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: 2020
Dec 30, 2020

Use Thought Leadership Content to Niche Down

What You Will Learn:

  • How Tim’s career started as a successful journalist before breaking into thought leadership content and marketing
  • How Tim defines low-quality content, and why good content feels specific, narrowly focused, and personal to the target audience
  • Why Tim and the team at Layup Content decided to only focus on the financial services and fintech industries
  • How niching down and keeping a tight focus has helped Tim build his business and reach his ideal clients
  • Why Tim believes his focus on the financial services and fintech niches has made it easier to get referrals from existing clients based on his depth of expertise
  • How Tim started in thought leadership content with a book, and how the book led to other projects and opportunities
  • Why it is important for your content to stay on voice and reflect who you are and what you truly believe
  • How Tim coaches his clients to understand what unique voice they have to share, and what key skills business owners need to master to become great thought leaders
  • What critical lesson Tim learned from a past mentor that made a lasting impression that still resonates in Tim’s business today
  • Why Tim believes creative work comes down to having a plan and knowing where you want to go, and then executing on your plan

Niching Down with Thought Leadership Content

Maintaining a tight focus on a specific niche, rather than limiting your opportunities as you might expect, actually has the opposite effect — often opening new doors to opportunity by allowing you to demonstrate your expertise within your chosen niche. Tim Sprinkle knows this lesson well — he is the founder and Chief Strategist of Layup Content, a thought leadership and content marketing agency that specifically focuses on the financial services and fintech industries. Tim has leveraged his expertise and experience into a powerful platform for creating thought leadership content for his specific audience. The effect on his business has been profound. In this episode of Onward Nation, Tim shares how creating the right thought leadership content for the financial services and fintech niches has helped him reach his ideal clients and build out his business.

Thought leadership content: Where do you start?

The path to becoming a thought leader can feel overwhelming. Where do you start? What is your niche? Are you smart enough? But I have found most people can get started down the path with minimal effort if they can learn to start creating the right content.

Thought leadership content comes in many, many different forms, but, the best content has a few things in common.

1) It is focused. After all, you can’t be a thought leader in everything.

2) It is deep. This is why books, research projects, and podcasts are popular places to start.

3) You are prepared to back them up with more. One piece of deep work isn’t enough. Writing a book may feel like you just ran a marathon, but the book is only the start.

Tim Sprinkle spent more than 20 years in journalism, working for prestigious outlets like Yahoo Finance and Seeking Alpha. However, Tim’s first foray into thought leadership came from his book “Screw the Valley: A Coast-to-Coast Tour of America’s New Tech Startup Culture”, where he discussed how tech startups are abandoning the insular nature of Silicon Valley and finding tremendous opportunities for innovation all across America.

That book became Tim’s cornerstone thought leadership content and an opportunity to slice, dice, and remix his wisdom. According to Tim, the book also opened many new opportunities to further his thought leadership and became a powerful driving force behind his business. But the book isn’t where Tim stopped.

He KEPT writing great content on his specific focus for years to PROVE that he owned his position as a thought leader.

The power of focusing on a niche

By maintaining a focus on his specific niche of the financial services and fintech sector, Tim was able to build a deep level of understanding and expertise in the space. In short, he planted his flag of authority, and in doing so Tim has been able to get referrals from existing clients specifically because he positioned himself as an expert within that space.

Tim works hard to ensure that his thought leadership content is tightly focused and reflects his unique voice, drawing from his depth of experience. In doing so, Tim is able to ensure that the thought leadership content he creates adds tremendous value for his audience.

That, in turn, keeps his audience coming back for more and acts as rocket fuel for his business.

Thought leadership content

About Tim Sprinkle

Tim Sprinkle is the founder and Chief Strategist of Layup Content, a thought leadership and content marketing agency for the financial services and fintech industries. Before that, he spent 20+ years in journalism, working for outlets and publications like Yahoo Finance and Seeking Alpha, while writing on a freelance basis from some of the largest media brands in the world covering everything from business and finance to outdoor sports.

Tim is the author of “Screw the Valley: A Coast to Coast Tour of America’s New Startup Landscape” and is laser-focused on bringing quality, thoughtful content to the world.

How to Connect with Tim Sprinkle:

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Dec 23, 2020

Increasing Sales Through the Trojan Horse Strategy

What You Will Learn:

  • Why podcasting is like a Trojan Horse strategy for business
  • 3 steps for planting your Flag of Authority
  • Creative ideas for repurposing your podcast
  • What are the vital metrics we should pay attention to
  • SEO and Email list building strategies
  • How to turn your podcast into YouTube videos, weekly newsletters, and a book
  • How many loyal fans you need
  • Ideas to help treat your podcast guests like VIPs

Increasing sales through the Trojan Horse strategy

In the spirit of the holiday season…my hope is…you, your family and friends, your team, your clients, and all of the people in your community — were able to tap the breaks…to pause…to reflect…and yes, that even during this time of pandemic…and give thanks.

Through all of this — all of the challenges that 2020 represents — and I hear you — it’s a long list — there are some silver linings for your business. You may feel like you are being forced to pivot to survive — and through that — you find a completely new service offering for your clients. Or — you may have needed to restructure your team from full-time employees to having some amazing freelancers ready to rock whatever project you send their way.

Or — maybe through all of the chaos — you have identified topics and lessons your audience needs in order to grow and be better at what they do every day. And you know — deep in your soul — you are just the person to deliver that level of awesomeness.

So as you work hard to close out 2020 and dare to dream about what 2021 might look like — I’m sharing a different twist on a solocast with you to help.

I was recently interviewed by Billy Samoa Saleebey for his podcast entitled, “For the Love of Podcast”. And Billy asked a series of excellent questions that can serve as some foundational elements as you work through your plan for 2021. So as you hear Billy ask me the question…my hope is…you will take notes of what he asked…and then ask yourself the same questions. If you do that — it will help you build a solid plan for 2021.

Also — Billy asked me to map out more detail behind how the Trojan Horse strategy works — you’ll find some real behind the curtain stuff here — as well as how to plant your flag of authority, slice and dice your content into smaller cobblestones, and build out your sales funnels.

The power of the Trojan Horse strategy

Thought leadership is a powerful way to connect with your ideal client prospects — through the Trojan Horse strategy. And — a podcast is the ideal vehicle for this strategy. It gives you the chance to plant your flag of authority and invite ideal potential clients to speak on your show — creating a non-transactional relationship with them that can be nurtured over time — without “selling” to them in the traditional sense. When used the right way — the Trojan Horse strategy allows you to organically build a relationship of trust and mutual respect with your Dream 25 — your 25 right-fit clients. Much like the ancient Greeks used the original Trojan Horse to sneak into Troy without alerting the guards — the Trojan Horse of Sales allows you to get past the “sales wall” and build powerful inroads with prospects.

Getting ready for 2021

With 2020 drawing to a close — plus the news of the development of successful vaccines against the global pandemic — 2021 is looking to be much brighter. And — the businesses that will come roaring out of our current crisis are the ones who are well prepared — and ready to take bold action. Now is the time to create a rock solid plan for the coming year. The Trojan Horse strategy can help you connect with your ideal clients — but it’s only the foot in the door. That’s why slicing and dicing your content — so that you can plant your flag of authority and demonstrate that you’re always ready to be helpful for your clients — is so crucial. As you plan for 2021 — I hope you find my conversation with Billy Samoa Saleebey helpful!

Trojan Horse strategy

About Stephen Woessner

Stephen Woessner is the founder and CEO of Predictive ROI, a digital marketing agency, and the host of Onward Nation — a top-rated daily podcast for learning how today’s top business owners think, act, and achieve. Onward Nation is listened to in 120 countries around the world with over 28,000+ email subscribers.
Since the advent of the commercial Internet, Stephen has collected tens of thousands of data points that have given him the ability to identify what he calls the “8 Money Draining Mistakes” and the “8 Money Making Opportunities.” Darren Hardy, then-publisher of SUCCESS Magazine, interviewed Stephen to discuss how business owners can identify and fix the mistakes.
Stephen served in the United States Air Force, spent six years at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse as a full-time academic staff member and taught digital marketing classes to small business owners throughout the state including the prestigious School of Business at UW-Madison, has owned five businesses, and is the author of three books, “The Small Business Owner’s Handbook to Search Engine Optimization”, “Increase Online Sales Through Viral Social Networking”, and “Profitable Podcasting.”
His digital marketing insights have been featured in,, The Washington Post, and Inc. Magazine.

Additional Resources:

Dec 16, 2020

Inspiring Trust by Owning Your Mess

What You Will Learn:

  • How Scott’s varied career path taught him key lessons about humility in leadership that served as the backbone of his newest bestselling book
  • Why Scott titled his book “Management Mess”, and why he wanted to write a different kind of leadership book that teaches people to own their mess
  • Why Scott’s eagerness to talk about his own struggles and to demonstrate vulnerability and humility are key pieces of his book
  • Why humility in leadership can be a powerful trait for any business leader, allowing you to focus on what is right rather than your desire to be right
  • Why Scott believes “trustworthy leaders declare their intent”, building trust and creating clarity through their behavior
  • How to offer a genuine apology that builds trust, doesn’t make excuses, and demonstrates that you recognize the mistake you’ve made and what you need to do to correct it
  • Why leaders are responsible for the culture they create in their business, and how Scott defines “coaching continuously”
  • Why a leader’s job is to build capability in their team members, and why continuous coaching is a powerful way to show that you love your people
  • Why whether your team members stay or leave after the pandemic will be determined by how you treat them during the crisis
  • Why a great leader makes commitments they can promise and keeps the commitments they make, and why it takes courage to say no

Inspiring Trust by Owning Your Mess

Humility is a difficult trait to demonstrate, because many people equate showing vulnerability to showing weakness. However, humility in leadership can be a powerful part of your company culture, because it can build trust and can open the door for your employees to express their own vulnerability. Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as the executive vice president of thought leadership, as well as being a bestselling author and the host of the world’s largest and fastest growing podcast devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Scott recently appeared as a guest on the Onward Nation podcast, where he discussed how showing humility in leadership can build trust, empower your employees, and become a key part of your company’s culture.

Showing humility in leadership

Mirriam-Webster defines humility as: “freedom from pride or arrogance, the quality or state of being humble”. As Scott Miller defines it, humility in leadership means “owning your mess” and recognizing that you sometimes make mistakes. Humility is an important component of trust, whether with your clients or with your internal team members. When you make a mistake, Scott says it is important to apologize in the right way and use the right language. It means letting your guard down, not trying to protect yourself or make excuses, and being clear in how you will change your behavior going forward. Showing humility can be uncomfortable, but your authenticity goes a long way in repairing hurt relationships and can show that your word can be relied on. Because your team looks to you as their leader to set the culture of your company, this level of trust can have a ripple effect throughout your organization.

Continuous coaching

Part of showing humility in leadership is in coaching continuously, and in the right way. It’s about being clear in your expectations, praising your team when they achieve their goals, and reinforcing positive behaviors. You shouldn’t wait until there’s a problem; instead, you should always be coaching your team. Your leadership guides your team, and continuous coaching can help motivate your team to big wins while identifying areas where you can improve. Coaching should be an ongoing, interactive process that strengthens your culture and the effectiveness of everyone on the team.

Humility in leadership

About Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as the executive vice president of thought leadership. Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Release, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal best-seller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. Previously, Scott worked for the Disney Development Company and grew up in Central Florida. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

How to Connect with Scott Miller:

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Dec 9, 2020

How to engage employees, strengthen culture and thrive in tough times

What You Will Learn:

  • How Chad realized the importance of a strong company culture, and how that realization became the backbone of his blueprint for how to engage employees more effectively
  • Why a company’s culture is the key to creating an environment that sets employees up for success and helps companies produce the results they want
  • Why it is vital to double down on your culture and on your team, especially during the challenges of the global pandemic
  • Why the key to employee engagement is committing to your culture and then creating a shared experience that allows team members to buy in
  • Why culture starts with the business owner setting the direction for the company and ensuring that everyone on the team understands the destination
  • How to create clarity and unity of purpose within your team, even though everyone sees things from their own perspective
  • Why Chad believes the challenge for leaders is that they often spend so much time looking forward that they forget to look back
  • Why it is critically important for business owners to communicate their expectations clearly and unambiguously to their teams
  • How business owners and leaders often overestimate what they can accomplish in 12 months but underestimate what they can achieve in three years
  • Why it is important for leaders to call regular time-outs to question the team’s clarity, alignment and purpose

How to engage employees, strengthen culture and thrive in tough times

Getting your employees truly engaged in your work and all moving in the same direction can be a challenging task in the best of times, but during crisis periods like the global pandemic, engagement is both more important and more complicated than ever. Chad Carden is the co-founder of Renzo Consulting, and Chad “is on a life mission to improve the way employers and employees interact to create greater engagement and better results.” During Chad’s visit to Onward Nation, he discussed the crucial role engagement plays in keeping everyone aligned to the company’s values and mission, and he shares tips and strategies for how to engage employees, motivate your team, and provide clarity on your expectations so that everyone is moving in the same direction with a shared purpose.

How to engage employees the right way

Nailing down how to engage employees can be one of the more common challenges entrepreneurs and business leaders face. You are already passionate about your company and your work, but how do you ensure that your team shares your passion? For expert Chad Carden, it starts with establishing a company culture that supports the team and offers everyone the opportunity to do their best work. The business owner and leadership team must set the direction for the organization and then ensure that their goals, values and expectations are clearly communicated. Even though everyone brings their own vision and perspective to your team, the map they follow and the destination they move toward must be in alignment, and that comes down to leadership giving clear direction and expectations.

Taking frequent timeouts

By setting a culture that creates an environment focused on employee success, you empower your team to get results. By being clear in your goals and expectations, you allow your employees to chart their own success and focus on moving the needle. Especially when things get tough, the clarity you offer is the key ingredient in how to engage employees in your shared vision for the organization. But your culture isn’t set-it-and-forget-it; Chad says it is important to regularly take “timeouts” to question where your company is, evaluate what’s working and what isn’t, and refocus your team’s alignment. As we’ve seen during the global pandemic, things can change quickly and it is important to identify and adapt to these changes strategically.

How to engage employees

About Chad Carden

The Architect Of People, Chad Carden is on a life mission to improve the way employers and employees interact to create greater engagement and better results. His results-oriented, no-bull style helps people change the way they approach their daily environment. He has been studying and working with companies to improve their number one asset — their people — for over 19 years. He challenges clients to reach outside their comfort zone to achieve heights they’ve never imagined.

Chad's high energy and passion are engaging and infectious! He is a straight shooter and understands that business today is all about building even stronger relationships with the people you work with and serve.

During his 19 plus years, Chad has been fortunate enough to travel the globe working within all levels of organizations of all different sizes. Fortune 100 companies have sought out Chad’s assistance to discover where they want to be, to help create a plan to get there, and to issue a challenge to implement for real results.

Chad has had the privilege of being invited to the White House to discuss how to impact today’s small businesses, and is an accomplished author of two books, Winning The Money Game and P.E.P.P. He has also consulted, and sold products and services in over 40 countries and his work has been translated in over 15 languages.

He continues his vision of providing people and organizations a personalized formula for better employee engagement and positive progress.

How to Connect with Chad Carden:

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Dec 2, 2020

Avoiding business mistakes using the science of decision-making

What You Will Learn:

  • How Dr. Gleb’s family life as a child informed his decision to study the behavioral science of risk-taking and decision-making in his career
  • How Dr. Gleb’s work lies in helping business owners identify and recognize the negative patterns within their decision-making processes that lead to business mistakes
  • How the “gut instincts” humans developed during our tribal stage of evolution often conflicts with the decisions we have to make in our modern world
  • How our tribal instincts sometimes lead us to unfounded cognitive biases that lead us to make decisions that make little sense for our businesses
  • Why entrepreneurs often lean toward “optimism bias”, and how that optimism bias can negatively impact their decision-making and risk-taking
  • What steps entrepreneurs can take to avoid making decisions based on optimism bias, and what key five questions you should ask yourself to make decisions more effectively
  • Why resilience is the key to dealing with the long-term, lasting effects of the global pandemic and the chaos it has brought to business owners
  • Why the ongoing global pandemic is the “new abnormal”, and why our lives will likely be disrupted for as long as seven years until we’re back to normal again
  • Why the logistics of the vaccines currently in development mean that even once a vaccine is created it will take a long time to deploy to a critical mass of the population

Avoiding business mistakes using the science of decision-making

Believe it or not, cognitive science can help us make better business decisions and avoid costly business mistakes. Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is a behavioral economist and cognitive neuroscientist who is an expert at helping business owners recognize and overcome their internal “cognitive biases”. In this episode of Onward Nation, Dr. Tsipursky explains the science of decision-making and shares how our tribal instincts often lead us to make the wrong “gut decisions”. He outlines a realistic timeline of the global pandemic and shares tips and strategies for better judgment and taking the right risks while avoiding the wrong ones so that your business can navigate the pandemic and come roaring out the other side.

The science of avoiding business mistakes and making better decisions

By our nature, most entrepreneurs are predisposed to see things from a more optimistic perspective. While this isn’t inherently a bad thing, it can cause us to take unnecessary risks with our businesses. As Dr. Tsipsurky explains, many of the decisions we make are informed by “cognitive biases”, subconscious thought processes left over from mankind’s early, tribal stage. These gut feelings are often ill-equipped to handle the complexities of modern life, yet we are inclined to “listen to our gut” even when it is leading us in the wrong direction. However, by asking ourselves the right questions, we can avoid the trap of the various kinds of cognitive bias that color our decisions. The five key questions Dr. Tsipsurky shared are:

  • What evidence didn’t I take into account, and what information didn’t I consider?
  • What dangerous judgment errors might be in play in this situation?
  • What would a trusted and objective advisor tell me?
  • How have I addressed all the ways this could fail?
  • What new information would cause me to change my mind?

The “new abnormal” of the global pandemic

One of the most pronounced ways “optimism bias” expresses itself can be seen in how we view the global pandemic. Many people are inclined to hold steady and “wait out” the crisis, but as Dr. Tipsursky explained during the interview, the reality is that the chaos and changes wrought by the pandemic are likely to be with us for a long time. Due to the logistics of developing, storing, deploying and administering a potential vaccine, the challenges we are facing today are very likely to be the “new abnormal” for the next several years. As business leaders, it is important to accept this and begin planning long-term strategy around the new reality of business. While an end to these challenging times is certainly in sight and offers hope for a bright future, businesses must be prepared to navigate the many challenges they face in the meantime. The steps entrepreneurs take today can help their businesses reach the light at the end of the tunnel even stronger than before, but only if we make the right decisions through clarity and intentionality.

Business mistakes

How to Connect with Dr. Gleb Tsipursky:

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Nov 25, 2020

Passive income strategies and building wealth from chaos

What You Will Learn:

  • How Mitch’s real estate business is structured, and why his passive income strategies are durable and flexible enough to succeed during the pandemic
  • Why Mitch believes wealth comes from chaos, and why focusing on helping people has been the key to excelling during challenging times
  • How Mitch and his team have adapted to the changes brought about by the pandemic such as people not wanting potentially infectious strangers in their homes
  • How Mitch learned that fixing the houses he bought was time-consuming and wasn’t really adding value, and why he structures his deals to be the “bank”, not a landlord
  • How navigating the challenges of the 2008 real estate market crash taught Mitch valuable lessons he is using to get through the global pandemic
  • Why Mitch made the strategic decision to keep his business in his local San Antonio market rather than expanding outward
  • How Mitch has structured his business into three different segments: one-time cash events, temporary cash deals, and forever cash deals
  • How Mitch began coaching others in his method, and how he has built out the coaching side of his business over time
  • Why Mitch does the investing and coaching work he does beyond just making money, and how his efforts benefit himself, new homeowners, and communities at large

Passive income strategies and building wealth from chaos

Even in times of chaos, the right passive income strategies can help you build wealth and grow your business. In this episode of Onward Nation, encore guest Mitch Stephen walks us through the important lessons he learned during the 2008 real estate market crash that have helped him continue to thrive during the global pandemic. Mitch explains why his business model is built to be durable, adaptable, and is focused on helping others. He also shares why he keeps a laser focus on his local market rather than attempting to expand beyond the San Antonio, Texas market.

Passive income strategies in the world of real estate

Mitch Stephen has spent decades developing his skills as a real estate investor, and over that career he has learned valuable lessons about earning more by doing less. During the episode, Mitch discussed why he shifted his focus from “fix-and-flip” real estate to simply buying and reselling without doing any repairs or upgrades, and he explains how his passive income strategies have evolved through testing, experimentation, and a willingness to learn from his mistakes. As Mitch explained, the 2008 real estate market crash showed him that investing the time and resources into property repairs wasn’t necessary; at the time, he had so many properties going into foreclosure that he couldn’t fix them all, but he was surprised to realize that even without expensive and time-consuming repairs, his properties were moving quickly. This important lesson shows that it is important to periodically question assumptions about our business models and identify opportunities to streamline the business.

Finding opportunities in chaos

The 2008 market crash taught Mitch key skills and the value of being ready to pivot to take advantage of opportunities. These lessons are even more applicable today, during the global pandemic. Mitch began coaching other new investors on the passive income strategies, lessons and skills he developed through trial and error, with the important goal of helping others succeed. Today, his real estate coaching has grown to become a key pillar of Mitch’s business empire, and one of the most important lessons he teaches his students is how to identify opportunities during the tough times. As Mitch explained, challenges such as the global pandemic create unique opportunities for business owners to solve problems for their customers, allowing truly creative businesses to better position themselves within their niches. Being adaptable, nimble and ready to deliver creative solutions can help businesses not just survive but thrive during chaotic and challenging times. That’s exactly why it is important to double down rather than retreat during difficult periods.

Passive income strategies | Building wealth from chaos

About Mitch Stephen

Mitch Stephen has been a self-employed real estate investor for 25+ years. His real estate investing career started at the age of 23 when he read “Nothing Down” by Robert Allen.

Mitch Stephen has purchased well over 2,000 houses in and around his hometown of San Antonio, TX. Mitch is a high school graduate who never stopped learning. Books, CDs, seminars, and webinars were his classroom.

Today he specializes in owner financing properties to individuals left behind by traditional lending institutions and giving new life to properties that scar their neighborhoods.

He has perfected a method of achieving cash-flow without having to be a landlord and without having to rehab properties. He’s mastered the art of raising private money and the classic “Nothing Down” deal.

He has pioneered the idea that you don’t have to give discounts to sell your notes.

A passionate speaker who delivers the message of integrity first and profits second; an expert at keeping it simple and explaining, in plain English, the theories that made him financially independent. He is always an inspiration to those around him.

How to Connect with Mitch Stephen:

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Nov 18, 2020

Learning the Business Owner Skills Needed to Grow a Thriving Business

What You Will Learn:

  • How Ron realized he needed to make a life change and start building wealth for his family, and how he discovered the potential of real estate
  • Why Ron needed to make an early pivot in his investing, and how he refined his business owner skills and learned to manage and delegate responsibility
  • Why Ron’s real estate business is always in demand and recession-resistant, and how adapting to changes in the market has been one of the keys of his success
  • Why putting the right people in the right roles is crucial, and how Ron started his publishing business, Global Publishing Inc.
  • How Ron’s mentoring business has become the cornerstone of his real estate empire, and how his organization has grown to include highly successful student coaches
  • How the global pandemic became the impetus that caused Ron to take his coaching virtual through online events and training
  • How the switch to virtual has opened up new opportunities and helped to further increase Ron’s mentoring reach
  • Why marketing to your audience through multiple channels, both online and through traditional media, is crucial
  • Why YouTube is a fantastic free marketing medium, and why it is the ideal channel to share your testimonials
  • Why Ron’s number one piece of advice is to find someone who is successfully doing the thing you want to do and then learn everything you can from them

Learning the Business Owner Skills Needed to Grow a Thriving Business

Building and growing a business truly is a trial by fire. Learning the necessary business owner skills comes slowly over time, and mistakes will be made. But drawing lessons from those mistakes can be transformative. Master real estate investor and mentor Ron LeGrand joins Onward Nation to share how he developed the business owner skills needed to grow and scale his organization into the thriving empire it is today, and he shares some of the key lessons he learned along the way over the course of his decades-long career in real estate, mentoring and publishing.

Developing Key Business Owner Skills

Ron knew early on that the path he was on wasn’t going to provide the life he wanted for his family, and so at age 35 he borrowed $450 from friends and used the money to attend his first real estate seminar. As Ron explained in his interview, he learned “just enough to go out and make a mess”. But the early successes were enough to show Ron that he was on the right track, and so he continued to iterate on and refine his business model. One of the business owner skills that became the backbone of his success was learning to delegate responsibility, from putting the right people into the right roles in his company to hiring his most successful students to become coaches. Today, Ron isn’t just a successful entrepreneur and real estate investor, he also runs a thriving publishing business and has a team of mentors ready to teach others the real estate investing strategies Ron learned through trial and error.

Being Ready to Pivot to the Market

The onset of the global pandemic and its unforeseen challenges have impacted many businesses in dramatic ways, but knowing how to successfully pivot has proven to be one of Ron’s most effective business owner skills. He and his team quickly shifted their mentoring business to a virtual environment and adapted to the realities of social distancing, and in doing so they actually increased Ron’s reach and the profitability of the business. As Ron explained in the interview, being ready to pivot and adjust his strategies to the market has always been a crucial part of his success. By staying nimble and thinking creatively, Ron has been able to adapt to every challenge he has encountered and helped his business not just survive these obstacles but thrive through them.

Business owner skills

How to Connect with Ron LeGrand:

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Nov 18, 2020

Learning the Business Owner Skills Needed to Grow a Thriving Business

What You Will Learn:

  • How Ron realized he needed to make a life change and start building wealth for his family, and how he discovered the potential of real estate
  • Why Ron needed to make an early pivot in his investing, and how he refined his business owner skills and learned to manage and delegate responsibility
  • Why Ron’s real estate business is always in demand and recession-resistant, and how adapting to changes in the market has been one of the keys of his success
  • Why putting the right people in the right roles is crucial, and how Ron started his publishing business, Global Publishing Inc.
  • How Ron’s mentoring business has become the cornerstone of his real estate empire, and how his organization has grown to include highly successful student coaches
  • How the global pandemic became the impetus that caused Ron to take his coaching virtual through online events and training
  • How the switch to virtual has opened up new opportunities and helped to further increase Ron’s mentoring reach
  • Why marketing to your audience through multiple channels, both online and through traditional media, is crucial
  • Why YouTube is a fantastic free marketing medium, and why it is the ideal channel to share your testimonials
  • Why Ron’s number one piece of advice is to find someone who is successfully doing the thing you want to do and then learn everything you can from them

Learning the Business Owner Skills Needed to Grow a Thriving Business

Building and growing a business truly is a trial by fire. Learning the necessary business owner skills comes slowly over time, and mistakes will be made. But drawing lessons from those mistakes can be transformative. Master real estate investor and mentor Ron LeGrand joins Onward Nation to share how he developed the business owner skills needed to grow and scale his organization into the thriving empire it is today, and he shares some of the key lessons he learned along the way over the course of his decades-long career in real estate, mentoring and publishing.

Developing Key Business Owner Skills

Ron knew early on that the path he was on wasn’t going to provide the life he wanted for his family, and so at age 35 he borrowed $450 from friends and used the money to attend his first real estate seminar. As Ron explained in his interview, he learned “just enough to go out and make a mess”. But the early successes were enough to show Ron that he was on the right track, and so he continued to iterate on and refine his business model. One of the business owner skills that became the backbone of his success was learning to delegate responsibility, from putting the right people into the right roles in his company to hiring his most successful students to become coaches. Today, Ron isn’t just a successful entrepreneur and real estate investor, he also runs a thriving publishing business and has a team of mentors ready to teach others the real estate investing strategies Ron learned through trial and error.

Being Ready to Pivot to the Market

The onset of the global pandemic and its unforeseen challenges have impacted many businesses in dramatic ways, but knowing how to successfully pivot has proven to be one of Ron’s most effective business owner skills. He and his team quickly shifted their mentoring business to a virtual environment and adapted to the realities of social distancing, and in doing so they actually increased Ron’s reach and the profitability of the business. As Ron explained in the interview, being ready to pivot and adjust his strategies to the market has always been a crucial part of his success. By staying nimble and thinking creatively, Ron has been able to adapt to every challenge he has encountered and helped his business not just survive these obstacles but thrive through them.

Business owner skills

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Nov 11, 2020

Content Monetization and a Passion for Podcasting

What You Will Learn:

  • How David’s career progressed from entrepreneur to coach and thought leader, and what new opportunities and setbacks he experienced along the way
  • How the challenges David faced taught him important skills and key business lessons, and how he turned a love of podcasting into powerful content monetization
  • Why focusing on helping others and adding value proved the key to David’s career pivot, and how David turned podcasting into his primary career focus
  • How David has been able to monetize his podcast through sponsorships, and how he is rebranding and relaunching his podcast as “The Gonzo Experience”
  • Why David was inspired to write his third and most recent book, “Crash and Learn: Lessons in Business”
  • How in times of crisis such as the global pandemic, business leaders need to look for the opportunities and silver linings and work to avoid falling into negativity
  • Why it is important to look for the lessons and the opportunity to learn when experiencing difficult situations and major setbacks
  • Why David’s book “Crash and Learn” offers an opportunity to take the lessons David learned and apply them to your own challenges
  • How David has learned to cut through the podcast noise and make his show stand out from the other 480,000 domestic podcasts
  • Why the feedback David has received has often stemmed from people’s own internalized fears, and how he has pushed through and doubled down regardless

Content Monetization and a Passion for Podcasting

Can you turn your passion project into your only career focus? And if you do — will content monetization negatively impact your love for what you create, or can you keep loving what you do even when it becomes your primary job? Four-time returning guest David Mammano joins Onward Nation to discuss how he found his love for podcasting, and how he was able to chart a new career path with podcasting as his main focus — in spite of naysayers who tried to warn him away from it. And — he shares how going through difficult times can be a powerful teacher, if you look for the lessons and silver linings.

Learning from the Hard Times

David Mammano is no stranger to challenge, having once built a successful business before losing nearly everything. As the host of “The Gonzo Experience” podcast, David has spoken with many other business leaders who have shared their own stories of overcoming challenges and coming out the other side stronger and better positioned for success. These stories became the backbone of his book “Crash and Learn”, where David shows readers that we aren’t defined by our failures but by what lessons we learned from them. David collected the shared wisdom of his podcast guests to demonstrate that retaining optimism through difficult times is a crucial business skill, and that even the most difficult of experiences holds lessons we can draw from them that can only benefit us in the future.

Content Monetization as a Business Strategy

Speaking of David’s podcast “The Gonzo Experience”, during his interview David shared how he first discovered his passion for podcasting, and why he decided to make the difficult — and scary — decision to double down and make his podcast be his primary business focus. By focusing on helping others and adding value, David was able to attract an appreciative audience. The size of David’s growing audience opened up the opportunity to pursue content monetization through sponsorships to fund his work. Even though David had a number of people telling him that going all-in on podcasting was a mistake, he recognized that their words of caution stemmed not from concern for David but from their own fears. When he shut out the voices that were telling him he couldn’t do it — his own internal voice included — he was able to prove those voices wrong.

Content monetization | Turning a podcast into a business

About David Mammano

David Mammano is most recently known for being the host of The Gonzo Experience Entrepreneur Podcast. He is the author of business and college planning books, a TEDx speaker, a three-time Inc. Magazine 5000 Growth Company winner, and a professor at the University of Rochester.

He is a graduate of the University at Buffalo (SUNY) and also a graduate of the MIT Entrepreneurial Master’s Program (an executive education program offered through the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO)), a board member for the Western NY Make-A-Wish Foundation, and a local board member for Junior Achievement.
David’s most recent book Crash and Learn: Lessons in Business quickly rose to the top of the Amazon bestseller lists. His other books are Make Love in the Workplace, and 101 Things You Can Do to Become an Outstanding Young Adult.

During the last 25 years, David Mammano has been a serial entrepreneur – starting seven businesses from scratch. He now uses those experiences to interview the world’s most interesting entrepreneurs. Each interview is aimed at helping entrepreneurs be their best in all areas of their life.

As a prolific speaker, David is an internationally requested speaker at entrepreneurial, business, sales, and higher education events.
David is most proud of his family in Victor, NY, including three children, Gianluca, Melania, and Alessio.

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Nov 4, 2020

The Keys to Scaling a Business the Right Way

What You Will Learn:

  • How mistakenly saving over an invoice led Mike to design the accounting software his business needed, leading to the birth of FreshBooks
  • How the company that started with six team members in his parents’ basement now has millions of users in more than 160 countries
  • Why Mike was reluctant to raise outside capital and instead self-funded the business for a long time
  • Why Mike believes that accepting venture capital during the early days could have undermined the value of the business
  • What important lessons on scaling a business Mike learned growing FreshBooks from just six employees to more than 400
  • What key organizational growth breakpoints Mike identified on the journey, and how the company had to adapt to each new breakpoint
  • Why having shared values and alignment within your organization is the key to success, and why every problem in business is ultimately a people problem
  • How Mike addresses the difficult situation of a team member not being in alignment with their role in the company
  • Why Mike has chosen to dedicate time to his thought leadership efforts, and why he considers it to be “soul food for entrepreneurs”
  • Why shifting from time-and materials-based billing to value-based billing can be a powerful game-changer for your business

The Keys to Scaling a Business the Right Way

William S. Burroughs famously said, “When you stop growing, you start dying.” We all want our businesses to keep growing, but sometimes we hit obstacles and roadblocks during the scaling process — and the solutions we used to get us where we are often don’t work to get us where we want to be. In this episode of Onward Nation, FreshBooks CEO and co-founder Mike McDerment shares how his business, which started out with six team members in his parents’ basement, has grown to millions of users in over 160 different countries. And — he shares key lessons on scaling a business he learned during that remarkable growth journey — lessons that can help you fuel the growth of your own business.

Bootstrapping Rapid Growth

Mike created the software that would become FreshBooks after growing frustrated when he accidentally saved over a past billing invoice. That’s when he decided to create a better tool for small business accounting. The tool proved successful — and Mike’s focus shifted to this new business opportunity. One of the important decisions Mike made early in the life of FreshBooks was to walk away from venture capital funding. At the time, Mike was concerned that the need to offer a return on investment could stunt progress in scaling a business — and so for years, FreshBooks was self-funded. Ultimately, this put the company into a great position now that it is in the pre-IPO stage because it allowed FreshBooks to remain more nimble without being beholden to outside investors during its critical growth period. While Mike believes venture capital isn’t always a bad idea, it wasn’t the right choice for FreshBooks.

Scaling a Business Takes Alignment and Shared Values

During FreshBooks’ remarkable period of growth, the company reached several key milestones and breakpoints. Each time, Mike and the team had to adapt to change and learn new, critical skills directly tied to scaling a business. For example, early on everyone reported directly to Mike — but eventually, the team grew enough that managers needed to be added. As Mike said during his interview, it was important to identify when these breakpoints happened and to adapt the business to continue scaling through them. And it is an ongoing process — as the business grows, the things needed to keep it moving change. Ensuring that everyone is aligned with your mission and values is critical, and if a team member isn’t in alignment with their role, it is important to address the situation honestly and clearly. As Mike said, every business problem is a people problem at its heart. Getting the right people in the right seats can help you overcome any obstacle.

Scaling a business | From basement business to global powerhouse

About Mike McDerment

Mike McDerment is the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, the world’s #1 cloud accounting software for self-employed professionals. Built in 2003 after he accidentally saved over an invoice, Mike spent 3.5 years growing FreshBooks from his parents’ basement. Since then, over 10 million people have used FreshBooks to save time billing and collecting billions of dollars. A lover of the outdoors, Mike has been bitten so many times it’s rumored he’s the first human to have developed immunity to mosquitoes.

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Oct 28, 2020

Rescuing Yourself from The Imposter Syndrome

What You Will Learn:

  • How Tommy spent three years working on his book Legendary, and how the need to help others proved to be the breakthrough Tommy needed to finish it
  • Why Tommy scrapped his original draft after struggling with The Imposter Syndrome and decided to start his book over again writing from the heart
  • How Legendary surprised Tommy by opening many new business opportunities including keynote speaking opportunities, coaching and masterminds
  • What key lessons and golden nuggets Tommy hopes business owners and corporate executives will take from reading his book
  • What advice Tommy has to offer to business leaders who are struggling with The Imposter Syndrome or feelings of not being good enough or worthy enough
  • Why loving yourself is the key to conquering your fears, and why it is important to catch yourself in the cycle of self-loathing and interrupt it with thoughts of self-love
  • Why surrounding himself with people moving in the same direction Tommy is moving in has been crucial for helping overcome his “Tommy-go-round” cycle of negative thoughts
  • How writing Legendary has helped build Tommy’s business by giving him “instant credibility”
  • Why writing a book and basing it on vulnerability and authenticity can be a powerful tool that can greatly benefit your business
  • Why the two best pieces of advice Tommy was ever given were to “participate in your own rescue” and to “take control of your story and write the best ending”

Rescuing Yourself from The Imposter Syndrome

Everyone faces the feeling that they aren’t good enough at some point in their lives. The Imposter Syndrome can be debilitating; it can prevent you from making the progress you want for your business and can allow you to convince yourself that you aren’t good enough — so how do you get past it? In this episode of Onward Nation, bestselling author and business, relationship and mindset coach Tommy Breedlove discusses his own battles with The Imposter Syndrome and shares how focusing on others — rather than himself — became the key that unlocked his potential for authenticity, vulnerability, and self-love.

Dealing with The Imposter Syndrome

Tommy spent three years working on his book, but once the draft was finished he was left with the hollow feeling that his words didn’t mean anything. Tommy surprised everyone (including himself) by starting over from scratch, but this time he was committed to pouring his passion and authentic self into his words. He felt a drive to help others — and that drive broke him out of his own limiting beliefs. Needless to say, Legendary was a huge success, and Tommy attributes this success to the fact that he allowed himself to be vulnerable, open, and honest. Tommy had to realize for himself that his words had value for others and that he had something profound to offer the world — and this realization formed the backbone of his book. Too many of us struggle with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, but Tommy believes that these feelings can be conquered by allowing ourselves to love the people we are and the contributions we have to offer.

When Thought Leadership Becomes a Platform

The act of writing Legendary was transformative for Tommy, but even he was surprised by the benefits he received from writing his book. Legendary became a huge credibility-building tool that led to coaching work and other business opportunities for Tommy. The book became Tommy’s cornerstone content — and it all came about because Tommy was able to beat The Imposter Syndrome and achieve a personal breakthrough, by seeking to serve others. The lesson here is that generously offering your expertise can only pay dividends and open new doors and form new relationships. Mindset is the backbone of success, and believing in yourself is an important ingredient in achieving the goals you have set for yourself.

The Imposter Syndrome | Participate in your own rescue

About Tommy Breedlove

Tommy Breedlove is a Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of the book, Legendary, and Atlanta-based business, relationship, and mindset coach who is regularly featured keynote speaker at global events. He serves clients and audiences by empowering them to build and live Legendary Lives. He guides them to build a lasting legacy, work in their zone of brilliance, obtain financial confidence, and live with meaning and balance.

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Oct 21, 2020

Creative Business Solutions

What You Will Learn:

  • How Shane’s upbringing, experience in the U.S. Air Force, and career journey culminated in the launch of health insurance company Hooray Health
  • Why starting out at the lowest level of healthcare gave Shane a unique perspective on the need for creative business solutions in the health insurance industry
  • How Shane made the foray into the realm of health benefits, and how he recognized the opportunity to do things differently from the paradigm
  • Why Shane believes that any life experience can offer valuable lessons that can be applied to future situations
  • Why hearing the phrase “love the problem — not the solution” from the founder of Waze was a profound, watershed moment for Shane
  • Why Shane created Hooray Health to address the real challenges and unmet needs of America’s uninsured workers
  • How Hooray Health is structured differently from others in the health insurance industry, creating a better experience for members
  • Why too many employees are forced to make difficult healthcare decisions based on their financial situations, and how Hooray Health is working to change that
  • How Shane is using thought leadership to change perceptions and shine a light on the challenges people face in accessing basic healthcare
  • How Shane first got started in thought leadership, and how he learned the importance of self-promotion and adding value

Creative Business Solutions and Disrupting the Paradigm

Oftentimes we fall into the trap of doing things the way we do them because it’s how we have always done them. But it’s the creative business solutions — not the same old strategies — that have the potential to create new opportunities and even disrupt entire industries. In this episode of Onward Nation, health insurance company Hooray Health founder and CEO Shane Foss shares how identifying the unmet needs of America’s millions of uninsured employees formed the basis for his company’s mission to reinvent health insurance from the ground up, and he explains why thought leadership has proven to be a powerful tool to build credibility and get his message out.

Recognizing Opportunities for Creative Business Solutions

For Shane, the “aha!” moment came when he saw firsthand the challenges that uninsured workers were facing in getting access to basic healthcare. Shane began questioning the status quo and wondering if there was a better way to do things — and this train of thought ultimately culminated in the formation of Hooray Health. Shane identified an underserved group and then innovated cost-effective solutions to help them gain access to necessary healthcare services. He saw the problem and then built and iterated on solutions to address it, without falling into the trap of becoming too attached to the solutions his company created. This allowed Hooray Health the flexibility to find new angles and opportunities and to adjust based on the needs of their clients rather than getting too locked into their business model.

Being Bold and Willing to Experiment

At every step during the process of building Hooray Health, Shane was told “you can’t do that” or “that will never work”, or “you’ll never find an underwriter willing to take the risk”. Shane might easily have listened to the naysayers, but he kept going. Eventually, he was able to put all the pieces together and offer low-cost, practical healthcare plans that empowered part-time workers and other overlooked segments to attain healthcare while protecting themselves from predatory billing practices. Shane and his team put together creative business solutions that allow them to meet the needs of an otherwise untapped market — while simultaneously creating profits for their business and looking after the needs of their clients. None of this would’ve been possible had Shane just accepted the conventional wisdom of health insurance at face value.

Creative business solutions | Love the problem — not the solution

About Shane Foss

With over 20 years of tenure as an executive in the medical industry, Shane Foss became frustrated with how under-served Americans were with the current healthcare options. He set out to make a change and in 2018 achieved this goal through launching Hooray Health, an unconventional health insurance company dedicated to providing affordable basic and urgent health care alternatives to high-deductible health plans.
Through Hooray Health, Foss and his team focus on offering peace of mind to lower-income individuals and families who face medical challenges, while also providing business owners with an affordable way to reward and retain employees. Partnering with companies like Sedera, Ameritas, and Aflac, they have been able to add critical services and supplemental plans giving immense value to employers and individuals.
Throughout his professional experience, Foss has negotiated complex, multi-million-dollar contracts, worked in device sales management, created business strategies, and optimized P&L. He holds an MBA from Rice University’s Jones School of Business, a BS from the University of the Incarnate Word, and a Surgical Technologist Certificate from the United States Air Force.

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Oct 14, 2020

Business Lessons on Negotiating

What You Will Learn:

  • How the global pandemic is adding new complexity to owning a business, and why Kwame’s invaluable business lessons on negotiating can be a lifeboat for business owners
  • Why the pandemic has caused many contracts to become unstable due to “act of God” clauses, and why negotiating is the key to shoring up these important agreements
  • How negotiation skills can be used both offensively and defensively to help protect your business from instability, and to protect your clients and their interests
  • Why authenticity, empathy, and flexibility are crucial skills Kwame uses to help build relationships and navigate the complexities of negotiation
  • What steps Kwame follows to build empathy, trust, and collaboration with negotiation partners, and why asking questions helps him better understand their perspective
  • Why asking the magic question “what flexibility do you have?” is a secret weapon in your negotiating arsenal
  • Kwame shares key takeaways and pearls of wisdom from his book Finding Confidence in Conflict: How to Negotiate Anything and Live Your Best Life
  • How Kwame has been able to plant a flag of authority in the realm of business negotiation, and how his focus on personal branding has been crucial for his success
  • Why Kwame defines his role simply as, “I make difficult conversations easier,” and how that clarity around his brand has helped create new opportunities
  • What significant growth developments and exciting projects have been happening for Kwame since his appearance in episode 845 of Onward Nation

Business Lessons on the Power of Negotiating

Negotiation is a powerful skill — especially in uncertain times. With the pandemic disrupting so many existing business agreements and contracts, renegotiating these arrangements can be the key to salvaging them. But how do you start tough conversations? In this episode of Onward Nation, encore guest, lawyer and expert negotiator Kwame Christian shares key business lessons on negotiation and conflict resolution that can help you survive and even thrive in uncertain times. As the pandemic and the effects of social distancing have made certain obligations difficult or impossible to fill, finding new, mutually beneficial solutions is important.

Ask and Listen First

The secret to great negotiation lies in a few key skills: being proactive, authentic, and empathetic, and being prepared to ask key questions and carefully consider the answers you get. Kwame says that expressing empathy and understanding with your negotiating partners’ position can help you generate goodwill and trust, and it can also help you find new solutions that satisfy all parties involved. By showing that you understand their perspective and recognize their expectations, you can find common ground and shore up your agreements with them. We can’t control the impact that the pandemic and social distancing requirements have on our businesses, but we can often find alternative solutions.

Find the Flexibility

One of Kwame’s most important business lessons in his career is the power of the magical question, “what flexibility do you have?” By asking this question, you are passively assuming that the other party has room to negotiate, priming them to your way of thinking. This question often catches others off guard and encourages them to be more willing to bend. In return, Kwame says it is important to be willing to bend your own expectations and work toward common ground. Almost anything can be negotiated, Kwame says, as long as you’re willing to ask.

How to use a mentor effectively

About Kwame Christian

Kwame Christian, Esq., M.A. is a business lawyer and the Director of the American Negotiation Institute where he puts on workshops designed to make difficult conversations easier. As an attorney and mediator with a bachelor of arts in Psychology, a Master of Public Policy, and a law degree, Kwame brings a unique multidisciplinary approach to the topic of conflict management and negotiation.

His TEDx Talk, Finding Confidence in Conflict, was viewed over 160,000 times and was the most popular TED Talk on the topic of conflict of 2017. He also hosts the top negotiation podcast in the country, Negotiate Anything. The show has been downloaded over 350,000 times, and has listeners in 181 different countries.

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Oct 7, 2020

How to Use a Mentor Effectively

What You Will Learn:

  • How Kevin first became an entrepreneur in the early 1980s by way of his family business and how he grew and helped create an entire industry
  • Why Kevin co-authored his book “Mentor to Millions” in an effort to teach others how to find and how to use a mentor effectively
  • Why writing a bestselling book was a key goal Kevin set for himself, and how he and his own mentor Mark Timm created the book based on their relationship
  • Why going all-in with your mentor and committing to being a good student is crucial for you to reap the rewards of the relationship
  • What advice Kevin suggests for finding the right mentor to work with, and how he leveraged connections he already had to find one of his ideal business mentors
  • Why now, even during the chaos of the global pandemic, is the ideal time to look for and begin working with a mentor
  • What tremendous benefits you can receive as both a mentor and as a mentee, and why the relationship should be mutually beneficial
  • Why it is important to be clear and set your expectations at the beginning of the mentor-mentee relationship
  • What remarkable opportunities, business ventures, and networking growth Kevin was able to receive from being a mentor

The Mutually Beneficial Power of the Mentor-Mentee Relationship

The mentor-mentee relationship is about more than just learning from a more experienced, seasoned business professional. When done correctly, both parties can reap incredible rewards and discover new opportunities. These trusted relationships can lead to new business introductions and even new business ventures for both the mentor and the student. In this episode of Onward Nation, encore guest and “Original Shark” on Shark Tank Kevin Harrington discusses the broad benefits that make these relationships so rewarding, he discusses how to find and how to use a mentor effectively to get the most out of the relationship, and he shares stories of his own experiences both as a mentee and as a mentor to others.

How to Find a Great Mentor

Before you can learn how to use a mentor effectively, you have to find the right mentor that fits your business and its needs. As Kevin explained during the interview, the best way to find the ideal mentor is to explore your existing relationships with the lawyers, accountants, and other professionals you’re already working with. Your professional network knows your business and your values and can potentially connect you with a great mentor who would be a good fit for your business and its current challenges. As Kevin suggested, ask yourself who you write checks to and start mining those relationships.

How to Use a Mentor Effectively

Once you’ve formed a relationship with a mentor (or as a mentor with a new mentee), be clear and upfront about your expectations. As the mentee, it’s your job to prove to your mentor that you are their best, most attentive student. Respect the wisdom your mentor is willing to share, and take action based on their recommendations. If you “don’t have time” to follow their guidance, why should they spend the time mentoring you? Learning how to use a mentor effectively is about listening, communicating, and then following through. If you put in the effort, the rewards both you and your mentor will discover may surprise you.

How to use a mentor effectively

About Kevin Harrington

As an “Original Shark” on the hit TV show Shark Tank, the creator of the infomercial, pioneer of the “As Seen on TV” brand, and co-founding board member of the Entrepreneur’s Organization, Kevin Harrington has pushed past all the questions and excuses to repeatedly enjoy 100X success. His legendary work behind the scenes of business ventures has produced more than $5 billion in global sales, the launch of more than 500 products, and the making of dozens of millionaires. He’s launched massively successful products like The Food Saver, Ginsu Knives, The Great Wok of China, The Flying Lure, and many more. He has worked with amazing celebrities turned entrepreneurs including, like Billy Mays, Tony Little, Jack LaLanne, and George Foreman to name a few. Kevin’s been called the Entrepreneur’s Entrepreneur and the Entrepreneur Answer Man, because he knows the challenges unique to start-ups and has a special passion for helping entrepreneurs succeed.

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Sep 30, 2020

Good Morning…I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI and your host for Onward Nation.

One of the things that I love most about my role at Predictive — is that every single day — I have an opportunity to talk with, work alongside with, and teach and share with business owners just like you.

They might own a marketing or advertising agency as I do, or they might be a rockin’ awesome business coach, or maybe the owners of a consultancy — and they too love being in the trenches being helpful…sharing the best of what they’ve got with their audience…and as a result…they’ve started to — or have already — built a nation of true fans.

All of the what, why’s, and how to’s for build a nation of true fans is what we’re going to focus on in today’s solocast.

I’ll map it out in full transparency — and as always — please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I’m happy to help.

As you’ll hear in a few minutes — your first step in building your nation of true fans has nothing to do with the actual content delivery platform — channel — or the type of cornerstone content you create — but has everything to do with the value and helpfulness of what you will be creating, sharing, and delivering to your audience, because your nation of true fans will be built on a foundation of valuable, super helpful content that your audience can use to be better at their jobs everyday.

Your nation of true fans will know your heart and that your intention is to help them grow, to learn, and to be better. It never feels like a transactional relationship.

They don’t feel like you’re trying to monetize them.

Do they spend money on your services and what your team provides — yes — your true fans do. And the rest of your audience are there just for the golden nuggets — and that’s 100 percent okay.

So let’s begin walking down this path — you and I are going to take a look at strategy and tactics for how you can build a nation of true fans from the cornerstone content you are creating on a consistent basis. The way you win long-term is by creating content that develops and nurtures long-term relationships with your audience.

These relationships are what Wired Magazine founder Kevin Kelly calls “True Fans.” And in my opinion — true fans represent your ROI Scorecard’s ultimate vital metric.

To paraphrase Kelly — any business owner can create a solid revenue stream around a community of approximately 1,000 people when they are “True Fans” of what the company sells and when there is a connection between the company and its fans based on the value provided. In this solocast — I will illustrate how a consistent effort toward creating consistent cornerstone content can create a nation of true fans for your business, too.

Your nation of true fans will be fans of you, fans of your point of view, and fans of the helpful content you create and share. Your fans will support you because of the sacred bond you have built with them and because you consistently delivered massive value through your content.

Okay — now let’s get dialed in on building your nation of true fans: a sense of community, collaboration, and profitability around your business.

And could there be a more critical time than right now to do this for your business, Onward Nation?

If you get this right — it will be a super helpful strategy to not only help you come roaring out the other side of this recession — but — this strategy will help you future proof your business for years to come.

Let’s begin by breaking the phrase “Build a nation of true fans” into its three core ingredients. The first is “build”, the second is “nation”, and the third is “true fans.”

Ingredient #1: Build…as in your platform.

How would you begin to “build” a nation of true fans? You’d begin with selecting the form of cornerstone content where you intend to share your insights and wisdom with your audience — or eventual audience.

Whether that’s a…

  • Podcast
  • Speaking
  • Blog
  • Video series
  • Research project
  • Writing a book
  • Or something else

The platform you choose is irrelevant from a tech perspective. Any or all of the above can help you build a nation of true fans. The tech behind it all is relatively easy. Is there a learning curve? Sure.

Will you feel at times like you are trying to fly the space shuttle with so many knobs and buttons to push? Sure. How does Facebook Live work? What time of day should I create a story on Instagram? What kind of camera and mic are best if I want to be a serious YouTuber?

All of these are tech questions — and within an afternoon with your best friend Google — you can solve those problems and find the answers as long as you don’t let the fear of the unknown become paralyzing to you.

So let’s shift our focus away from the tech — and instead — focus on the value you will be providing through those channels?

What’s your story?

How will you serve your audience?

How will you make what you are doing so valuable to their business or life, that they actually consider you to be indispensable?

How will you become so consistent in the help, advice, recommendations, and over value that you are providing on a consistent basis — that you BUILD deposits in their emotional bank account?

They begin to trust you — they begin to like you — and then because of them liking you and trusting you…they move even closer to you by truly KNOWING you.

So, your first step in building your nation of true fans has nothing to do with the actual content delivery platform and has everything to do with the value of what you will be delivering — because your nation of true fans is built on VALUE.

And if you get that right — the actual platform — or your conduit through which you share your value — will fall into place — and it will feel less stressful because the value you were called — put on this Earth to deliver — will then be in the driver’s seat.

You, Onward Nation — will become unstoppable.

Will there be profit to be made for your business because you built a nation of true fans? Of course. To date — Onward Nation has helped Predictive ROI generate over $4 million in revenue and we feel blessed and honored about that result outcome. And we believe that this result outcome was made possible because we never placed ourselves first. Ever.

Now let’s shift our attention toward Ingredient #2: “Nation.”

And I want to make sure we address this because we live in a world where bigger lists, bigger subscribers, massive downloads, huge customer lists, etc. etc. etc. is what attracts headlines and massive attention.

You don’t need an email list of 100,000 people. You don’t need to have a podcast that gets a million downloads a month. You don’t need to have a customer list with 20,000 prospects on it.

Nope. You don’t.

That’s not your Nation.

What you need — realistically — depending on the size of your business is somewhere between 100 to 1,000 high-qualified prospects.

That’s it…100 to 1,000 of the very best prospects who precisely match your client avatar — in fact — your knowledge with some of these people is so deep that you can boldly claim them as your Dream 25 prospects.

If you need a refresher on why your Dream 25 matters — go back to Episode 308 of Onward Nation — and I map it all out — how to figure out who your Dream 25 is — and — how to romance your Dream 25 so they understand how important they are to you.

To take this point deeper — I want to share a very tangible example of a company that grew from zero to become a multi-billion a year company — yes — billion — with a capital B.

My mentor, Darren Hardy, former publisher of SUCCESS Magazine…decided to interview my friend Cody Foster, co-founder of Advisors Excel and to share the interview on the SUCCESS CD that rides along with the magazine.

During the interview with Darren, Cody shared several personal stories of very humble beginnings — and how those stories — helped shaped the kind of company Advisors Excel has become.

A company packed full — wall to wall — of incredible people — a team whose sole focus is to deliver more and more value every day to the financial advisors around the country they are there to serve. And Advisors Excel team does it masterfully well. They have BUILT their platform — a platform that is indeed built on a solid foundation of value.

But…did they build this platform by trying to serve the 60,000 financial advisors located in the state of Florida alone?


How about all of the financial advisors up and down the west coast?


Did they focus on spending large amounts of advertising dollars trying to reach everyone they could with their message of value, value, value?

Not at all.

Instead…they meticulously selected 1,000 of the very best financial advisors who they wanted to earn the opportunity to serve. Yes, Onward Nation, Cody shared with Darren that they built a list of 1,000 financial advisors — just 1,000 — and then they went to work to deliver more value than another other insurance marketing organization in the industry to the 1,000 advisors they wanted to work with.

The 1,000 advisors became their Nation…and advisors outside of the Nation didn’t exist. Advisors Excel was solely focused on being the best they could be for this small group of prospects.

So what was the result outcome?

Well, in year 8 of the business…they reached over $8 billion in revenue. $8 billion, Onward Nation.

When they are the right prospects — you don’t need 10,000…you actually only need a small number to make your business amazingly successful and profitable. 1,000 people — who you can love on — who you can support — who you can add value to — who then in turn are excited to do for you some of what you already shared with them.

Okay — now let’s move to Ingredient #3 — True Fans

We’ll begin by taking the number 1,000 — deeper — because it is a magical number and a vital priority for your business.

According to Kevin Kelly, if a business created a base of customers who were more like fans — 1,000 True Fans — then that business could become sustainable and profitable by simply focusing on the needs of its true fans.

And if you visit the Show Notes for today’s solocast…you will find a link to Kevin Kelly’s blog post as well as the long tail curve he created to illustrate the 1,000 true fans strategy.

Kelly describes “True Fans” as customers who will help you mobilize and move your business onward to that next level. They are true fans of you — true fans of your message — true fans of your business.

They will support you because of the sacred bond you have built with them.

A bond that was built upon — and continues to be built upon — the foundation of the value you create, you deliver, and the value you share with them on a consistent basis.

Whether you do that every day — every week — no matter what the schedule — no matter what the rhythm — the fact that you are consistent is what is important.

According to Kevin, “A True Fan” is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to visit your location.

They will buy the super deluxe version of your product even though they already own the standard version, too.

They have a Google Alert set for your name.

They have bookmarked your website.

They come to your product announcements — or — ribbon cutting ceremonies for a new office location.

They come to your book signings and ask for you to sign their copy.

They cannot wait for your next webinar — your next podcast episode — your next event — your next release of whatever.

And the best way to increase sales for your company is to connect with your True Fans directly…so you need to have a platform built on value…see? We keep coming back to that foundational truth.

Onward Nation, 1,000 true fans is a very reasonable number. As Kevin explains in his brilliant blog post… “if you added one fan a day, it would take only three years. True Fanship is doable.

Pleasing a True Fan is pleasurable, and invigorating.”

The key challenge is that you have to maintain direct contact with your 1,000 True Fans. And you do that through building your platform — delivering value — and making sure you are using the right conduit so it reaches your 1,000 true fans on a consistent basis.

Again…it doesn’t matter if you use a podcast, blog, write a book, video series, or some other form of cornerstone content.
What’s important to identify is not the form of content where you’re most comfortable — but — the platform your fans use the most. What’s the best conduit to them?

For me — it’s this podcast, the books I write, the annual research we do, the webinars where I can teach longer form, and the videos we share every Sunday.

But there is also another piece to True Fans…and that are the concentric circles of “Lesser Fans.”

This segment of your audience will not purchase everything you produce, and may not seek out direct contact, but they will buy much of what you produce.

The processes you develop to feed your True Fans will also nurture Lesser Fans. As you build your nation of True Fans, you will also add many more Lesser Fans.

And as you are building…don’t avoid…don’t miss the opportunity to go deep…to develop intimacy with your audience…with your true fans.

Onward Nation…that’s one of the reasons I ask for feedback so often.

My team and I legitimately want to get better — but — I also want to hear from you — to get to know you — to learn from you — and to deliver even more value so Onward Nation becomes — and hopefully remains — your most favorite podcast.

Okay…you now have a tangible recipe for building your own nation of true fans — and when you do — your nation will become this amazing, awesome, wonderful, beautiful, incredible community of people who are generous with their feedback and help guide your business in the right direction to deliver value.

Consider Kevin Kelly’s lesson as you build out your cornerstone content. Ask yourself how you can continually add more and more value like Cody Foster and his team at Advisors Excel.

Because when you build your nation — and focus on being helpful not transactions — your business, your team, and your life move onward to a completely new level.

So with that…I want to say thank you again for taking the time to be here with me today.

It’s always an honor to have you here. 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 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. That’s how we get better.

Remember — now’s the time to double down — all of the data is on your side.

Until next week — onward with gusto!

Sep 23, 2020

Jonathan Silver is Founder and CEO of Affinity Solutions. Affinity is the authoritative source of truth for news outlets, not-for-profits, research firms, and businesses in the US and the only source for purchase insights that can be analyzed by demographic, geographic, lifestyle segment, and political affiliation. Jonathan’s vision is to transform data insights into experiences that improve people’s lives.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Jonathan’s background and his journey into entrepreneurship with Affinity
  • How privacy is respected, maintained, and never breached during the data collection process
  • Why access to data plays such a profound role in a company’s ability to navigate crises
  • How Jonathan was able to pivot his business using data-driven insights as the solution
  • The licensing/subscription model Jonathan created for Affinity Solutions
  • The skills we need on our team and in our business to make the right decisions using data insights
  • Why bringing data solutions to your clients will drastically separate you from your competitors
  • How mentorship has paid Jonathan dividends to this day


Additional Resources:

Sep 16, 2020

Sean Ammirati co-founded mSpoke, which was the first acquisition of LinkedIn. His next startup was Peak Strategy, which was acquired by Morgan Stanley.

Today, he focuses on being a partner at Birchmere Ventures, where they invest in seed-stage SaaS and marketplace startups. Since its start in 1996, they’ve invested in 135 companies with 51 exits. Sean also teaches entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Sean’s entrepreneurial journey
  • The philosophy behind “The Science of Growth: Why Some Companies Scale While Others Stall”
  • Why entrepreneurship is more about being obsessive with the problems your customers have than it is about an idea
  • Sean’s 3-step framework for how companies scale-up
  • How to adapt to a changing marketplace using Sean’s 4 prerequisites
  • 4 catalyzing events that can help startups drive growth
  • How to vet and evaluate potential capital partners so that you are accepting smart money for your startup
  • Why we need a greater number of entrepreneurs now more than ever


Additional Resources:

Sep 9, 2020

Jacob Morgan is a four-time bestselling author, keynote speaker, and trained futurist who explores leadership, employee experience, and the future of work. He is the founder of, an online education, and training platform that helps future proof individuals and organizations by teaching them the skills they need to succeed in the future of work. He is also the host of the weekly podcast The Future of Work, where he talks with top-level executives and bestselling authors about everything related to the future of work.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How Jacob’s career journey started with him being a “terrible student”, and why a negative experience with a former boss pushed Jacob into his entrepreneurial journey
  • How Jacob’s passion for the future and for leadership became a new career, and how he got certified as a futurist
  • Why the six key concepts for the future are AI & technology; the pace of change; the new talent landscape; purpose & meaning; morality, ethics & transparency; and globalization
  • Jacob explains these six concepts and shares why each doesn’t stand alone but serve as an interconnected system
  • How the average lifespan of a company on the S&P 500 has gone from 60 years in the 1950s to 20 years in 1990 and is expected to drop to just 14 years in 2026
  • How the framework of “job, purpose, impact and meaning” offers a guide to achieving your goals and maximizing results as a leader
  • Why leaders shouldn’t fear people disagreeing with them but should be more concerned about whether people understand what they stand for in the first place
  • What Jacob has determined to be the four mindsets and five skills that business leaders need to master to operate in the future
  • How there are two types of challenges for organizations, and how Jacob’s Notable Nine skills can help you overcome both types of challenges
  • Jacob shares some surprising research results highlighting aspects of the relationship between employees and their leaders


Additional Resources:

Sep 2, 2020

Cate Stillman, founded in 2001, a $1 M+ revenue a year business. Cate is a leader and author in the field of Ayurveda, Peak Performance, and Habits (titles: Body Thrive; Master of You); podcaster with 2M downloads, and global community builder. She runs Yogahealer with her remote team (10 contractors + 40 work studies), so she can ski, surf and run rivers with her family in the Tetons and Mexico.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How Cate recently released her new book, Master of You, and what key information and business skills the book teaches readers
  • How Cate’s team became dysfunctional and left her taking over 80% of her team’s work, and how she made a massive change to correct the issue
  • How Cate reassembled her team with a diverse and global group of 1099 employees and built a seven-figure “lifestyle business”
  • How creating courses and teaching others became cornerstone content that led to Cate’s books, and how the books then feed into an interest in the courses
  • How Cate’s wellness business model became another way for her to teach and serve others within the wellness industry
  • How the global pandemic has impacted Cate’s business and what silver linings she has been able to identify for her business despite the crisis
  • How Cate’s business, at its core, is about helping people and businesses become more adaptable and resilient
  • What valuable lessons Cate learned through building her business and during the global pandemic crisis, and how alignment and intentionality were key
  • How Cate uses peer mentorship as a cornerstone of her coaching business, and why influencers are powerful resources
  • How Cate converted a relatively unsuccessful and unprofitable course she created into the future of her thought leadership cornerstone content


Additional Resources:

Aug 26, 2020

Tim Cameron-Kitchen is a Digital Marketing expert and Head Ninja at Exposure Ninja. Exposure Ninja works and consults with businesses in every imaginable market around the world, helping them to increase their website rankings, traffic, and profit. Tim has been working in Digital Marketing since 2005, setting up Exposure Ninja in 2012.

Tim’s five bestselling digital marketing books, online courses, seminars, and the Exposure Ninja podcast, teach tens of thousands of businesses each year. Tim is a regular speaker at the B2B Marketing Expo at London’s Excel and at private seminars and workshops.

When he’s not Ninja-ing, Tim’s trying to persuade his son Luca to come to the cricket with him, going to the gym with his wife, or fixing the destruction caused by three cat children, Ninja, Samurai, and Shinobi.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Why the fundamentals of SEO haven’t changed at all since 2012, even if new “flavors” of SEO have come along
  • Why the quality of your content is growing to be more important than ever before as Google’s algorithm has evolved over time
  • Why posting content without a clear content strategy is the biggest mistake businesses are making in their SEO today
  • How the three stages a person will go through when searching for content (curiosity, research, and intent) differ, and why it is important to target people at the right stage
  • Why just a few posts will drive the majority of your blog traffic, and how creating a volume of posts is important for creating a few truly powerful posts
  • Why having dedicated pages devoted to specific topics is more effective than catchall pages, and why long articles full of interesting content can be highly effective
  • Why mapping out potential questions prospects would have about your business can help you determine what content to create to address those questions
  • How consulting with your sales team can help you better understand what questions prospects are commonly asking and can give you guidance on your content
  • Tim shares strategies for turning your content into more leads and potential customer conversions
  • How creating content around trending topics within the news cycle can be a powerful way to be helpful to new audiences


Additional Resources:

Aug 21, 2020

Chris Prefontaine is the best-selling author of Real Estate on Your Terms: Create Continuous Cash Flow Now, Without Using Your Cash or Credit. He’s also the founder of and the Smart Real Estate Coach Podcast.

Chris has been in real estate for over 25 years. His experience includes the construction of over 100 single-family and duplex homes (mostly in the 1990’s and selectively to date), has owned a Realty Executives Franchise (Massachusetts 1994-2000) as broker/owner which maintained high per-agent standards and eventually sold to Coldwell Banker in 2000. The 2000’s included coaching ½ million and higher REALTORs® in order to scale & automate their business throughout the US and Canada. He also participated (and still does selectively) in doing condo conversions (multi-family homes to condos) and “raise the roof” projects (converting single-family ranches to colonials in growth neighborhoods).

Chris has been a big advocate of constant education and participates regularly in high-end mastermind groups, as well as consults with private mentors. He runs his own buying and selling businesses with his family team, which buys 2-5 properties monthly, so they’re in the trenches every single week. They also help clients do the same thing around the country.

Chris and his family team have done over 80 million in real estate transactions. They mentor, coach, consult, and actually partner with students around the country (by application only) to do exactly what they do.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How Chris’s struggles during the 2008 economic crash taught him some painful and difficult lessons about guaranteeing his deals with personal credit
  • How Chris and his team stuck to their specific niche and requirements regardless of the other areas they could have moved into, and why it matters
  • Why firmly planting his flag in the real estate terms niche has positioned him to teach others, especially during these uncertain times
  • Why times of crisis are the ideal times to double down on your expertise and be helpful to your audience
  • How Chris developed his “stacking” philosophy, and how stacking his tasks and goals helps Chris and his family team continue to move the needle
  • How Chris’s theme this year is “bridging the gap”, and how helping people address the gap between themselves and their audience has been key
  • Why it is important to find what you love, get passionate about it, then find someone who is experienced with it and learn from them as much as you can
  • Why planting your flag of authority can help differentiate you from your competition, establish trust, demonstrate your value, and spread your message
  • How Chris teaches his real estate terms deal students to plant their flags as well, and why consistency is vital for planting your flag
  • How Chris made the transition from developing his methods to teaching others, and how sharing his own story helped him connect with others


Additional Resources:

Aug 19, 2020

Fernando Angulo is Head of Communications at SEMrush. He has been with SEMrush since the beginning of the company’s marketing efforts and has built its all-star marketing team. Being one of the most recognized faces of the brand, Fernando is speaking at 50+ top conferences worldwide each year. Fernando specializes in B2B search marketing, e-commerce, influencer marketing, and trained marketing teams of companies such as Expedia, T-mobile, Prestashop, and Bing.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How Fernando started out at SEMrush when the team was small, and how the company has now grown to over a thousand people in multiple countries
  • How SEMrush expanded beyond their two main tools (keyword search and analytics) as search engine optimization (SEO) has grown more complex
  • How SEMrush has recently achieved the new milestone of six million users from just 100,000 users
  • How the SEMrush platform grew and expanded to meet the increasingly diverse needs of the company’s growing customer base
  • How SEO has become more complicated to achieve as internet user expectations have changed, and how SEMrush addresses this complexity by focusing on the user
  • How 20% of your time should be devoted to creating helpful content and then the remaining 80% of your time should be spent featuring and promoting that content
  • How there are three main types of featured snippets in Google search results: paragraph, list and table featured snippets, and how to correctly structure each type
  • Fernando breaks down important key words that users often use and shares how these words indicate how you should structure your results
  • How to tailor your snippet search results for voice search, and how to position your site to land the coveted featured snippet position
  • Why building a well-equipped marketing team requires equipping that team with the best technology and tools


Additional Resources:

Aug 14, 2020

Menlo Innovations CEO Rich Sheridan became disillusioned in the middle of his career in the chaotic technology industry. He had an all-consuming thought: things can be better. Much better. He had to find a way. Why couldn’t a workplace be filled with camaraderie, human energy, creativity, and productivity?

Ultimately, Rich co-founded Menlo Innovations in 2001 to end human suffering in the workplace. His unique approach to custom software creation is so surprisingly different, that 3,000 people a year travel from around the world just to see how they do it.

His passion for creating joyful work environments led to his bestselling and widely celebrated book, Joy, Inc. – How We Built a Workplace People Love. His highly anticipated second book, Chief Joy Officer, came out December 4, 2018 and will continue to prove that a positive and engaging leadership style is actually good for business.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Richard shares the story of Menlo Innovations and its focus on ending human suffering in the workplace by spreading joy
  • What the 5000+ visitors to Menlo Innovations have seen that sets the company’s culture in a league of its own
  • How the global pandemic has impacted Menlo Innovations, and how their powerful culture helped them make the transition to being a 100% virtual office
  • How the team adapted to using remote work tools like Zoom and were able to maintain their unique culture even remotely
  • How the team developed a sequence to navigate the crisis: survive, adapt, sustain, emerge stronger, and thrive again
  • How the outbreak of the pandemic took Richard by surprise and was difficult to adapt to, and why it’s natural to struggle through difficulties
  • Why Richard wrote Chief Joy Officer, the follow up to Joy, Inc., and what important topics he covers in the new book
  • Why the intentionally joyful culture at Menlo is helping the organization maintain optimism through these difficult times, and why joy isn’t the same as happiness
  • Why Richard feels the two strongest aspects of the culture at Menlo are that the team actually believes in it and that they want it to survive
  • How Richard equates leading a business with flying an airplane, with forces of lift vs. weight and thrust vs. drag applying to businesses too


Additional Resources:

Aug 12, 2020

Good Morning Onward Nation – I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI and your host.

Thanks for coming back — it’s an honor to have you here, Onward Nation — and this episode is going to be a solocast…where it’s just you and me…taking a deep dive into a topic where I’ve been answering a lot of questions in my daily calls and meetings with business owners just like you.

In addition — several weeks ago — we aired Episode 936 which was my interview with Shay Rowbottom — one of today’s foremost influencers on how to crack the LinkedIn code in order to gain more visibility and to build community.

And the feedback we received from you, Onward Nation made me think it was time to focus a solocast around LinkedIn — but in a super specific way so that you could walk away with specific strategies and steps for filling your sales pipeline with an abundance of right fit prospects.

My thought is — that if you and I could have that type of strategic yet tactical discussion…and we could do that in August…you’d have one more arrow in your lead gen quiver and be ready to make the remainder of 2020 as fruitful and profitable as possible.

So that’s what you and I are going to cover in this solocast…how to effectively use LinkedIn like a pro so you and your team can generate a steady stream of well-prepared prospects so that you have a full pipeline as we step into the final 4-months of the year.

Before we dig in…I want to first make sure that we have a brief discussion around expectations.

Generating leads is not hard work…in fact…it is 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 certainly guarantee that you or someone on your team will be frustrated at the beginning because you don’t see immediate success.

You may even pound your first on your conference room table and wonder why the results are not better — or — you may get upset at your sales team for what seems to be a lack of productivity.

The key is — to get out there and start testing for yourself the recipe that I’m going to share with you in this episode.

You need to get as many at bats as you can. And if you strike out — to realize that that’s okay — that that’s too be expected — and you get up, dust yourself off, and you step back into the batter’s box to get ready for another swing.

Because the more at bats you have — the more opportunities you have to make adjustments — to make improvements — and to perfect your swing.

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

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 all-time list of total strikeouts.

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

To say that another way…there have only been 11 people in the history of baseball who struck out and failed more often than Derek Jeter.

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

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

To minimize your strikeouts — I’m going to coach you through the right recipe for success…so that you not only have the ingredients you will need…but…you will also have the process so you know what ingredient to blend in and when.

That way — all you need to do is follow the recipe and then rinse and repeat.

Sound fair?

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 706 million LinkedIn members — yes, 706 million.

And according to research done by Hubspot — LinkedIn is 277% more effective than Facebook and Twitter at generating leads. And 79% of marketers see LinkedIn as a very good source of leads with 43% of marketers saying they have sourced at least one customer from LinkedIn. And B2B marketers shared with Hubspot that 80% of their social media related leads came from LinkedIn.

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

930. Interesting.


Because if 930 is the average — some are higher — some are lower — but you tend not to get 930 connections by accident — you work at it — so if someone has 930 connections — it is likely intentional.

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

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 706 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 930 connections on the platform.

All of that speaks to your opportunity of finding and connecting with the prospects who can fill your sales pipeline, Onward Nation.

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

Our recipe for how to effectively use LinkedIn to fill your sales pipeline consists of seven core ingredients.

I’m going to share the full list with you — and then we will go back and dissect each one.

Ingredient #1: Improve your LinkedIn profile by adding video / audio clips, value proposition, etc. to your Summary.

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

Ingredient #3: Build your prospect list using LinkedIn’s advanced lead gen tools like Sales Navigator.

Ingredient #4: Send InMail messages to your top prospects — and be sure to speak the language of your “client avatar.”

Okay — 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 making sure your LinkedIn profile is not just good — but that it is excellent — dare I say optimized.

Why does this matter?

Because when you send InMail messages as part of Ingredient #4…the very first place your recipients — your prospective clients will go to learn more about you — is your LinkedIn profile.

And if your profile 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 if you look like you don’t care — they won’t either — and they won’t respond to you.

Maybe your InMail was just spam — you are ignored — and they move on.

Or, if you take 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 #4 — 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.

And — at Predictive ROI — my team and I have been experimenting with long-form LinkedIn posts…typically about 800 to 1,000 characters…with a bold headline that includes a search term…and we have seen Google indexing this content and ranking well in search results.

So — you’ve undoubtedly heard people talk about “optimizing” your LinkedIn profile for search…yep, it’s a thing.

Okay — this is going to sound self promotional…and hopefully you know me well enough now to know…that I’m only mentioning this to give you a good tangible example.

Go to LinkedIn and look me up — send me a connection request…and you will see illustrations of each step I just shared with you.

Now on to Ingredient #2 — import your existing email list into LinkedIn and send connection requests.

To make sure we’re on the same page here — I’m talking about taking your email list — the list you communicate with often — consisting of customers, prospects, your full community of email subscribers — 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 or more.

And the next time a prospective client checks out your LinkedIn profile — they may see the larger number — and for some people — the larger the number — the more impressive and more credible.

Second…your number of 1st-degree connections in LinkedIn impacts the number of prospects you will be able to see during Ingredient #3 of this process — when you use LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator tool.

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. Rock solid awesome!

Now, here’s what’s interesting. My nearly 27,000 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 26,000 1st connections theoretically extrapolates out to a total network of 680 million people when considering 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd-degree connections.

Yes, 680 million…which means I can roughly see just about everyone in LinkedIn.


I can search through a huge number of people during Ingredient #3 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. And unfortunately, LinkedIn does not make this process very intuitive or easy. But — hang with me…here’s how you do it.

Click the “My Network” tab in the main navigation. You will then be taken to a screen that on the left side reads “Connections” at the top left column all the way down to “Hashtags” as the last open in the left menu.

Click on the first option…”Connections.”

From this screen — this is where it gets wonky.

On the far left…you should see an option that reads… “Your contact import is ready. Connect with your contacts and never lose touch.”

And you should see a button underneath that reads “Connect”.

Click connect.

Next you will be taken to a screen that shows a list of a whole bunch of people from your contact list, etc. that are on LinkedIn…and LinkedIn is offering to send a bulk connect request to them.

Click the little check box in the upper left — and then the blue “Add Connections” button and by doing so — you will invite hundreds if not thousands of new people into your network.

Awesome…but we’re not done yet.

The next screen will give you a list of people who you know who are not yet using LinkedIn…and LinkedIn is asking you for permission to email them on your behalf to entice them to join LinkedIn.

To me — that feels a bit yucky — so I recommend that you click the “Skip” button.

Okay — then finally…we have almost arrived to what I actually wanted to show you.

When you skip the last step…you will receive a screen with a headline that reads, “Didn’t see anyone you wanted to invite?”

Well — at the bottom…in hard to read gray text…is a link that reads “Done for now.”

And when you click the “Done for Now” link…the magic happens.

You will be taken to a screen where you can do several things…you can connect LinkedIn to your email service and it will pull out your list of contacts for you…awesome.

Or — from this screen…you can also upload your email list and send connection requests to all of them instantly.


Okay, back to lead gen and Ingredient #3: How to build your prospect list using LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator Tool.

Sales Navigator is a premium version of LinkedIn — but and my guess this happens to you a lot, too — I am often offered the opportunity to upgrade from the Free version of LinkedIn into one of the premium versions several times of year.

And when we have a major biz dev push or campaign taking place — we definitely make the upgrade. But for maintaining your profile and sharing your thought leadership content — LinkedIn’s free version works just fine.

So let’s do a quick tour of Sales Navigator.

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

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 — 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.

So now what?

Ingredient #4 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

In today’s show notes — I included an actual InMail message — a template — you can use to create your own.

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 our free Resources Library at you will be able to download our free workbook on how to create your ideal client avatar.

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

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.

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.

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.”

Don’t 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.”

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 — 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.

Remember — now’s the time to double down. The data is on your side.

Onward with gusto!

Aug 7, 2020

Robbie Kellman Baxter has been advising entrepreneurs on business strategy for 20 years. Her clients have included solopreneurs and venture-backed startups as well as industry leaders such as ASICS, Netflix, Electronic Arts, and The Wall Street Journal. She has worked with nearly 100 organizations in over 20 industries on growth initiatives.

A sought-after writer and keynote speaker, Robbie has presented at top universities, associations and corporations, as well as to corporate boards and leadership teams around the world. Robbie has created and starred in 10 video courses in collaboration with LinkedIn Learning on business topics ranging from innovation to customer success and membership.

As the author of The Membership Economy: Find Your Superusers, Master the Forever Transaction & Build Recurring Revenue, a book that has been named a top 5 Marketing Book of the Year by, Robbie coined the popular business term “Membership Economy”. Robbie’s expertise with companies in the emerging Membership Economy extends to include SaaS, media, consumer products and community organizations.

Prior to launching Peninsula Strategies, Robbie was a strategy consultant at Booz-Allen, a New York City Urban Fellow and a Silicon Valley product marketer. Robbie received her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and graduated with honors from Harvard College.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Why membership and subscription plans are becoming ubiquitous across almost all industries and types of organizations
  • What key trends Robbie is identifying around subscription models, and why subscriptions offer greater value to customers even for physical products
  • Why embedding a “forever promise” into your long-term strategy is vital for helping you refocus your business, and how to achieve product/market fit and scale your model
  • Why periodically reviewing how you are delivering on your promise is necessary to ensure that you’re doing so in the most effective way
  • What common pitfalls to watch out for, anticipate, and avoid when setting up a subscription model
  • Why a “dashboard of metrics” can offer you better insights into where your opportunities for improving engagement can be found
  • Why identifying your problems and challenges using intentionality and strategy is the secret to providing great value for your membership
  • Robbie shares the story of the founders of LinkedIn’s first business, a dating website, and the issues they had with a “short term promise” business model
  • How to navigate the infinitely complex issue of pricing, and how to change your pricing in a transparent way
  • How to avoid the trap of “subscription fatigue” with your customers by delivering the right amount of unique value, and why hiding your cancel button is a huge mistake


Additional Resources:

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