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Onward Nation

America's best podcast for learning how today's top business owners Think, Act, & Achieve. Onward Nation is a five-day-a-week podcast hosted by Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI. Business owners share the most influential lessons learned throughout their careers, including insights into their daily habits, their most vital priorities that have contributed to their business and personal success, and the most challenging time or situation that could have devastated or even ruined their businesses or careers. Business owners share their "recipes for success" including those systems they wish they had put into practice inside their business when first starting out. Each episode concludes with guests sharing two or three practical and tactical strategies they would recommend to brand new business owners in order to best ensure success in their new business and careers. Onward Nation provides business owners with the strategies and tactical step-by-step "recipe" that will help anyone make their business more systematic, predictable, measurable, and repeatable.
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Now displaying: March, 2016
Mar 31, 2016

Vera Fischer was born in Frankfurt, Germany and immigrated to the United States. She grew up on the edge of poverty in Florida. In 1993, she landed her first position in advertising at GSD&M. After several positions in various agencies in Austin, Texas she moved over to the client side as Director of Marketing for a public software company, Forgent Networks. Three years later, while on maternity leave, she was laid off in a corporate restructuring. Vera immediately started 97 Degrees West — her own agency in Austin — the day she received the news. 12 years have gone by and they have been filled with ups and downs — but through it all — 97 Degrees West has grown to become an international award winning agency.

Secret – timesaving technique

Vera gets up at 5:30 every morning and eases into her morning -- start the day off in a place of calm. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Never forgo your health for your business -- Vera goes to pilates in the middle of the day, three times a week.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Vera merged her agency with another business -- and two years later her partner just left -- and Vera tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"The ability to compartmentalize is critical."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"I'm going to do it the way I want to do it."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I knew the systems I would need from working in other agencies -- and one of the most crucial was QuickBooks.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

You have to follow through and commit.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Sleep -- you have to sleep
  2. Exercise
  3. Have faith that whatever journey you're, you will get there

How best to connect with Vera:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 31, 2016

Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and the host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.

Good Morning Onward Nation -- and I hope you are having a rock solid awesome, Wednesday and that you are making consistent and steady progress toward your vital priorities for the week. And how can this be the last week in March already? We will close out the first quarter of 2016 tomorrow and then launch into second quarter strong.

And one of the ways we can be sure to end our quarters strong -- and our years right on track -- is to pay very close attention to our vital priorities, our vital functions and our vital metrics.

All of which are lessons I learned directly from one of my most influential mentors...Darren Hardy, former publisher of SUCCESS Magazine.

“Vitals” are top of the mind awareness for me right now because I just spent 2-½ days in Palm Beach with Darren and 20 other business owners from fast-growth companies where we focused on getting to that next level -- and vital metrics plays a critical role.

An amazing -- yet mentally exhausting experience!

And no joke, Onward Nation, within the first 30-minutes of meeting this elite group, I wrote in the upper left corner of the first page in my notebook, “I am the dumbest person in the room -- this is definitely the right group for me.”

Why? Because you need to be in a group that challenges you. That doesn’t let you get by with the status quo -- or zero growth. We all need to be pushed and put under pressure -- because that is where the growth is. And that is what Darren has always done for me when we spend time together -- he pushes me.

So during this solocast, I am going to share the story about how I first met Darren and then take you through vital priorities, vital functions, and vital metrics and then we will wrap up with a 33 question quiz -- or assessment -- you can use to evaluate the vitals in your business to determine your readiness to move onward to that next level.

Deal?

Okay, let’s dive in.

Darren Hardy, former publisher and founding editor of SUCCESS Magazine has been one of the most influential mentors in my business and life. I met Darren when I was invited to attend one of his original High-Performance Forums at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California.

I was one of 23 CEOs of fast-growth companies invited to spend two and a half days with Darren and the other CEOs. We spent the time together working through the latest in sales and marketing strategies with some intense masterminding.

Gulp. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. The imposter syndrome attempted to stop me from completing the application, booking my travel, from getting on the plane, checking into my hotel room, and actually making it to the conference room the next day.

The room Darren booked for our sessions overlooked the majestic Torrey Pines golf course, which has played host to the US Open and other prestigious events. I felt grossly out of my league.

I later learned from Darren that all of the signs of trepidation I was feeling were not reasons to turn and run – but instead – were indicators I was doing the right thing. Success would follow if I had the courage to push through the resistance. Steve Rodgers, the former CEO of Prudential Real Estate, shared this brilliant statement with me during our Onward Nation interview, “Resistance is part of the chemistry of success.” Steve went on to tell me that the amount of resistance one feels regarding a particular course of action, product rollout, new hire, or the internal debate whether their company should launch a new marketing strategy, is a direct reflection of the amount of payoff at the end of the tunnel.

Being there to meet Darren and the other CEOs was exactly the right place for me to be. In fact, Darren even boldly said to us within the first several minutes, that there was no more valuable place on the planet any of us could be then with that group for the next several days as it relates to growing our businesses. Spot on.

I began to get my sea legs under me after the first morning and lunch. My confidence began to build when I learned that others in the room were struggling with the same constraints and challenges facing my business.

Wait...What? These business rock stars were people, too? By dinner that evening – I was feeling like I deserved to be there.

By the time the weekend was over, Darren had accepted my invitation to speak at an upcoming live event Predictive ROI was hosting. Darren and I also worked out an agreement for him to join our board of advisors for 12-months where he would personally mentor me on growing our business and new directions we ought to consider. It was the most intense 12-months of my business career. However, it was exactly what I needed to learn despite the process being challenging and sometimes painful. A great mentor pushes even when the last thing you want is to be pushed.

At Darren’s forum is where I met Don Yaeger, 9-time New York Times bestselling author, owner of three companies, outstanding man of faith, devoted husband, and one of the most rock star fathers I have seen in action. Don and I became accountability partners following that weekend and agreed to call each other every Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. to report our Wins, Losses, AH-HAs, and Fixes. We have maintained that weekly accountability for nearly four years and Don has become one of my best friends and trusted advisors. Don is also writing the Foreword to the book I am currently working on. The imposter syndrome tried to cheat me out of this relationship, too.

Darren used a portion of the forum to teach all of us about the importance of our “Success Vitals.” What were they? How to measure them? How to assess our current business health? The lessons I learned were so impactful and have added so much value into Predictive ROI and our ability to generate revenue from Onward Nation that I wanted to devote this solocast to sharing the most relevant insights.

My hope for you is that this solocast will help bring into focus what I often refer to as the Vital Metrics controlling the growth of a business. I learned the Vital Metrics principle directly from Darren. Our “vitals” represent a snapshot and oftentimes a visualization regarding the overall health of your business at any given moment. The metaphor Darren used when teaching this lesson to me was, “Stephen, think about if you went to the emergency room because you had a severe leg injury from a car accident. Would the medical team in the ER start your treatment by taking care of your leg? Or, would they first check your vitals – your pulse, check your breathing, check your eyes for trauma, check your abdomen for internal bleeding, and so on?”

A medical team knows the importance of completing an immediate diagnostic of a patient’s vital signs to ensure some underlying life-threatening trauma has not taken place before they address what seems to be the injury affecting a patient. Otherwise, the team could direct their attention to setting a cast on my leg and then I die because of a punctured lung. My wounded lung likely would have been found by checking my breathing during those critically important first few seconds.

I will review our comprehensive Evaluation of Predictive Success Metrics (EPSM) as a tool for you to complete later in today’s solocast. Your score will give you a snapshot view of the sales and marketing vitals in your business.

Why is your score within the EPSM important? This evaluation will help you diagnose any critical areas that may need attending to before an inflow of new leads and sales opportunities flow into your business. In addition, your result outcomes / score may indicate several corrective actions that need to be addressed so your marketing strategy has the highest probability of success.

The corrective actions are also important because increasing the flow of leads and sales into an inefficient, ineffective, or absent system within your business is a recipe that could spell disaster. More companies go out of business from indigestion from too much opportunity than from starvation from the lack of opportunity. Having the right systems in place at the outset is essential to your long success.

Let’s first begin with several definitions to make sure we get the terminology right.

We will focus on: Vital Priorities, Vital Functions, and Vital Metrics.

I will show you how to identify the five or six most relevant Vital Metrics you need to pay close attention to in order to ensure your overall sales and marketing strategies are turning your business into what I like to call a “Sales Generating Machine”.

The first term we need to define it Vital Priorities. What are they and why they are…vital?

Let’s think of Vital Priorities as your big goals over the next 12-months – and if you didn’t accomplish anything else – the year would have still been a major success because your Vital Priorities were checked off the list. Conversely, the rest of the year would not have mattered if you didn’t accomplish these vital few.

That is the importance of Vital Priorities. What are the Vital Priorities in your business right now?

Then there are the Vital Functions. These are the skills – the processes – the talents you possess that make you the best person inside your company at a certain set of tasks and projects. Vital Functions are the tasks you cannot delegate – you cannot hire out. Not only because you are so good at them – but because you drive the growth of your business by being the one who performs the Functions.

For minister Joel Osteen, his singular Vital Function is delivering the 27-minute sermon on Sunday at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. He used to try and manage the lights, the audio, the editing, and the myriad of other details that went along with producing a high-quality broadcast. But then he realized, the growth of their ministry was driven by one single metric. Was he excellent on Sunday? And if yes, they would grow. He delegated the rest of the tasks because they were not his Vital Function. He now invests four days of his week in focusing on his one Vital Function. Can he delegate the sermon to someone one? No, it's a vitally important function – therefore, it remains as Joel’s Vital Function.

Take a moment to consider your Vital Functions. What functions are critically important to the success of your business and cannot be delegated away? Resist the temptation to let yourself say things like bookkeeping, answering the phone, emailing customers, preparing proposals, and a variety of other functions. Are all of those important? Yes. Are they vital? Yes. Can they be delegated? Yes!

Dig deeper.


What are you world-class at – or could become world-class at if you dedicated the right amount of focus – and if you achieved world-class proficiency – would move the business along a completely different trajectory? The answers are your Vital Functions.

Then there are the Vital Metrics. These metrics are how you will quantifiably measure your success toward accomplishing your Vital Priorities.

Before I share the Vital Metrics with you – let me try to preempt a question that tends to hook business owners and prevent them from moving forward. Oftentimes a business owner will say to me, “Stephen, this sounds great but I have people on my team who are in charge of these metrics. Why do I need to care about these? I don’t want to learn this stuff and I certainly don’t want this to become my Vital Function.”

Excellent question and here’s what I want you to consider. You don’t need to be the one who pulls the levers or turns the knobs – these metrics do not need to become your Vital Functions – but if you don’t pay attention to them or care about them, no one else will, at least not as closely as you would.

I asked Avinash Kaushik, digital marketing evangelist for Google the same question, and his answer was, “Stephen, it’s because if you care about it — and you understand it — then you will be rich. But if you just dump it on someone else’s lap, then you will be poor. That should be incentive enough.” Well, said Avinash.

In my opinion, there are six Vital Metrics you need to consistently monitor as it relates to the result outcomes of your marketing strategy. And they are:

  1. Change (increase / decrease) in unique website visitors to your website
  2. Change (increase / decrease) in conversion rate of unique website visitors into email optins (list building to be used to increase size of your audience)
  3. Change (increase / decrease) in conversion rate of email optins into leads
  4. Change (increase / decrease) in conversion rate of leads into proposals
  5. Change (increase / decrease) in conversion rate of proposals into sales
  6. Total revenue for your business

Are you currently tracking and monitoring vital metrics similar to these in your business?

If you are, WELL DONE!

You and your business may already be a superstar at growing revenue from your marketing strategy. But if you’re not already paying attention to these vital metrics, the quiz or assessment I am about to share with you will help guide you through making the necessary adjustments so you can put precise checklists and ROI Scorecards into place to ensure a regular rhythm of evaluation.

Are you ready to take your evaluation of your vitals even deeper?

Here’s what I like to call our Evaluation of Predictive Success Metrics (EPSM) as a tool to provide a snapshot view of the sales and marketing “vitals” in any business.

This evaluation will help diagnose any critical areas that may need attending to before an inflow of new leads and sales opportunities flow into your business. Just answer the questions and then tally your score at the end.

I am going to review all 33 questions with you now -- and -- if you visit the show notes for this episode -- you will find them all listed as well.   EPSM page 1 EPSM page 2 EPSM page 3   So tally up your score. How did you do?

If you scored between 33 - 50 points...ugh. But no problem -- this quiz will be a great guide for you.

If you scored between 51 - 75...congratulations...solid foundation...and the sky’s the limit.

If you scored between 76 - 85...You feel that? It’s Momentum -- and it feels awesome!

And if you scored 86 - 99...rock solid awesome...you better send me an email because I want to interview you on Onward Nation! WOW!

So with that...I want to thank you again for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here -- thank you for tuning in -- I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine.

However our daily podcast fits into your daily routine -- I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.

And please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation...good or bad...I always want your feedback. My direct email address is stephen@onwardnation.com -- and yes -- that is my actual Inbox. No fancy filters or filing system and I read and reply to every single email.

So please let me know how you think we are doing. I look forward to hearing from you.

We will be back tomorrow with an incredible interview with Heather Ann Havenwood -- and she shares an inspirational story of how she got back to building again after overcoming several very significant challenges in her way. You will not want to miss this discussion, Onward Nation!

Until then, onward with gusto!

You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 29, 2016

Andy Paul is a best-selling author, top-rated blogger and podcaster, speaker and executive coach, Andy helps sales teams get unstuck and on track to accelerate their sales. Andy is the author of “Amp Up Your Sales: Powerful Strategies That Move Customers To Make Fast, Favorable Decisions.” “Amp Up Your Sales” is on Amazon’s list of the 20 Top Rated Sales Books of All Time. Andy is also the author of “Zero-Time Selling: 10 Essential Steps to Accelerate Every Company’s Sales,” which won Top Sales World's award as one of the Top 3 Sales & Marketing books of 2011. His podcast, “Accelerate! with Andy Paul,” is a top-rated, go-to resource offering the latest insights from the leading authorities to help sellers accelerate the growth of their sales and their businesses.

Secret – timesaving technique

Andy looks at his calendar each night -- make sure you're completely prepared for tomorrow. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Be present in every moment -- Andy believes preparation is so important for doing this.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Andy went into business with a customer that expected more from his company than his company was used to -- and Andy tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Be willing to accept help."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Always have integrity."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have invested in resources to accomplish nonessential functions.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Deliver something of value in every sales interaction.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Make sure you understand who you're selling to and create a customer profile for them
  2. You need to go out and sell yourself

How best to connect with Andy:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 28, 2016

Alex Wehrley is a national TV host, former Miss Wisconsin USA and the creator of Empowerista, a media movement and mentorship program to inspire, celebrate and empower women. She has hosted for the Miss USA telecast, E!, VH1 and ABC red carpets. Alex also acts in national commercials for brands like Fidelity Investments and 5 Hour Energy. She recently made her big screen debut in the movie Rudderless, starring Selena Gomez. Through Empowerista, Alex reaches more than 40,000 ambitious women online with her empowering content. She also mentors women one-on-one, and in group settings, to help them have more confidence, focus and strategy while pursuing their goals.

Secret – timesaving technique

Alex looks at things holistically -- make sure you work on every area that needs working on. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

If you write things down they don't seem as daunting -- Alex loves using lists.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Alex couldn't find a job out of college -- and Alex tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"It sounds so simple -- but it's consistency and discipline."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"You have to hang in there to see results."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success” 

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have built a list from the very beginning.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Add value to your tribe.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Map out a plan -- know where you're going
  2. It's the small steps that lead to big changes

How best to connect with Alex:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 25, 2016

Amy Anderson is an Emmy Award-winning writer, the former senior editor of SUCCESS magazine, and founder of Anderson Content Consulting. Most recently, Amy is also the founder of Freelance Academy, a resource for freelancers at all stages of their careers. She has a passion for coaching and mentoring people to find the freedom they long for in their businesses and their lives.

What do you do in the first 60 minutes of your day?

Amy wakes up 30 minutes before her son, reads/meditates, spends an hour and a half with him, and then a half hour on a number of different activities -- rigidity is not a measure of consistency -- let your day flow as it needs to. ONWARD!

Favorite quote or lesson?

"What you can do -- or dream you can do -- begin it! Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

How do you define success?

Success is freedom -- and Amy talks about what freedom means to her.

What strategy do you use to combat fear?

Amy starts her fear defense plan by writing down all her fears -- and Amy tells the reasons why here.

What makes as "A player" an "A player"?

An "A player" is first and foremost a good person. They're kind and hardworking.  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

How can we become better mentors?

  1. Relate -- you need to share your own experience
  2. Listen -- after relating it's time to listen
  3. Assess your ability to help
  4. Gauge that person's commitment to action

How can we build an audience?

  1. Start today
  2. Don't be afraid to re-share content

How can business owners reach that elusive next level?

  1. Back up and start with yourself

How best to connect with Amy:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 24, 2016

Kenny Nguyen is the CEO and Founder of Big Fish Presentations, a company whose mantra is turning presentations into experiences. Kenny and his entrepreneurial/presentations tips been featured on TEDx, Hubspot Inbound Conference, General Assembly, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo, Business Insider, Mashable, Huffington Post, and the Washington Post. He is a co-author of the McGraw-Hill published presentation book, "The Big Fish Experience: Create Memorable Presentations that Reel in Your Audience."

Secret – timesaving technique

Kenny writes down his to-do list every single day -- block out your schedule completely and don't forget reflective time. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Don't say yes to everything -- Kenny says no a lot.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Kenny's presentation wasn't working on his Fortune 200 company's computer -- and Kenny tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Learn how to focus."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Be transparent with your crew."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have had a more formal hiring and onboarding process.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Ask yourself "why?" five times.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would speak up -- I hire people to tell me what they think.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Get the right mentors in the room
  2. Make sure you have the right five people around you

How best to connect with Kenny:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 23, 2016

Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and the host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.

Good Morning, Onward Nation -- Stephen Woessner here.

Before we dive in -- and if you’re listening to Onward Nation for the first time -- I will give a very brief personal intro to provide some context behind the voice.

Hi -- I’m Stephen Woessner. I am the host of Onward Nation – but – when I am not interviewing today’s top business owners, I am the CEO of Predictive ROI -- a digital marketing agency -- and I don’t particularly like that label because Predictive does so much more than digital marketing. Yes, we do the traditional things like increasing site traffic, leads, and sales. But what makes us truly unique -- is our ability to predict a client’s increase in sales -- their actual financial return on investment in the form of dollars and cents -- and then guarantee that performance -- or our work is free. And because of that -- we find ourselves deep inside a client’s systems, inventory, sales team, and all sorts of business development processes.

I love the problem solving work we do -- it oftentimes reminds me of my days of troubleshooting when I was a missile technician working inside nuclear missiles silos on the prairies of South Dakota while I was in the Air Force many years ago. I have been in digital marketing since the advent of the commercial Internet. I am the best selling author of two books in the area, I spent nearly 6 years at the University of Wisconsin – at the La Crosse campus, and I taught throughout the state include the UW-Madison School of Business, and my business building insights have been featured in Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur, Forbes, SUCCESS, The Washington Post and some other media. And I am currently working on my third book.

Okay, let’s press on to solving big challenges in our business – big obstacles – those things that are really holding you back from jumping off the plateau you may be on right now – and leaping onward to that next level.

That’s what we are going to focus on during this episode.

First, we all know that building and scaling a business is hard work. But when you have the right strategy – that right “recipe for success” to follow – the action steps become more like “ingredients” and can be added systematically into your business – one ingredient at a time.

And every day at Onward Nation, I have the incredible opportunity to interview today’s top business owners and ask them to share their specific recipes for success – and to break those strategies down into tactical step-by-step processes and systems.

I distilled all of those ideas, strategies, steps down into actionable “recipes” you can take and apply into your business right away.

If you are not familiar with my recipe and ingredient thought process -- you may be thinking you just walked into a baking podcast by mistake. Close -- but not quite.

Let me explain the recipe metaphor this way.

Say I make the world’s best chocolate cake. And I grew up working in my mom’s bakery – so my chocolate cake is actually pretty good.

And say you come up to me and say, hey Stephen -- I cannot bake anything, in fact, boiling what is hard for me -- but -- I love your chocolate cake. Could you teach me how to bake your cake so that it turns out just like yours?

How could that even be possible?

I’ve been perfecting my chocolate cake for the last 30 years -- and you have zero baking skills.

How could you possibly think that you could duplicate my results?

To even have a shot at it – is there something I could give you – some edge – some insider’s knowledge?

Of course -- I need to give you my recipe.

The recipe will act as your “strategy” behind the cake. Right?

With the recipe -- you can see the entire process -- the flow -- the visualization of the goal -- how you need to setup the environment, i.e. your kitchen -- all the steps -- all the tools you will need.

But the recipe is just one piece -- what else do you need?

Right! The ingredients.

You need to know the specific amounts and specific qualities of the ingredients, right?

And then there is one more thing -- you have the recipe -- you have the ingredients -- but -- you must also follow the syntax.

And syntax is a fancy word that simply means the order of the process.

So think about a recipe you have followed in the past -- we have all done this -- we mix the eggs together with the flour before we put in the oil and now we have goo. Not awesome.

So the syntax -- or the order in which we execute the strategy really matters.

So I’m going to share some incredible business building recipes with you -- but I’m going to share the ingredients -- and I’m going to give you the syntax or the process for all the steps.

Hopefully that makes sense.

And as Jim Rohn said,

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Now, maybe you are hearing Jim’s pearls of wisdom in this quote for the first time. I was having lunch with some friends the other day and I shared that quote and I could tell they were a bit shocked by it – so I took another minute to explain.

I shared several scenarios to illustrate the powerful lesson Jim taught us in that quote -- and I will share the same with you.

Say you’re walking down a hallway with your one of your top clients -- and your client has a faster pace than you.

What do you do?

Do you walk your normal pace or do you speed up?

Does your client slow down? Likely not.

Our natural instinct is to speed up – to keep pace.

So let’s consider a different scenario.

Let’s say this time you are walking with a group of four other people through the mall and they are all walking slow -- like dreadfully slow -- painfully slow.

What do you do?

You may start to think of some creative ways to speed them up -- but they don’t speed up -- in fact -- they may even slow down further -- but how is this possible?

And if you try to speed up -- you simply get out in front of them and create stress for yourself and for the group.

Here’s the reality: you will not de-stress until you are free from the slow group and find a group that wants to move at your same – faster speed – or potentially even faster than you so you are challenged to grow and speed up to keep up.

Because if you don’t -- eventually you will slow your pace to conform to the group – because you don’t want to be rude -- so you slow down.

This episode will move at a pace and tempo that is uncommon -- we are going to move at the pace of today’s top business owners.

And if you listen to Onward Nation on a consistent basis – today’s top business owners are the people you are spending time with – and that is awesome.

So here is the first lesson I want to share with you -- if you want to move your business onward to that next level -- then you need to spend time with business owners and mentors who are ALREADY at that next level – AND — they move at a pace and tempo faster than you.

And when you join that group – or have that person as your mentor – you will grow.

Hope that makes sense – and I have prepared a very detailed recipe on mentorship for you during today’s discussion.

More on that in a few minutes.

So make it a commitment – to find other business owners who are already at that next level – and spend time with them – learn from them – and you will naturally speed up to keep pace and as a result you will be moving toward the next level yourself.

So here’s what I am going to cover during today’s episode – let’s call it an agenda of sorts – as Kim Garst said to me during our interview – “you gotta have a checklist, Stephen.”

  • First, I will show you how to spot the two biggest obstacles currently preventing you from moving your business onward to the next level
  • Second, I will show you how to attract the right mentors to help you overcome the obstacles and accelerate your results
  • Third, I will show you how to implement and master a specific system that will dramatically expand your network and sphere of influence

So let’s dive in.

What if I told you that the two biggest challenges preventing you from moving your business onward to the next level have nothing to do with the business climate, the economy, the skill level of your employees, the location of your business, your pricing strategy, your current customer base, the size of your marketing budget, the quality of your products, your distribution channels, or the myriad of other reasons we are given today by the media and government as to why businesses fail at such a staggering rate in this country.

What if the obstacles in your way had nothing to do with any of that?

And in instead, what was blocking you -- the obstacles keeping your business in check -- are the same obstacles that have always attempted to keep you in check throughout your entire life.

Your enemy is not the myriad of reasons I just listed off -- instead -- your first challenge -- or better yet -- your first enemy is the Fear of Poverty.

Many of you have read – but possibly not in a while – this incredible book, "Think and Grow Rich" published in 1937 by Napoleon Hill.

If you have listened to Onward Nation episodes – and my guess is you have or you would not be here this evening – our guests often reference "Think & Grow Rich" because it is a compendium of knowledge.

The book was made possible by Andrew Carnegie.

Carnegie at the time was the wealthiest man in the world, met Napoleon Hill, liked him and offered to commission him to open the doors to the greatest industrialists of the time.

That was 1908.

And he said, “I’ll open the doors if you’ll sit down with these top business owners and figure out their secrets to success. What they do, they’re methods, they’re mindsets that have caused their extraordinary success and you put it into a book and publish it and make it available to the world.”

So, Napoleon sat down with Henry Ford, Edison, Schwab, Wrigley, and both Rockefellers. Imagine being able to spend time with those business owners and pull out their best ideas for success and achievement.

If you have read, studied, and applied the book -- you understand the great knowledge in this book and are already ahead of 98% of your competition.

But often times -- this book is an easy to forget treasure because it was written in 1937 – but the strategies in this book are still just as applicable today.

If you have not yet read, studied, and applied the book – then consider this a million dollar resource you have just been given. You can go to OnwardNation.com/book and get the Audible version of "Think and Grow Rich" for free -- that’s OnwardNation.com/book.

The Fear of Poverty is one of the 6 basic fears but it is also the most pervasive, destructive, and confusing to understand. But why?

On the surface, it seems as though this fear would revolve around the fear of becoming poor – and there definitely is that component.

But, the way this particular fear manifests itself is what makes it easy to spot.

We become so fearful of poverty -- that we freeze and are plagued with indecision, indifference, doubt, worry, over-caution, and procrastination.

Just when you ought to take action -- you don’t.

When sales are declining -- you ought to make more sales calls -- but you don’t -- you freeze because the fear of poverty has you paralyzed.

Just when you should be investing in that new expansion – that new marketing strategy – that new development – hiring new employees – you don’t.

You become overly cautious. Or -- you disguise your caution by saying you’re “skeptical”. And by the way — that is code for “I am afraid.”

You become so fearful of hitting the wall – that all you do is focus on the wall.

And then what happens?

Exactly -- you end up hitting the wall.

To be clear -- I am not suggesting that you throw caution to the wind and become financially irresponsible and then lose your business as a result of mismanagement.

That would be silly.

But I am trying to bring into focus that our Fear of Poverty can be one of the major obstacles that hold us back from the abundance at that next level.

And it doesn’t matter who you are – we have all felt it before – especially when trying to pursue something new – that next level.

Remember, if you focus on the wall -- you will hit the wall.

But if you focus on the infield – you may still eventually hit the wall -- but your opportunity likely increases by a factor of 10 IF you steer your business where you want it to go instead of letting yourself and your business become paralyzed by indecision, indifference, doubt, worry, over-caution, and procrastination.

So if the Fear of Poverty is the first challenge – what is the second one keeping you from moving your business forward?

It is the Fear of Criticism and is also one of the 6 basic fears -- and it too is easy to spot.

This fear what prevents you from making that sales call to that prospective client everyone in town wants because you hear that voice inside your head that says,

“Oh come on -- who do you think you’re kidding calling them? You have nothing to offer. They only work with big companies. You’re too small.”

You hear -- “You’re not good enough -- you don’t have the skills, you will never make it -- why bother trying -- there are others who are more gifted, talented, they already have all the connections -- what could you possibly offer that would be unique and different -- just try something that is more at your current level – call on someone smaller – don’t call the president or owner – call someone who reports to them – that would be easier.”

“Why can’t you just be normal?”

The fear of criticism can be overcome with grit -- with tenacity -- with perseverance -- with the shouting into the abyss -- I will not be defeated.

You saying -- "I will WIN THE DAY".

And when you do that – and I believe when you’re moving in the direction of God’s plan for your life – there is nothing that can stop you.

Now that we have identified the 2 biggest obstacles holding you back – which really aren’t obstacles at all are they – they all are in your mind – now let’s work through our first of several recipes during this solocast.

Recipe #1 focuses on mentorship.

If you have listened to our Onward Nation episodes, you already know that I ask every single guest to share the most influential lesson they ever learned from one of their mentors that helped them become the business owner they are today.

And wow -- our guests have shared some outstanding lessons.

So for this solocast, I am going to share a very specific recipe for attracting and finding the right mentor because Onward Nation listeners have asked me exactly that – as well as to help them understand what would be expected of them as a mentee?

But first – let’s make this more specific. Why find a mentor?

And yes, there is a specific recipe you can use to find a mentor and I am going to share that with you.

Before I share the step-by-step ingredients to this powerful recipe -- I will share something I have not shared during Onward Nation episodes -- two of the most influential lessons I ever learned from one of my mentors -- Darren Hardy, former publisher of SUCCESS Magazine.

For 12-months, Darren was a member of our board of advisors at Predictive ROI. So we would get together either in-person or over the phone. And during one of our monthly calls, I explained to Darren some of my reservations about building a big business. I wasn’t sure how big I wanted Predictive ROI to become. And so I was nervous about it.

And I said, “Gosh, Darren – you know – I’ve never thought of myself as being a great manager of people. And quite frankly, honestly Darren, I kind of suck at it.”

And then Darren said to me, “Stephen -- stop SUCKING at it!”

And I said, “What do you mean?”

And he said -- "Don’t give me that lie or tell me that myth that you are telling yourself. Don’t use that as a fricken excuse to stop moving forward. Stop telling yourself that limiting belief and that lie that you’re not a good manager or leader. Be better at it. Don’t give me the excuse."

And so I’m standing there almost like fricken naked – totally stripped down – I was like, holy crap, he totally called me on it.

That’s embarrassing – because he was right!

And that’s what a good mentor does for you – they call you out when you need to be called out – they support you when you need to be supported and they teach you when you need to be taught. But they don’t do the hard work for you – that’s on you.

So here are the specific ingredients for finding the right mentor for you:

  1. Think about your own talents and skills you would like to strengthen — weaknesses you would like to lessen — areas of your business you would like to improve, etc.
  2. Then make a precise list that details everything you just thought about.
  3. This process helps you identify the person you need to become in order to move your business onward to the next level
  4. This is a really hard exercise because you have to force yourself to take a critical look at yourself (and by the way — most people are not willing to get really honest with themselves — and that is one of the major reasons they never grow)
  5. Once you have the list — look for people who are crushing it in these areas — the same areas where you need to grow.
  6. Then contact those people — invite them to lunch — let them know you are packed full of questions for them
  7. Be very prepared — they will love that
  8. Interview them and put what they share with you into practice — turn it into a blog post and your clients will love you for it
  9. Loop back to your mentors and share your success
  10. When you do, they will invite you to sit down so they can share more with you.
  11. Soak it all up — then put it into practice.

Remember -- a good mentee takes action on what is learned — and the responsibility is on you.

Let’s go deeper by taking a look at three of our Onward Nation guests and how they are crushing it with mentorship.

First, Don Yaeger – episode 2 of Onward Nation.

What is the difference between Don Yaeger and another professional speaker you could hire for an event?

Don has mentored with the greatest champions of our time – including Coach John Wooden for over 12 years -- and Don distilled all of this knowledge into what he calls the 16 Characteristics of Greatness. Now, it would be easy to say – “Well sure, Stephen, Don can do that because he has all of the connections.” And true – Don can get anyone in the world of sports to take his call.

In fact, I was staying with Don and his family for a week in Tallahassee and one morning, Don’s cell phone rang and Don said to me “It’s Bob Kraft” -- and I said, “Wait, what? You mean like Bob Kraft who owns the New England Patriots?”

But don’t forget, Onward Nation -- even Don Yaeger had to start somewhere. So will you sit around and be fearful for another year – or – will you start getting mentored and move your business onward?

Next, Stacey Alcorn -- episode 3 of Onward Nation.

What is the difference between Stacey Alcorn and another real estate professional?

Stacey has mentored with some of the best and brightest minds in business and connected those relationships back into building her real estate empire. I will later share with you a billion dollar recipe right out of Stacey’s cookbook -- and I know we have several real estate professionals on the workshop right now -- Stacey’s firm had 324 closings in June. Bam!

And lastly, Nancy Marshall – episode 19 of Onward Nation.

What is the difference between Nancy Marshall and another marketing or PR professional you could hire?

Nancy realizes that she may be located in the state of Maine – but the market for Nancy Marshall Communications is worldwide -- which is why she has invested the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to write a book, develop a trademarked process in her agency called The Marshall Plan, and to invest in building a network through mentoring with the right people – and giving back – and now her network helps her company grow in the good times and become a safety net in the downturns – because the storm clouds will come no matter who you are or what kind of business you run.

Here’s the reality -- you are the average of who you spend the most time with. So you need to spend your time with people you have a common future with – not a common past.

Let me close out this first recipe by saying -- you can want to find a mentor – the recipe that I just shared with you could be worth millions of dollars in new sales to your company – but – it won’t be worth anything unless you DECIDE to take action.

As Tony Robbins says, a real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken action – in fact – that you have taken massive action. And if there’s no action – then that is simply an indicator you haven’t really decided anything.

Now that we have conquered and overcome the two main challenges standing in your way – and now that I have shared with you a very specific recipe with all of the step-by-step ingredients (in the proper syntax) so you can find your right mentor or mentors -- it is now time to really accelerate your results and move your business onward to the next level.

The next recipe I am going to share with you could represent a billion – yes, with a “B” – billion dollar strategy for your business.

I am going to share a recipe for mastering a specific system that will dramatically expand your network and sphere of influence – and – I will also share with you how you can then monetize these valuable relationships into mutually beneficial partnerships and revenue for your business.

And yes, I know it may sound crass or inappropriate when I say monetize relationships – unfortunately, I can’t think of a better word – I think you get what I am driving at.

But before we get to the recipe -- let me put typical “networking” into context.

Most business owners go to an event with a large number of “prospects”.

They pass out business cards.

They chit-chat small talk with the same people they met their last month.

The collect others business cards.

More chit-chat small talk.

They might even schedule some lunch meetings.

Why do we do this? Here’s why.

Because this is safe – it is easy – it does not make us face our fear of poverty or our fear of criticism. What would people think if I did that -- or went here -- or spent time with so and so -- they will all think I am too big for my britches.

I am going to work hard here to shift your paradigm of what is possible.

And that is why I love this quote from Archimedes. “Give me a prop strong enough, and a level long enough, and I can single-handedly move the world”

This next recipe I am about to share with you will become your lever and prop.

And it is big – this is literally a billion dollar recipe – and I am going to introduce you to the top business owner who is using it generate a billion dollars.

She describes herself as a billionaire in the making. And I believe her.

Let me introduce you again to Stacey Alcorn. Her episode is still on our leaderboard of top podcasts.

During our interview, Stacey told me about the afternoon she had spent the week before with Kevin O’Leary, Mr. Wonderful from ABC’s Shark Tank – they spent the afternoon tasting wine and exchanging business mantras and best lessons. Stacey and Kevin had quite the masterminding session.

There is always a strategy behind what Stacey does – and if you go back and re-listen to episode 3, Stacey maps out her entire business building strategy with precision.

But we are going to focus on the billion-dollar recipe that Stacey has developed.

Most people will not swing for the fences – but Stacey does. So here are the specific ingredients in Stacey’s recipe.

  1. Make list of influencers in your industry and / or your Dream 50 clients / prospects
  2. Connect via social media, email, or call
  3. Ask for 30-minutes so you can interview them on their path / keys to success
  4. Do your homework – prep excellent questions
  5. Be excellent during the interview
  6. Share what you and your company does at close of interview
  7. Invite / open the door for future opportunities
  8. Then share guest’s expertise on your blog, media outlets, your podcast, etc. – your platform
  9. Rinse and repeat – rinse and repeat

Key point: if you interview the movers and shakers in your industry – they become your informal mentors -- and you become one of the movers and shakers in the industry as a result.

If you want a BIGGER – more ROBUST – more INFLUENTIAL network – then YOU must become bigger -- your platform must become more robust -- and you must become more influential.

Warning — ROAD BLOCKS!!

Now, some of you listening to this recipe right now may be thinking – “Oh sure, Stephen -- Stacey has an email list of 65,000 people and has interviewed all of these celebrities and big-time business people – I don’t have those connections.”

Or, maybe you’re thinking -- “My business just started -- I don’t have mindshare in the marketplace, I’m not a published author, I don’t have a platform, no one knows who I am, who will listen to me – what do I have or could I share that would be relevant for anyone to listen to, I don’t have a network – I wouldn’t even know how to start.”

All of those excuses – all of those alibis – those are the Fear of Poverty and the Fear of Criticism working against you again.

If you hear those voices in your head – if you are having thoughts that are even remotely similar to what I just mentioned – let that be your litmus test – you now know you are heading in the right direction.

Push forward – don’t stop – don’t let your fear hold you back from breaking through to that next level.

Remember, you are the average of the people you spend the most time with -- and look who Stacey is spending the most time with.

She refers to herself as “A billionaire in the making.” And in order for that vision for her life to become a reality – she knows that she needs to spend as much time as possible with other billionaires.

Well, I will let you in on a secret she told me during our interview – Stacey didn’t have those connections several years ago.

But she DECIDED that was going to change and then she took action to make it happen. I hope that makes sense.

Okay, Onward Nation – I hope this solocast was valuable to you. Please drop me a line and let me know what you thought.

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Please drop me a line and let me know.

Onward with gusto!

You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 22, 2016

Amir Haque is founder and CEO of SUPERMOON, the independent Santa Monica ad agency awarded Ad Age 2014 small agency of the year for its size. A business strategist by trade, Amir has an MBA from Yale and spent time at the Boston Consulting Group in Toronto before starting his agency 14 years ago. His agency was instrumental in the foundational and explosive growth of many LA-based national brands including eHarmony, LegalZoom, and TrueCar. Amir brings an irrational passion for solving business problems that positively impact society and the world.

Secret – timesaving technique

Amir writes down all his creative ideas in Evernote -- make sure you don't forget your ideas. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Success for Amir is feeling a sense of richness -- Amir starts every day by playing with his son -- even if it's just for 10 or 15 minutes.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Amir's relationship with his business partner crumbled -- and Amir tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Be able to adapt while focusing and staying the course."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Be calm and listen to your intuition."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have hired slow and fired fast.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Have a strategy that allows for experimentation.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Do less wheel-making -- put processes in place
  2. Make sure you invest in all the relationships
  3. Be really clear on roles

How best to connect with Amir:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 21, 2016

Christine is the president of Idea Agency located near Boston. She is driven to unleash her clients’ greatness to build amazing brands. As the only Certified Brand Strategist in New England, Christine is uniquely qualified to help her clients put their stake in the ground for their teams and customers to rally behind. Christine is an expert workshop facilitator and a sought-after speaker on brand development, integrated marketing, and ideation.

What do you do in the first 60 minutes of your day?

On her best day, Christine gets up and goes for a run, showers, eats a good breakfast, checks her email at home -- try to do the things in the morning that set you up for your best day. ONWARD!

Favorite quote or lesson?

"Believe in what you do."

How do you define success?

Big picture success is creating and running a business where I get to help people solve their problems -- and Christine shares more kinds of success in this episode.

What strategy do you use to combat fear?

Christine reads writing from Seth Godin -- and Christine tells the reasons why here.

What makes as "A player" an "A player"?

An "A player" is passionate.  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

How can we become better mentors?

  1. Lead by example -- be who you are -- own up to your mistakes
  2. Be transparent -- share with your employees
  3. Bring your learning inside your agency

How can we build an audience?

  1. Understand what you have that others want
  2. Pick the platform that fits your audience -- don't try to be everywhere
  3. Cultivate your superfans -- they will help your spread your platform

How can business owners reach that elusive next level?

  1. Make sure you have a clear brand definition
  2. Deliver your brand day in and day out
  3. Make sure what you have to offer is desired by your audience
  4. Make sure the three above are all in alignment

How best to connect with Christine:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 18, 2016

Matt McCoy is the co-founder and COO of Scanalytics Inc., a software company focused on presence detection and customer engagement. Scanalytics proprietary offering is the SoleSensor, an intelligent floor sensor, which anonymously measures real-world foot traffic. Matt is an entrepreneur, Internet of things (IoT) expert, experienced research consultant, and public speaker. Matt has worked closely with Fortune 500 brands to deliver consumer insights through big data. His enthusiasm for technology and the art of storytelling has helped drive Scanalytics success as a top-ranked IoT company.

Secret – timesaving technique

Matt takes the time to have conversations -- talk to people to get the information you need right away. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Check in with clients every day -- Matt keeps over 80% of his clients by doing this.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Matt had to say no to an opportunity that could have grown his business immensely -- and Matt tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Go back to the basics of communicating with other people."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Don't worry about the things you can't change."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have taken more notes and documented more.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Underpromise and overdeliver.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Understand that you're going to make mistakes
  2. Ask for help -- get mentors and advisors

How best to connect with Matt:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 17, 2016

Heather Ann Havenwood is a serial entrepreneur and regarded as a top authority on Internet marketing and business strategies. Heather Ann has been named by a few as an “Icon Creator” or the “Wizard Behind the Curtain”. In 2006, she started, developed, and grew an online information marketing publishing company from zero to over $1 million in sales in less than 12 months. Starting without a list, a product, a name or an offer, Heather Ann molded her client into a successful guru now known as an expert in his field. She has instructed, coached and promoted hundreds of entrepreneurs leading them down the path to success. She has produced and managed over 350 seminars and events.

Secret – timesaving technique

Heather Ann "eats the frog" -- figure out quickly what the priorities are. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Be really structured with your time -- Heather Ann lives on her calendar.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Heather Ann's business partner emptied their bank account -- and Heather Ann tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Mindset. Mindset, mindset, mindset."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Does this feed my confusion or strengthen my clarity?"  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

 

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have had an email marketing system and been consistent with it.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Focus on who you are -- and focus on who your clients are
  2. Being a marketer is a good thing
  3. Have consistent communication with your customers

How best to connect with Heather Ann:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 16, 2016

Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and the host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.

Good Morning Onward Nation -- and I hope you are having a rock solid awesome, Wednesday. And that your week has been a blend of some amazing wins...some exciting surprises...even some difficult challenges so that you can be pushed to dig deeper. Because sometimes it is the challenges that force us to leap off our current plateau -- and then to reach onward to that next level. Like Scott McKain shared in our encore interview -- episode 136 -- you need to realize that in order to get to that next level in your business -- the next rung up -- you have to be willing to let go of the rung you are currently on. Otherwise -- you’re stuck!

Oddly, Onward Nation...some of my best weeks are the weeks where we experience a loss or two. Hopefully nothing devastating -- but a loss can oftentimes wake us up -- knock us out of a trance. Or help move us off our infatuation with a recent success -- or -- the danger or arrogance of our own ego if we fall into the trap of believing our own headlines and forgetting how attractive humility is and how polarizing arrogance is.

So sometimes a loss or a challenging moment in our past can be the perfect instrument to lead us to greater levels of success. And attempting to define that word -- SUCCESS -- will be my focus in today’s solocast. It is a deeply personal word -- a deeply personal definition -- unique to each of us. But sometimes, having models or mentors share their definition of success can help us look inside ourselves to reflect and think about how we would define it. Defining success for yourself should not feel like something you should be pressured to do. What would be the point in that? Instead...crafting your own definition will help you define the path you are on -- what is right for you -- and how you can become the best version of yourself.

So to get this lesson moving in the right direction...I am going to share with you a definition of success Amy Anderson was kind enough to pass on to me. It is her personal definition -- and -- something she shared with me during our recent encore interview. (Amy was also my guest on episode 27).

But, you won’t be able to listen to the interview just yet because Amy was my special encore guest for episode 200, which doesn’t air for a couple more weeks.

True to Amy Anderson form -- she was -- again -- off-the-charts amazing. Can’t wait to share episode 200 with you -- but for now -- here is how Amy defines success.

Success at the core for Amy is Freedom. And freedom feels like being free enough from fear to act on her own intuition.

Freedom feels like being free from the prison from her own perspective that used to tell Amy that she was nothing but a victim and that the world was her enemy.

Freedom is also being financially free to travel, to spend time with her loved ones, and having the ability to secure the future for her family.

Freedom for Amy also means being able to give time and resources to charitable groups she cares about and the causes she believes in.

Freedom for Amy also means being able to speak what is in her heart and in her mind to others. The freedom to love herself as her creator loves her.

In a word, Onward Nation, success for Amy Anderson is freedom.

When she shared this deeply personal and beautiful definition of success with me...I was really taken back. A bit breathless actually. In fact, when you listen to the episode in a couple of weeks you might even hear me gasp a bit. But that is why I love conversations with Amy -- that is the depth of discovery you need to be prepared to have -- because she doesn’t hold back -- and she freely shares it. One of the many reasons I am such an Amy Anderson fan.

I think one of the reasons why Amy’s definition of success was so impactful for me -- or on me -- is because I share her definition. Line by line. In unison. Loved every word and every syllable she shared. But it wasn’t always that way for me. There was a time and place early in my career where my definition of success looked nothing like what Amy was generous enough to share with us.

As you know, Onward Nation, I rarely tell personal stories during our episodes -- but today I will because it directly relates to the definition of success -- and oddly -- it is a story of epic failure. And it is because of that epic failure -- my perspective has changed. Even though the story I am about to share with you happened back in 1999 to 2001, the first time I ever shared the story during an interview was with John Lee Dumas during episode 648 for his EOFire podcast. EOFire is a brilliant podcast -- highly recommend it.

What I am about to share with you is a time when I failed so huge that my wife and I could have lost it all. To say we were all in is a major understatement.

We were left with nearly zero. But we fought our way back -- and through that struggle I learned a lot about myself -- I grew -- I changed -- and was prepared to lead the business I am leading today. But it took me eight long years to recover, Onward Nation, before I could even discuss what happened. I was that devastated by it.

So, let’ go back...to the summer of 1999. It was the height of the dot com bubble. But I didn’t realize it was the height and the tide would soon be turning. I was 28 years old -- a young man in a hurry. I was a partner in a small advertising agency in La Crosse, Wisconsin -- my wife and I had bought our first house five years earlier, we had saved our money, and I had the urge to do more -- to accomplish more -- to earn more.

I was frustrated reading the headlines of dot com company after dot com company receiving millions of dollars in venture capital on the east coast and west coast while I was working day to day in a small midwestern city out of the action.

Silly -- but that was the message my ego drove home to me every day. I felt like I was missing out.

Until finally, I had had enough and joined forces with two partners and we began the long process of building FortifiedNutrition.com.

And on a shoestring budget -- we actually did it -- and it was miraculous. The website worked and it worked well. So well, that we attracted the attention of Wells Fargo in town and I convinced them to provide us with a $100,000 line of credit. Yes, I said $100,000. Based on some very loose financial pro formas and my personal guarantee. Insane.

And then we attracted the attention of two private investors who invested $60,000 contingent upon us finalizing our spokesperson endorsement deal we were negotiating with Lou Ferrigno. Yes, Lou Ferrigno -- the Incredible Hulk. During my first phone call with Lou...I’m not sure that I heard a word he said because I kept saying to myself over and over again, “Oh my word...oh my word...I’m on the phone with the Incredible Hulk! The INCREDIBLE HULK.”

An amazing man, by the way, Onward Nation. I thoroughly enjoyed every meeting and interaction I had with Lou and his wife, Carla. Top notch people of integrity and professionalism.

So while we are working out the deal points with investors and Lou -- we then attracted the attention of a digital marketing agency in San Francisco who agreed to perform all of our design work in exchange for 7.5% of our common stock.

I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

I was on cloud nine...it was all coming together, Onward Nation.

Are you kidding me? An agency in San Francisco, two investors, a line of credit, and Lou Ferrigno.

Just when I couldn’t imagine it getting any better -- we met with our attorney at Ernst & Young’s office in Akron, Ohio to discuss our plans for an initial public offering. Yes, an IPO. Again, insane.

But wait -- trust me -- it gets even more ridiculous.

We all sat around a very large conference room table and looked at what had to seem like the most baseless valuation ever put on paper.

Why do I think that?

Because I created it the night before and had zero experience in doing anything remotely similar. Our attorneys and Ernst & Young team looked at the valuation I had prepared, and said, yep -- looks good to us. I’m sorry -- what?

And now -- now, Onward Nation -- my partners, investors, and I were the proud owners of a $10 million company. I was worth nearly $3 million at 28 years old. I couldn’t wait to show my wife my stock certificate.

She calmly looked at the certificate and said, “Ahem, can we take this piece of paper and go buy a new house?” I said, “Well, no, but…” And she followed that up quickly by asking, “Could we take this certificate and go buy a new car?” I said, “Well, no, but you see…” And she again followed that up quickly by asking, “Could we take this certificate and go buy some groceries?” And I said, “Well, no” and now squarely getting her point. And then Christine said to me, “Yeah, so, come back and see me when this is actually worth something.”

And wow...she was so right. The truth is...I was worth $3 million on paper but chasing my dream of success had meant that we were living on her income -- and that was it. I had not taken a grand total of $1,200 out of FortifiedNutrition.com over the course of 18 months, Onward Nation.

Why? Because at the time of my master valuation presentation...we had not sold one customer -- made 1 sale -- had any revenue -- I mean literally nothing.

We were still four weeks away from even going live and our valuation was $10 million. Brilliant.

So let’s fast forward to March 2000.

I was in San Francisco trying to present Fortified to more investors.

Except the market had started to tighten and tighten. What was that you said? A bubble bursting? Ha...that couldn’t happen!

Well, we all know it did and I happened to be in San Francisco, on the ground floor if you will, when it did as I shared with John Lee Dumas during our interview.

The NASDAQ started its slide and I went from trying to sell 20 percent of my company for $7 million to as much as you want for as little as you will give me. It became the FortifiedNutrition.com fire sale.

The $10 million valuation of our company evaporated just as quickly as it has risen. I immediately lost the value of the stock -- no big deal -- that was just paper.

But what really hurt, was that my wife and I lost all of our savings in trying to save the business. We invested nearly every penny of the equity in our home. I nearly had to sell my car just to keep our heads above water.

All totaled...I lost $100,000 of my own money, Onward Nation. Real cash -- that was literally sucked right out of my pocket and gone. Our life’s work up to that point -- destroyed. I felt like a complete failure -- my definition of success, which had been solely financial up to that point had been shattered.

Christine and I went to work and picked up the pieces. I found another advertising and marketing job in town...got my butt back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree and went on to get my masters...scored some good wins in business...began saving some money...started investing again...started a couple of side-preneur ventures...did well...then accepted a full-time academic staff position at the University of Wisconsin at the La Crosse campus...started teaching digital marketing classes to business owners throughout the Wisconsin system...and wrote a couple of books. So that over 12 year period -- I built up enough experience, an influential network, and enough courage to launch Predictive ROI, the company I have run with my team for the past 7 years.

I now have a completely different view of success.

Do I still have financial goals? Yes. Are they big? Yes, they are huge!

But the purpose behind the goals is completely different.

I now subscribe to Andrew Carnegie’s philosophy to building wealth. He said...you should spend the first half of your life making a fortune so you can spend the second half of your life giving it all away.

I like that -- a lot.

Again -- I am now so aligned with Amy Anderson’s definition of success that I shared with you a few minutes ago. For me...and maybe for you, too...success feels like freedom. The freedom to choose what feels right for you. To do what you want to do...not what you feel pressured to do. To be the person -- the whole person -- you were created to be.

You are more powerful, more amazing, more gifted, more talented than you could ever possibly imagine, Onward Nation. You are a child of the Most High God and you were intended to live a life of freedom.

So no matter how you define success -- my hope for you today is that you will take a moment -- to find a quiet spot -- to think -- to write down your definition. Don’t compare it to anyone else’s -- it is uniquely yours. But writing it down is a powerful process -- and I hope that doing so unlocks freedom for you.

So with that...I want to thank you again for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here -- thank you for tuning in -- I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine.

However our daily podcast fits into your daily routine -- I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.

And please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation...good or bad...I always want your feedback. My direct email address is stephen@onwardnation.com -- and yes -- that is my actual Inbox. No fancy filters or filing system and I read and reply to every single email.

So please let me know how you think we are doing. I look forward to hearing from you.

We will be back tomorrow with an incredible interview with Heather Ann Havenwood -- and she shares an inspirational story of how she got back to building again after overcoming several very significant challenges in her way. You will not want to miss this discussion, Onward Nation!

Until then, onward with gusto!

You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 15, 2016

Peter Strohkorb is an international speaker, sought after consultant and the CEO at Peter Strohkorb Consulting International. He has 20 years of hands-on Sales & Marketing experience in executive sales and marketing positions for some of the largest corporations on the planet, such as SONY, 3M, and Canon. Peter is the creator of the OneTEAM Method, author of a book of the same name, and a guest lecturer in the Executive MBA program of the Sydney Business School.

Secret – timesaving technique

Peter writes out his daily task list -- carve out the time each day to complete your tasks. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Be disciplined about not getting to excited by the new -- Peter stays focused on the tasks he has to complete before jumping to the next thing.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Peter faced a market that refused to accept they had a problem -- and Peter tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"It's so important to get out of your office and actually talk to your prospects, customers, and peers."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Be entrepreneurial, but in a disciplined way."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have had an advisory board.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Do not look at your people as people in specific departments.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would use their ears and mouth proportionally -- you have two ears and one mouth.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Internal: Look at how your business is structured and get some advice
  2. External: Try to talk to your clients and prospects and let them figure out that they have a problem that you can solve

How best to connect with Peter:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com ------

Mar 14, 2016

Billee Howard is the Founder & CEO of Brandthropologie, an artist collective that helps place brands at the epicenter of culture and commerce. Billee is also the author of “We-Commerce” a book designed to help companies and leaders embrace the principles of the collaborative economy in ways that improve their bottom line.

Secret – timesaving technique

Billee pushes herself to a place of discomfort -- innovation is discipline. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Understand the context of the environment of who you're talking to -- Billee strives to not be overly insular.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Billee was forced to leave her industry -- and Billee tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Creativity needs to be a centrality of business -- and view storytelling as a business competency."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Reward somebody who deserves to be rewarded before they ask for it."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

 

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would take the time to deconstruct what went right and what went wrong.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Successful business today should be able to embrace ideas no matter where they come from.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would push themselves every day.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Understand that there has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur
  2. Believe in yourself -- you cannot succeed if you don't first fail
  3. Have a niche focus -- don't be all things to all people

How best to connect with Billee:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 11, 2016

Dr. George Browne is the owner, allergist, and immunologist of Bless You Allergy & Asthma. His practices focus on caring for patients in the areas of environmental allergies, food allergies, asthma, eczema, contact dermatitis, stinging insects, and immunological defects. Dr. Browne opened his practice two years ago after being in academic medicine so he could do it his own way.

Secret – timesaving technique

George writes out his daily and weekly schedules every night -- stay on point for your week and your day. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Prepare your mind, body, and soul for the day ahead -- George gets up every morning and prays and works out for 30 minutes each.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

George almost gave up on medicine because he was overwhelmed -- and George tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"You have to be able to cut out the noise -- and carve out the time to continuously learn."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Talk to people like they're the only person that matters in that moment."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have learned my electronic medical records system better.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Take care of your clients first.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would be honest -- honesty goes so far.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Be yourself -- you can't be anyone else
  2. Don't take yourself too seriously
  3. Keep learning

How best to connect with George:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 10, 2016

Diane Gardner is an expert tax coach, Quilly award recipient, and best-selling author whose proactive tax planning approach gives clients a leg up on Uncle Sam and helps them dodge the tax bullet. Diane saves small business clients between $5,000 and $50,000 in taxes in as little as 60 minutes! Her tax coaching prowess has resulted in a combined savings of nearly $500,000 to-date of hard-earned profits small business owners would have given to the government by overpaying taxes. Diane is the co-author of the bestselling books, “Stand Apart” and “Why Didn’t My CPA Tell Me That?” She has also authored four other books including her newest, “Stop Overpaying Your Taxes! 11 Ways Entrepreneurs Overpay and How to Stop it Now!”

Secret – timesaving technique

Diane time blocks her calendar -- if you don't put it on your calendar, it won't happen. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Communicate well with your team -- Diane and her team send out daily emails that outline their respective days.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Diane bought her building at the top of the market -- and then 2008 happened -- and Diane tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"If you can be flexible -- you'll always come out stronger in the end."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"If you are willing to be a giver -- you can't help but reap the benefits down the road."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have documented the systems we use in our office -- don't carry it all in your head.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Break your big goals into smaller steps.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would be focused on meeting short-term goals.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. You can do anything you set your mind to

How best to connect with Diane:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 9, 2016

Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.

Good Morning Onward Nation -- how can this be episode 188 already? My goodness. The time has really flown by. So before I jump into the lesson -- the purpose behind today’s solocast -- want to say some brief words of thanks. What an honor it has been to be able to be here with you five days a week -- for what is now 188 episodes.

I am grateful to you, Onward Nation for listening -- for sharing all of your feedback -- all of which has pushed us to do an even better job with each and every episode. And thank you to all of our extraordinary guests -- for what our podcast -- this community of Onward Nation -- has become.

Sometimes, I do feel like I need to pinch myself in the morning when I get ready to do an interview or I read my email -- Facebook -- the kind words on Twitter -- or a post on LinkedIn.

Thank you, Onward Nation -- you help my team and I get better every day. I so appreciate your review and critique -- good or bad -- more than you will ever know. So thank you for sharing your time with me this morning.

I also grateful for my amazing team of A Players who make up Predictive ROI -- they are the ones who are responsible for every Onward Nation episode day in and day out -- since the beginning. So thank you, Katherine, thank you, Louie, thank you, Erik, thank you, Alex, thank you, Matt, and thank you, Christine. I appreciate all of your hard work more than you will ever know.

Being surrounded by my team of super committed A Players who want our business to succeed as much as I do is a wonderful feeling. But building a team of A Players didn’t happen by accident.

A Players, Onward Nation, are going to be our focus this morning -- but more specifically -- how to attract, recruit, hire, and lead a team of A Players. I am also going to include several lessons that will help you avoid expensive hiring mistakes and then provide you with a recipe for attracting, recruiting, and hiring A Players into your business to make it a fast growth, high performing company -- or Gazelles, as Verne Harnish, co-founder of Gazelles Growth Institute would describe them as.

I am going to share with you lessons I have learned during the last 23 years of working in a variety of companies, owning five businesses, and even spending six years as a full-time academic staff member at the University of Wisconsin -- at the La Crosse campus.

I will also blend in some of the most valuable lessons and expertise shared by a few of our Onward Nation guests -- including one of my most influential mentors, Darren Hardy. All of these lessons -- these ingredients, Onward Nation -- shaped the recruiting and hiring recipes we use at Predictive ROI to grow slowly -- intentionally -- and to build a team that only consists of A Players.

Does that mean that we have never made a hiring mistake? Good grief -- I wish that was the case. We definitely have those stories, too. But all in all -- our track record has been good because we have applied the lessons that I am going to share with you this morning.

One last thing before we jump in -- as a free companion to today’s solocast -- I encourage you to go to OnwardNation.com/12download and get your copy of our free eBook, The 12 Success Strategies of Today’s Top Business Owners. It is a distillation of the best lessons we have learned from our guests and I will refer to one of those lessons during today’s discussion.

Let’s start off with a definition to establish some common ground. What makes an A Player...an A Player?

In my opinion, A Players are the team members who are not threatened by other super achievers in their midst -- in fact -- it is the exact opposite -- the more super achievers the better. A Players love to learn -- they seek out new challenges to push themselves mentally and want to be intellectually pushed by their peers.

A Players are also the team members who have high emotional intelligence -- you will not typically find them caught up in unproductive conversations or at the center of some sort of office controversy.

Instead, you will find them off solving mission critical problems -- or vital priorities -- by filling their vital functions -- and delivering on their vital metrics -- while proactivity reporting back to you when the priorities are accomplished. That’s an A Player, Onward Nation. And I am proud to say that Predictive ROI is packed full of them.

Lori Highby, two-time guest of Onward Nation recently said to me, “Stephen, I think an A Player is someone who is passionate about the work being done, someone who never stops learning, and someone who is driven towards to success.” Couldn’t agree more with Lori.

The passion Lori describes is essential because -- look -- work is hard -- it is demanding -- the hours are long -- and sometimes the schedule is unforgiving. And if your team members don’t have a passion for the work, and they don’t really love it, or they don’t love you and what you stand for -- they will not stay for very long -- or if they do stay -- you will not be getting their A level work. And A Players will not tolerate that type of situation for long -- they want to work with other A Players so the passion you so loved having in your company -- will also be the same passion that pushes them to move on to a different venture. And perhaps that new venture might also provide a path for continual learning.

A Players want to be challenged by conferences, by seminars, by workshops, by other forums where they can meet their fellow A Player peers and be challenged in a fast-paced, compressed, learning environment. And when the education component is provided to an A Player -- it becomes easier for them to see how the time they are investing into your company, Onward Nation -- is contributing to their long-term success.

Don Yaeger, also a two-time guest at Onward Nation, described an A Player to me as someone who wants to work with other A Players -- but -- and this is an important distinction that I had never heard before Don shared it with me, Onward Nation -- Don shared with me that A Players don’t frighten other A Players.

A Players are not intimidated by other A Players -- INSTEAD -- they are energized by the possibilities -- they are energized by the professional competition -- by the ambitious drive to make each other better. Not to beat out the other person but in making each other better so the collective team is better, stronger, as a result. Oh, AWESOME!!!

Steve Jobs famously said, “A Players hire A Players and B Players hire C Players. We only want A Players here at Apple.” I think he was really right with this.

Can you think of a couple of A Players on your team who are doing that right now for you, Onward Nation -- or -- can you think of a time when you and a fellow A Player professionally competed with one another?

Where you cheered each other on -- you celebrated each other’s wins -- you helped each other through the losses -- and in the process -- you made each other better. That was an awesome feeling, wasn’t it? Why not create it again inside your own company -- if you’re not currently experiencing it.

And then Shane Stott -- another a two-time guest on Onward Nation -- got really specific with me and shared what he believes are four “qualifiers” that A Players fill...think of them as pre-requisites -- if you can’t put a checkbox next to each of these when thinking about a particular person -- they are likely not an A Player.

First -- they manage themselves better than you could. A Players do not need you looking over their shoulders or micromanaging their work. In fact, that type of managerial style is the perfect recipe for pushing A Players out of your company. Instead -- define your expectations -- provide the resources -- and then get the heck out of the way of your A Players. They will move heaven and earth to exceed your highest expectations!

Second -- A Players bring new ideas and direction continuously. A Players tend to be idea and solution machines. They are looking for new ways to challenge the status quo -- to push -- to move mountains.

They are proactive, Onward Nation...love that word...it is my favorite in the English language...and it is so easy to spot on an A Player!

Third -- A Players are an active study themselves -- meaning -- they are always learning like we discussed earlier. So, Onward Nation -- you need to create an education plan -- some structure -- so they know where and when you will be providing educational opportunities. If you don’t -- they may misunderstand your lack of specific direction or leadership in this area to be ambivalence -- and then your A Players will be polishing up their resumes.

And Fourth -- they don’t take things personally. A Players recognize the mission and purpose of what they are working on is bigger than them -- there is no ego in the work -- and consequently, when something fails, or an idea doesn’t work -- they don’t take it personally and their confidence is shattered in the process.

That doesn’t happen with A Players. Each win or each loss is simply a series of data points from which many things can be learned -- and applied -- so that future work is enhanced and better as a result.

So there you have it, Onward Nation -- a complete and thorough description of A Players -- a detailed avatar if you will of the elusive team members you want to hire. And as Jim Collins, author of Good to Great famously said, “The single most important thing you need to do is pick the right people and keep them. There is nothing more important than this.”

So the next step in today’s solocast that I wanted to share with you was a specific recipe for attracting and hiring A Players. How do we do this? I will give you a hint to the recipe...Jim Rohn said, “If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a quality person.”

I learned this recipe directly from my personal mentorship sessions with Darren Hardy. This recipe -- although potentially painful -- will help you fill your team with A Players so your business is filled up -- wall-to-wall -- with exceptional talent.

A Player Recipe

Ingredient #1: Get out a white sheet of paper.

Ingredient #2: Brainstorm a list of 50 attributes you want to have your employees -- or future employees -- exemplify -- to demonstrate to your customers on daily basis. Just write fast as you can. Go total stream of consciousness. Quickly make the list -- fast, fast, fast. Make a full list of 50. Okay, do you have the full list ready?

Ingredient #3: Now go back through your list and give very careful consideration so you can remove the duplicates, remove anything that might be similar, and then distil the list down into what you consider to be your Vital 12 Attributes. These 12 are the attributes your ideal team members would represent and live out every day.

Ingredient #4: Let the list rest for a day -- sleep on it -- then review and critique it again in the morning. Make sure your final list of 12 is ready to be shared. But don’t share the list with your team. Instead...take the 12 attributes and use them to create survey form with a rating scale of 1 to 10 -- with 10 being the highest. You could use a paper-based survey, Survey Monkey, or another tool. Something that is easy to distribute and share.

Ingredient #5: Now ask your leadership team and all of your employees to anonymously rate YOU according to those 12 attributes. They do not rate themselves -- but YOU, Onward Nation.

Ingredient #6: Sit down and review the data. The survey results represent how you -- as the leader -- need to improve in order to attract, recruit, hire, and effectively lead A Players representing your Vital 12 Attributes. This exercise -- and your ability to authentically recruit A Players who match the 12 -- requires you to be there yourself.

Remember -- you, Onward Nation -- you -- you are the ones who set the pace within your company. The leader sets the pace -- the pace of the leader sets the pace of the pack. It is an incontrovertible fact. You can try to run from it -- to hide from it -- but in the end -- there it is.

Therefore, if you want to attract and hire A Players who represent those 12 attributes -- you need to become the living embodiment of those 12 -- if you are not already.

So with that...I want to thank you again for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here -- thank you for tuning in -- I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine.

However our daily podcast fits into your daily routine -- I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.

And please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation...good or bad...I always want your feedback. My direct email address is stephen@onwardnation.com -- and yes -- that is my actual Inbox. No fancy filters or filing system and I read and reply to every single email.

So please let me know how you think we are doing. I look forward to hearing from you.

We will be back tomorrow with an incredible interview with Diane Gardner -- she is a tax savings superhero and she shares some insights into how she saved one of her business owner clients $50,000 in taxes. You will not want to miss this discussion -- stop overpaying taxes, Onward Nation!

Until then, onward with gusto!

You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 8, 2016

Melissa is a former Wall Street executive and now the founder of The Lion’esque Group, a firm of pop-up shop experts who have produced more than 100 retail experiences in New York City, Los Angeles, and the Hamptons. Some of her clients include brands such as COTY / Marc Jacobs, CAT Footwear, J. Hilburn, and Food52. Melissa shares her experiences in her book, “The Pop-Up Paradigm: How Brands Can Build Human Connections in a Digital Age.” Melissa was awarded “Innovator of the Year” for pop-up retail experiences by Retail Touchpoints in 2015. She is the co-founder of THE MARKET at the Roger Smith Hotel, and an advisor to startups, TheStoreFront.com, and Fotofwd. She is also a guest blogger on pop-up and immersive retail strategies for various outlets.

Secret – timesaving technique

Melissa lists out her daily tasks -- calendar management is everything. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Step outside and go for a walk -- Melissa does this often to give her mind a rest and it often sparks inspiration.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Melissa invested time in training the wrong people -- and Melissa tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Execution -- be able to execute your ideas."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"By genuinely paying it forward -- the universe brings you back some amazing energy."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have focused -- you can't get seduced by opportunity.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Have a strong communication strategy on a daily basis.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would be willing to jump in and help when they're done with their own projects.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Don't be so hard on yourself
  2. Set short and long-term goals
  3. Do your own books

How best to connect with Melissa:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com ------

Mar 7, 2016

Pam Friedman has over 20 years of financial planning and investment experience. Prior to partnering with Silicon Hills Wealth Management, Pam was on Wall Street in New York as well as serving in London structuring and raising capital for both public and private companies. Pam is the author of the book, “I Now Pronounce You Financially Fit” and is an expert is marital financial planning. In addition to Pam’s extensive writing, speaking, and financial planning experience, she also served six years as a member of the Finance faculty at The University of Texas at Austin.

Secret – timesaving technique

Pam writes down what has to be discussed -- preparation is 100% of your success. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Carve out time -- Pam blocks Tuesday and Thursday morning on her schedule for regrouping and thinking.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Pam gets angry calls from clients when the market is down -- and Pam tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Patience -- I'm a big fan of patience."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"You have to take calculated risk -- you can't be afraid to take them."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success” 

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have found someone who knows the technological systems inside and out if I started on my own -- but luckily our firm had someone who knew them.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Take things one at a time -- don't try to be all things to all people.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would think ahead and be present.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Be patient -- it's going to take 10 years to build a reputation
  2. Be transparent with your partners -- and be hard on them when you have to
  3. Take a risk -- what's the worst that can happen?

How best to connect with Pam:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 4, 2016

Michael Maher’s story is one for the movies. Born into a family living in a shack in a small town in Kansas and knowing only poverty, food stamps, and hand-me-down clothes, Michael conquered incredible challenges and a near-death experience then went on to design a system, the (7L) System, based around a philosophy of generosity. He and those who have implemented the system have found that a business based on generosity leads to reciprocity in the form of referrals, help, and good beyond anything they could ever imagine. His book, 7L: The Seven Levels of Communication has been Amazon.com's #1 bestseller in the Real Estate Sales category for 5 straight years. Michael inspires audiences with his powerful, true story and has shared the stage with President George W. Bush, Tony Robbins, and John Maxwell.

Secret – timesaving technique

Michael uses the four enriching rituals -- make yourself more efficient, more orderly, and more productive. ONWARD!

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Seek advice from those who are more successful than you."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

 

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Commit to a "no matter what" philosophy
  2. Be specific with what you want
  3. Practice proactive generosity and appreciative receiving

How best to connect with Michael:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 3, 2016

Michael Hauge has been one of Hollywood’s top script consultants, story experts, and speakers for more than 30 years. He coaches screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, professional speakers, internet marketers and corporate leaders, helping transform their stories and their audiences using the principles and methods of Hollywood’s most successful movies. Michael is the author of “Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds” and the new 20th Anniversary Edition of his classic book Writing Screenplays That Sell. He has consulted on films starring – among many others - Will Smith, Tom Cruise, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts and Morgan Freeman, and has presented lectures and workshops to more than 70,000 participants worldwide. According to Will Smith, “No one is better than Michael Hauge at finding what is most authentic in every moment of a story.”

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Michael got a mediocre rating in a big magazine -- and Michael tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"The ability and willingness to incorporate stories in any communication."

How to create a good story

  1. Identify the hero of the story -- who is the main character?
  2. Create a setup -- describe the life the hero was living before the story began
  3. Present the hero with opportunity (and create empathy in the process)
  4. Put the character in a new situation based on the opportunity
  5. Create a clear, visible goal with a clear finish line in the end
  6. Create conflict
  7. The climax of the story -- paint a picture of what success was like
  8. The aftermath -- paint a picture of the new life because of making the journey

The three kinds of stories business can tell

  1. Autobiographical -- the story about you
  2. Case study -- take someone who has benefited from your product or service and talked about how you and your product or service has changed their life
  3. The "Wise Man" story -- repeat a story and how you or your audience can learn from their lessons

Most influential lessons learned from a mentor

  1. "The seat of the pants to the seat of the chair."
  2. "Don't get it right, get it written."
  3. "You've got to reject rejection."

 

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

 

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

I ask myself if whatever I'm going to try sounds like fun -- and if it does, I'll try it.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Don't be afraid of telling stories
  2. Ask yourself where you draw the line -- and then take small steps toward confronting you fear

How best to connect with Michael:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 2, 2016

Steve Rodgers is a business, lifestyle consultant, author, and leader who helps others discover, maximize, and increase their highest good and purpose in life and business. Steve’s extraordinarily successful career spans being the CEO of a real estate firm generating $25 billion in annual sales, almost 40,000 transactions, managing a team of 4,600 agents, and starting and running his own real estate company. One of Steve’s career highlights was meeting and working for Warren Buffett for many years. His inner circle includes leaders such as John Assaraff, Brian Tracy, Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Thompson.

Secret – timesaving technique

Steve scores himself on his body, bond, being, business -- hold yourself accountable for the things that have to get done every day. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Take time for yourself -- Steve meditates multiple times a day to stay tuned into life.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Steve had to close 40% of his offices -- and then he got fired -- and Steve tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Become an expert in your field -- as quickly as you can."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Don't underestimate people -- sometimes people disappoint you -- but sometimes they surprise you."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

 

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have utilized the "stop -- start -- continue" strategy -- a strategy to use to analyze what is and isn't working in the business.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Prospect, prospect, prospect, and prospect some more.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Find out your true personal legend is as soon as possible
  2. Be curious

How best to connect with Steve:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Mar 1, 2016

Lori Highby is the owner of Keystone Click, an interactive marketing agency in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Since 2008, her agency has seen consistent growth. Lori is the 2013 recipient of the "Bravo! Entrepreneur Award" from BizTimes Media. She has been helping businesses market themselves online for nearly 15 years. Lori speaks and blogs on the topics of social media, e-commerce, online marketing, and entrepreneurship.

What do you do in the first 60 minutes of your day?

Lori uses the six strategies found in "The Miracle Morning" under the acronym SAVORS -- silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, scribing. ONWARD!

Favorite quote or lesson?

"I dream my painting, then I paint my dream." - Vincent van Gogh

How do you define success?

Success is a lot of things -- I have a lot of different definitions -- celebrate the little victories.

What strategy do you use to combat fear?

Lori believes in doing a "power stance" and positive affirmations -- and Lori tells the reasons why here.

What makes as "A player" an "A player"?

An "A player" is passionate, never stops learning, and is driven towards to success.  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

How can we become better mentors?

  1. Always be teaching -- approach everything as a learning opportunity
  2. Do what you're telling others to do
  3. Never stop learning

How can we build an audience?

  1. Be consistent in frequency and value

How can business owners reach that elusive next level?

  1. Get out side of your comfort zone
  2. Join a mastermind group and hire a coach

How best to connect with Lori:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

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