Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and the host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.
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Good Morning, Onward Nation — Stephen Woessner here.
Before we dive in — and if you’re listening to Onward Nation for the first time — I will give a very brief personal intro to provide some context behind the voice.
Hi — I’m Stephen Woessner. I am the host of Onward Nation – but – when I am not interviewing today’s top business owners, I am the CEO of Predictive ROI — a digital marketing agency — and I don’t particularly like that label because Predictive does so much more than digital marketing. Yes, we do the traditional things like increasing site traffic, leads, and sales. But what makes us truly unique — is our ability to predict a client’s increase in sales — their actual financial return on investment in the form of dollars and cents — and then guarantee that performance — or our work is free. And because of that — we find ourselves deep inside a client’s systems, inventory, sales team, and all sorts of business development processes.
I love the problem solving work we do — it oftentimes reminds me of my days of troubleshooting when I was a missile technician working inside nuclear missiles silos on the prairies of South Dakota while I was in the Air Force many years ago. I have been in digital marketing since the advent of the commercial Internet. I am the best selling author of two books in the area, I spent nearly 6 years at the University of Wisconsin – at the La Crosse campus, and I taught throughout the state include the UW-Madison School of Business, and my business building insights have been featured in Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur, Forbes, SUCCESS, The Washington Post and some other media. And I am currently working on my third book.
Okay, let’s press on to solving big challenges in our business – big obstacles – those things that are really holding you back from jumping off the plateau you may be on right now – and leaping onward to that next level.
That’s what we are going to focus on during this episode.
First, we all know that building and scaling a business is hard work. But when you have the right strategy – that right “recipe for success” to follow – the action steps become more like “ingredients” and can be added systematically into your business – one ingredient at a time.
And every day at Onward Nation, I have the incredible opportunity to interview today’s top business owners and ask them to share their specific recipes for success – and to break those strategies down into tactical step-by-step processes and systems.
I distilled all of those ideas, strategies, steps down into actionable “recipes” you can take and apply into your business right away.
If you are not familiar with my recipe and ingredient thought process — you may be thinking you just walked into a baking podcast by mistake. Close — but not quite.
Let me explain the recipe metaphor this way.
Say I make the world’s best chocolate cake. And I grew up working in my mom’s bakery – so my chocolate cake is actually pretty good.
And say you come up to me and say, hey Stephen — I cannot bake anything, in fact, boiling what is hard for me — but — I love your chocolate cake. Could you teach me how to bake your cake so that it turns out just like yours?
How could that even be possible?
I’ve been perfecting my chocolate cake for the last 30 years — and you have zero baking skills.
How could you possibly think that you could duplicate my results?
To even have a shot at it – is there something I could give you – some edge – some insider’s knowledge?
Of course — I need to give you my recipe.
The recipe will act as your “strategy” behind the cake. Right?
With the recipe — you can see the entire process — the flow — the visualization of the goal — how you need to setup the environment, i.e. your kitchen — all the steps — all the tools you will need.
But the recipe is just one piece — what else do you need?
Right! The ingredients.
You need to know the specific amounts and specific qualities of the ingredients, right?
And then there is one more thing — you have the recipe — you have the ingredients — but — you must also follow the syntax.
And syntax is a fancy word that simply means the order of the process.
So think about a recipe you have followed in the past — we have all done this — we mix the eggs together with the flour before we put in the oil and now we have goo. Not awesome.
So the syntax — or the order in which we execute the strategy really matters.
So I’m going to share some incredible business building recipes with you — but I’m going to share the ingredients — and I’m going to give you the syntax or the process for all the steps.
Hopefully that makes sense.
And as Jim Rohn said,
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Now, maybe you are hearing Jim’s pearls of wisdom in this quote for the first time. I was having lunch with some friends the other day and I shared that quote and I could tell they were a bit shocked by it – so I took another minute to explain.
I shared several scenarios to illustrate the powerful lesson Jim taught us in that quote — and I will share the same with you.
Say you’re walking down a hallway with your one of your top clients — and your client has a faster pace than you.
What do you do?
Do you walk your normal pace or do you speed up?
Does your client slow down? Likely not.
Our natural instinct is to speed up – to keep pace.
So let’s consider a different scenario.
Let’s say this time you are walking with a group of four other people through the mall and they are all walking slow — like dreadfully slow — painfully slow.
What do you do?
You may start to think of some creative ways to speed them up — but they don’t speed up — in fact — they may even slow down further — but how is this possible?
And if you try to speed up — you simply get out in front of them and create stress for yourself and for the group.
Here’s the reality: you will not de-stress until you are free from the slow group and find a group that wants to move at your same – faster speed – or potentially even faster than you so you are challenged to grow and speed up to keep up.
Because if you don’t — eventually you will slow your pace to conform to the group – because you
don’t want to be rude — so you slow down.
This episode will move at a pace and tempo that is uncommon — we are going to move at the pace of today’s top business owners.
And if you listen to Onward Nation on a consistent basis – today’s top business owners are the people you are spending time with – and that is awesome.
So here is the first lesson I want to share with you — if you want to move your business onward to that next level — then you need to spend time with business owners and mentors who are ALREADY at that next level – AND — they move at a pace and tempo faster than you.
And when you join that group – or have that person as your mentor – you will grow.
Hope that makes sense – and I have prepared a very detailed recipe on mentorship for you during today’s discussion.
More on that in a few minutes.
So make it a commitment – to find other business owners who are already at that next level – and spend time with them – learn from them – and you will naturally speed up to keep pace and as a result you will be moving toward the next level yourself.
So here’s what I am going to cover during today’s episode – let’s call it an agenda of sorts – as
Kim Garst said to me during our interview – “you gotta have a checklist, Stephen.”
- First, I will show you how to spot the two biggest obstacles currently preventing you from moving your business onward to the next level
- Second, I will show you how to attract the right mentors to help you overcome the obstacles and accelerate your results
- Third, I will show you how to implement and master a specific system that will dramatically expand your network and sphere of influence
So let’s dive in.
What if I told you that the two biggest challenges preventing you from moving your business onward to the next level have nothing to do with the business climate, the economy, the skill level of your employees, the location of your business, your pricing strategy, your current customer base, the size of your marketing budget, the quality of your products, your distribution channels, or the myriad of other reasons we are given today by the media and government as to why businesses fail at such a staggering rate in this country.
What if the obstacles in your way had nothing to do with any of that?
And in instead, what was blocking you — the obstacles keeping your business in check — are the same obstacles that have always attempted to keep you in check throughout your entire life.
Your enemy is not the myriad of reasons I just listed off — instead — your first challenge — or better yet — your first enemy is the Fear of Poverty.
Many of you have read – but possibly not in a while – this incredible book, “Think and Grow Rich” published in 1937 by Napoleon Hill.
If you have listened to Onward Nation episodes – and my guess is you have or you would not be here this evening – our guests often reference “Think & Grow Rich” because it is a compendium of knowledge.
The book was made possible by Andrew Carnegie.
Carnegie at the time was the wealthiest man in the world, met Napoleon Hill, liked him and offered to commission him to open the doors to the greatest industrialists of the time.
That was 1908.
And he said, “I’ll open the doors if you’ll sit down with these top business owners and figure out their secrets to success. What they do, they’re methods, they’re mindsets that have caused their extraordinary success and you put it into a book and publish it and make it available to the world.”
So, Napoleon sat down with Henry Ford, Edison, Schwab, Wrigley, and both Rockefellers.
Imagine being able to spend time with those business owners and pull out their best ideas for success and achievement.
If you have read, studied, and applied the book — you understand the great knowledge in this book and are already ahead of 98% of your competition.
But often times — this book is an easy to forget treasure because it was written in 1937 – but the strategies in this book are still just as applicable today.
If you have not yet read, studied, and applied the book – then consider this a million dollar resource you have just been given. You can go to OnwardNation.com/book and get the Audible version of “Think and Grow Rich” for free — that’s OnwardNation.com/book.
The Fear of Poverty is one of the 6 basic fears but it is also the most pervasive, destructive, and confusing to understand. But why?
On the surface, it seems as though this fear would revolve around the fear of becoming poor – and there definitely is that component.
But, the way this particular fear manifests itself is what makes it easy to spot.
We become so fearful of poverty — that we freeze and are plagued with indecision, indifference, doubt, worry, over-caution, and procrastination.
Just when you ought to take action — you don’t.
When sales are declining — you ought to make more sales calls — but you don’t — you freeze because the fear of poverty has you paralyzed.
Just when you should be investing in that new expansion – that new marketing strategy – that new development – hiring new employees – you don’t.
You become overly cautious. Or — you disguise your caution by saying you’re “skeptical”. And by the way — that is code for “I am afraid.”
You become so fearful of hitting the wall – that all you do is focus on the wall.
And then what happens?
Exactly — you end up hitting the wall.
To be clear — I am not suggesting that you throw caution to the wind and become financially irresponsible and then lose your business as a result of mismanagement.
That would be silly.
But I am trying to bring into focus that our Fear of Poverty can be one of the major obstacles that hold us back from the abundance at that next level.
And it doesn’t matter who you are – we have all felt it before – especially when trying to pursue something new – that next level.
Remember, if you focus on the wall — you will hit the wall.
But if you focus on the infield – you may still eventually hit the wall — but your opportunity likely increases by a factor of 10 IF you steer your business where you want it to go instead of letting yourself and your business become paralyzed by indecision, indifference, doubt, worry, over-caution, and procrastination.
So if the Fear of Poverty is the first challenge – what is the second one keeping you from moving your business forward?
It is the Fear of Criticism and is also one of the 6 basic fears — and it too is easy to spot.
This fear what prevents you from making that sales call to that prospective client everyone in town wants because you hear that voice inside your head that says,
“Oh come on — who do you think you’re kidding calling them? You have nothing to offer. They only work with big companies. You’re too small.”
You hear — “You’re not good enough — you don’t have the skills, you will never make it — why bother trying — there are others who are more gifted, talented, they already have all the connections — what could you possibly offer that would be unique and different — just try something that is more at your current level – call on someone smaller – don’t call the president or owner – call someone who reports to them – that would be easier.”
“Why can’t you just be normal?”
The fear of criticism can be overcome with grit — with tenacity — with perseverance — with the shouting into the abyss — I will not be defeated.
You saying — “I will WIN THE DAY”.
And when you do that – and I believe when you’re moving in the direction of God’s plan for your life – there is nothing that can stop you.
Now that we have identified the 2 biggest obstacles holding you back – which really aren’t obstacles at all are they – they all are in your mind – now let’s work through our first of several recipes during this solocast.
Recipe #1 focuses on mentorship.
If you have listened to our Onward Nation episodes, you already know that I ask every single guest to share the most influential lesson they ever learned from one of their mentors that helped them become the business owner they are today.
And wow — our guests have shared some outstanding lessons.
So for this solocast, I am going to share a very specific recipe for attracting and finding the right mentor because Onward Nation listeners have asked me exactly that – as well as to help them understand what would be expected of them as a mentee?
But first – let’s make this more specific. Why find a mentor?
And yes, there is a specific recipe you can use to find a mentor and I am going to share that with you.
Before I share the step-by-step ingredients to this powerful recipe — I will share something I have not shared during Onward Nation episodes — two of the most influential lessons I ever learned from one of my mentors — Darren Hardy, former publisher of SUCCESS Magazine.
For 12-months, Darren was a member of our board of advisors at Predictive ROI. So we would get together either in-person or over the phone. And during one of our monthly calls, I explained to Darren some of my reservations about building a big business. I wasn’t sure how big I wanted
Predictive ROI to become. And so I was nervous about it.
And I said, “Gosh, Darren – you know – I’ve never thought of myself as being a great manager of people. And quite frankly, honestly Darren, I kind of suck at it.”
And then Darren said to me, “Stephen — stop SUCKING at it!”
And I said, “What do you mean?”
And he said — “Don’t give me that lie or tell me that myth that you are telling yourself. Don’t use that as a fricken excuse to stop moving forward. Stop telling yourself that limiting belief and that lie that you’re not a good manager or leader. Be better at it. Don’t give me the excuse.”
And so I’m standing there almost like fricken naked – totally stripped down – I was like, holy crap, he totally called me on it.
That’s embarrassing – because he was right!
And that’s what a good mentor does for you – they call you out when you need to be called out – they support you when you need to be supported and they teach you when you need to be taught. But they don’t do the hard work for you – that’s on you.
So here are the specific ingredients for finding the right mentor for you:
- Think about your own talents and skills you would like to strengthen — weaknesses you would like to lessen — areas of your business you would like to improve, etc.
- Then make a precise list that details everything you just thought about.
- This process helps you identify the person you need to become in order to move your business onward to the next level
- This is a really hard exercise because you have to force yourself to take a critical look at yourself (and by the way — most people are not willing to get really honest with themselves — and that is one of the major reasons they never grow)
- Once you have the list — look for people who are crushing it in these areas — the same areas where you need to grow.
- Then contact those people — invite them to lunch — let them know you are packed full of questions for them
- Be very prepared — they will love that
- Interview them and put what they share with you into practice — turn it into a blog post and your clients will love you for it
- Loop back to your mentors and share your success
- When you do, they will invite you to sit down so they can share more with you.
- Soak it all up — then put it into practice.
Remember — a good mentee takes action on what is learned — and the responsibility is on you.
Let’s go deeper by taking a look at three of our Onward Nation guests and how they are crushing it with mentorship.
First, Don Yaeger – episode 2 of Onward Nation.
What is the difference between Don Yaeger and another professional speaker you could hire for an event?
Don has mentored with the greatest champions of our time – including Coach John Wooden for over 12 years — and Don distilled all of this knowledge into what he calls the 16 Characteristics of Greatness. Now, it would be easy to say – “Well sure, Stephen, Don can do that because he has all of the connections.” And true – Don can get anyone in the world of sports to take his call.
In fact, I was staying with Don and his family for a week in Tallahassee and one morning, Don’s cell phone rang and Don said to me “It’s Bob Kraft” — and I said, “Wait, what? You mean like Bob Kraft who owns the New England Patriots?”
But don’t forget, Onward Nation — even Don Yaeger had to start somewhere. So will you sit around and be fearful for another year – or – will you start getting mentored and move your business onward?
Next, Stacey Alcorn — episode 3 of Onward Nation.
What is the difference between Stacey Alcorn and another real estate professional?
Stacey has mentored with some of the best and brightest minds in business and connected those relationships back into building her real estate empire. I will later share with you a billion dollar recipe right out of Stacey’s cookbook — and I know we have several real estate professionals on the workshop right now — Stacey’s firm had 324 closings in June. Bam!
And lastly, Nancy Marshall – episode 19 of Onward Nation.
What is the difference between Nancy Marshall and another marketing or PR professional you could hire?
Nancy realizes that she may be located in the state of Maine – but the market for Nancy Marshall Communications is worldwide — which is why she has invested the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to write a book, develop a trademarked process in her agency called The Marshall Plan, and to invest in building a network through mentoring with the right people – and giving back – and now her network helps her company grow in the good times and become a safety net in the downturns – because the storm clouds will come no matter who you are or what kind of business you run.
Here’s the reality — you are the average of who you spend the most time with. So you need to spend your time with people you have a common future with – not a common past.
Let me close out this first recipe by saying — you can want to find a mentor – the recipe that I just shared with you could be worth millions of dollars in new sales to your company – but – it won’t be worth anything unless you DECIDE to take action.
As Tony Robbins says, a real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken action – in fact – that you have taken massive action. And if there’s no action – then that is simply an indicator you haven’t really decided anything.
Now that we have conquered and overcome the two main challenges standing in your way – and now that I have shared with you a very specific recipe with all of the step-by-step ingredients (in the proper syntax) so you can find your right mentor or mentors — it is now time to really accelerate your results and move your business onward to the next level.
The next recipe I am going to share with you could represent a billion – yes, with a “B” – billion dollar strategy for your business.
I am going to share a recipe for mastering a specific system that will dramatically expand your network and sphere of influence – and – I will also share with you how you can then monetize these valuable relationships into mutually beneficial partnerships and revenue for your business.
And yes, I know it may sound crass or inappropriate when I say monetize relationships – unfortunately, I can’t think of a better word – I think you get what I am driving at.
But before we get to the recipe — let me put typical “networking” into context.
Most business owners go to an event with a large number of “prospects”.
They pass out business cards.
They chit-chat small talk with the same people they met their last month.
The collect others business cards.
More chit-chat small talk.
They might even schedule some lunch meetings.
Why do we do this? Here’s why.
Because this is safe – it is easy – it does not make us face our fear of poverty or our fear of criticism. What would people think if I did that — or went here — or spent time with so and so — they will all think I am too big for my britches.
I am going to work hard here to shift your paradigm of what is possible.
And that is why I love this quote from Archimedes. “Give me a prop strong enough, and a level long enough, and I can single-handedly move the world”
This next recipe I am about to share with you will become your lever and prop.
And it is big – this is literally a billion dollar recipe – and I am going to introduce you to the top business owner who is using it generate a billion dollars.
She describes herself as a billionaire in the making. And I believe her.
Let me introduce you again to Stacey Alcorn. Her episode is still on our leaderboard of top podcasts.
During our interview, Stacey told me about the afternoon she had spent the week before with Kevin O’Leary, Mr. Wonderful from ABC’s Shark Tank – they spent the afternoon tasting wine and exchanging business mantras and best lessons. Stacey and Kevin had quite the masterminding session.
There is always a strategy behind what Stacey does – and if you go back and re-listen to episode 3, Stacey maps out her entire business building strategy with precision.
But we are going to focus on the billion-dollar recipe that Stacey has developed.
Most people will not swing for the fences – but Stacey does. So here are the specific ingredients in Stacey’s recipe.
- Make list of influencers in your industry and / or your Dream 50 clients / prospects
- Connect via social media, email, or call
- Ask for 30-minutes so you can interview them on their path / keys to success
- Do your homework – prep excellent questions
- Be excellent during the interview
- Share what you and your company does at close of interview
- Invite / open the door for future opportunities
- Then share guest’s expertise on your blog, media outlets, your podcast, etc. – your platform
- Rinse and repeat – rinse and repeat
Key point: if you interview the movers and shakers in your industry – they become your informal mentors — and you become one of the movers and shakers in the industry as a result.
If you want a BIGGER – more ROBUST – more INFLUENTIAL network – then YOU must become bigger — your platform must become more robust — and you must become more influential.
Warning — ROAD BLOCKS!!
Now, some of you listening to this recipe right now may be thinking – “Oh sure, Stephen — Stacey has an email list of 65,000 people and has interviewed all of these celebrities and big-time business people – I don’t have those connections.”
Or, maybe you’re thinking — “My business just started — I don’t have mindshare in the marketplace, I’m not a published author, I don’t have a platform, no one knows who I am, who will listen to me – what do I have or could I share that would be relevant for anyone to listen to, I don’t have a network – I wouldn’t even know how to start.”
All of those excuses – all of those alibis – those are the Fear of Poverty and the Fear of Criticism working against you again.
If you hear those voices in your head – if you are having thoughts that are even remotely similar to what I just mentioned – let that be your litmus test – you now know you are heading in the right direction.
Push forward – don’t stop – don’t let your fear hold you back from breaking through to that next level.
Remember, you are the average of the people you spend the most time with — and look who Stacey is spending the most time with.
She refers to herself as “A billionaire in the making.” And in order for that vision for her life to become a reality – she knows that she needs to spend as much time as possible with other billionaires.
Well, I will let you in on a secret she told me during our interview – Stacey didn’t have those connections several years ago.
But she DECIDED that was going to change and then she took action to make it happen.
I hope that makes sense.
Okay, Onward Nation – I hope this solocast was valuable to you. Please drop me a line and let me know what you thought.
Thumbs up or thumbs down? Please drop me a line and let me know.
Onward with gusto!