The Art of Breaking Out with Craig McBreen







May 2018
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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)
Slack (Instant messaging for businesses, on steroids)
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (all about "the craftsman's approach")
Startup Marketing Blog
Noah Kagen's OKdork

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

"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 PDT

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 PDT

“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,, 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 PDT

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 PDT

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— 

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:

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

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:

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

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)


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 PDT

“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 PDT

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.


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 PDT