But we were starting lots of new products and new industries like getting into aerospace and defense. So I was kind of the new product girl, I sold everything that was new there. Building relationships was a key component of how I got my job, and then how I made relationships in order to grow all the new products that we were creating. So it was lots and lots of fun and it was a great experience. Because I was really the only woman in that area, but it was awesome. So I made a lot of cool connections. That led to the next products that we were creating so we had speakers, and we had exhibitors based on meeting those initial contacts. So it was a great segue into what I do now.


How did living abroad ultimately inspire entrepreneurial growth?


I had a great opportunity to move to Shanghai, China. I was able to see so many different kinds of pop-ups and different ex-pats from different countries, start new businesses. For me, at the time, I was having my babies raising my family. But being surrounded by entrepreneurs that were really making it like, we have a friend who was a fellow coworker, at Ford Motor Company, an American company, so that's what took us out there. But he stopped working at Ford, he started Mobike and he's like a billionaire. He's got different slip stations all over the world now and he's still breaking into industries. It sounds simple, you have bikes that you can rent and it's kind of like the American version of the Zipcar. It's really just finding where can you solve a problem. He saw that lots of people can't really get on the metro, and there are lots and lots of them in China, and take your bike and everything else you need. So he created different stations where you can rent bikes and put them back. Just because we were surrounded by so many kinds of successful entrepreneurs and successful business owners that did leave corporate and decided to try something different, it gave me that inspiration that hey, you know, I can do that, too. 


Can you share how making friends all over the world has helped you and really can help anyone that is interested in going into business?


I love to travel. So that's like my thing, right? My husband, he loves to travel to so our family, that's what we do. But when you travel, you get to learn that you have to trust people in like, very odd situations. Sometimes when you get off the plane you have to find the right taxi driver or you have the right person is going to take you to the hotel. Even in those small instances, you can learn so much about the culture, the area, and how to position yourself, because, in every business, you really want to focus on your audience. Who are you selling to? Who are you speaking to? I think when you learn a little bit more about where you are, like where you're going, when you're traveling, I think it's so important to learn a little bit about the culture from people that live there because you'll learn important things from locals. Then when you do that, you're going to be able to speak to other people that you meet around and not generalizing culture or a population, but just you'll have more of a background to really communicate more effectively with. So that's almost like creating any kind of avatar brand, you want to make sure that you are really speaking to your audience, or they would be more receptive to whatever you're selling. I think traveling is so incredibly inspiring, not just because you see new things, you learn new things because everyone has their own filter, right? So always going to this new place with, you know, their background, their experiences, but because it's near to them, they might notice things that if they live there for a long time, they wouldn't see them the same way. So it's always really interesting when you first go and you place and get to know the people. And then if you have like a language barrier it's funny to just look back and see like what you did to communicate well. Then when you get to learn more about the people, then you know, hey, I probably shouldn't use this as body language. I think that's really helpful when you're starting any business, is to make sure that you really learn a little bit more about the people that you're serving first, and then you start to build the message. 


So can you share with our listeners, maybe one of your most successful or favorite networking stories that you've had?


In high school, I was a swim teacher, and one day, one of my fellow swim coaches said, "Hey, that lady might ask you to babysit, but I live on her street, don't babysit no matter what." Maybe it was just because we were in the water and I didn't hear her, but I took the job because she did ask me. I eventually started babysitting for her a lot more often and the other coach was never a babysitter again. Then the neighbor next door actually started to use my services as well. Then I was in college, and one of the neighbors asked me, "Hey, would you like to come to a networking event?" I had never been to a networking event and I didn't really know what it was all about, but I knew I had to dress up. I didn't even know what he did, but I knew he worked at a pharmaceutical company that I eventually wanted to go to work for. So I went to the event, and he met me there and said, "Hey, okay, I need you to take your sunglasses off your head, put your full name on your name tag." I walked in, and I kid you not everyone looks like Barbie, and Ken, everyone was gorgeous. I had no idea what was really happening. I was still too young to apply for a real job there, but he invited me to go. When everyone sat down, he was the main speaker, I had no idea! But it was a great experience and I'm glad that I went because it showed me what kind of competition is out there. So when you're going to be looking for a job, you have to find a way to stand out. Even though all these people are so gorgeous you know, they have all the things that you want on the resume, you still have to find a way to stand out. I think that was the most awesome experience that I remembered going to and even when I got my first job out of college, I remember calling him to say, thank you so much for inviting me to that of that because it made such a difference in even the job that I had, they didn't have a position open but because they saw that I was a hard worker, I was interning there. So they didn't have a budget for a full-time worker and they moved money and created a job for me and it was not making pennies, like a lot of my friends at a college. So it was really great experience to go to because then I saw Hey, I'm not just another kid in college, you know, thinking I'm just gonna get out and be rich, right? There's lots of competition that's more qualified than me and so I always kept that experience in my mind thinking, you know, there's always going to be someone better. But if I stand out and I really work hard, it's fine to make a difference.


Regardless of the size of your network, or the community that you're building, it's extremely important to stay in front of those individuals. How do you best nurture your network?


Staying connected through social media, I think is really important. I know, I like to help my clients focus on social media in their businesses. But I think for me, definitely social media, keeping people current. I would like to say this too that I don't usually show my children on social, on my personal Facebook, but they are on there sometime and I do share what we're doing. That's so people still feel like they're getting a glimpse. I think it's still important to know that you can be social on social media without sharing your whole life story. I think that's really important, even for your personal accounts, that you have a goal and a purpose. It's still possible to be totally social without feeling like your privacy is being invaded. So I know, there are lots of people who are afraid to network, but you can network through social media without sharing everything, if you have a plan of Here are a few things that I might not share, but here are things that I'm willing to share and keep people interested in what I'm doing and, you know, commenting on what they're doing and being helpful when people ask for recommendations or for help if you're able to help in any way, definitely do it.


So let's talk about giving advice to anyone that's really looking to grow their network, what do you have to offer?


If they're trying to be active on social just focus on, three key things like industry myths that they can debunk. So if everyone's telling you to do this, this is what you have found to be the goal, the one thing that worked. Hot tips, so like anything that you see that your competitors are doing, they're making, and they're making mistakes, here's a tip for you to do it the right way. Or even really basic things that you may not even think like who could know this, right? Those are very easy to share and be helpful. So that's like the authenticity and the value the people are always talking about. People always, "Be authentic, provide value," but people don't know what kind of value to share. So I'd really stick with like Hot Tips, mistakes people are making that you can help them with, and industry myths debunked so like anything the big competitors are doing that you're they're not addressing, just talk to people and help them with that. If you focus on those, you'll get a nice following.


 If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?


I would tell myself to just enjoy every moment. I really would say that, enjoy every moment, because really, every connection has led to something else. Even if it wasn't a position for me, it was a position for like a family member or a friend. So really, keeping those connections close is really important. I think I would put something that my dad told me, that I still think about all the time is, you know, find one nice thing about someone., and that's always a conversation starter. Even if you can't find anything nice on a surface just look harder, and you'll find one nice thing about someone and that totally changes the perspective. So the to my 20-year-old self, one thing it would be to always find one nice thing about someone and it'll go even further. 


Do you have any final words of advice for our listeners with regard to growing and supporting your network?


I would say the same thing. We've been kind of mentioning this whole podcast, being helpful. The follow up is so key to not only starting relationships but building relationships and really branding who you are as a person. Regardless of what business you choose, I think following up with people is not only courteous but essential to let people know who you really are. When people refer you, others know to contact this person and they will get right back to you. So whether you accept or decline, whatever it may be, that's coming your way, if you respond, and it's something that you're known for, that's saying something great about you.


Connect with Kirby:




The Impact Kind Website: 

Nov 11, 2020

Meet Ruthie:

Ruthie is a US Army veteran, wife, and mother to four young children. She currently runs a small content marketing agency called Defy The Status Quo, where they focus on bringing stellar content to their client’s marketing channels, specifically focusing on B2B Consulting and service companies in industries like supply chain and business development. 

To start, why don't you explain to our listeners, what is authority marketing.

So authority marketing, at least the way that we execute it at DTSQ is a blend of content marketing and online PR. So in a lot of cases, what I typically see across the very wide span of the internet, is that you have people who do PR, they connect with people like you and they want to be on your podcast, they may do speaking engagements, they might also look at more traditional PR media, radio shows, and things. But then perhaps their own content spaces, things like their website, their social media channels don't quite match up with the person that they're presenting in all of these opportunities. So I perceive this as a gap in the marketplace. That's what we do, yes, we look at the different types of expertise showcasing opportunities, which are in abundance right now, because so many of them are virtual, which means location is no longer a barrier for speaking, for example. But also making sure that when somebody is intrigued by you from a podcast interview, or a speaking engagement, when they go look, research, and check out your website, and now they see your videos, and they see that you're really active on LinkedIn, or Instagram or wherever it is, all of those things now match instead of you presenting as a very strong and knowledgeable professional but having limited content yourself. Then the same goes vice versa, you have some people who create wonderful content, and would actually appreciate getting out there and kind of getting in the spotlight and using their personal brand to grow their business. But maybe they're not sure how they're not sure where to start. They don't want to figure it out themselves and so we help from both ends.

Let's talk about increasing our marketability for guest opportunities. How can we do that?

Well, that really boils down to leaning into what makes you unique. So that's something I talk about a lot like on LinkedIn is I talk a lot about authenticity, and especially in the b2b space. We talk about authenticity, but when you look at a lot of the brands, and whether it's b2b products, b2b services, or whatever it is, we're kind of stripped of what we would consider an authentic personality, a personality that a real person would have. That's not to say that big brands can't still embody that type of brand. It's just that too often we dilute our brands down to professional, friendly, and competent. When you look to your left, and you see professional, friendly, and competent, and you look to your right, and you see professional, friendly, and competent, how do you market it? So what that means is leaning into what makes you unique. For us as people, it's our stories, and it's our experiences. As a consultant, I have a vast amount of experiences that I can tap as it relates to my story, but also my authority, and therefore, my marketability. So for example, I've done two podcast interviews that related to my military service, one of them specifically related to my military service, as it's helped me as an entrepreneur. Now, that's not a story that everyone has, but you have stories that I don't have. But if I hadn't been able to talk to that specific podcast host about that story, that I was willing to share in its highs and lows, and therefore provide a great experience for his audience, I wouldn't have had that opportunity on his podcast. So leaning into the different stories, and one of my buzzwords for this year is intersectionalities, which I've picked up from working with some DENI folks on their content. But your intersectionalities, as you know, a woman business owner in my case, a minority business owner, a Veteran Business Owner, a mom, and I've done podcasts about the fact that I'm a mom, and how that's impacted me as an entrepreneur. So there are a lot of ways to kind of lean in and use the niche audiences that are presented with all of the various groups that we can talk to in all of the interviews that we can do to increase your marketability, and provide a better experience, not just for the host, but also for their audience. And that I think is paramount. I love that everything that you said there and, and you taught me a new word here.

Why did you decide to focus on authenticity as your pillar of work?

I had always talked about authenticity, but it was more of something that I had done in a more intuitive fashion because I just kind of the way I am kind of hard on the sleeve and it's pretty empathetic. So I'm really good at reading a crowd or even, you know, just reading people, whether it's virtual or not. I was sitting in a webinar, and it was just chock full of what felt like to me toxic positivity, it was April, and that almost everybody in there in this webinar was talking about how they were gonna, you know, take this COVID energy and just use it to transform their businesses. Everyone was just really hyped up and that wasn't me that day. From the outside looking in, I basically had, you know, nothing to worry about, which I was incredibly grateful for. But at the same time, I had all four of my kids home, my husband was now also home since he was not normally there, just like my children were not normally here which made things completely different and it was very stressful. So these people being super amped up, I was like, "No, this is not for me. I don't know what you guys drink in your coffee this morning, but I didn't get that in my coffee." I went on LinkedIn right after, I recorded a video, I hadn't really done any videos on LinkedIn, not the talking head kind, I just got on there. I didn't do makeup, I didn't do anything extra, Because what I wanted was for people to really understand if they were out there like me, who just was struggling, even if they had no apparent reason that other people could perceive that they were struggling from a mental health perspective. And I just said if you're not okay right now, that's okay, and if you are feeling really good right now, just try and understand that there are people around you who might not be doing okay, so make sure you're doing some extra check-ins, but I just wanted to talk for like five minutes, and created some space where people could be honest about how okay or not they were. The post just took off, it took off, people in my network and outside my network, were just like, "I thought I was the only one everybody just seems so positive, I thought it was just me." That was when something clicked right there because I was intentionally authentic. I was like, "You know what, I'm gonna just show up the way that I am so they can see me and understand that I'm really trying to connect here and just create this space." Since it took off in the response that I got, I realized that we weren't seeing enough of that. That was why it became such a pillar and what I do.

Can you share with our listeners, one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

So I went through a lull where I didn't really do too much, I got a bit zoomed out. Now I've been more intentional with the groups that I've been going to. One of my absolute favorite things that happen in networking groups, my favorite thing is the breakout rooms that some of the hosts have been doing, where you'll get five minutes one to one or five minutes small group talk where they'll give us a topic to discuss or whatever, and we can all just go back and forth and get to know each other a little bit better. Most of the events that I go to a reoccurring, so it gives you an opportunity to build good relationships in a very low-pressure way. Having those smaller groups or even the one to ones is a huge thing for me because it's an element that we're missing in networking right now. Because if you were hosting an event and we were all able to show up, I would be able to walk around the room, and just chit chat with people. But we can't do that anymore so people are doing all these events and one of the big reasons I attended events in person before everything was because I had an opportunity to talk to people. Yes, I wanted to go learn something or, experience something new, but I also got to talk about that and bond with people over that experience. So the breakout room thing is huge, and if anybody's running a networking event where they're not doing that, they should definitely consider adding it into the timeframe that they have for their event.

How do you stay in front of and nurture your network in your community that you've been building?

So LinkedIn is huge for me and I find that out of all social media platforms, I really hit my stride with LinkedIn. I think as soon as LinkedIn, really beefs up their group features, I would probably spend a lot less time on Facebook, it's just Facebook groups, really blow it out of the water. I even have my own small Facebook group, which allows me to stay engaged with a kind of core audience if you will. But I probably spend the most time going back and forth between Facebook groups and LinkedIn for sure. That's because I approach it in a very intentional way because when I see the same people commenting and reacting, and engaging with my posts. Maybe I don't know why they're doing it, but it's definitely a basis for conversation. Just today, I had a conversation with somebody, we had met in person at an event and we had kind of kept the relationship going, but obviously, I'm seeing that person in a while. I was like, "Hey, I noticed you were really showing the support of my post, and I really appreciate it, can we schedule a call, so I can see how I might be able to help you?" If the person is interacting and engaging in my content, I think it's pretty hard to turn down that type of conversation. Not every conversations like a client conversation and so that's the other thing I think that a lot of people miss in terms of social media, networking, and social media marketing is not every person you talk to as a client. But when you go in thinking relationship first, you will nurture those relationships. You never know what type of fruit those relationships will bear, but it's always something. It may or may not be tomorrow, but it's always something when you're able to nurture those relationships along in an intentional way.

What advice would you offer the business professional who's really looking to grow their network?

I would say hands down right now is to find those really good events, the virtual ones to attend and network. If you're practiced at speaking, a lot of those events are looking for speakers. So it's a great opportunity to attend an event and kind of get a feel for it. Then if you develop an idea that you can talk to the event organizer about then pitch that idea, and then you put yourself in a position of authority there. Also attending new events and getting out of your comfort zone of seeing the same faces in that zoom checkerboard there will do so much to grow your network. Then because we're all connecting on social media, now, instead of handing out business cards anyway, it gives you that opportunity to nurture them on whatever social media channel that you're on. One of the big reasons I love events is that they are typically organized by one person or two people, or maybe a company is a driving force behind it. Event organizers, and then podcast hosts like yourself, I consider them power nodes in my network because the more I get to know them, the more I know how I can offer to help them out whether it's recommending their event, recommending podcast, or sharing their content. The more they get to know me, they may come to realize that there are people in their network who are a good fit. If they continue to get to know me then they may be willing to connect me with those people.

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

Hmm, that is a hard one. Only because my 20-year-old self was still in the army. At that time, I thought I was gonna retire from the army do like 20 or 30 years, I wanted to be the first woman Sergeant Major of the Army. That's where I was aiming, there is no higher enlisted position in terms of being up there. Just from professional development, and probably even some personal development, I would tell 20 year old me to care a lot less about how I was, quote, unquote, supposed to be, and who I was, quote, unquote, supposed to be. Really examining my actions and being like, "Was this an authentic move, or did I decide to do this because I thought something about somebody else's perception of me?" That has brought me a lot of self-awareness, but also a lot of happiness. I've gotten to know me so much better and I'm grateful that it happened now versus never. I'm getting to know me so well, and I like what I'm finding. I think that that is important to be happy in your own skin. 20 year old me was probably wrapped up and concerned with how she was perceived.

Do you have any final word or advice for our listeners with regard to growing and supporting your network?

Ask on a consistent basis. Somebody asked me earlier, what was one of the big reasons I've been able to continue doing speaking events and podcast interviews. They're like, I feel like you're posting about something like every other day that you've done. Well, when people ask me what they can do for me or how they can support me, I let them know. I'd reach out to say that I'm just still on the lookout for any types of speaking opportunities, or opportunity to share my story and experiences with people to help them and you know, start more educated conversations around the variety of topics that I talk about. Because I keep saying it, when people see things when they're scrolling on LinkedIn or Facebook, and they see opportunities pop up, I am one of the first people that they tag. A PR friend of mine tags me on stuff. She tagged me on something the other day that is going to result in me interviewing with the person whose posts she tagged me on. But I got to other people that I'm going to be doing interviews with because she tagged me once. If I had never asked, though she wouldn't have known that it was something I was truly interested in doing. So it's something that I say, and I ask consistently, I mentioned it consistently. So now I've got eyes where I normally wouldn't have them and that's helped me so much. 

Connect with Ruthie:



Nov 9, 2020

Meet Chat:


Chad is a Believer, Husband, Father of two teenagers, and lifelong rebel and rule-breaker. He empowers sales professionals to become the best version of themselves by focusing on their mindset, skillset, and toolkit. Before launching and, Chad believed that sales were fundamentally “a numbers” game. Although he still believes frequency matters, he is now convinced that Revenue = Frequency X Competency. Chad is passionate about creating systems that empower people from all walks of life and these days you’ll find him hosting the AI for Sales Webinar and Podcast on The Sales Experts Channel and C-Suite Radio.


Let's talk about sales a little bit, specifically AI for sales. What is it and how does it help or hurt that relationship when it comes to conducting business?


Yeah, it's an accelerator. So AI for sales stands for artificial intelligence. I, in fact, wrote the book called AI For Sales, How Artificial Intelligence is Changing Sales. I put that out at the end of 2019 and there have already been more than 5000 copies sold. So it's a hot topic, as you know, as people use their Alexa device to order food and groceries. Then all kinds of AI are coming out. I think a lot of people don't realize they're using AI in a lot of cases, but it's becoming more and more prevalent. So it can help or hurt your relationships, I'll give you an example: If you use an AI bot, let's say to connect with people on LinkedIn and social media if you program that bot to be extremely cheesy, non-heartfelt, and all you care about is yourself and let's say you move from five or six requests a day to connect with people up to 50 a day. Well, now you're at 10x the amount of insincerity. Whereas if you're someone like Nick Kabuto, who I've partnered with, on the marketing side, he sends out a message that starts with a clapping emoji and it says, "Hey, I've looked at your profile, you look like a really interesting person. I'd love to truly and sincerely get to know you." And that's it. Then when he gets a reply, he'll go in on his LinkedIn, and he'll do a video and go, "Hey, I'm Nick, I'm sitting at the fire pit," or, "I'm up in the mountains skiing," or whatever it is he's doing, he'll reply back. So it can accelerate trust and social capital, or it can completely rip it apart. You just have to be careful and learn from other people who use the technology in an effective and efficient way.


What are some ways that you use AI to connect more deeply with others?


Well, revenue equals frequency times competency is what a mentor of mine taught me 20 years ago, Skip Miller, who's been training sales and sales leaders for so long. So the frequency part is easy: Do More. More emails, more voicemails, more calls, etc. The competency part takes a while. So for me early in my sales career 25 years ago, I didn't have the competency yet. I'd never been through any sales training and so AI can accelerate the pace at which you connect with people through all the different channels. It's important that as you go, that you're investing an equal amount of time in understanding what it is you're saying and how you're connecting with people. So I think what happens is that AI puts more stress on the human to human relationship, then has typically been there from a sales capacity perspective. So interesting times that we're entering in today's day and age.


So the automated connections on LinkedIn, at least the ones that I can tell, I find really annoying. But what you're saying really is you have to have a strong message that's extremely personal, or at least looks like it.


Big time. It's at the end of the day, whether I physically type a message one to one, or I do one too many, it's still a string of zeros and ones, right? It's an email, it's a LinkedIn connection request, it's a LinkedIn follow up. If you have a high EQ (emotional intelligence), I think EQ starts to beat IQ in today's day and age. Hmm. So would you rather have someone with high EQ write the message or someone fresh out of college that's never really had experience communicating on a b2b type of platform? We're finding it's better to leverage someone who has the EQ piece of the equation to help you write the email message, the social connection. And where it's going is there are tools like codebreaker technologies, which is they have a thing called bank code. They can log into your LinkedIn account, click a button, and in under three seconds, tell you what your DNA makeup is and what your communication and buying style is. Are you very action-oriented, are you knowledge, are you blueprint? There's a different letter stand for each different word in the end what we're talking about. So imagine a world where you send an email to a list of people and depending on that list, it'll change the message based on who the buyer is, and their buyer personality type. It'd be very hard for humans to actually get their arms around the different variations of people where AI can actually start to do those human to human connections in a much better way at scale.


What's the vision for your life heading into the future?


Yeah, um, you know, the first I feel like I'm on hole nine on the golf course. So the good news is, I've got another nine to go. , and the great news is the first nine were amazing! So now it's, what do you do next and how do you impact the greatest number of people? My grandparents were big in the church, and they did a lot of one on one meetings with people and they would give, give, give, all the way up to the end, and I so respected and appreciated that. I've been given the gift of running a business and motivating and leading very large teams. So what came to me over the course of the last just couple of months, we're gonna write a book called God-Centered Selling, and then God-Centered Company, and God-Centered Leadership. It's not a book on how to sell, and it's not a book on necessarily how to be a good follower of God. It's how do you put those two things together, and make ethical, good person decisions when it comes to all aspects. So we want to put the book together first, and then hold executive retreats at a mountain house. We want to start bringing ethics and spirituality into companies where traditionally, I feel like until the year 2020, that was kind of a faux pas. Nowadays that's what we're working on, how to be good people and influence others in a positive way.


Can you share with our listeners, one of your favorite networking experiences that you've had?


Yeah, you know, when we talk about leveraging social outreach and social automation, that's how we got connected. I have a virtual assistant that reaches out to about, I actually had to peel it back because I was reaching out to 50 people a day at first. About 50% of everyone I reached out to said, "Yeah, your podcast looked good," or, "You look like a good guest." So, you know, typically, I invite people to be on my show called AI For Sales and I was getting six to eight people a week who wanted to be on the show. So we're recorded all the way through January now. So, Nick, my marketer said, "You know, you're good at talking to people, why don't you just reach out to podcast hosts and, and have a conversation?" So I literally just started this effort, maybe six weeks ago, and I've already been on at least two dozen different podcasts. So talk about a way to network!


So let's talk about nurturing your network. It's definitely important to maintain connections and doing that from an AI perspective versus the manual process,  how do you stay in front of and best nurture your community?


Yeah, that's, that's always been important to me and it's been one of my strengths. So I'll have connections from five companies ago, and I'll still stay in touch with them. Before this pandemic hit, I was on the road quite a bit, at least one week a month, if not, sometimes two. One of the practices that I'll use is if I'm on a bus, or a train going from place to place or an airplane, airplanes a little harder make a phone call, but you get my drift. In the Avis rent a car, for example, I'll scroll through the phone, and I'll go A down, and then sometimes I'll go Z up. This is the manual approach and I'll just click, click, click, and I'll go, "I haven't talked to Stephen a long time," and I'll just call him to leave a message. I think a lot of people don't necessarily proactively reach out to their network unless they need something. I don't like to be that guy, I like to keep tabs on what people are doing and stay in touch. From an automation perspective, our company has been primarily focused on top of funnel demand gen for almost three years. We're just starting to get some customers who say, "Hey, you know, what, you've automated email and phone and social, but how can you help us automate more of our client success function, especially for our high velocity, or high volume, low yielding customers?" Right, so if you think 80-20 rule, 80%, your customers make up 20% of your revenue, and vice versa. So how do you handle the bottom 80? Well, imagine if you could set it up and have an automated voicemail drop 90 days before renewal, you could you can automate that. Where it gets really interesting is you can actually do videos in an automated fashion. So imagine a video art video or loom are the two big ones, and you record 90% of it the same across customers. So let's say it's a renewal of this one product, and all they bought is that one product, yet your company offers six products. So you could send out an email in an automated fashion and then you could drop in their name at the beginning or even a company name. You can almost merge video segments into this video clip. We've seen b2c companies do it, and we're starting to dabble in bringing that over into the b2b world.


What advice would you offer the business professionals looking to grow their network?


LinkedIn is huge, but I would say it depends. There's a woman named Katie, who spoke at the event I mentioned in Winter Park two weeks ago, she talked about Instagram, and she helps mothers and women who have kids and work at home to allow them to work fewer hours, and then make between six and seven figures. So she showed us how to do a proper Instagram post, where she literally walked around the living room, she recorded herself in a selfie-and Instagram was able to chunk it down into a 15-second bite. Then she typed over the top of it the speech to text. She did all this in under 10 minutes, and I was like, wow, just the way you do the message, the network. That's available on LinkedIn, they have a new thing called stories, or Instagram has their approach. Obviously, Facebook has a different set of followers, but use social tools and understand who you are as a person. Don't be afraid to be authentic and vulnerable, you have to dig deep inside to figure out where your weak points are, and then don't be afraid to expose them because guess what? Everybody in the world is not perfect. So be vulnerable, be authentic, and use the platforms to get your message out.


If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?


I would have hired a coach earlier because it took me until about a year and a half ago to realize that a coach was essential. It was when I was driving around a racetrack in a Ferrari in Southern California and there was a coach, or a professional driver in the front seat, who was speaking in my ear Tell me when to speed up when to shift. I was like wait a second! If you know how to drive a car, think of the types of people that could help you with your finances, or how to grow, or how to do marketing or, anything you can even think of you can bring someone in that's an expert in that field. So now I have nine coaches a year and a half after I did that Ferrari racetrack drive.


Do you have any final word or advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?


Well, I would say to give an offer. So what I would say the offer to you, if you're listening to this podcast, and someone said they need to reach out to more people, I really feel compelled to help entrepreneurs and solopreneurs make it through these hard times. Traditionally, we work with $7,000 to $10,000 a month customers, and with our social tool, it's $500 a month. So it's much more attainable for me and you and anyone. The offer would be a three-month trial program. It's $2000, $500 setup, $500 a month, and if I don't get you 100 replies from people that you want to be interacting with, then you get all your money back because I've just seen it work. So if you want to get on podcasts, perfect, we have a way we can help you get your word out and get on podcasts. If you want to get new customers and they are a certain target market, you build a report and LinkedIn, you build a message, you click the Go button, set it and forget it and you get a lot of inbound leads. That’s really me giving back to the community and that would be my offer to anybody.


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Nov 4, 2020

Meet Paul: 

Paul is the CEO and president of Griffin living a company that develops and operates Senior Living communities. Paul's career has been marked with awards, including habitat for humanity's builder of the year, the building industry associations builder of the year, the National Association of homebuilders, and the Pacific Coast builders conference for design. Paul has overseen a wide variety of real estate projects amassing a career total of over $4.5 billion.

Can you share a little bit about what your passion is and how it drives your success?

So for business, I've found through my career that individuals in business approach it in different ways. I think there is a very important aspect of business, which is, what do I really think beyond the pro formas, beyond the budgets, the market studies, and the information that we can get to make a decision about whether we're buying into a company, or in our case investing in a project that's being developed. I think the part of a passion that is really using all of the information through every source that I have into my conscious of my subconscious and saying, “I don't want to make just emotional decisions, but what's the full scope of everything that I know, to this point?” Then I ask how does that match with the pro forma, and the project opportunity that's been put in front of me? I think that if you take our passions and deeper understandings, and you pair them together with the facts that are in front of us, they will help us with the sensitivity analysis. That’s because no business, or venture ever finishes out with exactly the same cost and the same income and the same timing that you expect. There'll be problems that come up in between that you have to solve and there'll be opportunities that present themselves that you need to take advantage of.  I think all of that and pulling together, you know, the rational part of us and the emotional part together and analyzing business every day. I think it’s important to pull together the rational part of us, and the emotional part of us to analyze business every day. I think that the passion that I have, is more, an acknowledgment that I like to use all of the information I have and all of the experience I have to in our case, look at development ventures. 

Why is it important to be a servant leader in both business and networking situations?

When we think about effective management in business in the 20th century, we had a great understanding of the efficiency of the military model since we had just been through multiple wars. This type of leadership was similar to the military as in the thinking was done at the top and the people at the bottom followed orders. That was the way that American business really was approached all the way through the 1980s. In my mind, people that were born of my era and later who came of age in the 1980s started thinking that there are more opportunities, there are better ways we saw people around us at work, and there are better ways to get them motivated, wherever they are in business. I think that the way that business was approached successfully in companies, you know, we've seen turn on turn around backward from the top-down approach. Now businesses are much better run by starting at the lowest level that you can make the best decision with the most information. Then from the top, working with every level in a company to really understand what the goals and issues are to get a commonality of what we're trying to accomplish in a longer plan and a shorter plan. Then let the person at the lowest level tell us how they would think they can best solve the problems for today which allows them to be more passionate because they’re involved in picking the solution. They also get fulfillment when they solve whatever problems in front of them that day at the level they're at, and they're participating more so businesses are more effective. For instance, in real estate developments, we go into a community and we start talking about this development and in our masterplan community days. There’s a conversation that has to have with the community so we can feel good about where we were taking their community in our development so they would be comfortable, and so we would understand some of their worries and then work with the community so that they trust that we are working on their problems and concerns. It’s also important to know what good can come out of a community and getting to know them and work with them.  I think servant leadership is really the core of business because the methodology of running a business is really seeing what other people need, whether it be an employee, a customer, or a constituent. 

So can you share with our listeners, one of your favorite stories or experiences that you've had around networking?

When you start to talk about networking, there's always a little bit of social anxiety when you walk in and don't know anybody. I have always found that taking a deep breath and just realizing it's just your mind gearing up to have conversations that are giving you anxiety. Then start to look at people in the room, not as a room full of people, but individuals. Then look at each person and say, I wonder about that person, I wonder what they're doing here, I wonder who they are, I wonder where they’re from, and go over an interview in your head with them. Just start to ask questions because people like to talk about themselves and the anxiety of networking always falls. I think that's the most basic part of social networking that has never changed. With the advent of our internet and electronic networking, which is so much more efficient, and we can enjoy even more networking, but again, the root of it still has to be the same. In the case of business, one of the business networking groups that I've always been involved with is Young Presidents Organization which is a bunch of guys that are presidents of their companies and the idea of YPO is presidents being able to talk to each other, network and understand each other and their issues. What I really learned in my experience with those guys, when showing up with a bunch of other presidents of companies was that when people talk about how great they are, our natural inclination is to put a barrier up. None of us really like that sort of bragging and people come in since it puts us off a bit and we’d rather have a conversation to get to know people. So from YPO, I learned in networking not to put my resume in front of people and instead let them ask or let them say, “Oh, you're in real estate, I know somebody would you like to meet,” and use that as an introduction as opposed to pushing myself in networking situations which I don’t like. 

It sounds like you have a pretty extensive network, how do you nurture your network in your community? 

I tried just to tell people you know about myself and I'd like to do business with you, but it sounds like bragging, and it is kind of bragging.  I wish I could tell you I always did it right, but a smart person looks at this and says, “I didn’t do that very well, that doesn't work,” and they learn from their mistakes. So my advice is to let people learn about you, let people be interested in you, and the results will come out much better. I think it’s important to just understand what kind of social network we’re talking about. Ask questions such as, Is it social? Is it about business? what segment of business? Then you need to appropriately relate to those networks without overburdening people. 

Any final word of advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network? 

Be interested in individual people rather than the specific network that you are involved with. I think we will always find that we're more successful however we're introduced to people in whichever network we are apart of. Look around for where the conversations are happening in each part of your life and then look to join the conversation, those are the networks, and you have to put energy in, in order to even be involved in the conversation. When you're invited into the conversation, then jump into looking at the individuals that we're thinking of and talking to, because they are human beings and you know, they have a history of where they've come in their life, they had parents they know they have spouses, possibly children, grandparents, you know? I have found that I've made much better project progress myself when I approach it that way.

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Nov 2, 2020

Meet Corey 

Let's face it in the 21st century, everything rises and falls on leadership in our ability to motivate and inspire others to peak performance. Corey brings a one of a kind approach to driving employee engagement and customer relationships to unheard of levels. Corey's unique program will not only get your organization focused and fired up, but he will generate amazing levels of excitement, optimism, and enthusiasm throughout your company that will last for years to come.

So what is the fastest way to build trust based on relationships with other people?

The big thing that most people are afraid to do today is to actually trust other people. That's a great question you asked me because the thing about it is Lori, you're not going to trust me until I show you that I trust you first. We're all built with mirror neurons and mirror reactions so when I come up to you, and I show you that, hey, you know what, I trust you not just as a worker, not just as a family member, but as a fellow human being, I'm doing two things. Number one is I'm giving you a space where you can feel comfortable and appreciated. Then number two, what I'm doing is I'm building my own confidence, because what I'm saying is that you know what, Lori, if you're one of my employees, and I give you a really important task, and I trust you to complete it, and I don't get my fingers all involved in it, and I don't mess with your agenda. What I'm also saying is that I trust myself so that if you do happen to screw it up, then I know that I can fix it. When you do that, what you're doing is you're actually creating a space for people to feel trust. Trust isn't something that you lend to somebody, trust is an environment that you create. You can walk through life in one of two ways. You can say, you know what, people are gonna rip me off, people are looking to take advantage of me. Or you can say, you know, I believe that everyone is my friend. And if people don't perform the way I think they should, or if people don't act the way I should, I need to step into their space and feel what it is like, and feels like to be them.

How can the Successful Thinker help us build lasting relationships with our families, co-workers, and customers?

So the Successful Thinker is a story that I wrote, based on what I was seeing in the corporations that I work with. As a pharmacist, I have been doing this for 30 years working in a small pharmacy inside of large buildings like Walmart, and Kmart. What you would see is that the pressures from above from the company would grow and grow and grow. We want you to do more and more and more, and we want to give you fewer resources, fewer people, less authority, and so what would happen is that People literally would get sick with stress within these organizations. In fact, in 2008, I wanted to jump off a bridge, it was so stressful. What happened on this night in 2008, where I didn't care if I lived or died, I just happened to stumble into my son's room at about 2 am. He's five years old, and I just didn't know what to do because I didn't want to live anymore. Then I had a coming to Jesus moment where I said, “Do you really want this beautiful five year old to grow up without a father over some stupid job?” So I recognized if I was going to fix that problem, what I had to do was figure out not how to do more with less, but learn how to do more by becoming more. So how do you become more?  The answer to that is you grow your influence, you expand what you're able to do through using other people. What I found was that for everything I hated to do, and everything that I sucked at, there was somebody that loved to do it and was great at it. So I just started lending authority to other people. What I found was that when you lend authority to other people, and you trust them, all of a sudden, you exponentially grow your impact, you exponentially grow your influence, and you become much bigger than just yourself.  I can only do one, two, maybe three things well, I can wait on customers and make them feel super important, I can grow and empower employees, and I can network with the major players like the doctors and nurses in my pharmacy market. However, I can't write a schedule to save my soul and I can't negotiate with insurances.  So I started giving this to people, and what I found was that when I started doing that, they started responding in amazing ways. So what we did with a successful thinker is we wanted to take that and then give this recipe to other people so they could get the results that I got. In the Successful Thinker we came up with seven simple things that you can do anyone could do to make their life impactful, important, and survivable and what we did is we wrote into this story the seven laws of 21st-century leadership, and those seven laws anyone can put into place right now today, and become successful and become fulfilled.

As you said, it's empowering, and a fantastic leadership trait, to just let your team know that you appreciate them and their hard work and efforts are definitely contributing to the bigger picture in the success of everything. 

Right, because as leaders, oftentimes, unfortunately, because it's such a stressful position, we make it about us. How am I going to achieve all my goals? Well, once you recognize it, as soon as you make anything about you, and no one else, that's a recipe for disaster. But when you look at your team, and you say, you know what, we're in this together, I need your help, people will respond and they'll respond bigger than you could possibly ever imagine. So here's for instance, most people think that passing along the direction is the same thing as leadership. The main character in our books, Cynthia is a district manager who's basically starting out the book with a really low employee satisfaction rate, and her boss is thinking about firing her. Instead what he does is he hooked her up with a mentor in hopes that he's giving her a chance to raise that employee approval rating.  But Cynthia thinks that, like I said, passing along direction is the same thing as leadership, but it’s not. When all you do is give direction and orders, you’re only creating burnout and fear within your employees. But if you look at your team, and you say, “Guess what, guys, we've been given a goal that we have to accomplish. What do you think are the best possible solutions for us to make that happen as a team?”  All of a sudden people start inputting, people start sharing their ideas, people start sharing their advice and people start brainstorming because people will always support whatever they co-create. But if I tell you what you're going to do, and I tell you by when you need to do it, you develop an instant resistance to that. 

Can you share with our listeners, one of your favorite networking experiences that you've had?

So when I got out of pharmacy school, I was 23 years old, and quite frankly, I was extremely cocky, I was way overconfident and I really wanted to just hit the world like a battering ram. So I went to work my very first day and they said, “You know what, we're really busy here, we don't have time to train you, so you just counsel customers.” So I stood there for the first day and just told customers things like, “take this medicine with food,” or,  “take this on an empty stomach.” On the walk home, I recognized that if I had to do that for 45 years, I just didn't think I could take it. I was thinking maybe I should go back to school, but then I had an idea and I said, What if I took a different approach to create a competitive advantage and had fun at work?” I started being really social with people that would come into the pharmacy, asking them about themselves, or saying something like, “Hey I really like your shirt where did you get it?” Then what I found was that people started calling the pharmacy asking for me if they had a medicine question. We weren't talking about medicine at all at the window when they were there to pick it up because they had been at the doctor's office forever, and I quite frankly found medicine boring.  So then I started asking them better and better questions, like asking them what’s made them so successful, or if it looks like they’ve had a down day I’d ask them what’s got them down and then we would talk and I might share a solution. All of a sudden, what I started recognizing is that there are similarities between people who are successful, and what they do, and vice-versa. I also noticed that everyone goes through problems, everyone goes through trials and tribulations and there are similarities between ways to make things better. What I wanted to do was take it from the people who were killing it and give it to the people who are getting killed. So I started what we would have called today, relationship marketing back in 1990 when I first got out of pharmacy school, and what I recognized is that every one of us is a human being and want to be treated as such. All too often we go into networking situations, networking events, and we treat people like a client when they aren’t a client until they say they’d like to be a client. That's why you'll never hear me refer to a pharmacy patient as a patient, you will hear me call them a customer because the customer is someone who's walking into your store with the ability to try out your service and they don't become a patient until they say they become a patient. What I'm finding is that if you can treat each and every person with those seven laws of 21st-century leadership,  that's what's real networking in my opinion. 

As you continue to grow and expand your network, how do you stay in front of and best nurture these relationships?

I actually do two things, I use some of the systems that are what we call CRM systems, where you can actually put people's names and information into your system and keep track of them on a database and actually reach out to them. But I also do something that few people want to do today where I use a notebook and a piece of paper and I make notes about people. I write things that people are interested in,  or what they think is important in life, and if I see an opportunity, I reach out. I think one of the things that have happened in our society is we get overly impressed with the idea that it's possible to act like a weirdo, it's possible to stand out by being I don't want to say too friendly. If you say to somebody, “you know what, that's a really cool shirt, man, where did you get it?” Sometimes people are afraid that that's being too forward or too aggressive. But what I find is that if you think it's a cool shirt, and you're just coming from a genuine space of man, that's a cool shirt, I find that it's a worthwhile thing to say that I don't think has ever backfired on me in my life. Obviously, you need to be appropriate, obviously, you need to make sure that the things you're doing and the things that you're complimenting people on or the things that you may be sending people are actually from a genuine space of concern. Part of my bio is I'm a Go-Giver Coach and the Go-Giver is a business book written by Bob Burg and John David Mann. One of the things that they talked about was losing the scorekeeping mentality and just be a really kind person, and just be somebody who's really genuine and affords people a space to where they want to do business with you. What you'll find is that people will always do business with people they know, like, and trust. 

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of, less of, or differently with regards to your professional career?

One of the things I didn't take into account was that all of a sudden before you know it, you're in your 50s. And you may not have the health or the opportunities that you do in your 20s. So if I could give myself advice, it would be to save more money, focus more on your health, focus on developing those relationships earlier, and strengthen those relationships that give yourself an opportunity. If I could sum all of that up into one sentence, Brian Tracy, who's written 50 or 60 books, on leadership and personal development and so forth, said this: “the business of life is to give yourself options.” So I would offer to your audience that whatever they do, they should always be looking down the road at their next career, their next situation, making sure that they're constantly developing their skills, especially their leadership and people skills because even in 2020, even with everything that's going on, people skills are the one set of skills that has not gone away in terms of opportunity.

Do you have any final words of advice for our listeners with regard to growing and supporting your network?

Yes, I really think that one of the things you want to do is rethink the way you use your life in terms of, we've made a lot of shortcuts in this world with social media and with texting, and with voicemail, and I just want to really offer you an opportunity that exists now that didn't really exist 20 or 25 years ago. Nowadays, we really need people who specialize in emotional intelligence and specialize in seeing people as full people. I believe that it's a real opportunity because so many people have lost a lot of their interpersonal skills because of social media. So it's an opportunity for you to read books like The Go-Giver, or The Successful Thinker and say, “You know what, maybe I really need to recognize that if I want the people in my life, to know how important they are to me, I have to treat them that way.” John C. Maxwell who has written a ton of leadership books said it this way where he said, “You don't have to have a lot of money to create an amazing event for someone else. What you have to do is pay attention and really focus on that person when you're in the room with them and be all there and save everything else for later because everything else is away.”

Connect with Corey:

Corey’s Website: 

Reach out by clicking “Contact Me” in the “About Me” tab to ask Corey a leadership question. 

Download a free copy of Corey’s book, The Successful Thinker

Oct 28, 2020

Meet David Belman: 

David is a second generation home builder, a real estate broker realtor. He served as past president of the Metropolitan Builders Association and past president of the Wisconsin Builders Association, as well as a director at the National Association of homebuilders. David has won numerous industry awards, including the 2020 Emerging Leader Waukesha County, 2017 Waukesha Freeman Citizen of the Year and his firm has won the Top Choice Award for Best Home Builder for six years in a row.

I keep hearing about Operation Finally Home, could you tell us a bit about it?

Sure, I basically was at a builder Show in Las Vegas of all places. One of my suppliers offered to take me to a concert which was a benefit concert for veterans and I learned about a veteran that lost his legs in the war. His vehicle ran over an IED and his legs were crushed inside the vehicle and he had to pull his mangled legs from the wreckage. The vehicle was on fire, and the ammunition inside the vehicle was gonna blow up the whole vehicle so he used mangled legs to put the fire out which saved his whole battalion. He had just enough strength to pull himself out of the vehicle before he passed out and of course, he had to have his legs amputated. This is a guy who was going to serve his entire life in the military and that was taken away from them. So you've got a guy that's 30 or whatever that now is handicapped, has no career option at this point, dealing with depression, all sorts of things. This organization came along, found him and gave him a brand new, completely free home which totally changed his life. I just thought that was the most incredible thing. He was there at the event and I got to meet them. I was like, "man, I want to be a part of this, I want to be able to do this kind of thing." So I got involved and brought it to Wisconsin almost seven years ago. I was the first builder to commit to doing one here in Wisconsin, and I've done six homes already and I'm planning on doing my seventh one. It's been super gratifying and these are all great people. I never realized how difficult it is for veterans to return back, especially if they have injuries so this is one way to really help in a big way and make a big difference.

What new things are you working on right now?

I'm actually in the process of writing a book all about leadership which will come out into February. So it's leadership growth hacks for developing professionals and anyone that wants to improve their leadership skills. I've held a lot of leadership positions over the years and I've been compiling ideas and notes which I'm excited to get out there and share with people some of the tips that I've created and lessons that I've learned over the years.

Obviously Young Guns is something major on the horizon as well, do you want to talk about that a little bit?

Young guns is something that was an opportunity that was given, partly because of the operation Finally Home stuff. I had met Paul Neuberger who had seen some of the things I was doing, and we had a conversation because they do some charitable work. I was explaining how our charity works and then then his insurance company did some things for our cause. Later he reached out to me a couple months later and said, "Hey, I've got this really big idea and I would like you to be a part of it." The idea was to put on a really killer business development conference and he wanted me to speak. So we had some conversations, and it evolved into the Young Guns brand which we became business partners for along with Andy Wines. It went from being a conference to now, we've got an online show, we have quarterly events and some other things in the works. We have our first summit November 12th and we have 2 really great keynote speakers. The first speaker is Ryan Campbell who was the youngest gentleman to fly around the world. Unfortunately, after that completed he was flying and he actually crashed on a takeoff and he became paralyzed. He worked very hard in rehab, and he actually willed himself to be able to walk again. So that's an amazing and inspirational story that we can't wait to have him share. Then we have Brandy Holloway who has another interesting story where she created own business which in her words flamed out. She basically rose from the ashes which is her motto of being a Phoenix. We have some panels that we will be doing as well including one that's talking about businesses that are crushing it during COVID which will be talking about different models and things that people are doing that are succeeding right now, when a lot of companies are having a hard time. 

Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had? 

Yeah, I think I think my best one ties in with my Operation Finally Home Story at the conference in Vegas. For the first decade of my career I was in sales, and I sold a lot of homes, but I didn't really do a lot of networking. I started to get more involved in organizations especially when I went to that builder show out of state I decided to meet people and learn as much as I can. That was one of those opportunities where it wasn't something I would normally do is kind of outside of my comfort zone. I went and did it and it's completely changed my life. They always say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but not this. This definitely came back and it was a good thing. I think that's probably my most successful networking story because it's created so many new friendships, new opportunities, and connections not only locally here, but even around the country. It's great to have those connections and those friends that you can work together on a common goal and help each other out. 

How do you stay in front of and best nurture relationships in your network?

I think it's a combination of using the tools that are out there like social media platforms and sharing what you're doing to let your network know what you're involved in and what you're working on. People like to do business with people they know, like, and trust so letting them know who you are, and being there for them is important. I also think it's important still to have that in person connection, and they kind of go hand in hand. Maybe there's somebody you're intrigued by because of what they're posting or their content. I encourage people to reach out to those folks and try to get to know them a little bit. Sometimes it works the other way where you meet somebody in person, connect online, learn more about them online, and grow the relationship that way. So I see it as a 2 way street. 

Do you find more value in digital networking or traditional networking?

I guess I'm a little old school that I still like face to face. My closest connections are people that I've actually met so I think at the end of the day I still prefer that. However, you definitely have to be able to supplement that with social media and you should be connecting on social media with everybody that you come across and work with. But there's just nothing quite like looking someone in the eye and shaking your hand and getting to know him, or having a common experience with them. That creates a bond that's stronger than anything you can do on social media. 

If you could go back to your 20 year old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of, less of, or differently with regards to your professional career?

When I did the Young Guns speech, I talked a little bit about this and I think this is when my career really changed. I always worked hard, I was putting a lot of hours, but didn't seem like I was going the direction I wanted to. I met a speaker at an event that I was at, and he talked about his legacy and it really got me thinking. He said, "You've got to think about your legacy." I took it to the next step and I said, "what would somebody say about me when I'm gone?" I thought about it and didn't know if I liked the answer at the time which really made me shift my thinking about a bigger picture. When I started to use that mindset, I started making decisions very differently. That's kind of how I started getting involved with Operation Finally Home and how I started giving back into the industry. Now I'm changing people's lives and building a roof over their head which is the largest investment they're gonna make in their life. It took our higher level of importance and it allowed me to see more opportunities that I didn't see before. It really changed my perspective from just saying, "do this" or "do that" to instead looking at the bigger picture and understanding that you only get one life. So do what you want to do and don't be afraid to try something or do something.

Who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with?

I've got to think big and it would be really cool to meet somebody like a Tony Robbins, or a Simon Sinek. I think those guys are just really deep, interesting people and I think given this day and age there's definitely a way I could do that. I look at some of the stuff we're doing with Young Guns, and maybe that'll grow and give us that opportunity to work with one of those folks. There's always a way to meet somebody and I've had some kind of cool opportunities. I actually sat in the room with Paul Ryan once and ran a meeting when he was speaker of the house. So you never know who you will connect with and what's going to happen. The only way to make it happen is to be intentional and go for it!

Do you have any final word or advice off for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

Always be learning is a big one. As far as growing your network, always be willing to put yourself out there and ask questions. Also be willing to give and be willing to help others first so when you do need something it becomes a lot easier to ask. 

Connect with David:



Sign up for the Young Guns Fall Summit: 


Oct 26, 2020

Meet Cierra Lueck:

You know how so many Facebook groups are spammy, dead, or only the admin posts get high engagement. All that changes, when Cierra steps in with the C5 strategy. She helps business coaches build a highly engaged Facebook group community where people are excited to be sold to, and refer others by turning their brand into a movement. The C5 strategy: To transform businesses to transform lives.

How can we use the algorithm to market our business better on Facebook?

So the biggest thing to keep in mind with the algorithm is that it is an absolute beast. If you think about Google search and how you type something into the search field, and then it auto populates what's going to be typed next, and it gives you all these suggestions and half the time it's right. Facebook is right on the tails of the Google algorithm. With the Facebook algorithm, anything that you put in terms of what you're wording in your post or any kind of images, it actually has a smart capability where it knows what the images are. If your words do not line up with the images that you're posting, that's that's just one thing to keep in mind. A lot of people want to post images because of Instagram or other social platforms where images help boost it, but that can actually be a detriment when it comes to Facebook if the image has nothing to do with the information that you're sharing. So on Facebook, you want to make sure that you are very targeted and very direct with the kind of words that you're using so that you can actually reach your audience better.

How do you use Facebook for business sales? 

Facebook ads are probably some of the most strategically placed out there. But that's only one area that you can actually utilize on Facebook to market your business. So when you're a new business owner going out into the market, trying to do lead gen, if you immediately jump to ads, but you haven't actually validated the messaging that you're putting out and you haven't actually validated the offer that you have with your market and you immediately jump to ads, you're going to end up spending a lot more in ad spend, than if you will validate that organically. Through organic marketing obviously, there's your personal profile and there's a lot of people who are in the conundrum of, "should I use one or should I use the other?" So they're thinking should I use my profile for business if I have a bunch of friends and family? Obviously if you're going to only keep it friends and family, the answer is no. But at the same time if you don't announce what you're doing in your business, how will anyone ever know to refer anybody to you so you definitely can utilize your Facebook profile. There's also Facebook pages which you can use to run ads or utilize organically. On your Facebook page, you can share information with your audience on there. The way that you would want to do that is you want to provide, either news or kind of entertaining information based around what your offer is so that people have a reason to come back and look at your page. 

Let's dive into groups a little bit more, it sounds like you've got some really strong strategies around how to use Facebook groups for business.

The idea is that there are five Facebook group types for businesses that are actually profitable. So the first one is for paying clients only, where you become a paying client then you are put into a Facebook group. It's got some really great pros, it's also got a few cons like obviously a paid clients only group doesn't generate new leads for you. So you have to be going out there and you have to have a really great way to get new leads. But it is a great way to get people to connect around your business and around the offer. The second type that I coach people on is a free community which is the lead generating group. This type of group is great because when the community is built around your offer, and what you do, it actually helps to sell your business for you. The third type of group is the Evergreen Launch Membership where people are actually thrown into a group with the idea of launching a new product. The benefit of these groups is that it allows members to try small before the part where the person upsells you. Number four is the Pop Up Group for Course Launch which are pretty much groups created for one specific event such as a course launch and after it is launched, the group dies. The idea is that they're actually launching some kind of high ticket product, or even some kind of low ticket products, where they're just going to be making thousands and thousands of dollars at once. So this is great if you already have some notoriety built up, but one of the downfalls of it would be that if you don't have the notoriety and you don't get enough people in, you're probably not gonna have very high sales, and then it dies almost immediately after. The member benefit is typically the freebies that are offered inside of the group. The 5th part is building a group as a part of a funnel. I know some other guys in the market who help people with their Facebook groups and what they use their group for is instead of having to pay for a webinar platform, they use the group for that so the group is part of their funnel. As a result, there's always people being added in, but one of the downfalls is they're not really building up the community inside the free group as nobody really gets to be part of the community until they've actually paid. 

Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

This last year, I joined a coaching mentorship program which was actually one of the biggest expenses I've ever done in investing in myself. I invested in a mentorship program, and during my time in the program I decided I wanted an accountability partner. At first I networked with these two guys that were in the program. We were checking in almost daily, but it was actually almost a struggle bus trying to get them to actually be as driven as I was. About a month later, I connected with somebody else in the group. Through that effect, we have actually been accountability partners now for six months. Both of our businesses started launching a new thing in our business and we both started from zero with the new things that we were doing. We have both grown to multiple figures in our business in such a short amount of time and it's just been crazy. Now this person is one of my best friends and we're both growing our businesses together.

When it comes to building your network, how do you stay in front of and best nurture those relationships?

I've learned over the years that consistency doesn't mean doing the same thing every single day. Consistency means that you show up periodically, consistently . So if somebody were to be a family member who was checking in on me once a month and they were just seeing how I was, I would consider that somebody who's consistently in my life. The same thing goes for when you're nurturing your market online as well where you don't have to touch base with them every single day. You don't have to be in someone's life every single day to nurture them and you don't have to be having that constant communication for them to want to buy from you. You just need to be there consistently, which doesn't mean every day.

If you could go back to your 20 year old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of, less of, or differently with regards to your professional career?

Knowing who I am now and what I've gone through to become who I am, I honestly don't think that I would change anything. I've really come to terms that the lessons that I've learned in my life have made me who I am, whether that came from a good situation, or a bad situation. I've had a lot of negativity happen in my life in the past, but it's grown me as a person, and it's grown my character. I came to that realization that every single day like today, is the best day of my life because today is the accumulation, or the culmination of every single lesson that I've ever learned and every single good thing that's ever happened to me. 

Any final word or advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

One of the biggest things that you can ever do is to create real relationships. I've had a lot of people ask me lately, they feel or they're afraid that they're going to approach people and they're going to come off as spammy if they talk about their business or if they offer the sale. The thing is if you come at it from trying not to be spammy, the thing that you were most focused on is being spammy so it will sound spammy whether you like it or not. So I encourage you to think about what you want and what you want to be when you're in that conversation, and the kind of person that you're wanting to show up as, the kind of leader that you're wanting to be in your industry. Then just be that person whenever you're networking, and whenever you're growing those relationships. 

How to connect with Cierra:

Facebook: Cierra Lueck





Oct 21, 2020

Meet Cynthia Kane

Cynthia Kane helps people enhance their lives and relationships by teaching them how to speak to themselves, others and their environment in a kind, honest and helpful way. She has taught over 50,000 people how to change the way they communicate through her best selling books, How to Communicate Like a Buddhist, Talk to Yourself Like a Buddhist, How to Meditate Like a Buddhist, her daily home courses and the intentional communication training program.

How can you begin to change the way you communicate? 

You can begin to change the way that you communicate by starting to listen to yourself. So starting to pay attention to the way that you're communicating with yourself and others in ways that are making you feel more fearful or anxious, and starting to pay attention to that. Then really, the practice begins from there to pay attention to the language that you're using, and then seeing in that moment, if you can shift to start speaking in a more kind, honest and helpful way. So looking at it through a lens of suffering. I know that sounds kind of like an intense word, but really suffering in this instance means any discomfort or, lack, fear, anxiety, embarrassment, anything of those sorts. So the idea is really to help yourself and others suffer less with your communication. So if you can start to see through that lens, then most of your interactions will change.

So is it really possible to change an interaction if it's just one person talking differently?

It is, it really is because the phenomenal thing that you begin to see is that when you start interacting differently, others have no option, but to interact differently with you because you're no longer connecting in the same way. So they no longer know how to engage. You end up changing the conversation simply by coming to the interaction through a different lens or coming to it with this one to be kind, honest and helpful.

Is this kind of that communication of what you're pushing out they're reflecting back?

In the sense that when I talk about mirroring, it's more like acknowledging where the person is emotionally. It's not so much repeating what has been heard, but more acknowledging where the person is. So if somebody is sharing that they're really frustrated because they've turned in a project, and it didn't go well at work. Instead of trying to fix the situation or trying to push the person to feel differently, the mirroring aspect here is more just saying, "gosh, I can completely see how frustrating that is, I know that you've, you've been working really hard on that."

What's what's the best way to get started with intentional communication?

So it really is about understanding and knowing that it's possible to change your interactions and really start having types of conversations that you want to be having, and understanding that your words are powerful. So paying attention to the words that you're choosing will really change how everything unfolds for you because the way that we talk with ourselves really dictates how we communicate with others, and how we see the world. If you just imagine beginning there and starting to think of connecting with yourself in a way that's more intentional with your language, moving yourself more in the direction of what feels better for you as opposed to language that can have you feeling less than, or down. You really begin to create more intention throughout your day with your language, because then you have more of an anchor.

Can you share one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

I have to say that I used to fear networking, I would raise my hand at that. What I have found is that this one experience that I had really changed that for me. I went to an event here when I first moved to Washington DC, and I decided on a whim to go to this event that was happening at a gallery down the street. I didn't know anyone there, I just showed up with this feeling. I had this intuition that this was where I needed to be. It was an all female event, and it was about crave like this idea of what you crave and what you desire. I showed up not knowing anyone, was seated at a table with these phenomenal women, and I heard this woman begin to speak and her name was Angela Lauria. She gave this incredible story about a foreign exchange experience that she had and it turned out that she ran a publishing company here in DC. At that time, I was doing a lot of freelance editing for different publishing houses. It was then that I, after hearing her really, I went over, and I just started talking to her and striking up a conversation. It turns out that she was looking for editors to come on to her team and so that meeting, just that one meeting led to lots of freelance projects with her which was incredible.

How do you stand in front of and best nurture your network or your community?

For me, it's really around connection. I mean, within the work that I do now, I really consider those who are on my email list, or students of mine to be my community that is really a network for me. So being in touch with them a few times a week through my newsletter and sharing with them, I feel is really important. Sharing what's happening in my life in regard to communication, what's coming up for me and how the practice that I use is really helping me in certain moments, or it's reminding me to be more patient in my communication and things of that sort. So connecting with my network in that way is really big for me. Being able to share and also to create spaces to have open dialogue so that others are able to share as well. Whether that's through workshops, or forums or discussions, that's really important to open that space too.

Do you have any final word or advice to offer listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

Just being authentic and really being yourself and also being able to find what that looks like for you. I think it's really easy to try other people's way of connecting and I think that so much of this is really knowing that the person that you are is the person that your network is looking for.

How to connect with Cynthia:



Oct 19, 2020

Meet Ariel Kopac

Ariel Kopac is a podcaster, professional speaker and business coach who focuses on mindset and limiting beliefs. As a Certified Myers-Briggs Practitioner, Certified Coach, and Certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner, Ariel is equipped to dig in and help her clients to identify the mental and emotional roadblocks that are hindering their success. Her coaching practice (and her coaching philosophy) is Harness Your Hindrance.

Why don't you share with us the meaning or philosophy behind the name of your coaching business Harness Your Hindrance?

So Harness Your Hindrance is really the philosophy. The meaning is in the name. If you find the definitions of each of those words, what it really means is to take control and make use of whatever is holding you back. And that's really at the core of what I believe. That you can't always remove the barrier or the obstacle. You can't always eliminate it. But you can always take control and make use of it. Sometimes your greatest hindrance can become your greatest strength if you learn how to harness it.

What are some key practices that help people with shifting their mindset?

Oftentimes it starts with just awareness of what your mindset currently is, and what you want your mindset to be, you're going to be different. Honestly, it's the little things that make the biggest difference. Simply identifying, where's my mind? Where's my focus, right now, what is my mindset, and I recommend it using what I call triggers. So having a key word, or even a movement, a phrase, a sound, something that when you are recognizing you're going down a negative mental pattern, or you're losing focus, or your mindset is in a less than empowering state, you might say, using a trigger, to just say, okay, we're gonna shift, I'm gonna shift out of this.

Is there a mindset or mindset shift that is important to have when it comes to networking?

I'll explain this one with a story. I was working in Newport Beach, California. And I was in charge of the training and development of financial advisors for a firm out there. And one of my advisors would come into the training classes, and I led a lot of training classes. And he would say to the new advisors, if you want to learn how to network, go with Ariel. I'm not a financial advisor, why are you telling them that and he said, you may not be a financial advisor, but you’re the best networker I've ever seen. And I said, well, thank you for the compliment. But I don't know how to teach that. So what do you mean? Networking isn't something that I strategize or think through. I was looking for potential great recruits that I would want in my training class but I was going in with an openness and enjoyment. I would find excuses to go networking. And I said, there's certain things I can teach people. But the part that I don't know how to teach is a spirit of curiosity. So that's the part that I go into every networking event with is just pure curiosity. And that's when I think you really find the opportunities and the unexpected wins, and those powerful connections. So when I think about a mindset when it comes to networking, it's a mindset of curiosity and a mindset of exploration, trusting that there's going to be something fun, exciting, new and intriguing that you're going to discover, and you don't know who you're going to discover it from or where you're going to find it, but it’s there.

Can you share with our listeners, your most successful or favorite networking experiences you that you've had?

I would say one of my favorite or most successful networking stories was actually from a group involving Toastmasters. We can think about networking groups or networking meetings, but when I think about networking, I'm just thinking about expanding my network. And so you don't have to go to a networking meeting, or be a part of a networking group per se, those are great ways, but not the only way to network, right. One of the groups that I would say I've utilized to expand my network is Toastmasters, which is a group for professional development and public speaking. When I was in California, I actually went to, I think, eight different clubs trying to find the right club, the right fit the, the group that I wanted to become a member with and continually develop my public speaking, skill set. So I actually started to get a little bit worn out from exploring all these different clubs. And I wanted to start to be more intentional with my time. So I discovered there was one club that met during lunch, and I wanted to explore that club, because I thought, that's probably fellow professionals, networkers, those who can take a lunch break, and I just started my own business. So I reached out to the vice president of membership for that club, and said, I'm interested potentially in your group, but I'm trying to be really selective with my time because I just started my own business, would you be open to meeting one on one and letting me know more about the group so that I can know if it'd be worthwhile engagement? She said, yes, we met and ended up becoming a great connection, great friends and I became part of that Toastmasters group. She was actually the head of the HR department for her company. And over time with that initial engagement, she said, I'm really intrigued by what you do, I think our we could use your services from an HR perspective. And that led to me being part of that Toastmasters group, but then also coming in and doing training and seminars for her company.

Can you share how you stay in front of and invest, nurture your network in your community?

I'll be transparent. I joke that I am terrible representation of a millennial because I don't enjoy social media. And I'm not actively engaged online, as many of my peers and fellow network connections. Familiarity is a key aspect for building those relationships and people wanting to connect with you, build a friendship with you, have a business connection with you. So I realized that not being visually, in front of clients, my network, my connections, was my own hindrance, I was not taking control of that opportunity. So the way I did that was I know that I communicate best actually, through speaking rather than through typing or writing. And I think you should use your strengths. So I started a podcast, that I can promote on social media, that I can offer value in content just like you do, Lori. And it's a way to connect with people, add value, and stay front of mind and present.

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of less of or differently with regards to your professional career.

Now I love and understand the power of relationships. But when I started my professional career, I'm not sure that I did. When I was at work, I loved relationships. But I didn't understand the power and the value of relationships, I kind of had this mental separation of those powerful relationships are for outside of work, and the work relationships, you got to work the relationship a little bit, but you didn't see it as an investment. Now I understand that the greatest movement, the greatest results, I guess you could say come from relationships. And I wish I had understood that at the beginning of my career. Because I think I would have invested in some other relationships that I saw as a distraction from the task, I saw as a pull away from the productivity. And if I had used relationships as an investment that you don't ever know when it's going to pay off and you don't know which investment is going to work. But relationships are a very important thing to invest in.

Do you have any final word or advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

I think when I talked about investing in relationships, you never know when it's gonna come back to you or when someone may need you as well. So just as you said Lori, stay open, stay curious. You never know what seed is going to sprout. So nurture them as best as you can, stay front of mind. And as being the mindset coach that I am, stay focused on what you can control stay focus on your mindset and your focus. And then trust it that the results will come as long as you continue to invest in those relationships. and nurture your network.

How to connect with Ariel:



Oct 14, 2020

Meet David Splitgerber

David is a franchise business owner who assists people in business ownership exploration through a discovery and education-based method, to help people to discover opportunities that are ideally suited for what they are seeking. David is on the Advisory board for PONG, an advisor for 40 Plus, and guest lectures at Marquette University on franchising. He is married and has coached their 2 boys in their sports for the last 15 years and is now retired from that endeavor.

You're no longer the coach of sports, but you are a career ownership coach, what exactly is that?

Something that most people don't, don't know exists. What I do is, I help people to explore, quite simply business ownership, and I specialize in the franchise and owners alliance end of things. And what I do is help people to explore. And what that means is first helping an individual get to know themselves. So it's a lot of conversations and meetings and assessments that I have individuals complete that we talk about to learn about the individuals. In other words, who am I? And what is my career bend? So it has some elements that kind of look like in an interview to some degree. The ultimate goal is to both have us on the same page, who am I? What am I about? What's my career been about? What do I like and dislike, and then helping them to also see the future. Helping them try to figure out what do I want my life to look like a year from now personally and professionally?

Sounds like you do spend a lot of time in the franchise business a little bit. Can you talk a little bit about what types of businesses are franchise businesses?

I think that's a great question because I think there's the a lot of people who have that kind of assumption or belief that it's food and that it's well you know, I don't want to be in the restaurant industry. But honestly, there's probably 50 or 60 to 80 different business industries. I mean, it's everything that you probably have walked past but never even noticed or considered or thought about that were businesses that are franchise. So I mean, there's things that are in everything from like travel, sports and recreation, home improvement, senior care services, children's products, children's services, automotive, employment and staffing, recruiting - there's franchises in that arena. Distributor ships, web or internet or it based businesses, pet related businesses for pet services, there's mobile businesses. So those just a few off the top of my head are some of the industries that are enfranchisement.

Let's say I'm someone that's already in a job and I like what I'm doing, I want to keep it but is there anything that you can do to help on that side hustle type of things?

Absolutely. That's a great point. And that's probably about 30% or so of the individuals that I talk with are that exact individual saying, I've got a job, I really like it. But I want additional income or something on the side. Or maybe eventually I'd like to go and do something. But is there a way for me to start something and then grow into it? So depends on what the individual is trying to accomplish. So bottom line, it's called semi absentee and there's some that are closer to absentee. And there's some that are kind of absentee, what I mean by that is less than five hours per week, where it's more of an investment, there's less opportunities in that arena. And those are, I'm going to say quite honestly, quite a bit higher investment, because obviously, you're hiring a lot of people to do all the tasks of the business. But yes, there are some where you can work anywhere from five to 10 to 15. At most, there's a few out there, that would be maybe 20 hours a week. So someone can absolutely keep their job in these franchises are set up that way.

Can you share with our listeners, one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

So first, I'll say I'm right there with everyone else. When I first started networking previously, in my career, I did not really have to network, just because of the businesses that I was in, it was not necessitated or needed to help grow business. So it was new for me. And it was kind of scary, right? I'm more introverted. One of my favorite networking stories is this was about two years ago. And I met an individual at a networking event. And we continue to have conversation after. Through his connection, it didn't help my business directly, which networking doesn't always and shouldn't always be about that. If you're looking at networking, just to grow yourself and your own business, you're probably not going to do because if it's just about me, me, me, people see through that. So anyway, this individual, we sat down, and I actually helped him, I gave him two different referrals that he followed up with me within a few months later saying, you know what, I picked up both of those as clients, and that just almost doubled my business. So it was great for me to help someone like that, and know that the more you help others, the more good comes around to everyone else.

How do you stay in front of or best nurture your network and your community?

It takes time. And you have to be open to say yes, once in a while. It's important to say yes, when you can and as much as you can. So my goal is, if someone calls me or emails me and says, hey, do you have five minutes or 10 minutes? Yes, I'm going to try and find time, let's find time to chat. Attending some of these network meetings where I'm part of a group that attendance, once a month, or once every two weeks, whatever it might be, is making sure I attend and not miss meetings, they're blocked off on my calendar, and I don't schedule client appointments during those. It's important to continue growing those relationships to help others who have actually helped you.

What advice can you offer to the business professionals that are looking to grow their network, any key tips or pointers that you want to share?

I'd say be willing to talk. And I know that sounds really simplistic, but I got into some different networking groups that I never knew about that I didn't find online. It was the one when I had conversations with people and actually asked the question, hey, are you part of any other really good networking groups that you would think would be a value. Are there any other good groups and from there, I was able to find some other groups that I'm still part of today that are valuable, made some good friendships made some good business connections on top of that, of course. So I think that's one of the most important things is be open to trying and talking and asking about different networking groups. And don't be afraid to walk away from one if you're not seeing the value of it. But be open to trying new ones and finding the ones that fit for you, your personality, your style, your business, and for the others around you that it's a good fit and a good match for you.

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

If I go back, I'd say, take more chances, keep putting your head up, look around more and look at some of the opportunities that are around you. And if someone says, hey, what about this? Be willing to say yes. Be willing to put yourself out there and try different things, do different things, say yes to things and be willing to be uncomfortable. And that a level of un-comfort is going to give you comfort over time because you get used to it more. And where you were uncomfortable before becomes now the new normal.

How to connect with David

Phone: 262-210-7700



Oct 5, 2020

Meet Tommy Thompson

Tommy Thompson is an accomplished entrepreneur, executive coach, and passionate teacher whose heart is to impact people for good and for God. After more than thirty years of owning and leading a wide variety of companies, Tommy is now an active blogger, executive coach, and consultant, while also leading a mentoring ministry at his church.

You talk and write a lot about margin, can you tell us a little about what you mean about margin and why it's important?

This is kind of become a cornerstone of almost how the lens that I look at all of life through these days and really for the last 30 years, and came out of a time in my life when I was completely overloaded running four businesses, volunteering at church on about five different angles, raising a family. And I was completely exhausted and overloaded and came across a book by Richard Swenson called “Margin”. And it began to just change my life. And he defines margin as the gap between our load and our limits. And my whole mind frame in life had been we always run all the way to our capacity or over our capacity. And I never realized until I read that book, that life is better when we have margin just like a margin in a book, I would never consider taking the words all the way to the very edge of the page, it would make it terrible reading if you did that. So margin became the way I looked at relationships that became the way I looked at business, became the way I framed faith, all different areas of life. So in all of these areas, margin, creating some space, where we can breathe, becomes a critical way of looking at life. And I think it can even impact organizations and even the concept of networking.

So how does the presence or absence of margin affect relationships?

This is probably one of the biggest areas that it impacts. And all we have to do is to kind of think of how we act. And when we're exhausted, when we're completely overloaded, when we're stressed out, the first victim of us operating that way is our relationships. Most particularly our close relationships, we’re usually terrible with our spouse when we're overloaded and stressed out. And so beginning to create margin in the various places and spheres of our life. The first benefit of it is our relationships begin to breathe. And we begin to have better relationships at home, with our spouse, with our children, with our best friends. And then it even leaks into our relationships at work, when we become better people and everybody benefits from it. So relationships are kind of a key place. And also a key victim of the fact that our culture just operates in absolute high speed with no margin, overloaded, and thinking that's the best way of operating and our relationships are suffering because of that.

What difference does creating space make in organizations?

I don't think creating space is just so that we have a nice, easy life. I think part of the reason for this is so that we can be purposeful and more effective in the things that we do. And so I coach and consult with some decent size operations, as well as having run a half dozen companies over 30 years. And what I've found is, as I create space, in my own life margin, that I reflect better, I plan better, the organization's run more smoothly, than if we are always in this hyper productivity mode. It feels important on the surface, but it's not the way organizations run the best. So taking the extra time to create a good strategic plan, taking the extra time to plan, a marketing campaign. Those things are things that have gone by the wayside because we think we're supposed to move fast. So I've learned that helping organizations and the leaders of organizations live a more spacious life actually improves the performance of those organizations.

I thrive off of that constant demand. Does that change when you've established space?

It changes, but not immediately. I mean, the problem, one of the reasons I think that so many people operate with no margin and over capacity is because it feeds their ego, and it feeds their identity. And so it takes a little while to let go of some of that and to actually operate with a different paradigm, and to say, it's okay, for me to not always look like I'm busy. It's okay, even for me as a CEO, or as a leader to be reading a book during working hours. That's not a bad thing to do, or to be sitting quietly in my office planning where the company's going to go. But our insecurities get in the way. And so it takes a while to push against that. And to begin to create a little bit of a different culture in our companies that doesn't always reward this artificial sense of busyness.

Can you share with our listeners one of your favorite networking experiences that you've had?

I may not be your typical guest on this because I could put on a persona of being an extrovert. But at core, I'm an introvert, and initiating is something that's uncomfortable to me. So over the years of being in business, I've had to figure out how can I do this networking thing, which I completely believe in and know is critical, but do it in a way that works with who I am personally. So for me, interestingly enough, I've used writing, which I like doing both by blogging and writing a book and in a variety of ways, as a networking tool. One of my early kind of successes was taking the uncomfortable step of taking the blog that I write, and starting to post it on LinkedIn and Instagram and just put it out into thin air, and nobody's paying any attention to it. But after about a month or two of that, I had someone reach out to me that I knew distantly, and say, well, I'm kind of interested in some of the things that you're writing about, could we get together and talk about how you might be able to help my company, both coaching, consulting, and that connection has created two of the most meaningful engagements that I have both in terms of executive coaching and consulting for two significantly growing companies. And it's not your typical way of doing networking. But for an introvert that hates to reach out and initiate doing that type of networking is consistent with me. And I found that it still creates that kind of net benefit that we look for in networking.

How do you nurture your network?

I would answer that two ways. The first is I find that I can nurture my network, if I'm honest about genuinely caring about the people that I'm reaching out to. If I'm dealing with the internal tension of thinking that I'm really only doing this, to create sales, or to create coaching engagements or consulting engagements, then that's going to come through. But if I choose to kind of approach my networking from the perspective of genuinely caring about people, then all of a sudden, everything starts to come through naturally. And that is where it also helps me to say, I'm going to be able to nurture my community, by writing, by sharing things that I'm learning, whether it's book reviews, or different things that I'm learning in my blogging, so it all kind of comes through in a consistent way, and a consistent way with my personality and my values, and that helps my community.

What advice would you offer the business professional who's looking to grow their network?

I think, for me, and maybe again, I'm kind of coloring all of this from my introverted personality, it's to network according to your personality and according to your values. If you can begin to build a framework for networking, that is comfortable for you, whether you're an introvert or extrovert, whether you're really funny or whether you're really serious, and you can be authentic to who you are, and create a framework around that, then I think networking works for virtually anyone.

Let's go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of, less of, or differently with regards to your professional career?

I love thinking about that. I think what I would tell myself is to discipline my networking. I think for too many years, I took the easy path of saying, I'm an introvert, I'm not good at networking. And I kind of pawned it off and didn't do this. And interestingly my son taught me something about this. He's an introvert too. And when he was just entering college, I told him kind of, as we were just sitting around talking one night, I said, Chris, if you could just make the practice, the discipline, when you go back to college of networking, with one of your professors, one time each week, it would change your path. Little did I know is that he would take me seriously. And he went back to school. And he began meeting with his professors. And the benefits to him were huge in terms of the networking that he did, and the connections and where that led him to in terms of some of his past. But I didn't take that advice myself when I was 20 years old. I took the easy path. So I would have loved to have told myself, look, I know this is uncomfortable, but set up one lunch a week with someone you want to get together with. And that would have catapulted me in ways that took a lot longer.

We've all heard of the six degrees of separation, who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? And do you think you can do it then the six degree?

I had to think about who it is that I would want to connect to and as soon as I did that, I realized It's probably only a couple degrees off in terms of separation. So one of my favorite communicators, that I know of, in business or in any venue is Andy Stanley, who is the pastor of North Point Community Church. But he's also this amazing leadership guru, he has several massive podcasts. And he's just a phenomenal communicator. And I've loved listening to him and reading his books and learning from him. And I realized, kind of by your question on this, that he's only a couple steps away from getting to meet him, and getting to know him a little bit. He's a Pastor out of Atlanta, and I have some connections in LA and Atlanta, that are connected with his church, and so probably not too far down the road.

Do you have any final words or advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

I would just really encourage people to take a few minutes away from kind of the busyness and think about out the ways they might go about networking that are in sync with who they are. I've just been strong believer in that we do far too little reflecting. And because of that, we end up with shallow answers. As you know and feel that networking is too important for shallow answers. So I think taking a little time to step back and say, how do I really want to do this in a way that's consistent and authentic with me, is a worthwhile use of a few minutes.

How to connect with Tommy






Sep 30, 2020

Meet Brandon Fong

Brandon HATED growing up on the free lunch program at school... but growing up without financial resources taught him to be resourceful. Before the age of 25, Brandon wrote a book, ran the marketing for an education company with over 250,000 students, traveled to 23 different countries, and even did a $45,000 launch on his first online product. Today, he's on a mission to help 10,000 entrepreneurs build wealth through the power of connection while prioritizing their health and relationships.

What's the number one mistake people make when trying to solve a problem in their life?

I got this from Dan Sullivan, who I don't know if you're familiar with his content, but he's a fantastic thinker if you guys haven't heard of him, but he has this concept called who-not-how. And I think what happens as entrepreneurs specifically or in our daily lives to whenever we come up with a new goal, or a new challenge that we're facing, our first inclination is to ask ourselves, how can I solve this, right? Like all the how questions come up like logistics, and it immediately becomes a little bit overwhelming. And so when it comes to solving problems, I love the filter that instead of asking myself how based questions, I asked myself, who questions so if instead of how can I figure this out and get super overwhelmed, who has already figured this out, that I can develop a relationship with in a genuine way, give back to them, and then leverage their skills and experience to solve the problem that I'm looking to solve a lot faster than if I had tried doing it on my own. So I think that that's an approach that can definitely help accelerate the process of solving any problem, whether it be business or in personal life.

How can you connect with people in meaningful ways online?

I actually recently wrote a book on this topic called The Magic Connection Method. When I open up my LinkedIn profile, I have probably over 100 connection requests of people that have copied and pasted messages without even reading anything about my bio or anything like that. So I think that they're in this world where we kind of like see this fake reality online. It's like we get desensitized to the fact that the people that we're talking to are real human beings. When it comes to connecting with people, when I teach them the magic connection method, I teach a three-part process. So the first part of the email or any, it's not specific to email, but the first part is what I call the hook. And the problem that most people have when they reach out to people is they use the first part of the email to talk about them, right? So instead of doing that, the first part of the outreach, I always teach people to talk about the other person. Then the second part is the irresistible offer. I'm always looking to add value to people. So whether it's an outreach to somebody that I want to do business with, or a networking event or connection that I have, I want to create something that I can do for them, that would add a ton of value to them, and make them actually want to move forward with the connection. The last part is the no-oriented question. I learned this from Chris Voss, who is an ex-FBI hostage negotiator. He told me in the book, “Never Split the Difference”, he talks about how we all have a finite amount of yeses that we have in a day, right? Every single time you say yes to something, you have to give away time, you have to give away energy, you have to give away finances, you're giving away something. So it's hard for people to say yes to things, but it's a lot easier for people to say no to something. So all my emails or all my outreaches they end with instead of a question like are you interested? It ends in a question like would you be opposed to? Or would it be a bad idea if or would it be ridiculous if and when you when you start a question that way it puts the ball back in their court. The real goal of that first email is to show that you're adding value, show that you actually care about them. And then also make sure that at the end, it's just one question so that they're not overwhelmed with all the things that they have to do.

Can you share with our listeners, one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

I found that every single point in my growth, I’ve been able to grow to the next level. And it's been thanks to a relationship with somebody. My favorite story, when it comes to connecting with people is my senior year of college. Going back to the very beginning of the conversation, we're talking about who not how. I tried a bunch of business ventures and nothing was working for me. And I figured, well, why not just find somebody who was exactly where I wanted to be in my career and my health, in my relationships that had already done it, and how can I just find a way to add insane amount of value to them. So I sent an email, I was 21 years old at the time reached out to him. And that turned into that relationship where I ended up running his marketing for three years had experience helping grow the company by over 100,000 students in his online courses. Jonathan helped me to launch my first product, which did really well the first launch, and then also Jonathan got me into a high end mastermind called Genius Network. Genius Network costs $25,000 a year to attend, you need to be making at least seven figures to be in it. And Jonathan just opened the doors and allowed me to help me to get in there. And so that one relationship with that one email that I sent, just open the doors to insane experience, insane connections, and just so grateful. So that would by far be my favorite connection that I had.

How do you stay in front of and best nurture your community that you've created?

I think like it comes down to at this point, at least I'm having lots of individual conversations with people and so I'm always asking what people are looking for. And I may not have an answer at that time, but I'll have a conversation a little bit down the road and I'm like, oh, this person needs exactly this. So like I think it comes from being proactive and really just getting to know everybody that you are looking to develop a relationship with. Just get to know people, really care, come from a place of giving. And then there will usually be opportunities, at least in my life that have shown up for me to circle back and add value to that person, even if like it was maybe even months or years down the road.

What advice do you have for that business professional who's really looking to grow their network?

You can go on LinkedIn, and you can search somebody else's connections if you're connected with them. And the thing that is a kind of an awkward question to ask is like, hey, can you refer me to someone? Right? Like, nobody really likes answering that question? Because it's like, it's so vague. And like, even if you do really want to help the person, it doesn't really help to be asked that question, because you have almost nowhere to go. Whereas if you use the LinkedIn advanced search filter, or if you search somebody else's connections, and then you search with their title or whatever, other criteria, then you can go to back to that person and say, hey, can you refer me to somebody? It's like, hey, Lori, I had the opportunity before we had the conversation, I hopped on your LinkedIn profile, and I came across three people that I thought would be really interesting to talk about, would you be offended if I asked you a few questions about them? And then you can ask a very specific question, instead of just being very, very general. So that's helped me a ton. Just because, I believe that if you're connected with good people, then then why wouldn't you ask that question? So I think that's one of my favorites.

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of, less, of or differently with regards to your professional career?

I think I would send more magic connection method emails, I actually had the opportunity to speak at my high school the other day, and it's like I've seen so many students in college where it's like you spend all this money on undergrad and then graduate and realize it's not what you want to do. It's like lots of that can be solved by just having conversations with people and reaching out to people. And I think that as a student, I've always taught people this, that you have this magical timeframe where you can use something that I call the “cute student card”, where it's like professionals love to help ambitious students. Now we talked about going back to the magic connection method. We talked about the irresistible offer. Sometimes the offer is you just being ambitious and talking to them and then implementing what they taught you and being super grateful for it. And like it almost is something to be like too hard to comprehend, but that has served me so much. It's just like reaching out to people, having conversations and then responding back and following up with them. With how much they've impacted my life.

We've all heard of the six degrees of separation. Who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? And do you think you can do it within the sixth degree?

Because I was in Genius Network. I'm within one degree of many, many connections, like the founder, Joe Polish is like, and I'm not like that, that close with Joe Polish. But I've had the opportunity to meet him and have conversations multiple times, but like he's connected with Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, Peter Diamandis. Also Russell Brunson that you hear a lot about in the in the self-improvement marketing world. I think I answered your question with like, 30 people but those are some of the top people that come to mind.

Do you have any final words or advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

If you find that you're somebody that might not be 100% confident in reaching out to people, like there's really not much wrong, that can happen. I think the worst thing that can happen is like you end up like somebody that's on LinkedIn that copies and pastes. But if you listen to this episode, you're already not going to do that. So you're already way ahead of people. I think you really are just one connection away and to focus on, on every relationship, like it's something that can have lots of potential for growth in the future, even if you don't see it in the present in the immediate, immediate future.

How to connect with Brandon:


Sep 28, 2020

Meet Tracy Brinkmann

From hitting the rock bottom of drugs, divorce, bankruptcy and even the death of an 18 month old daughter to running the planning and marketing of some of corporate America's finest companies to his own marketing company. Tracy helps small business owners be seen. And now his podcast is focused on Driven Dark Horse Enterprises. Tracy Brinkman is also a business and success coach that realizes life isn't fair and participation awards do not feed your family or your drive to succeed. This Driven Dark Horse Entrepreneur is looking to share all that he has learned and is still learning about starting, restarting, kick starting and stepping up your entrepreneurial game all while not ignoring that amazing tool between your ears!

What is the importance of reputation on and offline?

I think reputation sometimes flies under the radar anymore. If you think even way back to the early days, when I say early days, I mean, pre internet, word of mouth was a big marketing tactic. And when someone told you about a great business or just somebody that they met, you took their word for it. So now if you take that into the new era of being online, on your phone or on your computer you're doing that same thing, but you're doing it with people you don't even know, as you're looking at a business, you're looking up online and say, wow, this looks like what I need as you're shopping, and then you kind of cruise through their reputation. And if they got the five-star rating, you're like, hey, right on. And I think what's really unique about this is you're taking the word of people you don't even know. So I think it's really huge to pay attention to your reputation on and offline.

Why should we start stop trading time for money?

I think this is probably one of the biggest issues I see a lot of starting entrepreneurs get involved in, especially in the coaching arena that I tend to service is like, they trade those hours for dollars. And I think the limitation on that is that we only have 24 hours a day, right? So if you say, you know what, I'm gonna charge $150 an hour, you can only make that much, 150 times 24. That's it, that's your cap, and you'll burn yourself out trying to maximize that cap. Or if you can start trading value for money now you can a raise your quote unquote, hourly rate, and then be worth less and make more.

Why should I build a team or have a mentor or a coach?

I'm in the coaching arena. So I'm kind of biased there. But I think one of the greatest things I ever did coming up through my career even when I was in corporate America was having a mentor and having a coach to teach me the tips, the tricks and the potholes of the trade to speed up my learning curve, and avoid some of the potholes that you know could definitely sink a career. If you can, like they say ride on the shoulders of giants, well, then you are gonna ride a lot faster and get to your destination a lot quicker. So that's a big thing about coaches and mentors.

Can you share with our listeners, one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

I was attending the Direct Tech Conference in Las Vegas. And Direct Tech is a piece of software that a number of retailers use. They're all just like any other conference, there's the big sessions and then there's all the breakout sessions and I always have made it a point to break away from my clinic, my team that I would be attending together as there was like three or four of us and go sit amongst folks that I have no idea who they are. Right? And that takes a little bit of courage, right? You got to be willing to put yourself out there totally. You learn so much in the process. And of course, you meet new folks. And you learn new tips and tricks from how they're using, in my scenario, how they're using the software versus how we were using it internally. And you're like, oh, I'm gonna go back I'm gonna go try that. So I think trying that for the first time I had done it like a little bit in the past, but this time I went into it saying, okay, every session I'm going to sit with someone I don't know. And I haven't met yet and really broaden my horizons about the retail world the software that's been being chatted about, and just grow my experiences with the other folks and I have probably about half a dozen of those folks I still chat with on a regular basis today, even though I've been away from that software for three years now.

How do you best nurture your network or near community?

I periodically just randomly reach out to folks like if I haven't heard from someone say like, like a Tony, I just reach out and say, hey, how are things going in Tony's world? And just kind of really restart that dialogue. Sometimes folks will just say, oh, it's going great. And we'll leave it at that. Again, it's just randomly reaching out. I think one of the things is pretty good to do in the new social media world if you're following them is if you see something that they post that really resonates with you don't just give it a like, drop in a comment. Engage with them. That's the whole purpose of social media, we miss it, go ahead and engage with it. I think platforms, like LinkedIn are probably a little bit more business oriented than a Facebook or an Instagram. But you know, a lot of folks, especially in the entrepreneurial world, are using all those platforms to share their message and if you find a piece of content, again, that really resonates, engage with it, or even share it and add your comment on top of the hey, my buddy Tony, he shared this man, I totally resonate with it. Here, I want to share it with my fam as well.

What advice would you offer the business professional who's looking to grow their network?

I think it's almost too easy to say, get out there and engage with folks. You know, find it. Of course, it's a little bit more challenging right now as we're recording this given the whole COVID-19 environment but certainly a lot of the meetup opportunities have gone online, and some of them are starting to go live again. So certainly put yourself out there. Here's the thing about putting yourself out there. There's a number of folks that will say it takes courage, which is fact. But here's the real trick. This is called the mindset shift for you, is you don't have to be brave for the whole hour or half hour, however long the meeting is, you only got to be brave for three seconds. Three seconds that follow when someone looks at you and says, hi, who are you? Or hi, my name is Tracy and you are? Now, muster up that courage for three seconds, respond, right? Ask them a question about what they do. Sit back and listen, right. And while you're listening, now you can get those butterflies to fly in formation because you know, that question is coming. So what do you do? Why are you here? Come a little bit prepared. Don't make it sound like you have this canned speech together. But have a couple of answers to what would be canned questions. What do you do? What brings you here? Those kinds of standard questions, be ready to answer them.

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self? What would you tell yourself to do more of less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

I think if I went back and talked to my 20-year-old self, I would say stay away from drugs. I had a dark time and I was very successful. I came out of the military and started a custom database programming business right at the early stages of boom and got successful, and I went down a dark path. So first thing I'd be telling myself is stay away from the things that are going to derail you. And in my case, it was drugs and alcohol. Anything that's going to derail you, that could be people as well. I think the other piece of advice I would have given my 20-year-old self would be to ask trusted folks what my number one skill is. Because it was probably another decade and a half before someone said, well, you know, you do this so well.

We've all heard the six degrees of separation? Who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? And do you think you could do it within the sixth degree?

Yes, I am one degree away from the person. I really want to connect with and that would be Brian Tracy. Brian Tracy has been one of those guys that I have followed his career, gosh, probably since the late 80s, early 90s. And he's just been one of those icons of not just personal development, but certainly a businessman as well. I mean, the things he's built and things he's done across the course of his career, and I was lucky enough to interview a gentleman on my show who's a friend of Brian Tracy's I come to find out. So now I am I am one degree away from the guy I would love to connect with if not to get on my show to interview like this but certainly to sit down and just have a chat with and pick their brains for 60 minutes or so and walk away with this wealth of information.

Do you have any final words of advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

I'm just going to take a moment to repeat myself but put yourself out there. And then as you're putting yourself self out there, follow that with just being who you are. Right? Don't try to put on some sort of mask for somebody. They're going to accept you for who you are. And I think if you put that mask on, it will slip at some point and they're going to be questioning your authenticity. Whereas if you're yourself all the time, they may look at you a little tip headed at first like, okay, what's this guy going on? Right? He's got the long hair and the beard. But that's cool. All right. I'm jiving with what he's saying. And pretty soon they're not seeing the mask anymore. They're just seeing you. So put yourself out there and just be you. Because you're not trying to capture everybody, right? There's enough business for everybody. You want to capture the people that are going to resonate with you that you want to work with. And that make you happy to service and that are happy to get service from you.

How to connect with Tracy





Sep 23, 2020

Andy Gallion

Andy is the CEO and co-founder of InCheck, Inc. A nationally accredited screening company. InCheck provides customized nationwide background screening and drug testing solutions to employers, volunteer groups and sports organization. Early in his career as a recruiter, Andy recognized an opportunity to fill a gap in the background screening industry and build a service-oriented business. Twenty years later under Andy's leadership, InCheck has been named as one of Milwaukee Business Journal's fastest growing firms. In Milwaukee BizTimes Future 50 company and Milwaukee’s Best and Brightest organizations to work for. InCheck is also a SPEARity certified organization with Andy being named SPEARity a strategic leader of the Year in 2017. Andy is past president of the Wisconsin Society for Human Resource Management Board.

Why don't you tell us a little bit more about why you decided to start InCheck and what were you striving to create?

The story is kind of interesting because I never in a million years would have guessed that I'd end up in the background screening industry. I don't think anybody sets out to be in the screening industry. But we just kind of ended up in that space as we actually planned to start up a staffing company. And so, as we were in the process of starting up a staffing company, we came up with the idea of starting a background screening company, and it was based on a placement that we were making, and we heard that there was like an outsourced background screening company that was involved, and so our curiosity was piqued. We looked at the market in Wisconsin, there was really only one other provider, and we thought we'd be able to leverage a lot of our relationships to get that business off the ground in addition to the staffing company that we were starting at the time as well. I am one third owner of Extension, Inc, which is a professional staffing company based in Wauwatosa, as well. I'm not really involved on a day to day basis. And I kind of keep that usually under wraps a little bit. I’m not trying to cross sell or blur the lines between the two companies. While I'm a third owner, I spend 99.9% of my time on the day to day at InCheck.

Tell us a little bit about what your typical day looks like. And what do you most enjoy doing?

Anything from sales and business development to account management, working on projects for clients that range from more complex compliance issues, coming up with reports, working through pricing, providing good customer service, providing leadership and management of our executive leadership team, working with marketing, budgets, just across the board. We're a smaller business, we have 42 employees. I'm kind of spread thin, but I really do I enjoy that part of my job. So the variety of it is exciting to me, keeps me engaged. Out of all that, I'd have to say that meeting new businesses, working with new people, signing up new accounts for InCheck, kind of working through the project nature of that part of the job is really probably my favorite.

Can you talk about how that ties into your role as a CEO?

Over the 29 years that I've been refereeing basketball, I started when I was 15. I think the biggest connection is that as a sports official specifically in basketball, you have to be able to talk to people, you have to be able to communicate, being on a basketball floor in front of a gym that might have 1000 or more people in a pressure packed game. When you blow that whistle the spotlights on you, you have to be confident, you have to be able to communicate both verbally and non-verbally. And I think all those communication skills really come into play in terms of trying to establish my presence as a leader within the business of  InCheck in working with all the different types of people that I work with on a daily basis.

Can you share with our listeners, one of your most Successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

It's a great segue because it happened on the basketball court and years and years ago actually, when we first started the business so this is going back like 19 years. When we weren't making any money so I was I was refereeing games in the summer as my side hustle to get a little extra cash and I was up at Homestead High School in Mequon was refereeing in a summer league game. The coach I’d seen him week after week and kind of started getting friendly as far as just talking in between games or during halftime, whatever. And one day he was wincing before the game holding us back. I asked him what he did. He said he hurt his back sneezing while he was at work. I asked him what he did. He said he was the head of HR for journal communications, which at the time, was the parent company that owned The Journal Sentinel, Journal Broadcast Group and like six other companies. And so when I told him that I was in recruiting and also in background screening, he invited me in to come meet with them professionally, and so we kind of established the relationship through basketball, but then it developed into the professional side and that was a relationship that we had for many, many years and it was great. So, that was one of my favorite stories over the years in relation to networking and making connections.

How do you nurture your network in your community?

I don't think I do a good enough job of it. I could be more intentional and definitely more strategic. And I've probably been a little bit more reactive than proactive throughout my career. And I think because when I'm in the moment – I’m in the moment and people kind of get to know me. And there's probably a comfort level over the years of working with certain people where if we don't talk for a while, if we don't get together, meet in person, it's fine. But would I like to do more of that, yes. There are some great relationships that I've built over the years that I wish I'd be able to spend a little bit more time continuing. And so, if I did a better job of it, I would be more intentional about scheduling time on my calendar, following up with certain people, and I think it's just going back to the nature of the job that we’re firefighting so much that I haven't been able to kind of separate from the day to day to the point where I can really focus on networking and being intentional about my touches and possibly even using technology to manage that better. So I couldn't be better.

What advice would you offer the business professional who's really looking to grow their network?

Learn about people that are thought leaders in your area of business, both locally and nationally. Get to know your competitors. I think being authentic in trying to think about the version of yourself that you want people to see, when you're out there building that network. Again, it kind of goes back to what I said earlier about being intentional. And I think you really have to live it. And I think early on in my career, that was a transition that I realized that I had to make and that if I was going to do this to the best of my ability, I had to be living and breathing InCheck 24/7. It wasn't just between the hours of eight and five. And I think that would be another piece of advice to give to someone who's looking to grow their network and just as far as living what they do not just during the workday.

Digital networking, which is the world we're in right now, versus traditional networking, which one do you find value in?

Probably more the traditional, the face to face if possible. I think just the idea of meeting people in person, that personal connection is really what solidifies the relationship. I think there are a lot of great opportunities that are available through technology, but maybe using technology to try to get in front of people. Phone calls, it seems like, is kind of a lost art as well. It's so easy to send an email. And that's tough sometimes because honestly, like, I'll call people and I don't know if I should be scheduling that call, or if just calling out of the blue. Is it interrupting someone's day and I guess they don't have to answer the call.

Let's go back to your 20-year-old self. What would you tell yourself to do more of, less of, or differently with regards to your professional career?

Part of that would be to quit drinking, and not be as concerned about being the life of the party and having fun because that college lifestyle kind of spilled over into my professional career, and I wasn't someone that had a job lined up, like right after college. I wanted to. I was more of the procrastinator, like, take my time figure it out bartend here and there, referee some basketball and then kind of get things going. That kind of stuff looking back, that was a startup of bad habits. And so while obviously, things have gone great over 18 years, sometimes I think how much better could they have gone. If I had better work habits, more focused. And that's where I think I started working with a professional coach, like three years ago, I wish I would have found a coach 15 years ago.

We've all heard of the six degrees of separation. Who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with, and do you think you can do it within the sixth degree?

It would be President Barack Obama, that's the person that I would love to sit down with. I've admired the man, as a leader, as a human being, as a man of integrity. And I think you've seen the pictures of him golfing or playing basketball. If I could get together with him and take him golfing or shoot hoops or grab a coffee, that would be a lifetime achievement for me. Just to be around him and kind of take that in would be an amazing opportunity. And actually, how would I do it? Going back to the referee world, someone that I've known who was a referee, and then got into politics, saw him. I think he worked for President Obama, posted pictures of them and his family together at one point. Maybe it wouldn't even take me six degrees. Maybe it would take like three or something but again, combining the referee world into the picture.

Do you have any final words of advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

I think it's important that your insides match your outsides. You know, being yourself. Trying to be someone you're not is only going to lead to troubles in the future and being intentional. Now, if you go to an event, go with a goal of making a certain number of introductions, do your prep work, get the most out of that event, scout who you want to meet and go for it again, take action. What are you there for, you're there to meet people, other people are there to meet people. So if you see somebody standing there silently keeping to themselves, just know that that person is probably shy and is just waiting for you to come up and initiate a conversation. If it doesn't go well, that's okay. Because it's not going to click with everyone. But for the people that it does, that you do click with and you find that it's very natural to have a conversation with like, those are the people that you probably have a better chance of developing some type of business relationship with because I think people like working with people that they like. And so those are good signs to continue to follow up and someone who might want to work with you as well.

How to connect with Andy:


Phone: 414-803-7804


Sep 21, 2020

Meet Chris Larsen

Chris Larsen is the founder and Managing Partner of Next-Level Income, through which he helps investors become financially independent through education and investment opportunities. He began syndicating deals in 2016, has raised more than $12M and been actively involved in over $150M of real estate acquisitions.

What are some of those connections between generating wealth and relationships?

When I was younger, my father passed, I was five and a good family friend, Clint Provenza not only introduced me to cycling, which was one of one of my real loves in my life, but also the miracle of compound interest. So it's one of those things where if I didn't have that relationship, I would have never been introduced to both of those concepts, and then just fast forwarding through life, and cycling partnerships, turned into business partnerships. And then ultimately completing our first syndicated real estate deal came from our network of investors that we put together. So I mean, whether you look at, you know, foundationally when I was very young, my sporting success or what would call investing success, it's all based upon those relationships that were built going back to my early teens.

Let's talk about how you actually became an investor. Do you want to share that story with us?

So really the drive to be an investor came from my desire for freedom. And when I got to college, what I wanted to do was race my bicycle. So I wanted to be a professional cyclist. I enrolled in at Virginia Tech to be an engineering student. But I found out in about two weeks that I really didn't want to be an engineer. I just I just really didn't enjoy it. And I continue to race my bike, I thought, I'll just get through college, I'll race my bike, I'll become a professional then I'll figure out what I want to do and maybe go back and get a math degree. Well, between my freshman and sophomore years, I lost my best friend, Chris. He died of a brain hemorrhage and it really kind of it put me into depression, kind of as I look back thinking about it, but after a year of racing my bike and really pouring my heart and soul into cycling, I wasn't really happy. Cycling wasn't like the beach. And all that it was before he passed away. For me, I started looking at other opportunities to make money. I want to be able to do what I want to do when I want to do it. I started trading in the stock market. I mentioned Clint, he gave me a Money Magazine article and talked about starting a Roth IRA I started investing in the stock market. But then I found real estate after a couple years of investing. And the ability to actually kind of, as I talked about in my book control appreciation or by asset and approve its value, was very appealing to me. Also, when you're a college student, you don't have a ton of money. I was able to buy my first investment property with less than $1,000. So I really became an investor to have that freedom. And then I molded my career and the rest of life around fueling those investments so that I could ultimately end up doing what I wanted to do and have that freedom to make the most out of not only my life, but also the talents that I've been given.

How do you form relationships with high profile people?

That's a complex answer, I think. But I think it starts with one simple thing and that's with integrity. So if you are a professional, if you're even a young person if you're listening, do your best. That's what we teach our boys. So you want to do what you say you're going to do, and you want to do it to the best of your ability and high profile people spot that. They see drive, they see talent, it's almost like they can sense it. Now, whether you're an athlete or professional in any aspect of your career or life, I think that's the foundation. The other thing is if you find someone, I talked about this a lot when people say what advice do you have, find somebody who you can model success. So find somebody that's done what you want to do, and then ask them, ask them for their advice. I think people that are successful, like to share their success flaws are flattered, especially if it's first generation success, which we see a lot of that out there. So, do your best, do what you say you're going to do and feel free to ask people that you respect. If you do those two things, you're going to rapidly build a network.

Can you share with our listeners one of your favorite networking stories or experiences that you have

I would say probably recently, so I've developed a relationship with Open Doors of Nashville. They help shrink the gap between children and poverty. And the executive coach that I work with, we met through an investing group, but then we ended up maintaining our relationship because we both go to CrossFit together. So we've I've seen him in CrossFit, my boys are eight and ten. My wife has seen his family there and his children. He has a young son Connor who’s 17 and just ran 100 miles straight to raise money for this nonprofit, Open Doors of Nashville. And through my networking with Chris and the relationship that I've built with him over the years from a couple different, what I would call networking groups from an investing group, as well as CrossFit, which if you don't know, CrossFit, that well, there's a lot of community involved in that. But there's a big overlap there. And then ultimately, my wife ended up pacing Connor and through our sponsorship in support of this event through Chris, we were introduced to Open Doors and now we have a nonprofit endeavor where we're working with open doors to develop a financial literacy program. So if you kind of look at the pathway of multiple networking opportunities that are that are overlaid there.

How do you best nurture your network and community that you've created?

I think the easiest thing you can do is just reach out when people have a birthday is one thing. So I think it's forgotten. I still try to text people or give them a call on their birthday. Or maybe if you're on Facebook that's another great way that's really simple. So if you want to get started in networking and staying in touch, find out people's birthday. I think when you go up another level now you're talking about how do you basically cultivate a platform and a communication cadence so you're staying in touch with people. And kind of like an influencer, if you will. And what we've done with Next Level Income is we've developed content with the goal to help people achieve financial independence first through education. So we put out a lot of educational content that I've written over the past several years. We reach out once a week and provide them hopefully something that they see value in, and if it resonates a lot of times people will reach back out to me and do that. Again, really easy keeping in touch with people on a quarterly or annual basis.

What advice would you offer that business professional who's looking to grow their network?

I think one thing that I've really focused on over the past year is my LinkedIn network. So if you are trying to grow in business, whether it's kind of move up the corporate ladder, or you're trying to expand that network, I would definitely utilize LinkedIn, you can kind of reach out to different connections. Once you've built your network out, again, now you have to consider what your goals are. If you're building a platform, you're probably going to be putting content out there. If you're not, then just decide if you're looking for a new job with a company, start to network, reach out to people. You can go through LinkedIn or grab their email and reach out to them and just see if they have a few minutes to talk but make sure you have a point. Be direct, be clear with what your intentions are. And the other thing is, if you're going to talk to somebody, do a little bit of background research, because an individual I had a call with had some questions for me and really hadn't even checked out my website, and some of the stuff that I had up there. So, again, that's the opposite of what to do. If you want to grow your network. You know, do it organically through connections that you already have. And then to deepen those relationships, try to have one-on-one conversations, but make sure you're trying to provide value, or at least you have some background knowledge on those people.

Between digital networking and traditional networking, which one do you find more value in?

I still love sitting down face to face with somebody and having lunch. If you look at my goals, you'll see that once a week a face to face is still on there. So it's obviously it's a little more challenging now in a time of COVID, as we still are, but as the weather changed, I made an effort to meet people and we would go for a walk and we would have a conversation, or we would eat outside and do that. I think there are elements that we still don't fully appreciate when it comes to the human being, whether it's, kind of the transfer of energy or just reading body language. And Zoom does a good job of transmitting some of that. But I still don't think there is a substitute for one on one sitting down. So I highly encourage anybody listening if you have a really important meeting, or really important relationship that you're trying to build, I would make the effort to do that in person.

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of, less of, or differently with regards to your professional career?

I think what I would advise myself to do is, is listen a little bit more to the advice that I was given. I always kind of tried to try to choose my own path and do that. But if I could go back, I would say okay, take some of this advice from people that you want to emulate. And even if you disagree with it, dig a little bit deeper and figure out why it is and don't make an assumption when it comes to that. And then I would double down on that I would, I would find those people that were successful. And what I would probably do today is just find any way to work with them. And what I mean by that is I would probably offer to work for free, almost like an apprenticeship and find something of value that I could offer them. Figure out what they wanted to do, and then do it.

We've all heard of the six degrees of separation. Who would be one person that you'd love to connect with, and do you think you could do it to sixth degree?

My wife knows, I always had a thing for Elizabeth Hurley, we were born on the same birthday. She's English. I don't know if I could figure out how to how to meet her. That was kind of a joke. But there is another Chris Larsen. He founded Ripple and I think it was eLoans back in the day. And a lot of times I'll see him pop up like when I'm doing some stuff on our website. So Chris Larson will pop up. The most high-profile Chris Larson out there. So in all seriousness, I would love to meet him.

Do you have any final word or advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

Yeah, don't hesitate, don't hesitate. Don't be afraid to reach out. You’ll get some rejection but it's a very small amount. And you know, I'm of the abundance mindset. So when you're reaching out to people, you and your message and your energy will resonate with those people that feel the same way. So don't hesitate. Ignore any rejection that you get, and you'll find those connections that ultimately will help fulfill the destiny and that talent that you have.

How to connect with Chris:


FREE Book:


Sep 16, 2020

Today, Lori does a solocast in which she focuses on data and analytics. She shares 3 simple rules for where you should focus your measurement efforts.

Don't overwhelm yourself focus on what's easily available, confirm its accuracy, and most important is the information being collected going to allow you to make an intelligent business decision?

So let's dive into available. The data you're collecting should be collected quickly, you don't want to be investing a ton of time to collect information that who knows if it's really going to help you to make some smart decisions. You don't want to expend the effort that far exceeds the value of the data. When you're looking at what you want to measure, make sure that this is something that is within an arm's reach. You can quickly export information or you're using tools that are compiling these data points. At the end of the day, you want to make sure it's available. So you've got Google Analytics or maybe you can see the number of followers on a social media channel, or subscribers to your email list, how many phone calls that you made that day. This is all data that is easily accessible.

Let's look at the next one. You want to make sure it's accurate information. So we've all heard this phrase garbage in is garbage out. Well, at the end of the day, if the information that you're putting into a system is not accurate, the outcome of that information is not going to be accurate either. So much of reported marketing and sales data does not stand up to scrutiny. It's estimated, extrapolated and decimated to try and produce pertinent conclusions. You want to make sure that you have accurate information in order to be able to help tell the story that's being told with that information. Verify that your Google Analytics are set up properly and test that information. Confirm that when you have email subscribers on your list that they're not spam emails that are being plugged in. You want to make sure it's accurate information that's being used.

And the third item related to data is that it's actionable. You never want to waste time collecting data of minor value. You want to make sure that the data you collect is meaningful and has the potential of moving the needle on your marketing and sales goals. I have a thing that we practice here. Ss this action going to help us move the needle? Is this information going to help us move the needle in the right direction? So are you going to analyze the information and become paralyzed and without being able to make an intelligent business decision? That's the goal at the end of the day when looking at data and analyzing the information you want to be able to make a fairly quick, I would say, but an intelligent business decision.

If you need help with your data, diving into it, helping you figure out which specific items to measure, making sure they're easily available to you, confirming that the data that you have is accurate. And also, making sure that it's actionable, feel free to reach out.  is my company. And this is what we do - digital marketing at its finest. This was a quick tip, fast episode, hopefully that adds a lot of value to you and your day.

I'm happy to do more solo casts and if you have any questions that you'd like me to answer related to marketing, building relationships to help you achieve your business and sales goals, shoot me an email at and I will gladly answer your questions.

Sep 14, 2020

Meet Takeyla Tyson

I am an Accountant with 22 years of experience. I started as a bookkeeper and grew into a leadership role. I discovered that I really loved the field and was always asked questions by small business owners an thought about my own business one day. In January of 2016, I launched KMT Accounting Services, LLC. I wasn't quite sure what I would specialize in and so I took a more a la cart approach when I started. I now specialize in taxes, business operations/consulting and general accounting needs.

Why don't you just tell us a little bit about how you got started in the accounting field?

I started as a bookkeeper and when I first got into it, I really wasn't quite sure what accounting was. But I did know two things; one, I liked numbers and two, I liked puzzles. And for me, accounting was a good mix of that. So I started as a bookkeeper and ended up getting some good opportunities with some local entrepreneurs who had a bunch of different locations that they needed managed. And from there, I grew into their accountant. And as I moved from different areas of expertise from restaurant to construction, I started to pick up a lot of different skills and here I am now.

What are some of the things that you learned that you didn't know before you got into the field of accounting?

I did not know the long hours. I'm still learning things that I did not know about accounting, honestly. And I think if you ever stop learning, you don't grow. So, in the beginning, it was the long hours it was all these crazy schedules and how they interact with them. Different forms and when things are due and all these crazy things. In the era of COVID I'm learning all the new rules, and what they're allowing and disallowing and things like that. So, I've learned to never get comfortable with the county.

What do you wish that business owners knew about their accountant or accounting department?

That they’re assets. Your accounting department, your accountant, they are really your gatekeepers of your financial health, which is critical to any small business and I don't think especially the smaller businesses really get how critical having a very strong accountant or accountant team is to the livelihood of not only themselves but of the business itself. And understanding that it's not just them, quote unquote, doing your books. They really are your partners. And they should be working very closely together to make sure that the company is healthy.

Can you share with our listeners, one of your favorite networking experiences that you've had?

Networking is definitely still a thing. I know people sometimes ask about that or wonder about that, but it's definitely still who you know, and how well you're off, how good you are at building those relationships. So I'm speaking to previous quote unquote lives and my career, I've always made sure that people knew who I was. And it benefited me when I moved into another position where I say, oh, I worked for this particular company and this particular position, and right away, they're like, oh, you know, so and so? And all of a sudden, I went from the someone who was just applying for this job to someone who was given this job. It was amazing, because it was that point for me, where I realized that networking was so critical, because until that time, I didn't see the use for it.

How do you stay in front of the network that you've established?

I do that by sending those emails and keeping contact with them on social media, whether it's LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter, Instagram, wherever they are. Making sure I reach out if I see something that they posted or that they're talking about that I'm really interested in, I'll start a private conversation with them and say, care to catch a cup of coffee on me I want to talk about this a little more or you got 10 minutes for a phone call, I’d really like to know more about this and be genuine about it. People will definitely be open to talk about those things that matter to them. And then in time when you want some advice or you're looking for direction when you reach out, they don't look at it in a negative view. They're like, this person was always just looking for information. Let me help this person out.

What advice would you offer that business professionals looking to grow their network?

Get out of your comfort zone. Try to put yourself in situations where you don't know anyone and just really be genuine and honest with who you are, where you're going or what your interests are. I believe that every person if you take a good five minutes, you'll find one common interest that you can just launch a whole entire conversation on and just kind of break that ice. Whether it's your favorite TV show or favorite food, whatever it is. Strike up a conversation and then there you go. And then try to do something, when you do introduce yourself to those people who don't know, you try to find something really interesting and intriguing that will cause them to ask you follow up questions. Create that repertoire to where they want to continue to engage with you. And not just hi, my name is so and so and I do this.

Between digital and in-person networking, which one do you find more value in?

I still find more value in the traditional networking. Digital is great. It definitely makes for a quick, rapid fire introduction. It's becoming more digital, but networking nonetheless. I think those are still key. I kind of shy away from the I'm just going to randomly email somebody an intro or something like that. I do think email is a great way to kind of open the door and then let them walk through the rest of the process. I don't think traditional networking is going to go away.

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

I would say do more of traveling. Definitely. More traveling, more exposure to other cultures. Yeah, less worry. I think we spend a lot of our 20s just trying to get everything so perfect. I would have told my 20-year-old self to go into a lot of different fields because I think we get comfortable too young. And we're like, oh, I'm going to be a teacher well, try out something else. You never even thought you might not like. Maybe you're better being a chef or are you maybe your better being an architect or whatever, try a little bit of everything because especially your 20s there are so many internships out there. And you could try it for a month or two or whatever. The value of the exposure to those different fields are going to help you in so many different unexpected ways in your life.

We've all heard of the six degrees of separation. Now who would be the one person you'd love to connect with and do you think you can do it within the sixth degree?

I would try my best to do it within six degrees. But I would love to honestly sit down and talk to Warren Buffett. I would do it only because I do own some of this stock. And they do allow you to come and be present for the actual meetings. So that's my first foot in. And then I would network my butt off to get somewhere within 20 feet of him just to see if that gets me the other way there.

Do you have any final word or advice off for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

Don't ever miss that opportunity whether you're at a grocery store or you're going to Walmart. Take every opportunity you can to not just talk about your business but introduce yourself to people period. The simple hello goes a long way and a lot of times especially in this environment people are very starved for conversation. Just a simple hello could possibly open so many doors or give you new ideas or new ways of thinking about not only how to run your business or how to be more useful to the people that you want to serve. So I would say keep your eyes open, and keep your heart open and just keep doing it every day. At least introduce yourself to one person every time you leave the house.

How to connect with Takeyla


Phone: 414.367.6003


Sep 9, 2020

Meet Dr. Susan Lovelle

Dr. Susan Lovelle, The Thrive Architect, helps smart, busy women who are just surviving on caffeine and willpower design their own unique blueprint to the energy, power, and balance they want in their lives. Dr. Susan is the creator of Premiere Wellness, a comprehensive holistic health company based in Raleigh, NC, serving clients globally with customized wellness solutions for weight, energy, hormones, and more to help them heal from the inside out, leading to lasting, powerful change.

What's the best thing that I could do or any of our listeners could do right now to optimize their health and begin to thrive?

I come across so many people who literally are just surviving right now whether it's caffeine, wine, willpower, whatever it is, medications that they're on, they're just really kind of surviving. And what tends to happen is that you get stuck in that mindset, you feel that there's nothing that you can do other than just survive. And the most important thing is to realize that you can be proactive instead of just reactive. So by being proactive, you actually make steps to help yourself get better by knowing what's going on in your body. So that's literally the very best thing that you can do to start knowing your body knowing what it needs and then giving it to it.

How do I know what's right for me?

That is the number two thing that comes to me is that if go on Dr. Google and you know the Dr. Webb and everything and you either get way too much information and you think that you've got a million different things and you try and do a million different things. Or even if it is the right information, it may not be the right thing for you. So for instance, how many times do you hear about somebody going on some, whatever the newest diet fad is, and they lose, you know, 20-30 pounds, just like that. And then you try it and not only don't you lose weight, you actually gain weight. And what that's all about is that it's just not the right thing for you.

What is the process to really figuring out what is the right thing?

It sounds very simplistic, but the best thing to do is to listen to your body. Know the messages that your body is trying to give you. So for instance, if you were driving into the desert and your check engine light comes on. Would you just slap a little piece of tape over the check engine light? Driving? No, you wouldn't. Exactly. So we're doing the same thing what our body's telling us these little messages like when we have aches when we have bloating or abdominal discomfort when we have pain. These are the messages. These are the check engine lights that our body is giving us to tell us whoa, something's not right. Take a look and fix it.

What's the difference between traditional medicine approach and functional medicine and really, why is this important?

I actually grew up in the traditional health field and I was a plastic surgeon for over 22 years. I went to Columbia University in New York City, what you learn there is how to diagnose someone, and then what treatment to give them. So for instance, if they were diabetic, you're going to get this particular diabetic medicine. If you have high blood pressure, you're going to get this medicine with this treatment. And it really was about treating the symptoms, not for finding the actual root cause, like what is causing this person to have high blood pressure. And there are many different reasons why someone could. It could be a mineral deficiency, it could be stress, it could be food sensitivities, lots of different things. So rather than just treating the symptom and making the symptom go away, you dig a little deeper and you find out why that person is suffering with that particular condition. And you fix that and then it's kind of like instead of if you had a tree, when you want the tree to look pretty and healthy. Would you paint the leaves with green paint? Or would you heal the roots?

Could you share with our listeners one of your favorite networking experiences that you've had?

I probably would be your most perfect person to listen to the podcast all the time. Because I used to be that very same way I used to hate going out and network I would feel like I have to meet as many people as I can meet and I have to throw my card to as many people as I possibly can. And that's not networking. So I eventually learn from people like you and podcasts like you that instead it’s more about making a relationship. And so with all that being said, I met Dr. Deb Matthews, she's an integrative physician, who happens to be in Charlotte, North Carolina, met her at a seminar for integrative physicians. And we started talking and became friends. And that has led to me having speaking engagements, TV interviews, got a spot on a nine-part docu series. And it was really just because we made that connection as opposed to me saying, oh, you know, I've got to go and hand out my card. It was more about making that connection.

How do you stay in front of our best nurture the community and the relationships that you've created?

It's changed a bit, as you can imagine over the last few months. Previously, I did both in person and online. So I would have workshops and seminars and things like that. So even some retreats, which are wonderful, but we're not doing those right now. So now everything is online, and I do our weekly webinars on a particular health topic. And then I do Facebook lives again once a week and those who are a little, of course, a little shorter, a little bit more informal and really just kind of ask the doc sort of things. And then the third thing is I do podcasts like this one.

What advice would you offer that business professional who's looking to grow their network?

Because we're all online in, at least for the most part where we are here in North Carolina, I have found that I'm getting actually bombarded by people who want to make those connections. And what I found is that I really have to be selective. Because at this point, we just don't have the bandwidth to be everything to everyone. And I really have to pick and choose which way I want to go. And so what I do is I really focus on where I want to grow my practice, how I want that to grow. And then right now, if someone is a good fit for that, then we'll connect and kind of go through that. But if they're not, if it's just noise, I'll put it out that if it's just noise at this point, I have to kind of say no, because I can't do everything.

Between digital networking and tradition networking, which one do you find more value in?

As I mentioned, it's obviously digital, but previously the in person was more productive and when it’s done properly. So when it's more like when I met Dr. Matthew when it’s more of a connection and friendship that we develop as opposed to, you know, here's my card, give me your card, and you know, whatever and throw them in the back.

If you could get back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

The biggest thing was that I would have built my infrastructure differently. So back when I started my plastic surgery practice I got talked into by all the reps and that I had to have the newest stuff and it had to be brand new and it had to be the top line and everything and I had to have all of this staff and I put everything together all at once for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Which I then paid off over the next few years. So if looking at that, I would say don't do it that way, do it the way that I do it now and I just add things as I need them. So if I need a new staff person, I'll get that staff person, if I need a particular piece of equipment or product in my line, that I do the due diligence, and I'll add them as opposed to trying to do everything all at once.

We've all heard of the six degrees of separation. Who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? Do you think you could do it within the 6th degree?

I'm going to cheat and make it two people. And it would be the Obamas at this point. And I would start with the Princeton connection, because both my daughters and Michelle Obama went there.

Any final word or advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

So the lesson that I learned over the years was to enjoy it. And as I mentioned before, really focus on developing the relations sips not just making a contact. And once you do that, then it's fun. You enjoy going to the networking event you enjoy speaking with people and just connecting one on one and then you never know what's going to come out of that.

How to connect with Dr. Lovelle:



Sep 2, 2020

Today Lori’s solocast is on Digital Marketing Research Fundamentals.

Now this is important because networking is all about building relationships and connections and likely for more reasons than not it’s because of business. And business comes down to understanding who that audience is that you want to be communicating with. So why is research important when we're talking about a marketing strategy? Well, the definition of research, according to Wikipedia, is research comprises of creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humans, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.

So if you think about this, you're going to be spending more time and money experimenting before you're getting things done, versus moving forward and doing the research to help you focus on where should you be targeting, where should you be investing your time. A lot of the guests that we have on the show talk about being very strategic in the events that they attend or the organizations that they're a part of and in hopes of aligning themselves to get in front of the right people.

Let's start with yourself, you really need to know who you are. What is it that you stand for? What problems are you solving for the world? Why should people want to connect with you? You want some sort of distinction that you don't want them to turn to a competitor. You don't want them to think twice about going anywhere else. You want them to believe that they are getting the right thing. They're having the right conversation with the right person at the right time.

Ready for more? Listen in as Lori goes more in depth on how to apply digital marketing research to YOUR business!

Aug 31, 2020

Meet Dr. Jim Bohn

Dr. Jim Bohn has organizational expertise and insight from decades of successfully leading leaders and business savvy derived from observing the organizational behavior of multiple Fortune 500 organizations. He has taught as an adjunct at UWM, Marquette and Concordia, and has spoked at conferences and workshops throughout the U.S. After several decades with a Fortune 100 company, Dr. Bohn launched his own Change Management and Organizational Transformation Practice.

So what is your motivation for writing and sharing your knowledge?

I've worked in the corporate world for over 40 years, I've worked with literally thousands of people through that time. And what I want to do at this stage of my life is to share my experience, specifically targeting southeast Wisconsin from the Madison, Green Bay, Milwaukee chord and just share the things that I've learned my successes, my failures, through my podcasts, through workshops through keynotes, through books. I mean, my books are obviously available worldwide, but my primary goal is to help southeast Wisconsin be successful. I've lived here most of my life. I was born in Milwaukee, worked with several different companies in Milwaukee area, including Johnson Controls. So this is the area that I want to focus on at this stage of my life.

What would you consider to be unique about how you develop your style?

I'm a persistent guy just based on the notion that I believe things can be done. It just takes effort, takes work. And so my style is to try to get things that are complex. And clearly in a PhD program, there are plenty of complex things boiled down into two new fragments and concepts that everyone can understand. So there's not a lot of theory, but it's more actionable stuff that we can all use to get things done. Getting things into a format where we can start to look at action that's going to be valuable for everybody is really key. We have to move from words and rhetoric, which is very important, but we've got to move to things that we can actually put feet on the street and get things done.

What should people know about the process you took to develop your capabilities?

My capabilities specifically, I want to talk about my organizational engagement scale. And that would be the primary capability of the work that I do. It's an instrument to literally check organizational engagement as opposed to employee engagement. Employee engagements used across the world, but it's starting to lose a little bit of its steam because it's been used for so long. And in my PhD program, I learned that no one in the world that ever checked the idea of being able to measure what would be called organizational level efficacy. So I thought, Well, that sounds like a pretty easy project. Haha. So it took me 14 different companies again in southeast Wisconsin to design and develop it. And then the capability that I have there within that instrument and those tools are able to measure whether or not an organization believes it knows where it's going. Simple, concrete terms that mean a lot to everyone. As far as my own personal capabilities, again, I look back at just candidly knowing where I was going and what I wanted to accomplish and sticking with it until it got done.

Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

I worked with some people in my research a long time ago. And that person happened to be somebody I remembered. And I continued to work through my research. And when I got done with it, I went back and checked this person out on LinkedIn, and said, can we get together sometime and we talked a little bit. And before long, she connected me with a bigger organization in Milwaukee, who then connected me with more people in the manufacturing community than I ever could have been connected with, no matter how hard I worked because this other organization knows just about every manufacturer. Always look for those warm contacts, people that you know, people that like you people that trust you, people who are willing to have a conversation with you, and they're not threatened by it. It's not a cold call at all. It's like, gosh, I haven't talked to you in a long time, let's get together, but knowing that they also have connections within broader communities, and they may be willing to bring you in. That's, a really big one for me.

How do you stay in front of and best nurture these relationships that you're creating?

I think it takes a lot of care and feeding of specific people who you know are interested in helping you and who know that you can help them, I think that's a key in networking. It can't just be one way, it can't just be get me someplace if there's got to be some sort of give and take. By the way, I don't try to meet with 20-30 people a month, I'm more interested in meeting with two or three people that are really critical in my sphere, and then going deep, spending time thinking about what's going on, what's happening out there, learning more about where they're going, what they're trying to accomplish, and seeing if I can help them. To me, I've always been a big fan of the bite sized pieces. Let's go deep with a couple of things so that you can take this forward and make it successful. I think with most of life, not to bite off too much, but find two or three things that are critical, and give a lot of feeding to those specific relationships.

What advice would you offer the business professionals to grow their network?

Sit down with a piece of paper, yellow pad and a pencil and write down people that you know, that you want to have contact with that know you very well, they trust you. You know them and they know you and those people who have had some at least a good couple of years relationship with you. That is the starting point. Because in my mind, you cannot get a really good contact outside of them. Unless you have a warm contact with them. Does that make sense?

When you look at digital networking versus traditional networking, which one do you find more value in?

I'm a kind of a traditional networker that fits my personality better. I mean, I use the digital stuff as appropriate for follow up emails, contacts, meetings, and so forth. But I really like to get together with people to have them see me as I am. And then after that use the digital stuff candidly. I'll be real honest, I'm not willing to put quite as much work into the electronic stuff, digital stuff, as I would into the face to face.

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of, less of, or differently with regards to your professional career?

Well, you're going find this funny but my 20-year-old self was playing electric guitar in a band. And working as an aluminum siding installer and a couple of other jobs because my 20-year-old self wanted to be a rock and roll star. What I would say to my 20 year old self is remember you have to pay the electric bill and the guitar is good, Jim, but you have to get a job that's ultimately going to build something for you and for your future. The guitar wasn’t the thing that brought me my income per se. I had to raise a family and I really don't think the 20-year-old guy could have done that. I think he got a little smarter along the way. But that's what I would say. Make sure you focus on an everyday building something toward a career that's going to have long term impact. And as I look at some of the decisions that I started to make a little beyond that, they definitely had the impact that I've had.

We've all heard of the six degrees of separation, who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? And do you think you could do it within the six degree?

That person would be Barack Obama. But I don't know that I could get him through the six degrees of separation. I just think he's an incredibly interesting person. I mean, I'm sure that he and I would disagree on a lot of stuff. But I think sitting across the table with a cup of coffee would be very, very interesting. I don't know that I could get there with the six degrees of separation. I'd have to think about that.

Do you have any final words or advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

I think the key thing is to two things: take the long view, I tell people this all the time, take the long view. If you don't get exactly what you want, at this moment in time, if you can get 2% of what you wanted, and build on that, take the long view and take satisfaction in that. That's a good thing. There's three things. So the second one would be to reject rejection quickly. In other words, if something doesn't go right, just throw it out. Just move on. We'll pass rejection very quickly and that even includes in networking. If something didn't work, well don't spend a lot of time and not a lot of your own personal emotional energy going, why didn't that work, etc, you probably have a pretty good visceral idea of why, of why that didn't work out, but don't spend a lot of time there. And I think the other thing is, you have this sort of long term life crafting that goes along with the long view is that what I'm trying to build here? What is it in my life that I'm trying to build? Am I trying to build peace of mind for myself? Am I trying to build healing for other people? Because everyday, you can always look at that long term set of things coming together and say, yeah, I did a little bit more of that today. And they'll get me past the times when things didn't go right.

How to connect with Dr. Jim Bohn


Twitter: @DrJimBohn


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