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Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner!

Bob the teacher and Felicia Slattery

Out to dinner with my hubby, Brent, Bob “The Teacher,” and his girlfriend, Therese.

What if you had a brilliant marketing strategist, who regularly hauls in more than $10K a month every month (and has for years), someone who can help you organize your business ideas and plans, teach you how to create and run all your systems online, and how to travel across the country whenever you feel like it for speaking engagements, work and fun — what if THAT person was coming to your house for dinner? Or even staying overnight all the way up to 48 HOURS?!

What would you ask that person??

That’s the opportunity I have right this very minute and I thought I’d share my good fortune with you.

You see, as a speaker in the marketing community I’ve had the extreme good fortune to get to know many of the best and brightest folks doing business today. In fact, I still pinch myself that I get to call many of these people my friends. And one of those friends is Bob “The Teacher” Jenkins.

A few weeks ago Bob asked me if he could spend a couple of his vacation days here with me and my family (who adore him!) while his girlfriend is teaching a program not too far away. So now I find myself in the enviable position of having his business brilliance all to myself for the whole day today and much of the workday tomorrow. We’re cooking up some cool stuff on our own, but I wanted to check with YOU – what do you want me to ask him for you?

I’ll record his answers on video or somehow get you his responses. Check back here by the end of the week for links, an article, or something special… who knows what it could be?!

So RIGHT now in the comments below share your questions. I’ll feed him a good breakfast and we’ll get on those answers today and tomorrow.

Finally! He Dressed the Part!

In July 2008, I attended my first Internet marketing conference. That was my introduction to a whole new world, live and in person.

Because of events that happened at that 3-day conference in Chicago, within a couple weeks I was quickly propelled to success in the Internet marketing crowd, being interviewed on radio shows by some of the biggest name “gurus,” being promoted by others, and began speaking on stages across the country about communication and public speaking. Effective communication is a skill you need in any business and Internet marketing is certainly no different.

 It was a very exciting time. Except over and over again, I kept hitting a brick wall in that marketplace. His name is Frank Kern.

Frank Kern has created a persona of himself as “laid back surfer dude done good.” He’s built a wildly successful Internet empire based on his solid concepts and content, which honestly is always good, but isn’t exactly rocket science or anything new. However, because he packages it well and is a master at selling himself, his persona, and his products, Mr. Frank Kern has become a very wealthy and successful man. Good for him.

Along with that success, over the years Kern has accepted many invitations to speak on stage to his marketplace, and has recorded dozens of talking head videos. As he should, he maintained his “surfer dude” persona while onstage or on video, typically wearing shorts, t-shirt, ruffled hair and an unkempt beard. And, even though I’ve never met the man personally, he caused all kind of headaches for ME.

As a public speaking consultant, I talk to my clients and audiences all the time about the importance of looking the part of a successful business owner and dressing to that image of success. Then here comes Frank Kern, who, dressed in whatever he wore to bed the night before and cursing at his audiences, is hugely successful with a large following.

The most savvy of business owners in his market realized all along he was dressed that way and speaking in that manner because it worked for his persona. Keeping up that image was a large part of his success, with the implicit message to others just beginning their Internet businesses, “You can do this too.” That led to an interesting phenomenon.

Thousands of 20-something young men believed they could curse and dress like slobs all the way to millionaire status success, because Frank Kern did it. Never mind that persona was completely orchestrated.  Like a theme for a party or special event, Frank Kern stayed true to character and his fans ate it up.

Until last week.

Last week, Frank Kern released what he calls his State of the Internet Address.  As you can see from the screen capture of the video, Frank Kern has cleaned up a lot. He’s wearing a custom-made suit. He’s trimmed his beard, cut his hair, and is sitting behind a desk in a large office. As of this writing more than 1,900 people have clicked “Like” on Facebook for the video.

In a subsequent post to his Facebook fan page, he talked about how a few people gave him some flack about the new look, but the overwhelming majority of comments were all about how pleased his audience members are to see him cleaned up and dressing the part of a wealthy and successful business owner.

Even in our “occupy movement” world, business owners want to look up to someone who is successful. And that means looking the part.

So this is a public thank you to Mr. Frank Kern. You just made my job a whole lot easier. Here’s what Frank Kern did with this video that made me smile and that you can emulate for your business communication while speaking on video:

  1. He dressed the part. Finally a guy who’s making millions looks like more than a surfer dude, even if only for one video.
  2. He used a “Talking Head” video. With all the resources at his disposal, Kern could have chosen to produce ANY kind of video and had it look and sound like Hollywood quality. In fact, he actually employed the services of an Emmy-award winning editor, but at its essence, this is a basic talking head video in a location that screams, “Professional who knows what he’s talking about. Take notice and listen.”
  3. He was deliberate in his communication decisions and it showed. Here’s the thing: I may not have ever met him, but I’m personal friends with one of Frank Kern’s business partners, and I can assure you, Kern’s decisions about his persona and communication have always been deliberate. But now, with the release of this video, those deliberate decisions are obvious. 

So what do you think? How do you “look the part” when you speak? Do you think your appearance matters when communicating credibility?

The “Plane” Truth About Soaring to Success

 

As a professional speaker, I travel often enough to have my share of frequent flier miles. Recently I was surprised when I opened my email to receive a notice from American Airlines, my airline of choice when I fly out of O’Hare. In that email I was assured that the announcement American Airlines made about filing for “reorganization under Chapter 11″ – that’s fancy financial speak for bankruptcy- would not hurt my frequent flier miles in any way. Huh.

Later, as I was enjoying some quiet downtime with my husband watching TV, I saw an ad that made me start thinking. Southwest Airlines announced they are now expanding their service again and will soon be flying into Atlanta.

Southwest

So there it is–on the same day one airline announces major struggles another airline announces its growth. Harkening back to a song from my shoulder-pad wearing, be-bop dancing college days in the late ’80s/early ’90s by C & C Music Factory, file that under, “Things that make you go hmmm….”

Why is it that one business thrives and another business in the exact same industry is flailing, trying desperately to stay afloat?

In looking at what Southwest Airlines does right, we solo professionals and home-based business owners can learn a few lessons about what it takes to succeed.

  1. Southwest Airlines employees LOVE their jobs and it shows in the customer experience. This is honestly why I choose Southwest when I have an option. With the FAA and TSA making us remove our shoes, belts, jackets, and just about every ounce of dignity as we have our bodies x-ray searched; weather-related and mechanical flight delays; over-crowded airports and planes; and overpriced everything, let’s face it: flying can be quite a hassle. That’s why it’s such a breath of fresh air to fly with Southwest. The gate attendants are typically pleasant and the flight attendants often have fun ways of welcoming passengers aboard with jokes, songs, and witty comments. What you can learn: When you love what you do it shows and customers are attracted to that. That’s passion and passion is one of the fundamentals of building your charisma and therefore your credibility.
  2. Southwest Airlines bucks the “industry trends” to do what they feel is right for their customers and their company. I’m talking about those baggage fees other companies charge. With Southwest you get your first TWO checked bags totally free. Active military folks get all their bags for free. At Southwest there is no such thing as a change fee, phone reservation fee, or cancellation fee. No other major airline has as many customer-friendly non-fee policies. Even without all the extra fees other carriers tack on, Southwest is still succeeding financially while the others struggle. What you can learn: Stop watching the “Joneses” in your industry! So what if everyone else is doing something? If you don’t personally believe in it, if it’s not right for YOU and your customers, then it will never work. You must build your business around your values. When you do, customers with similar values will show up and stick around.
  3. Southwest Airlines focuses on relationships and everything else (including success) follows. Southwest focuses on “high performance relationships based on shared goals, shared knowledge, and mutual respect among all lemployees, and suppliers,” as explained in Jody Hoffer Gittell’s book The Southevels of management, west Airlines Way. When your company is about people, everything else can easily fall into place. W hat you can learn: Build your business around people and your relationships with them. That’s one reason I love public speaking combined with following up on social media. You start a relationship by providing great info and continue the relationship by being social. Respect everyone you work with at all levels including assistants, vendors, prospects, customers/clients, sponsors, and colleagues. Foster those relationships and people will support you and take care of you and you will succeed.

We can all learn lesssons about what to do — and what not to do — from other businesses, whether they are in the same industry or not. Now it’s your turn: What lessons about success have you learned from watching others?

A Spoon Full of Sugar Helps…

sugarAs solo professionals we all have tasks we don’t love, but have to do. For me it’s dealing with the accounting junk (apparently I can’t just keep on being creative and not worry about the dollars and cents end. Hm.). But whatever it is you have to do, here are a few suggestions to make it happen:

  1. Set a specific goal for yourself. Rather than saying “I’m going to write for as long as I can.” Try, “I will write 500 words” or “I will write and submit one article today.”
  2. Work in breaks for yourself. My husband, the personal trainer, always says to stop what I’m doing every 30 minutes to stretch and move around. This does not have to be a long break, but a quick change of body positioning opens you up for more energy to flow.
  3. Use a timer. When I have tasks I REALLY don’t like (filing), I set a limited time for myself. I keep a plain digital kitchen timer on my desk and set it throughout the day. (It also works great for the occasional time-outs for my kids when they have to sit on the naughty step.) I try to get as much of that one task completed in the short time-frame I allow myself and do not get sidetracked because it’s usually just a few minutes. When the timer goes off, I can be done and move on to other more pleasant things.
  4. Schedule it in. Make sure you put the task in your schedule. Things we don’t like have a tendency to get pushed back and back and back… until they are almost too overwhelming or a deadline looms. When you schedule it in, you save yourself that stress.
  5. Reward yourself. You don’t have to use a spoonful of sugar– although if you want to treat yourself with a few Hershey’s dark chocolate kisses, that’s ok by me! Think of a little something you would rather do. Then when you finish your task, allow yourself to revel in your reward. You deserve it after all!

OK, those are my tips on getting stuff done. What are your best tips? Add your comment here now.

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