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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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:




May 20, 2020

Meet Elena Nunez Murdock

Elena Murdock is the founder of Ascend Communications, specializing in PR, strategic partnerships, & branding for startups, venture capital, and private equity groups. She managed a 350 million dollar brand, rebranded a 1.5 bil-dollar company in 6 weeks, developed GTM strategies for multi-million dollar tech products, & creates branding strategies for CEOs. Elena is giving a talk at the Stanford Business School titled, "Leveraging Your Brand as a Young Executive." Networking is her superpower.

What are some tips that you can share with someone that actually hates networking?

My two top tips are, number one, research the event beforehand and the event you go to, now virtual, and just see who's going to be going and then message them on LinkedIn. If you don't have LinkedIn, definitely get a LinkedIn and start messaging them so you have at least five to ten people that you already know before going. Then secondly, I would also go with a friend. So it's just you. If you still feel uncomfortable going, find a friend to go with you, and then bring them along. And that way you'll have at least somebody to lean on for support.

How do you avoid or get out of any sort of awkward or uncomfortable conversations that someone might be in a networking event?

So the really great thing about networking events is that they always have food at them. I know this might not be a standard “get out of jail” free card, but I always get a little bite of something to eat, but don't fill up your plate because then you can always be like, oh, I have to go throw this away. Greet someone and then excuse yourself to go throw your plate in the trash. Then go and fill up a plate, but if you fill up your plate, you're kind of stuck there and you're just awkwardly nibbling on the plate. So just always have a little bit around and just kind of circle the room. And for me, that's always worked.

Let's talk about social clubs a little bit. What are social clubs and why are they important?

One of the things I talked about when I was at Stanford is the importance of social clubs. And it's a little bit hard, especially during this time to go out and socialize. But hopefully when the world gets back to normal, I really advocate for people becoming a part of social clubs. A social club is basically a community that you pay a membership fee to go to and there's three tiers. Tier three being the lowest and what I would see as like the Soho house, if you've ever heard of the Soho house, they have them in select cities all around the world. And it's more for the creative types or if you're in communications or marketing, it's a great place to go and meet other creatives, directors, actors. Tier two social club would be a golf club. They're like mid-tier professionals and all the directors. You can find very senior executives there as well. And it's more formalized as there is a dress code. Then level one would be something especially in Los Angeles on the west coast called the Jonathan Club. There's also the California club. In New York, for example, there's a University called the New York and similar clubs like that. And those memberships are typically upwards of $60,000 a year or more. I would highly recommend if you're a senior level executive that can afford that kind of membership to do that.

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

So one of my favorite ones is something that happened to me last year. I had heard through the grapevine of a community that I'm involved with that this billionaire who has this company at the time was worth 1.5 billion, that he was looking for somebody with the exact services that I do. So I specialized not only in PR but on LinkedIn getting clients trending on LinkedIn and the topics and also in the news section. And I had heard through maybe a 10th degree connection, like in passing, this guy was looking for somebody like me, and I was like, I have no idea how I'm gonna get in contact with this guy. It turned out that my friend knew him personally, and had known him for over 10 years and made a direct email intro pretty much the next day. And then, because of that email intro, I had a phone call with him, which I was super pumped about. It was an amazing call and he ended up becoming a client. And he was the company, the $1.5 billion company that I ended up rebranding in under six weeks.

So how do you stay in front of our best nurture your network and community?

One thing I do is after meeting someone, I will write a handwritten note which is pretty common not overly done but I got this custom wax seal which has like two initials for E&M. And then I have like the wax kit, and then hand stamp it and if I can also hand deliver it to the office or to the person. That's something that people have really noticed but that's something that I love to do.

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

I would say that I would always find a way to serve other people. If you're just getting started in networking, or if you're coming out of college, or you're just in general trying to expand, I would say, always try to find a way to serve the other person. I've seen that too many people, when they go to networking events, just take and take and take. It's all about them. It's all about how they can grow their network. If you have no idea how to serve someone, guaranteed, you can find some way whether it's offering them a freebie, or something that you can offer that's not going to sell your whole business for free, but something that will help them just like a little bit. That's how ultimately they're going to come back to you and see you as somebody who's serving them.

Traditional networking or digital networking, which one do you find more value in?

I personally love traditional networking 100%. I love connecting with people in person and hearing their stories and there's ultimately no other way to substitute for the energy and passion that you have when meeting somebody in person. Now it's connecting to 10 to 15 people a week via phone, which is not as optimal but you know, we do what we can with what we're given and with the time given to us. But again, traditional networking 100%.

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 definitely would have been more intentional with my relationships. I think as a 20-year old in general, you don't really know what you're doing in college. But I would have kept in touch with the professionals where I did my summer internships. Just being overall intentional with my relationships and less so with forgetting about them in a sense because when you're 20 you take these classes and then go on, but if I had kept in touch having those networks open to me would have been beneficial as I was getting my MBA.

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

So one of my top line goals for the next two years is to be the youngest woman in America to be named to a board of a publicly traded company. Currently, the youngest woman is 32 and I'm about to turn 30 later this year. So one of my goals was to find a mentor who could help me navigate that journey. So I ended up being at an event that one of the top hedge fund managers in New York City was at. And I knew somebody at about three degrees of separation who knew him. He was hosting a private event and I snuck in through the back actually literally stuck into the back to meet him. One of my friends was at the event who was able to introduce me, and I had been following his career. So I asked him would you be willing to mentor me? This is my goal. And he was stunned. But he actually said yes I'll be your mentor. He gave me his card. And that was a pretty incredible moment for me.

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

Just to find a way to be of service to your network. One thing that I would just keep in mind is keep in mind the top line goal. So just keeping abreast of like, who does what and like, what they're interested in and who they serve. So then if you have an opportunity to send them something that you know you can do at little or no cost to yourself. That's it. Spreading more kindness and serving others ultimately, and then, you know, hopefully they can do the same for you later.

How to connect with Elena:


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May 13, 2020

Meet Violette de Ayala

Violette de Ayala is a Cuban-American serial and social Entrepreneur, Founder of FemCity, and virtual mentor to over 20,000 women. She’s also the International best-selling author of The Self-Guided Guru© Life Lessons for the Everyday Human. Violette has been quoted in Success, Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC, Fast Company, Thrive Global, Medium, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Small Business, Authority, Business Insider News as a small business expert overall.

Let's talk a little bit about FemCity. You founded this global women's networking organization, just tell us a little bit about that.

I started femme city in 2009. I myself was looking for community in my life. And even after going out to many, many networking events here in Miami that are all spectacular and great. I always left feeling a little depleted and like I was missing some sort of connection to others. And after doing that for a couple years, I just decided to start something very small, but it would be just for 20 women here Miami and we would just gather once a month and help to support each other in business and personal development. And throughout the years, because of pictures on Facebook that we initially posted and launching other chapters, we started watching more and more. And now we are a members only organization. We help women in business personal development, and we create communities around the world.

You've got a couple new chapters opening up in all different parts of the world. Would you like to share some of those places?

We moved out, so we grow very organically. And you can see our growth patterns starting in Miami, and then we kind of grew up the east coast and then moved over to the west coast. And then we started growing in Canada, in Toronto. And so it's natural for us to start launching in other countries as well. So before all of this started happening, we had started kind of having the conversations of launching in Paris and Madrid and in Dubai and we're excited to continuously grow and create communities for women with personal development, online resources, literally anything that they need in order to design and create the life that they envision for themselves.

So you're an international best-selling author. What inspired you to write a book while you've already got this global organization underneath your feet?

So it's actually a really funny story. Many years ago, some of our members kept asking me for a book, oh, you should write a business book. I started to write it. I reviewed it. I'm like, gosh, this is horrible. This is like a horrible book. I can't do this. So I kind of put that on the back burner. And then I had a goal of writing it by a certain time. And I thought I just need to write it. Let me just write it the way I want to write it in the voice that I generally use when I'm speaking or lecturing. And so I wrote this book, it's 10 chapters, with life lessons that I grew from and how I actually transitioned and pivoted my life stories from going from welfare to wealth stories of being married to someone for 20 years divorcing and getting back together. And just even like the stories of growing up with a mother who was a drug addict and suffered from mental illness. So all these kinds of stories that people knew about, that I lectured. That's where that book was really birthed from.

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

So I believe you can network anywhere, right? I think my favorite networking story is I was asked to be a speaker on a panel many, many years ago for Gymboree, here in Miami, which is where I live and I went and we networked a little bit before the panel started and then we networked a little bit after and I got the opportunity to meet the founder of Gymboree, she was also on the panel, Joan Barnes, and we just connected. It was like we had known each other our whole entire lives. And she ended up we exchanged information like cell phone and emails. And the next day we chatted, and we couldn't stop chatting and we were like texting each other like all these ideas and she really became an iconic person in my journey through being an entrepreneur. And that all came from networking.

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

I feel that each member that we have is a friend and they feel like I'm really responsible for their success. And every day I wake up like thinking to myself, how can I help more in a bigger way? What can I do to help others to grow the business that they envision for themselves to design their life to live life in a balanced way. And when you come across, anytime you're networking, when you come across from the point of view of wanting to serve and help others, it always comes back to you.

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

The advice that I would give is to show up all the time anywhere ready to create connections. So whether you're walking your dog, or going to the farmers market or going to a networking event or whatever it is that you have, you have the power to meet people that can pivot your life in dramatic ways. And if you keep your energy open to receiving that, and then giving, being a person to give of yourself to fully offer advice to be kind to others, those people will remember you forever and ever. And that's really when you talk about business growth. It's always about the contacts and connections that you have, and that they like you because humans do business with humans they like and respect.

Between digital networking or traditional networking which do you find more value in?

I would say both of them, honestly. Sometimes I've met friends on social media. So I think if you come across from the same point of view of being of service, being an asset to that person, oh, I thought of you, I got this invitation for this networking event, I thought of you or I have this contact, I thought it would be a great introduction. So I think a lot of that can occur in the digital world. If you have the heart in it. I think they're both equally valuable. I mean, at the end of the day, humans like to see each other's eyes, like to see each other and you can exponentially grow that relationship when you're in that physical place. But you can still really create great relationships through digital.

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?

Believe in yourself, that would be one that's been huge for me. There's so many years that I wasted and so much money lost because I didn't believe in myself. I didn't think I could do things on my own. I felt like I needed a crutch, I felt like I couldn't do this because I didn't have that degree from Wharton Business School and all these just ridiculous stories I made up in my mind that held me back. So that would be the biggest thing right there.

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

I'd love to connect with Oprah. So another mentor of mine, I met at a birthday party for our girls when my youngest was in kindergarten. We met and I was talking about Oprah. She must have just started her channel at the time. And I mentioned it and she said, oh, my gosh, I told Oprah that exact same thing the other day. I have a couple of those with Oprah like that one degree or two degrees. So I'm just hoping one day to get a chance to meet her. But it has not happened yet.

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

Be of service, follow up with people, stay connected, and you're not going to be able to do it all on your own. You're going to need people around you to offer mentorship and advice and referrals and recommendations and connections. So it's all about people and getting out there and the more people that you know, the more opportunities come your way.

How to connect with Violette:






May 11, 2020

Meet Janice Porter

Janice began her career as a teacher and was a corporate trainer and has now been in business for herself for several years. She found her niche coaching and training business professionals to network at a mastery level and turn their connections into new business. Having an innate curiosity, she has leveraged that into building business relationships, and teaches others how to do the same. Connecting people is a skill that Janice uses when needed, and only when she feels that it will be managed most professionally as she holds her relationships very dearly. LinkedIn training is a huge part of Janice’s business. She believes anyone in business or looking for a new position needs to have a professional LinkedIn profile, and that LinkedIn is a powerful, underutilized online platform for attracting new clients. You can listen to Janice on her relationships, rural podcasts on iTunes, Stitcher and most other podcast platforms.

Let's talk about relationships and specifically relationship marketing. What is that?

So whenever you think of the words relationship, and marketing, most people or I'm going to go with that 80/20 rule a piece that 80% of the people would think marketing first, and the people that I like to surround myself with and those that I train on such things, we talk about the word relationship more. We want to make sure that people connect with people in an authentic way and build an authentic relationship with them. It's not just about sending you my stuff, or connecting to add another number to my Facebook friends or my LinkedIn profile. It's about truly taking the time and interest and having the curiosity to find out about people and find out how they work and how they think and what can you do to support them? That's my idea of relationship marketing.

So why the focus on LinkedIn?

When LinkedIn came around, I was not sure what it was all about and so I asked a couple of people who were using it and one of them kindly put me on to this young man. She said call him as he knows all about it, and he will talk to you about it. Well, this young man was very knowledgeable. He was also a really good teacher. And so I got him to teach me all about it. And what I found was that this makes sense to me. This is logical. It's kind of left brain and it's also a business platform. I find it a much easier platform to deal directly with and to be authentic on it, because the majority of people on this platform are our decision makers, and therefore, it's easy to get to the topic at hand, to the business that needs to be done faster.

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

I met somebody on LinkedIn, who introduced me to somebody else on LinkedIn, because they thought that this person would be an interesting guest on my podcast. He's in Australia. And I have since chatted with him on Zoom a couple of times. He has been on my podcast. I really enjoyed this gentleman and he's very smart, but he gives back and he's very passionate about what he does. And through our conversation, I then introduced him to one of my mentors Kody Bateman who owns Send Out Cards, which is a company that I'm involved with. And Kody had a bit of a vision around children and card sending and showing appreciation. And this gentleman does all of that in spades and teaches young entrepreneurs and he has an online academy. So now I've introduced him to Kody. He's now been on Kody's podcast. And now we're coming back to me training him more on LinkedIn and goes around and it all came from just connection online.

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

One, mostly through LinkedIn where I try to stay visible, and that is by engaging with people on my newsfeed and posting things when I think it's appropriate or when I have something worthwhile to share, and, two, by my podcasts, and three, is by sending cards and gifts. But it has to be something tangible that shows that you've taken the time to write that, to send it, however, not just an email.

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

Where are your people? Are they on LinkedIn? Are they on Facebook? Are they on Twitter? Are they on Instagram? You need to be where your target audience is. That's the first thing.

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

If I could go back to my 20-year-old self, I think I would have done something that I didn't know I had the opportunity to do back then, which was to go to law school. I don't know why, but I had this feeling now that I should have gone to law school, but I never thought it was an opportunity or an option back then I was always going to be a teacher. That's what I love to do is teach people. However, I think that I would take business courses, and I would have learned more about business even if I didn't think I was going to use it.

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?

I think you and I've talked about this before, and I think at that time, I said, Oprah, and I think I could do it within six degrees. I have a friend who knows Ellen DeGeneres. I don't know whether she’d do it. I'm just doing this hypothetically. Because I know one thing for sure, anybody who has famous people in their inner circle, do not take advantage of them. And that's something I totally respect. So just having fun with that.

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

It's important to be curious and to ask questions. And in doing that, you will make new authentic relationships and then it's about always reaching out and showing appreciation to them. I think that especially now when everybody and their dog is on the internet, we have to look at ways that we can make those connections.

How to connect with Janice:




May 6, 2020

Meet Emerald Mills

Emerald was born in Waukegan, Illinois. She’s a business strategist, culture builder and public health professional with almost two decades of cumulative experience. Emerald is also the founder and leader facilitator of Diverse Dining and events educational organization, whose mission is to cultivate courage, compassion and connection through meaningful conversations centered around diverse foods and cultural exploration. Diverse Dining strives to establish and maintain interpersonal and interprofessional relationships among persons of varying culture, economic, ethnic, political, racial, and social backgrounds. As a philanthropic initiative, Diverse Dining, which Emerald is now involved with full time is prominently been featured on Dear Milwaukee, On Milwaukee, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Spectrum One, Fox 6, Visit Milwaukee podcast and plenty of other mediums.

So why don't you tell our listeners a little bit about why you decided to start Diverse Dining?

I lived in Zion, Illinois. And it's just a very small community that was pretty diverse at the time that I grew up there. And when I relocated to Milwaukee in 1997, which was my junior year of high school, I kind of got a little bit of a culture shock at how separated it seemed that people were, particularly by race and ethnicity, but in other ways as well. I learned after living here for a while. So, I created a Diverse Dining as a solution to the segregation, racism. I really think even you know, cliques and just silos a solution to the silo problem that we tend to have where we have challenges connecting with people that are different from us.

Who inspires you? And why?

Martin Luther King and Oprah inspires me. People inspire me who just dare to do something different to break the mold. People who endeavor to find solutions to problems that seem that they have no solution are typically people that I draw my inspiration from. So, Dr. King, for sure will be one. There is another lady who is Joyce Meyer and I'm inspired by her. I am inspired by various different people in various different sectors, but mainly for the reason of breaking the mold or breaking past the barrier that is in place.

What advice would you offer to women that are starting their own business or considering doing it?

Well, I believe relationships are just key. And my business is focused around building authentic relationships. I really recommend that women are starting their own business, find spaces where they can be vulnerable, build effective partnerships and relationships with people who are like minded or who are supportive in some way or another of what they're endeavoring to start. And so, you can use that encouragement and support is fuel to keep going and to strengthen them when things get difficult.

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

An event that I had when I first got started. The networking was kind of easy, but it was with someone who came to an event that I had hosted, but their event organization did some similar work. And so the young lady who came to the event and myself actually were able to meet for coffee, have a conversation about ways that we could possibly work together but ultimately had built a pretty close friendship as a result of it. We support each other and anything that we're doing and also have support in the work that we're doing. So that was probably one of my most recent favorites experiences.

How do you stay in front of or best nurture these relationships that you create?

One of the things I had to do early on when I got started in my business was investing in CRM, which is a customer management system. And that would help me to keep track. I know that is something that I'll have to probably continually advance and improve over time. But that one of the things that I do to help me out a lot. And then also really knowing on the onset what I need or what need I'm addressing for people to kind of help me prioritize the relationship.

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

I would really advise them to be courageous. And just put themselves out there. I think just having a conversation with people, finding similarity or some kind of way to compliment a person or just something that you enjoy doing that someone else may do. I'd also recommend going into spaces where you're uncomfortable, or spaces that are not related to what you always are part of or always do. By going to an environment where there are people who aren’t in my field, they're seeing what I'm doing, it's more of an opportunity or something that's new, they may not have heard of it. I think that is just another thing to think about when you're thinking about networking is who maybe has a related field or related need or interest, but it's not exactly the same as what I'm doing.

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?

I would tell myself to do less self-doubt and negative self-talk. I would do more risk taking for sure. More, just doing it and less trying to think about doing it or thinking about why I shouldn't do it or all the other stuff that we think about. And I would also do more networking. When you are confident in yourself and you're confident in what you bring to the table, then it changes the way that you look at networking. As I have something to offer you that is a value in service to you, and you have something that you can offer me that is a value in service to me, how can we exchange it?

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?

I would love to meet, and I actually did meet her but I'm going to put myself on the spot and I'm working on you know rekindling that conversation is Jennifer Bartalotta. I'm definitely within six degrees of separation with her. I would love to meet the Bucks president Peter Feigin.

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

I would just say you can do it. I know it sounds cliché, but I mean, just test it. You don't have to put a lot of money into ideas and concepts now so it's a great time to give something that is on your heart or something that you desire to try. Even if you don't feel like you have all that you need, be it support, the resources etc. I recommend that you move forward. I also recommend that it's important to build relationships to tap into your network and then expand your network so that you have the support you need around when times get challenging because they will get challenged.

How to connect with Emerald


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May 4, 2020

Meet Bill Bice

Bill Bice has always been an entrepreneur, starting his first company at age 14, putting on road races with corporate sponsors. At 18, he started ProLaw Software, the first integrated ERP for law firms. After selling the company to Thomson Reuters, Bill became a VC as a founding partner in the Verge Fund, investing in high tech, high growth companies in the Southwest. Bill is the CEO of boomtime, the Word of Mouth marketing company.

So you've built and invested a lot of businesses what's been the biggest challenge?

It really is that good of market I mean, that's the reason I started Boomtime which was my frustration in getting great marketing for the companies that I started. I mean, it's a tough thing to do really well. And it's really tough as business owners to make the necessary commitment behind marketing because just like always spending money and not getting results, and there's some key reasons for that.

What are some of the most common mistakes that you see people making in their marketing?

I think there's two really big ones. So what I consider the biggest mistake in marketing is talking about yourself because nobody cares. And marketing is so much more effective if you flip that around, and really pay attention to what your audience cares about. If you instead turn it into insight, perspective driven help that you're giving to your audience, it becomes so much more effective. And then you get to the really hard part, which is the second step, which is that you've got to do it consistently. There is no magic trick in marketing. It's actually really hard work that has to be done day in and day out for it to be effective.

You've done a lot of work in B2B sales, applying the challenger sale, what have you learned in doing that?

The challenger sale is all about creating new sales opportunities that wouldn't otherwise exist. If your business works where you can just be an order taker, then that's great. But if you're doing something that's complex and has multiple decision makers as high value, then then you need to be able to create new sales opportunities. Let's be consultative, let's make everything in our marketing have this perspective, insight driven approach, get your audience to think about the things that you're really good at, give them a different perspective. And if you do that you'll create new sales opportunities that didn't exist before.

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

I'm very much an introvert at heart, but yet to do what I want to do, I have to go out in the world and talk to people. I love LinkedIn for this very reason. Because it's like the perfect cocktail party, it's going to be a room full of only exactly the people I want to meet, I get to do it under my control, I don't have to eat horrible food at the same time, and I get to build a network of exactly the right people that I want to talk to. I found that if you treat that the same way that you would that cocktail party where when you meet somebody, you just don't dive into a sales pitch, you have to build a relationship first. If you do that same thing on LinkedIn, that works really well. It's been the perfect way for me to build my network and be able to get my message out.

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

If you do a regular flow, and this is what's really hard, quite frankly, is because 90% of the effort is great content. And most companies have a really tough time doing that internally, you've got all the ideas, but actually executing on it day in and day out is really tough. You got a business to run and sitting in front of a blank screen doesn't get you there. So you know what, the only way to solve that problem is to build a network of subject matter experts who are able to write that stuff. So I think you have to outsource it. The ideas have to come from you. The really hard part is getting the voice, right. But if you go through the effort of getting that model working, then you get the steady flow of really great content that lets you stay in front of your audience over and over again.

When it comes to someone that wants to grow their network? What advice would you offer that that kind of newer, greener business professional?

I just think it's so much easier to get going with LinkedIn. So let's say that you're focused in your city and you want to grow your network there. It's amazing how great it is when you've built that network online, how much easier it becomes to do so in person. Because now people have seen things from you on a regular basis, it makes it much easier to come up with things to talk about. So I really see LinkedIn as the entree to making all networking easier. The key is how do we do that really well in LinkedIn and putting the strategy you put behind that really changes how effective it's going to be.

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 was a complete idiot. I started my first software company when I was 18. Because I was 18, I thought I knew it all. And so the biggest mistake is that I didn't accept any kind of mentorship. And so we built a great software company, but it took 15 years. It took me a long time to figure out how to run a business. And so now I have a much better idea of how little I know. I always try to find somebody who's already done what I want to do. Someone's already done whatever it is you are setting out to do right now. So going and learning from them is the best way to speed up your process.

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?

So, who's on my mind at the moment, just because I read his latest book is Simon Sinek. I've always been a huge fan of his work. And I think what he talks about in The Infinite Game, which frankly, if you just read the first chapter, you'll get to get the concept but it really gets at the heart of all the good that we create with capitalism and how do we continue that and get rid of the challenge and you know, the problems that have crept in over the last few decades.

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

I'm going to hit the same tune again because the reason I talked about it is because it is the key to make marketing work, which is you need to pick a strategy that you believe in, that you will commit to long term. Because you're not going to get a return in month one, month two, month three, I believe you got to pick a strategy that you're willing to put at least a year behind in order to truly understand how it works. And the only way you can believe in that is to see the results from other places. Take a proven approach that is working for businesses just like yours, so you can make that long term commitment.

How to connect with Bill:




Apr 29, 2020

Meet Ian Moyse

Ian has been a sales leader for over 25 years and focused on the cloud computing industry for the past 13 years. Now serving as EMEA sales director for cloud telephony vender Natterbox. He sits as a non exempt on a number of industry bodies and firms and is a social influencer for a growing number of global brands such as Oracle, SAP and Sage. He's a recognized keynote speaker and blogger on cloud, social selling, and personal branding.

As a sales leader, what's the landscape of sales looking like right now? How is it changing?

So I think it's already changed and it will continue to change. And I think the reason for that is we've all changed ourselves. We now live in a world that's different. And it's different because of mobile smart devices, the internet, the World Wide Web, rather than the internet, the true definition social media. Our behavior as a buyer has inherently changed. So from a sales perspective, the game's changed. And it's changed years ago. And it continues to change both because of the environment we live in. Because of millennials and Zeds having grown up in that environment.

You're an advocate of social selling, what is it and how do you use it as a sales leader?

I think the name itself is a misnomer because when I speak to a lot of people they get well, that wouldn't fit our product or service. We couldn't sell that over the internet. You couldn't sell it over social certainly. Social selling isn't about selling over social. Social selling should be called something like how to use social media to get a first engagement conversation open that you turn into a real world conversation, then move on to use all your normal selling skills. But how do you package that? Social selling is about finding a way to engage authentically, with a potential customer or buyer that turns that into a real world conversation. It is not a quick fix. It's a sales nurturing methodology to try and get engagement.

What can you share with our listeners about what exactly personal branding is and why is it important?

Personal brand isn't some illustrious thing about you need to be a celebrity. It isn't something your company is responsible for in terms of branding of a Pepsi Cola or some big logo out there. It's pretty simplistic. It's about how you represent yourself. How are you viewed online? If someone searches your name, what will they find? And what will the impression give? Today's world, often the first impression is digital. Because if you're going to meet someone, it takes them five seconds to put your name in LinkedIn and just have a look. To put your name in and see what comes up in Google. And to take an impression of what they see. And you need to be cognizant of that. So think about your social profile your brand is how you look online. You have control of that to the majority. And it's not complex, isn't it? You can do it for free most times.

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

The traditional one is going along to an event and there's loads of strangers there. And I don't feel comfortable just walking up to introduce myself. What I always go back to is where I went to an event. And I sat down to listen to a speaker and I sat next to someone so I just started chatting to them. Which bit are you interested in today? Where were you from? And did basic fundamental question because I sat randomly next to this person. And it turned out they were the European CIO of a major brand organization. And we chatted, and I wasn't trying to sell to him. The conversation naturally just accidentally ended up in the right place. To the point that we said, well, we should talk after this. That progressed into meetings that progressed into me selling them across the whole of Europe and then traveling out to the states to meet the global CIO, etc.

How do you stay in front of our best nurture the relationships that you're creating?

I sat in with my team on the training. I've been doing this a long, long time. Sales leadership a long time. I didn't know this. And one of those things was around relationship. And it was what the difference between how many times we assume we have a relationship and what we have is rapport. And it was an eye opener to see how many times we think we have a relationship where what we have is a rapport because people have been friendly to us. And people aren't gonna be rude in a business or unless you're rude in the outset. They are going to be friendly; they are going to smile, they are going to have a conversation. It doesn't mean you've got a relationship. We assume relationship too quick.

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?

Always learn and be open. I think I'm more now because of the environment I work in, in cloud technology. You have to be open to change and agility because tech is changing so fast. We get programmed. And the longer we do something we get programmed into. This is the way to do it. We've become habitual. Because we've done it for so long. We will behave so in front of a prospective client, if they see 10 people, how many of us just behave very similar. We ask the same questions we go the same approach. How boring must that be for them as opposed to Is there a better way?

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

I think that the tip key today is about engagement. It's about providing value, what everyone's looking for is insight. You know, and customers are looking for insight. What can you add value to that business? What’s a personal value that I can give to that individual that can help them in their day to day job and build. And that's where I think you can help build, go from rapport, and step towards relationship, because you're giving them something.

How to connect with Ian:



Apr 27, 2020

Meet Ian Reynolds

Ian Reynolds is a Partner and Chief Solutions Architect at Zibtek, a software development firm focused on helping businesses of all sizes in the US solve their core problems with software. They empower entrepreneurs, growth companies, enterprises and visionary firms to achieve greater profitability and efficiency, valuation and ultimate success by building the right tools through custom software.

What is it that your company is doing to innovate and stay on top of the latest technologies?

We have a select group of engineers who are just looking at a sort of smattering of the biggest and sort of most available trends and technology, mostly AI and these sorts of things. Just dedicated research to see if they can come up with any sort of projects that are going to be interesting, going to solve problems for our clients that we can then turn around and present research. We see the market going this way, here is something that we really feel will be of benefit to you and hopefully, of course, a benefit to us internally as we sort of provide services to the workplace.

Can you talk a little bit about the types of clients that you help?

There are three major categories that we serve. The first category is small businesses in the United States, which accounts for 90% of those firms as maybe 20 to 25% of our business. And these are folks who either have an idea or have a need for a piece of software that doesn't exist, and they're sort of bringing something new to market. Then we have midsize businesses, which account for the majority of our business. And they don't necessarily have that team in house that can solve that complex engineering problem that they have, that would resolve the core issue in their business or would basically allow them to focus more on operations. And of course, we have enterprise clients like Google and Adobe, that we serve, and we're building and supporting enterprise projects for them in house. And those are those are much more structured.

Can you describe the process of building custom software and how a company goes about doing that?

So building custom software is very much like building a house, you have to have a plan. You also have to have certain access to certain things. So we start with really sitting down the client understanding their needs. We had people come to us with literally just napkins where they have an idea. And so we have to take that translate that into a formal or textual document. We then go into a design and architecture phase, where we're actually reviewing the technologies that would be best fit for the solution. And then we're designing it. Sometimes we'll do a discovery phase, that's a couple weeks to really kind of test and make sure build what is called like a POC a proof of concept to see if this can be done. We then go into principal engineering where we pair a team that has built something before together. And then depending on the nature of the project, you have QA teams to make sure that the quality is sort of meeting our standards.

Can you help our listeners by sharing your one of your favorite or most successful networking stories that you've had?

I was actually revisiting a college campus. We were doing some recruiting. And I had bumped into a colleague that had basically made a pretty wild transition in their career and we just caught up very briefly. That conversation sparked a chain of referrals, which I found out later, where I had just sort of talked about what I was doing. And I took rather a sort of unconventional career path, started a chain of conversations on that person side. And then I find out years later, that they had actually come into also my circle of work, doing engineering, largely because of this conversation that I had with him.

How do you stay in front of or nurture your networking community that you've established?

I've taken an approach of trying to write very thoughtful pieces. And share those directly with a group of individuals, to a select group. I'll send it to people that I feel would be most relevant for just to share my thoughts on a topic. And what I find is real engagement, rather than sort of community or social engagement. It generates real conversations and lends itself to deeper, more meaningful, more thoughtful discussion about certain topics. And it's a lot more work I'll say that, but I would say it has generated much deeper sort of friendships.

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

My advice would be determine what type of communication you're comfortable doing. Then try to leverage that and get really, really good at that one type of communication, that one type of network communication that you prefer, and do that do that on steroids. And if you can, do it consistently. It'll work better than trying to be a man for all seasons.

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

I'd say the, the digital networking is much more valuable. And I'd say by and large, because we have an increased sort of transaction philosophy in society with the use of technology people are out and about and they can be anywhere when they're working. And so it's much more, I guess, kind of consumable to present yourself digitally, than I think it is to even go to or be present at some of these networking events.

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

If I could go back in time, I would probably tell myself to start a business sooner than later. Working in a professional environment was helpful, but not necessary. You can learn pretty much everything you want to learn if you just kind of jump feet first into the problem, and sort of make the problem your own and want to go consume the material.

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?

it would probably be the Seth Klarman at Baupost Group. He's an individual investor guy living in Boston and totally unrelated to the field that I'm in. But he wrote a book that is no longer in print. And just a pretty interesting guy. He's got a unique perspective on the market, and has a long term view of where things are going. So I'd love to have chat with him if it could ever be arranged.

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

Being personal being yourself is the most valuable thing that I have done and the most valuable thing I would encourage people to do and be comfortable in your skin. Just be comfortable with who you are. Be a little goofy be a little nerdy. That's me. And just put yourself out there.

How to connect with Ian:




Apr 22, 2020

Meet Dr. Matthew Waro

Dr. Matt Waro is a family practice chiropractor that specializes in athletes. He works with his practice members to reach their goals by championing them through chiropractic care. Dr. Matt uses functional movement assessments to determine how best to correct the spine, arms, and legs to increase athletic performance, prevent future injury, and rehab current or old injuries. He loves working with people of all ages and levels of activity at Core Chiropractic, his practice in Oconomowoc.

What exactly is a chiropractor doing?

A lot of people think that I'm a bad doctor that you come to me when you have low back pain or headaches or neck pain, but what I treat is the nervous system. So the brain It's up top and sends down the nerves in the spinal cord. And when a bone in your back comes out of place your body braces out with inflammation. And that inflammation can sometimes irritate that nerve root, which causes the back pain, hence why people come to see me with back pain. But I'm not actually treating that back pain, I'm more concerned about something else. All that extra fluid in the area can put compression on the nerve roots. So my job is to go through the spine and make sure that all of the pressure is off those nerves so your body can function on its very best.

Why did you choose to specialize in sports chiropractic?

It makes my day interesting. So each different type of athlete has a different need. I work a lot with hockey players. It's their legs, their shoulders. For the goalies as their knees. For runners we have to deal with feet, ankles, knees, hips, just different. Different conditions that pop up each day. My job interesting.

What about cyclists?

So cyclists are actually pretty good. I'd say a big part of it is the pressure that's always on your pelvis. And then also, of course, we got the hip motion though. The ankle motion and the knees as well.

What other projects are you involved with outside of the clinic?

Outside of the clinic, I have a couple different things going on. One being I do corporate care practice. I actually go into corporations around the apartment area and deliver chiropractic adjustments to their employees on site. I'm actually just launching another project called Plants for Local Partners and this is based off of Dr. Anna Koeck idea. It's having to do with small business owners and people that typically don't offer insurance benefits but giving them an option that their employees or themselves can buy into to have regular care.

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

I like networking events that aren't necessarily common to the reader card to people, right? Because that's very impersonal. In all fields, people tend to do business with those that they know, that they like, and that they trust. And at those events where you're just handing out cards, you're not building that trust. You're barely even getting to know somebody. So one of the big ones for me is actually eWomen's Network, which is kind of funny because I'm a man. But the eWomen's Network is very inclusive of males. But you go there, and you just feel like family.

As you continue to create new relationships and build your community, how do you stay in front of or best nurture these relationships that you're creating?

It comes down to consistency. So a lot of these networking events, these gatherings of people, they happen at a set interval. So you make sure that you are always at those events. You talk with all the people that you've already met, and make sure you pick up a couple new people. So you can start building more relationships. Outside of that, it's connecting with them maybe on LinkedIn or connecting with them on Facebook can and pushing content so that way your face stays in front of them and they recognize your name.

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

I grew my network pretty slow. And that's my own decision. That's how I decided to do it. I find more meaning and relationships that are closer and more personal. And you can't that you can't push that. It can't be done super quickly. So just get out there, meet people. Actively listen, and take an interest in who you're talking to, because they're a person just like you. They have a story and everyone can learn from each other.

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

I personally find more value in traditional networking. Being, I can't physically be with somebody through digital marketing, or digital networking. And when I'm taking someone out to coffee, we shake hands, make eye contact, it's more personal, and people are more likely to remember that.

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?

My 20-year-old self was studying at UW Stevens Point. And at that time, I hadn't decided exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I studied vocal music education for a while, I ended up with a minor there. But it took me five years to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. So really, it's just I wish that I had more focus when I was a student, so that way I could accomplish everything a little bit sooner and get more years of practice in.

I'm always interested in hearing what books or podcasts my guests are reading or listening to for their own personal growth and development.

So on the business side, I've been listening to the Empowerment Project, which is a podcast I listen through Spotify. It's a chiropractor down in Greenville, South Carolina, that likes to talk to other business owners and get their story. Typically, business owners, we just see their storefront, we see what they do in the professional community. But there's so much hidden behind that. And she explores that and I really appreciate it. On a personal note, I am reading a book about someone in Oconomowoc named Ramon. The book’s title is Ramon: an Immigrant’s Journey. He is an immigrant from Mexico. And he's someone that I have contact with very often through Rotary and other organizations in Oconomowoc. Learning about the people that you interact with every day. And his book is extremely eye opening and very much an emotional roller coaster. But that's his life. And that's his story. And there's a great appreciation that I have for it.

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

It comes back to always be consistent. Make sure you schedule your time appropriately. There are a lot of events that come up, sometimes on the same day. You need to pick ones that you are extremely interested in, you like the people that are there, so you can continue to show up and grow relationships with them.

How to connect with Dr. Matt:


Phone: 262-204-7007


Apr 20, 2020

Meet Rylee Meek

Riley is the founder and CEO of the Social Dynamic Selling System, which turns dinner seminar marketing into a science. After responding to a small add on crisis in 2009, Riley was introduced to a new concept of selling, one in which radically changed his life forever. Having just $673 in his bank account, but more importantly, a burning desire for more, Riley went on to produce over $80 million in sales over the past eight years. Now that he has perfected his model, through continual trial and error, he is sharing this learned wisdom and is on a mission to help other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve their revenue goals that they have to live the lifestyle they desire. Everything he teaches, is tried, tested, refined, and proven to create a predictable, sustainable and scalable selling system.

Can you just explain what Social Dynamic Selling is?

At the core of what it what it is, is it's gathering a group of people in person in which there is a social dynamic happening. No different than if you were out at a restaurant or a bar, there's a social dynamic happening. What we do is we create a setting or an environment in which we gather people together, that allows us to create an environment for the host of that event to have listeners eager to hear what they have to hear about a topic in which they are the expert in their industry, and then they have the ability to deliver a presentation. And then ultimately, try to obtain sales or make sales after the fact.

Why does this work so well?

I do think that in person, kind of touch we'll call it is something of the last art in the in the sales world. I think you're gathering people in a in a neutral environment in which they're not feeling pressured coming into a retail store or something along those lines. It's usually an environment in which they've been to before or they know well, and they're not threatened. It's not like they're in that high-pressure sales environment.

In your bio, it states that you offer predictable, sustainable and scalable selling systems. What exactly do you mean by that?

My background was always selling one on one. And it was this constant struggle of lead supply or lead flow. That feast and famine kind of lifestyle in the in the direct sales world. Where was your next lead was coming from, how you were obtaining that and then ultimately making presentations to close deals. And so this system really allows us to have a constant supply. For instance, if the business owner is in San Diego, California, and they're looking to expand into the Phoenix, Arizona market, but they don't have a brand or any recognition, any wherewithal, within that industry they could call upon someone like us. We then could host events and have a room full of qualified prospects eager to hear what they have to talk about whenever they're looking to expand into any particular market.

What specific industries are you working in? Or have you worked in?

We're kind of all over the board. Financial advisors, they were kind of the pioneers of this. I have to say that I'm not the creator of doing dinner seminar sales by any means. I do feel like I have perfected it taking it kind of out of solely in that financial industry. We've expanded into the home remodeling market, general contracting into the medical world cosmetic surgery, dentistry, regenerative medicine, into the travel world, into investment clubs.

It sounds like it's very heavier focus is on the business to consumer side of things?

Yeah, for the most part. Part of the reason is we do a ton of direct mail. I do hundreds of thousands of pieces every single week. And it's easiest to buy that data and send that direct mail piece to that end consumer. If I'm looking to go b2b, typically the business owner, and it's not always the case, but the business owner usually has that gatekeeper, we'll call it, that's actually collecting the mail for themselves and it doesn’t get into the proper hands.

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

I ended up joining a group, a mastermind called board of advisors, and it led to an introduction of Kevin Harrington, who is one of the original sharks on Shark Tank. He ended up hiring us on to fill some events and do some networking events for him throughout the country. It was really cool to be able to make that connection and that's opened numerous doors for us not only in his network, but just others that have seen that we've done business with him as well. It's added thousands and thousands of dollars to our bottom line. It took a little bit of investment for me to get into the group, but from there it was very fruitful thereafter.

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

I travel a ton, but I love doing podcasts like this in general. There's obviously groups online that I'm a part of, that I can contribute to. And I think looking at looking at it, like can I contribute versus always looking at it, on what I can get out of something. Find your core platform or what it is that you want to focus on, and be very, very good at that, versus trying to be the end all be all for all things, I think is key, and being able to always provide the proper support for your community.

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

We tend to always think about okay, what can I get out of this? Or what can I get from this person? But changing that mindset into what can you give? Because everybody is looking for that and if you can come at it with that approach, I think it's it is a breath of fresh air for people.

Between digital networking and traditional networking. Which one do you find more value in?

Obviously I do a ton of traditional fit, you know, face to face. As I mentioned, I think that really is a lost art which is the society we live in now everything is online, group meetups and webinars and things like that, which is it's a beautiful thing. I mean, we're very blessed to have this type of technology in this day and age. But I still, to that point, there is still what I feel people crave is that personal connection that being able to look somebody in the eye and shake hands and sit across the table from each other break bread.

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

If we're not growing, we're dying. And I truly, truly believe that. I’ve believed that since I was 15 years old, and that's why I constantly looked to whether I was reading personal development books or seeking out mentors. I was a sponge early on and I still am so if that means stepping out of your comfort zone. If you can step out of your comfort zone and do the uncomfortable until it becomes comfortable. You're gonna go big places in this world.

How to connect with Riley


Apr 15, 2020

Meet Steve Fry

Co-founder of a number of businesses, including two that have made the Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000 Lists. Today, Steve spends his time matchmaking organizations that genuinely want to grow or increase collaboration with a team of experts in E-Commerce, M365/SharePoint and Digital Marketing. Steve serves on a number of boards where he gets to see up close how non-profits work. Having been to about 70 countries, Steve loves to travel with his wife, Jan. They have two grown daughters and live in suburban Des Moines.

Tell us a little bit about your company and what exactly it is that you do and introduce the company in general?

We have a couple of companies, but they're all under the banner of spindustry. And we're based in the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa. And we do really two major things. The first would be large scale web application development. And as a part of that would be replacement parts e-commerce. We do a lot of that. And then the other side of our business is Microsoft Office 365. And as a part of that platform, we do a lot of work with SharePoint, Teams, Power BI, and some of the tools within that suite to move businesses to the cloud. As people are working more and more remotely, that is a platform that is very busy for us and serves our clients well.

How did you get into this space and tell us a little bit about your background?

It started about 35 years ago, when I first got out of school, I went to work for an insurance company and then I moved to Iowa back in 1990. I was involved for a number of years with an exporting business. We sold old firefighting and safety equipment that was manufactured in United States, but all of our clients were international. And I, for a number of years, covered Asia Pacific. So, from Japan down to Australia, and then back west to India, and got to do a lot of traveling. And that was back in the day when we didn't have email. And we didn't have the ability to communicate like we do today. And then in in 1996, we started a new company. I met a guy when I was working in a product fulfillment business, Michael Bird, he's my business partner. And he helped us in the exporting business to automate everything that we were doing. And he just did a wonderful job and he was entrepreneurial. And my business partner and I and other businesses decided to, you know, let's start a new business.

Where do you see the future of business going today?

So I in my business career, I have seen incredible change. I remember When I was early in my career, the fax machine became a prominent feature in most offices. And that was a revolutionary tool that you could actually send something, a piece of paper for from one office to another. And we do so many things that I couldn't have thought of 30 years ago, even 10 years ago, we do things today, we wouldn't have thought of. And I think looking forward there's more change. I think there'll be careers that people do 10 years from now that don't exist today. I know a lot of people are involved in social media work today. Well, if you go back maybe 10 or 12 years ago, that's really when that all started and there was nobody working in social media today. That's a big, big business.

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

I have belonged to a breakfast club for several years now. It meets twice a month, and this is going back about 10 years. One morning after we had our bimonthly breakfast, one of the members that I had just met but didn't really know him very well came up to me and we were chatting and he said he thinks he may have a client for me. It was a hog farmer in northwestern Iowa. And I looked at him and I said, Jim, do you know what I do? And he laughed. And he said I think you'd be surprised, and I thought, I don't know how we're going to help a hog farmer in northwestern Iowa. But I will tell you in the 10 years since, between that relationship and about three or four other relationships, this same gentleman has referred me to and networked with me to find these opportunities. I'm going to say we've done at least a couple of million dollars’ worth of business for those clients. And it's all been I joined that breakfast club.

As a global traveler has met a ton of people throughout your professional and personal career, how do you stand in front of them best nurture these relationships that you've created?

Our business follows the attraction program or entrepreneurial operating system, EOS. And I have quarterly rocks. And I think almost always one of my rocks is that I have to meet with at least one influencer a week for lunch. Sometimes it's two or three people in a week. I also will sometimes bring people in for lunch, bring them a box lunch and just showcase some of the things that we do so they can have a better and better understanding of what our organization does to serve clients and companies. I send out a monthly e-newsletter. That's a private email just to my group of influencers. It's just like, I always put just two things, two points in there that I want to let them know. And it's just a way to keep our business front of mind for those for those folks as they go.

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

I think the key there is just always be looking for ways to get connected and involved. And so places that you might do that would be business associations. There's a lot of associations for every business. There's community leadership programs, we have a statewide leadership program. And it's great to be able to get connected with people on a on a broader network across every industry. I play golf. I belong to a country club, and I play golf, and I get to meet a lot of people that way. And there's nothing better than spending four hours playing golf with somebody to get to know them and then have a beer afterwards. That's a great way to get connected otherwise people might not ever be able to, you might not ever get a meeting with somebody but I've had the chance to golf with some people that are pretty cool and have helped me out a lot.

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

They're both equally important in my world, and I'm one of the oldest people in the office. I do things from a traditional standpoint, like handwritten thank you notes that nobody else does anymore. I still think they're important. And then I get good feedback from those. I do those sorts of things. And I do use the phone and I do go to lunch. When I to do a networking lunch, it's often how can I help you get connected to somebody else? Because if I take care and help you match-make to an opportunity, long term, I know you'll think of me when the time is right.

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 always mimicked the best people in the business that I was associated with. When you talk about networking, it's just getting to know people and not being afraid to ask for a mentor to ask how do you do things? How have you asked successful people? How have you gotten to where you are, and they're always willing to help you, particularly when you're young and when you're young, or you're starting a new job, or you're in some new space within your current job, people like to help. So don't be afraid to ask for help. And so look for opportunities, get involved, jump in, even when you don't know anybody or you're uncomfortable.

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

If you will approach networking with the idea that you're trying to give more than you are to get, you'll end up getting plenty. It's just like when you give Christmas presents, I don't know about you, but I think for most people, it's more fun to give than to receive sometimes. And I think that same thing is true for networking.

How to connect with Steve



Apr 13, 2020

Meet Brian Weaver

Brian serves as CEO of Torch.AI and has more than 20 years of experience leading mission driven high growth technology focused companies. Torch.AI helps leading organizations leverage artificial intelligence in a unique way via proprietary enterprise data management software solution. Today Torch.AI supports clients like H&R Block with fraud detection and mitigation. And the US Department of Defense with machine learning enabled background investigations for all federal employees, supporting the determination of an individual's trustworthiness and security credentialing.

So how did you end up starting your first company?

So I was sort of a serial entrepreneur even an employee. I got out of college and I conned to this guy to hire me, no experience, I was the youngest employee that they'd hired a company called the Kansas City Star. I had a normal day job and I've always considered myself someone that really enjoyed working with others and trying to solve problems for others and in a business development or sales capacity as a 21 year old kid, but I always had kind of this curiosity and this bit of a creative spark. And so I then left that job and actually followed the guy that had hired me right out of college. And I was a manager over a whole group of people. But the way my first business started, I actually got in trouble at that job. I NASCAR came to Kansas City. We did a great job on NASCAR’s project. And it went very well. But my employer didn’t like it and I was written up for the project. So I went actually went to the NASCAR guys that had had the project and asked would you guys be willing to hire me? And I'll start my own company, and you can be customer number one, and they agreed.

What has been one of your biggest lessons that you've learned as an entrepreneur?

So in order to grow and actually in order to build a real business that’s financially viable where you can have resources and innovation as a function of the business and actually solve problems for big companies and even maybe make a difference in your community, you have to have a little bit of a different attitude because it's a living, breathing thing. And you ultimately need to figure out very quickly how to put to build teams. And you might be as a business owner or an entrepreneur, you might be like the hero CEO type, where you've got a lot of charisma, you can make a sale and you can kind of keep the thing going. But the real measure of success is can you build an organization that is sort of independent from you and that skill set or character trait?

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

I think the way most people network is like a complete waste of time. So I think I'm a good I'm a good candidate to help share some information. I think your relationships and your reputation are everything. I find that the way I do it is maybe a little different. I don't like going to a networking type of events. I've never been wanting to join a chamber of commerce or another organization. I always approach it is that I am looking for opportunity. I have a desperate need to solve a problem. So I'd say number one, I'm self-aware of what I need as a human being. And believe it or not, I think that that's directly applicable to your success. I think the more you know who you are and are comfortable in your own skin, the easier this whole thing will be because you won't be asking yourself to do something that you're just not naturally inclined to do.

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 it would be don't stress so much. It's easy to say and I just think I'm wired to sort of be hyper motivated and sort of driven by fear. The wisdom that I found doing this for over two decades and having failures and great successes and the whole bit is that actually the journey is super fun if you can just be open and relaxed. The bad times aren't as bad as you think they are. And you don't realize it and you can't even understand it until you're way past it. And you can kind of reflect on it.

I found that meditation is really helpful with that. Have you done any of that?

I totally have. And the problem for me is my brain is always on and it is a curse. I am a frustrated creative type. My brain is on overdrive all the time and that's my challenge with meditation. And I think what I figured out is how I can slow down and be contemplated is to garden.

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

Just be brave and try and do something big with your life and with your company. We have purpose. Our company has purpose and I can live my life with that purpose. And I think the more you find that whether it's a mission for your customer, whether it's a mission for your family, whether it's whether it's just being deliberate about how you live your life. Whether that's eating, sleeping, exercising, you know, whatever it happens to be how that manifests feel for you. Absolutely try and find it.

How to connect with Brian:


Apr 8, 2020

Meet Tim Fulton

Tim owned and operated several small retail businesses in Miami. He also taught as an adjunct professor and served as the interim director of the Family Business Institute at Florida International University. Tim was a Vistage chair for 16 years, retired from Vistage in December 2018 and currently enjoys chair Emeritus status. In 1992, he started his own small business consulting firm, Small Business Matters. He has an award-winning newsletter and has self-published two different books and co-hosts a popular podcast. He also hosts one of the largest annual events in Atlanta for small business owners.

What are some of the entrepreneurial myths that you're aware of?

There are some myths about entrepreneurship that just tend to pervade no matter what. And so, an example, many of your listeners may be familiar with the book, The E-Myth, one of my favorite books of all time, written by Michael Gerber. We tend to think that most small businesses are started by entrepreneurs, you know, people with great ideas and initiative and drive and vision. Kerber found that it’s not the fact that most small businesses instead are started by, by the term he used was technicians. A technician is someone who has a particular skill and expertise and experience that causes them to then want to start a business around that experience. So that the technician is the chef who opens up the restaurant or the attorney who starts as his or her own law practice. And so that's how most small businesses get started not by the ideal so to speak entrepreneur, but by the technician.

So entrepreneurship is on the decline in the US. Why is that?

One is, health insurance, which is always kind of a hot topic. But when they study that they found that fewer people are starting businesses because they're afraid of losing their health insurance, because maybe they have a pre-existing condition. We've also got an issue around immigration. But the reality is we have more restrictive immigration policies today. About 30% of new business startups can be directly tied to immigrants, people who have just joined this this country. About 30% of new startup activity due to immigration. When we restrict immigration, it just makes sense that we're also restricting small business. The third factor that comes into play is capital. When businesses first get started, many of them need startup capital. And for some, that means going to relatives, family members. For others, it means going to a bank. And ever since the recession in 2008, bank capital has become increasingly difficult to acquire.

Any suggestions for those that do have a business and helping them grow and take it to the next level?

So a couple ideas around growing the business. One is the importance of having a plan. You've got to have a business plan. But the reality is that the SBA has studied this, the Small Business Administration, fewer than 20% of all small businesses have any type of plan. Again, you look at failure rates in small business it's more than 50%. And some judge it to be 75-80% of small businesses fail within five years. I think there's a connection between those two, that if a business does not have some type of plan, business plan in place, they’re at risk of failure.

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

There was a book that was written, you may be familiar with it. The book is called Netweaving. It takes a very different take that weaving suggests or ask the question, when I meet you for the first time, what can I do to help you? What in this short conversation, what could I learn? That would put me in a position where I could be a benefactor of yours? So maybe it's connecting you with someone within my network? Or maybe it's recommending a book? Or maybe it's inviting you to another event that might be advantageous, but it's just turning the table.

How do you stay in front of and nurture all of these relationships that you've created over time?

It was doing what I think a lot of people do and it was attending different networking events or the Chamber of Commerce, or an industry group in today's world or maybe using LinkedIn to just reach out to people. Rather than going to events. I began hosting my own events. And it started six, seven years ago, I began hosting a conference here in Atlanta. It's called the Small Business Matters conference. And I thought, wouldn't it be neat to have my own conference and I could invite people maybe who've never met, and they'll get a chance to meet people from this group, get to meet people from another group. And I'll bring in some speakers and just have a one-day event where instead of me going to try to find people, people are going to come to this event. And once a month, I host a networking lunch. And I invite people to come to lunch and I bring in a speaker.

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

One would be, I would want to be very strategic. I want to try to be as strategic as possible. Am I looking for a certain professional? Am I looking for attorneys? Am I looking for engineers? Am I looking for people older than me? Am I looking for people younger than me? I'd want to be very strategic about what that might look like in terms of growing my network. I'd want clarity around the return on investment. Am I doing this for more sales? Am I doing this to add value to my business? Am I doing this because I just want to enlarge my sphere of influence? But I think I want to be really clear about my rationale, my purpose for expanding the network.

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've been a prolific reader over the last decade. And I think back to my early 20s, that was not the case. And I have found that to be such an integral part of my life now in terms of learning that I would have been more mindful of reading and of learning. That's one. Two so when I was young, I just felt like so much had to be done alone by myself. And I didn't know that there was a vistage group. And if I had I'm not sure I would have joined it, or a peer group just didn't seem natural. Through my 20s, maybe into my early 30s, I began to understand the power of having peers and leveraging those peers. So I think I would have done that earlier. Also, if I were to go back to my early 20s, I would have started taking a month off a sabbatical sooner.

How to connect with Tim:




Apr 6, 2020

Meet Peter Yawitz

Peter Yawitz is a management communication consultant helping individuals and groups at global companies communicate more effectively. His website has videos, an ask-dad column, and a podcast, giving tons of practical and humorous advice on how to manage life at work. His book, Flip-Flops & Microwaved Fish: Navigating the Dos & Don’ts of Workplace Culture, is full of advice and humor for young professionals and anyone else whose questions are rarely answered in the workplace.

So let's talk about your book little bit. Why did you write it and who exactly is it for?

It's for young professionals entering the workforce, but it's also for anyone who feels a little bit disenfranchised, going into a work and feeling they don't fit in. I just found that over the years people would start asking me questions that they were not getting answered from the HR department or of any kind of orientation session. And these were just things that no one had ever told them. And it could be something simple about, well, how do I construct an email? Or what should I do in the subject line? Or how does my tone come across? But then it got a little bit deeper. And people would say things like, well, what happens if you're talking to somebody at work? And that person is totally hot? Like, how do you focus?

So let's talk about the young professionals right now. Gen Z is officially entering the workforce. How would you recommend they start building a network now that they're just starting out?

So the first thing I would say to people who are starting out is chill, just chill a minute. I mean, it's nice to develop a network, but it's not necessarily the first thing you have to do when you start a job. Start your job and learn to do your job well and develop a little bit of credibility about what you do. And then once you've done that, then try to look for people just to get to know and to let people know what you're doing.

I'm sure you've been leveraging the digital space a bit to grow your audience, what's been the most effective social medium for you?

I say the most effective thing is hiring someone to do it for me. That's been the most important thing I would say. So I would rather provide content and have someone tell me where to put it or how to design it. So I know that I'm doing it in the best way.

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

I've had a lot of success with my alumni network. Who from my college, who from my grad school is around? Who is doing something interesting or working for a company that I want to target that I should just contact. You never know where things are going to come from. I would just say, don't be afraid to be assertive about what you're looking for. And just be polite about how you're doing it. 

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

I don't want to be so self promotional, I guess I'm more self promotional now because I've got a book to sell. So I will have a MailChimp list. So if there is an Ask Dad that I find interesting, I'll email it to those people. I also post on LinkedIn and use other social media. If it's interesting, I try not to jam it down people's throats, but I figure I'm only going to do something if it's a topic that I think a general population might be interested in.

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

Definitely traditional. I think it's my generation. And I would rather have coffee with somebody and schedule an actual meeting because you get more done that way. But even if I'm trying to network with a junior person, or even let's say some of these young CEOs that I am trying to get on my podcasts, I will approach them first on email, but then I'd like to have a phone conversation. And if I can do something in person, I just find you develop relationships better. 

A lot of companies are really trying to embrace the work remote policies. So what is your opinion on that?

I think it's wonderful that companies are flexible about at home time. And I've had a lot of comments from people whose workplaces have changed from offices, to cubicles and now total open plans. I think the downside of a total virtual network is that you miss that human interaction of even the small talk or the water cooler talk or just to get people to really sense of what you can do besides just basic tasks.

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

I would, again, reiterate never be shy about this, people like connecting into networks and especially if there's a shared experience or shared people that it sort of gives you the imprimatur of acceptability. And that could be that you work at a certain place, or you worked in a certain industry or you went to a certain school, there are always some kind of shared affinity groups.

How to connect with Peter:




Instagram, Twitter & YouTube: @someoneelsesdad


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