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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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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.
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