The Art of Breaking Out with Craig McBreen (general)

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My guest today, Andrew Davis, is a bestselling author and sought after keynote speaker. Before he co-founded, built, and sold a successful digital marketing firm, Andrew had quite a list of accomplishments. He produced for NBC’s Today Show, created programming for local television, worked for the Jim Henson Company, and wrote for Charles Kuralt. He has marketed for start-ups as well as Fortune 500 brands. And more recently, he founded Monumental Shift, the world’s first talent agency for marketing thought leaders.

Andrew and I start off the show by discussing his breakout moment—that instant in time that defined the course of his career. This moment happened in 2008 at a custom publishing conference, where he bombarded the godfather of content marketing, Joe Pulizzi with a zillion questions. Andrew knows how to get attention and he sure got Joe’s attention on that day. Because without having seen Andrew speak in front of a crowd, Joe asked him to speak at an event. This speaking event changed the course of Andrew’s life, and he soon realized that inspiring marketers and entrepreneurs to think differently was something he excelled at and enjoyed. And soon his previous experiences came together to launch a speaking and writing career he previously didn’t think possible.

We then get into the unique way he personally brands himself, including his signature glasses and bow tie. Sometimes people don’t remember his name, but they always remember the bow tie, glasses, and frenetic pace of his speeches. One thing is certain with Andrew Davis—his personal branding is working extremely well.

Next, we discuss his varied experiences—improv troop member, child actor, working for The Muppets—and how that range of experiences has helped him with his career today. Andrew then details how he got a job at the Jim Henson Company. Turns out he wrote and sent a letter every month for three years (that’s 36 letters folks). And those 36 letters got him a 30-minute meeting and a job!  So, I can’t resist telling Andrew exactly why I hate Elmo (it’s based on personal experience).

After that, we transition into how an entrepreneur can take his or her passion for something, put their own unique spin on in, and truly stand out in the marketplace. Andrew’s answer is all about combining your value, personality, and unique experience, formulating a plan, then committing to one thing and delivering it on a regular basis to an audience just waiting for what you have to offer. His advice? Get organized, embrace the journey, and look at it as a quest. The first thing might not be the “thing” but it’s a journey.

We move into something I love, those crucial brand-building steps for someone just starting out. Should they “start with Why?” How can they create a truly unique space in their market? And this just isn’t for solos. Companies should stop talking about how they are different and show the world how they are different. He talks about the Loyalty Loop and his methodology on working to truly differentiate yourself by improving the client experience.

Andrew also has a very fruitful practice of hand writing notes. He not only used hand written notes to get a job with The Muppets, he hit up the one and only Warren Buffet, sending a letter each week with a new revenue idea. He ended up being on the Today Show with Warren and they had a chat about the ins and outs of the publishing industry. The lesson? Little things like writing hand-written notes have amazing power.

Then we get back to where he is now, how he inspires marketers, and his lessons on how a company can best tell a story and through that story improve their business. Here’s one: To get rich, you’ve got to target a niche (an audience underserved in the marketplace). But you have to serve that market and create a content brand.

To wrap up, Andrew gives some great advice for someone wanting to create their own breakout brand. Have a listen. Mr. Davis has quite a bit to teach.

Questions I ask: 

  • How can a professional services firm stand out in the marketplace?
  • Should a solopreneur “start with Why” when branding their business?
  • What was it like meeting Warren Buffet?
  • How can a business effectively use storytelling?
  • How did the media world make you a better content marketer?
  • How did you come up with your great “Meatloaf Journey” presentation?

What you will learn:

  • The importance of old school practices like letter-writing.
  • Why you should view entrepreneurship as a quest (vs a series of career moves)
  • Why I hate Elmo.
  • Why you should challenge all assumptions.
  • Andrew’s spot on the Today Show with Warren Buffet.
  • Andrew’s great advice on creating a Breakout Brand.
  • To get rich, you have to target a niche (an audience underserved in the marketplace).
  • Great ways to add value to your client’s life.
  • You’ll never stand out with commodity content.

Links mentioned in the show:

Want to find out why I started the Art of Breaking Out podcast? Read this.


My guest today, Brett Henley and I start off the show by talking about a new creative mecca that goes by the name of Nashville, TN. I'm really curious about its creative, tech, and food culture, and why so many people I talk to lately seem to be moving there. And Brett has quite a bit to say about this grand old city everyone is moving to.

Brett's story

Here we discuss Brett's own story, what he was like as an introverted kid fully immersed in geek culture, and his honest account of his meandering, sometimes painful, journey.

Brett has a background in digital strategy, so I naturally ask him about that fun world, what led him there, and how he ended up in the creative space. So we talk about his start in digital media around 2006, how he spent a fairly long time in the agency world, which slowly, but surely led to where he is today. This leads to a discussion of the portfolio life and why this is such a great time for those renaissance men and woman with a variety of skills to break out in their own way.

Hey Instigator and Brett's consulting process

We then take a deep dive into branding, including Brett's methodology for bringing a brand to life. We talk about what Brett is doing today, including his property, Hey Instigator. How his new work is centered on creative entrepreneurship and "combining creative services and a gentle kick in the ass." And, based on that statement, I ask him to run through a typical client call and how he addresses a client's biggest challenges. He often starts the process by taking a journalistic approach that is both personal and painfully honest. Brett works with clients to help them articulate their brand by going beyond standard branding "best practices." His approach is not just about their skills, but their personality and how that impacts their business. 

The entrepreneurial struggle and how to be profitably creative.

A recurring theme in this show is the entrepreneurial struggle and one of my favorite topics—combining self-awareness and creativity. So, we talk through this topic and why many in the online realm think there's a magic solution to help them rise from obscurity to notoriety. And why many get stuck playing this comparison game.

The clear problem is that "success" is so subjective, so there is obviously no boiler plate solution. Not to mention, building a successful online platform is really hard, and it's not always about hustling more than the other guy… it's more about finding your unique place and doing things that fit with your style, your temperament, your level of creativity, and built around those you truly want to work with. This leads to a discussion of Maisy Smiths "Rocking the Small Corners" post, and the idea of changing the world in your own little way.

We even discuss social media, but the focus of this show is about what is means to be a creative entrepreneur in this day and age… How does self-awareness fit it? What about visibility vs. simply loving the craft? How does one go from bootstrap to sustainable? And how do we squash those built-in notions that somehow if we are not "making it"—living up to entrepreneurial standard ad hustling at all costs—we are not worth it?

And I ask him at the very end: What does "showing up" mean to you? I love his answer and think the entire interview is well worth the listen, ESPECIALLY if you are a struggling creative entrepreneur.

Questions I ask:

  • How did you find your way into digital strategy?
  • What are your clients' biggest challenges? What is a typical coaching call like?
  • What are habits that keep you on track?
  • What is your Why? What lights you up?
  • What was the major reason for shutting down your podcast?
  • How does one go from bootstrap to sustainable?
  • Can success and self worth fit together?

What you will learn:

  • The painful process of fleshing out a brand that truly represents you. (The best branding processes often have an element of pain.)
  • Why his branding process is like creative therapy.
  • You don't need a massive platform to be successful :)
  • Your body of work is a lifetime process (a marathon).
  • The myth of the overnight sensation.

Links mentioned in the show:

Maisy smith: Rocking the small corners.
Danielle Laport
AJ Leon and Misfit Inc. (Hey dude, we mentioned you… email him or Melissa).
Portfolio life podcast Jeff Goins
Unmistakable Creative podcast Srinivas Rao
The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman
Brett Henley on Twitter
Bretthenley.com
Hey Instigator Brett's Business

Direct download: Episode_45-_Brett_HenleyPeople_Purpose_and_Profit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:04pm PST

I've been wanting to speak to my guest, John Jantsch, for a long time. This is because I've been working with small businesses for most of my career. And small business marketing is John's sweet spot.

We start the conversation talking about the new hipster haven—Kansas City, MO. Yep, you heard me right.  So of course, we get to talking about John's home town of KC, what's great about the city, and other creative havens popping up around the U.S.

Then we get into John Jantsch's own story.

How he found his way into the marketing world and marketing strategy for small business. We quickly learn that John was and is unemployable—he started setting his own course 28 years ago, mainly working with small businesses. Around 2000 he realized he needed to create a systematic approach to small business marketing done right. And this "system approach" is what really led to the Duct Tape brand. Most small businesses struggle with marketing. They need a simple, effective, and affordable approach like Duct Tape Marketing. So we discuss the genesis of his business and how it has evolved over the years.

Then we dive into building a personal brand as an ultimate source of power.

For me, any branding exercise is about taking ideas (sometimes a mishmash of stuff) and distilling those ideas down to something that effectively communicates to the right people. So, we take a deep dive into John's process of building the kind of brand authority that can attract new business and create more opportunities by speaking to the right people. John says effectively building a rock-solid personal brand all starts with a point of view.

[bctt tweet=""Building personal brand authority is perhaps the most important element of marketing today." "]

We also talk about the importance of the initial brand steps. This is usually called positioning—boiling a company's essence down to a paragraph, maybe even a sentence, or dare I say, one word. We talk about this and John's one word—practical. So we discuss the practical approach of the Duct Tape Marketing system and  how John has expanded on this word in his own branding.

More on personal branding done right and making it online.

Then we expand our branding discussion and talk through developing a point of view.

How do you become that go-to person with a magnetic personal brand? For someone entering the crowded online realm now, how in the world do they become the go-to expert? Rise above the noise? By developing a specific point of view, sticking to it, and truly adding value to someone's life. Turn it into THE way. YOUR way.

John has a framework called The Marketing Hourglass. The concept is really about spending time with the customer after they become a client. We get into the seven stages and why it's important to start with and end in mind by asking yourself the following: How do I want my customers to feel 180 days after a purchase? Always think about the customer experience fist, because a happy customer is your best referral source. This focus on customer loyalty is crucial to your success.

Then we transition to our online bubble, discussing rising stars like John Lee Dumas and Derek Halpern. Which leads to a discussion about the comparison game, John's admiration for John and Derek, and also mention of those who shall not be named, who are not so honest. When it comes to selling the idea of making money online, there are many doing it right (like John and Derek) but many who are not.

So, we naturally talk about the not-so-easy path. The not-so-secret "secret" to John's success. Truth.

Then we get into the art of delegation and how to scale your business. A true entrepreneur asks the following: How can I get someone else to do this? And that is something you must do if you want to grow your business—start offloading everything you can as soon as you can. So, how do you start? Put together a "not-do" list.

John says the key is starting by identifying the high-paying activities. John always takes two full days a week to focus on his business. On these days he doesn't do anything else. For you, this is when you take inventory, think, strategize. Look at your big goals and work to develop a structure for the things you must do to get there. Then start doing them.

We end by talking about the entrepreneurial struggle and habits that keep John on track. Exercise is a big part of his day, as is meditation and writing. John has very structured days. So we talk about all his "best practices" when it comes to keeping up a healthy, productive, and highly-structured routine.

I also ask for his opinion on the live streaming craze (Periscope anyone) and where it's going. A good takeaway from this discussion: When John is advising clients he usually tells them to not look at the next big thing. He asks them the following: Is there a way to enhance your customer experience with these tools? If not, drop it. If so, let's see how. I love that advice and I think you'll love this conversation.

Questions I ask:

  • When did Duct Tape Marketing start?
  • What are the first steps to effectively build a magnetic personal brand?
  • In your own brand positioning you use the word "practical." How have you expanded on this word?
  • For someone entering the online realm now, are their specific practices that will help them rise above the noise?
  • What is your Marketing Hourglass framework?
  • What are habits that keep you on track?
  • What about reinvention and those 40, 50, 60 year olds who want to break out online. People who haven't been in the game and are wanting to jump in. Where do they start?

What you will learn:

  • John's first blog post was in August, 2003
  • All about John's Duct Tape system and consulting network.
  • Great advice on how to scale your business.
  • John takes 2 full days a week to focus on his business and doesn't do anything else.
  • The importance of IDing your priorities and the areas you need to grow.
  • Great advice on how to build a personal brand.

Links mentioned in the show:


My guest, Chris Ducker, is an outsourcing expert. Well that might be an understatement because when it comes to all things virtual staff related, Chris is the go-to guy.

But this podcast is all about something else he's really, really good at—personal branding. In fact there's a little project called Youpreneur that Chris has launched and it has everything to do with rock-solid brand-building.

We start off talking all thinks Philippines, and you'll learn a few fun facts about the people and the country Chris calls home.

Then we discuss his start in the publishing world in London, and his transition to designing an entire sales and marketing funnel for an infomercial business. Turns out that this industry is actually where Mr. Ducker cut his teeth in the world of brand-building, and he learned a ton about corporate branding and identity.

Next, we talk about his mentors—one good, one bad. And how the bad one drove him to get out of a very, very toxic work relationship. This gave him the impetus to bust a major move and transition into the entrepreneurial world, starting in 2006 with the Live to Sell group.

We dive into how the Chris Ducker personal brand has evolved over the years. And why he stopped pulling back and just went ahead being his authentic self. So, he went all-in with his own new platform in 2012. This branding discussion leads to one of my favorite topics—the intersection of passion and knowledge; what this means for others and what it meant for him while developing his story and fleshing out his online brand.

This leads to the topic of what most people do wrong when it comes to brand-building. So we discuss the passion versus a solid business model; success, selling, and the mistakes too many people make. We mention Pat Flynn, and it turns out Pat Flynn's fortuitous—and quickly successful–arrival on the blogging scene was not a fortuitous accident at all. And why "success" almost always comes down to effectively solving a problem. A customer's pain point.

We dive head first into the live streaming phenomenon and I ask Chris to convince me that Periscope—and the live streaming craze in general—is worth my time. He has a very interesting viewpoint on this medium, how it exposes people in its live, unedited format, and how it might shake out over time.

I conclude the show by asking him what showing up means to him. (I think you'll love his answer.)

Questions I ask:

  • How hard was it to whittle down your content to a laser-focused brand?
  • Why do most people fail to gain traction with their online brands?
  • Is Periscope (and the live streaming craze in general) worth it? What does one gain from being on one of these platforms?
  • What does showing up mean to you?
  • What was the process like developing your personal brand—from a design and story perspective?

What you will learn:

  • Filipinos are the world's biggest gin drinkers. No kidding.
  • Chris is a huge Bruce Lee fan.
  • My favorite saying form the interview: Attract the best, repel the rest.
  • Chris's personal logo was done in less than a day.
  • Why cashing in on your passion is never a great model. (Profit trumps passion.) You can't pay the bills with excitement levels. Build it. Market it. Sell it. To as many as you can.
  • Chris thinks the live streaming phenomenon is personal branding gold, if done right.
  • He currently sponsors over 30 children for school.

Links Mentioned in the Show:

Direct download: Episode_43-_Chris_DuckerHow_He_Built_a_Magnetic_Personal_Brand.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:23pm PST

ReinventionWorks was conceived when my guest, Hollis Thomases, had to serve jury duty. Yep. In the midst of her own reinvention, and unable to bring any electronic devices to the jury room, she began contemplating her next career move.

After listing a few ideas she had a flash of inspiration: To capture the stories of individuals going through their own reinvention and turn it into something special.

Hollis had built up quite a list of credentials over the years, so why not use her talents as a connector, networker, and storyteller to inspire, teach, and spark reinvention in others?

This kind of sums up her baby, Reinvention works. And today's podcast is all about Hollis, her story, and what she is doing to make her own dent in the universe.

We start off talking about young Hollis, what it was like growing up in Rockland County New York, and a discussion all about her years at Cornell University. We then get into how she started in the social media world, and how her first reinvention happened while she was working as a communications assist for the greater Baltimore Board of Realtors.

Hollis spent the next 10 years of her career in various jobs in marketing, PR, sales, etc. So we talk through her foray into the digital marketing world, and how a great idea she thought she had, actually led to her pivoting and reinventing her entire business.

Fast forward to what she is doing now—ReinventionWorks. Hollis and I talk about how she came up with the idea, what the platform and program is all about, and the amazing importance of thinking as a reinventionist, no matter your age or situation.

So, when it comes to reinvention, who are we talking about? Well it spans the gamut, from people in financial services now working in women's apparel to rock stars becoming chefs. I turns out Bad Co. bass guitarist Paul Cullen is now a private chef. And Erin Dickens, cofounder of Manhattan Transfer, is now peddling spices, cooking in your kitchen and singing you jazz. (Check out the show notes for both.)

We get into a discussion of what reinvention is, how Hollis is growing ReinventionWorks, and what it means to you…

Questions I ask:

  • How do you define reinvention?
  • How does someone go beyond mere change?
  • Can someone reinvent themselves working for someone else?
  • What habits keep you on track?
  • What are some of the questions you ask for someone wanting to reinvent themselves?
  • What does showing up mean to you?

What you will learn:

  • The importance of pivoting
  • Everything about her reinvention experiment.
  • Reinvention reaches many different age groups.
  • The average life expectancy of a company on the NY stock exchange is 10 years.
  • The importance of intention with reinvention.
  • Internal chatter is the little devil and its usually what stops you from change.

Links mentioned in the show:

Direct download: Episode_42Personal_Reinvention_with_Hollis_Thomases.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:04pm PST

My guest, Joe Pulizzi and I start out talking about his home town, Cleveland, Ohio, and  the song Cleveland Rocks by Ian Hunter, Harvey Pekar and other Cleveland luminaries. We talk all things Cleveland and I can't help it. My last visit to Cleveland was over 20 years ago, so I'm a little bit fascinated with this town's turnaround.

And sorry, I know it's March, but I couldn't resist asking Joe about the Cleveland Browns and his opinion of party-boy quarterback, Johnny Manziel. This interview was recorded just before the Superbowl, so football was a topic ;)

Then, at last, we get to marketing and his book Content Inc. So we talk about the little guy (small business owner and solopreneur) and how he can get traction online. We talk about why Joe—a guy who usually focuses on enterprise business—wrote Content Inc. and worked to focus on the little guy. And how he reverse engineered the model of each individual featured in the book. They all went through Joe's Content Inc. six-step model (the six steps are listed at the end of this post).

Joe takes us through his six steps, first emphasizing the importance of finding your sweet spot (and starting with why) and finding a business that feeds your passion. Turns out that Andy Schneider (aka The Chicken Whisperer) has a lot to teach your average small business owner about breaking out online. We discuss how Andy grew this brand through content marketing and Joe describes an easy exercise to help you start to find your sweet spot.

We then talk about developing a brand around a niche (which leads to a discussion on how the heck do you pronounce "niche" anyway?) It turns out that finding a niche within a niche might be the way to go. His strategy is about saying no to certain things and focusing your resources and attention on one area. Most successful brands and media companies started this way.

Next we explore Mark Schaefer's Content Shock message and Joe's thoughts on content saturation as an impediment to breaking out online. Joe makes a case for it being easier to break out today because there are little to no barriers to entry. Joe's lesson: There is more content sure, but if you're focusing on the right niche and pain points, maybe it's easier to break through today.

We dive into a real-world example of Marcus Sheridan and River Pools and Spas (dive in. Ha ha, get it?), the importance of creating an audience first and then being consistent, consistent, consistent, and "building the base" vs. being everywhere.

After that we get into RedBull Media House and what they are doing with their amazing success and its value to Red Bull. Turns out they started with one type of media–a print magazine. If you want to break out, you should start with one type of media as well. This leads to a discussion on the live streaming phenomenon, why this spreads some people so thin, and why it'll never work for you if you don't first find your sweet spot, put your own personal spin on it, build the base and be consistent.

The Chicken Whisperer made it because he started with a very simple base and slowly grew his own little media empire from that.

Next we discuss monetization. Joe reemphasizes the importance of building audience first, and keeping a narrow focus. He even uses the example of John Deer (the largest media company in the farming industry) and how their successes where incremental.

At the end of the interview I ask Joe what a typical day is like for him and how he stays so productive. This includes the importance of goal-setting, daily review of goals, and OUTSOURCING! Review goals, plan, give up control of what you can't handle and… break out.

My final question is about breaking out and what "showing up" means to Joe. You'll love what he has to say about this.

Joe Pulizzi's Six Steps to Content Marketing Domination (The Content Inc. Model).

1. Find your sweet spot
2. Content tilt
3. Building the base
4. Harvest audience
5. Diversification
6. Monetization

Questions I ask:

  • You’re in the enterprise world. Why did you write a book directed at Solopreneurs?
  • Why do most people fail to build and effective online brand?
  • What is the secret to drill down to profitable niche?
  • What mistakes do aspiring entrepreneurs usually make when it comes to developing their online niche?
  • What is a typical day like for Joe Pulizzi? How do you stay so productive?

What you will learn:

  • The big trends for 2016 are… are you ready?… Print and Email ;) Seriously folks.
  • Joe has a goal of writing a book every two years.
  • Even a great content marketing plan often takes 6-9 months to break "radio silence."
  • To go big you have to go small (and specifically answering the hard question—is your venture "niche enough?"
  • The importance of focusing on one content type and one platform to success.
  • The importance of reviewing your goals daily.

Links mentioned in the show:

Direct download: Episode_41Joe_Pulizzis_6_Steps_to_Content_Marketing_Domination.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:17am PST

In this episode of The Art of Breaking Out, Mars Dorian and I discuss his methods for finding balance in life and work, sparking creativity, and creating better art.

Mars fell in love with comics and visual storytelling at a young age. In fact, his creativity was sparked early in life and he talks about how he discovered his calling as a child. He describes being a fairly introverted kid who could easily escape into his own fantasy world, so he started creating his own comics. His early influences varied, from gaming systems to french comics to Japanese Manga. And his experience grew as he started to travel the world, but he felt lost and confused in his early 20s. We get into a discussion about this period of his life, the fact that the creative path is never easy, and ways to effectively maneuver through it.

We then talk about what transpired to turn things around for him, including his introduction to WordPress and blogging. This included multiple iterations of his online brand and how failure after failure led him to where he is today. We also discuss how his introduction into the world of digital illustration changed his path.

But it's difficult to effectively pursue a successful creative solo practice without rock-solid habits—to boost creativity and maintain momentum. So we delve into mindset, eastern practices, and Mars’s daily routine. We both share a fascination with a Dutch daredevil commonly nicknamed "The Iceman." So the podcast wouldn't be complete without a little discussion of Wim Hof, his antics, and his famous breathing technique.

Then Mars and I discuss how many people have a go at online success but never truly break out, often because they don't do enough and give in too early. Mars details his many online iterations, his many failures (sometimes failing abysmally), and why these experiences were so key to his breaking out. And how every single failure helped him learn, adapt, sharpen his approach, and move on to new opportunities. It turns out all these events crystallized over the years into something quite special. We talk through this evolution and his current foray into the self-publishing world and novel writing.

I think you'll love this discussion on creativity, health, and entrepreneurship.

Questions I ask:

  • When did you turn your own creative soup as true entrepreneur?
  • What does storytelling mean to you?
  • Why did you start writing novels?
  • Who were your greatest creative influences early on?
  • What daily practices started to turn it around for you?

What you will learn:

  • The true impact of mental and physical health on the creative process.
  • A moment early in his life when he discovered his calling (it involves ice cream).
  • How his experiences traveling the globe shaped his signature style.
  • The impact of growing up with creative parents.
  • Great lessons on creativity and self-sufficiency.
  • The importance of a daily practice to keep your mind and body sound.

Links mentioned in the show:

Direct download: Episode_40-_Mars_Dorian_on_Creativity_Health_and_Entrepreneurship.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:34am PST

My guest, Carol Lynn Rivera, has been in the digital marketing space for over a decade. She and her husband, Ralph run several businesses, including Rahvalor Interactive and Web.Search.Social. She's a writer, podcaster, and marketer.

We start out discussing the weather (I know, how boring). And I ask her if a little New Jersey chutzpah gives her an advantage. Silly question I know, but Carol Lynn has a rapid fire—and very pragmatic—approach to marketing that I think you'll love.

We discuss business first. Basically what type of work is involved with Rahvalor and Web.Search.Social. Carol Lynn explains why they started to blog as a lead generation source, and why it took a full year to find their first lead—it takes time to learn about your audience, how to speak to them, and build an online property that caters to their specific needs. And why any business needs to think about who they want to work with and build content that addresses their questions, hangups, confusions, etc. When Carol Lynn and Ralph started to write about this stuff they truly gained traction.

But it doesn't take long before we dive into a discussion about getting sucked into the social media vortex (a topic I love). Including a detailed discussion around the live streaming craze… Periscope anyone? Which leads to the topic of how many people in the online space undermine themselves because they assume that someone else has the answer; e.g. a "3 things you need to know to get leads and make you rich guy" is not a good "guru" to follow.

Many aspiring entrepreneurs get lost chasing a formula for success—a blueprint that promises fans, customers, and riches. In real life things usually don't work this way, this is not how businesses thrive, and we sometimes forget there is and offline world! So, if you are serving customers it's important to make offline contacts first, then take them  into your online world. So, Carol Lynn and I are in full agreement when it comes to old school practices like sitting down and having a cup of coffee with someone to discuss life and business. We also talk about the networking group she and Ralph belong to, BNI.

This conversation leads to my favorite phrase from the interview. Carol Lynn explains why the internet has become THE MAGICAL UNICORN. You know, the belief that if someone has a sales funnel, their business will thrive. They will grow rich and soon be running their empire from some tropical beach. Well, most of us know that it's never that simple, but we all need a reminder.

Carol Lynn and her husband Ralph have multiple businesses, so we talk about the tools they are using to manage their businesses and their time, and how this has resulted in a software product. Which naturally leads into the topic of blogging, it's effectiveness in this world of content shock. The importance of repurposing content and effectively working with multiple platforms to stand out.

We talk about SEO and what small businesses and solopreneurs should focus on when it comes to the topic of SEO, and some practices that will help them.

Finally we talk about the dreaded F-word, her opinion on not censoring yourself, and  the importance of simply being yourself online. And we of course get back to one of my top questions: "Can you create and ideal life and business?"

Finally, I learn all about Fred. If you want to know who the hell Fred is, you'll have to listen to the show...

Questions I ask:

  • How did you find your first real lead after a year in business?
  • Do you have to niche down to be a successful entrepreneur in the online space?
  • What are the very first steps to help someone find their ideal customer?
  • What is a typical day like for you? How do you eliminate all the physical and mental distractions to get things done?
  • Is blogging dead?
  • How frequently do you post? And how do you measure the effectiveness of your posts?
  • Can you create an ideal life and business?
  • Who is Fred and how did that get started?

What you will learn:

  • Why Carol Lynn and I believe copy is the best way to begin any branding project.
  • The importance of streamlining, delegating, and creating a "not do" list.
  • When people say they want a website, they don't want a website, they want customers.
  • Why the one-stop-shop marketing model doesn't work any more.
  • Why there is no best plan for self promotion and lead generation.
  • Why you should go offline to build client relationships.

Links mentioned in the show:


My guest, Marcus Sheridan, is often referred to as the "Pool Guy." because he helped his pool company, River Pools and Spas, survive the 2008 economic crisis through a mix of determination, the magic of long-tail keywords, and the power of content marketing done right. As he states on his website, his business started by accident. This not only helped launch a new career, it completely changed his life.

His hard work also turned River Pools and Spas into the most trafficked swimming pool site on this big blue marble of ours. The site now averages over 500,000 visitors a month.

Marcus defines his Why as wanting to help people become the greatest teachers and communicators they can be, so that it will impact their personal and professional lives. He excels at helping businesses communicate in a digital world by helping them better understand the digital consumer. So, we naturally spend a bit of time discussing the art of communication, story, and other interesting topics around this, like the importance and skill of disarming people.

And we talk about what he knows best—inbound and content marketing. Our conversation goes a bit deeper into his history and values, what it was like growing up in rural Virginia, and the importance of family life.

We get into the story of how he found his way to public speaking and first developed his unique and engaging style of speaking. The catalyst was actually an event while he was serving as a missionary in the country of Chile.

After you listen to Marcus one thing clearly stands out—his ability to tell a great story. Also, his enthusiasm is infectious. He lives and breathes his Sales Lion brand, and his power-infused message comes through loud and clear when he's in front of a crowd or on a podcast like The Art of Breaking Out. I loved talking with him and I think you’ll love this show.

Questions I ask:

  • How did you learn your storytelling ability?
  • How can your "they ask, you answer" philosophy work for a solopreneur?
  • Have you ever been tempted to move to a bigger media market?
  • What is your Why? What truly lights you up?

Things you will learn:

  • Marcus's surprising reveal (he's an introvert) and loves to work in solitude.
  • The very first time he gave a speech and what happened (it's not not what you think). And what brought him out.
  • Marcus was a Mormon missionary.
  • The amazing importance of deciding early on who, exactly you want to work with.
  • His middle school dance analogy that has everything to do with business.
  • His popular "they ask, you answer" philosophy.
  • Why Ford Motor Company should apply the "They Ask, you answer philosophy"
  • The importance of listing 5-10 or more reasons why someone would NOT want to work with you

Links mentioned in the show:

Direct download: Episode_38-Marcus_Sheridan_on_The_Art_of_Communication.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:18am PST

My guest, Amy Harrison, is a copywriter, content consultant, and public speaker. Her expertise is teaching entrepreneurs how to get past boilerplate content and write engaging copy that speaks to your customers.

She runs Copyblogger's Hit Publish podcast, produces the unique AmyTV, and conducts live training sessions around the world on how to write with influence.

Amy's message is that business owners, employees, and solopreneurs have the potential to write copy that attracts, persuades, and converts readers into customers. And, if you're trying to break out in the online space, her formulas might be just what you need.

As a trained TV and film screenwriter Amy knows how to use humor in marketing. And we get into a detailed discussion about comedians—what they bring, how they operate, and how important their creativity and methodologies are to what you want to do.

She believes your business deserves to be heard, that your content should tell a story that keeps prospects interested and most importantly, turns them into paying customers

Amy has run workshops in over 20 countries. She is funny, creative, and she has plenty to teach you about copy done right. So don't miss this one…

Questions I ask:

  • What are the first steps to get beyond boilerplate and effectively liven up your content?
  • Can you explain what "beating the blank stare" means?
  • What does it take to produce one episode of AmyTV?
  • What is the best way for a business owner to define their position when crafting copy?
  • How do you effectively use humor in your successful workshops?
  • What does showing up mean to you?
  • How can a solopreneur apply humor in his or her storytelling?
  • What are "butterfly moments" and how important are they are to writing great copy?

Things you will learn:

  • A simple exercise to help make your content more interesting.
  • Why you need to be consciously aligned with your positioning.
  • The importance of thinking as your customer, visualizing a one-to-one setting when you write your copy.
  • Details on Amy's "butterfly moments" and what they mean to writing great copy.
  • Great tips on effectively speaking to your ideal client.
  • Why we both think comedians are the best creative instigators.
  • Why branding should always start with copy.

Links mentioned in the show:


My guest, Amy Morin, is a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker, and college psychology instructor. She is also the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, a bestselling book that started with a viral blog post of the same title in 2013.

In episode 36 of The Art of Breaking Out, we discuss mental strength and how individuals can be more resilient. We also get into the story behind her book.

Amy originally wrote “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” November of 2013, as an article. But a piece she never imagined would go viral did. Her message was soon everywhere and the list was within a short period of time was on Forbes.com. To this day it's still one of Forbes most read articles, with views in the millions.

Her message about mental strength is deeply personal, because it was actually a letter Amy wrote to herself during a period when she had to stay strong. Within a three year time frame, Amy had lost her mother, husband, and father-in-law.

Her list of 13 goes way beyond a daily practice of good habits. It's more like a manifesto instructing us how to get rid of the bad habits that hold us back from breaking out in our own way. Life can be overwhelming for sure, but Amy's list of 13 is a guidepost for overcoming life’s inevitable challenges. Mental toughness takes hard work and dedication, but everyone can do it, and that's Amy's message in a nutshell.

Questions I ask

  • You've gone on so many adventures to honor your husband. Which is your favorite?
  • What really lights you up?
  • What is your best advice to someone who is giving away their power to others?
  • What do you think about the pervasive self-improvement message that you should work towards happiness?
  • How have you dealt with your skyrocketing success?
  • Are you and introvert or extrovert?
  • What are you goals for the near future?

Things you will learn

  • The first rule of her book (about not wallowing in self pity) is why she started the book
  • The adventures she's gone on to honor her husband's birthday
  • Why physical and mental health goals should always come before business goals.
  • Her goal-setting practices
  • The difference between and internal and external locus of control.

Links mentioned in the show

Direct download: Episode_36Amy_Morin13_Things_Mentally_Strong_People_Dont_Do.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:46am PST

My guest, Stephanie Sammons, excels at helping businesses and solopreneurs grow their digital influence, impact, and income to attract, win, and keep clients in the digital age.

Stephanie is a digital marketing strategist who knows the ins and outs of content marketing. She is also extremely well versed in the world of LinkedIn, and the author of the new book titled Linked to Influence.

In today's episode, Stephanie and I discuss social media and content marketing done right, but we also get into her story—from 15 years in the corporate financial services world to her current business, which is all about helping small business and professional services entrepreneurs build online influence and become more profitable in the process.

We talk about balance (she calls it the opposite of perfection), what success truly means for the modern day entrepreneur, and Stephanie's own reinvention.

She believes that a healthy brain, healthy body, and healthy business all have to come together to achieve true success. I do too and it's why I had her on the show.

Questions I ask:

  • Are you still a singer songwriter? And how has that helped your online ventures?
  • What are some effective initial steps to effectively network on LinkedIn?
  • Why has the digital marketing community ignored LinkedIn in for so long?
  • What are effective strategies for using LinkedIn's publishing platform, LinkedIn Pulse?
  • Is the future of work about combining a variety of skills in new and interesting ways?

Things you will learn

  • Stephanie is a singer-songwriter and recording musician. And her 25 year old Gibson Hummingbird is her instrument of choice.
  • How Stephanie reinvented her career
  • She has a daily yoga practice that helped spark her reinvention and change her life.
  • The importance of hiring a coach for help.
  • Initial strategies for utilizing LinkedIn.
  • At 5'4", she was a point guard on her college basketball team.
  • She is a Certified Financial Planner with experience managing $1M+ investment portfolios.
  • The amazing value of LinkedIn's massive database

Links mentioned in the show:


I’ve read about 2,489 articles on one question that drives me crazy: How do you turn your passion into a business?

Yep. That question drives me nuts.

Why do I hate this question?

1. It leads to an exercise in futility.
Finding your sole passion and turning it into a business is a outlook that impedes more than helps, because...

2. It assumes there is only one passion for you.
Nobody has just one passion. Okay, there are exceptions (there always are), but chances are this isn't you.

3. It's constraining.
You convince yourself you need to discover your big thing and you waste your time in this search.

I think, instead of plodding uphill in this futile passion rush, simply ask yourself this…

What do I truly want?

Then follow up with a second question..

Why has "it" not happened?

I don't think it's a stretch to say that most often your "what I want" answer is about freedom. The reason things haven't happened is because your dreaming and not doing.

So the big question to ask is… How do I define MY freedom? This is unique to you, of course. Only you can define your way, but it IS the one big question.

Today's podcast is my riff on the ever popular "find your passion" argument.

Be sure to subscribe to my bi-weekly Art of Breaking Out updates and listen on iTunes to make sure you never miss an episode.

Direct download: A_Question_That_Might_Change_Your_Life.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:22am PST

My guest today is Ayse (Aishé) Birsel. She's an award-winning designer, teacher, speaker and author of Design the Life You Love. We spend most of this interview discussing the book, but we also get into Ayse's journey, design practice, and creative process.

Her book, Design The Life You Love, is an illustrative workbook crafted for those looking to reinvent themselves… to break out.

If you go through her process, you start to truly think through your past, have more awareness of your present, and most importantly, you start building the raw material you need to design the life you love.

In a nutshell, Ayse's book is one that teaches you to assess your life, toss out the undesirable elements of it, and add in the things that light you up.

Her creative presence is always there, telling you—in a fun, illustrative fashion—to be the architect of your own vision. To look forward, seek something more, but do it in a pragmatic way. In other words, it's a very creative and inspirational book. But it is also practical with a unique and effective approach to laying out the life you want to live.

There is also a bit of motivation thrown in… Ayse suggests that living a life true to your values will never happen by sitting still and dreaming. You must detail what you wish for and aspire to, map out those desires, and take actionable baby steps to see achieve those goals.

So, we go into great detail about the book and the workshops the book is built upon. And we discuss her workshops—how and why she started the classes, how intimidating those initial steps were, and how they led to the book.

We discuss in detail some of her main sections—deconstruction, point of view, reconstruction and expression. I personally love her heroes exercise and our discussion of the importance of metaphor—for your life today and for a life you imagine. And actress Greta Gerwig's baseball analogy…

"Whenever I have trouble writing, I think about the pace of baseball. It’s slow. You strike out a lot, even if you’re great. It’s mostly individual, but when you have to work together, it must be perfect. My desktop picture is of the Red Sox during the World Series. They aren’t winning; they’re just grinding out another play. This, for me, is very helpful to have in my mind while writing."

You know me and the power of incremental baby steps to change. So I naturally love this quote. And I'm pretty certain you'll love what Ayse has to say, especially if you're at a crossroads, are looking to reinvent yourself, or simply want to a personal brand that truly reflects what you are all about.

Questions I Ask:

  • What sparked you to write Design the Life you Love?
  • How long was the planning to writing process? How many iterations were there? And how painful was the process?
  • How does a non-designer learn to think like a designer?
  • You write about constraints in your book. Can you talk about typical constraints and what that means to someone looking for major life change
  • What do you think about the "Do what you love and the rest will follow" message?
  • What habits keep your creative engine running?
  • What role do values play in the process of design and reinvention?
  • When your life goes out of whack, what do you do to bring yourself back?
  • What new things have you discovered about yourself through this process?
  • What is your first bit of advice for someone looking to change their life?

What You Will Learn:

  • She designed the world's most comfortable toilet seat (and is affectionately known as the Toilet Queen).
  • The concept of Money never figures into her student's reconstruction maps.
  • How learning to think like a designer can profoundly change your life.
  • Doing what you love is only one little criteria for designing a life you love.
  • The Amazing power of warming up with playful illustration.
  • Values are what sustain you through designing the life you love.
  • We get into a discussion of her Chicken Soup analogy to deconstruction, reconstruction.
  • If you can make constraints live together, you can create uncommon value. And this is when breakthroughs happen.
  • For most of her students, it only takes 2 pages to deconstruct their life!
  • Deconstruction—seeing your life as building blocks–can be a powerful way to map out your life.
  • Ayse's friend Casey Gerald told her that when he was a kid and people would ask him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he’d say, “Myself!”

Links Mentioned in the Show:

Direct download: Episode_33How_to_Design_the_Life_You_Love_with_Ayse_Birsel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:58pm PST

My guest today, Natalie Sisson, likes to call herself the Suitcase Entrepreneur because, since leaving her home of New Zealand in 2006, she has travelled the world, lived out of a suitcase, and run a successful—multiple six-figure—online business that allows her the freedom she loves. And it's this freedom she teaches others to do. In fact she is I’m on a mission to help 1,000,000+ entrepreneurs create true freedom in life by 2020.

Her amazing success and these lofty goals are why I wanted to get Natalie on the show.

We start talking about her varied background, her amazing competitive streak, and how and where she started in the corporate world. And why her early corporate experience turned her onto the entrepreneurial world.

We also discuss why earlier this year, Natalie dropped everything and came back home to Wellington, New Zealand to be with her family. Yes, the Suitcase Entrepreneur now has a home base in New Zealand after traveling for years out of a suitcase. We get into what it means for Natalie, her brand, and her audience.

You know that I love branding done right, and we get into the basics of brand-building, including a brief discussion of Simon Sinek's Start with Why. In fact, we discuss the importance of finding your Why and how crucial it is to creating a breakout brand. But we also get into focusing on your Why not—the reason why you are not achieving what you want to in your personal and professional life. Not letting life just happen to you.

Natalie is also focused on a big, bold project called the Right to Freedom Initiative. A social enterprise built to allow individuals to recognize where they fit on the Global Freedom Scale, and what they can do to improve this for themselves and others. She wants to do the first global study on freedom, and w get deep into this.

Fact: a freedom-based life doesn’t always have to mean traveling the world. It's more about pursuing the freedom to make choices that feed your soul. If you want to I set your own rules, do your own thing, and build a brand that both feeds your soul and leads to success, you'll love what Natalie has to say.

Questions I Ask:

  • How different is life going to be for you now that you are in Wellington permanently?
  • What kind of advice would you give a budding blogger looking to start online, especially regarding branding?
  • If someone wants more freedom in life and business, what are the first actionable items to get them on the right track?
  • You offer a ton of products and services. Of all the things you do, is there any one thing that stands out as the most lucrative for you?
  • How did your Right to Freedom Initiative start? What are your big goals with this project?
  • What is "showing up" to you?
  • Is the future of work about mixing a variety of skills in new and interesting ways?

What You'll Learn:

  • How to build a brand that clearly represents what you do, why you do it, speaks to the right people, and moves the needle in your business.
  • The importance of joining a mastermind group.
  • One of the biggest problems solopreneurs have is going it alone and not surrounding themselves with like-minded business people.
  • The benefits of buying experiences over stuff
  • All about her special "big ass" project.
  • The importance of being a leading learner.
  • The amazing value of sitting down for 20 minutes and writing out your ideal day.

Links Mentioned in the Show:

Direct download: Episode_32Natalie_SissonHow_to_Build_a_Freedom-Based_Life_and_Business.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:59pm PST

My guest, author, investor, and innovation expert, Whitney Johnson, is a trained classical pianist. And when she moved to New York City years ago, she didn't go there to play at one of New York's iconic music halls. No, she moved to make it on Wall Street.

Whitney is best known for her work driving corporate innovation through personal disruption. And in this show, we get into her amazing story—how she ended up in NYC as a music major, fell in love with Wall Street, then went from secretary, to equity analyst to working with the "Warren Buffett of Mexico," Carlos Slim. It's a rich and varied path that has led to such a unique career.

Whitney is best known for her work on driving corporate innovation through personal disruption. We get into her amazing story—how she ended up in NYC as a music major, fell in love with Wall Street, got a job as a secretary to equity analyst to working with the "Warren Buffett of Mexico," Carlos Slim. It's a diverse background that led to such a unique career.

Whitney and I discuss the details of how she transitioned to something entirely different around 2005. After working in midtown Manhattan for over a decade, and at the top of her game, she decided it was time to quit. Her friends thought she had lost her mind, but this shift would lead to bigger and better things. She wrote her critically acclaimed book Dare. Dream. Do, started teaching others how to dare to dream, and sparked major changes leading to her current focus.

Whitney has received widespread recognition for her thinking and was inducted into Management Thinkers50 in 2015, and was named one of Fortune’s 55 Most Influential Women on Twitter in 2014. She co-founded the popular Forty Women Over Forty to Watch, is formerly the co-founder of Rose Park Advisors alongside Clayton Christensen, and is a fellow at the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards.

You'll love our conversation on a topic I love—innovation and change through personal disruption.

Questions I Ask:

  • What are the main lessons your learned early in life?
  • What is competitive risk? What is market risk? And, what do both mean to you as a solopreneur?
  • Do you think the future of work ins about combining a variety of skills in new an interesting ways?
  • What do most people do wrong when it comes to execution and getting things done. Most people don't value what they do best.
  • What is David Blakey's story and how did he change his life?
  • How do you structure your day and break up your disciplines?

What You'll Learn

  • How she went, from classical pianist, to banking analyst, to personal disruption expert.
  • All about personal disruption
  • How important dreaming is to growing, in life and in business.
  • The importance of getting "buy in" with your ideas.
  • Pillars like planning to fail, plan not to plan, etc.
  • What are some of the initial steps you would advise someone to take if they are not happy with their career?
  • The things we are most passionate about are not necessarily the things we should pursue in business.

Links mentioned in the show:

Clayton Christensen
James Altucher
Brene Brown
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Always, Always, Always Show Up
WhitneyJohnson.com
Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream
Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work


Let me ask you something: Do you think you’re doing the work you were born to do? And, is there even such a thing?

Many solopreneurs struggle with this question. Worrying they are working like an over-caffeinated beaver on the “wrong” thing. Spending most of their waking hours working on something that isn’t quite “it.”

I think we all struggle with this question. Wondering if there is such a thing as a “calling.”  Well, this is one subject we get deep into in today’s interview with solopreneur and writer, Jeff Goins. This is why he wrote The Art of Work—because many people were asking this question: How did you find your way?

Once Jeff declared himself a writer—his Obi-Wan Kenobi moment— everything changed. We talk through that moment, where he started, and how he’s built a career and life around it.

His online journey started in non-profit marketing, and he had eight different blogs before starting goinswriter.com. But after reading books by writers like Seth Godin, he was inspired by the thought of spreading an idea worth spreading. In fact, it helped him understand why marketing matters. And this, combined with his turning pro, is where it all started.

We also talk about his thoughts on living a portfolio life. What it means, why it’s not a new term, and why it defines the future of work. This includes spending some time on Charles Handy’s The Age of Unreason, and why a portfolio life is a smarter way to build a career. Whether you think of yourself as a jack of all trades or master of one, it doesn’t really matter, this is the future of work, and a topic you should be paying attention to.

Most of our conversation centers around this question: How do you find that thing that sparks you, and then build your vocation and lifestyle around it?

Jeff is a speaker, a podcaster, but most of all, he’s a writer. He’s the author of 4 books, including the Art of Work. He was an amazing guest, and I know you’ll love this show.

Questions I ask:

  • When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
  • Can someone really find their calling?
  • What is your process of self-inquiry?
  • Can you plan your purpose? (You’ll love his answer.)
  • Is this the age the the renaissance man woman?
  • Vocation: Is the future of work about learning a variety of skills and combining them in interesting ways?
  • Is The Hunger Games the future of writing?

What You’ll Learn:

  • Why thinking like a pro will change your work and your life.
  • Why you need to listen to your life (See parker palmer below).
  • He wrote The Art of Work not because he had all the answers, but because had so many questions.
  • Jeff was a Spanish Major in College (not an English major).
  • Everyday you have an opportunity to create a legacy.
  • He won a 6th grade spelling bee (and made and 8th grader cry in the process) by spelling, wait for it… acquiescence.
  • To pay attention to the themes that keep popping up in your life. (You’ll love his time line exercise).
  • By 2020 half the american workforce will be freelance workers.
  • The secret to Ernest Hemingway’s success, Yeah, really.
  • Why I think Jeff is Ernest Hemingway and James Altucher is Gertrude Stein
  • 1,000 fans starts with 10 true friends.

Links:

Direct download: 30Jeff_GoinsHow_to_Listen_to_Your_Life_and_Find_Your_Calling.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:25am PST

My guest, Gini Dietrich, is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-area integrated marketing communications firm. She also runs the PR and marketing blog, Spin Sucks, one of the most popular PR blogs on the planet.

Gini delivers keynotes, panel discussions, coaching sessions, and workshops on the subject of using online technology in communication, marketing, sales, and HR. In my opinion she is an expert when it comes to modern blogging, brand-building, and community.

We talk about her early career, from working for Fleishman Hillard to her current firm, Arment Dietrich. We get into when she first started her firm, her many life changes along the way, and the lessons she's learned, in business and in life.

We discuss how she helped her firm weather another of our nation's financial crises, particularly how she started to restructure her firm to get new business. Gini worked to change her company from the ground up by focusing less on media relations and more on social media, social advertising, content marketing, etc. An integrated approach to doing things—something practically no one in her industry was doing at the time. The big guys weren't doing it, but she was. And Gini was focused on doing more, much more, to help her clients grow their businesses.

She created a lean team and went virtual. So, we get into a few details regarding building a virtual organization with people scattered around the globe. We also drill-down into the specifics of integrated marketing, how it relates to the PR industry, as well as small businesses and solopreneurs.

We also get into the mechanics of branding, story, and marketing for the small guy, We even discuss the fact that Gini recently became a foster parent. So we get into the foster care world and how she is doing her own thing to change it. We even get into a not-so-timely discussion of the Chicago Cubs. I know you're going to like this.

Questions I ask:

  • How does a solopreneur craft a brand framework for developing their own story?
  • What is your new SpinSucks/blogging project?
  • What don't we know about you?
  • How do we change the perception of foster care?
  • What is "showing up" to you?
  • What is your advice to the lone solo pro working to create an integrated marketing engine of their own?

What You’ll Learn:

  • Gini grew up with no radio or TV.
  • How she brought her company back during a financial crisis.
  • A great technique for reaching out to your LinkedIn contacts (something that may lead to clients).
  • That Gini recently became a foster parent (and she has a future vision around it the world of foster care).

Links Mentioned in the Show:

Direct download: Episode_29Gini_Dietrich_On_Changing_Perceptions_in_Business_and_in_Life.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:03am PST

Brian Clark describes himself as a serial entrepreneur. He is CEO of Rainmaker Digital, founder of Copyblogger, and host of the Unemployable Podcast.

To say he's a content marketing expert would be a severe understatement. He's a guy with chops and I've been dying to talk with him for a while. If you're a solopreneur trying to make your way in the online realm, you should get out a pen and paper and listen to this interview.

Before starting the extremely popular site Copyblogger around 2006, Brian built three—count 'em, three—successful online service businesses before moving to a completely online business model (Copyblogger). Fast forward to now and the result of all the blood, sweat, and tears Brian put into Copyblogger—Rainmaker Digital.

Brian has always been about providing rock-solid advice and solutions that empower people to successfully grow their businesses through social media and online marketing. And in my humble opinion, he is "The Man" when it comes to this stuff. I know of no one better.

We discuss Boulder, Colorado, the hipster-tech-Mecca of Austin, Texas (he's lived in both hot spots), tech hubs in general, and why our online realm should give us freedom. The topic of freedom leads us to Brian's illustrious online career.

And what about the brand launch for Rainmaker Digital? We discuss why he decided to depart from the Copyblogger name. So there are some great branding lessons in this interview—detailing his methodical, subtle, and extremely effective transition from the Copyblogger brand to the big, bold, new Rainmaker brand.

We get into the rationale behind the controversial decision to kill comments at Copyblogger and why they might go back to accepting comments.

Brian's online story all started with the book Permission Marketing by Seth Godin. After a stint at a law firm, he started his own solo law practice, then moved to real estate—he built a virtual real estate brokerage around 2002. At the time people thought he was insane, well… let's just say Brian is pretty good at predicting what's around the corner. The point is that Brian has been hard at work in the online space since the early 2000's, meaning he as a ton to teach.

We get deep into authenticity and how to frame your online persona… starting with Louis CK, leading to James Altucher, and ending with Erika Napoletano. I'm a fan of each, and Brian articulates with great precision, lessons on how you can learn how to share the right part of yourself to your audience. We really get into a great discussion on entrepreneurship and MINDSET. We also get into his new personal project, Unemployable, and how it originated.

Brian has been featured in a variety of books, including Linchpin by Seth Godin, Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi, and Free Agent Nation by Daniel Pink.

Questions I ask:

  • What was the one driving force behind your initial online venture?
  • How can you share the right part of yourself to your online audience? Be yourself in a carefully crafted way? The best way to find your voice?
  • What is Louis CK's secret to success?
  • What is the one bit of advice you would give a budding solopreneur?
  • How, exactly, did Rainmaker FM get started?
  • Does a podcaster just starting out have a chance? (You'll love his answer).
  • Facebook—why did you leave Facebook?
  • What do you think of Facebook as a free promotional platform?
  • Why did you start Further?

What You’ll Learn:

  • About Brian's moment of enlightenment: In 2005 Brian had a life threatening snowboarding accident which led to brain surgery.
  • Why you now need a "producer" mindset.
  • About "Authenticity" in the online space—being the part of yourself your audience will love.
  • It's always about the audience.
  • The importance of positioning—finding a part of yourself that'll reach the right people.
  • You don't follow your passion. You FIND your passion.
  • Most entrepreneurs are seasoned 40+ year olds. (I rather like this.)
  • It's is never too late to start an entrepreneurial venture.
  • Why comedians are the best storytellers.
  • Every one of Brian's employees has come from his audience.
  • Email converts 40 times higher than social media.
  • Why you should study copywriting, now!
  • Why entrepreneurs should think of themselves as highly paid servants. (The servant mentality rules in the online kingdom.)
  • Lessons on how to fight your own resistance and the resistance of others.

Links Mentioned in the Show:

Brian's many properties:

Direct download: Brian_ClarkThe_Secrets_of_His_Success.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:15am PST

My guest, Ryan Hanley, is the head of marketing for TrustedChoice.com. He is also a keynote speaker, author, and founder of Agency Nation, an advanced content marketing agency helping insurance agents grow their audience.

But here is what else Ryan Hanley does: He helps brands and businesses find their audience, tell their story and win the battle for attention online.

We open the podcast by talking about young outliers in the online world (Lewis Howes, John Lee Dumas, Derek Halpern) and quickly transition to Ryan's own platform and methodologies.

We start by discussing his roots, the insurance business, and how he started in the online world. Ryan earned his chops in the online marketing world by doing great things for a small insurance agency in upstate New York. At that time he learned as much as he could about marketing, started to love it, and this is where his "Content Warfare" brand was hatched.

This small agency's site was outdated and stale, so he looked for a way to bring it to life. In fact, you might say asking questions was the secret to his success. He asked insurance clients questions, trying to gather the most common questions people ask about insurance. He collected 147, cut it down to 100, and on January 2, 2012, he held up his cell phone camera and started answering questions and recording to video—for 100 days in a row.

This successful experiment in content marketing brought business to the firm and still does. The firm quickly shot up in local search rankings (even outranking Geico in the local market).

Lesson: Ryan simply crushed it in search by creating and delivering value. Since this little marketing "experiment" the agency has made more than $100K in revenue to date, just from the series.

So Ryan certainly has online marketing chops. But we also talk about the mistakes many solopreneurs make, from spending waaaaay to much time on social media, to moving forward without intent. We really get into a detailed discussion on branding and story. Including details on how someone could begin telling their own story, and how that applies to ongoing branding done right. So, this podcast is infused with advice on how to develop clear branding, find your ideal customer, tell your ongoing story, and win the battle for attention online. You're going to love the show.

What You'll Learn:

  • What trips up most solopreneurs trying to gain traction online.
  • Core principles of SEO (and local SEO).
  • Why the best way to use social media is as a networking platform.
  • And why, unless you are selling engagement on social media, you should not be spending so much time on social media.
  • The trick of making your work and life coexist in harmony.
  • The importance of a highly targeted focus when it comes to finding your ideal customer.
  • The right way to approach podcasting.

Questions I Ask:

  • How should a beginning solopreneur approach social media? What are effective social strategies?
  • What the heck happened to Google Plus? Is it officially dead?
  • How does a solo pro begin to flesh out their own story using your 3 C's approach?
  • How does a solopreneur find his/her best medium?
  • What are you reading today?
  • What will the content marketing world look like in five to 10 years?
  • Can you create an ideal life and business?

Links mentioned in the show:

Direct download: Episode_27How_to_Win_Your_Battle_for_Attention_Online_with_Ryan_Hanley.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:53am PST

My guest, Robert Rose, is the Chief Strategy Officer for the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). He's been with CMI since the beginning in 2009. Robert's passion is to help marketers become stellar storytellers, and this is one of the main reasons I had him on the show. Not to mention he's a featured writer and speaker at technology and marketing events around the globe.

Robert originally came to his current home (Los Angeles) from Texas. He was going to be a rock star, but as a keyboard player in late 80s (the hight of Grunge phenomenon) Robert had to make other plans. After a brief writing stint in the entertainment business, he decided this wasn't the business for him. This is when he transitioned to marketing, jumped into the TV business at Showtime Networks, and where he really cut his teeth in the world of marketing.

He then spent three years in Washington, D.C. working for a website design company, but ended up back in sunny LA working for a large consulting firm (US Web). After the "dot bomb" era (late 90s—2001), he spent 8 years in marketing working for a company that spun out of the dot bomb mess. He learned a ton during this time and soon realized the amazing power of content marketing. At the time he wanted to do something completely different, a practice few others were doing—continuously pushing out quality content.

In 2008 Robert when out on his own and started speaking about the power of content. He met Joe Pulizzi of CMI and soon after, started working with Joe and the crew at CMI.

Robert has worked with such companies as 3M, Dell, Adobe and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—helping all of them with developing smart and creative content marketing strategies. But his focus is always on the people within a corporation. He believes that if you walk in to an organization with the intent to help individuals, you'll help the business so much more. 

So this naturally translates to our solopreneur world. Robert is, after all, a solopreneur. We discuss solopreneur strategies—figuring out your why, finding the right audience, getting past fear, then making it it all work by integrating work and life. He even runs through a case detailing how a woman made great strides within a company by getting past the fear of "the ask," then making big changes within the company.

We talk about his book, "Experiences: The Seventh Era Of Marketing" which is all about how content-driven experiences can be created, managed, scaled, promoted, and measured in today's business.

The conversation is so relevant because many successful solopreneurs (like many big companies) are becoming more like little media companies. And much of our talk centers on this new era of marketing and storytelling.

What You'll Learn:

  • How you, as a solo pro, can become a better storyteller.
  • He even runs through steps, detailing how to tell your story and effectively get your point of view out into the world.
  • He has great advice on mapping out a plan to bring that business you envision to life.
  • Rock-solid content marketing strategies.
  • Why you should NEVER operate from a position of fear.
  • How to create your own center of gravity (passionate, high quality content vs. going where your audience is).
  • How to master delegation by carving out the job you want.
  • He even has a prediction about Google Plus you will want to hear.

Questions I ask:

  • How does a solopreneur effectively communicate his or her why (why they are in business) in the digital realm.
  • How can a solopreneur get past fear?
  • Is social media advertising an effective strategy for a solo professional?
  • Your book is titled "Experiences: The Seventh Era Of Marketing." Could you explain this era and why it's so important?
  • You've now met one of your heroes, John Cleese. What was that like?

Links mentioned in the show:

Sally Hogshead
Marcus Sheridan
Joe Pulizzi
4 Hour Work Week
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk
Red Bull Media House
The Stroh's Beer Dog
Tom Goodwin's post: I Miss the Days of Expensive Advertising
John Cleese on Creativity
The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler
Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee
Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd by Youngme Moon
The End of Competitive Advantage by Rita Gunther McGrath
Robert Rose's book: Experiences: The Seventh Era Of Marketing
Robert's site: robertrose.net


My guest, Ryan Biddulph started his blogging journey after being laid off from his security guard job at a shipping terminal. When he started he didn't know what a blog was, had serious financial problems, and some very limiting beliefs to get past. But being laid off, combined with his initial naiveté, was a blessing, catalyzing his exploration of the world of online marketing.

Ryan's rags to riches story is about a former security guard now making big things happen in the online realm. He's even given a talk at NYU and his message is simple… if he can do it, so can you—he's living, breathing proof of it. A guy who had about four pennies in his pocket seven years ago is now blogging from paradise.

We talk about the mechanics of branding, audience-building, and online marketing, but we also talk about the importance of maintaining a daily practice. Ryan credits daily meditation with really turning things around. It helped him fully let go of his old beliefs (relics of his old life) and finally get his groove on. He now meditates daily, to expand his awareness, setup his day, and focus on his intent. And the power of intention (vs. the constant scramble to make more money) is at the heart of this conversation. It's also the best way to find those people who will come to like, know, and trust you.

Ryan started his blog seven years ago but three years in he was still not clear on his mission. He earned enough from his writing gigs but he struggled and didn't have clarity. He had enough to travel the world on the cheap but it wasn't until roughly 15 months ago that things finally turned around for him—when Blogging from Paradise was hatched. We discuss his new brand, how he built it, and how he's built marketing momentum around it.

We also discuss how his goal to create a more effective passive income stream, led him to books and the world of Amazon self-publishing. With over 100 books on Amazon, more than 20 going to paperback, and 30 plus converted to audio books, he's certainly done it in a big way. And he is now spending most of his time on writing 6,000-7,000 word eBooks.

We get into the mechanics of his self-publishing model and how he found the right audience for his books. And if you want to learn a ton about online publishing on Amazon, you'll definitely want to listen to this interview.

What You'll learn:

  • Details on his life in Southeast Asia, including the cultural dynamics of places like Thailand, Cambodia, and Bali.
  • The importance of a daily practice.
  • Techniques for speaking directly to your audience.
  • Details on Ryan's Amazon self-publishing model.
  • How to build an audience by commenting on other blogs with a clear, consistent message
  • The best way to network with influencers.
  • How an icy cold shower might be the best way to jumpstart your day.
  • The amazing power of batching and delegating important tasks. (handing off that "bomb" to someone else.) Learn how Ryan's Bomb Rule of Blogging boosts your effectiveness!

Questions I ask:

  • How did you gain clarity and bring your new brand to life?
  • What led you to create your volume self-publishing model on Amazon?
  • And what techniques did you use to figure out exactly who to talk to and build an audience around your books?
  • Can you create an ideal life and business?
  • What are the specific steps you take daily to get yourself in a proper, positive, and productive frame of mind?
  • What is your why? Why do you do what you do?

Links mentioned in the show:


My guest, S. Anthony Iannarino is an international speaker, author, teacher, and sales leader. But what I really love about Anthony is his depth of knowledge and amazing capacity to deliver it in multiple formats, over and over. From his daily blogging habit to powerful keynote speeches, he is always on point with actionable advice.

In this interview, we not only discuss what he knows best, sales, we also talk a little Zen, Ohio state football, and hair metal.

The start of our conversation centers on Anthony's life in the early 90s. In 1992 while living in Los Angeles and thriving in a sales career, Anthony was forced to have brain surgery and had to return home to Ohio. He ended up working at the family staffing business. Well he actually rejoined Solutions Staffing and he's help build that company into what is is today.

Anthony has not only built an amazing career, he's created a rock-solid personal brand. And part of the reason his brand is so established is his daily blogging practice. In fact, on December 28th, 2009, he told his wife he was going to write and share all he knew, daily. He also told her that within a year he would be keynoting conferences. He is now a sought after speaker but that has not slowed down his writing at all.

Fun fact? It turns our Anthony was the front man for rock band called Bad Reputation. He started the band when he was 17 because he saw Whitesnake and saw the way women looked at David Coverdale. It was like nothing he'd ever seen, so the next day he called his brother and said "we are starting a rock band, immediately if not sooner." They played Columbus, then L.A.

NOW he is playing around the world as a keynote speaker, more specifically, delivering keynotes and workshops in 36 cities across 8 countries. You'll love what he has to say. Anthony even runs through a cold calling script to give you the basics on getting customers via that old device called… wait for it… a phone.

Whether you cold call or not, if you want to get customers you should listen to this interview. We discuss everything from the power of selling to Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

What you'll learn:

  • You wont find your voice until you start writing.
  • Consistency is key.
  • The importance of joining a small community and curating content.
  • When sharing your work, never worry about competitors because sharing leads to amplification! (You want that.)
  • The importance of giving away your ideas and being a true value creator.
  • Cold calling is still the easiest way to get customers. But it's just one part of a complete package.
  • Community first. You must have community before you develop any product.
  • Less focus on SEO, more focus on writing about things that matter works. As long as you do this on a consistent basis. (This, Google loves.)
  • How to make an effective cold call. (Anthony runs through a script.)

Questions I ask:

  • What are the most important initial steps for someone to take to get in front of the right audience?
  • Are people too focused on SEO?
  • How do you maintain such a consistent writing habit?
  • Is cold calling dead?
  • Should you ever worry about competitors when sharing your knowledge?
  • What are your morning habits? Practices that help you stay productive?
  • What does showing up mean to you? (You'll love his answer.)

Links mentioned in the show:


Ana Hoffman has a property called Traffic Generation Cafe. A place built to help online business owners increase traffic and profits. She runs this site and teaches others how to efficiently run an online business. And she is quite good at it.

But in today's show we talk about a lot more. We kick off the talk with a discussion about her recent trip to Russia. And, yes we talk about Vladimir Putin… for a second ;) We discuss Ana's background and what it was like growing up in Russia, her world travels, and why she eventually left for the U.S.

It turns out that a chance meeting with an American missionary on the Streets of Saint Petersburg set the course for the rest of her life.

Fast forward a few years, and Ana is married and living in the U.S. But when her husband was unexpectedly unemployed (separated from the Air Force due to medical conditions) things changed. She had a young daughter to take care of, motivating her to start dabbling in the online realm. Starting with Ebay, then Multi-Level Marketing (MLM), she was soon immersed in the world of Google and SEO—she worked to learn all she could about this new and exciting world.

Like many, her first blog was a complete failure, so she scrapped it and started Traffic Generation Cafe (and, by the way, "cafe" is in there because she loves, loves coffee). When it came to generating traffic online, she was tired of feeling clueless, so she decided to change that, and boy did she ever. You'll love her actionable advice. And you’ll be fascinated by her story.

What you’ll learn:

  • Ana's great "how to write a blog post" advice. It involves a step-by-step checklist.
  • Why she makes checklists for just about everything.
  • The best SEO advice she can give: Repurpose your stuff in a site that ranks, and have a good call-to-action. (Hint: When your site doesn't have enough power to rank, places like SlideShare and YouTube do).
  • It usually takes 10-15 years to become an "overnight success."
  • She makes a case for Google plus.
  • She was initially a bad English student (hard for me to believe, but true.)
  • Failure jumpstarts success.
  • The importance of focusing on one thing each day, then breaking it down to an actionable checklist.

Questions I ask:

  • How did you get started in internet marketing?
  • How do you structure your day?
  • How to you structure and write a blog post?
  • How do you promote your posts?
  • Why are you still using Google Plus?
  • What are some little SEO tricks the audience can use to gain traction?
  • Is the money still in the email list?

Links mentioned in the show:


My guest, Meg Worden, was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana. With her father in the oil business and her mother working for the airlines, she spent a lot of time moving—from Norway to Texas, she's been just about everywhere. She has also lived quite a life, and has an amazing story to tell.

She's a Wellness Consultant, Writer, and Health Coach. But Meg is not your everyday health coach. Her methodologies go way beyond diet to a place where your body is a brilliant tool—to give, receive, and connect. Her practice is about giving individuals the ability to be more responsive (vs. reactive) to the things that life throws at you on a daily basis—to survive and thrive. To say her sessions go pretty deep would be an understatement.

Meg basically works to activate magic in people. She's the Director of Strategic Partnerships at A Social Ignition, an organization that has developed a curriculum for entrepreneurship taught inside and outside of prison. She writes, helps spread stories about the broken justice system, coaches, and speaks internationally about using health and wellness as an element of success.

But the most inspiring part of her multi-layered life is when she found her voice and learned to tell her fascinating story. That story involves drug charges and federal prison. And it's a story you'll want to listen to.

It turns out learning how to tell this story was so important on so many levels. And when she finally decided to do it, pushing past the worry, about her business, neighbors, and clients—it was one of the best decisions she's ever made. And that is why I wanted her on the show–to teach others how to put something in the world that creates a connection.

Letting her story out was beyond scary. Think about it… "Hi I'm Meg, I'm a health coach and I was in prison." But in the end, the decision to tell her story has made all the difference in the world because it's established many connections with other humans, some her own clients. It's actually helped her health practice because having it out there makes people feel they'll be working with a human. Honesty like this activates compassion not judgement or fear.

We go deep into her coaching practice, her daily routine, and what inspires her. We also discuss why the pervasive messages centering on self-improvement—the "you're not good enough" message—might be detrimental and why it infuriates her.

Meg has an amazing story and she has a lot to teach. I think you'll love this interview.

What you’ll learn:

• The importance of putting something out into the world that creates a connection.
• Why it's always important to come back to health and your body.
• Sometimes getting more out of life is about stopping.
• A huge part of figuring out who you are is about not focusing on yourself, and instead being part of a collective.
• That telling hard truths can often lead to peace.
• While during her time in prison, she met only one person she thought really deserved to be there
• How to better tell your own story.

Questions I ask:

• Do you see your time prison as a gift?
• How did you start telling your story?
• How has being 100% honest about your past helped you and your business?
• What is a typical work day like for you? How do you get so much done?
• What is "showing up?"
• If you had a chance to hang out with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?

Links mentioned in the show:

• A Social Ignition
• Dear People Who Live in Fancy Tiny Houses
• Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
• Gabriel Garcia Marquez
• Janelle Hanchett: Renegade Mothering | Tales of A Wayward Mama
• Meg Worden at Back Fence PDX
• Meg's own site: MegWorden

 

Direct download: Episode_22How_Owning_Your_Story_Can_Change_Your_Life_with_Meg_Worden.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:24am PST

“How many Mondays have you woken up with that sinking feeling in your stomach? … That feeling you get each morning when you know you have to go to a job you hate. That feeling you try to numb by telling yourself “At least I have a paycheck coming in.” Ugh.”

This copy, from Jill and Josh Stanton’s site Screw The Nine To Five sums up why they’ve built up such a loyal fan-base. They are speaking to individuals who want a life that lights them up inside. A place where they are boss. Wanna–be solopreneurs.

We go deep into “The Screw,” including methodologies for building a brand and attracting the right customers. You’ll love the way they play off of each other, and you’ll learn more than a thing or two from them.

We discuss how they started with affiliate sites. And how that slowly but surely evolved into something amazing. It took roughly two years but eventually they came to their current iteration of Screw the Nine to Five, and they certainly are NOT looking back.

I also get a great 1-2-3 methodology for someone wanting to build an online brand that attracts customers. These two are really great teachers, so you’ll love their detailed answers, and I know you’ll walk away with a branding/marketing to-do list.

You’ll learn why getting products out there and testing, testing, testing might be better than the conventional “build an audience first” strategy.

And then there is SCRUM, yes, SCRUM You’ll learn how Jill and Josh used this method to complete an insane amount of work in a really short amount of time.

We walk through a brand-building process–from finding your ideal customer to site design to the importance of cutting the fluff in your writing. If you’re a soloprenuer looking to build a brand, create products, offer services, or all the of the above, you’ll want to listen to this show.

 

What you’ll learn:

  • Where Jill and Josh met. (It’s a very interesting story.)
  • How free coaching calls can help you create a product or service that sells.
  • Why their initial product launch failed miserably (and what they learned from it).
  • The importance of finding the right customer by working to see the world through their eyes.
  • Why being different might be more important than focusing on a niche.
  • The importance of building a community right out of the gate.
  • Why you might want to create a Facebook group, and how to drive people to it.
  • What might be the greatest productivity hack on the damn planet.

 

Questions I ask:

  • What is a typical work day like for you two? And how in the world do you get so much done?
  • How important is it to focus on one specialty? One core area? (I know you’ll like the answer.)
  • What is the easiest way to find a talented web designer?
  • Can you create an ideal life and business? (They each have a really, really great answer to this question!)
  • What is the best way to find the most popular blogs in a niche (and discover what your competitors are currently selling)?

 

Links mentioned in the show:

Direct download: Episode_21-_Screwing_the_Nine_to_Five_with_Jill_and_Josh_Stanton.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:03am PST

Pamela Wilson is someone I’ve been wanting to talk to for years, because when it comes to building an online brand, creating online courses, and blogging, she is so on point and always has been. She is now Executive VP of Educational Content, Rainmaker Digital, directs the Copyblogger blog, and runs her own property, Big Brand System.

Pamela started her blogging journey around 2009. What she thought she wanted to do was to write a book, but she soon discovered Copyblogger’s Teaching Sells course, and the rest is history. This discovery changed her course.

Even though she had done very little writing, her willingness to get out there attracted the attention of the people at Copyblogger, namely Brian Clark. It turns out that none of what has happened was part of her original game plan, and that is what makes her story so interesting.

We talk about building an audience, branding, and all things Copyblogger. We also drill-down into the mechanics of building a solid online presence. And this is what Pamela excels at—teaching others how to build an attention-getting online brand.

We not only talk through branding, but also get into all the changes she’s gone through over the years, including a big move to Nashville, Tennessee.

Pamela has dialed back the intensity of her own Big Brand System. But her system was originally built for those who want to do their own marketing and don’t know where to start. She is brilliant at boiling down the art and science of branding and marketing, making the process easy to understand and implement. So, if you’re a solopreneur looking to build an online brand, you’ll want to listen to this discussion.

What you’ll learn:

  • The most important steps to building a brand, from finding your ideal customer to position yourself in the market, to visual branding.
  • Why it is so important to know exactly who your ideal customer is.
  • Why a simple “like/don’t like” list is so important to.
  • The importance of mastering the art of delegation.
  • Details on the Rainmaker platform.

Questions I ask:

  • What have you learned from the folks at Copyblogger, especially Brian Clark?
  • Vocation: Is it better for an aspiring entrepreneur to niche down or be a master of many disciplines? (I think you’ll like the answer.)
  • Can you create an ideal life and business?
  • How did you find your “unique brilliance?”
  • What is your creative process and how do you structure your day?

Links mentioned in the show:

Direct download: Pamela_WilsonHow_to_Stand_Out_with_an_Unforgettable_Brand.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:10am PST

Steve Woodruff describes his Clarity Therapy consultations as “a combination of personalized DNA sequencing, strategic brainstorming, targeted branding, and, one-on-one therapy.” And the word on the street is that Steve is extremely skilled at helping individuals and small businesses discover their fit.

Clarity Therapy evolved from something else. While working as a matchmaker between bio pharma companies and vendors (he calls his company, Impactiviti, the eHarmony of Pharmaceutical training) Steve saw a matchmaking need. He soon realized that this need could turn into a sound business. Many vendors did a poor job differentiating/branding themselves, so he worked on a brief exercise helping them figure out their brand. Clarity Therapy grew out of this matchmaking business. He now runs two distinct businesses, helping companies and individuals differentiate themselves.

Steve helps them look at certain parameters to help them find their sweet spot—things like vertical and horizontal markets, ideal customers, size, and geography. And his sessions are really like therapy sessions—a place where he works to find their strengths and what they really want to do. He then works with them to shape a particular “fit” around their DNA—what their wiring desires. A clear, concise verbal business card that is all their own is the result.

“Now I see who I am” is probably something Steve hears often. This is why he calls it therapy.

Steve is an expert at helping solopreneurs flesh out their vision, find their sweet spot, and create messaging around it, and that is precisely why he is on the show. We discuss what I call, “Steve-isms”… a Memory Dart and a Verbal Business Card, why age equals wisdom (you are never too old to start over), and the little creative mecca he calls home, Franklin, Tennessee.

One of the keys to these “Steve-isms” is the fact that analogies are the quickest bridge to understanding. Borrowing well understood imagery is sooooo underutilized and so crucial to a clear brand image. Here are a few examples… “Craig has the mercedes of podcasts for marketers.” Yeah, I do, And Steve’s own “eHarmony of pharmaceutical training” mentioned above. This imagery is something people immediately understand and it leaves and impression—easily digested and easily remembered.

I ask him: How would you help a Multipotentialite find their fit? Help them take their multiple threads of interests and abilities, find a place in the market they can dominate, and create a clear brand around this? Steve has an answer. As a branding guy, this is exactly why I loved talking with him. I know you’ll love this show…

What you’ll learn:

  • The importance of shedding the 9-5 mentality.
  • The amazing benefit of a creative, inspired community. Why the little burg Steve calls home is so good for his creative soul.
  • One of his primary goals was to have a portable business—9 years ago! (Great things take time.)
  • The importance of knowing if you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert.
  • Age is a benefit when it comes to business experience (of course it is, but we always need to hear this.)
  • Why focusing on an elevator pitch is the wrong idea.
  • Why it all comes down to the meat and potatoes of helping people and building relationships.

 

Questions I ask:

  • What is step one to define your brand?
  • Is it crucial to “niche down?”
  • What is a Memory Dart?
  • Does the online course model have potential?
  • What is a verbal business card?
  • How do you structure your social media interaction?
  • Can you create an ideal life and business? (You’ll love his answer)

 

Links mentioned in the show:

Multipotentialite Emilie Wapnick.
Hugh Macleod’s “You can’t read the label of the jar you’re in.
Frothy Monkey
coffee shop in Franklin, Tennessee.
Clarity in 60 Seconds.
Steve’s site: stevewoodruff.com

Direct download: Steve_Woodruff_on_Finding_your_Fit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:04am PST

Around 2010 my guest entered the world of blogging as an internet lifestyle entrepreneur. But in 2012 he heard about something called Kindle publishing, and after a bit of experimentation, was soon fully immersed in this new world. So, he sat down and thought about strategies for online publishing, specifically Amazon digital publishing. Steve Scott entered the digital realm of Amazon publishing in 2012, and has never looked back.

With his own line of successful books, Steve is now teaching others how to build a Kindle publishing business.

“How do I get started with Kindle publishing? What’s the best way to increase my book sales? Can an “Authority Business” help me connect with potential readers?” As he states on his site, “all these questions are answered on my blog.”

You might call him “The Kindle Publishing Answer Man.” And that’s why is he on my show. He is “the man” when it comes to delivering proven strategies for building a nonfiction Kindle business that generates a reliable income. We get deep into his creative and production process when it comes to book publishing.

We not only discuss Kindle publishing but we also talk about habits and how he is so consistently productive. According to Steve, the only way to improve yourself is to set achievable goals and develop daily habits that move you towards these outcomes. People who’ve achieved something special have talent and experience, but one thing all high achievers have in common is routine (i.e. good habits). Steve is no exception. In fact his little Kindle publishing empire is based on books about habits.

Steve and I talk about the importance of being selective and batching. Of networking and working with those who love your stuff—finding the right people—your “street team”—and cultivating those relationships, and a lot more. I know you’ll like this one.

What you’ll learn:

  • Details on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
  • The importance of having a strategy for making money out of the gate.
  • 20,000-25,0000 words is the sweet spot for a KDP book.
  • Why it all comes back to the email list.
  • The importance of having a content platform behind your books.
  • His brilliant but simple brainstorming / outlining process (it involves nothing but a writing implement and index cards).

 

Questions I ask:

  • What is the difference between Kindle publishing and self publishing?
  • Is there a common theme with a blogger not making money?
  • Can you create an ideal life and business?
  • Is blogging dead?
  • How important are reviews for publishing to increase you book’s ranking on amazon?
  • What percentage of your income is from book sales?
  • Should you go with the Pat Flynn “be everywhere” strategy?

 

Links mentioned in the show:


In 2012 Dave Conrey started focusing on helping creative entrepreneurs. His own artistic pursuits took a back seat but he felt he was tapping into his true purpose—to help others grow their creative business. Most of all, he wanted to do something about the starving artist mindset that is so pervasive in the creative community.

So many individuals have lost the joy of creating. They’ve lost focus. He wants to help them maintain that joy, refocus, and grow their business using good ol’ sticktoitiveness. As he says on his own site, “You can read post after post on how to improve your art, your life or you business, but none of it is going to happen until you Take Action Now.” This statement gets to the meat of Dave’s message.

We learn why he joined Marie Forleo’s B-School (a group with about 40 guys and 1,000 women ;)) We discuss branding, earning a steady online income, and the daily practice of showing up. I also ask him a question I’ve been asking many people these days: Can you create an ideal life and business? This question leads to a great discussion about the lure of internet fame, age, family life, and leaving a lasting legacy.

Changes in his job led him to the world of selling art and a lot more. In this podcast you’ll find out all about Dave and his “a lot more.” I know you’ll like it.

My favorite message from Dave? If you’re not working on something that feeds you then go find the thing that does.

What You’ll learn:

  • The mechanics of getting clients online.
  • About his Fresh Rag Masters mastermind group.
  • The importance of finding your best creative time.
  • Why his best meditation is weightlifting.
  • A few details on his podcast setup.
  • Why you should consider Facebook advertising.

Questions I ask:

  • How did you find your calling and build an audience around it?
  • Why does the starving artist mindset frustrate you?
  • What is showing up to you? How do introverts show up?
  • Can you create an ideal life and business?
  • What are your main forms of online income?
  • How do you use Facebook advertising?

Links mentioned in the show:

Direct download: Dave_ConreyKilling_the_Starving_Artist_Mindset.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:30am PST

Stanford (Stan) Smith has created a beautiful marketing machine of his own making. And the reason I had him on the show was to dispense sage bits of wisdom on the topic of online business done right—how to sell with your business blog.

So, this podcast is about the art and science of creating an online property that brings in clients and moves the needle in your business.

Stan's business, Pushing Social, combines strategy and implementation to help clients enjoy a return on their content marketing investment quickly. And I would like to emphasize "quickly," because Stan is a no-nonsense guy with marketing smarts and a great business mind.

Trust me, if you want to sell with your business blog, THIS is the show for you.

So, how did Stan do it?

The key to him truly hitting his stride was the realization of several core concepts…

  1. When it came to his business goals, he needed to have end in mind.
  2. And to understand exactly what he was prepared to do different than everyone else.
  3. He also had to have one big goal: In his case it was to write a book and then see that book on display while walking through the airport bookstore.

His plan… initially a very focused methodology of getting on the radar.

You may have heard of Brian ClarkJay Baer, and Michael Stelzner. Stan realized they had the biggest audience and the golden role of online marketing is that you must get on the radar of the people who have the audience.

How did Stan Smith (Pushing Social) get on the radar of some of the biggest names in the content marketing / social media world?

  1. He auditioned. In the form of thoughtful comments on the above blogs.
  2. He put money on the line. (In this case it was Brian Clark's course he signed up for.)
  3. And he wasn't afraid to ask for support. (Note: please ignore the social media "experts" who tell you NOT to reach out to those you respect. Stan connected with them and told them how his articles would help their audience. He then asked for a helpful, little retweet.)

What about your business? Can you do the same type of outreach today?

Of course you can. If you want to get on the radar of an influencer in a particular niche, first be helpful. Go to them and start contributing, commenting and work at building a relationship.

What about finding the right customers?

According to Stan, you must first know what is going on in the head of your consumer. Do a survey to find out who they are and what they need. At first he spent a full month giving out free 30 minute sessions. He then turned these sessions into products and services.

How do you find the right customers online?

  • Understand what people are willing to pay for.
  • Give it to them at great price.
  • Work to exceed their expectations.

Create a buyer persona with a focus on 2 things…

  1. What are they trying to achieve?
  2. How can you help them get there?

Then figure out the most unique way you can help them. Research and find out what your competitors are unwilling to do? Find out how others are talking about your niche and devise a way to talk about it differently.

Ask yourself… How am I going to not sound like everyone else?

Do you want an Example?...

In this podcast Stan lays out an actionable 1-2-3 plan using the example of someone with a fitness blog trying to attract and obtain clients. We talk about creating an online property that prompts them to say… "I want to learn a bit more about what you do”.

What are the most essential very first steps?…

  1. Realize every part of your day is important.
  2. You must put in the time whenever you can. (When he was starting Pushing Social he would write a blog post every day at lunch.)
  3. Get out in the the real world and network. Create Meetups and talk to real people about what you can offer.
  4. Adopt a craftsman's mindset! In other words, don't do everything, niche down and master your thing.
  5. Stop researching and start doing.

What should you NOT do?

Take a look at your activity—especially that wasted Facebook time—following people back, commenting, emailing, etc. And develop the mindset that all activities should lead to a result. You should always have a reason for doing something, matched to a return.

Stop worrying about missing out. Or maybe you should ask yourself the following: Was your last client from Facebook? Twitter? If not, figure out what needs to change in your world.

Think about how many sales you closed and what led to them. If you spend much of your time writing blog posts, and those posts lead people to download your guides and look deeper into your offerings, that's a positive activity.

Pay attention to the metrics that help you get better. If blogging leads to another activity that somehow moves the needle in your business, that's a good thing.

What about about creating your ideal life (achieving your dream business)?

And last, but not least, Stan has some amazing advice on creating an ideal life and business. It's at the very end of the podcast and it's well worth the listen, so hang in to the end. You won't be disappointed.

What you'll learn:

  • The importance of niching down (and becoming a craftsman).
  • Why you must know what is going on in the head of your consumer.
  • Stan's amazing automation process (using a combination of VAs and software).
  • Why your online tools should be connected and easy to automate.
  • The importance of giving yourself the license to suck.
  • That you have to do something radically different to make it (this is what "showing up" means to Stan).

Questions I ask:

  • What's a typical work day like for Stan Smith?
  • How do you automate your process? (You will really want to listen to this!)
  • How did Brian Clark change your world?
  • What are the most essential very first steps to finding the right customers?
  • Is the future of work about combining a variety of skills? Or is it better to niche down?

Links mentioned in the show:

Asana (one of my favorites)
Zapier
Slack (Instant messaging for businesses, on steroids)
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (all about "the craftsman's approach")
Startup Marketing Blog
Noah Kagen's OKdork
growthhackers.com

Direct download: Stanford_SmithHow_to_Create_a_Breakout_Online_Business.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:32pm PST

"It's all about health, happiness, and a life worth living because in the end, we only regret the chances we didn't take."

This quote from Mike Goncalves' Twitter bio is a major reason I had him on the show. So we discuss health, happiness, and a life worth living, and quite a bit more. 

Mike runs a property called The Wellness Bucket, a site full of tools and resources to help you feel and look your best. And his message really resonated with me because…

1. I was a chubby kid and honestly yo-yo'd with my weight until I was in my 40s, and; 

2. I honestly feel you can't make the big changes without healthy and consistent habits.

The Wellness Bucket is Mike's personal mission to help individuals believe in themselves and in all that is possible. He wants people to live a happier, healthier life. To feel, look, and live the best we can and NOT wait for permission from others to give us that chance. You should also check out his daily videos.

If you are looking to live a happier, healthier lifestyle, check out what Mike has to say.

Some questions I ask:

  • Can you create an ideal life and business?
  • What does showing up mean to you?
  • How important is it to niche down?
  • What is more important when it comes to losing weight, diet or exercise?

You'll also learn:

  • Mike's opinion on the guilty pleasures of life.
  • His thoughts on Paleo and Veganism
  • About the "two gallons of water a day" trick.
  • Why you should exercise first thing in the morning.
  • Why you should take a time inventory.

Resources and links discussed in this show:

Jim Carrey's Commencement Address

Toastmasters International

Awaken The Giant Within by Anthony Robbins

The 90/10 Principle 

5 Regrets of the dying

Mike's YouTube Channel

 

Direct download: Mike_Goncalveshealth_happiness_and_a_life_worth_living.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Who is Mars Dorian? He's a digital artist and storyteller. And he's created a name for himself with a unique illustrative style, stand-out writing, and an uber slang that's all his own. He's successfully created his own brand language.

In this episode Mars and I discuss how he found his calling, walk through his creative process, and talk about bringing balance to life and work.

Mars is now writing books and his artwork can be seen all over the online realm. His services range from creating book covers, viral slideshows, visual cartoon content marketing to share-worthy infographics and e-product branding. In his own words, he designs and works with go-getters who want to stand out by doing outstanding stuff.

His motto: When you’re not trying to fit in, you’re free to stand out. And standing out means Breaking Out. So, if you want to break out creatively you should check out what Mars has to say.

Some questions I ask:

  • Can you create an ideal business around multiple interests—not being a complete master or must you "niche down”?
  • How do you find ideal clients?
  • What does showing up mean to you?
  • Is the future of work about learning a variety of skills and combining them in interesting ways?
  • Can you create an ideal life and business?

You’ll also learn:

  • How a shift in focus altered his course for the better.
  • About his "social battery" and a networking secret that starts with Twitter.
  • Why you just need to ship it.
  • The creative habits that keep him on track.
  • How Mars eliminates physical and mental distractions to get things done.

Resources and links discussed in this show:

Hugh Howey

PaintTool SAI

Blog Buster and Attack Planet

About Mars Dorian

Direct download: Mars_Dorian_on_the_Art_Standing_of_Out.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:18pm PST

“The greatest pain I’ve ever seen is from people who’ve spent their lives outside the arena, wondering what would’ve happened had I shown up?”
—Brene Brown

This quote is one of the main reasons I had Brian Thompson back on the show. He has quite a bit of inspirational and useful information to share on this very topic, but we discuss so much more.

Brian spent twenty-two years in the music industry, started a record label, a daily podcast, an artist management company, and even tour-managed a popular rock band. But everything changed when Brian moved from the city of Vancouver, B.C. to a small town on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast.

He’s now a writer, poet, podcaster, amateur photographer, and author of the upcoming book, “Sparks to Awaken.” And his new online home, zenthinking.net, focuses on the subjects he is most passionate about; mindfulness and self-awareness, inspiration and motivation, fighting resistance, personal development, spirituality, philosophy, Buddhism, Taoism, and Transcendentalist thought.

If you’re looking to make some changes in your life and want to hear from someone who’s done this in a big way, this is a must-listen. And I had Brian back on the show to discuss change and transformation.

Some questions I ask:

  • Can you create an ideal life and business?
  • How does someone even start to realize his or her dream? Choose his or her adventure?
  • What is it like living in a tiny town of 5,000 people?
  • What are your days like? And how has Eastern philosophy helped?
  • What does showing up mean to you?

You’ll also learn:

  • The importance of removing expectations, and the importance of doing the work without expectation.
  • Why most people crave meaning but do nothing about it.
  • Why embracing fear is the only way to grow.
  • Why the comparison game is so destructive.

Resources and links discussed in this show:

Alan Watts

Alan Watts | Brain Pickings 

Pema Chödrön

 

Thich Nhat Hanh

Direct download: Brian_Thompson_on_Doing_Work_That_Matters.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:49pm PST

Who is Marcus Sheridan? Many people know Marcus as the Pool Guy, because he helped bring his pool company out of the recession through a combination of grit, determination, and the power of online content. It's also how he gained some major traction in the online realm.

He defines himself as a guy helping businesses communicate in a digital world and also helping them embrace the realities of the digital consumer. So we of course discuss these topics but we also dig a bit deeper and that's why I was so glad to get him on the show.

One thing will be obvious after you listen to Marcus, his enthusiasm is infectious. He lives and breathes his authentic brand, and his power-filled message comes through loud and clear each and every time he writes or speaks.

I see Marcus as a fire starter. I love talking to him and I think you'll love this show.

Some questions I ask:

  • Can you create an ideal life and business?
  • What is your biggest passion?
  • How important is legacy to you?
  • Is there such a think as work/life balance? And if so, how do you achieve it?

You’ll also learn:

  • The importance of the "they ask, you answer: methodology.
  • Why public speaking is such a great lead generation tool. And why you should start speaking locally.
  • The importance of working from your core principles with any business venture.

Resources and links discussed in this show:

Jim Rohn

A Revolutionary Marketing Strategy: Answer Customers’ Questions

Daring Greatly Quotes (Brene Brown)

 

WOW Agency Event

Direct download: Marcus_Sheridan_on_the_Art_of_Communication.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:22pm PST

Most of us have been taught to avoid barriers, not to step into them. But if you are looking to reinvent your life and business you must learn to embrace the unknown. Why? Because the first step to transformation is often triggered by an external event, and these potential opportunities—the golden nuggets that lead to transformation—are usually hidden in plain site. This reframing process is a huge component to change, then transformation. 

We humans are also fond of labels and many individuals, including myself, have tried time and time again to fit a certain mold with little luck. Or we let fear continually trip us up by letting past life experiences dictate all we do and we move with trepidation.

But here's the thing. Transformation doesn't have to be burdensome and/or fear-based. Tim and Sharon not only preach this, they teach it and make a living helping businesses master the art and science of transformation. They believe that within each person there is a core of light. 

But before you think about putting your grand plans to action it's important to step back, define you core values, and go through a period of self-inquiry to truly flesh out your vision.

When it comes to getting clients unstuck, Tim and Sharon are true experts and I think you'll love what they have to say.

Some questions I ask:

  • Can you create an ideal life and business?
  • How do you work to find your core values?
  • What are your thoughts on the enthusiasm around life coaching?
  • How does an individual learn to harness the tremendous energy available, through personal connections and technology?

You’ll also learn:

  • About combining big energy with soft energy, and how mastering this art can change your life.
  • Why dancing with higher levels of uncertainty is so crucial to personal growth.
  • How unconscious biases are created and reinforced by our life experiences and environments.
  • That part of transformation is about removing labels.

Resources and links discussed in this show:

Let's Grow Leaders

The Lean Startup

Rewiring the Corporate Brain

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth—BillMoyers.com 

Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World

Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership

Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future 

Tim and Sharon's company: Light-core.com

Direct download: Tim_Glover_and_Sharon_Gilmour-Glover_on_Transformation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:32am PST

Today's podcast explains—in short form—why I started the Art of Breaking Out in the first place. It's best summarized by this quote from Jonathan Fields… “…to build something that not only makes money and serves a need but also serves you and the life you seek to create.”

This is a new short segment format I'm trying out. You can let me know what you think by commenting on the original post here: http://www.artofbreakingout.com/have-you-built-your-own-entrepreneurial-hell/

Direct download: Have_You_Built_Your_Own_Entrepreneurial_Hell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:52am PST

Is there an perfect there? Can you create an ideal life and business? And what is "showing up?"

Many people are in careers they hate. They want to change but have no idea what they want to do, or they can see it (that "ideal") but can't figure out how to get there. I wrote on this topic here and my discussion with Berni is based on my post and this conversation between Jonathan Fields and Brene Brown.

I wanted to have an open discussion about life and business, transformation, and having the courage to be vulnerable. Berni is one of the first people I think of when I envision someone Daring Greatly. She's also great at cutting through the crap and getting straight to the point ;) 

Some tidbits from Berni? Buckle up and get ready for the ride, experience the highs and lows, and let go of perfection. I like her responses and I think you'll love this conversation.

Some questions I ask:

  • Can you create an ideal life and business?
  • How does an individual start on a path to breakthrough growth?
  • Is it okay to be a little imbalanced?
  • Should you be focused on the destination or the journey?

You'll also learn:

  • Why viewing projects as science experiments is beneficial to life and business.
  • What "showing up" means to Berni. (I think you'll like what she has to say.)
  • Why not being afraid of the journey should be the goal.
  • The value of embracing imperfection.
  • The importance of contribution and how this practice can change your life in new an unexpected ways.

Resources and links discussed in this show:

Daring Greatly

Misfit Inc.

Stop Following Your Passion (Do This Instead)

http://bernixiong.com

bravebearmedia.com

 

Did you get something out of this podcast? Jump on over to iTunes and let me know what you think. The best way to support the show is with an iTunes review.

Direct download: Berni_Xiong_on_Daring_Greatly.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:44pm PST

“The expression of your soul’s calling may take many forms throughout the creation of your body of work.”

Srinivas Rao has interviewed roughly 500 people since he started podcasting in 2010. He's now the CEO of Unmistakable Media and the host of the Unmistakable Creative Podcast, a place where he's interviewed ex-cons, happiness researchers, world famous cartoonists and entrepreneurs. In 2013, he self published The Art of Being Unmistakable which became a Wall Street Journal and Amazon Bestseller.

In my interview with Srini we explore a variety of topics, but we often come back to exploring the expression of your soul's calling. We discuss how a certain level of success can lead you to lose touch with your original mission and actually be damaging, and how you can come back from these low points.

"Your willingness to NOT follow someone else's instructions to the letter is where you start to find those edges that actually give you your ability to find what makes you unmistakable."

We talk about success, alignment, and transformation. How going down the wrong path—sometimes brought about by the intoxicating allure of success—can be so damaging. And how you can get back to your original purpose, even if you've lost your way. Why a carefree can-do attitude often leads to big things—breaking out—and why it's so important to sustain that momentum through intention and dedication to the craft.

We talk about fear, anxiety, and how sometimes true change—getting back to the essence of what is in your heart—only comes about through struggle. And how his best-selling book, The Art of Being Unmistakable, led to an interview with Glenn Beck, and what that meant for Srini both personally and professionally.

Some questions I ask:

  • What does it mean exactly to create soul food instead of junk food?
  • How do you find and prepare for guests? And who does post production for your podcast?
  • Where are you on the mechanics of building an online presence?
  • How did your relationship with Glenn Beck come about?
  • What IS being unmistakable?

You’ll also learn:

  • Why you should make a list of all the things you love and just start doing them. 
  • Why you need to check yourself constantly and reevaluate WHY you are doing "it."
  • Why spinning your wheels—that period of pain and frustration—is necessary for success.
  • And why you should never start out with mechanics in mind, but instead focus on your craft.

Resources and links discussed in this show:

Jim Bunch—Designing Your Environment for Optimal Performance and Creativity

The Intoxicating Allure of Success

Austin Kleon Steal Like an Artist

Elle Luna–The Crossroads of Should and Must

The Art of Being Unmistakable

Direct download: Srinivas_RaoExploring_the_Expression_of_Your_Souls_Calling.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:42pm PST

Who is Gini Dietrich? She is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of PR firm, Arment Dietrich, Inc. Gini also runs a blog called Spin Sucks, which almost tops 60 of the best Public Relations blogs in the world, wrote a popular book of the same name, and is continually recognized as one of the most influential execs in the social media realm.

I can't say enough about her social media acumen, and talents in PR, writing, and community-building. She's also endowed with some sort of super-productivity gene. She's one of the smartest, giving, and most influential bloggers you'll find. As an avid cyclist, I personally wonder how she gets it all done.

In this episode of the Art of Breaking Out, I ask her a broad range of questions, from dealing with haters to fostering and growing an online community. She also has a surprising passion project I think you'll find interesting.

Gini knows her stuff, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share this talk with you. I hope you enjoy.

Some questions I ask:

What steps were involved with building such an amazing community?

How do you deal with haters?

As a self-described introvert, how do you recharge? (She has some great tips.)

How does someone find his or her voice and begin to tell their unique story (across multiple channels)?

What's so great about Chicago?

You'll also learn:

The single best way for a beginning blogger to drive traffic to his or her site.

Details on networking and growing an audience of avid commenters.

The type of posts that actually bring in business.

Why you should never drink and comment ;)

Why she's a techie at heart (Semantic SEO anyone?)

And about a big, bold, and personal passion project she'll be taking on.

Resources and links discussed in this show:

The Goldfinch

Martha Stewart and Snoop Dog (Snoop Lion) make mashed potatoes.

Wild

Susan Cain

The infamous Jeans Not Appropriate for Public Speaking post

 

Did you get something out of this podcast? Jump on over to iTunes and let me know what you think. The best way to support the show is with an iTunes review.

Direct download: Gini_Dietrich_on_Community_Building_and_More.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:11pm PST

Who is Amy Harrison? As a copywriter, content coach, and public speaker, her domain is teaching businesses around the world how to avoid drab content and write copy that speaks to your ideal customer.

I'm guessing she might have a cult-like following with AmyTV. 

And she continues to impress with her memorable live training sessions. (I think you'll understand why after listening to this interview.)

Amy believes every employee has the potential to create content that attracts, persuades, and converts readers into customers. And her formulas can work just as well for any solopreneur trying to break out in the online space.

She's trained as a film and TV screenwriter;

certainly knows how to use humor in marketing;

and has run workshops in over 20 countries.

She is funny, engaging, full of energy, and has a ton to teach you, Dear listener, so don't miss this one.

Some questions I ask:

  • What does it take to produce one episode of AmyTV?
  • How do you effectively use humor in your successful workshops? 
  • And how can we apply humor in our storytelling?

You'll also learn:

  • What Sesame Street, John Cleese, and Louis C.K. have in common.
  • About identifying “Areas of Impact” to get your customers' attention.
  • Great tips on effectively speaking to your ideal client.
  • And why we both think comedians are the best creative instigators.

Resources and links discussed in this show:

Write with influence

Marc Maron's WTF

Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

Your Erroneous Zones by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Direct download: Amy_HarrisonBreak_Out_with_Compelling_Content.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:09pm PST

Who is Mark Schaefer? Just in case you don't know, he's an author, speaker, college educator... and social media strategy consultant.

And yes, we do discuss social media, but much of the focus is on this post titled "A speech you will never hear again." The topic? How blogging saved Mark's life.

The post resonated with me because we all have to deal with darkness and pain, but Mark's speech transcript centers on how you can bend negative emotions into positive, life-changing strength. A place where you emerge as a new person. I LOVE that, and truly enjoyed this amazing conversation.

Yes, Mark really knows social media, but we dive deeper in this interview and I think you'll enjoy it.

Some questions I ask:

  • How did you discover your voice?
  • When did you first earn money because of your blog?
  • What is a micro niche? And how can you dominate it?
  • How does someone reinvent him or herself in this digital age?
  • What specifically about blogging brought you out of tough times? Gave you the impetus to push through?
  • How do you deal with criticism? 

You'll also learn:

  • How blogging saved Mark's life (and why you should embrace change).
  • The number one problem of new businesses (overlooking customers, anyone? ;))
  • That jealousy is the overwhelming feeling of 30% of the people who view their Facebook news feed.
  • His favorite social network? And why?
  • How Mark reinvented himself, later in life. And why age should not be a barrier.

Resources and links discussed in this show:

Jay Baer's "Jay Today"

How to make a living on Vine [Juan Pablo Zurita]

Content Shock: http://www.businessesgrow.com/2014/01/06/content-shock/

A speech you will never hear again

Did you get something out of this podcast? Jump on over to iTunes and let me know what you think.

Direct download: Podcast_6_Mark_Schaefer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:56pm PST

Lisa Gerber works with clients to discover their unique story, and find creative ways to get that story embedded in the conversation of their target audience. She thinks businesses, CEOs, and individuals achieve their big leaps through better storytelling, and I happen to agree.

I believe if you want to truly break out and create an online brand built to last, you must first develop a core narrative. We call that storytelling and Lisa has some great insight into this very process. If you're looking to make your way online or to take some big leaps of your own, listen to this show.

From the marketing manager at a popular ski resort to managing one of the most popular and award winning blogs in the PR industry, Lisa has marketing chops. But she also has a story to tell, and she can help you tell yours.

Some questions I ask:

  • How do you grapple with being an ambitious person who struggles to conquer anxiety on a regular basis?
  • How do you challenge yourself daily? Are there any practices that help you get past fear? That can help others get past fear?
  • Where does a small business start to truly use technology to shape their marketing in new and exciting ways? 
  • How do we convince others that age should not be a barrier?

You’ll also learn how Lisa has helped others uncover their narrative, her perpetual search to balance happiness with ambition, storytelling, wine-making, and a lot more…

 

Did you get something out of this podcast? I want to know in the form of a review on iTunes or Stitcher.

Direct download: Podcast_5_Lisa_Gerber.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:43pm PST

Before Berni launched her coaching practice in 2008, she managed a multi-million dollar territory of Fortune 500 companies in a corporate sales job.

At the time she thought she had the whole world in the palm of her hands, until she dug a bit deeper, realizing she was deep into a job (and lifestyle) that sucked the lifeblood right out of her.

The day she stopped chasing someone else’s dream—kicking her corporate job to the curb—is the day she started to spark people and movements as The Shin Kicking Life Spark.

If you are dying to bust a move and make your way in the online kingdom, you'll love this interview. If you've ever thought about making a big change, but are hesitant to start, Berni will be your spark.

Some questions I ask:

What is Ruth Stone's writing process? (This includes details on Elizabeth Gilbert's amazing TED speech, "Your Elusive Creative Genius.")

What does the life of a coach entail? Describe your typical client and describe how you help them?

If someone wants to start a speaking career, where do they begin?

How does one get past fear and uncertainty (daily)?

What happened with your initial book "fails?" And why is your latest book, "The Year of the Brave Bear," so different?

You’ll also learn about:

Details on her book “The Year of the Brave Bear: Speak Up. Stand Out. Change Your World.”

How to find your why, even if you think you're the most boring person in the world.

Why Chris Brogan (she calls Chris her cousin) and AJ Leon are great role models.

Details on her moment of reckoning.

Why clarity is key, and more.

Did you get something out of this podcast? I want to know. 

Direct download: Podcast_4_Berni_Xiong.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:25am PST

Ryan Hanley is a guy with quite a bit to teach both individuals working to bust a move and business owners trying to make their way in the online kingdom. 

His goal? To help brands and businesses find their audience, tell their story and win the battle for attention online.

He's deep into the world of content marketing and specializes in helping people create content that really moves the needle, but he's also quite the storyteller. Some of his favorite topics are creativity, inspiration, and storytelling, and we cover them all.

If you're looking to learn more about online marketing, how to build your personal brand, or make some changes in your life, I think this is the show for you, as we cover all bases.

Some questions I ask:

  • Can social media engagement kill your business?
  • What does it mean to be a thought leader?
  • How do you ride the initial wave of excitement and get back to why you started in the first place?
  • What are some actionable steps to building a powerful, yet sustainable online presence?
  • How do you build an audience?

You'll also learn about:

  • Details on his book "Content Warfare: How to find your audience, tell your story and win the battle for attention online." And his very successful pre-order campaign.
  • How to plow through your "pick and shovel" period, "the dip."
  • Why Chris Brogan is nothing close to an overnight sensation.
  • The importance of creativity in your work, and more.

Did you get something out of this podcast? I want to know.

Direct download: Podcast_3_Ryan_Hanley.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:31pm PST

Brian Thompson is a guy with chops. He spent twenty-two years in the music industry, started a record label, a daily podcast, an artist management company, and even tour-managed a popular rock band. He also built a successful website, Thorny Bleeder, that was part music marketing, part kick in the shins motivation.

But that all changed this year when Brian moved from the bustling city of Vancouver, B.C. to a small town on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast.

He's now a writer, poet, podcaster, amateur photographer, and author of the upcoming book, "Sparks to Awaken." And his new online home, zenthinking.net, focuses on the subjects he is most passionate about; mindfulness and self-awareness, inspiration and motivation, fighting resistance, personal development, spirituality, philosophy, Buddhism, Taoism, and Transcendentalist thought. 

If you're looking to make some changes in your life and want to hear from someone who's done this in a big way, this is a must-listen.

Some questions I ask:

  • What sparked you to change? And how did you get past the fear and uncertainty?
  • How does someone even start to realize his or her dream? Choose his or her adventure?
  • What is your daily ritual? How has Eastern philosophy helped?

You'll also learn about:

  • Details on the pre-order campaign of his book, "Sparks to Awaken."
  • His amazing Icelandic adventure, and the opportunities that came his way because of it.
  • The blogging platform he uses. (and it's not WordPress.)
  • "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz

And, how you can start showing the world what you're capable of.

Did you get something out of this podcast? I would love to know.

Direct download: Podcast_2_Brian_Thompson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:37pm PST

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