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: July, 2020
Jul 31, 2020

Mark Willis is a man on a mission to help you think differently about your money, your economy and your future. After graduating with six figures of student loan debt and discovering a way to turn his debt into real wealth as he watched everybody lose their retirement savings and home equity in 2008, he knew that he needed to find a more predictable way to meet his financial objectives and those of his clients.

Mark is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, a two-time #1 Best Selling Author and the owner of Lake Growth Financial Services, a financial firm in Chicago, Illinois. Over the years, he has helped hundreds of his clients take back control of their financial future and build their businesses with proven, tax-efficient financial solutions. He specializes in building custom-tailored financial strategies that are unknown to typical stock-jockeys, attorneys, or other financial gurus.

As co-host of the Not Your Average Financial Podcast, he shares some of his strategies for investing in real estate, paying for college without going broke, and creating an income in retirement you won’t outlive. Mark works with people who want to grow their wealth in ways that are safe and predictable, to become their own source of financing, and create tax-free income in retirement.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Mark and his wife entered the 2008 recession with six figures of student loan debt and how Mark recognized the urgent need to make some big financial changes
  • How our financial habits have turned upside down as we stopped saving money and instead went into significant debt
  • How our need for a new financial strategy resulted in Mark's "Bank On Yourself" strategy, and how Bank On Yourself works
  • Why one of the most important and fundamental realizations Mark came to is that our money behaves differently depending upon where we put it
  • Why liquidity is critical to help you get through challenging times, and why keeping your capital in the right place can help you prepare for the next economic crash
  • Why high cash value, dividend-paying whole life insurance is the secret ingredient in steady, predictable growth in your portfolio and can give you immediate access to cash
  • How you can borrow against a policy and it will continue to grow as if you hadn't borrowed funds from it, allowing your money to do two things at once
  • Why borrowing money against your insurance to pay for something is actually better than paying cash
  • What key considerations make an insurance policy a powerful financial asset for your business and your family at the same time
  • How your policy can be a "warehouse for your wealth", housing your money outside of your business but not away from your business


Additional Resources:



Jul 29, 2020

A marketing strategist for over 30 years, Susan Baier founded Audience Audit in 2009 to help organizations understand their best audiences based on attitudes and needs rather than just demographics or purchase behavior. 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 Susan and her team conduct studies and use the organic data they have collected to identify common, shared attitudes between respondents and identify patterns
  • Susan breaks down the four categories of thought leader audience and shares how they came to these identification labels
  • How the information discovered through the study can be used to better identify, reach, and be helpful and relevant to your audience
  • How the results indicated that 62% of people surveyed would be more likely to recommend a business service provider if that provider is also a thought leader
  • What key lessons the results from the survey offer about the importance of thought leadership, marketing, and their impact
  • Why trust is a vital key for connecting with your audience and all four categories of thought leader audiences
  • Why saying that you are a thought leader doesn’t mean you actually are, regardless of your audience or your content, and why trust is the determining factor
  • Why it is important to remember that you can’t be an expert at everything and that you need to focus on your niche
  • Why navigating times of crisis successfully requires a “relentless focus” on your target audience and being helpful
  • How tailoring your message to each of the four distinct groups can help you engage your audience better and can help your message resonate


Additional Resources:

Jul 24, 2020

B. Jeffrey Madoff is the founder of Madoff Productions, based in New York City. Madoff is considered a storyteller and incisive interviewer. He has used those talents to help position major brands such as Ralph Lauren, Victoria’s Secret, Radio City Music Hall, Harvard School for Public Health, Weill Cornell Medical College and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts to name a few.

Madoff began his career as a fashion designer. He was chosen one of the top 10 designers in the U.S. then switched careers to film and video production. He has since expanded his reach to include teaching, book and playwriting, and theatrical producing.

He is an adjunct professor at Parsons School for Design, teaching a course he developed called Creativity: Making a Living with Your Ideas. Every week Madoff has a conversation with a guest from a wide variety of fields, from artists and entrepreneurs to venture capitalists and business leaders. A book about his class, entitled Creative Careers: Making a Living with Your Ideas, is being released June 16, 2020 by the Hachette Book Group.

Madoff has been a featured speaker at Wharton School, NYU Steinhardt, North Carolina State, SXSW Brazil, Vision Summit, Rise: Barclay’s Bank Accelerator, XRB Labs, Mastermind Group, Google Next and many others.

He has written and is producing a play based on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend, Lloyd Price. Its world premiere will be at People’s Light Theater in May of 2021.

Madoff graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in philosophy & psychology. Madoff was also on the wrestling team, which combined with his academic studies prepared him for a life in the film and theater business.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How Jeff got involved in the design and manufacturing of clothing, and how his career journey taught him key lessons he was able to apply to other businesses as well
  • How Jeff’s New York experience began with a buying position for the company he worked for
  • How Jeff overcame the fear of moving to New York and starting out with no job or housing, and why he chose to take a chance on himself in spite of the risk
  • Why not being paralyzed and instead having the courage to pivot and go after what you truly want, especially in light of the global pandemic, is critical
  • Why Jeff felt compelled to write his book, Creative Careers, and why he chose to name his book after the college course he was teaching
  • Why Jeff believes “creativity” deserves a much broader definition than it gets, and why he defines it as “the compelling need to affect change”
  • What key concepts Jeff wrote about in his book, including learning how to overcome obstacles and developing your perseverance
  • Why Jeff views his parents as his most important mentors, teaching him how to value people and treat them well
  • How a great early work experience taught Jeff important lessons about business and leadership


Additional Resources:

Jul 22, 2020

Mike Makredes is from Fresno, California. He has been in sales all his professional life, and currently working in the Ag industry for the largest melon, broccoli, and corn grower in the US. He handles sales for over 12 million cases ($150 million) of produce per year.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How Mike’s family’s sacrifice, splitting up the family to move to the US from Greece to build a better life for their kids, pushed him to build a legacy for his family
  • How the residential real estate market today differs from the market after the 2008 crash, and how Mike’s real estate investing business has evolved
  • Why now is a great time to sell your home, even despite the global pandemic, as some markets are at all-time highs and supply and demand seem to be stable
  • Mike defines a “terms deal” and explains how it benefits sellers while also helping buyers who wouldn’t necessarily qualify for a mortgage loan today
  • How Mike and his team value residential property, and how the added time a buyer receives from a terms deal can help build up their credit and a positive track record
  • Why business owners specifically often find it challenging to prove their ability to pay a traditional loan, and why terms deals may be ideal for home-buying business owners
  • How selling a home through terms can save you as much as 9-15% of the value of your house that you would lose through fees and commissions by selling traditionally
  • Why a staggering 80% of people wouldn’t be able to prequalify or qualify for a traditional mortgage right now
  • How Mike’s terms business allows him to market to a much larger buyer pool than sellers would be able to through a traditional real estate agent
  • Why “rent-to-own” often has a negative connotation, and how Mike and his team structure their deals to benefit and protect everyone involved as much as possible


Additional Resources:

Jul 17, 2020

Good Morning Onward Nation — I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI and your host. Thanks very much for taking the time — please know — it’s always an honor to have you here.

Today’s episode is going to be a solocast — where it will be just you and me exploring a topic with some real depth. And this episode is Part 2 of the solocast from several weeks ago that I entitled, “How to Market Your Way through the Crisis.”

If you missed that episode — click here to listen to Part I.

I will start off with a quick refresher of the highlights from Part 1 and then we will take a deep dive into what I wanted to share with you today so that you can continue marketing your way through the crisis — and — to put yourself in the very best position possible to come roaring out the other side.

In Part 1 — I shared a number of 3rd-party research sources that showed the importance of not freezing in place as a result of the crisis…how to keep you imaginative skills running at full capacity…and…that the companies who came roaring out of the last 6 recessions where the ones who made progressive decisions and were not prevention-focused.

The progressive companies smartly reduced operating expenses in order to boost financial efficiency — and — 75% of the companies did not reduce the workforce because they realized that to do so…would mean cutting into the muscle of the operation and would negatively affect their ability to come roaring out…when the economy was on the rebound.

Instead — the progressive companies doubled down by making significant investments in R&D, marketing, equipment, facilities, and a variety of other strategic investments. I shared multiple examples back in Part 1…Episode 933 in case you want to look it up in your listening app…and again…the link is in today’s show notes.

We also took a deep dive into the forms of marketing where progressive companies made their investments. Because what they didn’t do was spent loosely on advertising or other sorts of broad promotional tactics. Instead — they focused their efforts around strategies that would help them build trust in their brands…plant their flag of authority even deeper in the niches and industries they served.

Which was super smart and synced up perfectly with the recent research study that my Predictive ROI team conducted alongside our research partner, Susan Baier, founder of Audience Audit. There is — without a doubt — a direct financial correlation between your authority position and financial ROI.

And much of that is due to the critical importance your prospects and clients place on TRUST.

So let’s peel this back a little bit more so we can explore it.

We are entering the era of the authority. While you may already be tired of the phrase of “thought leader”, the truth is there aren’t that many of them…and there are even fewer occupying that status in the niches you and your team serve.

Thought leaders don’t write content that any other agency, coach, or consultant could claim. Thought leaders don’t write about anything and everything — and thought leaders don’t compete on price.

And their time — your time — is now. Why am I saying that so definitely?

For the last 20-years — the global PR agency, Edelman has conducted research that examines who and what consumers trust and how that trust influences buying behaviors.

I shared some of the results of their special March study during my Market Your Way Through the Crisis webinar several weeks ago…

But if you weren’t able to attend — you can find the free replay here and I also included the full slide deck…all 199 slides that I used. No email required — happy to share it with you and your team.

Some of the biggest takeaway’s from Edelman’s research is that consumers assign a high level of trust to people they believe are “just like me.”

When you think about how ratings, reviews, and influencers affect their audiences — you can see the power of that belief.

Now — it’s also important to not get hung up on the fact that the study involved 33,000 CONSUMERS from 27 countries.

First off — that’s a huge sampling of people — and second — even if you are selling B2B — which my guess is you are — people are people…so if people put this much emphasis on trust in their personal lives…you better believe they behave the same way while at work making even larger buying decisions.

But — here’s what’s interesting.

Edelman’s research isn’t about celebrity influencers. Edelman is documenting the rise of the common man and woman influencer. It’s noteworthy because it gives statistical validity to the idea that real people as influencers and the impact they can have on behalf of their business.

The research asked participants to rank what attributes made an influencer believable and trustworthy. The relatability of the influencer was nearly twice as important as the influencer’s popularity. In other words…when consumers see themselves in an influencer, they were far more likely to follow and trust that influencer.

So — it’s not about having a million followers…it’s about being someone you can relate to and connect with.

For this very reason — if you’ve been avoiding putting together a content strategy where you share your depth of expertise in your niche — I recorded this solocast just for you — so that you rethink that decision.

Onward Nation — the data is all on your side.

Now — let’s continue to peel back the curtain to get a look at some of the attributes of someone who is a true authority.

If you were asked to think of an authority on any subject, who would come to mind? What about them designates them as an authority? What’s true about them? And what does someone have to do to earn and keep the title of authority?

My co-author of Sell with Authority, Drew McLellan, CEO of Agency Management Institute, and I would argue that there are 10 Truths to someone being seen as an authority.

Let’s do a quick review…

Truth #1: They have a focus area or subject matter expertise.

Truth #2: They don’t just repeat what everyone else is saying.

Truth #3: They have a public presence where they share their expertise.

Truth #4: They don’t stray from their area of expertise—think specialist versus a generalist.

Truth #5: They aren’t equally attractive to everyone. In fact, they probably bore most people to tears.

Truth #6: They’re significant—which is different from prolific—in terms of content creation.

Truth #7: They don’t create any generic content that someone with far less knowledge or experience could have just as easily written.

Truth #8: They’re perceived as an educator in some way.

Truth #9: They have a passion for their subject matter.

Truth #10: They have a strong point-of-view, which is the foundation of all of their content.

A true authority has something specific to teach us, and they want to be helpful or illuminating.

They’re eager to share what they know because they have a genuine passion for it, and they don’t fear giving away the recipe to their secret sauce (or so it’s perceived).

That confidence and generosity are contagious. Their expertise is something specific groups of people (their sweet-spot prospects) are hungry to access.

So Onward Nation — to call them an expert, a thought leader, an authority, a sought-after pundit, advisor, or specialist…doesn’t matter. They’re all words for the same thing — a trusted resource who has earned that trust by demonstrating and generously sharing the depth of their specialized knowledge over and over again.

Now — let’s hook this back to the Edelman research for a moment.

Want to know what made an influencer even more compelling to the research participants?

The one attribute that ranked higher than the trust we have in “people like me” is the trust we have in highly educated experts. The only three groups of people we trust more than people like ourselves are company, industry, and academic experts.


Because experts are often afforded the highest level of confidence and trust because they have a depth of knowledge in a specific industry or niche.

So why in the world wouldn’t you capitalize on that, Onward Nation?

Instead of writing generic content that look like every single one of your competitors, which is what many agencies, coaches, and consultants do because it’s so much easier and they feel compelled to create something and don’t want to invest the time necessary to go deep, deep, deep.

Or — they feel that they should be paid to share their smarts and don’t want to just give it away for free.


My hope is that as we get started in this solocast — my words are serving as a very loud battle cry for you. My hope is you see that now is the time to share your smarts and to double down on being helpful to your niche.

Now is the time for you to jump into the trenches alongside your prospects and clients — who are just as concerned as you are about everything going on — and to begin giving away the best of what you’ve got — and when you do that — you will build so much trust that it will be difficult for you to contain it.

There’s a huge upside for you and your team to do this now. As I said earlier — there are very few thought leaders (and even fewer in the niches you serve)…which means if you can still be one of the early adopters if you commit and boldly step out into this strategy right now.

Okay — now let’s turn our attention toward Part 2…how long will this effort take — and — how do you go about doing it?

Drew and I are often asked, “How long does this take?

The answer is yes.

Meaning — we can’t give you a precise time frame for you because it’s different for everyone.

There are many factors, including:

The consistency of your content creation
The quality of your content — are you saying something fresh or just repeating old news?
The amount of time and effort you spend promoting your content
The hunger of your audience. Some are starving and will gobble up everything you share, others will only consume the tastiest of offers

But — building your authority position is clearly not a get rich quick scheme. At a minimum, you should count on it taking six months to a year before you reap any significant benefit from your efforts.

By year two — you should be dancing a jig at how well it’s working.

And by year three — you should be well-established as the authority you are.

On occasion — a single podcast episode, video, or book will catapult someone into the spotlight and earn them a huge payout. But that’s the exception, not the rule.

Don’t count on being the exception or you risk being super disappointed and it could derail all of your hard work.

So — I’m going to make an assumption here…that all of the data I have shared with you during Part 1 of this solocast…as well as the 75-minute webinar that I taught several weeks ago…along with everything shared up to this point in this episode has shown you the very significant upside to you doubling down and building your authority position.

If so — awesome — so let’s turn our attention toward some of the key things you will need in order to make that happen.

There are three essentials to building your authority position.

And they are: 1) narrow niche, 2) a strong point-of-view, and 3) being findable in multiple places.

Let’s take a closer look at each.

Narrow is Gold

The first essential in creating an authority position is recognizing that the narrower your audience, the better. It allows you to be quickly discovered and identified as someone your target audience needs to pay attention to, all because you’re speaking their language.

Ultimately, this means you can build an audience much faster. Once you’ve built the audience, and you genuinely know them and what they need, you can provide additional value by creating products and services you can sell.

If you choose to keep serving everyone as a generalist, you can still absolutely monetize a more generic position of authority (say you’re a business coach, for example), but if you want to get to this more quickly, you need to be ruthless in terms of focus.

I agree — it seems counter-intuitive.

Most business owners focus on quantity in terms of audience. Many believe they need a massive audience to hit their sales and financial goals.

But — the data shows that this isn’t true.

You’re actually in a much better position if you’re in front of the right micro audience where nearly everyone is aligned with your ideal client avatar. Would you rather speak directly to 100 of your right-fit prospects…who are perfectly aligned with your ideal client avatar — or — be on stage in front of 10,000 people where there is zero probability that any of them are your prospects?

And yet, when it comes to business development, most business owners toss out a huge net, hoping that the right species of fish will swim in so we don’t go hungry.

Intellectually, we get it, yet our choices often suggest we’re still focusing on quantity, not quality.

Here’s the reality — you don’t need a million downloads to get your podcast sponsored.

You don’t need to speak at 50 conferences to have someone walk up and ask you some questions that lead to a proposal.

And you don’t need to be on the bestseller list to use your book as an amazing biz dev tool. You just don’t.

Most agencies, coaches, and consultants get this completely backward.

They create broad, generic content as opposed to something that captures the interest of their ideal prospects.

The content is fluffy and doesn’t invite anyone to ask questions or lean in to learn more.

But if you were to hone in on your specific audience and ignore the rest of the world (remember, one of the traits of an authority is that most people could care less about their content), the audience does lean in. They do ask questions, and they will eventually put you on a shortlist of prospective partners to consider.

And when you do it exceptionally well, you will be the only one they consider.

You Need a Strong Point-of-View

Here’s what we know for sure. Your industry (no matter what it is) and the world around us are both experiencing change at an unfathomable rate, and it’s only going to get faster.

How you communicate nowadays, at best, is on the fly.

But the one thing that will not change is that unique cocktail that defines our authority position.

It’s the combination of our area of expertise with the strong point-of-view we apply to that area of expertise. Our point-of-view is what we know to be true, and it’s this truth that defines how we approach the work and how we add value.

For example, Predictive ROI’s point-of-view is the most agencies, coaches, and consultants go about sales in the less productive, most painful way possible. They get thwarted by gatekeepers at every turn. As a result — they cannot build long-term relationships with their Dream prospects.

When we layer that point-of-view, on top of our knowledge and expertise around how to grow an audience, nurture leads, and increase sales by helping our clients Sell with Authority, it’s easy to see how and where we can be of help. It tells us who to serve and how to best serve them.

That’s evergreen. You and your team should have a similar combination.

You need to have an opinion about the work you do on behalf of your clients. You need a strong point-of-view about the marketplace, your audience, or your product or service.

As you fight for a prospect’s attention, you must differentiate yourself.

You’ve got to plant a flag in the ground and claim ownership. You need to stand out against the sea of competitors. That authority position—your area of expertise plus your strong point-of-view—becomes the flag you plant.

It’s you laying claim to what is uniquely yours—the ability to serve a specific industry, niche, audience, etc., because of what you know and what you believe.

It holds you firmly in place no matter what else changes. It becomes part of your differentiation equation. And you need both halves of the whole.

Without the point-of-view, even industry-specific content becomes claimable by others. Granted, it narrows the field, but there are certainly others who work in the same industry or niches that you do.

If you can take your content (blog posts, white paper, podcast interviews, etc.) and swap your competitor’s logo for yours without anyone noticing, your content isn’t as unique to you as you’d like.

That’s what we mean by claimable.

But don’t get too finite about this. I’m not suggesting you’re going to create an authority position no one else can replicate.

Odds are, no matter what your authority position, a handful of others could claim it, too. But that’s your goal—a small handful, rather than every competitor out there.

Just to be clear, your point-of-view is the truth you overlay onto your niche or industry-specific expertise. It’s an insight that influences the work you do.

The ideal scenario for building your authority position is one in which you have the one-two punch of a point-of-view paired with that narrow audience or topic area. That’s a powerful combination.

You can carve out a more superficial authority position with just one of the two elements, either a point-of-view or niche expertise, but the consequence is, if you’re going to only include half of the one-two punch, you’re going to share your unique position with more competitors.

At some level, you probably already know what you point-of-view is — but you don’t recognize it as such. Odds are, you either take it for granted because you talk about it so often, or you just need to dig a little deeper to find the gold in what you’re already teaching, talking about, and using to build the recommendations you make to clients.

You just have to peel the onion back several layers to get to something that’s genuinely different enough that you can own it.

You Can’t Be a One-Trick Pony

Essential number three is that an authentic authority is not a one-trick pony.

Meaning — you can’t create content so narrow it only works on one channel. An expert doesn’t have just one book. Or just a podcast. You can’t place all of your bets on one horse (or pony).

The problem is that whatever pony you rode in on is not going to be the popular pony forever, and you can’t rely on all of your prospects consuming that specific channel.

You need to be more findable, which means you need to have your authority-positioned content in more than one place. If you’re going to build an authority position — you have to answer the question, “How does my point-of-view come to life across multiple channels?

Your goal is to create the impression that you’re everywhere. The good news is that it doesn’t take that many channels to make that happen. You need a cornerstone channel and some cobblestones.

When Drew and I wrote about cornerstone content in our book, Sell with Authority, what we meant was content that’s big and meaty, so it can be sliced and diced into smaller pieces of content—what we call cobblestones.

The definition of cornerstone is that it is the first stone placed. If you were constructing a building, you would carefully set that first stone because you know all the other stones will be set in reference to the cornerstone.

When you take that cornerstone content and break it up into infographics, quote cards, blog posts, tweets, guest appearances on someone else’s podcast, etc., that’s your cobblestone content. The combo of your niche expertise and your unique point-of-view should be woven into every piece of content you create.

In some cases, it will be overt, and in other cases, subtle. But it should always be present to some degree.

Some experts or influencers try to be everywhere, but that stretches them pretty thin pretty quickly.

All you need are a few channels spot-on for your audience that you consistently feed with new content. You need a single cornerstone and at least two or three cobblestone channels. From there, you can use your social media channels to spotlight both.

Just remember, your cornerstone is the primary channel through which you consistently deliver useful content that helps your audience do their jobs better. And it needs to be meaty enough that you can slice and dice it into multiple cobblestones.

Think of the cobblestones as info-snack-sized pieces of content like a quote graphic featuring your podcast guest that someone might stumble upon and be interested in enough that they are led to your cornerstone content. New York Times best-selling author Jay Baer shared the importance of info-snacks during Episode 305 of Onward Nation.

You need both cornerstone and cobblestone content.

But you don’t need dozens.

Cornerstones, by their nature, require a much more significant time investment. Which means you don’t have time to create too many.

Far better to do one exceedingly well than to stretch yourself too thin, and better to be consistently present in a few places as opposed to occasionally showing up everywhere.

And — you want to build something you can sustain for the long haul, and unless you’re going to make being an authority your full-time gig — it’s better to start with one.

Your cornerstone, and at least a few of your cobblestones, need to be built on media you own and control, not on someone else’s platform. That might be your website, a book you write, research you conduct, or your own podcast series.

You can use channels like Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn to highlight your efforts, but your cornerstone content shouldn’t be housed there. You don’t want to go to the effort of creating content only to have some third party (like Facebook) decide to take it down or charge people for accessing it.

While you don’t want to build your cornerstone content on a media channel you don’t own, that doesn’t mean you don’t want to be on other people’s channels.

If your cornerstone content is targeted and tied to your point-of-view, and you’re consistent in creating smaller pieces of content from that cornerstone, you’re going to get noticed.

That’s all you need to get invited onto other people’s channels.

One of the key elements about being an authority is that you don’t want everything to remain on your owned channels. You want to leverage other people’s spheres of influence, and when you appear as a guest on their show or whatever channel they own and control, now they’re endorsing you, telling other people how smart you are, and introducing you to an entirely new audience.

That amplification expands your audience exponentially once you have built the foundation that earns the invites. But they will roll in, in a variety of ways.

You’ll be invited to:

  • Speak at conferences
  • Be a guest on podcasts
  • Write bylined articles for publications
  • Sit on a panel of experts
  • Serve on a board
  • Write a regular column
  • Teach a class
  • Be part of a webinar series
  • Be interviewed as a source by the media

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

On occasion, your cornerstone channel will shift. This shouldn’t be because you’re getting bored or are indecisive. It should be driven by your audience, reactions to your efforts, and potentially, media consumption trends.

The content itself doesn’t shift, but how you deliver the content might.

When I started executing this authority strategy for Predictive ROI, book writing was my cornerstone channel. I was creating a lot of content for publications and was being published in publications like Forbes, The Washington Post, Inc. Magazine, and other media about once a month.

And much of that content was sliced and diced off of my books on search engine optimization and social media that I wrote while I was teaching at the university.

But then in May 2015 — when we ran into revenue challenges at Predictive — and that pushed my team and I to launch the Onward Nation podcast as part of our pivot.

And the growth of the podcast quickly eclipsed my written content and took over as our cornerstone content channel. And then we have added some cobblestones into the mix with our YouTube channel, weekly emails for our community, as well as conference presentations. And — we’ve even worked the cornerstone content process backward…with several episodes being instrumental in helping me write our bestselling book, Profitable Podcasting…and after 3-years…is still one of the best selling podcasting books on the market.

For a complete breakdown on how to create cornerstone content — I encourage you to go back to my solocast in Episode 676 of Onward Nation.

Okay — let’s come full circle and bring this in for a landing. Nothing about this recession has been — or will be easy. To come roaring out of it on the other side will take a lot of hard work, discipline, and generous spirit in doubling down to be helpful.

But if you do — the data is on your side. If you take this time and commit to building your authority position…you will put yourself and your business in the best possible position when the sun begins to shine once again.

This is the time, Onward Nation for you to grab hold of those silver linings — they are there — if you’re willing to look hard enough.

Thanks for taking the time to be here and for sharing a portion of your 86,400 you have today…with me.

I’m grateful and I look forward to you being back for our next episode.

Until then — double down — and onward with gusto!

Jul 15, 2020

As I was mapping out and thinking through this episode — I wanted to be sure the content would be super helpful as you continue to navigate your way through the choppy waters that COVID has created for all of us.

Because what’s especially challenging about COVID actually isn’t just the uncertainty — it’s that the uncertainty…is a continuously moving target.

We’ve all seen so much ebb and flow to what is taking place — and because of that — your team, your clients, your audience, your vendors…all of your stakeholders…are looking for guidance. And…dare I say — they’re also looking for leadership. In fact — some are desperate for it.

Because of that — I invited bestseller author and leadership expert, Steve Farber to come back for an encore interview.

Steve and I are going to focus this conversation around how his Extreme Leadership principles can help you and your team navigate your way through COVID — or any crisis for that matter — and come roaring out the other side.

And what I love about Steve is he asks the tough questions — and those questions are asked out of love — but they also might make us squirm a bit in our seats.

And sometimes getting uncomfortable is the point.

Because here’s the reality, Onward Nation.

The data is clear…if you and your team double down and make progressive decisions…if you invest in the right areas while ensuring your operating as efficiently as possible…you will find the silver linings to COVID and you will come roaring out of this recession just like other companies have done after the last 6 recessions.

The silver linings are there — IF — we’re brave enough to look for them and courageous enough to step into them. All of which requires Extreme Leadership from you as the business owner.

That’s why Steve Farber is here.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Steve shares what he means by Extreme Leadership Principles, and he shared why he named his methodology Extreme Leadership
  • Why too often we use “leader” as a position title rather than a descriptive term for the person filling that role
  • How the LEAP methodology powering Steve’s Extreme Leadership is composed of four principles: cultivate Love, generate Energy, inspire Audacity, and provide Proof
  • How love, energy, audacity, and proof are invaluable leadership tools that can inspire your team to new levels of success
  • Why the entire LEAP leadership framework is powered by the first principle of cultivating love first and foremost
  • Why it is important to learn as much as we can from the challenges and changes brought about by the global pandemic and then to take bold, decisive action
  • Why leaders demonstrating love by connecting with their teams during this difficult time is critical
  • Why being open, reaching out and being a receptive listener can help you build profound relationships
  • Why it is important to decide now what we want our businesses to look like five years from now in a post-pandemic world
  • Why too often when the present becomes challenging, business leaders forget about preparing for the future


Jul 10, 2020

Before he became a company president, John Robertson was a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force who oversaw an $8 billion program. Today he coaches C-level executives on how to take advantage of the coming future tsunami of artificial intelligence.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How John’s career began with joining the Air Force after college, before progressing into the business world and real estate
  • How the 1985 economic crash brought John’s business to a screeching halt and left him $2 million in debt with no way out
  • How John came out of financial disaster through perseverance and intentionality, and how he now teaches others to prepare for the future
  • Why John titled his book “Focus Forward Leadership” after realizing that business of all size often struggle to focus on future progress
  • Why maintaining discipline and using quarterly meetings to map your plans for the future are critical steps you can take to stay focused
  • Why business leaders often struggle to be clear in communicating exactly what their goals and expectations are and what results they are looking for
  • John shares five key action items from his book “Focus Forward Leadership”, and he shares why these key action items will make a difference in your business
  • How the numbers “4, 12, 365” are the keys to helping maintain your focus on your goals without getting distracted by the day-to-day
  • Why consistency is vital for every role within your organization, from the CEO down to frontline employees


Additional Resources:

Jul 8, 2020

Master message coach and copy expert Lindsay Hotmire loves to work with coaches and leaders who know there’s nothing formulaic about authenticity. To date, Lindsay has helped 200+ clients (and counting) ditch one-size-fits-all frameworks and formulas so they can simply and genuinely align their message with their beliefs, their values, and (ever-so-importantly) their audience.

Once upon a time (before Google changed the world), Lindsay was a high school English teacher. And while she still gets a bit nerdy over sentence diagrams, she adamantly refuses to take sides on the Oxford comma. These days, she unapologetically geeks out over introducing a little bit of woo to a whole lot of science, and she’s used her intuition, creativity, and slightly dusty math skills to help her clients create $10,000 to $1M campaigns all without losing sight of their true, authentic selves.

Find her at or connect with her on Instagram @lindsayhotmire.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How Lindsay began as a high school teacher before working on a variety of projects, and how she got into her current work helping entrepreneurs tell their stories in new ways
  • Why Lindsay believes that stories have the power to change lives, and why stories can create authentic human connections
  • What a “validating circle of inquiry” is, and how it relates to a concept called the “phenomenological nod”, and why this is the goal of storytelling in marketing
  • Why assumption bias, leading with what we think we know, is a real problem in modern-day marketing
  • Linsday shares examples of costly assumption bias marketing mistakes from major brands Pontiac and Walmart
  • Why many entrepreneurs and business owners are being forced to pivot because they didn’t put in the time to do the values work pre-pandemic
  • Where Lindsay recommends you begin doing the important value work, and how a tool called the Authenticity Inventory can help determine what work you need to do
  • Why your behavior must align with your beliefs, and why too often we think we’re aligned when we really aren’t
  • How the global pandemic has changed people’s needs and has altered the world of business coaching as a result
  • How a staggering 86% of consumers are looking to brands to fill the gaps that the government doesn’t fill
  • How real diamonds and fake diamonds differ, and how that applies to your company’s right messaging


Additional Resources:

Jul 3, 2020

Jennifer Peek provides clients with key strategic insights while helping them develop plans to profitably execute their visions. At Peek Advisory Group, she consults with business owners identifying business gaps and opportunities to increase value and prepare them for the next stage of business evolution from growth to varied exit strategies.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How Jennifer left her corporate career ten years ago and started her own company, Peek Advisory Group, bringing corporate experience to small and midsized companies
  • Why the type of economic and social recovery we will see in a post-COVID world is impossible to anticipate
  • Why developing the right mindset, seeking out strategic opportunities, and doubling down can help you through this crisis
  • How the lens you view the world through determines your outlook, and why the widespread belief that businesses are all in survival mode isn’t always the case
  • Why the Harvard Business Review’s article Roaring Out of Recession is worth reading, especially during this challenging time
  • Jennifer explains her “opportunistic mindset” and shares the importance of expanding your social outreach efforts
  • Why you don’t want to be losing ground or staying stagnant during this crisis, and why you want to work to position your business to capitalize on opportunities in the future
  • Why recognizing your clients’ or customers’ changing habits can help you develop new product and service offerings in the future.
  • Why this is the ideal time to be doubling down on content and on reaching out to new potential clients with helpfulness, not sales
  • Why the most important lesson Jennifer learned from a mentor over the course of her career is the need for a willingness to shut everything down and start over


Additional Resources:

Jul 1, 2020

Jeff Koser is a successful entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience in executive sales management, consulting, and business strategy. He wrote the book on it. Actually, an award-winning book, Selling to Zebras. Jeff has appeared on some of the largest B2B sales podcasts over the past couple of years and he always leaves listeners with something that increases their sales effectiveness.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Jeff explains what a “zebra” is, and he shares why working for a foreign-owned company with no prior sales in the US became the foundation of the zebra philosophy
  • Why identifying the ideal client should be just as easy and recognizable as spotting a zebra
  • Why zeroing in on the ideal client helped Jeff and his team close a deal with 90% of the new clients they pursued
  • Why recognizing critical business problems for potential prospects and focusing a content strategy around those pain points is the best way to survive challenging times
  • Why your content should revolve around seven key attributes, and what those important attributes are
  • How Zebrafi is beta-testing software that connects to Salesforce and can help identify prospective clients that match the profile of your existing top customers
  • Why focusing on pipeline close rate, average deal size, and length of sales cycle are the three key metrics that will supercharge your sales
  • Why Jeff believes that focusing on a high volume of prospects is actually detrimental to the success of your business and a waste of your money and time
  • How your proven success with customers like your zebras can help you land business with your zebras


Additional Resources: