Onward Nation

America's best podcast for learning how today's top business owners Think, Act, and 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, 2017
Mar 31, 2017

Dr. Rocco Martino is the inventor of the SmartPhone — and — has been a pioneer in the tech industry for 65 years. He is the author of 28 non-fiction books and five novels. His most recent book is entitled, “The Coming Technology Tsunami”, which shared Rocco’s vision of how technology will affect all of us in the next 10-years. It will be an unsettling time, but full of promise. Millions of jobs will be lost. Deliveries will be made by robots in driverless vans. The Smartphone will revolutionize education. We will launch our first colonization trip to Mars. The status quo will be disrupted and no profession or activity will be unaffected. And it will all happen in the next 10-years. This is going to be an insightful conversation!

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • Dr. Martino’s background
  • The story of the early days behind the CyberFone & SmartPhone
  • Why Dr. Martino changed his strategy of trying to sell the hardware to trying to license the software
  • How Dr. Martino could not enforce his patent because he was not a telephone or communications company
  • How Dr. Martino created a $750 billion industry but received nothing
  • Dr. Martino’s dream of going to outer space
  • Why Dr. Martino feels that the history of the future is so obvious
  • How we are close to being able to carry on a conversation with a robot
  • How the power of association has been a contributor to Dr. Martino’s success
  • Why, if you’re down, pray, meditate, & move forward

How best to connect with Dr. Martino:

Mar 30, 2017

Frank Cottle is CEO of Alliance Virtual Offices and Chairman of the Alliance Business Centers Network with over 650 centers operating in 42 counties. He is the recognized expert on flexible working, the virtual office movement, and third place working. Prior to creating the Alliance brand, Frank successfully operated his own portfolio of business centers in multiple locations across North America. Frank has spent almost 30 years delivering business services that are finely turned to the workplace needs of startups, entrepreneurs, and growing small businesses. He has worked with tens of thousands of business owners and has become the go-to authority on flexible and remote work.

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • Frank’s background
  • Why Frank believes that the secret to time-saving and focus is building a team
  • Why you cannot leave anyone out of the communications in a company
  • Why you need to find joy in your work every day
  • Why Frank’s goal is to be the best student of his industry
  • Why you need to understand cycles and treat them differently
  • Empowering people so that they can make decisions above & below their responsibilities
  • Why you need to look at how you’re going to react quickly to any given situation
  • Why stagnation kills companies
  • Why the most important thing in business is flexibility

How best to connect with Frank:


Mar 30, 2017

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 – I’m Stephen Woessner and welcome to Episode 460 – this week’s solocast where I will share the specific step-by-step recipe for how to get a sponsor for your podcast, a lesson that I learned directly from one of today’s leading authorities on the topic of sponsorships. Her name is Linda Hollander, and she is off-the-charts amazing. I’m telling you – the lesson in this solocast is going to help you monetize your podcast in new ways – or – if you already have sponsors – it may give you some new insights so you can sell your sponsorships upwards of $100,000 per year.


Before we get to today’s lesson…I want to thank you.


Thank you for being here – thank you for all of your support – thank you for all of your daily encouragement – thank you for all of the wonderful emails sharing what you like about the show – and just as important – sharing how my team and I can get better – how we can deliver even more value to you and your teammates.

I appreciate the emails, the tweets, the Facebook posts, and all of the connection requests on LinkedIn. I want you to know how much you mean to me – how much you and what you share with us energize my team and me.

You and your feedback is the lifeblood of the show and so before we dive into today’s lesson – I want you to know how much I deeply appreciate you taking some of your precise 86,400 seconds you were blessed enough to receive today – and sharing your time – your most precious asset – and deciding to share it with me.

86,400 seconds quote

And because time is the most precious asset for all of us – I have invested my time in building a lesson for you today that will add value in potentially many areas of your business. But I will say – despite the value this lesson will provide you – it may make you uncomfortable. You may feel put on the spot.

As you consider the potential of executing on the ideas I share with you this morning – you may immediately begin to talk yourself out of the opportunity. You may second-guess yourself.

You may feel that you and your business are not worthy of such lofty goals.

Am I Good Enough_

So as we move through the lesson…as I share with you the practical and tactical of what you need to do when you work to attract a sponsor for your podcast…and you start to second-guess yourself…and begin to feel that your show or your business is not at that right level…I want you to remember the wise words of Marianne Williamson when she said…

Marianne Williamson

But…how do I know this to be true?

Because Onward Nation, Marianne’s words struck me to the core the first time I read them. I was hit hard. I knew she was speaking to me and other people who felt the same way as me. In three simple sentences – she beautifully addressed head on the biggest obstacle of success that was blocking my path.

So now, instead of praying and focusing on opportunity to come my way…I have shifted the context to be more in-line with being ready to accept the abundance – to be okay in becoming the person I need to become to be the best steward possible – to be open and let the light shine in to cast out the darkness – so that I can see my full destiny unfold.

I am sharing all of this with you, in full transparency, so you have an opportunity to get your mindset right – to know you are worthy – that you are ready – that you can be more – that your business is ready for that next level – that your podcast is ready for a sponsorship – and that you are ready to apply all you learn here today.

And that I know the points where today’s lesson about attracting sponsorships will make you feel uncomfortable because I have been there. I have felt the uneasiness of “not being ready” first hand. But I am telling you, Onward Nation – if you apply what I share with your this morning, you will push past the fear and leap onward to that next level.

For example, when my Predictive ROI team and I launched Onward Nation in June of 2015…some of the first questions from people closest to us had nothing to do with the tactical of how we were able to build the show from scratch and launch it in less than 30-days…or…how we were able to soar to the top of iTunes within just a few short weeks.


Oftentimes, one of the very first questions I received from those closest to me was…

“When are you going to sell a sponsorship?”

This was a frequently asked question because having a sponsor was an outward sign of success – of legitimacy – that we had made it – that we were on our way to doing something special.

But here’s the truth, Onward Nation. The thought of selling a sponsorship early on terrified me. I was afraid of the rejection. I was afraid of sharing what might seem like small numbers for a new show.

I didn’t want to waste my time or the time of the prospective sponsors. I was afraid of being embarrassed during the process.

And the list goes on and on. But ultimately, I didn’t feel that this show – a couple of years ago – was worthy of a paid sponsorship.

But there was something else – and potentially even more paralyzing. I had no idea what to do – I didn’t know the first thing to attracting let alone selling a sponsorship for our podcast. I knew zero. In fact, to say that I knew zero was to give me a compliment – I knew less than zero.

So my lack of knowledge – and my emotional insecurity around the topic of sponsorship – caused me to answer those initial questions on the topic as the opportunity of sponsorships didn’t matter as a revenue stream because we were focused on building the core business, which was true…but only a half truth.

Here’s what I have learned in the over two years of hard work since that time.


Sponsorships matter.


Sponsorships of course matter from the perspective of revenue – but this is the less important compared to the credibility and cache that a sponsor can bring to your show.

For example, let’s say you’re considering listening to Onward Nation for the first time…and you see an ad for…

“Onward Nation with Stephen Woessner.”

Versus if you happened to hear…

“Onward Nation with Stephen Woessner, brought to you by Bank of America.”

Which one sounds more credible?

Exactly! The opportunity of having a Bank of America or some other large brand connected to your brand provides you with some degree of transference of their credibility over to you and your brand.

So, I knew that I needed to figure out the strategy behind sponsorship as a way to take Onward Nation to that next level. But I had no idea where to start.

And then – as is the case often in life – I got the push that I needed in order to make the change that I needed to make.

AMACOM, my publisher for my book being released in mid-September entitled “Profitable Podcasting,” asked me to write a chapter that provided insights into how to attract and sell a sponsorship for a podcast.

“I’m sorry, what was that?” is how I initially felt. Gulp.

Profitable Podcasting Cover

I had no idea how I would provide value in an area where I had not developed mastery. However, instead of letting the fear of the assignment linger, I quickly told myself that the recipe that would result from the assignment would give me with another example to share how a podcast could be used as a tool to collect the primary research needed so the chapter — a book chapter outside of my expertise — could be done and done efficiently.

And in full transparency, doing the research, filled in a skills gap for me so I know have what I need in order to close a big sponsorship deal on behalf of Onward Nation. I will share the news toward the end of this year — but oh my — it’s exciting to think about. Game changing.

So, for today’s lesson, I will share the full sponsorship recipe with you. What I learned along the way, from whom I had the honor of learning, and how you can take and apply the same knowledge to attract the right sponsor for your podcast.

Okay…so how did I do the research?

In order to write a great chapter for the book, I knew that I needed to interview the right expert. So my first call was to Wendy Keller, my exceptional literary agent and great friend. She orbits the distant moon of awesome – she is otherworldly. Yes, I’m kind of a big fan.

When I shared my challenge with Wendy, she quickly said to me, “Oh, I know exactly who you should interview for the chapter.”

BA-BAM. And that’s another reason why you need the right inner circle, Onward Nation. Why you need to surround yourself with the right experts, the right mentors, and friends who are moving at the same pace and tempo you want to be moving at.

Linda-Hollander-How-to-Get-Corporate-Sponsors-Five minutes later, Wendy had connected me with Linda Hollander, one of today’s leading authorities on the topic of sponsorships. Both Inc. Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine have featured Linda as the industry leader in how to sell corporate sponsorships. Linda has over 20-years of experience as a business owner. Her clients and sponsors include Microsoft, FedEx, Citibank, Mattel, Bank of America, Marriott, Health Net, American Airlines, IBM, and Wal-Mart. Her client list reads like a “Who’s Who” in corporate sponsorship.

Just go to to find Linda.

Wendy suggested I interview Linda then transcribe the interview and turn it into a chapter for the book. Brilliant.

I followed Wendy’s blueprint — interviewed Linda — and viola — Chapter 16 with deep expertise from one of the industry’s leading experts on the topic was done.

And I was a heck of a lot smarter after having learned directly from Linda. Rock solid awesome!!

But in order for that to happen – I had to set my fear and ego aside and focus on the assignment – and let go of the fact that I didn’t know something about the world of podcasting. I am taking you so deep behind the green curtain here because I want you to see – everyone deals with fear – everyone has obstacles – everyone is uncomfortable from time-to-time in their business – everyone deals with the imposter syndrome.


But the true measure of greatness – is whether you will let it paralyze you – or – will you push past it and walk toward your destiny. I believe in you, Onward Nation. You are just one phone call or one interview with an expert away from finding that missing piece that will ignite your business to the next level.

Have the guts to make the calls, Onward Nation. Get out there and leverage your podcast as a tool for collecting primary research from top experts — even if your expertise lies outside the area being researched. The interviews you conduct will provide your podcast listeners and true fans with exceptional value, just as Linda did for you.

And the transcripts of your interviews can be converted into chapters for your book.

So here we go…let’s dig in to learn how to master a new skill…the skill of attracting the right sponsor for your podcast…a sponsor who can provide financial resources to support your show…but more importantly…a sponsor who can lend their brand to you…and in doing so…provide you and your show with additional credibility.

So you can get the full context of what I learned from Linda, I am going to share the specific questions I asked Linda – so you can model them – revise them – and then use them when you interview your industry experts.

So here we go…

For my first question, I asked Linda…

“Please take us back to the beginning and your first event so business owners reading this can have the full context of what you have accomplished.”

I asked Linda this for two reasons: 1) it is an easy, soft question that helps develop rapport at the beginning of a conversation when two people are just learning about one another. It would be inappropriate if I asked Linda to share all of her deepest and most valuable sponsorship strategies as the first question. That would be way too abrupt. So focus on building some rapport first. And 2) because I always wanted to know Linda’s backstory because it is wonderful context to know that she came from nothing – and yet – she pushed herself to be more – and despite the odds and the fear – she was successful in securing Bank of America as her first sponsor. She is amazing.

So in Linda’s words…

She had the privilege of working with some great top tier sponsors but it wasn’t always that way. Many of her clients early on in her business were women so she wanted to start the Women’s Small Business Expo to deliver even more value to clients. But she needed sponsors because putting on an event is cash intensive. Ultimately, her first sponsors were Bank of America, Wal-Mart, and IBM.

She had never done an event in her life. She had no idea how to do an event. She had no experience. She had no following. She had her parents on her email list. She put her brother-in-law on her email list, too. They weren’t going to tell her no. If she could have put her cat on there, she would have done that. But despite how she started out, she was able to attract several top tier sponsors.

And when her event attendees came, they would ask Linda, “How the heck are you getting these sponsors? We thought you had to be a big company and have all this experience and track record,” and Linda said, “Absolutely no.” Then Linda knew there was a need in the marketplace for training business owners how to attract sponsors.

She lost a lot of time and money when she first started to learn the sponsorship game. It took her six months to get my first proposal together and she lost $75,000 in the process.

Linda told me, Onward Nation that it was painful, it was excruciating.

Some people wouldn’t even talk to her because she was a micro-business. But, there were also people who said to Linda, “You know what? I’ll talk to you. I’ll help you.” Then she said to herself, “When I learn this stuff, I’m going to teach other business owners how to do it.”

Amazing backstory don’t you think, Onward Nation? Does that help push some of the fear or apprehension aside for you? She started with nothing – no following – nothing – and she went out and did it anyway. She is rock solid awesome.

Okay, let’s press on. Next I asked, Linda…

“Let’s start off with some definitions. When we hear “sponsor” that could mean different things depending upon someone’s business model. What does sponsorship mean, what does a sponsor want to sponsor, are they programs, events, or businesses?”

Linda shared that the definition of sponsorship is “Connecting a company with people who can buy things.” If you know people who can buy stuff, then you can get sponsors. Linda wants you to know that it is a lot simpler than what most business owners think.

In fact…here’s what is “sponsorable.”

  • If you have a business — that could be sponsored.
  • If you host a radio show
  • If you host a podcast
  • If you host a television show or YouTube channel, or a blog

All of that can be sponsored. And of course, if you host events like Linda, you can get sponsors because sponsors love live events.

If you’re a speaker or an author, you can get sponsored, because as a speaker and an author you have access to an audience — a fanbase of people — who know your work and know your book, and as a speaker you command the platform.

Companies don’t have people who can speak, who can command a platform, or capture the attention of an audience. So that is a huge advantage for you, Onward Nation!

At this point in my interview with Linda – I started feeling excited and actually really confident.

And the fear, you might ask? What fear? HA! Linda had me so completely energized by the possibilities I was learning from her!

Next I wanted to learn about the pitfalls – the common mistakes business owners make when they head down the sponsorship path so you, Onward Nation – and me – could try to avoid the same $75,000 mistakes Linda had experienced.

So I asked Linda…

“What are some of the biggest mistakes you see business owners making time and time again as they pursue sponsorships?”

She let me know there are a few mistakes to be weary of, and she’s made all of them, so the lessons she could share were directly from her hands-on experience.

The first mistake is, believe it or not, is not asking for enough money.

What?!? I thought to myself!

Linda went on to explain that asking for too little money can hurt a business owner because they are, in effect, telling a sponsor they don’t have anything of value to offer.

Linda often gets calls from business owners who are trying to sell their $500 sponsor package. They’re going to be presenting to a busy, stressed-out person inside a company, and if they see a sponsor package priced at $500, they’re going to think the business owner doesn’t have anything of value.

In the sponsorship process, you have what’s called your “Champion,” and this is the person within the sponsoring company who loves you, but they have to sell you and your program to their colleagues, their team, and their boss, and maybe the people working under them to get it approved. Onward Nation, your pricing strategy needs to communicate value in order for them to do that.

For most of Linda’s clients, what she sees them typically win is between $10,000 and $100,000 in annual sponsor fees.

If you do an event, if you have a podcast, or something else that is episode-to-episode, bundle everything together for the year and sell an annual sponsorship because you’re going to be more successful in properly positioning yourself with sponsors.

The second mistake business owners make is not using an industry standard proposal.

According to Linda, your sponsor proposal is one of the most important but least understood documents. You have to use an industry standard format or you will not get funded.

Your proposal must look amazing and have the right compelling benefits.

So to recap, Onward Nation – the two biggest mistakes you need to avoid are asking for too little money and not having a good proposal.

Okay, I was really intrigued by what Linda was teaching me, and I knew that in order for the lessons to have the most value to you and to the readers of my book, Linda and I needed to drill in deeper on the topic of sponsorships for podcasting.

So I asked Linda…

“Let’s say you’re a podcaster. Sounds like you would try to sell an annual sponsorship of your show instead of weekly episodes, but you would also package in your entire platform including social media, email lists, webinars, events, etc., right?”

In Linda’s opinion, yes, you want them to sponsor your entire brand — not a single show.

It took Linda a while to figure this out because at first she started to have sponsors for her events and then thought, “Wait a minute, I’ve got a whole brand here.” When she had them sponsor her brand, she made a whole lot more money. Instead of a business owner saying, “I’m a podcaster,” you should brand yourself as a “media company” who does podcasting because sponsors are not quite in love with podcasting yet. It’s still new. It’s still cutting edge.

But if you say you’re a media company, Onward Nation then their ears are going to perk up.

Then they’re going to be interested.

Talk about your podcast, but then talk about the other things you do such as, email blasts, social media, maybe even YouTube. Talk about all of the touch points you have. Then Linda took me back to the definition of sponsorship; “Connecting a company to people who buy things.”

Onward Nation, you need to tell your prospective sponsors how you can connect them to people who could but their stuff.

At this point in the learning from Linda, I was feeling really confident about the steps, the process, the upside, and the mistakes that needed to be avoided in order to save time and cash. Then I had another spark of fear – but in full transparency – it was probably more ego than fear – when I had the thought, “Wait a minute…if I sell a sponsorship for Onward Nation to a Bank of America, for example, doesn’t that diminish our own brand in some way?”

So, I took the opportunity to ask Linda because I figured if I was thinking it – and could potentially turn that into a roadblock – then maybe other business owners would be asking themselves the same question. The best way to push that aside was to ask the expert.

So Linda…

“Do I diminish my own brand if I go get a sponsor?”

And she put my mind at ease by letting me know that she is asked that question a lot because as business owners, we want to be independent, we don’t want to have a company influence what we’re going to say, and we don’t want the appearance that we’re biased.

Linda has never had a sponsor try to influence her content in 16-years of doing this. And if they ever did, she would just say, “Hey, that’s not part of the program.” Onward Nation, you design your program — the sponsor writes the check — that’s what goes on with sponsorships.

Also, the promotion of your sponsor does not have to be outlandish or in your face. The promotion can be elegant and understated, such as signage, banner ads, or things you put on your website. And if you do recommend a company like when Linda was working with Citibank, and she would recommend Citibank, she would disclose it by saying, “I need to disclose that Citibank is my sponsor,” and then you are in integrity by disclosing it.

So know Linda was removing trap door after trap door and each and every excuse I was letting creep back into my mind. I was loving this conversation and the opportunity to learn from someone who has been so successful in this arena – but for me – even more important – was that she had scraped her knees, and busted an elbow, a time or two. She had the in-the-trenches experience that I love and really value.

And if you have been listening to Onward Nation, you know I am a big fan of success secrets…those things…that if we apply them give us the ability to make stochastic jumps onward to new levels.

So I asked Linda…

“Are there any secrets to success business owners need to apply in order to be successful in attracting a sponsor?”

Linda let me know that a secret is to make your sponsor the star. Most business owners when they try to get a sponsor, they fall into the trap of talking about what their business does, they might say things like, “I’ve have this great podcast, I have this great book, I have a great business, I have a great non-profit, or event, etc.”

Business owners can sometimes talk about themselves and that’s not the way to get a sponsor.

The way to get a sponsor is to talk to the sponsor about what you can do for them. Say, “Hey, Mr., Ms. Sponsor, I’m going to educate people about your products and your services. I’m going to help you increase your product and your brand loyalty. I’m going to help you grow your customer base. I’m going to help you drive sales and traffic.”

Do you see the difference, Onward Nation?

You’re saying, “Hey, the sponsor is the star” and your prospective sponsor is going to look at that and say, “Hey, this business owner understands that it’s about me and not about them.”

You’ll tell them a little bit about what you do because they have to understand it, but mostly what you’re going to tell the sponsor is “Here’s how I’m going to benefit your company, here’s what I’m going to do for you.”

Okay, Onward Nation – at this point in the interview, my confidence was soaring. I was beginning to think through the pitch and presentation – my thoughts were going to sales strategy and other ideas were firing. But, an essential component to any strategy is timing. How long would something like this take to pull together?

So I asked Linda for her help about timelines…

“Let’s talk timelines. How fast does, or maybe how long, is the sales cycle you typically see for attracting $10,000 to $100,000 sponsorships?”

Linda started by reminding me that sponsorships are a relationship business. You need time to develop relationships with companies. Here’s where it’s going to be maybe a little bit of a shock to business owners. Linda recommends eight months to a year before you need the funding to start approaching prospective sponsors. Linda went on to tell me why.

If you’re approaching Microsoft, FedEx, Staples (those are called the “Top Tier” sponsors), they have a process. You have to apply and you have to wait for them to approve it. They like to have a lot of lead time because whatever you are doing you have to talk about how you are going to work with their company, what kind of a program you are going to build together, and it takes time to develop that depth of a relationship.

It will take time to get your first sponsor.

But, Linda also shared some thoughts on how to complete the process quicker. There are “Top Tier” sponsors and then are “Second Tier” sponsors. In the banking industry (and banks are a great place to find sponsorships, by the way), Linda has worked with Bank of America and Citibank. They are top tier. But there may be a local community bank where you live, Onward Nation. There may be an up and coming player in the banking industry you might want to work with.

That won’t take as long because it’s easier to get to the decision makers and to get that process of sponsorship started.

The amazing thing about sponsorships being a relationship business is that there is something called renewals in sponsorships. And renewals are magic. Renewals are your cash machine because if a sponsor likes you, they can fund you this year, next year, and the next year. Linda has sold multi-year sponsorships with FedEx and Citibank. Her clients have had multi-year contracts with Verizon, Dole Foods, and Black and Decker just to name a few.

It’s not a quick cash strategy. It is a long-term strategy to fund your business, Onward Nation.

That’s why Linda recommends that business owners go for a one-year contract because one-year is about enough time to really analyze the relationship and if the sponsor wants to continue. If your sponsorship is from event-to-event, or episode-to-episode, a sponsor is not going to see that much growth as far as return on investment, so they are less likely to renew.

Now it was time to begin formalizing the recipe – I could see the individual ingredients – but I needed Linda’s master skills with the recipe to help pull it all together so I could see the result outcome she was already envisioning.

So I asked Linda…

“Let’s get tactical and think about key steps in the process, the action plan, things that are going to improve the probability of success. If you were to give business owners one, two, or three things they need to do, what would those steps be?”

Linda was kind enough to share a three-step process to attracting a sponsor.

The first part is to do what she calls the “Sponsor Wish List.”

The wish list is the list of companies that you would like to have as sponsors. Remember in your sponsor wish list to include both Top Tier and the Second Tier sponsors. Most business owners when they start their wish list think only of Top Tier sponsors. Go deeper.

Since Linda and I had already talked about the banking industry, she then shifted to talk insurance.

Yes, banking and insurance may be perceived by some business owners as boring industries. Everyone wants glam sponsors like fashion, cosmetics, and accessories. But the boring companies have the money.

Let’s take the insurance category, you’re going to think of State Farm, and AFLAC, and all the ones that have paid to be top of mind. Then go a little deeper by doing some Google searches into smaller insurance companies, the up and coming brands, because the up and coming brands need you to get their name out.

Linda told me that these second tier companies are outstanding prospects because they don’t have the brand awareness of the big brands and will be more open to what you have to offer, Onward Nation.

Linda then shared a tangible example of that in practice. She worked with a company called Evolution Insurance Brokers. Nobody has ever heard of Evolution Insurance Brokers, and that is exactly why they sponsored her. They wanted to get the word out about their company. They’re not AFLAC, they’re not State Farm, they’re not the big players in the industry.

But, Onward Nation…the second tiers have money to invest. Linda was not able to disclose exactly the value of the sponsorship with Evolution Insurance Brokers, but it was 5-figures.

Step two is preparing your professional proposal. Linda recommends writing what she calls an “Industry Standard Sponsor Proposal.”

The full sponsor proposal is about eight to ten pages in length and here’s what it includes:

  • A description of your “property.” Onward Nation, write down the word “property” because what you do now is called the “property.” Your podcast is a property. Your book is a property. Your speaking business is a property. Your business, your event, your non-profit, whatever you are doing is called a property. You want to describe that.
  • You should include your sponsor’s goals, which should be similar to what we talked about earlier in this chapter, such as increasing brand loyalty and customer base, and educating people, and driving traffic and sales, and all that.
  • You should include a one-page marketing plan. It includes all the ways you’re going to get the word out about the sponsor. Sponsors are interested in this because marketing is the difference between a good idea someone has in their head and something that actually has legs and is sustainable.
  • You should include your demographics. Whether your demographics are mothers, the parent market, the entrepreneurial market, the urban youth, the baby boomer market, you need to describe your demographics. Include any testimonials you have.
  • You should include your sponsor fees like the ones we’ve talked about.
  • The last thing, and here is how Linda and her team write proposals differently than anyone else in the country, is storytelling.

You want to have good storytelling inside your proposal. Linda calls it “passion points.”

Linda is able to sells sponsors because she doesn’t just put in the proposal what’s called your “pretty bio.” The pretty bio is your education, and the awards you won, and your experience. All of that is nice but what you want is to be vulnerable, you need to make a human connection, because you’re not just pitching to a faceless cooperation. You are pitching to a person, a human being, and you want to show your humanity.

In Linda’s story, she talks about how she was in the poverty trap. She talks about how she was in an abusive relationship. Her story has helped her secure sponsors because you want them to see you as a real person.

The emotional connection is important, Onward Nation. You want to put beautiful storytelling in there. If you don’t want to include your own story, put the story of someone you’ve helped through the work you do.

Be sure to include some emotion. Business owners often make the mistake of thinking, “Oh, I’m going to impress them, and I’m going to put facts, and figures, and statistics in there.” But unfortunately, that is not going help you rise above the competition. Be human.

All of the proposal ingredients from Linda really had me energized, Onward Nation. But then I started thinking about tools and other resources that I might also need to know about in order to make the process of selling a top tier sponsor as efficient as possible from a time perspective.

So I asked Linda…

“Are there any other tools, any other resources you think business owners ought to study to make this process as efficient and effective as possible?”

Linda shared that her website at includes two free gifts. One is the “Number 1 Secret to Getting Corporate Sponsors.” And the second is that she does free sponsor strategy sessions with business owners so they can book a sponsor strategy session with me. During the sessions, she takes a look at what you’re currently doing, and together, you develop a success strategy to attract the right sponsor.

To close out the interview, I asked Linda if she had any final advice that she thought we might have missed during our discussion.

Linda closed by sharing how important it was for business owners to know that they can do this. The number one question Linda is most often asked is, “Why would a sponsor want to work with little ole’ me? I’m just getting started. I’m not a big company. I don’t have a track record. I don’t have a big following.”

And Linda said to me, “Stephen, please know you can do this. You have value. You have things a sponsor is going to be attracted to. You just need to package it in the right way.”

She reinforced the point by telling me the story about how she got her first sponsor…

Linda lives in Los Angeles, California, so when she first had the idea to do her initial event, she was driving around in her clunker car and she of course was stuck in a traffic jam. She looked up and see a billboard for Bank of America and there’s a woman featured within the billboard design, so Linda thinks to herself, “Okay, they’re trying to get the women’s market.”

Immediately, she starts doing self-sabotaging and thinking, “Why the heck would they talk to me? I’m just working from my home from my kitchen table. I’m not a big company. What the heck am I going to offer Bank of America?”

But Linda’s dream and mission to help people was so strong that she couldn’t get it out of her head. So she got the courage to make a call to Bank of America and finally got the person who could greenlight the sponsorships. She finished her proposal, got everything done, and had an appointment at their office – and she was super nervous.

Then he said to Linda, “Well, let’s see your proposal,” and she handed it to him. And he said, “Okay, well we’re going to go for this level of sponsorship,” and it was a five-figure sponsorship.

Linda had to act like she did this all the time so she said, “Oh, great,” and then had to shake his hand but her hand was so clammy she had to wipe it off!

She got back in my car and did the happy dance right there in the parking lot! She drove home and waved to all the Bank of America branches on her way home.

You never know what’s going to happen, Onward Nation. It all starts with a thought. It starts with a dream. It starts with a vision. We’re taught to have these big dreams but we’re not taught how to finance the dreams, and dreams take money, and that’s where sponsors come in.

You can do this!

Hold your head up high. Know that you have quality and you bring value to your sponsors — and — you can fund your dreams.

So with that said, Onward Nation…

I want to thank you for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here — thank you for tuning in — your time is sacred and 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 if you haven’t already downloaded your copy of our 12 Success Strategies eBook, just text the word “onward” to 6-6-8-6-6. Again, text the word “onward” to 6-6-8-6-6 and we will send it right to your Inbox.

Onward with gusto!

Mar 28, 2017

Adam Robinson is the author of the new book of “THE BEST TEAM WINS: Build Your Business Through Predictive Hiring,” and the founder and CEO of Hireology, where he is on a mission to help business owners make better hiring decisions using predictive data and technology. Hireology’s cloud-based hiring platform is used by over 3,000 organizations in the United States and Canada. In 2015, Robinson was named to the Chicago Tribune Blue Network, a listing of Chicago’s most influential entrepreneurs and innovators, and named a “Top 25 HR Industry Game Changer Under 40” by Workforce magazine.

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • Adam’s background
  • How relentlessly focusing on one thing at a time helps Adam stay productive every day
  • Why you need to know what you want to get out of your day to succeed
  • Why you need to fully understand the relationship between your growth rate and your balance sheet
  • Why it’s so important to identify, recruit, and keep good people
  • Why the company with the strong execution and strong team is always going to win
  • Why you need to be able to recognize ‘dips’ and ‘cul-de-sacs’
  • What you need to do if you’re unhappy with your current situation in business or life
  • Why you need to be clear on the vision and agree on the outcome
  • Why you need to ask yourself what you want out of this experience

How best to connect with Adam:

Mar 27, 2017

Ken Rutsky is the author of the new book, “LAUNCHING TO LEADING: How B2B Market Leaders Create Flash Mobs, Marshal Parades, And Ignite Movements.” Ken is also a B2B marketing consultant focused on helping his clients break through and become market leaders. He has spent nearly 25 years in B2B marketing roles, launching the “Intel Inside” broadcast co-op program in 1994 and then the Internet’s first affiliate marketing program, Netscape Now, while at Netscape from 1995 to 1999. Since then, Ken served as the CMO at several start-ups and ran network-security marketing at McAfee, where he developed and executed a marketing strategy that grew its web security business from $60 million to nearly $200 million. Today, Ken’s firm, KJR Associates, Inc. leverages his knowledge from his extensive Silicon Valley career to help his clients lead their markets. In the seven years, his firm’s clients have generated more than $10 billion in shareholder value through IPOs, acquisitions and late stage private equity rounds.

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • Ken’s background
  • How Ken takes a much more structured approach to how he thinks about his business
  • The method Ken uses to increase his awareness & focus to his clients
  • The importance of keeping a healthy routine
  • The importance of understanding your financial picture both personally & professionally
  • Why Ken feels that customer empathy is the most critical skill needed to thrive today
  • How the customer’s journey connects to market leadership
  • How transforming customers to the reason you exist can lead to profit
  • Why, as an entrepreneur, you shouldn’t just focus on making money
  • Why you need to just embrace the fear & understand that it’s normal

How best to connect with Ken:

Mar 24, 2017

Chris Dayley is passionate about helping businesses learn what their users want on their website, through psychology based testing, and analytics. He started his conversion optimization agency, Dayley Conversion, in 2014, which he later merged with Disruptive Advertising, where he currently works as vice president of site testing and optimization.

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • Chris’ background
  • What is behind driving conversions as well as obstacles that get in the way
  • Why businesses shouldn’t just dump their whole story on a conversion page
  • Why it’s important to designate certain times to check & respond to emails
  • How daily mindfulness meditation contributes to Chris’ success
  • Why part of A/B testing on your site always involves both good & bad data
  • Why you need to learn how to detach your worth & your value from what you do
  • Possessing the critical skill of challenging your assumptions
  • Why you need to just focus on doing a few things really well
  • Why you need to live deliberately

How best to connect with Chris:

Mar 23, 2017

Michael Sacca is the President of Crew and Host of He started his career by moving to LA and pursuing music. After three years of waiting tables and little success, he decided to teach himself how to code. He used his coding skills to launch Tiny Factory, a web development agency that won clients like GE and Kobe Bryant. While running Tiny Factory, he started the Rocketship podcast and built many other apps and products. One of those products was recently acquired. Michael joined Crew two years ago as Head of Partnerships and has now taken over as President. Companies have trusted Crew to source freelancers for over $30 million in design and development projects.

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • Michael’s background
  • Why, in the tech world, it’s not about your resume – it’s about your performance
  • How Michael’s daily approach to focus & preparation is different than most
  • The importance of looking at your data & checking on the health of your business
  • Why Michael believes that communication is such a critical skill to master in order to thrive
  • Why, as a business owner, you need to be the best one at communicating your vision of the company
  • Why it’s so important to give your employees the tools that they need to succeed
  • Why you should continue to look at the systems & processes you have in place during different levels of growth
  • Why you should hire specialists underneath generalists
  • Why it’s vital to validate your business idea & do customer research

How best to connect with Michael:

Mar 23, 2017

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 – I’m Stephen Woessner and welcome to Episode 455 – this week’s solocast.

I am excited about the lesson that I prepared for our time together because it addresses the gaping hole that exists inside most businesses. I have been talking about it for a while now and the hole is the lack of qualified leads flowing into a business owner’s sales pipeline for his or her company. Here’s the most recent data…of the 28 million small business owners in this country – over 43 percent of them cite “growing revenue” as being their top challenge in their company. That is over 12 million business owners.

And yes, the challenge in growing revenue can be complex – it can certainly be impacted by value proposition – perhaps a business is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t actually exist. Or, perhaps their pricing is off. There could be a myriad of factors or obstacles in the way of a business owner’s ability to grow revenue.

But, in my over 20+ years of experience in owning five companies – and having interviewed over 450 of today’s top business owners for Onward Nation – I will say that the ability to generate leads – and – to generate leads at such consistency that a steady stream of well-prepared prospects flow into a business owner’s pipeline – represents the most significant challenge.

So that is going to be where we spend our time together today. We will focus on how to use LinkedIn to fill your sales pipeline like a pro. Today’s lesson will provide you with the tools, resources, and step-by-step you and your team need in order to begin using LinkedIn to fill your sales pipeline like a pro.

And if you want to take the process even deeper, I encourage you to register for the web workshop I am teaching tomorrow called the 4-Steps to Filling Your Sales Pipeline. Just go to for the details. That’s

Rest assured — I know you are busy. I will respect your time by delivering a workshop packed full of real, actionable strategies, that when followed, will fill your sales pipeline in 30-days or less.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Okay, let’s bring our focus back to today’s lesson…how to use LinkedIn like a pro so you and your team can generate a steady stream of well-prepared prospects, grow revenue, and scale your business.

Before we dig into the tactical step-by-step…I want to first make ensure that we get your mindset right. Generating leads is not hard work…in fact…is it simple work…especially when you have the right recipe to follow, which I am going to share with you in full transparency in this solocast.

But…just because the work is simple does not mean it is easy. In fact, I can almost guarantee that you will be frustrated at the beginning, you may even pound your first on your conference room table and wonder why the results are not better, and you may get upset at your sales team for their lack of results.

All of this will most likely happen…initially. I am sharing this with you so that when it does happen – instead of getting frustrated and thinking that success will always elude you – I want to you to say to yourself, “Ah, Stephen said that I would think this right.”

And then push forward. Because pushing forward, whether we are talking about generating leads, or pursuing your life’s passion, is what it takes to be successful. As Vince Lombardi once famously said, “The man at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”


In fact, let’s think about the path of one of the most successful Hollywood actors of all time, Sylvester Stallone.


I learned this story from Tony Robbins. Stallone knocked on the doors of 1,500 talent agents in New York City and many of them multiple times.

And each time, Stallone was rejected, made fun of, and utterly ridiculed when he was thrown out of their offices. But he didn’t give up.

He knew his goal – he knew his destiny.

He didn’t send out one direct mail letter or email campaign – receive zero results – and then thought – “Well, the market doesn’t want me so I guess I will try something new.”


He was committed to what he wanted so he continued to adjust his presentation…he adjusted his offering…and focused on delivering even more value to the market.

And ultimately…that led to him delivering a huge amount of value in the form of the script of “Rocky”.


And then – Stallone “Made it.”

He appeared on the silver screen in the starring role as what seemed to be an overnight success. But that couldn’t be further from the truth, Onward Nation.

He had gritted it out for years and years and stood fast in the face of brutal and cruel rejections, in being dirt broke, and having to sell his dog just to buy some food.

But he didn’t quit – he kept getting up – to take another swing. You need to continue taking your at-bats because if you don’t…you may very well miss your golden opportunity for success.

Case in point…let’s take a look at Derek Jeter…arguably the greatest New York Yankee to ever wear the pinstripes.


Jeter is a lock to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer with his long list of impressive accomplishments including five World Series Championship rings.

Jeter Ring

But…what most people don’t know about Derek Jeter is that of all players in Major League Baseball history, he is number 12 on the list of total strikeouts. So to say that another way…there have only been 11 people in the history of baseball who struck out more often than Derek Jeter.

In fact, Jeter struck out 1,840 times during his 20-year career.

So in baseball terms, Jeter failed 1,840 times – but yet – he continued to get up there – to take another at-bat – to keep on swinging.

And through it all – he recorded 3,461 hits, which is 6th all time and he finished 11 of his 20 seasons with a batting average of 300 or better. A Hall of Fame resume to be sure.

But he never got up to the plate – struck out – and then headed back to the dugout and said, “Well, I guess I don’t have what it takes to play ball after all. Thanks for having me Skipper, but I am hanging up my cleats after that at-bat.”

The stories of Stallone and Jeter are perfect illustrations of how important it is to remain focused on the long-term – the long play – the end game – and getting better every single day so you continue to deliver more and more value — whether that value is delivered on the silver screen, the ball diamond, or in your marketplace as a business owner.

If the market rejects you – celebrate it – because that feedback is priceless.

Then be smart and use it – learn from it – apply it – get better – and take another at-bat. Onward Nation, if you remain focused on continuous improvement – you will be successful in implementing the lessons I have prepared for you in this solocast.

This is a long haul – it requires data collection – testing – adjusting – testing again – scaling – making mistakes – testing again. But, if you stick with it…you grow and scale your business in such a way that your competitors will wonder what your secret recipe is.

And how will that change the game for you? It’s exciting to think about. No doubt it’s substantial.

I believe the great Archimedes had it right when he so wisely said… “Give me a lever long enough, and a prop strong enough, and I can single-handedly move the world.

Archimedes Image 4

So, what will your lever and prop be, Onward Nation?

You guessed it…chocolate cake.

Chocolate Cake Image 5

I know – chocolate cake sounds silly, right?

But let me explain why this metaphor makes so much sense.
Let’s say that I happen to make the world’s best chocolate cake. The absolute best.

And I have spent the last 20 years perfecting my process.

And then you come along and ask me to teach you how to make my cake – the same cake – the one that took me 20 years to master!

How could this be possible?

You, Onward Nation, may not have spent the same 20 years perfecting your baking skills.

How could someone other than me even come close to duplicating my chocolate cake?

What would I need to give you to prepare you – that could ensure your success?

For one…I would need to give you my recipe, right?

Recipe Image 6

Because with my recipe, you can see my full process. You can see the strategy behind the chocolate cake.

With the recipe, you begin to get the overall picture of what needs to happen.

But, what else? What else do you need beyond the recipe?

Yep, you need the actual ingredients!

With both the ingredients and the recipe, you now know how to put all of those things together – in the right order – in the right amounts – at the right time – and how long to bake the cake and at the right temperature.

Ingredients image 7

And if you follow the recipe – and if I didn’t accidentally leave anything out of the recipe card that I gave you – you now have the ability to duplicate my success.

In fact, duplicating my success becomes easy – IF – you are willing to make the EFFORT.

So here’s the key…with the right recipe, you are able to compress the process of learning 20 years of my knowledge down into the audio of this solocast.

Learning and then compressing the outcomes into a shorter time period is one of the powerful benefits to getting the right training and aligning your business with the right mentors.

So let’s dig into the recipe.

First…some quick words as to why we love LinkedIn as much as we do…and why it should be the cornerstone of your lead gen strategy.

There are approximately 433 million LinkedIn members — yes, 433 million. Hugely valuable community — just ask Microsoft — they agree since they acquired LinkedIn for $26 billion in an all-cash deal.

Next…want to guess the average number of LinkedIn connections for a CEO?

933. Interesting.


Because if 933 is the average — some are higher — some are lower — but you tend not to get 933 connections by accident — you work at it — so if someone has 933 connections — it is likely intentional.

Meaning, LinkedIn is a platform that he or she values — and a place where they spend time — that that is great news for you.

And yes, you should be reaching out to the CEO — the top decision maker at your prospect client — but that can be a topic for a completely different solocast.

Okay, next…some additional insight into why you should care about LinkedIn…27 percent of all members are between the ages of 30 and 49…and another 24 percent are 50 to 64 years old…and 13 percent are over the age of 65.

So to say that another way…over 64 percent of LinkedIn members are over the age of 30…and 38 percent of total members earn $75,000 or more per year.

Bottom line…there are 433 million people on LinkedIn…64 percent of them are over the age of 30…and 38 percent earn more than $75,000 per year…with the average CEO having 933 connections on the platform.

All of that speaks well to your opportunity of finding and connecting with the prospects who can accelerate you biz dev, Onward Nation.

So let’s press forward by reviewing the seven ingredients within our recipe.

Our recipe consists of seven core ingredients, and they are:

LNKD Recipe Card Image 8

Ingredient #1: Improve your LinkedIn profile by adding video / audio clips, value proposition, etc. to the Summary. Again — we will get tactical here in just a minute — and I will give you tangible visual examples within today’s Show Notes for each ingredient.

Ingredient #2: Import your existing email list in LinkedIn and send connection requests.

Ingredient #3: Export your LinkedIn connection list and import into your client’s email list.

Ingredient #4: Personalized thank you message sent to each new connection

Ingredient #5: Build your prospect list using LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search tool.

Ingredient #6: Send InMail messages to your top prospects — and be sure to speak the language of your “client avatar.”

Ingredient #7: Create and send consistent nurturing email campaigns with exclusive content just for your LNKD connections so they feel valued to be part of your growing community.

Okay, now that the high-level view of the forest is complete — let’s dive in and go tree-by-tree so you can see all of the tactical ingredients of this recipe.

Ingredient #1 is all about getting ensuring that your LinkedIn profile is not just good — but that it is excellent. Why does this matter? Because when you send InMail messages as part of Ingredient #6…the very first place your recipients — your prospective clients will go to learn more about you — is your LinkedIn profile.

Bad profile Image 9

And if it is sparsely populated with value propositions, your connections count is low, you haven’t taken the time to include a quality profile picture, you have zero recommendations, etc. — then it looks like you don’t care — and they won’t respond to you. Maybe your InMail was just spam — you are ignored — and they move on.

Or, if you have taken the time to include audio and video clips, Slide Shares of recent presentations you delivered, links to articles you have written recently, blog posts, recommendations from current clients — it not only takes advantage of all the profile building tools that LinkedIn provides you — but — you also visually demonstrate your thought leaderships and expertise to your prospective clients — and that is a very good thing.

Now when they receive your InMail message as part of Ingredient #6 — they move from skeptical questions like “Why did she send me this?” to “Oh, interesting…they would like to talk with me? Awesome.”

Think of your LinkedIn profile as your personal landing page and it needs to be excellent — just like everything else in your business.

SW LNKD Profile New

If you would like a tangible example — check out what my team has built for me on LinkedIn…look me up…send me a connection request…and you will see illustrations of each step I just shared with you.

Let’s move on to Ingredient #2 — import your existing email list into LinkedIn and send connection requests.

To make sure we are on the same page here — I am talking about taking your email list — the list you communicate with often — consisting of customers, prospects, maybe even vendors — people with whom you have a relationship — and then uploading that list into your LinkedIn account and inviting them to connect with you on LinkedIn.

But why?

First…when you increase your number of LinkedIn connections — your network and credibility grows. Instead of having several hundred connections — you move to several thousand. And the next time a prospective client checks out your LinkedIn profile — they may see the number — and be impressed.

Second…your number of 1st-degree connections in LinkedIn impacts the number of prospects you will be able to see during Ingredient #5 of this process — when you use LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search. To cement this into place — let’s quickly review what LinkedIn defines as 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd-degree connections.

A 1st-degree connection on LinkedIn is — let’s say you are listening to this solocast — you like what you hear — and decide to send me a connection request on LinkedIn — and by the way — you should totally do that — anyway — when I receive the request — I personally accept it. And so you and I become 1st-degree connections.

Now, here’s what’s interesting. My nearly 4,000 1st degree connections instantly become your 2nd-degree connections. And all of my 2nd-degree connections become your 3rd-degree connections.

Again, why is that important? Well, back to my connections…my nearly 6,000 1st connections extrapolates out to a total network of 20 million people when considering 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd-degree connections.

That means…I can search through a huge number of people during Ingredient #5 in finding our ideal prospects we might want to reach out to.

So, Onward Nation, building your number of 1st-degree connections is essential to your success on LinkedIn — and uploading your email list and sending out connection requests is a quick and easy way to boost your connection count — and the size of your network — with a couple mouse clicks.

Very powerful.

Here’s how you complete the step. Roll your mouse over the “My Network” section of the LinkedIn menu…and then the option “Add Contacts” will appear.

Adding Connections Image 11

Then click “Add Contacts” and you will see a screen with options to connect LinkedIn with your email service — definitely do that — as well as the option to upload your email list and send out a massive number of connection requests all at one a couple of clicks.

Add Connections Image 12

Moving on to Ingredient #3: You should export your LinkedIn connection list and import into client’s email list.

This might seem a bit backwards after you just uploaded your email list into LinkedIn — why am I now recommending that you reverse the process and export the list back out and import it into your email list?

A couple of reasons:

First…LinkedIn is the only social media platform that gives you the ability to export the contact and profile details of your connections — and that is just plain awesome!

Second…the email address someone used when getting onto your email address may be different than the email address they use within a professional community like LinkedIn — so you should have both inside your email list. This gives you the ability to cross-pollinate — ensure your high-quality email content that you will be sending (ahem — only high-quality content here, Onward Nation) — will be able to reach them via LinkedIn posts — as well as via email.

And third…there may be some hundreds of people who connect with you via LinkedIn — and not know how to signup for your email list. No problem…if you are importing and exporting on a consistent basis…you will solve that problem to ensure you are fully covered.

Okay, onto Ingredient #4. Do you feel the momentum starting to build, Onward Nation?

You just beefed up your profile so it is ready to be checked out by the highly targeted prospects who will soon be coming your way. And then you expanded the size of your network so you have tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or maybe even millions of people you can sort through to find the right prospects.

Rock solid awesome!

With ingredient #4…I recommend that you send a personalized thank you message to each new connection — and — that the message includes something of value — and — it is a personal message. Not one of those automated messages that feels like a heavy-handed sales pitch as soon as you connected with someone.

Ugh — those are awful and I tend to remove someone as a connection as soon as I receive one because I feel as though I got duped into a sales pitch.

Yack. We will not be doing that with Ingredient #4.

Here are several examples of thank you notes my Predictive ROI team used following the interview I did with Gary Vaynerchuk — our guest for Episode 42 of Onward Nation.

LNKD Thank you

When someone connected with me on LinkedIn, I sent a personal thank you message to my new connection — with a warm hello and thank you — some personalized context so he or she knew that the message was just for them and then a link to the video.

Now, here is a little scaling secret, Onward Nation — you — you personally — do not need to be the one who sends each of these messages.

You can and should delegate this to a member of your team — maybe even an unpaid intern on your team — and my team at Predictive ROI has been blessed to have worked with 24 rock star interns who were assigned this project as well as other front line — forward facing activities.

And if you’re thinking “unpaid interns — he is out of his mind — there’s no way we could recruit unpaid interns in this market.” Let me just say…we have worked with interns who were students at Duke University, Ohio State, Purdue University, University of Northern Iowa…and many other schools around the country — all unpaid.

If you want our recruiting recipe — go take a listen to Episode 137 — because I share all of the step-by-step of how we do it in full transparency.

Okay, back to lead gen and Ingredient #5: How to build your prospect list using LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search tool.

From within this powerful tool…you will be able to search through your entire network of connections using several powerful filters, such as:

  • Keywords
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Title
  • Company Name
  • Location — or mile radius from your office or location

Advanced 13

Advanced 14

Advanced 15

And then you can take it deeper and make your searches more refined by including your prospect’s years of experience, their function within their particular company, seniority level, what they are interested in, company size, and so forth.

By taking the time to get specific about your prospect — you leverage LinkedIn’s database — to deliver back to you a list of prospects who match your criteria and you eliminate the time wasting of sending direct mail to a purchased list and hoping for a better result outcome than the last campaign.

So let’s say that in your first attempt — LinkedIn returns a list of 100 people. You can then click on the profiles of each person (see — Ingredient #1 is really important) and from their profile — you can better determine if he or she is a good fit for your lead gen efforts.

If yes, add the person and their details to an Excel or Google Sheet so you can keep a running list of who you have reached out to…and no…LinkedIn does not offer any sort of automated CRM functionality.

This is tedious work — I get it — I completely understand — but — it is also where the rubber meets the road in the success of your business and it will fill your sales pipeline.

Okay, so I’m going to assume you did all of the work you needed to do up to this point. You have built a solid profile — you expanded your LinkedIn network by leveraging your email list — and being smart — to also reverse the process and cross-pollinate your connections back into your email list…and now…you have mastered the Advanced People Search tool with the resulting outcome being — a highly targeted prospect list — perhaps the most targeted list you and your sales team have ever had.

Now what?

Ingredient #6 is next. Crafting your InMail message and sending it to each of the people on the list you just created. There are seven sub-ingredients, if you will, that make up the InMail message…and they are:

  • Include the first name of the recipient in subject line
  • Your first 255 critical characters need to be awesome
  • Speak to your “Avatar”
  • Include credibility indicator(s)
  • Include a client testimonial
  • Include a call-to-action – reason for your prospect to reply to your message
  • Include your email signature
  • Here is an actual InMail message — a template — you can use to create your own.

InMail Image 16

Please use it.

My Predictive ROI team has sent thousands and thousands and thousands of InMail messages on behalf of our client’s lead gen efforts — as well as for our biz dev — and the template we included in today’s Show Notes is the resulting outcome of all that testing and hard work.

You will dramatically shorten your learning curve by using the template.

One last point about the InMail and the template you will see in the Show Notes — there is a reference to “speaking to your client avatar.” And yes, we have a recipe for that, too.

If you go to Episode 208, I explain in full detail how to identify your client avatar — how to speak directly to him or her — and how to deliver value in the process.

Having and mastering this knowledge is a must in writing effective InMails.

And now we have arrived at our final ingredient…Ingredient #7…creating and sending consistent lead nurturing content to LinkedIn connections.

When you export your LinkedIn connection data — and then import into your CRM like InfusionSoft, etc. be sure to add the emails to a special list tagged as “LinkedIn Connections” or something else that lets you know these email addresses are super special.

This list represents your MVPs and your goal should be to create content just for them — exclusive — and then share it with them — letting them know it was created just for them — and that your connection means something to you — your connection is important — that you value their opinions — that you want to hear from them and how you can do better — and that you share your insights and expertise along the way in such a context that you are providing value that can be incorporated into their business straight away.

So that when you do reach out to them to explore the potential of a business relationship — you are not reaching out to a stranger with a cold call — you are reaching out to someone who already knows you, already likes you, and may already trust you because you offered tremendous value first — and that is an awesome way to begin a business relationship.

Before we close out for today…I’d like to leave you with a couple of important thoughts.

Now that you have learned the recipe – and have seen the typical result outcomes – there are two questions you and your team need to answer.

First…how will we take immediate action based on what you learned here today?

How will you apply it right away to fill your pipeline?

And that leads to the ultimate question.

Are you committed…or are you just interested in having a steady stream of well-prepared prospects flowing into your sales pipeline?

Being committed means knowing exactly how much new business you are seeking, from what sources, and having a strategy in place to fill the pipeline to get it.

Let me share a quick story about Coach Nick Saban from the University of Alabama – who, in my opinion, represents the epitome of being committed.

Coach Saban

Alabama is consistently one of the top-ranked teams in college football each year. They were the 2015 National Champion and played again this year for the title but lost to Clemson.

Coach Saban’s reputation is one of precise detail and process.

And once he uncovers a “recipe” for success…he uses it over and over again.

But he also freely shares his secrets without fear that his competitors will be able to duplicate his results.

How is this possible?

Case in point…my good friend, mentor, and three-time guest on Onward Nation, Don Yaeger, interviewed Coach Saban as they considered writing a book together.

During one of Don’s visits with Coach, he asked if there was a secret formula or recipe that gave Saban an edge to recruiting the best talent out of high school year-after-year.

Coach told Don that his recipe is simple. He committed himself to watching every single play that any of their 85 scholarship athletes every played while in high school.

Every play…so he could evaluate talent, effort, and other qualities.

Let’s just think about the magnitude of that for a minute.

Alabama has 85 scholarship athletes…who likely played at least 2-years of high school football…at 10 games per year in high school…and many high school players play both offense and defense during a game, so let’s call it 100 plays per game.

All totaled, Coach Saban watches film on 170,000 plays to make his recruiting decisions.

Nick Saban watching film

It is an overwhelming number, right?

How could anyone do that? But Coach Saban does.

And the resulting outcome is that Alabama is consistently the best on the field each year.

So Don asked him, “Coach…aren’t you worried that if we put your secret recipe into this book that people will steal it from you?”

And Saban looked at Don and said, “Nope…not worried at all. Because no one is going to be willing to put in the same amount of effort that I am willing to commit to our success.”

Dont give up

So my hope is that you don’t leave this solocast thinking – yeah, I knew LinkedIn could do that. My challenge to you is…but is your business doing it?

And as Tony Robbins says…“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”

Tony Robbins Image 1

So I hope you will decide to put this sales pipeline-building recipe into action and then please drop me a line and let me know about your success.

So with that said, Onward Nation…

I want to say again, thank you for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here — thank you for tuning in — your time is sacred and 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 remember… if you want to take the pipeline process even deeper, then register for the web workshop I am teaching tomorrow called the 4-Steps to Filling Your Sales Pipeline.

Just go to for the details. That’s

Rest assured — I know you are busy, Onward Nation. I will respect your time by delivering a workshop packed full of real, actionable strategies, that when followed, will fill your sales pipeline in 30 days or less.

I look forward to seeing you there and thanks again for being here — today.

Onward with gusto!

Mar 21, 2017

Jonathan DeYoe is the author of “MINDFUL MONEY: Simple Practices For Reaching Your Financial Goals And Increasing Your Happiness Dividend,” a California-based financial advisor. During his twenty years as an advisor, he has managed investments at Morgan Stanley, UBS PaineWebber, and Salomon Smith Barney. In 2001, he founded his own wealth management firm, DeYoe Wealth Management. Today, Jonathan’s firm manages nearly $250 million for over two hundred families and foundations in the United States and overseas.

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • Jonathan’s background
  • Why Jonathan believes that we are stewards of our human, financial & environmental resources
  • How the “six most, vital one” process guides Jonathan’s focus on a daily basis
  • How Jonathan grew during a rough time in his career
  • Why it’s so important to sharpen your saw
  • Why Jonathan is so interested in what makes us behave the way we do
  • Why people need to apply themselves across all categories in life
  • Why you need to commit to playing offensively
  • Why you need to be able to hear many different opinions & then make a decision
  • How all of us have the ability to get through what happens in our environment
  • Why you need to focus on getting yourself in order

How best to connect with Jonathan:

Mar 20, 2017

Jill Schiefelbein is an award-winning business owner, author, and recovering academic. She taught business communication at Arizona State University for 11 years, analyzed terrorist documents to help provide counter-terrorism strategies to the United States military, and was a pioneer in the online education space, creating an office serving 60,000 students and adding $1M in revenue in its first year to the University. In 2011, she ventured into entrepreneurship and hasn’t looked back. Her first business, Impromptu Guru, helps people improve their presentation and public speaking skills. She created a YouTube series that was syndicated by Entrepreneur Network and brings in thousands of new viewers each week. Jill also creates and executes strategies that help business owners increase sales, enhance product experience, and retain customers. She's a video partner and a contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine. Her latest book is entitled, “Dynamic Communication: Strategies to Grow, Lead, and Manage Your Business.”

What you'll learn about in this episode

  • Jill’s background
  • How reverse engineering taught Jill to approach problems from multiple angles
  • Why you need to look at output first when analyzing a problem
  • Why you should go outside of the traditional checklist when hiring
  • Making sure that you have a clear to-do list before diving into your day
  • Why it’s so critical for business owners to know how to answer questions
  • Why the way we market to customers has to fundamentally shift
  • Why we need to change our perspective of how we are communicating with our customers
  • Why you need to listen more strategically
  • Why you need to get your ego out of the way

How best to connect with Jill:

Mar 17, 2017

Perry Marshall is one of the world’s most expensive and sought-after business consultants. Clients seek his ability to integrate engineering, sales, mathematics, biology, art, and psychology. He has launched two online revolutions. He pioneered many best practices in paid search and wrote the world’s bestselling book on web advertising, “Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords.” More recently, he’s turned 80/20 into a verb. 80/20 is not just a fact about your business, it’s action you take on your business. 80/20 is the central lever for every great strategy. His book “80/20 Sales & Marketing” is mandatory in many growing companies. He is referenced in dozens of influential business books by authors like Jay Conrad Levinson, Mark Joyner, Joel Comm, and Mari Smith. He’s shared the stage with Barbara Corcoran, Brian Tracy, and Les Brown, having consulted in over 300 industries.

What you'll learn about in this episode

  • Why Perry believes that there is going to be some massive dislocation somewhere in the world in the next year
  • Why it’s important to know how things fundamentally work in the world
  • How business & engineering are intertwined
  • What Perry considers to be the biggest untold story in the history of science
  • How cells are like entrepreneurs
  • The story behind the swiss army knife concept
  • Why Perry believes that there is a whole systematic creativity mechanism that is going on in nature that optimizes things
  • Why evolution is always an intentional process
  • Why you need to be a fearless seeker of the truth

How best to connect with Perry:

Mar 16, 2017

Ken Baker is currently serving as a member of Gensler’s Board of Directors and the Gensler Management Committee. As a Co-Regional Managing Principal of Gensler’s Southeast Region and past Co-Managing Principal of Gensler’s UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Gulf Regions, Ken is a global expert on workplace design and planning, particularly for law firms. Ken frequently speaks about the power of design at industry events around the world and his focus on maintaining strong client relationships is a core tenant of his leadership philosophy and design strategy.

What you'll learn about in this episode

  • Ken’s background
  • Why you should focus on developing a professional relationship with your clients
  • Why you need to surround yourself with great, talented people
  • Being on the lookout for the next generation of leaders and working to develop their skills
  • Why you should rely on your team to build your business & make your clients happy
  • Having a sense of urgency & being a good listener
  • Helping your employees build their careers
  • Knowing if you have the right people in place to get the work done

How best to connect with Ken:

Mar 16, 2017

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…I’m Stephen Woessner…and welcome to this week’s solocast…Episode 450.

I am excited to be back here with you — because — when you apply the lessons we cover today — you will change the game for your business. I promise you — what you learn in this episode can be that impactful for you, your business, and your revenue.

I decided to record another revenue-focused solocast this week for several important reasons.

First…last week’s solocast where we drilled deep into how to monetize a podcast was one of our highest downloaded solocasts – ever! Rock solid awesome and we received some wonderful feedback, Onward Nation – thank you for that.

I am so happy you found the strategies and step-by-step process within last week’s monetization the lessons to be helpful.

And second…I have been giving a lot of thought recently to my life’s purpose. I know – big topic. But I have been giving deep consider to what kind of problems I really enjoy solving – where do I really love creating impact – and what kind of impact do I find the most rewarding?

Just in full transparency, Onward Nation…I have done a lot of soul searching on these questions during the last several months…and have found some very powerful perspective and themes emerging and they really strike a cord with me.

For example, I realized that helping small business owners is not only something I enjoy doing and find super rewarding – but – I have been in the trenches…on the front lines helping small business owners grow their companies over the last 23-years.

Time flies when you’re having fun.

When I took some time to think about some of those experiences – it brings a smile to my face.

But aside from the joy and personal satisfaction – I realized that my drive for helping small business owners goes deeper – like all the way to my DNA.

I have owned five small businesses, with Predictive ROI being my fifth company, but love of entrepreneurship is something I learned while growing up in my Aunt and Uncle’s restaurants and my mom’s bakery and catering business back in Canton, Ohio. Go Buckeyes! Had to sneak that in there.

But it goes even deeper still.

It goes back another generation to my grandfather who came to the United States from Istanbul, Turkey as a Greek immigrant who couldn’t speak the language…he had no money…he didn’t have a robust LinkedIn account…or a thriving YouTube channel…he had no social circle.

But what he did have was incredible work ethic, he had grit, and he had a truckload of tenacity.

And in 1926 – just six years after my grandfather arrived in the U.S…he had saved enough money working on the night shift at a downtown Canton, Ohio restaurant to be able to open his own place, which he called The Ideal.

Just two years before the Great Depression.

But, my Pop survived — our family survived – and helped his customers survive, too – by giving away more homemade soup than he ever sold. He believed so strongly in taking care of his customers because they would take care of him in return. And they did.

So, Onward Nation – the reason I love small business owners as much as I do is because I have tremendous respect for the 28 million owners in this country who are grinding it out, just like my Pop and my family did.

Owners who are working their guts out to make ends meet – who are making the sacrifices at their own dinner table so they can make sure they don’t miss payroll for their employees.

I understand how hard it is – my family has been there – I have been there – and maybe you are part of the 43 percent of small business owners right now who consider growing revenue to be their top challenge they are facing.

And that 43 percent equates to 12 million business owners in this country who are challenged with growing revenue. My word.

Something needs to be done about that number, don’t you think, Onward Nation. That’s too many businesses and too many families who are risk.

I’m committed to driving this number down – it is a worthy goal and I am just now realizing that is has been my life’s work – but – now that I am hyper focused on the problem – watch out. This is going to be awesome. I have discovered my “Why” – as Simon Sinek would say.

So this solocast is the first of a brand new 3-part series that I am dedicating to providing you will critical lessons and the practical and tactical tools you need to change the game for your business.

To grow revenue in unique and different ways. To give you a competitive advantage and distinctiveness like no other company in your industry.

So for today…I am going to share two lessons that I learned directly from my time with Christopher Lochhead, one of today’s leading authorities on the topic of how companies can become what he calls a “Category King.” Chris was my exceptional guest for Episode 448 of Onward Nation.

But before diving into the category design and category kingship – let me first share some context about Chris and why the lessons you learn from him will be a game changer for your business.

Chris is co-author of the book, “Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets.” Chris is also the host of the Legends & Losers podcast. Chris is a retired three time Silicon Valley public company CMO, entrepreneur and category designer.

I smiled when I learned that Fast Company Magazine calls Chris a, “Human exclamation point” and The Economist (my favorite magazine) calls him, “off-putting at times”.

And because he is also passionate about entrepreneurship — he’s a proud advisor to the non-profit “1Life Fully Lived.”

When you listen to 448, you will get Chris’s first-hand perspectives on grit, persistence, and the challenges he had to overcome on his path to success. He is remarkable and it was an honor to learn from him.

I also recommend you go to Amazon and pick up a copy of Chris’s book because it is excellent. Plus, come on…any business book that also blends in something about pirates, well…I am totally game for that.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 5.36.57 AM

Okay, here’s a quick, personal side note…you likely know that Disney World is my favorite place on Earth – and – yes, I actually do have a thing for pirates. Aye. So…if you want a good laugh…go to the show notes for this solocast and you will see what I mean. Yes, that is actually me in the photo.

Pirates League, 3-15-17

That is all I am going to say right now about pirates. But feel free to hit me up on Facebook or Twitter and let me know how hard you laughed when you saw the photo!

Okay, back to today’s lessons. Let’s start off with some additional context about category design and kingship…so I am going to quote Chris and his co-authors when I say…

“In a well-honed category-driven strategy, the company designs the category, evangelizes the problem, offers its solution to the problem, and then the category makes the company its king. The greatest power comes from the people proclaiming their own king. A self-determined king that isn’t made by the category is a hollow despot destined to be overthrown at the first sign of weakness.”

So Onward Nation – when you focus on becoming the king of your category – or better still – creating a brand new category – you control the economics of your industry, your sales pipeline gets filled with so much opportunity it is difficult to contain, and you enjoy a market leadership position that gives you the power to price yourself how you want to price yourself.

Interested? Let’s dig into the first lesson that I learned from Chris.

Lesson #1: You control the game when you are the Category King.

Onward Nation, we live in an increasingly winner-take-all kind of dynamic in business. For their book, “Play Bigger,” Chris and his co-authors analyzed every tech company founded from 2000 through to 2015 that received venture capital funding.

They studied data around what happened to those companies. One of the questions they asked was, “What percentage of market cap goes to the leader in any given market category – or – to say that in another way – the Category King?”

They crunched the numbers, Onward Nation, and their findings were staggering. In the tech industry, 76 percent of the market cap, or the total value of all of the companies in a given category, is owned by the Category King.


But Chris and his co-authors also talked to a lot of other people outside of tech for the book, too, and as you might imagine, they told them that the winner-take-all dynamic they had uncovered in tech was happening everywhere.

So Onward Nation – the research Chris and his co-authors did showed with clarity that we as business owners must figure out how we can design and dominate our industry so that we become the Category King, not somebody else.

However, what Chris and team also found is that we as entrepreneurs tend to only pull two levers when building a company. We think, “Hey, I’m going to build what I hope is a legendary product or service, and then secondarily, I’m going to build what I hope is a legendary company to deliver that product or service.”

And then whatever we face in the world, whether it’s an opportunity or a threat, these are the only two levers we pull. That is our toolbox…that is our arsenal.

We essentially pile on more features…make a better product…make it faster…make it cheaper, etc.

We think scaling the company will do it. So we hire more sales people, it more geography…we apply a better business model…we sell on the Internet…we open more physical locations…we move our operation to virtual…we go digital.

But all of these variables are just components of the same two levers, Onward Nation. The product lever and the company lever.

What business owners often do is they make is an unconscious decision to put their new legendary product out in the world, and for the most part have what looks and sounds a lot like a product or features conversation with customers and prospects.

And those conversations sort of sound like, “Look at how awesome this new product is! It slices and it dices and it twirls and it spins,” and it does all this stuff.

But, when you study what did Steve Jobs did, and what Mark Bennioff, the founder of did, and what did Henry Ford did, and what did Clarence Birdseye did…as Chris and his team did…you begin to realize is they pulled three levers…not two.

Chris and his team uncovered how Jobs and Ford absolutely got legendary product and company down — but the third lever they pulled – was that they didn’t do marketing in any traditional sense that most business owners would consider as marketing.

Instead…they sort of understood intuitively that they would need to condition the world or educate the world to think about a problem in a different way…and therefore…the world would demand a solution…that Jobs and Ford would then be happy to provide in the form of their product.

But right now – the problem we have in business today is that we have too many solutions without a problem…and the end result is…43 percent of small business owners are facing the same top challenge…how to grow revenue?

For example…in 2001 Microsoft launched the Tablet PC. Microsoft was the first big company to launch a tablet computer. But, it didn’t go anywhere because for the most part Microsoft had a features discussion and the world didn’t understand what problem those features solved.

But, when Apple launched the iPad, Steve Jobs stood up on stage, at the big Mac Developer Conference and he puts up a slide that on one hand has a picture of the iPhone and the other has a picture of the iMac, and then there’s a hole in the middle.

Jobs literally said, “We believe there’s room for a third category of device. Now let me tell you why.”

Then he begins to paint a picture with something you could call a point-of-view about how the PC and the phone are actually not great for consuming rich content, and they’re not great communication platforms for the new social, mobile world.

That argument opens our minds up to thinking about the possibility of a third device…the iPad. Boom – a category is created and Apple is its King…because the market demands that of them.

The Chris shared another example with me. This time, he chose Sara Blakely…the founder of Spanx.

Spanx has become an incredibly successful company and product line because Sara made a very important decision. When Sara launched Spanx she did not tell the world that what she was selling was underwear.

And, she didn’t call it a “Girdle 2.0”, either.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 5.35.25 AM

Instead, she said, “It’s a new kind of under garment called shape wear.” In so doing, she distinguished the difference between all that had come before her and her innovation because she understood that if I don’t explain to the world what problem this solves – and why that problem matters – they’re not going to want my solution.

When she had no money, she no relationships…she cold called buyers…but she had grit. So she designed that first, initial prototype and she wore it to meetings to try to get buyers interested and then holy bananas, she wound up on Oprah after gritting it out, but yet she didn’t tell anybody in Oprah’s network that she was going to have to make them, pack them, ship them all out of her apartment. How in the world was she going to be able to meet the demand?

But she found a way.

And now she’s a billionaire.

She created a category and then worked her guts out to make her dream a reality.

Here’s key point that I learned from Chris, Onward Nation — “Legends teach the world to think differently about a problem, and therefore a solution. And when we accept their definition of the problem, we want the solution, and we literally line up in front of their store to get the new version when it comes out.”

The magic thing that Sara, Steve Jobs, or any other Category King did successfully is that prosecuted the magic triangle, using Chris’s words.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 5.39.07 AM

That is to say, they get product, category, and company right.

On the category side, I’m sure you’ve heard that famous quote from Victor Hugo, “Not even all the armies of the world can stop an idea whose time has come.”

That leaves us with the question, Onward Nation, “How do I make it my time?” So let’s move on to Lesson #2.

Lesson #2: Position yourself or be positioned.

This lesson is what category design is fundamentally about. For a tangible example…let’s take a look at Muhammad Ali. He brilliantly controlled the positioning of his own brand.

Ali said many famous things, of course, but one of Chris’s favorite quotes was when Ali said, “If I don’t tell them I’m the greatest, how are they going to know?”

Muhammad-Ali, 3-15-17

We knew he was the greatest – because Ali wasn’t afraid to tell us what category he was in.

It was the category of “The Greatest” and it was a category of ONE. And because he WAS the category – he controlled the economics of that category and everyone else was simply an inferior competitor.

The categorization of companies and brands is a continuous thing. We as humans put everything, products, companies, services, and even other human beings into buckets in our head.

Buckets like “must have,” “nice to have,” or maybe “I don’t care.”

But then some marketers and business owners say, “We’ve got to figure out how to make people believe we’re a vitamin, not an aspirin.”

But, as Chris taught me, what they’re really saying is, “Our category has to be urgent and important and worthy of investment.”

Chris then shared a very tangible example with me. In 1999, Michael Dell was one of the most celebrated entrepreneurs on planet Earth. He was running an incredible company called Dell Computer. He was on the cover of Fortune Magazine and Multi billionaire, etc. You probably know the story, Onward Nation.

However, if you roll the clock forward today, Michael Dell could walk through Times Square in New York City and go unrecognized yet he still runs the same company and he still sells the same kind of products that he sold back then. But now the company is in a lot of trouble. Had to do some horrible reverse engineering and merge with other companies and it was really fighting for its life.

Onward Nation, we might ask, “But what changed?”

Same guy, same products, same company, what changed is what Chris and his team call “Category violence.”

The cloud, virtualization, social, mobile and all the things that we today take for granted came along, and made laptops, desktops, storage and servers not that important.

In other words, the market shifted from where Dell was to where it is today, and that’s what legendary category designers do. They take a different approach to educating the world, to shift the world from the way it is to the way they want it to be. In so doing they open the world to a new problem and a new solution.

When that happens a new category emerges, and if you prosecute the magic triangle, as Chris likes to say, you can get two-thirds of the economics in your space.

When that happens you get to hang out with Sara Blakely.

Even companies that we think of as exceptional marketers, like Disney, struggle in getting category right. For years, and still to some degree today, is struggling with how to position Animal Kingdom.

One of the things that drives Disney crazy is when people refer to Animal Kingdom as a zoo, and their defense back has been, “It’s not a zoo,” and they’re trying to make it not a zoo, and now they’re finally getting traction, and that park is well over a decade old.

So, Onward Nation, if you don’t tell people what you are then they’re going to apply whatever filter – or bucket — to what you do.

And they’re going to make that up.

Chris has discussions with entrepreneurs all the time and he asks, “Tell me about your business.” It’s my favorite opening question to ask, and often what I hear is similar to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, “Well, we’re sort of like this, but we’re not really like that. We do kind of this, but we’re a new version of that.”

Then there’s this sort of discussion about all the things that they’re not, and so they go on for ten minutes trying to convince Chris they’re not a zoo. But guess what Chris is left with in his mind after all that convincing? That Animal Kingdom is a freaking zoo!

Or you’re a Zoo 2.0.

“2.0” is the word we put after things we don’t know.

If you want to stand alone, and declare your product, your service as a true innovation then by definition it’s got to be a new category.

Onward Nation, we accept other people’s thinking about the world, about our business, about our life. Category design really is trying to say to the entrepreneurs and the innovators in the world, every market or category got designed by somebody, either intentionally or on purpose, and the minute you position yourself, your company, your product inside an existing category, you are playing their game.

In other words, you are living in somebody else’s thinking about how the world should perceive the value you provide — and particularly — the problem that you are solving and why solving that problem matters.

What Chris and his team know is legends don’t live inside other people’s thinking. Legends ask themselves the questions, “How do I want this market to behave? Why is it the rules are this way?”

Another example is Netflix vs. Blockbuster.

Reed Hastings says it’s ridiculous that customers had to go to a video store, they don’t have the video that you want, you pay a late fee, etc. And instead asks the question, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could just go to a website, type in all your favorite movies and they magically show up in your mailbox?”

In so doing Reed hacks the future, he changes the future, he creates by reimagining the problem called how do I get video into the home, and teaching us to think about how he thinks about it we all accept his problem definition, and therefore his solution.

Conversely, Blockbuster went bankrupt because they couldn’t solve the problem and now Reed Hastings is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the consumer Internet today.

Our job as leaders, as entrepreneurs, is to create the future of our choosing and not to accept somebody else’s definition for how things should be.

Legendary innovators do not leave their market category to chance. They don’t do marketing. They don’t do traditional marketing, Onward Nation.

They articulate a point-of-view, and that point-of-view evangelizes a problem, and when that resonates with customers and it resonates with people at scale…everything changes.

Once the world sees the problem the same way you want them to, Onward Nation, they cannot un-see it. Then they have to have YOUR solution. You become KING.

Well, that’s what Henry Ford did.

Legendary category designers understand that on the one hand you’ve got to meet the market where it is because if he had said the word “automobile” the world would not have understood. It’s shapeware vs. girdle. And we wouldn’t know who Henry Ford is. But, he was a category designer.

He found a way to meet the world where it was and to use language in a very powerful way…a new language.

He created a new language to take the world from where they were to where he wanted them to be. So he called his product the horseless carriage.

horseless carriage

And in so doing everybody understood what a horse and buggy was, right? Then you say horseless carriage and you go “Oh!” and the world stops.

So take this lesson from Chris — think about what are things called and why are they called that, Onward Nation.

When what today we call smartphones first came out, for a long time they were called, “Wireless phones.” They were in the context of what they’re not. Today they’re beginning to be described more like what they are…smartphones.

And fully loaded iPhone 7 Plus, out the door is $1,000, and the reason Apple is able to do that is because we don’t think it’s a phone anymore.

So, Onward Nation — pay attention to what things are named.

When you position yourself inside of somebody else’s category, you are letting somebody else designed the game.

And when that happens, you’re probably not in the position to take two-thirds of the economics and be the category king.

Instead, Onward Nation…be intentional about category and follow Chris’ advice for prosecuting the magic triangle…and pull three levers…not the typical tow.

When you do that…you will be in a position to command the economics in your category – because you will likely have created a brand new category just like Sara Blakely.

With that said…I want to say thank you for being here today. I always appreciate your time and feedback.

I also encourage you to download next week’s solocast – part two in our Grow Revenue series. We will dig deep into tools and the precise steps you can apply in order to fill your sales pipeline like a pro.

Why is that important?

Because like we discussed at the onset of today’s conversation…nearly 12 million business owners cite “Growing Revenue” as their top challenge.

They are indeed feeling category pressure – and – these owners are searching for answers on how to generate the right number of leads, from the right type of prospects, to buy the right service, at the right margin.

So, I am focusing next week’s solocast on providing you with the right tools and insights you need to solve those challenges.

In the meantime, you should also visit and register for the free workshop I am teaching on March 23rd that will take a deep dive into how you can harness the power of LinkedIn to generate a steady stream of well-prepared prospects flowing into your business.

Again, that’s

Until then…Onward with gusto!

Mar 14, 2017

John Pollock doesn’t just talk about entrepreneurship — he lives it. As the CEO of Financial Gravity, John has grown his business from the dining room table to a national organization of 25 employees and led his company to 700% growth in one year. John is also disrupting industry standards for the better. After seeing the lack of integrated advice for business owners across tax planning, financial services, and business strategy, he created the first national tax firm specifically designed to help entrepreneurs reduce their personal tax liability by an average of $21,000. He is also a frequent contributor to various media outlets, including Fox Radio Network, Forbes, and Amex OPEN Forum.

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • How a reverse merger works
  • How drive itself drives John
  • How lack of focus can be a gift
  • How you could benefit from going to conferences that are not related to your industry
  • Why process has to be built into everything that you do
  • Why success is not a destination, it’s a journey
  • Why there is more skill than luck involved in business
  • The three questions that you have to ask yourself

How best to connect with John:

Mar 13, 2017

Christopher Lochhead is co-author of the book “Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets” and Christopher is also the host of the “Legends and Losers” podcast. Christopher is a retired three-time, Silicon Valley, public company CMO, entrepreneur and category designer. Fast Company Magazine calls him a “Human Exclamation Point” and The Economist calls him “off-putting to some”. He can recite much of The Big Lebowski, but can’t remember his wife’s phone number. He’s also an acclaimed public speaker and proud advisor to non-profit “1 Life Fully Lived.”

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • Chris’ background
  • Why you need to figure out how to design & dominate your own space
  • The two levers that all high-level entrepreneurs want to pull to be successful
  • Why, today, there are too many solutions without a problem
  • Why it’s key to create a new category and become the ‘category king’
  • Why it’s so important to be self-actualized and self-aware
  • Why you need to be able to explain what problem you solve & why your product is different
  • Why you need to create by reimagining the problem
  • Creating the future of our choosing and not accepting somebody else’s definition of how something should be
  • How to determine the value of your company

How best to connect with Chris:

Mar 10, 2017

He has a background in accounting that he gained from a variety of other business ventures. Apex Fun Run’s passion is to help teachers, students, and schools. His company partners with schools to raise funds for equipment and other campus needs through a two-week character-building and leadership program that culminates with a student “run” to raise donations for schools. Students ask people they know to pledge money for each completed lap. Apex Fun Run raises more money for schools than any other fundraiser, averaging about $23,000.

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • Jeremy’s background
  • Jeremy’s fundraising program: Apex Fun Run
  • Why Jeremy believes in having a daily, top 5 priority list
  • Why Jeremy takes every day as a challenge to do his best
  • The huge impact that Apex Fun Run has had on kids nationwide
  • Why you can’t do it all as an entrepreneur — and why that’s okay
  • Why Jeremy believes delegation is so critical to success
  • Why failure and making mistakes is not always a bad thing
  • Focusing on something that you are passionate about that has a demand
  • Why you need to go “all in”

How best to connect with Jeremy:

Mar 9, 2017

Gordon Tredgold is a business and IT transformation expert who has successfully delivered $100 million programs, run $300 million departments, and led teams of 1000 staff for Fortune 100 companies. Gordon is the author of the critically acclaimed book “FAST” and works with enterprises on implementing results-based leadership initiatives to rapidly accelerate the organization’s growth.

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • Gordon’s background
  • Why you must be able to influence people, not just direct them
  • Why you need to aim high, start small, celebrate, and keep going
  • Why persistency and consistency are the keys to success
  • Why you need to write for the benefit of your audience
  • Leading with integrity and love
  • How your job as a leader is to serve and protect your team
  • How the more recognition you give out, the more success you will have

How best to connect with Gordon:

Mar 8, 2017

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. 

Close up of a money puzzle

Good Morning Onward Nation…I’m Stephen Woessner and welcome to this week’s solocast…Episode 445.

During last week’s solocast — we tackled two of three most frequently asked questions I hear from business owners when they are considering having a podcast…which are 1) “Stephen, how much time is this going to take me?”, and 2) “How am I going to get great guests to come onto the show — especially when I am just starting out?”

I appreciate all of the feedback from last week — I’m glad you found the strategies helpful. I also received some feedback letting me know that the monetization topic — which was one of the three FAQs that I skipped last week but promised to share in a future solocast — was a really important topic.

So, based on your feedback, I moved monetization up in our airing schedule and that is what we will focus on today.

I always appreciate your thoughts and suggestions, Onward Nation — thank you!

In today’s solocast…I will share several practical and tactical strategies you can take and apply that will help you monetize your podcast — which is a trendy way to say — “How your podcast will generate revenue” — or grow revenue for your business.

If you have been listening to Onward Nation for a while — you know that I like sharing strategies along with all of their tactical step-by-step processes that help business owners create predictable, measurable, and repeatable success for themselves and their teams.

Today’s solocast will be no different.

Here’s the reality…when it comes to generating revenue for your business as a result of your podcast…there are significant challenges. It is not as simple as turning on the microphone, recording a conversation with a guest, sharing it on iTunes, and then all of a sudden — you have thousands of people beating down your door to do business with you. There is so much marketing hyperbole circulating around the web and social platforms — and it makes business owners think there is some sort of “pot of gold” at the end of their podcast rainbow.

But…are there business owners whose podcasts are generating hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars a year in revenue for their core business?

Absolutely. But this doesn’t happen by accident.

It takes intention. It is the result of a lot of hard work, decades of subject matter expertise within their core business, a commitment to creating content with excellence, a heart that wants to give way more than ever asking, and ultimately, a smart strategy that ties their podcast into their core business.

There is no such thing as an overnight success, Onward Nation.

To help give you as much context and share as much value as I can…I am going to give you another sneak peek from Chapter 4 of my upcoming book, Profitable Podcasting.

We are going to drill into this chapter because I use it to focus attention on the recipe — the practical and tactical steps — any business owner can apply to craft the right monetization strategy behind their podcast.

And after our dive into strategy…we will go deeper still.

I will share a recent interview that my good friend, Mitch Stephen, fellow business owner and podcaster, and I did on his show, Real Estate Investor Summit. During the show, Mitch shared his story about how his podcast had driven over $60,000 in new revenue into his business within the last 90-days.

I say HAD driven — because I had a quick call with Mitch last week — and he let me know that his podcast has generated another $30,000 in revenue the day before.

I want you to hear Mitch’s story in his own words. It is inspiring and tactical, which is always a great combination.

So here we go, Onward Nation — let’s answer the question — “How can my podcast generate revenue for my business?”

When executed properly, your podcast will be uniquely suited to accomplish three vital priorities:

  1. Expand your platform or extend your thought leadership.
  2. Build a nation of true fans.
  3. And…grow your business revenue.

And…your opportunity to grow revenue will likely fit into three primary categories:

  1. Offering premium priced services to the business owners who have appeared as guests on your show.
  2. Offering less expensive, entry-level programs to your concentric circles of lesser fans, which I cover in chapter 6 of the book.
  3. Attract the right sponsorships to boost revenue and credibility with your listeners, which I cover in chapter 17 of the book.

In my opinion, you will have a healthy and stable core business when you sell your services directly to your guests — and — this represents the majority of your podcast-related revenue.

This sales strategy will ensure there is ample revenue flowing into your core business to cover overhead, generate profit, provide ample funds to reinvest and further expand by introducing new services to continue the life cycle of a balanced business.

It is important for your podcast to feed your core business, Onward Nation.

It is also important for you not to become distracted with creating a passive revenue income as your first step. Passive revenue streams can be helpful and provide high-margin sources of revenue.

However, it can sometimes be tempting to want to create a passive revenue stream first because it feels less like selling. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to wake up each morning and see all of the successful credit card transaction receipts in your inbox?

Of course it would.

But not at the expense of your core team not having enough work to do. If you pursue the goal of creating a passive revenue stream for your business — before you address the lead gen and revenue needs of your core business — you run the very real risk of losing valuable time, getting sidetracked, and going out of business.

And that is expensive.

So let’s focus our attention on your guests.

You will maximize your revenue opportunity, and ensure the health of your core business if you quickly begin using your podcast as what I like to call your “Trojan Horse of Selling.”

Trojan Horse of Selling

Selling directly to your guests represents your lowest hanging fruit, your shortest path to revenue, and it is not a complex sales strategy. It could be as simple as sharing ideas with a guest following your interview, in an informal manner, looping back to them after you flesh out the ideas further, and then asking for their permission to proceed.

Lee Caraher, host of the “Focus Is Your Friend” podcast, shared her sales strategy with me.

She said to me…

“Stephen, there’s usually 15-minutes before we start the interview where I say, ‘Oh my gosh, Hi. Blah, blah, blah.’ Then afterwards, I am sharing with them, ‘I have an idea for you’, which is where I’m really good. That’s one of my strengths. ‘Oh, here’s an idea! Or, here’s a different idea!’ I share the ideas after the interview is over. Depending on how my guest reacts, if they say, ‘Oh that’d be a great idea. How do I do that?’ Then I say, “Let me think about it some more.’

“A week or two later, I’ll noodle on the idea a little more. Then I’ll email them with, “You know, I thought about that idea. Here is how I think you could implement it. Here is what I think the lift will be. Here is what I think the cost will be. We can’t do that for you — or — we can do that for you.’ Of that, 25 percent of the time the ideas are coming back to us in some sort of project. Our podcast has been super helpful in growing revenue for Double Forte.”

So Onward Nation…here is the first ingredient to consider as part of your monetization strategy. I call it “The Campfire Pitch.”

Lee developed a straightforward sales strategy. Her podcast opened the door with the right decision-maker, she conducted a rock solid interview, and then she enthusiastically shared ideas with her guest.

This The Campfire Pitch…here’s why.

When you were a kid, did you ever go camping with family or friends, or have a bonfire in your backyard?

Maybe you were sitting around the fire, feeling warm, and sharing stories with your friends. The energy of the group was awesome. But then the party was over, it was time for bed, and when you woke up the next morning, the same people were with you but the energy of the moment was gone.

That’s what entrepreneur and brand expert Chris Smith calls the Campfire Effect.

It happens in business — after a great interview, for example — and it happens in social situations.

Lee knows this and has astutely aligned her sales strategy to the Campfire Effect. When the energy of the interview has climaxed, she smartly shares an idea or two.

The prospective client (her guest) on the other end of the Skype connection is receptive to the ideas, because of several key ingredients:

For one thing, Lee is brilliant at what she does, and she is sharing excellent ideas. Also, the guest is receptive because of the Campfire Effect and the value Lee has just shared by inviting them onto her show.

Lee is airing approximately 50 to 70 guest interviews per year — so if her team continues to close 25 percent of the opportunities, then her podcast will help Double Forte onboard approximately 15 new projects every 12-months.

Think about that in the terms of your core business and revenue model, Onward Nation.

If you could take on 15 new projects from clients within the next 12-months, how would your business change?

No doubt the change would be substantial.

One of the reasons Lee has been successful with her Campfire Pitch sales strategy is because she doesn’t approach the conversations with her guests as selling at all.

She enthusiastically shares ideas with the goal of delivering value. One Onward Nation guest told me, “Selling is simply the transference of your enthusiasm over to your prospect.”

Lee has mastered this principle. Her guests don’t feel “sold.” In fact, the exact opposite happens: They feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a guest on her show.

Lee’s ideas were a value-added bonus.

Now let’s move to the second ingredient in a proper monetization strategy. I call it the Social Media Warm-up.

The Campfire Pitch Lee Caraher uses is masterful. But, I also realize it might not be for everyone because not everyone will feel comfortable to share ideas and sell so early in the relationship. I respect that.

So the Social Media Warm-up sales strategy is already baked into the overall recipe of your Profitable Podcast. In Chapter 12 of my book, you will learn how to promote the airing of each of your guest’s episodes via social media using two key ingredients — but — I am going to share some highlights right now. The two ingredients are:

  • First, promote the airing of each episode and the wisdom shared by your guest to your social media community
  • Then, tag your guests in each post whenever possible so they are nudged to share and retweet your content. This helps build your nation of true fans by exposing their community to your content.

But in addition — your social media strategy does more than help you promote your episodes and build your nation.

By highlighting your guest’s wisdom in each tweet, and by tagging the guest, you are continually reminding your guests of the value they shared with your community.

This makes your guests feel good – and rightly so.

After all, they delivered massive value – you recognized that – and you are now shouting it from the rooftops. By doing so, you are continually stoking the Campfire Effect with each of your guests.

With some of your guests, the fire will begin burning hot so that when you reach back out to them to discuss how your core business might be able to help their business, one of the first things they may say to you at the onset of the call is, “Thanks for all of the tweets!”

Then you will know that your social media warm-up opened the door exactly as you intended.

You will smile when it happens — trust me — it’s rock solid awesome!

Okay…now let’s switch gears and really cement this monetization strategy into place by listening to Mitch Stephen — and yours truly — share specific examples about how a podcast has generated revenue for Mitch and his company.

Here’s Mitch Stephen, host of the Real Estate Investor Summit Podcast…

RE Investor Summit

Okay, welcome back, Onward Nation.

My guess is Onward Nation, that the success Mitch Stephen has achieved through his hard work and having the right monetization and business development strategy behind his podcast has been inspiring and maybe helped you think about new directions and maybe some next steps.

But I want to take it deeper still. If you go to today’s show notes…you will find a recent video we received from Drew McLellan, top dog at the Agency Management Institute, where in less than 2-minutes, he describes why he wanted to start a podcast, some of the obstacles that held him back, and how the podcast has generated over $200,000 in revenue for his business in the 18-months that it has been live.

Committing to investing a few hours per week, for 18-months, to generate $200,000 in revenue is fantastic ROI, Onward Nation.

Don’t let the fears, or the imposter syndrome, well up inside and rob you of your destiny — your exceptional opportunity to be more — to share more — to deliver more — to create more impact.

Is having a podcast scary? Heck yes, it is — at first.

But as Dr. Marcie Beigel encouraged us in Episode 144… “Onward Nation…you need to be scared and do it anyway.”

Les Brown once said, “Unless you attempt to do something beyond what you have already mastered — you will never grow.”

Your podcast represents an exceptional opportunity for you to grow your business revenue, Onward Nation — and — it represents an exceptional opportunity for you to grow as a person…as a thought leader…and as someone who your nation of true fans will love and respect.

So with that said…

I want to say thank you for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here — thank you for tuning in — your time is sacred and 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 — 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 Gordon Tredgold in Episode 446. Gordon shares his thoughts on why as leaders we need to serve and protect our teams — not the other way around. You will not want to miss Gordon — he is rock solid awesome, Onward Nation.

Until then, onward with gusto!

Mar 7, 2017

Before starting InsightBee in 2014, Manoj worked with Evalueserve for over a decade in several roles and led the creation of industry-focused business research teams at the firm. He served as the global head of operations for corporate and professional services verticals and was responsible for a global team of over 700 professionals serving clients across technology, energy, chemicals, consumer goods, transportation, manufacturing and professional services. Manoj has also served as a management consultant with Accenture’s consulting practice in Asia and spent about 50% of his time serving clients across Middle East, Europe and South East Asia in a variety of assignments spanning from devising the go-to-market strategy for a B2B e-commerce platform to optimizing the distribution network of global companies.

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • Manoj’s background
  • Manoj’s time-saving secret recipe for success
  • Why Manoj believes that you need to go slow to go fast
  • Why you should be focusing on the customer experience
  • Why resilience is such a critical skill to master
  • The benefits of jumping into the unknown
  • Why you need to make sure that your service mindset doesn’t get diluted
  • Using the lean startup approach

How best to connect with Manoj:

Mar 6, 2017

Gene Hammett helps leaders go from status quo to exceptional to accelerate their business growth. Gene has been a business leader for over 20 years. He has started and ran multiple million dollar companies. He has succeeded, failed, reinvented himself, and succeeded again. On his podcast, “Leaders in the Trenches”, Gene has interviewed hundreds of thought leaders and best-selling New York Times authors. Gene is honored to have shared the platform with the legendary Jack Canfield and has been featured in Forbes, NBC, SUCCESS Magazine, and Huffington Post. Gene is also a regular contributor for

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • Gene’s background
  • Why you need to have a platform
  • Why you need to ask yourself who you’re here to serve
  • Why you need to be THE choice, not just A choice
  • Why you need to have “what can I do for you?” conversations
  • The importance of being thoughtful and provocative
  • Being intentional about what you want
  • Building your dream list
  • Why you shouldn’t wait to be discovered

How best to connect with Gene:

Mar 3, 2017

Susan Friedmann is known as The NichePreneur Coach. She is an internationally recognized niche marketing expert and “how-to” coach. She’s worked with hundreds of companies representing more than 30 different industries in the North and South America, Europe, and South East Asia. She is a prolific author, having written 14 books including her bestsellers, “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies,” and “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market,” plus many other titles. She’s appeared on a variety of radio talk shows and as a guest expert on CNN’s Financial Network and Bloomberg’s Small Business.

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • Susan’s background
  • Making it big in a small market
  • Why Susan makes a 2-hour appointment with herself every morning
  • Stream-of-consciousness writing exercise
  • Why Susan believes that mindset is critical to success
  • Why taking action in the right direction warrants a higher likelihood for success
  • Why you need to know how to ask for help
  • Not allowing yourself the fear of failing or being successful
  • Taking charge of procrastination & perfectionism

How best to connect with Susan:

Mar 2, 2017

Nick Creswell leads the talent and development agenda for Thomson Reuters enterprise technology and operations. He partners with leaders to deploy, develop and engage diverse talent across this 15,000-person strong global team. He has worked at Thomson Reuters since 2009, during which time he has led the enterprise performance and talent management agenda, been head of talent for the Financial & Risk business unit and set up the talent function in the Corporate Technology group. Before Thomson Reuters, Nick worked in recruitment at Google, Korn/Ferry, and United Biscuits. Nick lives in London, and – having moved 16 times before the age of 16 and lived in four countries by the age of 10. Nick is a champion of change and diversity.

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • Nick’s background
  • Staying focused on your vision
  • How being more intentional can help you be successful
  • The behaviors of a leader
  • Managing your talent
  • Being deliberate about how you want your culture to be
  • How “behaviors” are just as important as the “smarts”
  • Why you need to have a leader-led culture

How best to connect with Nick:

Mar 1, 2017

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…I’m Stephen Woessner and welcome to this week’s solocast…Episode 440.

If you have been listening to Onward Nation for a while — you know that I like sharing strategies along with all of their tactical step-by-step processes that help business owners create predictable, measurable, and repeatable success for themselves and their teams.

Today’s solocast will be no different.

We are going to dig into how hosting a podcast can be a perfect strategy for owners of business-to-business professional services firms.

I am going to take you deep into a sneak peek of the pages of my latest book, entitled Profitable Podcasting.

Profitable Podcasting Cover

The book will not be released by my publisher until September but I want to begin sharing some of the insights now so you can begin to apply.

This book is comprehensive — and it is a research-based book that shares our full blueprint or “recipe” for podcast success with you.

Each and every step is presented in complete transparency. Not a single step has been be hidden from you. It’s all here, in plain sight.

Within the book, I will walk you behind the green curtains of Onward Nation and Predictive ROI so you can learn our proven system. You will also have access to in-depth insights from 10 business owners just like you. Each of them decided to create a podcast to change the game – and then did it.

Their impressive stories are shared in full transparency too.

But why write such a comprehensive book?

Because you deserve a resource that eliminates the guesswork, demystifies the process and gives you a clear and concise strategy for going from zero to launch in about 30 days.

Only limited resources were available when my Predictive ROI team and I decided to create Onward Nation. Sure, there were plenty of hyperbole packed eBooks and webinars that led me into the sales funnels of information marketers, but those resources lacked depth, and candidly, they lacked business acumen.

We quickly consumed the resources and were left with more questions than answers.

Plus, the resources lacked full transparency. They typically provided just enough to get you interested in learning more, and then pitched a $997 online training or mastermind program.

All of which drove me crazy and didn’t solve our problem. Not awesome!

But there are much more important reasons I decided to go as deep as possible with the book.

In my opinion, podcasting – as a medium – deserves a long-form guide, an encyclopedia of how to do it right. When I interviewed Gary Vaynerchuk before the release of his social media book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook (by the way — still the best book on the market regarding social media and the business strategy behind it all), we discussed how it wasn’t just a social media book, but a business book that would elevate social media to a new level of legitimacy.


My hope is that this book will raise the bar for podcasting just as Gary did for social media marketing.

So on the surface, Profitable Podcasting looks like a podcasting book.

But it’s actually a business book about how business owners just like you are using podcasting to grow their companies, expand their platforms, and build nations of true fans. I promise you — each chapter includes step-by-step instructions so you can create, launch, market, and monetize your own podcast.

The book includes checklists, production schedules, weekly goal tracking, social media strategies with visual examples, promotional emails, guest invitations, exclusive access to private online video tutorials, and other resources including time-saving third-party tools.

I am excited to share this resource because small business has been my focus for 23 years. This is my third book devoted to helping small business owners succeed.

Helping small business owners is deeply rewarding for several reasons. First, having owned five small businesses, I know that in today’s economy, if one wants to have an impact (as I strive to do), then small business represents a tremendous opportunity. Small business owners are the lifeblood of our economy.

Second, the 28 million small businesses operating in the United States today, according to the Small Business Administration, account for 55 percent of all jobs and 54 percent of total revenue generated. I want to help as many business owners as possible grow so they can create more jobs and improve the lives of their families, employees, and communities.

Third, this book tackles the top challenge facing most business owners: According to a recent survey of 1,100 small business owners, 43 percent of respondents identified growing revenue as a top challenge facing U.S. businesses in 2016. That’s more than 12 million businesses expected to face the same challenge.

Driving this number down is a worthy goal of this book. And if you know my family history — and our story — you will understand why I am so passionate about the success of small business owners.

But…there are significant challenges to small business owners who want to have a podcast. It is not as simple as just turning on the microphone, recording a conversation, and distributing it out to iTunes. Sure you can do that…but it is highly unlikely that your time and effort will pay off for your business.

So for today’s solocast…I am going to address the challenges that typically paralyze business owners from either getting started — or — keep them from achieving the success they aspire to achieve from their podcast.

So here we go, Onward Nation.

Ready for the deep dive? Rock solid awesome!

First…a podcast is just a tool. It’s just a platform, Onward Nation.

A platform is simply a conduit for distributing or sharing content. No platform in and of itself will help your business grow revenue. This is a very important point. Just because you have a podcast — does not mean — that prospective customers or even an audience will begin to flock to you.

Not at all.

In order for your podcast to be of value to your business, there needs to be purpose behind the guests you invite to be on your show.

There needs to be purpose behind the questions you ask your guests.

There needs to be purpose behind how you nurture and take care of your guests before their interviews and after their episodes have aired.

And ultimately, you need a strategy for how your podcast will grow your business, expand your platform, and build your nation of true fans.

Having interviewed nearly 500 of today’s top business owners – and having talked with, consulted with, or worked with many of them in producing and launching their own podcasts – I can say with certainty that there are typically three primary challenges or questions that well up in the mind of a business owner who is considering a podcast.

Some business owners need to confront all three; others may just need to confront two.

But I assure you, Onward Nation — every business owner will need to confront at least one.

Question #1: How will my podcast make money and help grow my business?

Question #2: How much time with this take me?

Question #3: How will I get guests? (Or, the variation: What if no one accepts my invitation to be a guest on the show?)

I will devote a future solocast to the revenue topic.

But for this week — we will dive deep into Questions 2 and 3 because they are critically important to getting your mindset right before heading down the podcasting path.

If you don’t get your mindset right, I assure you, there will be setbacks and challenges along the way. Without the correct preparation you will be tempted to quit – and you likely will…quit.

Most podcasters quit after just 7 episodes. It is called “Podfading” — because a business owner launches his or her weekly show — then expects the show to set the world on fire just because it is available — and when it doesn’t — they quit after not even two months.

Really sad.

However, if I help you properly set expectations, when the challenges come your way, instead of being tempted to quit, you can confidently say to yourself, “Ah, Stephen said this would happen and that I’d feel this way” – and you will push forward.

Don’t ever quit, Onward Nation.

Let me help you AVOID THE TIME TRAP.

One of the questions I am asked most often by business owners who have considered a podcast for their business is, “How much time will having a podcast take out of my schedule?” It’s a great question because we should all protect our schedules.

Most business owners assume the answer is 10 hours a week – and that the solution will require them to add staff and make other investments. But here’s the reality: You can have an awesome, top-rated podcast in iTunes by investing less than four hours per month.

Yes. Four hours.

Would you grow revenues faster if you invested more time? Likely yes, but four hours a month is an excellent place to start.

So why would business owners assume that my answer would be something like 10 hours a week?

Because then it would be easy for them to justify why they hadn’t pursued it more seriously. But in fact, it isn’t the perceived time commitment that stops a small business owner from having a podcast.

It is fear.

Fear often rears its ugly head in an attempt to derail the entrepreneurial journey you’re on. Fear will beat you to your knees if you let it.

Fear will cheat you out of success in all aspects of your business, including developing a great platform like a podcast so you can grow revenue and build a nation of true fans.

Once business owners are assured that their time investment will only be about four hours per month, a second challenge typically comes to mind – this one with the subconscious goal of thwarting the podcast from gaining any additional momentum; to snuff out the fire that was building.

But what will be YOUR BIGGEST MOST PAINFUL CHALLENGE on your path to use podcasting to grow your business?

Well, you may be asking yourself the question right now, “Stephen, how will I get guests?”

Or maybe the variation: “What if no one accepts the invitation to be on my show?”

These two fear-laden questions should serve as warning signs that something sinister is lurking. If you let them, they will keep you in check and prevent you from moving forward.

The truth is, we all face such challenges. It’s just that some people are better than others at pushing themselves past them.

In my opinion, this challenge may be blocking your success not just with podcasting, but in other areas of your business as well.

The challenge is known as the “Imposter Syndrome.”

Clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne Imes coined the term in 1978 to describe high-achieving individuals who are unable to internalize their accomplishments and who consequently fear being exposed as a “fraud.”

imposter syndrome

Actual, objective evidence of their competence doesn’t matter to those who exhibit the syndrome. They remain convinced that they’re frauds. They feel that they don’t deserve the success they have achieved.

Calling it “luck” or “good timing,” they never take credit for their accomplishments.

Perhaps they believe that they’ve tricked others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they actually are.

Now let’s take that definition and break it down into its two core ingredients.

Ingredient #1: the inability to internalize accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud.”

Have you ever walked into a meeting and felt that you weren’t worthy — or that you didn’t belong there? Perhaps someone on the selection committee, the award committee, or board of directors had made a mistake in selecting you.

Heck, maybe even some of your colleagues, family members, or friends even validated your own suspicions and asked you the seemingly innocent question: “So why did they pick you?”

I began to learn about the imposter syndrome back in 2009, around the time my first book was published. I was an academic staff member at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

After my book became popular with small business owners, several of the UW campuses around the state asked me to teach a class at their respective campuses. Awesome.

One day I mentioned this opportunity to a family friend: I told him I headed to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay the next day to teach a class based on my SEO book.

My friend looked at me and said, “Well, why are they having you teach the class? Couldn’t they find someone in Green Bay to teach it?”

My friend was not trying to be hurtful — not in the least. But those comments hit me hard. Never mind that my SEO book was #3 in the United States, or that I had just been interviewed for Inc. Magazine, or any of the other credibility indicators.

When he asked me that question, I actually paused and thought about it. “Yeah, why are they hiring me to teach? Am I good enough? Do I have what it takes? Am I the best they could bring in? Do I deserve to be there? Am I a fraud? Do I even know what I’m talking about?”

There is nothing unique about my story. We have all had these experiences where we begin to hear the voice in our heads whispering — or in some cases shouting — “Who do you think you are?”

The imposter syndrome will work hard to hold you back.

High-performers with imposter syndrome may work obsessively hard to prevent people from discovering that they’re “impostors.” And talk about a vicious cycle: The hard work leads to more praise and success, which only perpetuates the impostor feelings, leading the “imposter” to work even harder, which can lead to sleep deprivation, burnout and worse.

Ingredient #2: the “Imposter” takes the proof of success and passes it off as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe.

Has your business ever gone through a growth spurt that you couldn’t explain? Have you ever looked around your office and suddenly realized you have some amazing people working for you and looking to you for leadership – and yet, you cannot figure out what they see in you?

Have you ever felt uncomfortable before a presentation with a new client?

Did you wonder why they invited you to the table?

Why do we ask ourselves such lousy and unfair questions?

Here’s the important point that I really want you to get.

When you ask yourself, “How on earth were we able to hire such amazing employees? Don’t they know that we don’t know what in the world we’re doing?” — your brain does a funny thing…it gives you an answer.

It’s a crummy answer but it’s an answer.

Your brain doesn’t want to make you out to be a liar — so it gives you the answer to fit your story.

You start hearing things like, “Yeah, you really pulled the wool over their eyes on that one. Hope Becky doesn’t figure it out — because if she leaves — then Tom is sure to leave the company, too.”

Or, “Why did client X invite us here? We don’t really have a shot at winning this pitch, do we?”

The answer you get back might be something like, “Nope, we have no chance of winning — especially if they knew about all the mistakes we made just last week on Client Z’s account. We are lucky to have kept Client Z — hope X doesn’t ask for references. Maybe we ought to back out of the process now.”

What nonsense, Onward Nation!

You were invited into the evaluation process because you have a stellar network — perhaps stellar credentials — and you deserve to be at the table. The voice on your shoulder — the voice whispering in your ear — is the imposter syndrome.

And we all deal with it. It doesn’t matter who you are thinking of right now. Tim Ferriss, the bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, has dealt with it. Joel Osteen has dealt with it.

All of the incredible business leaders that grace the cover of Entrepreneur magazine deal with it. Every business owner — every political leader — every leader throughout history has dealt with this. George Washington did not feel he was worthy to be this country’s first president.

No one is immune from imposter syndrome.

But what is unique — and what is special — is when someone faces the fear of potential rejection.

To quote the beautiful words of educator and behavior expert Dr. Marcie Beigel — a two-time Onward Nation guest: “Stephen…be scared, and then do it anyway!”

I loved that.

Because it is oftentimes fear — which is another way of describing imposter syndrome — gets in your way more than anything else. You may be your own biggest constraint.

Not your ability to schedule guests on your show, not your ability to sell, not the market, not your lack of customers, not your pricing, not your product quality.

No, it is you.

You, as the owner, set the pace and tempo of your company — either fast or slow.

I asked Dr. Marcie to share how business owners can reach that elusive next level. She was kind enough to map it out into three simple steps:

  1. Get clear on what the next level is — how will you know when you’re there?
  2. Walkthrough your fear; make a plan — and just do it
  3. Find a mentor — we learn best from the people who have been there

So let’s look at all three of these.

First, get clear on what the next level is for you and your business. Well, if imposter syndrome (aka FEAR) is making you believe you are not even worthy of your current level of success, then how could you possibly believe you’re worthy of being the host of a top-ranked podcast?

Great question, right?

Instead, perhaps you need to spend some time being thankful for what you have already accomplished — consciously acknowledging that what you have achieved has been well deserved because you worked hard and you applied your God-given gifts and talents to get there.

Now, to realize your full potential, it’s time to leap off your current plateau and move onward to that next level.

You deserve to be at the next level.

You’re an expert.

The first step is to give yourself permission to define that next level so you know when you, your podcast and your business have arrived.

Second…be scared about the next level…and do it anyway. Kick fear to the curb. What’s the worst that could happen? Prospective customers could say no.

You might make a bad decision and lose some money. An employee or a group of employees may disagree with how you’re redirecting the company and could decide to leave.

Okay. Are any of these life-threatening situations?

Did anyone die? No? Then move on!

Stop making each decision more than it has to be. Just make a decision. Then move on. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that. As Dr. Marcie said, “Be scared and then do it anyway.”

Finally, find a mentor to learn from as Don Yaeger recommended in the Foreword of this book. More specifically, find a mentor or group of mentors who are all moving at a pace and tempo that is faster than you.

It matters who you spend your time with — and if you spend your time with people who are moving at your current pace — or slower — those people may make you feel comfortable to be around — they may not challenge you — they may not push you or ask you tough questions — and it is easy to relax and unwind.

Why? Because as Coach John Wooden once said, “You will never outperform your circle.” That’s just human nature.

So you need to make sure the mentors you select are operating at a completely different level than you — a level to which you can reach and stretch.

You want to get into a group of people where you don’t currently belong and then work like crazy not to get left behind. In the process you’ll expand and grow.

You will then be able to leap from your current plateau onto the next rung.

As Onward Nation guest Scott McKain taught me, “Stephen, you cannot reach that next rung, unless you are willing to let go of the current one you are hanging on to.” Wise words.

You were meant for greatness, Onward Nation. You are instilled with an infinite abundance of talent and gifts. Don’t let something so small as fear limit all you were meant to be.

Don’t give up — keep pushing — and don’t ever, ever quit.

If you are going to be successful at using podcasting to drive your business onward to that next level — you need to get your mindset right first. Because when you do — you will no longer be at risk of podfading — and then the next step — will be for you to bolt on a monetization strategy to your podcast so you have an opportunity to drive significant revenue into your business. I will cover monetization in a future solocast.

So with that said…

I want to say thank you for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here — thank you for tuning in — your time is sacred and 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 — 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 exceptional interview with Nick Creswell from Thomson Reuters in London — who will take us inside why he believes that today’s leaders lead with culture. Nick is off-the-charts amazing. You will not want to miss it.

Until then, onward with gusto!