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 the.com 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