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: April, 2018
Apr 30, 2018

Brett Gilliland is founder and CEO of Elite Entrepreneurs, which specializes in helping business owners who are running companies that generate a million dollars or more in annual revenue by giving them the knowledge, tools, and processes they need grow and scale to $10 million and beyond. He’s an expert in organization development, leadership, and strategy and spent 10 years helping Infusionsoft grow from $7 million in annual revenue to over $100 million. One of Brett’s favorite professional accomplishments is co-creating Infusionsoft’s Elite Forum alongside CEO Clate Mask and building the Elite business inside of Infusionsoft.

What you'll learn about in this episode:

  • The importance of scaling a company with a culture that you are passionate about
  • How Brett’s path and journey led to him to co-create Infusionsoft’s Elite Forum
  • How Elite Forum helps small businesses scale and be built to last
  • The predictable stages that all small businesses grow through
  • The importance of transitioning your mindset from entrepreneur to CEO
  • Why you need to set your vision, enroll people in the process of that vision, and then get them to execute the vision
  • Why the number one role as a leader in your business is to set the vision
  • Why as a leader you need to ensure you are consistently reinforcing your vision
  • The importance of hiring the right employees that fit with the culture and values of your business
  • How taking a step back from the whirlwind of your business allows you to make decisions and refocus

Ways to contact Brett:

To access and download the “Stages of Small Business,” just go...

For more information about the Elite Forum...

Apr 27, 2018

Clate Mask is the CEO and co-founder of Infusionsoft, the leading all-in-one sales and marketing software built for small businesses and eight-time Inc. 500 or Inc. 5000 winner. Clate was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, a Top 100 Small Business Influencer by Small Business Trends, and one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2013 by Goldman Sachs. Clate is a national speaker on entrepreneurship and small business success, and he is the co-author of the New York Times bestselling book, “Conquer the Chaos: How to Grow a Successful Small Business Without Going Crazy.”

What you'll learn about in this episode:

  • Why the challenges of being an entrepreneur never go away
  • Why every service business should build a productized component to what they do
  • The advantages of delivering your product on a subscription basis
  • The importance of targeting customers who need the product you are offering
  • Why you need to have discipline to say no to the wrong customers
  • Why businesses that have capital behind them often fail
  • The importance of being intentional and very clear about the vision for your business
  • Why you need sales, marketing automation and a CRM to grow your business
  • The importance of having the right mentors at the right time
  • How Infusionsoft continues to work to simplify growth for millions of small businesses

Ways to contact Clate:

Apr 26, 2018

Judith Humphrey is the founder of The Humphrey Group, a premier leadership communications firm. She is a communications expert whose business teaches global clients how to communicate as confident and compelling leaders. Judith is the author of three books including the upcoming “Impromptu: Leading in the Moment”, an acclaimed speaker, and a columnist for Fast Company. And in 2012, Judith was the recipient of the prestigious YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Entrepreneurship.

What you'll learn about in this episode:

  • The importance of making your message inspirational to the audience
  • Why inspirational leadership is critical
  • Why leadership today has nothing to do with your title, your rank, or your power
  • Why Judith felt it was important to write her latest book “Impromptu: Leading in the Moment”
  • Why business owners need to train and prepare themselves for impromptu speaking
  • Why listening is very important in impromptu speaking
  • The importance of knowing your audience and reading them well
  • Judith explains the 4-part template for structuring the leader script
  • Why communication is the most important skill when running a business
  • Why you should always prepare to be spontaneous in your role as an entrepreneur

Ways to contact Judith:

Apr 25, 2018

Al Harris was a founding partner of the Chicago law firm of Ungaretti & Harris, which in 2015, merged with the national law firm of Nixon Peabody. At Ungaretti & Harris, he served for many years as managing partner and then as a member of its Executive and Compensation Committees. Al is co-author with his wife, Andie Kramer, of the book Breaking Through Bias: Communication Techniques for Women to Succeed at Work, which was named one of the best business books of 2016 by Women@Work. He is also the co-author of over 150 articles and blog posts on promoting diversity and overcoming stereotypes and biases.

What you'll learn about in this episode:

  • Why Al and his wife Andie were committed to writing “Breaking Through Bias”
  • How many well intentioned businesses often times have unconscious biases
  • The importance of overcoming the affinity bias
  • How the negative bias pigeonholes women
  • How the agentic bias affects women in the workplace
  • Why every business must assume that some level of gender bias is occurring within their organization
  • The best way to try to reduce gender bias within your company
  • The importance of being careful when making decisions that affect people’s careers
  • The value of having two different individuals perform evaluations
  • Why when making career affecting decisions you should compare individuals against each other

Ways to contact Al:

Apr 23, 2018

Stephanie Chandler is the Founder and CEO of the Nonfiction Authors Association - an educational community for experienced and aspiring writers. She is the author of several books including “Own Your Niche” and “The Nonfiction Book Marketing Plan.” Stephanie has been featured in Entrepreneur and BusinessWeek and is also the Founder of the Nonfiction Writers Conference - an annual event held entirely online and this year scheduled for May 2nd through the 4th.

What you'll learn about in this episode:

  • Why Stephanie felt it was important to start her business, the Nonfiction Authors Association
  • The typical member profile for the Nonfiction Authors Association
  • Why you should consider having a book as part of your business development plan
  • How having a book makes you an instant expert
  • The importance of finding your target audience and building a community
  • How to use your book as a stepping stone to where you want your business to go
  • What are some common obstacles to writing a book
  • How you can use your blog content to help you write a book
  • The importance of building a plan and a revenue stream around your book
  • Why perseverance is the most critical skill needed to succeed

Ways to contact Stephanie:

Apr 20, 2018

Our special encore guest today is David Burkus. He is a best-selling author, a sought after speaker, and associate professor of leadership and innovation at Oral Roberts University. His forthcoming book, Friend of a Friend, offers readers a new perspective on how to grow their networks and build key connections. It can be pre-ordered right now on Amazon. His TEDx talk, Why you should know how much your coworkers get paid, has been viewed over 1.8 million times. He is a regular contributor to Harvard Business Review. may remember David and the wisdom he shared during Episode 338. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all he shared during our first interview...I highly encourage you to add Episode 338 to your list of vital priorities.

What you'll learn about in this episode:

  • Why David felt compelled to write his forthcoming book “Friend of a Friend”
  • The science behind networking
  • Why you don’t have a network, you exist inside of one
  • The importance of learning how networks work and how networks provide value
  • Thinking three dimensionally about the people you know
  • What David refers to as “weak and dormant ties” and why they are important
  • Why reconnecting with your weak ties should become a habit
  • The importance of finding your own authentic way of reaching out to your connections
  • The importance of creating a diverse network
  • Why success can be defined as the balance between drive and gratitude

Ways to contact David:

Apr 19, 2018

Colin Sprake is the owner and lead trainer at Make Your Mark Training and Consulting, founded with a passion to assist entrepreneurs in realizing their full revenue and profit potential and doing it with heart. His business philosophy coupled with his results-driven business success system of live events, group accountability programs, and online trainings have created a vibrant, mutually supportive community of over 60,000 entrepreneurs across Canada and now the United States. Colin is a #1 best-selling author of four books, including Entrepreneur Success Recipe Book and is also the host of the top-rated podcast, MYM Your Business: The Brutal Truth.

What you'll learn about in this episode:

  • Why Colin lives by two key statements; be real, be vulnerable
  • Why Colin believes “your mess is your message”
  • How the events of your childhood shape the person you become
  • How you change the way you perceive events that have happened in your life
  • How to discover the obstacles that are holding you back in your business
  • How your habits will either drive you up or drive you down in every area of your life
  • Why you set intention for each hour of your day
  • How replacing a bad habit with a good habit can get you to where you want to be
  • The influential lesson Colin shares about viewing employees as team members
  • Why you should not only read your vision statement, but feel your vision statement everyday

Ways to contact Colin:

Apr 18, 2018

Good Morning Onward Nation…I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI and your host for Onward Nation. Welcome to Episode 729, which will be solocast — with a twist. If you have been listening to the show for a while now, you know that from time-to-time I change up my solocast recipe and I share an episode where I was a guest of another business owner on his or her podcast.

And I do this from time-to-time because my goal is always to be helpful to you — provide some key insights, some strategies, some new perspectives, some helpful advice or recommendations. And as much as I love going deep into a particular topic during one of our traditional solocasts…sometimes the questions asked by another host are awesome and the overall conversation would also be helpful to you, Onward Nation.

And that is what I am going to share with you this morning. My good friend, Leanne Pressly, a two time guest here at Onward Nation, invited me back from an encore interview for her show called, The Business of Craft.

I was eager to share this with you because Leanne asked me some detailed questions about how to drive revenue and make money from podcasting. You may find the strategies along with the step-by-step recipes I shared with Leanne to be helpful.

Leanne and I also go down the path of mistakes business owners need to avoid if they decide to launch a podcast as part of their cornerstone content strategy.

We even cover specific equipment and the minimal amount of tech a business owner needs to master in order to have successful podcast out in front of their business. Because being successful with your own show, Onward Nation, is less about the microphone and much more about your content strategy, who you are looking to serve, how you serve them, how you will be helpful to your audience, and then ultimately, how your podcast will drive biz dev for your company.

Which is why Leanne and I worked our way through the top three monetization strategies that my Predictive ROI team help clients get into place — and how you can do the same for your business.

And last but not least…Leanne and I confront some of the biggest obstacles to success with FEAR being the most paralyzing. Onward Nation, FEAR is nothing more than the imposter syndrome trying to rear its ugly head — so don’t let it. Leanne and I give you some tips on how to break past this obstacle.

Okay…one last thing before we dive into the discussion with Leanne…our first YouTube video will air on Thursday, May 3rd — it is in our airing schedule — we have been collecting the final footage over the last couple of weeks while we have been in Austin, Seattle, and San Diego working on-site with some of our Predictive clients as well as a couple of speaking engagements.

I am very excited to share Episode 1 of our YouTube series with you on Thursday, May 3rd — stay tuned.

Okay…now let’s dive into the conversation with Leanne Pressly and me on her show, the Business of Craft.

Apr 17, 2018

Our special encore guest today is Scott Beebe and he is the founder and head coach of and the host of the “Business On Purpose” podcast. He liberates Small Business owners from the chaos of working IN their business and helps to get their lives back by articulating and implementing intentional Vision / Mission / Values, Systems, and Processes. may remember Scott and the wisdom he shared during Episode 521. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all he shared during our first interview...I highly encourage you to add Episode 521 to your list of vital priorities.

What you'll learn about in this episode:

  • Why you should create a vision story for your business as well as your family
  • The importance of writing your vision story down
  • How having a vision story for your family allows you to set your families course
  • Why it’s okay to either run towards your vision or away from it
  • Why vision without implementation is hallucination
  • Why you need to have awareness of what success looks like
  • How great effort combined with extensive training makes an A-player
  • Why strategy is part of Scott’s 12-week plan
  • What the makeup of a great team should be

Ways to contact Scott:

Apr 16, 2018

Chris Hallberg is a seasoned business consultant, turnaround expert, United States Army veteran, and the author of The Business Sergeant’s Field Manual. In 2014, he founded Traction Inc., a business advisory company, to focus full-time as one of 65 Certified Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS®) Implementers nationally. Chris is also ranked #9 on Inc.’s “Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts.”

What you'll learn about in this episode:

  • The importance of having a passion for leadership
  • The benefits of adopting a military team based mindset within your company
  • Why Chris wrote his book in the style of a military field manual
  • Why vision without traction is hallucination
  • The importance of understanding that you do not need to be an expert at everything within your business
  • Why having the right people in the right places is critical to your businesses success
  • How having A-players on your team helps the profitability of your company
  • How the level of profitability your willing to accept in your company is a mindset
  • Why you need to know your goal behind the goal
  • The importance of having a commitment and a passion for what you do

Ways to contact Chris:

Apr 13, 2018

Tricia Brouk works in the entertainment industry and applies her expertise as a director and writer for film, television, and theater to the art of Big Talks. She’s written two musicals, a play, a sitcom pilot, a feature film, and is the executive producer of TEDx Lincoln Square. She also hosts the podcast “The Big Talk” on iTunes and is currently writing a show called “Mothers and Daughters” based on interviews she's had with women from the ages of 12 to 90.

What you'll learn about in this episode:

  • Why Tricia applied to be a TEDx organizer
  • Why the speakers Tricia works with often walk on stage as someone, but walk off the stage completely different
  • How switching your point of view can make your idea global
  • Why speaking on topics you are passionate about will organically drive business to your company
  • Why you should view your presentation as a gift you are sharing with others, not an ask
  • How a keynote and a TEDx talk are different
  • What skills you will need to master to be able to give a keynote or a TEDx talk
  • Why you do not need to be a professional speaker to appear on a TEDx stage
  • The importance of knowing you are the brand of your company
  • The importance of being selective on which TEDx you apply to

Ways to contact Tricia:

Apr 12, 2018

Rod Turner is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Manhattan Street Capital — the #1 Growth Capital marketplace for mid-stage companies and mature startups. Throughout his career, he founded multiple startups, three of which were sold to public companies. He played a key role in building Symantec where he lead their most strategic acquisition of Norton Antivirus, which has been called the best merger in the tech industry. Rod is also a consultant to CEOs of large companies and startups and is an expert in crowd funding in businesses.

What you'll learn about in this episode:

  • What an initial coin offering (ICO) is
  • Why bitcoin is a very high potential technology
  • How companies are using bitcoins and in some cases actual tokens
  • How blockchain technology can help track the history of what bitcoins were used for
  • Why the SEC has stepped in to regulate initial coin offerings
  • The size of the SEC compliant token offering market worldwide in 2017 and 2018
  • What size company would be best suited to do a token offering
  • What types of companies are best suited for a Regulation A offering versus a token offering
  • The importance of working with a firm that has experience and knowledge helping businesses navigate the Reg A+, IPO and ICO process
  • How the ability to raise funds has advanced due to the new ways to gain access to capital

Ways to contact Rod:

Apr 11, 2018

Al Zdenek is the President, CEO and Founder of Traust Sollus Wealth Management — one of the premier wealth management companies in the United States. Al is certified public accountant and a personal financial specialist with over thirty years of experience providing wealth management services to senior executives, physicians, and business owners. Al has been selected to appear in lists of the nation’s top financial advisors and is often quoted in Forbes, New York Times, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business Radio, U.S., World News Report, and is an best-selling author.

What you'll learn about in this episode:

  • Why managing cash flow in a business is critical to success
  • Why you need to ensure the best customer and best client you have is you
  • The importance paying close attention to your payables
  • Why you should manage your business like it is your best customer
  • Why you as the owner should have a CFO mindset
  • The need to surround yourself with a championship team
  • Writing down daily goals at the beginning of each day: an important daily habit
  • The importance of taking quick action during the rough times in your business
  • Why communication is a critical skill to master for business success
  • The importance of ensuring your business provides you the lifestyle you want now and into the future

Ways to contact Al:

Apr 10, 2018

Brad Deutser is founder and CEO of Deutser, an award-winning management consulting firm focused on helping organizations and their leaders achieve clarity to drive business performance, and the Deutser Clarity Institute, a think tank, idea accelerator, and innovative learning center. He is also the author of Leading Clarity: The Breakthrough Strategy to Unleash People, Profit and Performance.

What you'll learn about in this episode:

  • How clarity helps drive performance to a fundamentally different level
  • Why clarity is a business tool that rises above strategy, culture and innovation
  • Why Brad wrote his book “Leading Clarity: The Breakthrough Strategy to Unleash People, Profit and Performance”
  • How clarity is about saving lives and changing futures
  • Why performance is driven inside the box
  • The importance of starting each day being purposeful and intentional
  • Why we are not products of our environment, but products of our expectations
  • The importance of a leader believing they can accomplish their goals
  • Why the most critical skill to master is leadership
  • The importance of being committed, not just compliant

Ways to contact Brad:

Apr 9, 2018


Good Morning Onward Nation...I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI and your host for Onward Nation. Welcome to Episode 722, which will be a solocast -- where it will be just you and me covering a topic.

Before we dive into what I would like to share with you this morning -- I would first like to say thank you and to give you an update.

I want to say thank you for you taking the time to be here -- you have a lot of demands on your time -- I know your schedule is compressed -- I know that the life of the business owner means you are pulled in many different directions -- so I greatly appreciate you choosing to be here this morning -- to share some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds that you have today, with me -- I take that very seriously so I wanted to be sure to let you know how much your time means to me.

Second...I owe you an update. In January, I shared that one of our 2018 vital priorities at Predictive ROI was for us to launch a YouTube series -- and our original plan was to have it launched by April -- right now. And it isn’t ready. And I am the reason why. We made some excellent progress -- and then I felt the onslaught of the imposter syndrome and the myriad of questions and a flood of presuppositions hit me -- and in full transparency, Onward Nation -- I let the imposter syndrome break my momentum -- and worse yet -- affect the schedule that I had promised you.

Well, Katherine Baessler, our director of content marketing and a member of my leadership team here at Predictive ROI, called me on it. During our off-site leadership session last week...she asked me why I had fallen behind. She forced me to recognize what was going on -- and it wasn’t comfortable. And she would not let me off the hook until we had a plan in place that I committed to.

So...our first YouTube video will air on Thursday, May 3rd -- it is in our airing schedule -- we are collecting the final footage over the next couple of weeks while my team and I are in Austin, Seattle, and San Diego working on-site with some of our Predictive clients as well as a couple of speaking engagements.

All that is to say -- my team kicked me in rear when I needed it because that is what great teammates do, and as a result, I shoved the imposter syndrome to the curb and got my act together. So...I am very excited to share Episode 1 of our YouTube series with you on Thursday, May 3rd -- stay tuned. for today -- we are going to talk about quitting because the temptation to quit is something we all face -- when the stress is high -- when the problems pile up -- when the fear seems insurmountable -- the temptations to quit a project, quit the business, or the myriad of other temptations can seem more and more attractive. Our momentum breaks, we start to lose our focus, and then pretty soon, we have drifted out to see and are far from the goal back on the shore.

And again in full transparency...had it not been for Katherine on my team stepping in and snapping me back to reality -- we may not have checked the YouTube series off our list of 2018 vital priorities. But -- when Katherine stepped in -- I got mad -- not at her -- but at myself -- because I have never, ever, ever, quit on anything in my life. And I don’t plan to start now.

Quitting in life, quitting in business, quitting on family -- quitting in all its shapes and sizes. It breaks my heart when I see it happen. People who possess an abundance of God-given talent -- as we all do -- but then don’t apply it.

It’s tragic. So I wanted to share some insights about quitting that I have learned over the last 25 years of my career as a business owner -- owning five companies -- but as the lessons I re-learned again last week -- despite all of the experience someone has, the resolve, the commitment, and the track record -- the temptation to quit can still rise up.

So it needs to be counteracted and pushed aside, Onward Nation.

My hope for you is that today’s discussion will help you to push aside any temptations to quit that you may be feeling, too.

So I’m going to start us off by introducing you to one of the most influential mentors in my life...he is someone you have likely never read about, never heard of, never the surface...most people might think he led a rather ordinary life because his name was never up in lights.

He never graced the cover of SUCCESS Magazine...he was never the author of a bestselling book. And he never made the list of top influencers...but...that did not limit his influence or the impact he created in the lives of many.

Because the exterior trappings of success are not the true testimony of the quality of someone’s life. The relationships, the love, the personal impact is the really good stuff, Onward Nation.

I have met many successful people by the world’s standards...they had everything...they had fame, they had fortune, they possessed every material thing you could imagine, and yet, they were miserable.

Their spouse was miserable because he or she never got to see them.

Their kids were miserable because the deep emotional connection that should have been there was missing -- a terrible hole was there instead. A hole that can only be filled by a steady stream of love and caring.

But, the person I am referring to taught me the true definition of success, as well as the power of persistence, the power of tenacity, the power of grit...the power in moving slowly, consistently, and pursuing something over the long haul.

Because when we do these things...great things happen...and all of that was made possible because of his quiet, relentless attitude toward never, ever quitting.

He never quit.

His name was Peter Maronitis.

Peter was born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1902. His family was Greek but they lived in Istanbul. And this was a time when it was not awesome to be a Greek male living, working, or trying to raise a family in Turkey.

There was ethnic cleansing -- a Greek genocide -- such an awful term -- and so it was common that an Greek adult male wouldn’t make it back to his home at night because he had been whacked behind a shed somewhere or rounded up to fight for the Turkish army against whoever they were fighting at the time.

That was the harsh reality of the day -- that Peter’s father had to navigate each day when he left his home for work.

And one day, tragedy struck and Peter’s father didn’t come home. Peter was the ripe old age of 8 years old...his father didn’t come home...and now it looked as though Peter was the man of the house.

Peter ran out of the find his Dad...he searched the city...he got onto a train...he continued his search...looking...desperately...he didn’t was Peter’s first taste of a the relentless pursuit for someone -- for something he loved.

But still...his father would never return.

So, Peter at 8 years old was indeed the man of the house.

He dropped out of the third grade in order to make enough money to support his mother and his younger brother and sister.

Eight years old, Onward Nation.

Peter did it...without complaining...without feeling self-pity...without feeling disadvantaged. He did his duty and he did it with excellence.

Every day...for 10 years.

And despite the end of his formal education at the 3rd grade...he never stopped learning. He studied and read whatever he could get his hands on...and in doing so...a dream was sparked in his mind.

His dream...Peter wanted to make his way to the United States and then own his own build a better life for himself and his family.

He promised his mother, sister, and brother that if he made it to America, he would save his money and come back to get them so they could all live together.

When Peter was 18 years old -- he received that opportunity!

Through some mutual friends...Peter’s dream was set into motion. But isn’t it interesting, Onward through determined, unrelenting focus, hard work, and grit -- what we want most in this world finds its way into our circle?

And Peter’s focus had definitely been unrelenting.

So, Peter made it to the United States with no money and couldn’t speak the language. He followed the mass of Greeks who were headed to Canton, Ohio to work in the steel mills.

Peter worked in the mills for a couple of days and realized that was not going to be the path that would get him closer to his dream of owning his restaurant.

Instead, he pursued a job in a downtown Canton restaurant where he would cut vegetables and wash dishes on the night shift. As you might imagine, Onward was back-breaking work...he bent over a sink and then a cutting board...all night, every night.

But he did it...with a happy and grateful heart because he was in the pursuit of his total happiness, Onward Nation. He was working in pursuit of his dream and he would not quit!

During those years working in the restaurant, Peter learned English. And then providence set in. One of the cooks on the day shift befriended Peter and gave him his old knife set so that Peter could refine his food preparation skills.

That knife set end up being Peter’s ticket to getting off of the night shift and onto the day shift as an apprentice where he could make more money.

Within a short period of time...Peter was on the day shift and saving all his money.

After just 6 years later, Onward Nation, without knowing English, without any money, without a formal education, without a network of influential contacts, and while gritting it out doing work that many people today would refuse to do -- Peter had saved enough money to open his own restaurant and bring his family from Istanbul to live with him in Canton.

The restaurant was called the Ideal, which ended up being the first in a total of three restaurants Peter would go on to own.

He delivered on his promise to himself and to his family.


Not by getting funding from so angel investor. Not through a Kickstarter campaign. Not through loans from family members. Not through an economic development grant. No!

He was successful because he refused to quit when his body and mind tried to convince him to do just that.

He refused to quit. you may have already guessed...there’s more to this story.

Peter opened his restaurant called “The Ideal” in downtown Canton at a time when Canton was often considered “Little Chicago” because of how organized crime running rampant.

In fact, if you read Napoleon Hill’s brilliant book, “Outwitting the Devil”, he shares a story about his visit to Canton in July 1926 to meet with local publisher Don Mellet. And how Mellet was gunned down by mobsters while Napoleon was in town for the meeting.

And the mobsters who killed Mellet also threatened Hill and forced him out of Canton. Yep, that was Canton, Ohio at the time...the same time Peter was courageously running his brand new restaurant downtown...right in the thick of all the action.

Insane, Onward Nation.

But even the threat of organized crime didn’t persuade Peter to quit. He pushed forward.

And just when he thought he was making progress...the United States and the world entered the Great Depression in 1929 -- just a few short years after opening his restaurant.

Here is a photo of Peter standing behind the lunch counter of “The Ideal” during the Great Depression. You will see the humble beginnings of a very humble man. And if you were to have asked Peter about his business plan during the Depression, he would have said, “If you take care of your customers, they will take care of you. Because everyone’s got to eat.

A simple business plan that Peter executed flawlessly every day.

In my opinion, Peter was also the creator of the original value meal...he sold homemade soup and sandwich for a nickel. During the Depression, he gave away more soup than he ever sold.

And yet, the story of Peter doesn’t end there.

Peter married the woman of his dreams in Julia Katsaris -- and together -- they ran the restaurant and raised four wonderful kids along the way.

In their kids, they instilled their lessons of Family Comes take care of your customers...and all of the other business lessons they had learned through 42 years in the restaurant business.

And when Peter and Julia retired...they shifted their attention toward their 10 grandchildren and instilling all of these powerful lessons into them so they could be well equipped to move ONWARD and become leaders in business, within their communities, and to become great parents.

Peter and Julia wanted their grandchildren to understand their family’s history...the risks they took to get stay here...and what it takes to create a meaningful life that revolved around service...around grit, tenacity, and never ever matter the odds.

And in the important it is to be kind and compassionate...because those are the true keys to success.

Some years later -- after Peter’s retirement -- his adult son Bill Maronitis, who also became the owner to two successful restaurants, asked his father, “Pop, why did you give away so much soup during the Depression?

And Peter looked at Bill, and with compassion and kindness in his eyes, said to him, “I gave away the soup because I know Jesus is coming back some day -- I don’t know what Jesus will be wearing -- or what Jesus will look like when he comes -- so I’m going to be kind to everyone.”

When Bill Maronitis shared that story with me -- he had tears in his eyes because that lesson from his father was that impactful and had helped shaped who Bill had becomes as a person and how he served his customers as a business owner.

Look, Onward Nation...there will be times that will weaken the best of us. But the truly great, those like Peter, they are the ones who got back up...dusted themselves off and got back to their work without feeling sorry for themselves. There was no victim mentality in his spirit -- only a commitment to what he believed was right and why he was put here on this Earth.

Don’t let yourself fall into the seductive trap of self-pity -- yes, it can be comforting for a season during a period of loss -- of grief -- and we need to take the time to honor the loss -- but if we are not careful -- the thoughts of self-pity, or telling ourselves that we cannot move past an obstacle, or that we are somehow not worthy to conquer that next challenge -- or saying to ourselves over and over again that we can’t do something -- those thoughts of low quality, of pessimism, will destroy your pursuit of happiness.

Your thoughts of fear will cause you to slow down -- ever so slightly -- each day -- and you will begin to move at the pace of the herd.

And that is not the pace and tempo you need to run at, Onward Nation.

Little by little -- if you are not vigilant -- you will slowly quit, each day.

But don’t ever quit, Onward Nation. Ever.

Happiness is only achieved by the relentless pursuit of what you love most in this world -- something or someone -- you love more than anything else -- that your love is so intense you cannot breathe without it.

For Peter -- his happiness was driven by creating a better life for himself, his family, and taking the steps and necessary risks to make that happen.

And he did it.

He didn’t wait for someone to make it happen for him. He was generous, he gave, he took care of the people around him -- and they took care of his during his times of need, too.

But, and maybe you’re asking yourself… “How does Stephen know all of this to be true about Peter?”

Well, Onward Nation...Peter Maronitis was my grandfather.

And Bill Maronitis, Peter’s son from the soup my uncle...and my godfather.

My Uncle Bill is also one of my first mentors, one of my first employers -- I started washing dishes in his restaurant when I was 11 years old -- and he has always been a strong and dependable father figure in my life -- and still is to this day.

I have the honor of being one of the 10 grandchildren who had the privilege of learning these lessons of success directly from Peter. And the four amazing kids Peter and Julia raised...are my Aunt Joy, my Uncle Bill, my mother, and my Aunt Elaine.

And Canton, Ohio -- well -- that is my beloved hometown, Onward Nation.

Peter was a great man who gave everything for what he believed in. He took great risks coming to a foreign country seeking to create a better future for his family -- to create legacy for all of us grandkids.

So the photo of Peter in his restaurant that I mentioned earlier -- it hangs on the wall in my office next to my desk -- and my Uncle Bill has the same photo framed on the wall in his restaurant.

It is a visual reminder of our family’s legacy -- where we came from. Our entrepreneurial DNA -- our roots.

There has been many a long night when I am working in my office late -- when I would much rather quit and go to bed...and then I look up from my work...and see Pop looking at me from the photo on my wall...and I think to myself...he did all that he did for me so I could live this kind of I could have the opportunity to spend time with you Onward Nation, so I could do all that I do and enjoy today.

He did that for me.

He worked so hard and took so many risks.

So what in the world is my excuse? That I can’t send out that last email...write one more invitation to a rockin’ awesome guest...create the strategy for one more client...that I can’t get that YouTube series launched?

His legacy helps keep me laser-focused on my most vital priorities -- and right now -- that is Thursday, May 3rd for Episode 1 on YouTube.

And my hope is that Peter’s story has done the same for you, Onward Nation.

So don’t ever quit. Never ever give up.

You were meant for greatness. You are a child of the most high God. You are instilled with an abundance of talent and gifts. Please don’t let something so small as fear -- or your circumstances -- limit all you were meant to be.

As my mentor and great friend Don Yaeger says, “Greatness is available to all of us IF you are willing to do the common things uncommonly well.”

So be uncommon, Onward Nation -- and never ever quit.

So with that said...

I want to again say thank you for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here.

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

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

We will be back tomorrow with an incredible interview. Don’t miss it.

Until then, onward with gusto!


Apr 6, 2018

Carolyn Cole is Show Host of the global Boomtank Business Show podcast, for sharp female entrepreneurs and cool guys who support them. For nearly two decades, she was a Fortune 100 and Fortune 200 senior corporate trial attorney. Now she makes the case on behalf of others' business and career dreams - happiness too. She offers global business consulting and coaching for executives, teams, entrepreneurs and business owners. She is an organization development consultant, business strategist, entrepreneur, Livestreamer, speaker and certified professional coach.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why anyone at anytime can seize their life and make a decision to change it
  • How a podcast can serve as a platform for your business
  • Why visibility is the lifeblood of your business
  • How making a list of your top three priorities for the next day can be a time saver
  • Why you should have a presence on social media but should not live there
  • Why the practice of positivity on a daily basis can set your day for success
  • How doing the right things on a consistent basis keeps your business moving forward
  • The importance of being clear on who you are and what you offer
  • Why playing small serves no one
  • The importance of not making the mistake of undervaluing what you are offering

Ways to contact Carolyn:


Apr 5, 2018

Our special encore guest today is J.D. Graffam. He is a user experience expert and business leader. He founded his first business, Simple Focus, a digital experience company, in 2009. Today, his holding company, Graffam Companies, manages three digital agencies and six product businesses, all of which are bootstrapped and profitable. In his industry, he co-founded “CSS Off”, the world’s first philanthropic CSS contest, speaks nationally about creative leadership, user experience, and business, and is the author of the book “CSS for Print Designers.” may remember J.D. and the wisdom he shared during Episode 354. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all he shared during our first interview...I highly encourage you to add Episode 354 to your list of vital priorities.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why you need to learn to trust your own patience
  • The role common sense plays in being successful in business
  • Why success is however we define it for ourselves
  • Why you should not be afraid of failure
  • Why J.D. feels failure should be considered an organic natural outcome from doing things
  • Why anxiety is not fear, it is a negative prediction
  • Why hiring A-players is not the only way to get A-players
  • Why you should gain satisfaction from an A-player moving on to other opportunities
  • The value of having relationships with your employees on an individual level
  • Why you have to have the ability to critically evaluate your current scenario

Ways to contact JD:


Apr 4, 2018

Laura Roeder is the CEO and founder of MeetEdgar, a social media automation tool designed to prevent status updates from going to waste. She has given talks at conferences like BlogHer and South by Southwest, and has spoken about the value of independent entrepreneurship at The White House. Laura’s also appeared in Forbes, Fast Company, Mashable, CNET, and other major publications.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The value of independent entrepreneurship
  • How time blocking helps increase productivity
  • The importance of consistently focusing on the priorities of your company
  • The value of giving yourself a mental break to help regain your focus
  • How MeetEdgar saves time by automating your social media posts
  • The benefits of saving and recycling old social media posts
  • Why you should be posting more updates and content on your social media
  • Avoiding the mindset that you are annoying people with your social media updates
  • Why letting others help you is a critical skill to master
  • Why you should not wait until something is perfect before making it live

Ways to contact Laura:


Apr 3, 2018

Susan Baier founded her company, Audience Audit, in 2009 in order to help organizations understand their best audiences based on attitudes and needs rather than just demographics or purchase behavior. With 30-years of experience as a marketing strategist, she develops custom segmentation research for marketers and agencies around the world, supporting their efforts to create marketing initiatives that are more relevant, more efficient, and more impactful.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Audience Audit gives small to midsize businesses access to marketing research
  • The importance of focusing on an audience when building a business
  • The two questions that help define your audience
  • Why you should stop focusing on the demographics of your audience
  • Why you need to identify the problem your audience is trying to solve
  • The importance of building the audience you want to work with
  • Why you should use your website as a sales tool
  • How to use your website to target the clients you want to work with
  • The importance of working with clients that are the right fit for your business
  • Why you should not rely on searches for exactly what you sell

Ways to contact Susan: