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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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


Aug 26, 2020

Meet Deb Seeger

Deb is the managing director at BDO Resource Solutions. Deb has been recognized as a female entrepreneur by receiving the woman of influence award in 2015. Prior to joining BDO Deb was a co-founder of Patina Solutions. She spent over a decade in professional services consulting. She's an innovator, keynote speaker and panelists in the field of employment trends, workforce of the future, agile talent solutions and building strong cultures.

How do you tie in the personal networking goals that you have to align the goals of that of your firm?

Networking is so important because it's really part of everything we do as we go out into the business world. I thought of it from early on is this idea of really building friendships, maybe more for a business reason, but friendships to me start with getting to know people. And understanding that we can go a lot farther in with a group of people and the resources that we all bring together than we can alone.

How does one appropriately tap their network when in that state when looking for a new job?

Having been through a transition for really first time in my career, and also having been coaching executives in transition for many years now, I believe going forward, I'm going to be a better coach. Because I've already talked about the idea of networking. But I saw a lot of executives in my career who worked really hard to kind of build a wall of separation around themselves so that other outsiders, and sometimes competitive firms or vendors, providers, salespeople, you know, couldn't get in, so to speak. But then when those folks were at a stage in their career, where they were in a transition, they really didn't have enough of a network that they could go out and engage with in order to help them in their career transition. So I think it's really important for people to understand that you may never need to ask somebody a favor. And it wasn't until recently when I was in transition that I realized it was really valuable to have such a vast network of people that I've done a ton of favors for over my career. And I think about it as like the bank of the universe. If you're putting out favors and doing favors for other people one day, when you need something, you're going to have a lot of people that you'll be able to consider to call on for help.

Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking stories that you have?

My son who graduated from college in 2008. And as he was really looking at the job market, one of the things he considered was going back to get his graduate degree, which he ended up doing. I said to my son, if you see anybody in my network that you want to go and just learn from, because you have a lot of learning to do about the kind of career you want. And maybe you'll see people who are in careers that you find interesting. But you got to go and just go talk to a lot of people. So I was really happy number one that he did in the two years while he was getting his graduate degree. He spoke to 100 people, either by phone or in person. And what I really appreciated about his experience was he came back to me towards the end of that experience, and he said, Mom, not one person said no to me. And that means I did a good job of doing favors for people who were happy and returned to do this favor for me.

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

I think the other thing about having a giving mindset or an abundance mindset is knowing that you have to intentionally and deliberately schedule time for it. Again, there's a person who wrote a book and in that book, the author talks about his internal personal discipline that every day he decides he's going to write X number of emails to reach out to people or make X number of phone calls, or how it reaches out but he's going to do it intentionally. To let them know that he either saw something they did and wanted to recognize reward a birthday, an award, a news article. And so it's part of the everyday routine. And I think that's a good best practice is to really make time to nurture your network so that you are not going to ever be seen as the person who's only in contact with somebody when you need something.

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

Growing the network to me is kind of two things that are the same. If you seek to learn from others then you seek out others from whom you want to learn. And so that's part of that daily discipline that could be added to nurturing your existing network every day, is also then looking out and seeing people who are out there who are leading an industry trend. People who've written articles that you found interesting, people that are solving problems that anything that you're coming across in your daily, either news cycle or work of interest or passion. And then again, make time to go out and seek those professionals that you want to learn from. Because when you start with this idea of being open and first seek to understand, again, it's been my experience that most people are willing then to open up and share.

Right now, the traditional networking is definitely at a standstill. But between the two digital and traditional networking, which one do you find more value in?

It is hard right now that we can see each other in person but the idea of meeting in person in a way really only restricts you to a geographic network. And so while it's important to have face to face conversations with people, especially when networking or things around those things where the stakes are high. There’s nothing like in person but of course now that we can do online virtual meetings. That's better than any other time in our history where we can expand our network. And then thank God for LinkedIn where we really can use the digital network game platform to go out and reach out to people that we may otherwise never have been introduced to or known about. So I think they're both important.

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

The first thing about my 20-year-old self is not necessarily about my professional career, but I was asked this at the women of influence award is what we can tell your 20-year-old self? And my answer was, don't eat that. When we get into more of the professional career advice that I would give my 20 year old self, and we didn't have some of the tools digitally when I was starting my career, but it would be don't be afraid, ask it maybe even a perfect stranger, because to network or to meet with you if you really are genuine and authentic and your desire to learn from them and hear their story. Because most of the time that invitation will be met with an acceptance and so I myself fell into that same kind of thing that I think younger people do is I don't have anything to offer. And I had to quickly realize that as long as I was seeking with a genuine, earnest desire to learn most people won't say no to that now. People are busy, they can't fill their calendars with stuff like that. And so you have to be judicious in it. But I think it's to go out there kind of fearlessly with the idea that you have the right intention. Start today and start building your bank because the power of compounding interest is the same those relationships grow and they develop into really rich relationships over your career.

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

I would say, keep in mind that if you go out with the best of intentions, it's not it's not like it has to be a perfect science. It's not that you're going to break something and say yes, as much as you can. Because that’s kind of the pay it forward, giver abundance mentality that helps people build rich networks. And so I have been rewarded by people who did favors for me as much as I've been rewarded by knowing that I did some huge favors for some other people. And both of those things make us feel good. So what you're doing along the way is collecting these small gifts. And what that ends up is doing is building a strong foundation for yourself. So that if you are ever in a situation where you need to make a withdrawal from the bank, you're going to be able to do it.

How to connect with Deb:



Aug 24, 2020

Meet Tanya Stanfield

A brand strategist, sales leader, performance activator, and well-being advocate, Tanya is a multi-dimensional entrepreneur dedicated to using her superpowers of content and connection to build brands and create communities for good. Her most recent project, MKTG XT, is a cross-training community built for marketers of all types to gather and build stronger skills, stronger networks, and transformed careers.

What are some of the general struggles that everyone's experiencing right now in this current environment?

First, I think a lot of people are experiencing a lot of uncertainty. And some might argue that goes without saying. But we all know that a lot of times marketing is the first to go when companies are struggling financially. So that's definitely top of mind. It's just a lot of uncertainty. But I think another thing marketers struggle with, and I think particularly marketers who work in house, more on the client side, is the thing I see here over and over stakeholder engagement, stakeholder management, influencing others who might not work on your team with who you need on board to accomplish certain goals is a constant challenge that I hear marketers talk about over and over again.

What can marketing leaders do to support themselves and our colleagues during this time?

I think during this time, what marketing leaders and colleagues can do to support themselves and each others is through continuing to just connect with each other and keep communication open with each other and continue to learn, educate themselves and also educate others. You know, when we talk about those stakeholders, again, there's just uncertainty all across the spectrum. And I think the more leaders and their teams can connect with others outside of their disciplines and really learn about what they value, what your colleagues value, and then share what you value as well. I think that's really important. It's all about capturing that. Our job as marketers is to capture customer value. But we also need to capture company value as well. So learning what's important to everyone from the C suite, in finance and everywhere in between. So really building relationships with each other and across disciplines I think is really important right now.

So how do you personally continue to stretch and develop your skills as a marketer?

I am a self-admitted introvert. An error I think earlier, my career was that I didn't really reach out a lot for help. Or I thought I had to learn things on my own. And while being self-sufficient, is really valuable. I found the most value in the past couple of years as I've progressed more in my career, in learning through speaking with others, and talking to others, and that's just not in my own industry, although that's been very important. Because our industry just changes so fast. I don't think there's any way you can keep up with the industry completely. But talking to people who are actually in it every day is a key part of how I've been able to keep up. So like talking to people in my industry, and then talking to people in other industries and just learning more and more about how other businesses operate. That's really how I've been able to manage my own education.

Can you share with our listeners, one of your most successful or favorite networking stories that you have?

About five years ago when I was still working at a consulting firm, and I was pretty early in my career there, I was really struggling to understand how I can move up. I can speak in front of big crowds of people that's not a problem. But when it came to more impromptu speaking, when someone asked me a question in a meeting answering off the cuff, I would just get my heart would just pound I could hear it and I would get so nervous. So from then I decided to join Toastmasters which I'm sure you've heard of. Every Toastmasters group is different. it's an international organization, complete with chapters, local chapters, and I think in Chicago, they're probably like, over 50 chapters. So every chapter has its own unique culture. But I tried a chapter that was 100% focused on not just public speaking, but professional networking. It was only for professionals. You had to be a working professional. And after we would go through our meeting where someone would have tabled topics, which is where that impromptu speaking comes in. And when someone would do their speech, we always did networking afterwards and we would meet at a hotel. And I think I made the best connections professionally and personally on my life being a part of that group.

How do you stay in front of them best nurture these relationships in your network in your community?

I think that's something that is since I have met so many people throughout my career and my many businesses and all my travels, keeping up with that can be really difficult. What I started doing is I honestly started scheduling it in. And I resisted that for a long time because it felt I didn't want it to feel like another meeting. And it also felt kind of lame to schedule in keeping in touch with someone. But I found that I've had to do that not just in my professional networking life, but with my business, I'm terrible, but with my own family, because what doesn't get planned doesn't get done. So when it comes to nurturing my network I have regular intervals where I touch base with people and sometimes that can be a phone call, just dropping in on LinkedIn to people and just saying hi, and saying how's it going and trying to keep up that cadence. I think particularly with people who are struggling professionally right now, I just have such a heart for that struggle. I've been there before. So I really have this cadence going of just dropping in on people on LinkedIn and saying, Hey, how's it going? How can I help you out? So that that's how I've been doing it.

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

It's time to start reaching out and it can be something as simple as you talk about that, that closest five, you know, determine who your closest five might be. And even if it just starts with two, that's a start. So I would definitely recommend doing that because It can be a little challenging if you start too big, it can be hard to sort of focus on where you should start. But if you don't have anyone to start with if you're feeling completely alone and sort of out in space, and I think that's really, that's how a lot of you are feeling right now in this new virtual environment, join a community. You and I were talking earlier about how virtual communities seem to be a thing. So whatever that community might be for you. Join it for a little bit. It's always a little awkward at first, and that maybe I'm just saying that because I am an introvert. And I'm not one to always feel super comfortable jumping into conversations, but it's definitely a start.

Let's talk about digital versus traditional networking. Obviously, the traditional networking has a lot of restrictions today, just in general which one do you find more value in?

This is a tough one to answer because I do miss connecting with people face to face. And I was just thinking about this this morning, even in my own work where I do a lot of sales calls and everything or I do calls with my clients. I am missing sort of going on site and seeing my clients because I do feel like that personal connection, there's just less distraction. I think sometimes that there is such a thing as screen fatigue, but I am finding a way to make it work digitally. Having conversation starters which I think is a really great way to sort of get digital connections going. But I also think digital is better in a way because I'm finding that people are a lot more open and honest about what's really going on with them in a digital space. I think sometimes when you talk to people face to face, they're not always super comfortable bringing up the things that are challenging them. But now I'm getting to know them on a deeper level because there's a little more comfortable sharing a little bit more about what's going on, the things that they're struggling with, the things that they're looking forward to, the things that they're not looking forward to the thing that they're fearful about. I'm finding that people are a lot more open to talking about that in the digital space.

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?

This is how I can get a little personal but I mentioned how I was going to those working events early on especially when I first moved to Chicago, and I would always go with a group. And they were sort of my buffer, but it was a big group so the buffer was almost like a wall. So I think I would have been pushed a little differently, I think I would have went to events with maybe fewer people. And also, I think the drinking aspect of a lot of those networking events was sort of the pull for us in our 20s. And I think because of that, I was able to do less authentic connecting. You weren't really taught to network in college and all of a sudden you're expected to do it. And you're like, what is this? I think I would have I would have approached networking groups a little differently. Oh, and join more groups and stuff going to more events, more affinity groups, I would have joined more boards. That's something I really wish I would have done in my 20s when I had a lot more energy to do that type of thing.

And so we 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 sixth degree?

I started my business three years ago, but it really didn't start taking off probably until about a year and a half ago. And that all changed when I started listening to a podcast called Earn Your Happy hosted by Lori Harder. Lori Harder and her husband, Chris Harder also has a podcast called For the Love of Money. And I will say hands down those two podcasts have changed my life. They've really changed the trajectory of my career, my business. They are both from Wisconsin originally. So I have to believe that somehow I am connected to them through the six degrees of separation.

Do you have any final word or advice off our listeners about growing and supporting their networks?

I would just say just keep on doing it. I know, it's hard in this virtual environment where we don't know when things are going to get back to “normal”. And I think it's really easy to sort of slip into isolation. I think that's something that I'm really concerned about not just from a professional level, but on a personal level. So I would encourage people to do what you can. And it doesn't have to be anything big. Drop one person a message every day, if you can just say hi, just keep in touch with people do little things to grow your network every day. Because over time, it's going to compound it's going to make a real difference. And it's just going to make you feel better about whatever business challenges or what challenges you're going through having a network around you to support, you can really sort of pull you out of a negative mindset and really help you see possibilities.

How to connect with Tanya:



Aug 3, 2020

Meet Jennifer White

Jennifer began her career as an engineer and combines analytical ingenuity with a talent for leadership. With a decade of professional experience informing her expertise in supply chain strategy and process and systems design, Jennifer is a talented communicator with a passion for motivating clients to transform their assumptions and achieve high performance. She is known for applying her sharp analytical skills to develop innovative solutions.

So what is a business transformation?

Business transformation is essentially a change management initiative. So we typically walk our clients here at the MJW group from a current state to their ideal future state. And we focus on four essential levers which is people, processes, data, and technology. So within those four levers, whatever you're trying to change it normally will impact one of those four essential operations.

Let's talk a little bit more about people, process, data, and technology. Why are those so important to business?

People are your greatest asset. It is important to have people available and willing to do the work that your company provides services for. People hold keys, people hold a lot of knowledge. They hold the magic is usually what I call it. Processes are what everyone follows. It's beating to the same drumbeat. There isn't confusion. Data is being the funnel of your business. You have inputs of data and you have outputs of data. You need it to understand how well your company is operating. They provide key insights into certain metrics and criteria to really understand your business in general. Without data, we would have no idea how much money we're making, how many clients we're supporting. And technology is important because without technology now in 2020, we wouldn't really survive the amount of manual transactions that one may be doing. Without technology it would really cramp your people. I mean, they would not want to operate that way. So it's very important to have the right technology embedded in your operations and your business to keep everything going consistently.

How exactly do you help businesses, especially those that have been around for many years?

Well, one thing I'll say is we help you increase profit. And we do that through expense reduction in automation. So obviously, with technology, it's going to increase the amount of automation within your business say, if your accounting department was doing invoices by hand, you know before and now you've brought in a tool that can assist them with automating invoices and sending it to the client without you having to send it yourself via email. I mean, that's a huge transformation. Also, as far as a transformation goes, with expense reduction, think about the redundancies that happen in roles and responsibilities. So if you don't take the time to really deep dive into what your people are doing, you could be paying for two or three roles that are creating the same work.

I'm hoping that you can share with our listeners one of your favorite or most successful networking experiences that you've had.

I would say on the social media sites I've really upped my game during this pandemic. That's how you and I met, right? And I've just really opened and expanded my horizons to learning from other people and just being open and willing to have conversations more than I ever have. And it has led to some great partnerships and collaboration. But otherwise just having more of the face to face networking in person I was limited to local areas or regional areas and now, being more open on social media has allowed me to connect with people all over the world. And it's a game changer. I can totally see the difference in what I'm doing and it's made a big impact on our business.

How do you make sure you stay in front of them best nurture these relationships that you've created?

Recently I've taken on developing more of a content marketing strategy. For our business, where, to me, it's mainly getting in front of our ideal clients, the experiences that we've had in the MJW group and why you should trust us with your business transformation or proving your processes or continuous improvement initiative. Content Marketing allows us to take a recap of where we've been and what we've gone through and highlight how we can help our ideal clients with those same struggles.

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

Just get out there, just have an open mind and open yourself up so you can expand. I can't tell you how much it's helped us grow and put us in front of people that I never would have thought about connecting with or offering value to them and them offering value to me at the same time. Just be open and willing to try new things is most important right now. As we shift into kind of going back to old ways don't do that. Be different. I challenge everyone to be different.

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

I like both but I would say digital because I've been in it now for a good four months almost. I feel people are a little bit more genuine, digitally, or virtual access to people whereas in-person, you're against time constraints, sometimes. There's an agenda that's preset if it's a meeting or a guest speaker sometimes in person and you may not have a lot of time for networking, and then you're exchanging numbers and information. I think the digital transformation that's happening is kind of keeping people more accountable. You're being forced to look at your calendar more, you're being forced to do things online more so it's in your face more often than when it was networking in person when you may lose track of that person's information per se.

When you were 20 years old, what would you tell yourself to do more of, less of, or differently with regards to your professional career?

More of listening, less thinking I know the answer all the time. Being more willing to expand and learn new things not being afraid to learn new things.

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 sixth degree?

One of my favorite mentors in my head is Jim Rohn. But I just fell in love When I first heard him speak on audio tape. And I listened to him quite frequently and the things that he was talking about in the 70s and 80s and 90s are still they still are true today. He left us a gift. And one thing I learned from him that I adopted is journaling and keeping all of your journals. I remember in a lecture he spoke about how his kids would have access to all of his journals once he passed away. And so for the last three years, every one of my journals that I've completed, I've made sure to keep them somewhere where they wouldn't get ruined and they will be intact for my future generations.

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

As I mentioned before, just have an open mind because when you open yourself up to learn from others, you will start expanding your own growth personally and within your business as well. I always teach people to educate and inspire someone else. So if it's your team always be looking for opportunities to educate and inspire them to want to do the same thing. Willingness to learn and be open and have an awareness. So if you know what I'm doing, how does it impact the next person and if you focused on that your business will continually grow.

How to connect with Jennifer:



Jul 29, 2020

Meet Wayne Breitbarth

I'm still, as in three years ago, helping folks, organizations, companies understand how to use LinkedIn better. I know the site is confusing. It has a ton of power. And that's where, you know if it was easy, people would need me but it's not. It's complex. It's confusing. The objectives for people change so they don't know how to use it. And so I'm still in that space of helping people understand how to take the world's largest database, which now has almost 700 million and put it to use for them.

Are there new rules to how you use LinkedIn now or are businesses jumping on board? Because everyone's online now, what do you see happening?

So it's interesting because I do think there is more recognition of virtual tools like LinkedIn. Because virtual is something that like sales teams, especially sales teams have been at home, not able to go to networking, not able to go visit customers. And so they've had to find a way to stay in contact with their existing customers. Start some new prospecting balls rolling and I've got more business owners since COVID hit reaching out to me from years ago when they saw me speak way back in the day and say I think it's finally time for my sales guys to understand this crazy thing. And even me, I should understand this better. So those kinds of openings are happening.

So what are some of your top tips or some of the top trends you're seeing specific for companies?

I think especially when it comes to COVID that posting and sharing updates about what your company is up to and things going on has been hotter than ever. That people are now getting more comfortable with the posting process and starting to understand that there is an algorithm and that they have to play, let's call it or work the algorithm. I think that's something that people are learning or have learned. They've also learned the importance of having a better profile and company page than they probably did because they're getting more views. People are viewing profiles, because it's something you can do online. And so I think that improving profiles, improving company pages and understanding what a good post is seems to be the focus of a lot of the conversations that I’ve been having.

Is there a framework or a formula for what creates a good post?

Yeah, there is, and it boils down to understanding the algorithm. And how much organic reach LinkedIn is going to give you. So it's as simple as this. There are several things you can post you can post a document, you can post a link, you can post a video, you can post a text only. Here's the way LinkedIn looks like the algorithm is working currently, they do like polls because they're brand new. Whenever something is new on LinkedIn, they give it more organic reach. They like videos. And I don't mean videos that go to YouTube or Vimeo as they do not like those. But organically uploaded videos perform well. Documents perform well. Links perform the least well, text only will actually perform better than a link and it boils down to this. LinkedIn does not want you sending their users off site, if you can avoid it. Now, that being said people like you and I, we like to get people to visit our website. And so that's the lowest organic reach that you're going to get that being said, do you still do it, you bet you do it, we still do it. But what you want to try to do, in all these cases, especially if you're going to do a link to a website, or a blog post, or something like that, is you got to work on getting your engagement up. And that typically means this that you need to get some folks in your organization or if you're a real small company, some friends, too, that are going to engage in your posts, especially in the first hour.

What about the company pages? What I'm seeing right now on LinkedIn is very heavy with the individual posting content and not so much content coming from company pages.

The personal page post is going to do about four times better if it's exact same content. And the reason that is, Lori, is because LinkedIn has a way for you to pay money to basically boost a company page post. So they give it very little organic reach. Because there is a way to write LinkedIn a check on a personal profile, you can’t boost that at all. And that's why you don't see many of them.

What are some best practices you have around making InMail connections from a new business standpoint?

What people have to recognize is, if I'm connecting with you, as somebody in my target audience, and you accept my connection request, and then you think that 30 minutes later, you should pop out a really long sales pitch message, then that's a terrible marketing technique. You need to share some nice content when you thank the person for connecting.

I see a lot of people doing the sponsored or the just the paid ads. And I think there's a lot of opportunity to be maximizing that right now on LinkedIn. What are you seeing from a paid ad side of things on LinkedIn right now?

So paid ads can work. They're very pricey. I mean, LinkedIn is in the range of, you know, $5, $6, $7 a click for a paid ad. For most small businesses, that's a tough budget. If you have a product that delivers you enough gross profit for a lifetime customer, then you probably could put together a decent budget for that. That's why I think still the best play Lori is to connect with people that are in your target audience. Come up with some nice content, working with a company, like yours, to develop a nice white paper and some nice blog posts and get those things in their inbox as a direct message. When you have those new pieces of content, always reminding people you're available when it's time, their time for this kind of consultation. That's the right strategy.

Let's talk a little bit more about your business. Who do you primarily work with Wayne?

Small to mid-size business owners and their sales teams are probably my sweetest spot where I help them understand, usually via webinar or zoom events and show them how to use LinkedIn to find clients, communicate, do a bunch of techniques we just talked about. That’s one of my segments. Another segment I do is, I do one-on-one consultations with individuals. And those could range from job seekers, to business owners, to salespeople, any of the above. I also work at universities, for how to help students use LinkedIn to find jobs, but also how their alumni relations and development and foundations use LinkedIn to go out and find alums, to sponsor events and to be involved in the campaigns and those kinds of things. Those are pretty much the segments that I serve.

How can you be a resource to your network and mine?

I would say that number one way is for people to get to my website, which is, or find me on LinkedIn. And on both those pages, you will find tons of free LinkedIn stuff. I write a blog every week. I do videos, I do webinars that sometimes are free, sometimes are paid, where you can come to a workshop and buy a seat to that virtual workshop.

Do you have any tips or resources to share with our listeners?

There's a brand-new feature on your LinkedIn profile called Featured. So it's a feature called Featured. Don't miss that. You can put now in a high visibility spot way up near the top of your profile, links to your website, uploaded documents, and it shows up sort of like a carousel, almost like a sliding billboard. Wonderful tool and it's the first time on LinkedIn that these pieces of media that we could put on our profile, click right through to a website. But to get to your featured section, if you don't have it, go up to your add profile selection button, hit the down arrow, I think it's the second or third item says Featured and then just pick what you want to feature and you can move your feature items around, put them in the right order. Just great tool.

If we could remove all barriers and constraints, what projects would you do or take on? This could be personal or professional.

Yeah, I guess I think about it this way. I’ve got a book out there. That's a best seller. That I would call it a LinkedIn one-on-one through about intermediate LinkedIn. It's really a foundational book for everybody. If I could take on a project and had the energy to write a book, another LinkedIn book, but specifically for the business development space, I think I would like to do that. But my hesitancy always with books these days is with LinkedIn changing all the time, we’d have to continue to update the book. But I think that's a project that I would like to take on someday.

How to connect with Wayne:



Jul 27, 2020

Meet Heather Breedlove

Heather grew up striving for the perfect life: a fairytale romance, the perfect family and a successful career. But while working her way through the checklist, she found a disconnect. The person she was at home was not the person she was at work nor even the person she is. She's now found excitement in bringing full self to every aspect of her life. Through Shine Your Bright, she hopes you find the peace and courage to do the same.

Can you just tell us a little bit more about what the checklists we all kind of have for our lives are?

I grew up with what I consider a white picket fence family. I met my husband in college, I had my checklist in front of me and I was going to graduate high school, go to college. start my career, married by 25 children by 32. I think a lot of us grew up with our life put before us. And we just worked down the checklist constantly striving to hit that next little notch. And, for me what happened is I made it right up and got married at 25, just like I'd always wanted to do. And we got back from our honeymoon and three weeks later found out that my father had stage four cancer and we were going to lose him. And he was gone by Thanksgiving. And then there was that realization that he wouldn't be around to see most of my adult life, he wouldn't see his grandchildren. And so that kind of hit me with a little bit of a detour in life. Life wasn't the way I pictured it or imagined. And then going forward We found out that we weren't necessarily going to be able to have children. Again that checklist that little girl dreams of her whole life. It didn't happen. So how did I navigate my life? To still have those joys and find out who I was and happiness even though it wasn't necessarily happily ever after? Like I thought I'd be.

Tell us what it means to shine your bright?

I had hit a point where our marriage was super hard. I had grown up with what I said was a white picket fence. Tommy, my husband, had grown up in a more volatile lifestyle. And I guess we both thought that marriage would really mirror what it was for our parents and not necessarily be what we want our marriage to look like. And we went through some marriage counseling we went through really a lot of just trial. And we kept finding out that we had to deal with kind of the way we had grown up in our past. And when we finally got to our breaking point, Tommy had gone to a living center program in Tennessee and spent a week really kind of diving back into his history and working through how he had grown up. I ended up going to the same program. One of the afternoons they did horse therapy, and with the horse therapy, I didn't realize it's such a reflection on how people engage in their life. It's how they interact with these horses. My experience with the horse was I felt like we were almost negotiating with each other and we started kind of building trust as I would lead him around the ring, he would get more comfortable and we were really working together. And what happened is I started to feel this glow in my chest, and I didn't, embarrassingly enough, I didn't necessarily recognize that it was pure joy because it had been so long since I'd been in an equal and balanced relationship. It was a shock when I really started to feel that and it planted a seed. It did make me realize that it's been a minute since I felt that and the visual I had in my head was very much this glow coming from within. And that's how shine your bright was born and I created a movement really around. How can you find joy in yourself and happiness in yourself just in your ordinary, everyday life without necessarily making sure everybody at work is happy, everybody at home is happy and really putting yourself on the back burner. So I think that's what showing your bright means to me.

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

My most amazing networking experience, I would say, it's probably what what's coming to mind is being open to just have a conversation. When I've had an open conversation and not really think about the networking of you know what is your job? Can you help me with my job but if you can go down a little deeper and start to understand what a person is excited about, and what are their fears and really take some of the career out of it for me, some of my best relationships have been where business relationships have turned into something more. I think that's where I find the beauty in the networking is when you let all of the career necessarily fall apart and go in a little deeper, and it's more about the whole relationship with people more than getting the work done.

Regardless of the size of your network, it's extremely important to stay in front of and nurture these relationships. How do you go about doing that?

it is so easy to get caught up in your to do list every day and to really forget about your network. I make it a point to reach out and not send text messages I make sure to call someone in my network every day especially now that or when quarantine happened. And that human touch was really missing. Just taking the time to make the phone call have the conversation. What you'll find when you start doing that is most people are shocked that their phones even ringing because text messages so popular right now.

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

I would say be open. I think you'd be surprised at where you can meet people. And if it is just talking to someone while you're aligned at the coffee shop. Have that conversation. Don't be afraid. Some people might be shocked when you start talking to them. But wherever you are, you never know who you're going to meet. And think of how many people you pass on a daily basis at the grocery store. And if you can just smile and say, Hi, how are you doing and just strike up a conversation. You never know that could be your next big introduction.

Digital networking has been kind of the way of the world fairly recently. But between digital networking and traditional networking, which one do you find more value in?

I think I find a lot more value in the traditional networking and they both work especially now but with myself and Shine Your Bright when we're person to person, there's just that little bit of magic from being face to face that you might not get over digital. And we talk about such sensitive subjects. Sometimes it's a little harder to break that barrier down via digital.

So if you 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 take more time for fun in my career, I was what I considered super successful. And when I started working through that checklist in that business life, but I think what was important to me and I'll never forget, my uncle told me one day when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. He goes there'll always be death and taxes. So make sure you're in the healthcare professional, or you're an accountant. Well, blood didn't work for me. So I went the accounting route, and I was super good at it. And it's laid an entire platform out for me from a business perspective. It was the language of business. But what I would do differently is explore my creativity earlier. And really, self-expression and getting to know myself more and from if it's painting or trying something new. I think it's so easy to let some of those things go. And I'll go back to that when we're working our way through the checklist. It is easy to keep striving to that and you might lose yourself while you're doing that.

We've all heard of the 6 degrees of separation, who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? And do you think you could do it in the sixth degree?

Narrowing that down to just one person. That's been tough for me. I've been thinking about this question for a while. And there are so many amazing people out there. And I know I'm hedging that question. But I think the game I like to play there is if I'm open to the people around me, and I continue to have those conversations and networking. I like to follow the magic and see who I meet. I learned that little ninja trick for my husband. He's met some pretty amazing people just because he's reaching out and he doesn't hesitate to do that.

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

I would start with what's near and dear to my heart is grow and support yourself. And as you start to do that you can build up your confidence because you know really intimately who you are going out and being in the world and starting those conversations will almost be more intriguing because then you can also kind of use those conversations to mirror and learn more about yourself and say, Wow, was I intimidated by this person and why or did I look up to this person and why. So I think the work there with your networking starts within.

How to connect with Heather:





Jul 8, 2020

Meet Agostino Pintus

As a former INC 500 Technology Chief, he had great success...until he failed in spectacular fashion that kicked off his "10 Dark Years". He was rudderless, with no direction and financially broken. It wasn't until a friend introduced him to the power of buying large real estate deals that changed the entire course of his life. Agostino ended up building a real estate portfolio as the General Partner on over $42M of deals in 32 months! Today, he helps people get into real estate deals and build their wealth.

Why don't you start by sharing your thoughts on how we think we've been conditioned to not take risks?

I was talking to my friend about this the other day actually. And if you think about it, when we were kids in grade school, and you made a mistake on a test or something like that, at least when I went to grade school. We had nuns that ran the school and if you made a mistake, they whip out the ruler and wrap it right across your knuckles. Right? Because you made an error. And if you can imagine that type of behavior to a child, amplified, and done day in day out where you're worried about your score and you're worried about being wrong. It's the conditioning. We're conditioned to be very good employees, that is what we are trained to do, because we live in a very antiquated system, right? We live in a system where we were told you're going to be good employees, you shall not make a mistake. And I need you to work eight hours a day. And then you're going to get eight hours to yourself, get eight hours of sleep. This is the perfect balance. You're going to do this for five days a week. You're going to do this for 40 years until we don't longer need you. Then you're going to go on to a pasture and live out the rest of your life that we permit you to have.

Why do people live in fear even though they have a secure job?

That's the thing, that's the fake thing. It's not secure. It's this belief of security like you said in the introduction there. I was working at this this company. It was a fine company, a great company, we had a great deal of success. We helped grow this business from a few hundred employees to a couple thousand employees. I mean, we're doing remarkable things. But what I did was while I was working at this company, I got into real estate back then doing like single family homes and stuff like that, because I was I was living in fear, even though I was earning a six figure job, even though I had stock options and all that fun stuff with this company. And even though they supposedly loved me, I still thought one day these guys are going to turn on me. That was always in the back of my mind. I already knew it because as long as your future in the hands of someone else, they will define when you can take your time when you can take your time off and when and where you can go, that even comes into play, too, right? Because if you're given two weeks and I say given two weeks or three weeks of your time, your time must be taken into account as to where you want to go and you have any flexibility around that if you want to take a longer trip, there's no way it has to be included in your time off that is again allocated to you. But at any rate, all this stuff is a facade. It's not real. And I’m a perfect example.

You have really achieved some major successes. What are some of the best habits that you've employed to help you achieve these goals and live without fear to some extent?

I would say that before can answer that question, there has to be a realization. And I'll tell you that when you have this reawakening and you develop a whole new focus around what your life needs to be, you start living on purpose, and that's what I've been doing now. So, what I do as far as the ritual is concerned, I wake up early every morning, 5:15, I avoid touching the phone, I avoid all that I go to the gym and do CrossFit, come home, start the coffee, and I start writing. I write down my affirmations. I say, I visualize my future as I want it as it is as if it's present and happening today because your subconscious does not know the difference.

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

I network like tremendously it's what we do and as part of our core to our business. So what we do that you alluded to before is we buy these large multifamily real estate deals. And I have a friend of mine that that introduced me to, but he brought me into the fold of his network. And I tell you, the people he introduced me to are just phenomenal. This one guy, this one friend that he introduced me to got us in front of a deal that would never have made its way in my hands in a million years. And now we're closing it in a few weeks here. I can't really share with you what it is just yet because it's a non-disclosure agreement. But you have me on in three weeks and I'll tell you all about it. But I'm telling you, that this is a historical property, it will be worth a great sum of money when it's completed. But again, networking is what brought it.

So how do you stay in front of or best nurture these relationships that you're creating?

I think everybody is somewhat in some degree guilty of this is that is the follow up. The follow up is probably the hardest part. Because we get in our own heads. If a relationship goes nowhere, it goes nowhere. What are you going to do right, but establishing those contacts in relationships. Everyone else has got what you need and myself included, right, I have what someone needs out there. And that's why we're here today. Like I'm sharing my knowledge and sharing what I have for someone else to hopefully leverage and do something good with it. But that's probably one of the biggest things that I'm still pushing myself to do is to really tighten up the follow up. And I think what I'm going to be doing the next 30 days here is really bring on more staff to help offload some of the items that I'm doing so I can focus on what matters and that's other people.

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

Deliver value, deliver all the value that you possibly can. There's friends that I've met and we're very close business partners today. But at first we weren't. And we met through a mutual friend. And we just talked on the phone and he says that he's looking for help. Next thing you know, I hook them up with a top notch guy that I know can do the job. And you know, he happened to come into town. You know, a few months later, we're still talking. We have a very good dialogue. He mentioned that he liked a certain type of coffee. And I said, hey, you know what? You should try espresso. I have this crazy stovetop thing and he had never heard of it. I went off and bought one for him and handed it to him. So a $10 item, but you know what, though? It's sitting on his stove right now. And he's thinking about me. Right?

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

My mother had a serious accident and not really talked about this on the air, but she had a serious accident. And I ended up having to raise my little sister and I had the responsibilities of running the house, so to speak. So I don't know I think I would have probably told myself to give myself a challenge to read books a lot more. I totally underestimated the power of books. So I'd probably go back to my 20 year old self and say, create a list of all these books, and not just garbage books, I'm saying the classics that will really cause a mental shift, to really build your character, and to really improve your overall skills because I was relying just on tech, and I thought that as long as I had a good “job”, that's all you needed, and that was totally incorrect. Totally incorrect.

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

I would say that it's other people who have your money. And people don't talk about money a whole lot. It's kind of like it's taboo. I'm not sure why it is. It's others that have your money and it's not just saying it in a bad way. I mean that if you're able to help someone achieve their goals, and you make some money at the same time, that is how you win. You win, they win, everybody's happy. And it just comes down to really supporting that other person and making them the star of the show, not yourself. That's ultimately what it is. That's what we do in our teaching program. That's exactly what I talk about.

How to connect with Agostino







Jul 6, 2020

Meet Lyle Stoflet

Lyle is the Managing Partner at Stratus Industries, Gear Grove and Containers Up. He’s a lifelong learning advocate. People connector. And strives to be 1% better every day.

What is the difference between networking and real connections?

You can collect a lot of business cards and have those fun conversations at the different events. But it's really about after that event of what you do, and making those real connections, and some of them for myself have been many years of connecting with people, and if it's personal, or if it's on the business side of things I've had both and some morph to both of them. So it's really about caring for people and trying to have their best interests at heart when you meet them. But also take that to the next step and not just talk about things but actually put action to it.

How do you anticipate small specialized events evolving or taking place in what is being referred to as our new normal now?

In our containers upside of our business, we take shipping containers and modify them into bars, restaurants, meeting spaces, pop up shops, all different pieces and try to figure out the new cycle, what are people's needs? Everything from parklets downtown Milwaukee, we're looking at putting in offices that we can drop off in your driveway that have two large windows, a patio doors, super comfortable, but you can walk out and have a different office. Most people are working from home and sometimes you just need that different space, especially if you have a driveway or a space to be able to put a 20-foot container.

In your experiences, what networking venues are the best?

Everybody has their personal opinion, but the name tags and the venue that is intimate so you don't feel like you're jammed in a space. Something that’s not this huge hall where you're like, wow, there's a lot of people here and you're intimidated, but also having the name tags that are color coded. So you kind of know who you're trying to meet and the people you're looking for because not everybody's a fit. Networking events have been successful for me, and it's also been a total, well, you know, there's X amount of insurance people here. That's great. They're out there too, and they have to make connections too. But it’s do you really want to try to make those long-lasting connections with people.

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

We use an HR firm, and I met Shelly Miles with City Partners through that. And it was truly a cold networking event and we traded cards. And you know, the thing about networking events is everybody's there to meet people. It's not anything scary to walk up to somebody because that's what everyone is going to do. If you’re the person walking up or the person that is sitting there talking or jumping into a conversation. So from my story, the connection was simply that I walked up and started having a conversation. And you have to have your elevator pitch ready, if that's what you want to call it that 30 seconds. It was, oh interesting. You know, tell me more about that. And, you know, really getting to know what that person does on the other end. So now, this has been five years now and she's been our outsource HR partner.

So when you went into that networking event, did you go in looking for an outsourced HR partner?

No, but it probably took three meetings after that. But it wasn't a hard sell at that point. It was getting to know that person, and to see if that person was a fit for our culture, what we stood for. So, it was going in with that open mind of, hey, either I can help, or I might be able to connect somebody that could use their help. And part of that is that I think finding other people who you can help is a lot of fun, just in general.

How do you best nurture these relationships that you're creating?

It takes work, like any good relationship, it takes work, it takes communication. It could be checking in with a quick email, text message as we have so many communication devices at our fingertips and ways to communicate. It's just about keeping in front of people.

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

It's so easy not to do things. And we're all busy. And I'm talking about myself right there too. It's easy not to do the events, not to put yourself out there. I'm not a natural, super outgoing person that loves to just go meet a million people. I have to work at it and you have to set your goals and say, alright, I need to do one event this week or whatever it is, or I have to meet five people this week. I'm a goal orientated person. So I go, okay, it's Tuesday or Wednesday, and I’m not there yet. I know that I have to put some work in to get there, because it does pay dividends. And it may not be today or a year from now. But all of a sudden after two years and you’re at a different networking event, you see the same person and, hey, you need to meet so and so. So I think it's a it's a skill. It's something that is planned, but it's something that you have to put into your schedule. And don't let it get chopped out of your schedule.

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

Oh, fail fast. Don't be afraid to fail. I know, it's a cliché now, but it's one of those things that sometimes you have to, you know, look at it and say, okay, it's not working, how do we, what do we change? How do we pivot? And be okay with that. You know, I would have probably looked for more of a mentor, a little bit more a little earlier and expanded my network faster. So to find people who are doing things, not just talking about doing things, but actually doing things.

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 with them the sixth degree?

Tony Robbins would be one. Just from his energy and I think having lunch with him or breakfast with him would be a very eye opening, energy filled time that you could really take. You know, you can listen to the podcasts and do your studying and continue to grow. But to have that one on one time, I think would be invaluable.

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

You know, the biggest thing is to be authentic. Be there to help and know that eventually it all comes full circle. May not be today, but you know, just be yourself and everybody's there to network and to meet people. So don't be shy. We're all there to learn and meet new people.

How to connect with Lyle



Jul 1, 2020

Meet Matthew Clark

Matthew Clark is the founder of The Virtual Edge and co-creator of The Rainmaker System - an online marketing system that helps entrepreneurs get 2-5 high value leads per day from LinkedIn without paying for ads. With their flagship programme Matthew and his business partner Wesley Longueira have helped thousands of businesses in seventeen countries grow exponentially. They are now on a mission to reach 10k businesses worldwide and build a vibrant community of Rainmakers along the way!

Tell us a little bit about the Rainmaker system?

What we do is that we help entrepreneurs get two to five high value leads per day from LinkedIn without paying for ads. we've got a three stage process that we take people through, and how it works is the three main stages are position connect and scale. So first stages is all about positioning yourself for success. You want to go from being in visible and just being you know, another person on LinkedIn to someone that's completely irresistible to your ideal client. Now, the key on there is that you have to know who your ideal client is. And the more focused you get, the more targeted you get the better at this works. Once you've got that, instead of trying to target everyone, we use the power of one solve one big problem for one ideal client, we then create what's called the pickup line, okay, which is all about the message that you're going to put out there so people know how to work with you, before they even talk to you. Once you get that right, then we do the LinkedIn makeover which turns your profile from an egocentric profile focusing all on you to a client centric sales page that focuses everything on your ideal client. And that's how you go from being invisible to irresistible.

How did you get started in business?

I started out doing door to door sales. I started off in the UK, selling gas and electric, getting people to switch over to our provider. Then when I came back to South Africa, I had an opportunity to work with someone I worked with in the UK, and we started selling telephone systems switchboards, copiers, and CCTV. A couple of years later I started my own business with two friends. And it really took off. I mean we got up to doing seven high seven figures. Within four years, we had 60, staff members, and it was just like a lot of fun. My experience doesn't come from the online digital world. It comes from door to door sales and connecting with people. So sure, everything I've done has been built on that. And that's obviously why I like LinkedIn so much is because I can literally, I can virtually knock doors, and I can build great relationships.

Can you share with our listeners whenever favorite networking experiences that you've had?

One of the funniest ones for me was, I was working with a guy who is based in Ireland. And he was helping us with some stuff. We were running a big event in South Africa and I met this other speaker who came along, it was a social media event. And I mean, this guy was amazing. I've never seen someone saw like this where people are literally rushing the back table and stampeding to get there. And him and I got talking. He's got the social media course. And he's like, well, I'm looking for someone that could do LinkedIn, and boom, here you are, and we're going to do it. And we're setting up a webinar on Thursday, this week. It was a Sunday. We have 400 people on and I want you on the presenting on LinkedIn. So I was like, well, that's amazing. That just kind of came out of nowhere, out of the blue. And so we set that up, and we did that.

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

Content, very simple content. I post out content not as often as what I should. But also just have conversations with people. I like to talk with people. I love building relationships with people. I genuinely I love it. And so very often that I'll just reach out to people to ask how's it going, just checking in, you know what's going on, or comment on their post. So I do a lot of Zoom. I pretty much live on Zoom.

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

So number one is be laser focused with who you want to target write your list of your top 100 that you want to go after the people that you really want to connect with, that you want to network with, that can help you grow personally or in your business. And focus on building those networks either directly with them and also around them. Have a plan, write down what you want, who you want, and take action on it. And the second thing is engage with people. There's nothing better than going out there and spend the time and energy posting, and then you've got writing content and then posting and then people actually engage with you. So the advice is go and engage with people. Go and start conversations, go read people's posts, and instead of just scrolling past and not actually doing anything, like it, comment and share it.

We've definitely talked a lot about digital and you started your business and sales experience more on the traditional side of networking. But at the end of the day, which one do you find more value in?

I like to use a combination. Here's the thing, when you are doing face to face, and let's say you go to a networking event, or whatever it is, most people don't know how to communicate what it is that they do and what they want. More importantly they're scared to share that. But also, it may take you a bunch of conversations before you actually find somebody that you can help or that you want to work with, or take a conversation further.

With what would you say your response rate is typically on LinkedIn?

So it depends on your goals and what you want to achieve. I work on an average with my students, and I say, these are kind of the numbers that you want to look for, if you're going in for lead generation. So you want to you'll typically experience about a 20% connection rate. So people that you connect with, and you always want to send a message when you connect with people always, never just say, connect, send a message. If we look at those numbers, so if you send out 1000 connections in a month, it sounds like a lot, it's like 40 a day. And 20% of those connect with you. That's 200 connections. Let's say 25% of them start a conversation. So that's 50 conversations that you're having. And then let's say even if 20% of those actually want to talk to you further and get on a call, that's an extra, you know, 10 people. That's 10 leads that you're talking to right there.

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 definitely say invest more. I made a lot of money when I was younger, and like a lot and I had zero expenses, zero overhead, zero anything, and I didn't invest it properly. I would also say to myself use the opportunity that I've got and go all in on it. And sometimes the things that I'm doing even though I don't necessarily like them, I could be using it as a stepping stone to get to the next level. So definitely think more about what do I want out of life versus just living it.

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?

Well I did manage to do that. So Bob Berg was one of the people that I really wanted to connect with. And I did it within the second degree and he was on my list of people that I really want to connect with and really get to know more. Like that book was unreal for me. And it's happened.

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

So in terms of growing into putting your network I would say, some of the things that I wish I would have done better is to go in with a plan. You know, think about who do you really want? Where do you really want to be. So have that vision, have that goal in mind of where you want to take your life where you want to take your business, work your way back and figure out who can help you get there faster. Always look to network up. Network with people better than you, higher than you, better than where you're at right now. So that you always learn stuff, and be valuable to people. You know, think of ways that you can be valuable to them in a way that you know, they care about you that you care about them. And just make it all about them and not about you.

How to connect with Matthew:


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Jun 29, 2020

Meet Richie Burke

Richie Burke is founder and CEO of GGMM (GoGeddit Marketing and Media) a marketing agency that helps brands including Trek Bicycle, Colliers International, Thrivent Financial, Komatsu, Marquette University and many more grow through services including podcast production and marketing, brand strategy and digital marketing. He is the co-founder of PodFest MKE and regularly speaks on digital marketing, storytelling and podcasting. He is also the host of The GoGedders Podcast, a local Milwaukee podcast, which is syndicated by OnMilwaukee over 100 episodes, and it generates 10,000 downloads per month.

How long have you been podcasting and why you decided to get started?

We started our show in 2016. The GoGetters, it's a Milwaukee Community big show we do a very wide range of topics. I had the idea for it and kind of started it back in 2012 as a YouTube show. And then I pivoted my business in 2013. I was a fan of some podcasts and I saw an opportunity in the local market. Again, not very many people at all, were doing it here. I saw a lot of national podcasts on marketing and success and stuff like that, but nothing really being done on a local level to highlight interesting local stories or business leaders via audio and Facebook video. So we started that in 2016. Very naively, we did a lot wrong. I think there's something to being different and unique and the storytelling was still pretty good. And it did pretty well locally, surprisingly. And we saw what it did, from a business standpoint for an agency and thought, hey, everyone's listening to audio, no brands are producing audio. Why don't we start podcasting for other companies and start offering this as a service and launch that service in the spring of 2018, and thought it was going to blow up right away, and it didn't. We got our first client five or six months later, but now we get to produce a number of shows for some of the brands that you mentioned in the intro and we significantly upped our production game at that time for ourselves and got serious about the medium.

Let's talk about the Milwaukee focus a little bit. Why did you decide your content should be focused in the Milwaukee market?

I think when you're marketing or starting any product, it's good to really start narrow and then grow from there just because there's so much noise out in the marketplace, and I would advise that to anyone starting a show today. And in 2016 there were very few if any shows highlighting Milwaukeeans and for Milwaukee as far as podcasts and not a lot of people were producing Facebook videos telling these stories. There’s obviously, more now, but I saw the whitespace in the market, I thought it would be cool to do, I thought it would be fun to do as well. And selfishly, I thought it would be a good way to network and grow my business and I don't have people on the show to sell them on my services, but that typically just happens naturally.

So you talked about some of the hurdles. When you started your podcast, if you would do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I mean, there's a lot of things that I would have done differently off the bat like much better equipment. I mean, we had good guests, we did a pretty good job of marketing it that's why it kind of still took off. Although I look back at the old episode covers and I think the branding was terrible on it. There's little details like that. I also think going into something with kind of blunt naiveness can be a benefit because you don't exactly know what you're getting into and how hard it's going to be and I'm sure you've experienced that with your show and just starting a business from scratch. Going in kind of blind and really learning as you go and adapting fast, and it can be a benefit. I think a lot of people spend too much time planning or trying to get something perfect and then putting it out there, when in reality, you launch something and you never really know how the markets are going to respond. I think it's much better to put something out there, almost build it as you go a little bit, see how the market reacts and then adapt based off of that.

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

Networking for me changed a lot over the years. I think when you're young and you're starting a business like I was, you're trying to get in front of anyone or as many people as possible. I started my company going door to door. I was walking into small businesses trying to get them to run promotions on my deal site and get in front of them. And I was going to a lot of networking events and I think at that point, when you're new to the marketplace, it's good to just get out there and I think there's value in showing up. You never know what's going to happen a lot of times. I've gone to events kind of begrudgingly because I didn't know anyone that was there where I didn't really feel like showing up those after a long day or it was an early breakfast, but I just showed up and introduced myself. And those have ended up being some of the best connections and have led to business. So I think it's important to be somewhat strategic about where you show up. But you never know, the more you put yourself out there, no matter what it is, the better chance you have of it leading to something.

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

There's a number of ways. Our current clients are a big part of our network. So we're in touch with them a lot, whether that's me or people on my team. You know, we've built out our email list. We send out, what I consider, value added emails. We've changed our email marketing strategy quite a bit just over the last few months here. And then on LinkedIn, I've been posting a lot more content on there. We have our CRM, I know we both use SharpSpring for that where we keep track of our sales pipeline and make sure I'm staying in front of them or inviting them to our webinar or events that we have. And I think the more interesting things that you have going on as a person or a company, that you can add value to people, the better off that you're going to be, whether it's holding a webinar that's going to add value or any event or being involved in a cause and you can reach out to people with stuff they're actually interested in.

Digital networking or traditional networking – which do you find more value in?

I think there's definitely a value in the online game. Being active on LinkedIn posting content, actually reaching out and connecting with people but nothing is going to be face to face contact. Face to face isn't scalable, obviously online is scalable, I can get in front of a lot more people on LinkedIn and today we sent off an email that went to thousands of people that took a few hours to create and I got a good response. Nothing is going to beat face to face so I think it's showing up to those events or if you don't like showing up to events, reaching out to people you have something in common with or you may want to get in front of on LinkedIn and inviting them to coffee. Maybe you're less intimidated and just better in a one on one situation. I think everyone's different.

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 not worrying so much about what other people think of you is important. I think I spent a lot of time especially after starting my business trying to prove something which served as a very big form of motivation, probably not the healthiest form of motivation and I have a very people pleasing personality on the other side, which can be good in certain ways. But I've also procrastinated or avoided a lot of confrontation or tough situations, conversations that happen in business for any business owner. I think just getting that stuff out of the way sooner rather than later. If your gut tells you something's not right, go deal with it right away. Don't sweat the small stuff because small shit happens all the time. I think being a little more patient as I can be kind of impatient, I tend to have a big vision for things and things typically take a lot more time, energy and money to get them to where you want them to be.

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

I think little things can go a long way. Again, some of my best connections have been from showing up to any event that I wasn't in the mood to go to. I think there's power in showing up. I would focus on what, high value, low effort, ways I can help my network out. And just simple stuff to separate yourself out if someone does something nice for you send them a thank you card. No one does that. Just those little things can make a big difference. And just looking to connect the dots for people can be very helpful and play to your strengths too.

How to connect with Richie






Jun 24, 2020

Meet Laura Nicolaisen

Laura has over 10 years of experience on the life coaching and career coaching side in the university setting and through my own business, and most recently at a start-up and in the outplacement industry. Her alma maters respectively for my bachelor's and master's are at the University of Nebraska and Concordia University Wisconsin. In my spare time, I love listening to podcasts, exercising, spending time with animals, reading, traveling, real estate investing, meeting new people and giving back to her community.

What is one rule of thumb that you live by?

You know the phrase treat others the way you want to be treated. I actually rephrase that to say treat others the way they want to be treated. So the way I kind of phrase that is really listen to who you're speaking with, understand what their needs and aspirations are, and treat them the way they want to be treated, as long as it's a way that you feel authentic for yourself and that it's okay with you. And the rule of thumb can easily be applied to networking as well.

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

In 2017 I attended an event for professional leaders and the United Way volunteer community. I was a guest I wasn't a participant at that point at the Emerging Leaders Program and that's for leaders who are in their 20s to 40s who are giving monetarily and through volunteering through the United Way. I went by myself to this event, and I stayed and luckily met a great lady named Jeriah Ebling. So at that time I met Jeriah, she was the major gifts officers for women's engagement. After the event we connected for coffee, she told me about all the amazing opportunities open at United Way. I didn't pursue anything until late in 2019. But at that time because I had heard about this through her, I decided to apply and be a part of project lead training. So that's really a training that allows participants from diverse backgrounds in the Milwaukee area to learn about the intricacies of becoming a nonprofit board member. It was seven weeks long and during the graduation event I saw Jeriah and thanked her. And currently, I'm looking for the next board to serve on or my next volunteer opportunity, as well as investigating women united. So that's where women in Milwaukee and Waukesha provide their talent, time and finances to give back to the local community. So without that introduction, I've would not have had all these opportunities I just described. That was an amazing networking experience for me.

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

Whenever I find out about an event, if I see an article or information about business trends, I really think about who in my network may this benefit. And then I reach out to those people and I share the information I have. And I also like to keep a spreadsheet of all my networking connections and recording when I met them where and how, and reaching out after an initial connection to either have a meeting via zoom or in person. A good rule of thumb I use to reach out to my network connections every four months or so. My goal is just to always offer my support expertise or connections to other people. And I feel strongly that when someone changes their mindset and thinks about how they can give back rather than what they can receive from a connection, that is really when connections flourish and remain long lasting.

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

Finding some networking, professional associations and volunteering at nonprofit groups that are of interest to you. So the way I would recommend someone starting is picking out three to five associations of interests and attending an event for each of those organizations. And then attendees can get a real feel for is this a group that I would love to be a part of? And as someone continues to attend meetings, they figure out okay, which of these one of these one or two associations would I want to be a part of, you start attending, becoming part of the community, you really get to know people organically and develop those connections within the group and then as time goes on, sharing your connections and sources with others and others doing the same with you is just a natural process so someone's open to taking on a leadership role as well within the organization. I think that's really when network connections can become even more prevalent.

Let's talk about digital networking versus traditional networking, which one do ultimately find more value in?

I thought about this, and I really think digital and traditional networking work in tandem. So if I meet someone in person at an event, I follow up with them with a personal message on LinkedIn and with potential time to get to know them further. And in the case of social distancing now that's definitely gotten to Zoom or other platforms. I'm a part of an all women real estate mastermind where we learn and build and understand a wide variety of different types of real estate investing. Once I began the mastermind, I was meeting with all my mastermind comrades via zoom, since we all live in different areas. So it's been really great to be a part of the community where we are because we're investing together, we're learning together, we're growing together. We have accountability groups, and we're sharing connections. And I've also met quite a few individuals through cold or warm connection requests on LinkedIn, and email requests for conversations.

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 really tell myself to consider the different potential career paths that I'm interested in and find at least three to five people who are doing each of these paths, and then having some conversations with these people and getting to know them. And I would tell myself to ask these questions. What drew you into this profession and what do you love about it? What are the challenges involved in what you do? And what would you do differently if you were to enter this profession again? Who else do you know that I can talk to? I found that that's really one of the most important questions to ask when speaking with anyone, because usually people will consider and think of at least one or two other people you can speak with. And then your one connection is just rolling into three to five connections. And another question I would ask these people is what is the one way that I can help you now or in the future? And I would also share that the initial conversation is the most important piece always it's figuring out how to stay in touch and keep in touch with these contacts and building relationships moving forward, that are long lasting.

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?

As I said, I'm involved in real estate investing now and one person I'd love to connect with this Warren Buffett. And I think it's definitely doable. Because first I’m from Omaha, and Warren and I are both alumni of the University of Nebraska. And in addition, my mom will tie school with this current wife. My plan would simply to be put a written note in his mailbox and share with him my love for investing for the city of Omaha for Nebraska, and ask him through letter if he’d be open to a conversation. And another piece I'll share is I work with a lot of clients and students in reference to changing or creating their careers and I regularly touch base with them on the power of alumni connections, because I consider that to be a warm connection, even though I don't know them because who doesn't want to talk with someone who attended the same school you did. So I always suggest this research and show it but if you go to your school's web page on LinkedIn, you can find where alumni are working and living and you can even start search for specific companies and see which alumni are working at these companies that you have an interest in or seeking specific types of contacts. And that's a great way to reach out to people.

I'm always intrigued to hear what my guests are listening to on podcasts or reading books, what are you doing for your own self-improvement?

So the most recent book, I just picked up is the “1% Rule” by Tommy Baker. It's really how to reach success like the top 1% do and he actually narrates his own book on Audible. So that's been a great book. Another one I really like as well is called “Meet 100 People” by Pat Hedley. And it's an amazing book. It is definitely most of the examples in there are college students who are meeting people. But it applies to all of us.

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

I really resonate with this, especially within the last two years of myself personally. But if you have an opportunity that comes in front of you, and that really excites you, but makes you nervous at the same time, I feel like this is really a signal to move forward to do that thing. And I would just say, use your courage to take part in the opportunity to or to meet a new person because you never know who you'll meet or what will transpire and the more you use your courage, the more doors that will open for you and the more we in general will build and grow to be the person we're meant to be. And this is a great quote. I'd like to share it's, “Courage doesn't mean you don't get afraid, courage means you don't let fear stop you.” And that's by Bethany Hamilton.

How to connect with Laura:


*I would love people to connect with me on LinkedIn. And I would like to work with one person who's a mid-career professional that is looking for a change and I want to have a conversation with that person. So the first person who reaches out to me on LinkedIn and mentions this opportunity. I will meet with you to discuss that next professional move.

Jun 22, 2020

Meet Roman Roberts

Roman Roberts grew up in foster care until the age of 9 when he was adopted into a family that was less than ideal. At 18 Roman joined the US Army as an interrogator and deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan, and worked with Special Operations. Once he returned home Roman had a challenging transition, and almost lost his family. It was there he finally found himself, and then utilizing his skills from the military and foster care he began to help businesses with policies and more.

Let's talk about you being an interrogator. How does that translate into the business world?

The first thing that people always think of when you say that is that it translates over in like an aggressive way of questioning, right? Like figuring out who did this or that and that component certainly does exist. But the main piece is, it's about rapport. It's about conversation. It's about understanding and really and truly, every business is in the business of communicating no matter what you do. How you communicate internally and externally, can affect the flow of your business. So, for me, really, and truly the thing about interrogation that I often use is that rapport and communication piece. Those are the main things that translate over and are the most important.

What is the main thing that businesses get wrong when it comes to policies and procedures?

I help businesses write policies and procedures using my time in the military, my time in aerospace and working with nonprofits and financial institutions and other types of businesses. And really, truly the thing that I always see is when people write a policy, whether they're at a growth point, they're trying to hit that next level, or they're in the beginning. It's always it's got to be perfect. It's got to be perfect. Yes, it's important that they have structure behind them. But it's okay that they grow and evolve and that they're not perfect. Because really, and truly, it's a framework, right? It sets those outer boundaries to let the business operate and flourish.

What did foster care teach you about business?

Foster care for me was an interesting time. And I was in a very interesting time in the system and I went through abusive homes and some amazing homes and it would change in almost a blink of a hat. And people have different names for it whether it's grit resiliency, whatever you want to call it. I say when I'm speaking to foster kids or anywhere else, your hustle has to be bigger than your struggle. So what's your why or however you want to look at it? How dedicated are you to this thing that you're doing? And are you going to be willing to work through the hard times? Like right now with COVID? Are you going to be willing to push through that wall, that barrier, whatever it is, to rise to that next level? Because it's amazing what you'll see on the other side.

What is one of the most important skills that you learned in the military that you brought over to business?

I think the biggest thing was helping others. Like at the core, the military is a service of helping its country or helping the country that it's in. When you really take that mindset of being there to help, and being willing to work through the hardest of issues or situations, and keep that forefront of service in mind, then that's really what drives success and whether it's individually as a contributor on a team, or as a business owner. If you're thinking about service and helping others and that selfless service, then you're going to hit the next level extremely quickly.

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

My favorite actually came from LinkedIn. I got connected to this group called the Veteran Roundtable. And it just connected me to a ton of amazing people in all kinds of different fields of veterans, people who wanted to help veterans. It was because that was my first time to engage in a group inside of LinkedIn, and to see what kind of a connection you could build online. And obviously everyone now is kind of learning more about digital interaction through COVID. But at that time that it was there it existed, but it was really my first time utilizing that system. And it was a pretty powerful system. And it gave me a lot of belief in it.

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

For me, so I operate from a premise of being real. And so for me, I just always be authentic. Be my real self. And whether that means that I talk about today I messed up, I yelled at my kid or I yelled at an employee or I, whatever, right? Insert any topic there, or I gave bad advice. Just being real and being able to be open about that gives a level of authenticity. But it also lets your network know that, hey, we're all on this journey together and I'm going make mistakes today. And you're going to make mistakes tomorrow. But if we're a network, then we should be able to talk about that and grow through that and push through that.

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

I'm a huge fan of LinkedIn. So I would say get on LinkedIn and stop thinking of it as a resume. So I literally would just copy and paste whatever my resume was at the time. And really, and truly, it's so much more than that. I mean, you've got people posting their own little raps or keynote speeches or paintings that they do, right. It's so much more. if you're showing up in that space and showing things and showing your true authentic, people are going to find you. But if you're not doing it, no one's going to find you.

Digital networking or traditional networking? Which one do you find more value in?

This is going to sound funny because everything I just said. I love digital networking. But sometimes there's just something really nice about being able to sit in front of somebody. So I think it depends on the type. But for me, predominantly, I do use a lot of digital networking and in this day and age, it's easier. It's fast. But I do think in person, face to face physical networking does have a place.

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?

At 20 I was in the military, and I was in Iraq. So for me, I honestly would say, to realize that this is a chapter in your career. It's not your entire career. I was so wrapped in that military aspect of me being my life, that I didn't go after any college when I was in the military. I didn't do anything outside of military, studying, working out shooting guns, right? Like that was all that I did. So I think I would say be more involved in the world, and the things going on around you, like professionally and not just professionally in the military, but the general professions. And to just realize that this is a chapter.

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 sixth degree?

When I first launched my “Real Talk with Roman,” I asked Jocko Willink to come on. He wrote the book, Extreme Ownership, he’s a former Navy SEAL, great just amazing content, love what he puts out, love what he does, love his podcast. So he's definitely a person that I would want to connect with.

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

Don't be afraid to jump out there and take that risk. Not every piece of content is going to land and you're probably not going to be viral. But your intent shouldn’t always be to be viral. It should just be to connect and resonate with somebody and for me if I resonate with one person in a post, that's one more person that I'm closer connected to than when I started the day.

How to connect with Roman






Jun 17, 2020

Meet Dylan Sessler

Dylan lost his father when he was 6 years old to suicide. In the aftermath, he struggled through a number of difficult experiences to include domestic violence, bullying, and suicide ideation. At 18, he joined the military as an infantryman and deployed to Afghanistan by 22. Dylan's personal struggle with PTSD, trauma, and the difficulties during his childhood brought him to the brink of life at just 25. He built Invictus Development Group to help others overcome adversity and choose to live.

What is your message and the goal behind what it is that you're trying to do?

I'm writing a book that that pretty much states it. The title of the book is, “Defy the Darkness.” So many things that I've been through in my life have really just brought me to the brink of life, of happiness, of sadness. I've seen every emotion from the bottom to the top. And the one thing that I want to help people with is to find a way to move forward. To progress their lives and defy that the pain, the struggle, the suffering, the darkness, everything within and take that step forward.

What brought you ultimately to start Invictus Development Group?

It started with my book. The, the idea of writing this book has been in my head since probably eight or nine years old when I actually learned to start writing. I just felt like I needed to write down my story. Not necessarily for other people at that time, because it was it was really just me and my way of expressing myself was always through writing and I just felt like I needed to write that. So I did it here and there but I never really focused it on a book until about four years ago when I started. Invictus Development Group came from the necessity to want to build a platform for that book and for the message of giving people the information that I have, because I've overcome all of these things. I've overcome so many mental illnesses that I've struggled with that it's time for me to build something that can stand up to my message.

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

My favorite is it started back in University of Wisconsin whitewater when I was going through my undergrad. I started just going to the veterans lounge to, you know, I guess I had just gotten home from Afghanistan, it was just like, I'm looking for a place that kind of fits me. I met a number of people there that had really changed the trajectory of what I'm doing now. I started undergraduate research on interviewing veterans about what they have encountered in terms of successes and failures of entering into college life and moving forward after they're in the military. I didn't know it when I was doing those interviews, but they changed my life because a number of those interviews got to a depth of talking about suicide talking about you know, depression, anxiety. PTSD, some very difficult stuff that that I didn't expect to actually go into in those interviews. Later it would come to come to a point where a number of those veterans called me later on, like six months down the road, two years down the road, send me messages years down the road talking about how I saved a couple of their lives from suicide.

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

Honestly, it's always tough, right? You can build a network, but the long times between connecting with people can really eat into that network because some people will forget you. But I think one of the biggest things that has helped me is the power of empathy. People will forget what you say to them, they'll forget what you can do for them. But people rarely ever forget the power of your story and the power of your ability to communicate with them, and the emotion that you gave to them. If you have the ability to be truly empathetic, and truly kind and offer who you are as a person, rather than your service or whatever you're doing at the time, people will remember that and you can go years without talking to them.

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

First things first is to understand yourself, right? I'm still even in that space of stepping into the entrepreneurial space and I wouldn't even consider myself an entrepreneur but taking a step into that space if you don't have an understanding of who you are and what you want to do. Not even in the business sense but in the in the long term. Who do you want to be type of mental understanding. You're going to be lost in that chaos of what the business world can offer you. And, and having that ability to just square up to who you are and face what you can and cannot do. I just think is so fundamentally important to building relationships and building a network 100%.

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

I honestly think digital. The ability to market anything has its own place. You can write a letter which is perfectly viable and there's people in micro pools. Writing a letter will have an impact, writing a tweet will have an impact. For me making a tick tock will have an impact. Whatever niche you're in, is going to have a specific like, Twitter is going to work better for you or email is going to work better for you. For me, right now I've grown in the last three or four weeks, from zero to 5000 followers on Tick Tock in no time at all right? Like my Tick Tock has doubled and even tripled all of my other social media accounts combined. I mean, it's just the power of my message. And if you leverage your message in the right way, and you market it the right way it's going work.

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?

That's, a great question. Especially for me because my professional life didn't really exist. I was really a full-time student at 20. And then not long after that I went to Afghanistan. So as if I were to go back, I would say, to have more of a professional life. To actually step into learning how businesses were run at 20. And I think that I feel like I slacked a little bit because the army paid for my school and I utilized that. I served and I feel like I've earned what was given to me, but at the same time, I didn't utilize my time enough for what I could have. And I wish I would have done more.

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?

I would love to connect with Gary Vaynerchuk. I love what Gary's doing. Even now with COVID-19, he's posting up live videos where he's bringing on people every morning for Tea with GaryVee and just talking about pretty much the same mindset of empathy and kindness. It's awesome to see someone that has the same mindset as me, but a very different path to get there. I think if I sent an email or made a comment on a picture or even spoke up at a conference, he was here speaking at, that's just the power of Gary's that he would bring you on, for just speaking up. You wouldn't even need to use the six degrees of separation. You just need to straight up contact him, and I think that's pretty incredible.

Are you reading any interesting books right now or interesting podcasts?

I am not actually. I really took a dive back in March to learn people and learn the people that follow me, specifically. So what I've been doing is focusing, like hyper focused on finishing my book. For four years I wrote four chapters in my book. And I got him from Afghanistan in December, COVID-19 hit in March, and I finished six chapters in a month because of COVID-19. And that's what I've been, like hyper focused on. That is my inspiration. Looking at my book as the potential to help one more person.

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

Just one thing, be empathetic over the long run. That's it.

How to connect with Dylan




Tik Tok: @invictusdevgrp




Jun 15, 2020

Meet Lucretia Anderson

Lucretia Marie Anderson is the founder of Joyful Muse Coaching, a social entrepreneur, educator, and writer. They have been using their background as a theatre artist, mindfulness coach, and team building workshop facilitator to bring creativity, compassion, authenticity, and self-awareness to the forefront of work, school, and home environments. Look out for their contribution as an author to Raising the Global Mindset: Empowering Children to Be World Changers (2020)

What led you to begin your coaching business?

My business or my foundation is actually in theatre and the performing arts and I began my career as a theatre arts administrator in Washington DC. I just always enjoyed being a part of something that was you know, meant to uplift the human species. So I got into teaching and working, in particular with middle school girls, an all girls middle school here in Richmond, Virginia. I was responsible for helping to evolve a character and leadership curriculum for the girls. And while I was doing that, I was working on my own personal development, I became a little bit of a self-help junkie. I realized that this was something that I really wanted to pass on to adults. I wanted to pass on to educators and other caretakers of children in particular And then particularly women, because there really isn't a need for this idea of transformational thinking and self-empowerment. And so I began this business.

What do you feel attracts people to your message?

I feel that we are at a pivotal time right now where we are all kind of searching for something that's going to bring us out of the bogginess of life. The way that I connect with people is through putting a focus on and the lens on that vulnerability and allowing myself to show up as a leader in that way and just showing my authentic self. I think there’s real connection to that and I think that when you are sharing your story and the highlights and the lowlights of what's happening in your life, and that you can still be successful, regardless of all of that is thrown at you there's real value in showing that.

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

So I was taking this class and I happened to mention that I really want to continue to separate myself out from the pack as far as like writing about mindfulness and writing about vulnerability. And as I mentioned that, I was introduced to someone who knew someone else who was in that class and they were starting up a blog in Richmond. And so a fellow blogger from that particular cohort of bloggers who are all contributing to that blog, asked me to join them in writing a book. And so as we are building our community around that book and sharing tools and guidance with the other collaborators there, I was just sharing some information with one of those collaborators on Instagram, actually, and she liked one of my posts. And I in turn started being followed by someone else who was following her and then that person saw what I had to offer as far as my knowledge and asked me to, in turn, be on one of his podcasts about mindfulness. And it took a few years to develop that particular chain of events of networking events, but I think it does just go to show how showing up in community, whatever that community is, and sharing about what it is that you do, what it is that you're passionate about, or what your interests are, you never know where that road can lead.

How do you stay in front of and nurture these relationships?

I think it's important to engage with people and show interest in them just as a fellow human being. I think it's really important for people to understand that as you're sharing what it is that you do that you are also just sharing that human connection. So whether that's commenting on someone's post, and I'm talking about social networking, online, in particular, using social media, showing interest and kind of commenting on posts, cheerleading and recognizing the work that they're doing. And when we're able to, again, whenever possible, showing up to events, whether that's online or in person. I think you have to be selective about what it is that you, where you want to share your energy and where you want to be a presence.

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

You certainly can't do it in a silo. I hear of so many people who are trying to grow their network, but they're not doing it in a way that is coming from their personal interest. It's typically from a business standpoint just kind of looking out for other people who are interested in that particular service or that particular commodity. But I think that one of the ways that I've grown my network has been interest based. But I find that showing where your interests are in business and showing what your personal interests are, is a way to really, truly grow your network. Because like I said, before, people are getting to know you as a human being, then they're going to want to do business with you as well and find out what it is that you are doing or what you have to offer them as well.

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 primarily, I wasn't bold enough, or focused enough at that time to really understand what it was that I truly wanted to do. I certainly didn't recognize that there was a way for me to do what it is that I coach people to do now, which is to go grow inwardly. To have a really firm and good understanding of myself and the power that I have to really intuitively understand like the connections that I wanted to make with people and to grow my career in that way. I feel like there was a little bit of wasted time there. I mean, there are other parts of me that knows it's all a part of the journey. You know, one step kind of leads to the next and I feel like, because I didn't have that wisdom there, I had to actually go through some things to understand what exactly it was that I wanted to do with my career and my professional life.

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 within the sixth degree?

So I think my first thought when I hear this is Oprah. I'm gonna go slightly, slightly, slightly different path and say, Michelle Obama, I think I actually could connect with her fairly rapidly for some degrees of separation. She's one of those people that is just incredibly smart, but also very authentic in the way that she shows up and just shares who she is. I have a friend who is a CEO of their own diversity and inclusion firm. And they often work with a lot of politicians and celebrities. And I think more than likely they know someone in their network who has access to Michelle Obama. And so I feel like that's a path that I could take.

I'm always curious as to what my guests are reading or listening to and podcasts or audiobooks, anything you want to share with us?

One of them right now, and I actually do highly recommend it, is “The Empowered Highly Sensitive Person.” It's a workbook that helps to clarify what the world just kind of looks and feels like for HSP’s for highly sensitive people. And when I when I opened the book and just kind of started reading more about you know what that term means and how these people perceive the world I realized, wow, okay, that's me.

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

I think being your authentic self is going to be the most important thing and showing people who you truly are. The work that I do around vulnerability, I think, the mark of a true leader, or someone that you kind of want to be able to connect with is are they are they wearing a mask? Or are they showing you who they truly are? My advice for growing your network is reaching out to people especially during this time, introducing yourself or reintroducing yourself, for people who don't know who you are. And pull back the curtain a little bit to reveal your authentic selves.




Jun 1, 2020

Meet Charles Alexander

Charles Alexander’s mission in life is to help busy professionals stand out in a crowded marketplace that is filled with “me too” advisors. He does this by creating story-based explainer videos for busy professionals, like Financial Advisors, Insurance Agents, or anyone else that is in an advisory role, that helps them explain what they do and show personality.

How do you create the perfect little story?

I always work with clients who are usually in an advisory role in some way, shape, form or fashion. One thing I always want to get across to them a lot of the video out there right now is just somebody staring mindlessly into a camera rambling for about 10 minutes hoping to eventually land another point. More than anything we need stories in our videos. In my particular case, I have folks fill out this really simple six question form and from there is where I'll write the story. And what I want people to understand is that the hero of the story is your client or potential customer. They're the ones that need to see themselves in the story in the video. They're the ones that get to take this hero's journey, so to speak.

What are some of the best ways to incorporate videos in your marketing that ultimately help you just generate the best ROI.

I tell them first and foremost, your website needs to have video, primarily video above the fold on the landing page of the first thing that someone else sees, because even though there are a dozen different ways to drive traffic to your site, one of the most common ways from somebody in an advisory role or any small business or whoever it could be is still word of mouth or referral. The first thing people do is go to websites. They don't necessarily pick up the phone, they don't email they visit them online. When they do that if they go to your site and it looks like everybody else's, they don't really have a good reason to call you. You didn't stand out, you didn't speak to them. One of the very first places I tell people to put video, put it on the homepage, take off all of the jargon take off all of the used stock photos, get rid of it, put a video there.

What are some hidden do's and don'ts when it comes to video?

One don’t is don't make a video that sucks. I know that should be a given and I do want to give people leeway because you've got to get started somewhere.  I create animated videos. And there's the opposite of that is the talking head video. And if you'll scroll through any social media platform, you will see countless talking head videos. So the don'ts for those is, don't skip the storyline. Don't go in without a script. Don't go in without a plan. And there's a lot of people that just hit the record button. So do your point. Have good audio. That's one key ingredient that a lot of people skip. We will watch a grainy video with a good message as long as it has good audio versus a Hollywood produced video with bad audio. We won't watch it. We'll turn that off. So make sure you get you invest a few bucks in a mic.

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

I can tell you about one of the very first networking experiences I had, and we'll talk about what worked and what didn't work there. It was a chamber of commerce leads exchange. It's kind of an entry level networking place where you'll go in for 60 seconds, everybody will introduce themselves and do their elevator pitch. Nobody told a story. Nobody asked how they could really help anybody else. I think the best overall out of all of them was a florist at the end, who hopped up told a story about how they had just helped somebody. And that was it. Everybody wants to go speak to him afterwards. And everybody blew off all the high-power folks with nice ties.

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

Primarily through content marketing that goes as much or more through email marketing and utilizing the LinkedIn messaging platform as much or more than anything. What works primarily is speaking to somebody as you would speak to them in real life removing all of the jargon, all of the sales pitches. Just speaking to somebody like you and I are having a conversation right now. If you will speak to somebody in a plain language in the way that you want to be spoken to, and you'll nurture the relationship, that way I send out one every couple of weeks, I'll throw in animated videos, or sometimes just text and sometimes I just ask them questions and hope to get a response. And that's an individual way it takes a little bit of time, but it's totally worth it, to reach out to people on a one on one basis.

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

Do it specifically. When I'm going out and making some new connections, I look specifically to people that I want to work with that are like clients that are my favorites, not necessarily even the highest grossing or highest revenue ones, but I tend to stick within a niche. So what you're wanting to do is find your tribe, so to speak, people you have a lot in common with. Look specifically for those people on your social media platform of choice. Or when you go to a networking event, don't go to just the generic ones that have one of every industry in it, go to a trade show, go to a convention of that target market and be the only digital marketing expert at the dry cleaners convention this year and be the one that talks directly to them about what they don't know.

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?

With regard to the professional career, I would probably would have told him to consider getting an actual internship in a field to see if that's what you wanted to do or not. But quite frankly, a lot of the things that I got wrong, one of the things that I got right, was to allow myself to be open to whatever was going to come my way. I didn't have a clue what I wanted to be when I grew up, I just knew I liked people and I've been more into training and content creating ever since that point, so probably one of the better things I would have told him would be to study more and drink less.

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 6th degree?

Seth Godin. And surely I could, I'm connected with 17,000 people on LinkedIn. Look, I got a couple of high profiles on there. I might have a second-degree connection.

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

You want to be different. You want to speak to people in a way that you know resonates. Not speak down to them or try to sell them just talk to them the way you'd want to be spoken to make sure that you actually have a real niche and that you can clarify. Of course I'm going back again that's why I like animated videos so much and explainer videos because you can work those in there.

How to connect with Charles:




May 27, 2020

Meet Amanda Guralski

Amanda's career has transformed from her first entrepreneurial pursuit as the co-founder of an online career coaching magazine, to author of the book I am NOT a Smartie Pants to hosting Tucson’s popular entertainment/lifestyle show, The Morning Blend. She pivoted into becoming a powerhouse account executive for two Fortune 500 companies and currently is working in the technology space. Amanda is also the newest host of Discover Wisconsin.

Throughout your career, you've definitely been a big believer in developing a strong personal brand. How has that helped you with your networking?

Personal brand, I think is really everything. Setting up who you are as a person and being not only transparent on who that is and what that looks like, but being consistent in that. So if you want to put the persona as a positive, upbeat person that wants to be a voice in the community, that's exactly how you have to show up every single day. And there are times where I don't feel like showing up like that. So guess what, I don't show up. Because the reality is, is that as much as we like to say I don't want people to judge who I am, first impressions are based off exactly that. So developing a strong personal brand is vital, I think to building up your network of community.

You've definitely pivoted into different industries and worlds. How have you leveraged your network for that, and how has your brand, maintain consistency while you've done that?

So when you look at my hot mess of a resume on paper, you're thinking this girl is crazy and can't figure it out. But when I articulate what I've done in my career, every single position that I have gotten has been through my network. I started out with an online magazine, the Field of Dreams, if you build it, they will come and they did not come shockingly enough. I realized that I had to really get out there and pound the pavement and put the feet on the street and get out there and promote myself or promote my brand, promote my mission and be a voice in the community. And that's exactly what I did is I started getting out there I was going to colleges and professional groups and universities and anyone that would give me an opportunity to speak in front of an audience and talk about my mission and what I was trying to accomplish, is exactly what I did. And from there as you begin to meet more people and start this conversation, you show up in a very genuine, authentic and sincere way, people start gravitating towards you.

You want to share a little bit about what you're doing in the technology space?

I fell into technology through a friend of mine who I went to college with. I did pharmaceutical sales and then from there the most recent president of the Journal Sentinel reached out to me on LinkedIn was like Amanda, we've got a great opportunity. You know the space, you know digital advertising, and we've got a sales manager position open and at the time I was in sales, I'd been in sales way at the beginning of my career. And I did that for about a year and a half and then a friend of mine reached out from Salesforce and was like Amanda, we're really looking for people that have a digital advertising background and you do. Would you be interested in coming here and I did my research and I was really impressed with the suite of products. So I applied, I got that position. And I was there for about a little over a year. And then through networking of friends I really wanted to get into the services space. And I find that the services space what I am now that I'm able to really have very deep conversations where not only are you educating clients on the technology space, specifically marketing, automation space, but also like challenge them on at some level, their education, their historical education on what they know, because what you know, is not what it is today.

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

I was in my early career in college, I was like, I am going to be the publisher of Vogue. And so if you know anything about the publishing side, it's like that's the sales generating revenue side of magazines. And so I had this dream and this vision and as it started to come together, I started networking, different internships and things like that. And I landed at Decker Publications, which was a small publishing house up in Minnesota. And while I was there, I got to attend this magazine day. I went there, but as I was there, I took advantage of the people that were around because it was all of the sales executives from every single one of these magazines and publishers and editors and so I just started working the room and I met this fantastic gentleman, his name was Frank Wall. At the time, he was a sales rep for Time Magazine. I networked with him, and I kind of told him what I wanted to do. And he was like, well, you're speaking to the right person, because I can help you get there. And he was really the one that introduced me to all of these wonderful people that were all working in that space.

How do you stay in front of invest, nurture your wide network?

I'd be lying if I said it's not challenging. It is. I mean, we all get very busy. And depending upon where life is taking you, your priorities shift. So there is no secret formula to doing it. I just think that there are people in your life that are always going to be a part of your network. Letting people know that you're still around. And like how you nurture any sort of relationship. I mean, yes, there's different degrees of relationships, but at the same time, we all want the same thing, right? We all want to feel like we're bringing some value to someone else's life at whatever level that looks like.

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

Get out there. And I know that it's scary, but practice makes perfect. There are so many opportunities in the Milwaukee community to meet really great people. But sometimes it can be very overwhelming because networking events back in the day were like no networking events. We formed our own events to get together. And now I mean, there could be three or four a night, right? I don't want to say like, limit yourself. So like, in my case, I wanted to learn about the publishing industry because I wanted to be the publisher of a fashion magazine. But I also had this idea to start my own. So logically, you would think you have to put yourself in a space where I'm going to be able to meet those people, so that I can articulate to them how they can help me. So I think that's how people can really start to grow their network is have a vision, know what you want, know how people can help you and then just start putting yourself out there and meeting as many people as you can in that specific space and being direct on how people can help you.

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

I know that it's scary. And all of us come to the table for different reasons. And there are different expectations and fears that hold us back. And you might be listening right now thinking, I don't know what I can offer other people. Well, guess what? It doesn't necessarily matter. You can figure that out. All of us have started somewhere. All of us have relied on someone else to help us meet other people or open some doors for us. And yeah, when I started out in my career, I really had nothing to offer either. I needed people to guide me along the way. But now I'm at a point in my career, where I can mentor someone else. So if you feel like you don't have anything to offer, but you've got a goal or a dream or you know anything, just get out there and start talking about it and people will gravitate towards you and people are going to help you whether you can give something in return or not.

How to connect with Amanda:




May 25, 2020

Meet Greg Keating

Greg Keating is the Director of Sales & Operations for Hangar12. Greg received his undergraduate degree in Marketing & Supply Chain Management from the University of Illinois and received his MBA with a focus in data analytics from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. He brings Fortune 500 experience from Coca-Cola & Ecolab including project management, data analytics, & selling expertise that helps his marketing agency build brand equity, trial, and loyalty for companies of all sizes.

I know you're more in the consumer-packaged goods market. Can you tell me a little bit how the consumer-packaged goods market has changed in the last few years, especially as it relates to shopper marketing?

In the past, I think shopper marketing was defined as any kind of marketing activation that took place in a retail store. So this might be product sampling or a nice fancy aisle end cap, in store signage, those types of things. Nowadays, well, those things I just mentioned still exist and are very important. The shopper marketing environment has definitely moved online. So the amount of digital activity from retail consumer shoppers has dramatically affected that shopper marketing landscape. So we're talking about six figure media buys for homepage takeover, utilizing the I bought a rebate app and leveraging programmatic banner ads that link out to things like store locators. You're really working to create a kind of seamless, online and offline shopping experience.

What are some newer, interesting, b2b social media insights that your agency has come across recently?

The unexpected channel our agency has really leaned into recently is Pinterest. Pinterest maybe has a stigma around it of being only for the super niche audience of artsy people. And that really just isn't the case. Well, we've seen from some of our recent campaigns is that people of all genders, ages, all these different demographics, are using this platform as a more effective visual Google search. So the click through rates have been shockingly good. The cost per click is low, because I think advertisers maybe aren't fully bought into its validity yet. So it's a really good blend of cost and benefit at the moment.

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

My first boss at my previous employer, Ecolab, would bring me at the time into these really high level supply chain strategy meetings with her because I had this sort of very specific knowledge on one of our company's key customer delivery metrics. I got asked a direct question by our chief supply chain officer who's again, this big, intimidating genius. And he asks about why the metric is a certain way. And I was able to give my two cents on why I thought it wasn't necessarily representative of reality. But ultimately, because of that one moment, I got put on a project where I traveled across the USA, to our top 10 production facilities and essentially worked on mapping out our supply chain network and manufacturing capabilities over the course of the next six months to deliver that to our chief supply chain officer. So the reality for me is that none of that would have happened if my boss did not recognize that I had this particular knowledge and then put me in a setting I was honestly unqualified to be in solely to give me that shot at that one opportunity to contribute.

How do you stay in front of or nurture these relationships that you've created?

So one thing is that our agency that I currently work at is fully remote. I would say I've got Zoom down to a science. With our current coronavirus situation, I would say I'm always initiating video calls wherever possible to meet people face to face and just have an honest conversation with them. I think that has probably helped me faster in business opportunities far more than any phone call I've ever made.

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

I'm actually newer to the sales side of things. I've really been doing a lot of training and networking myself, but some of that advice I would offer is to say yes to almost everything. I think there may be certain instances where there are non-value add opportunities being offered to you, but 95% of the time, there's something to learn or some connection to be made. If that's seminars, webinars, podcasts like you offered up to me here, guest blog opportunities, happy hour events. Anything like that networking groups or associations, all those things are going to introduce you to new people who can help you and you're just limiting yourself and you're not going to grow by skipping out on them.

Digital networking or traditional networking, which one do you find more value in?

I think digital networking is something people need to get more comfortable with. I mean, I believe it's easier to engage with someone in person, no question. But that's not always possible. Again, obviously, that's true now more than ever, and we still need to be able to cope with that. So I'm a huge advocate for digital networking. I think if you can get that down and fine tune that approach, you just opened so many more doors than might otherwise be possible in a traditional physical setting.

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 tell myself to join more groups and clubs. So, again, I would call myself an introvert. Even throughout college, I really feel like I didn't take advantage of the resources available to me. I would 100% recommend getting involved in employee clubs, peer networking groups, anything that can provide a real sense of community is ultimately going to help you grow and learn over time. And that's just something I didn't buy into at a young age.

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 6th degree?

I get into Academy Award season and try to watch all the best picture nominations and stuff like that. And one of the supporting actors who's cropped up in recent years and a lot of great movies is Sam Rockwell. And I would just love to connect with him. I think he's a phenomenal actor and storyteller and a really funny, dude. So I think picking his brain would be a lot of fun. I don't know If I could get to the sixth degree. We work with an entertainment marketing consultant who has a lot of connections out in LA. So I think I could at the very least get on the right track. But to get to that level and get into those Hollywood inner circles that might take me a long time.

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

I'll say the only way to grow your network is to flex that muscle of doing new things, trying new activities, getting out of your comfort zone. For me, getting comfortable with the uncomfortable is how I've started to frame that in my mind, and that's helped give me a lot of confidence to dive in.

How to connect with Greg:




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