20 episodes

For online and offline entrepreneurs that want to cut to the chase. Any and every small business topic broken down and massaged into three simple action steps. Join two seasoned small business owners from TheSmallBizExpress.com and experience your AHA! moment today.

The Small Business Express Podcast Gary Shouldis

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 21 Ratings

For online and offline entrepreneurs that want to cut to the chase. Any and every small business topic broken down and massaged into three simple action steps. Join two seasoned small business owners from TheSmallBizExpress.com and experience your AHA! moment today.

    SBX 34: How To Recharge Yourself and Your Business

    SBX 34: How To Recharge Yourself and Your Business

    Feel like you’ve run out of gas, that starting a business is burning you out?  Are you finding yourself avoiding the important things that need to get done in your business?

    If you’re experiencing feelings of self-doubt, burn-out, apathy, laziness, and guilt that comes from not doing what you know you should be doing, it’s not a confidence problem… it’s an energy problem. Today we’re going to talk about system recharge.

    All of us business owners get burned out at some point.  Some faster than others, but we all experience it.  Starting and growing a business isn’t a steady and predicable experience, like having a routine job.  Sometimes it’s relatively quiet, but other times you have to go full speed ahead for extended periods of time.  Burnout is almost inevitable.  The key is not getting burned out, but finding your own personal way to step back and recharge yourself both physically and mentally.

    In today’s show, we talk about burnout and how to figure out the outlets that can help you relax, unwind and recharge your batteries.

    Listen and Learn…

    * How to avoid mental exhaustion as you grow your business

    * How to reset the clock and re-energize yourself and your business

    * How focusing on goals can lead to burnout

    * Why you need to find your own personal outlets so you don’t get burned out

    * Why physical activity will recharge you mentally

    Action Steps from this episode:

    #1. Identify the 5 Things that Get You Recharged.  We’re all different people and we each have different things that give us life when we’re running on empty.  The keys in your identification are (1) be specific (“time with family” = doing WHAT?  Sometimes time with family can be worse than time at work… just sayin), (2) consider all areas of your life (there should be a spectrum here, that encompasses relationship, health, spiritual life… not just movie watching), and (3) actually come up with 5.  As your feelings change, which constantly happens when you’re feeling burnt out, what got you feeling good on Monday won’t make you feel that same way on Tuesday.  Variety is the spice of life for the tired heart.


    #2.  Redefine what Success Looks Like in Each Area.  So you have 5 things here, let’s not take them to the extreme.  Of course you’re a business owner so you’d never do that.  But if the thing that recharges you is exercise (for instance), let’s be excited about the exercise, and NOT make your recharge contingent on (A) winning a marathon, (B) being a professional (insert sport here), (C) having six pick abs or anything else that requires a mountain of ambition.  Part of what makes something recharging is doing it for the same of doing it.  You don’t always have to win.  Really, you DON’T ALWAYS HAVE TO WIN!  So redefine each of your 5 things to make them, ya know, actually FUN.


    #3.  Communicate to Others when You Will Be Busy, why You are Busy, and the victories of your busy-ness.  FACT: this will make you way more tolerable to be around when you’re cranky.  But also will create a lot more empathy when you’re missing in action.  Of course if you’re going to communicate to others, you must also cut them the same slack when they say “time for ME now.”  And you must also be willing to tell your business, customers, employees, and your email, “Sorry… not coming in today.”  If Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A don’t need to be open 7 days a week, neither do you.  Sorry, but it’s true.

    Links and Resources:


    Audible.com – An Amazon company where you can download and listen to audio books on the go.

    * The Alchemist – a really good and inspirational fiction book.

    • 42 min
    SBX 33: How To Keep Focused On The Main Thing For Your Business

    SBX 33: How To Keep Focused On The Main Thing For Your Business

    Ever feel like you’re working your ass off in your business but when you look back, you feel like you still didn’t accomplish much?

    Maybe your not focusing on the right things.

    If you own your own business, you know that being super busy isn’t the same as being productive.  You can spend the entire day running from one fire to next and never actually do anything that is moving your business forward.

    While it’s ok to have off days, if you feel like you’re having too many of these “off” days, maybe it’s time to step back and refocus your efforts.

    You need to figure out what the most important things you should be doing to move your business forward.  Doing one high value activity a day is much better than checking off 20 unimportant tasks off your daily to do list.  It all comes down to knowing what’s important and focusing all of your efforts on them.

    It’s making sure you stay focused on the main thing.

    And you’re in luck, this is exactly what we are discussing in today’s show.

    But before we go any further…

    Yes, we’ve been on a mini-hiatus for the past couple of weeks.  Thanks to everyone who reached out, concerned about what the heck happened to us.  We’ve been working together to figure out how to improve the podcast and to make it bigger and better, but you can listen to this the episode for the full scoop.

    Listen and Learn…

    * Why we often get trapped in the “Urgent but not Important” quadrant when it comes to being productive

    * Why we lose focus and how to get back on track towards your goals

    * Why people focus on the wrong things with their business

    * Why planning and thinking are just as important as doing

    * How to bounce back after an Off Day

    * Why being over productive can actually hurt you

    Action Steps from this episode:


    Identify what the main thing is.  It all comes down to planning.  Before your day even starts you should know the ONE thing that you must get done that day in order to move your business forward.  Are you the type of person to make a to-do list a mile long?  At the top of that list you should have the most important thing you need to do.  And if nothing else gets done that day?  That’s ok, because you did the one big thing you needed to that will have a positive impact on your business.  Not sure what the most important thing is?  Don’t just do what you are comfortable with or are good at doing, do what is most important for your business.  Think of the thing you have been putting off and are afraid to do, usually that’s the important thing.


    Track a daily record for the main thing. Be protective of your time.  Again, be protective of your time.  Especially early in the day when you have to make sure you get the important stuff done.  Don’t worry about your inbox or returning calls.  Ignore casual requests for your time and attention.  You have the 1-2 things you know you need to get done so stay focused on those tasks until they are done.  Keep track of your time and your priority list, but don’t over schedule yourself.  Things will happen that will throw a monkey wrench into your perfectly scheduled day, make sure you leave time to deal with the unknowns or else those curveballs will drive you crazy.


    Recover quickly on OFF days.  We all have off days, even off weeks.  These days will throw your perfectly timed schedule for a loop and leave you feeling like you’ll be playing catchup for the next month.  The truth?  It’s not a big deal, in fact, know that it’s going to happen. Sometimes we get so caught up in getting stuff done that we don’t leave time to really think,

    • 37 min
    SBX 32: Advanced Website Strategies To Grow Your Business

    SBX 32: Advanced Website Strategies To Grow Your Business

    Website not driving leads like you thought it would?  Maybe you’re focusing on the wrong things.

    Every business owner dreams of having a website that prints money for their business, one that just keeps sending leads over and over again.  Yeah, that rarely ever happens.  Building a website that works is hard.  The strategy is easy but the execution is hard.

    When building a website, most people focus on the wrong things.  They spend endless hours worrying about the perfect color scheme or the best font for their logo when they should be focused on the most important thing for any business website.

    Delivering value.

    Yes, build a website that your potential customers find unbelievably helpful and they won’t care that you’re using Helvetic as your title font instead of Mohave.

    Don’t get bogged down by distractions, the most important thing to is just get started.  You don’t need to spend months building the perfect website, the more important thing is get it up and start delivering value for your customers.

    So how do you do it?

    Well in this episode of The Small Business Express podcast, we are very honored to have the one and only Justin Cooke from Empire Flippers to share his vast online knowledge with us.  Justin is an Expat from California living the island life in the Philippines and runs a really successful online business building, buying and selling websites.

    Justin Cooke has been involved with hundreds of website projects and consults with small business owners on how to create websites that drive engagement and leads.  He is also the co-host of a very popular podcast that covers online marketing, buying and selling websites and a load of other insanely useful you should check out.

    Listen and Learn…

    * Why small business owners focus on the wrong things when building a website

    * The most important things you need to know when building a website

    * Why the design isn’t that important and how it can cost you business

    * The one marketing channel that is so important but so underutilized by small business.

    * How to quickly and cheaply outsource small web projects

    * Things you need to know to drive website conversions

    * And so much more.  When it comes to building websites, Justin just knows his stuff!

    Action Steps from this episode:


    Your business website should be designed around customer INTERESTS, PROBLEMS, or PASSIONS.  Your website should be more than just a digital brochure for your business.  It should solve your potential customers problems, answer burning questions and set the stage for building a long lasting relationship with your customer.  The look of the site is less important than the value it delivers to your potential customer.


    Get your email opt-in nailed down along with a reason to opt-in…. and get the SITE UP!. One of the most underused marketing techniques used by small business is building an email list.  An email list is a direct pipeline to your customer and you can reach them anytime you want with very little cost.  Figure out what value you can offer a visitor to your website in exchange for their email.  The offer should be value based (great info or some sort of offer) and related to the product or service you are offering.  The most important thing is to get your site up and start building a list, work out the little things later.


    Go back and fix stuff later. SEO, Copy, GET IT UP!.  The number reason small business owners fail online?  They focus on the wrong things.

    • 49 min
    SBX 31: When Is It Time To Pivot Your Business

    SBX 31: When Is It Time To Pivot Your Business

    Every business owner eventually arrives at a crossroads with their business where they have to make some tough decisions.  Things may not be going as planned and you feel like you’re just spinning your wheels.  So do you keep plugging along and hope the obvious business problems you face will eventually work themselves out?  Do you pack it in and live to fight another day?  Or do you hang a hard left and take your business in a new direction?

    When you start a business you have so much invested in it, both financially and mentally, that it can be difficult to assess your situation objectively.  You’ve probably seen businesses that should have packed in in years before they actually did but you’ve also read of countless stories of entrepreneurs that were on the brink of disaster right before they made their big break through.

    So what do you do?

    While every business and entrepreneur is different, there may be signs that a change to your business is in order.  Maybe you don’t have to shut down your business, maybe you just need to take it in a new direction.  Sometimes you have to make big decisions to keep your business alive but probably the worst thing you can do is know that things are not right and go on pretending that they are.

    Freedom lies in being bold. – Robert Frost

    In this episode, our special guest Dan Norris talks with us about his own personal experiences on business startups, knowing when to walk away and how he’s taken his new business WP Curve (learn more about WP Curve in the resources section below) from startup to the buzz of the WordPress community in only a few short months.

    Listen and Learn…

    * How to recognize when you’ve hit a wall or the end of the road for your business

    * Options to consider when you know you need to make changes in your business

    * How pressure and little time can work wonders when it comes to making fast decisions

    * How quick decisions can get your new business off the ground in days, not months

    * How to use content and relationships to quickly grow your new business

    * How a “Service as a Service” business model can be great for recurring revenues

    * And so much more.  When it comes to startups, blogging and WordPress, Dan knows his stuff

    Action Steps from this episode:


    Recognize when you’ve hit a wall.  Is it a temporary hurdle you have to climb or is it a 100 ft brick wall that may be the end of you?   Take time to evaluate you and your business and if you are still moving in the right direction or toiling away with little progress.  When your target audience knows your business exists but doesn’t care, or maybe you don’t care anymore, maybe it’s time to think about moving onto something that you and your customers will fall in love with.


    Brainstorm 3 possible changes. 3 possible pivots… not talking about tear-downs and start all overs, but three possible minor adjustments: maybe it’s a change in customers, a change in product, or a change in scope.  Maybe you don’t need to shut it down, but take it into a new direction instead.  Sometimes even the best businesses need to change if they want to thrive.


    Make the decision.  Don’t live in a place of fear.  Spend all the time you need evaluating the situation, but the second you decide on a course of action, go out and start making things happen.  Toiling away when you should be taking action is a sure fire way to die a slow death.

    Links and Resources:


    WP Curve. Dan’s new startup that provides ongoing WordPress support and quick fixes at a price th...

    • 38 min
    SBX29: Evolution Of Your Thing

    SBX29: Evolution Of Your Thing

    The itch to become a business owner happens seemingly out of nowhere. You’re standing in line at Wal-Mart. You’re daydreaming in the fast lane on the highway while other (irritated) drivers pass you on the right. Or you’re in the world’s incubator of great ideas: the shower. When, all of a sudden, you think: “I should start a business.”

    Sure, it doesn’t come out quite like that. More of a “I wonder how much extra money I could bring in if I _______.”  Or maybe the seed –which was planted by a friend, co-worker, or family member in the form of a genuine of off-handed compliment– starts to bloom in the recesses of your brain.

    As soon as that thought happens once? You’re screwed. It’ll show up at dinner when your wife is talking, while you’re watching AMERICA’S GOT TALENT with your husband, and most of all when you’re trying to fall asleep. Your next move is a big one, as it’ll set you onto a trajectory that could lead to your deepest wish fulfillment, or a never-ending cycle of frustration and overwhelm.

    In this episode, Brian McLeod takes us through business owner evolution. This is a must listen to anybody whose on the fence with their big idea.  WARNING: consuming this episode may result in an exceptionally shortened learning curve for an aspiring business owner.

    Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.  — Brian McLeod  (Tweet It)

    Listen and Learn…

    * The first thing to do when you decide you’re going for it.

    * How to give your budding business your best energy, even if you’re working 9 to 5. (11 minutes ish)

    * What it’s like to be a musician, working sales gigs to support the dream.

    * Why it will feel weird when you actually start to make money.

    * The challenge of being the center of your business and how Brian responded to being the guy that everybody calls for everything. (25 minutes ish)

    * A certain thing that most business owners and freelancers get caught up on when they start to succeed… and how to transition into long-term partnerships.

    * And so much more.  Like his buddy, Kevin, Brian is seriously laugh-out-loud funny.

    Action Steps from this episode:


    Get Started Immediately.  Don’t just sit on the sidelines.  Don’t do what many people do: “Ready… Aim… Aim… Aiiiiiiiim….”  Get in the game.  Understand that it will be a slow process if you’re working your part time passion around your full time job.  Be sure to preserve your best energy for your part time passion.  Do this by flexing as much creativity in your full time gig as you can.  This keeps your day job fun and light versus burdensome.]

    Embrace the Evolution of Your Venture.  How this thing starts will assuredly not be how this finishes.  If you stay engaged for the long-term, one thing will lead to another, which will lead to another, which will lead to another.  Brian’s story is a perfect example: an evening/weekend musician gets into sales, begins working with inventors, starts copywriting with some of the biggest names in the biz, strikes out on his own as a freelancer, and partners with masters to start a production company.  Listen to this episode to hear some of the struggles and aha moments that you are likely to have as you set out on this journey.


    Look for Partnerships, Not Customers.  If you’re a service based business, the play is to find the people whom you can serve in a long-term basis.  Swinging from client to client like a monkey looking for the next banana can be unfulfilling and overwhelming.  Instead, engage in a title="This is how to do it." href="http://thesmallbizexpress.

    • 54 min
    SBX 28: Building Owner Brands

    SBX 28: Building Owner Brands

    Social media… it is NOT just for your business.  In an age of information and CEO celebrity-hood, customers want to know a little something about the owner of your company (RE: you).  It doesn’t matter if you’re an offline owner, an online owner, or an aspiring owner with a cool idea. Your online profiles are being searched, found, and scrutinized.  The thousand dollar question: are they helping or hurting your company brand?

    Here’s an example of an online profile that is doing NOTHING for a business.  Seriously?? There’s nothing of value here… no link to the business… no sharing of this person’s values or thought-leadership… nothing but crickets.  No posts since 2006? I mean, hey, it’s not like Google is a popular search or anything.

    (Gary: Mike, you should be ashamed of yourself.)

    (Mike: I am.  Ugh.  Feel free to rip me in the comments.  I deserve it.)

    Here’s an example of an online profile that’s pretty standard.  Some social proof (a decent amount of followers… did he pay for those?)  Pointing to this online hub and company.  Better than nothing… but how can we do one better?

    Simple.  We track down Carisa Miklusak of T-Media and beg for her secrets.  T-Media not only handles social strategies for 8 and 9 figure organizations, they handle the personal brands of some of the world’s most ambitious CEOs. Carisa is a power-user of social media and, in walking her walk, has built a consistent owner brand across 7 social profiles.  (Amazingly enough, she has a kick-butt personal life too.)

    WARNING: listening to this episode will inspire you to stop cheer-leading for your business and post less cat videos.  All right, meow?

    Social media has created a demanding audience where individuals (customers & partners) want to connect with other people, NOT just a company.  — Carisa Miklusak — (Tweet It)


    Listen and Learn…

    * The difference between having a social account and building a personal brand.

    * Why nobody wants to be friends with a business cheerleader (gaaah!).

    * 4 reasons why business owners can’t put all their energy into the business brand and ignore their personal.

    * How to get started on building value-based, ROI owner profiles, even if you haven’t cared up to this point.  (Hint: pick the profile that rhymes with Minked-Pin).

    * How to determine which sites you should be on and which sites you can ignore.

    * The power of an interest wheel = determining the periphery of things that your customers care about.

    * The 3 things that people use social media for. (20 minutes into the show.  This is GOLD.)

    * The pseudo-holiday that Ryan Holmes (CEO of Hoot Suite) has turned into an annual tradition.

    * CARISA ON THE SBX HOTSEAT!  Her greatest mistake and biggest AHA! moments as a small business owner… plus the tension between believing in people and hiring.  (With a fantastic TO DO list tip).

    Action Steps from this episode:


    Explore your WHY.  Think about why you got started on this business endeavor in the ...

    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

Danoman55 ,

One of the Best on Marketing Biz Advice

Having listened to many a marketing jive podcast, these guys are way better. They know their stuff, have little filler, and refrain from flogging their goods. These guys should be more popular then they are and sadly may themselves be looking to move on to other pastures.

you guys rock ...what ever you do ;^)

Joethedragon ,

great, keep it up

great stuff guys and yes, I listen while in the car so I finally listened at home and giving you a thumbs up! well done. keep it up.

Mike in Toronto 2014 ,

Fuel for the fire!


As someone who is in the beginning stages of opening their our business I find your podcast informative and inspirational. Love the format, topic choices and guests. Keep killing it!


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