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TBL Episode #122: Jacob Blanchard
Today’s guest, Jacob Blanchard, is an entrepreneur, a consultant and a problem solver.
The first major problem Jake solved was earning a scholarship so he could stay in college. He earned the scholarship through the business school, so he switched his major from English to supply chain management, which he hoped to use working in international logistics.
As a senior, Jake completed an unpaid internship at a hospital. He was dedicated to getting a job, so he continued to show up every day as if he were an employee. The hospital, impressed with both his commitment and his stellar work performance, decided to offer him paid work. The only funds they had available were from their discretionary consultancy budget, so they hired him as an independent consultant whose job was “Problem Solver.” This eclectic role allowed him to touch many aspects of the business, providing valuable experience that allowed Jake to start his own consulting firm, Delta Perspective.
A mentor of Jake’s later helped him frame and distill this experience into actionable advice: If you are in a commoditized environment, then seek specialty in that environment. If you are in a specialized environment, then commoditize your specialization.
His education was a commodity, and the consulting work at the hospital was a specialty, which he was later able to commoditize via his own firm. Now, after 15 years of working for himself and as a lead consultant for another firm, he has the confidence and expertise to sell exceptional consulting services to a variety of clients over and over.
Establishing Entrepreneurial Intention
Jake believes that changing his mindset three years ago allowed his business to take off. Previously, he had the mindset of an employee: he would land a client and think of them as his care-taker, rather than focusing on growth for his firm through business development and marketing.
Employees punch the clock for pay, while entrepreneurs have growth-oriented mindsets, so Jake changed his intention to grow and scale his business. Entrepreneurs must enjoy the journey, having fun with what they do, or they’ll end up “punching the clock.” Those who fall into this trap grow to resent their own business, as many employees begrudge their employers.
In 2019, when Jake changed his mindset in this way, his firm took off.
Obsessed with Over-Processing
From Jake’s perspective, project managers tend to over-process because they fear stepping into the role of strategic advisor. Jake sees project management as the tactical execution of strategic projects and program management as the strategic mission of an organization. Companies struggle to bridge the two, which means they tend to get caught up in a cycle where projects are executed without intentional analysis of how they fit into the long-term strategic plan.
As a consultant, Jake holds a mirror to a company. He doesn’t tell them what they don’t know. Instead, he listens, re-organize, and re-prioritize what he’s heard. Jake asks the right questions, which are often tough ones, and his years of experience allow him to design strategic missions to implement. His goal is to hire himself out of the role so the company can continue to grow after the contract completes.
Jake loves the problem-solving work of a consultant, but he also wants his firm to continue to scale and grow. These two desires are often in conflict with one another, so Jake hopes to feel content stepping back from the day-to-day work and step up to a growth-seeking role, where he can learn to solve problems through other people rather than solving them himself.
His other goals include earning his black belt in Jiu-Jitsu and continuing to host his podcast, Jake Blanchard Podcast.
Episode #121: Communication for Growth and Success with Meredith Bell
Today’s guest on the “Today’s Business Leaders” podcast is Meredith Bell, an author, podcast host and the president and co-founder of Performance Support Systems, Inc. She’s here today to speak with us about her passion: affecting lasting and meaningful change for her clients through improved communication skills and teamwork.
Finding the Freedom to Call the Shots
Meredith is an accidental entrepreneur. She began working in education as a teacher but grew bored with the routine after several years. From there, she earned a master’s degree and began working on the administrative side of education.
She quickly discovered that bureaucracy and politics were not her cup of tea, leaving her wondering what to do next. She still wanted to work with people and help them learn, but education wasn’t the right field in which to do so. She began working as a trainer and consultant and hasn’t looked back. Instead, she has moved forward.
Meredith and her long-time business partners Dennis E. Coates and Paula Schlauch have been working together for 30 years to help individuals develop the skills they need to achieve higher performance levels.
The Relational Side of Business
Business transactions come and go, but relationships last. Making sure those relationships are positive and productive is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your business. While it can be challenging to change your communication habits, Meredith has some advice to help you get started.
First and foremost, strive to be an active and empathetic listener. If listening isn’t a skill you are used to practicing, it can be difficult to begin doing so. The results are well worth it as you learn to set your ego aside and really hear what the people you interact with are saying.
The other crucial communication habit to develop is a willingness to apologize. As much as we might like to be, none of us are perfect, and we will make mistakes. That’s okay. Mistakes are part of learning, but they can hurt other people. When that happens, a sincere apology can go a long way toward repairing damaged relationships.
Apologizing is particularly important for leaders. When you apologize, you set an example for your employees and everyone else in your life. You’re creating an environment in which people feel comfortable communicating openly and honestly about their mistakes and feelings, which is invaluable for growing and succeeding, both as a team and a company as a whole.
If you’re interested in learning more, you can connect with Meredith via LinkedIn or check out the Performance Support Systems, Inc. website. The website contains tons of great resources, including links to books by Meredith and Dennis and Meredith’s “Strong for Performance” podcast.
Episode #120: Transforming Leaders from Inside Out
Today’s guest, Shannon Graham, realized he was an entrepreneur since his early teens. When he was in school, he would take the one-cent CDs from the Columbia House catalog and upsell them to his friends and classmates to make a profit. This was his very first taste of being a business owner, and he knew it was for him.
Graham began his coaching career in his early 20s while working a full-time job. It did not take long for him to start making more income from his coaching business than his full-time career. By that point, he quit his nine to five to work full time for himself and has never looked back.
He now works with ultra-high net worth individuals who have gone through the ultimate failure (losing their purpose and not achieving their fulfillment) through his million-dollar program — Second Summit.
His goal is to bring together the 98 percent and the 2 percent to create a better world and bring civilization to Tier One — a civilization that can utilize all the natural energy resources on a planet. But before that can happen, he helps individuals realize their full potential.
Can money buy happiness?
Contrary to the popular belief that money cannot buy happiness, Graham explains that it 100 percent can. “Happiness is not a core state of being.” Just like sadness, it comes and goes. People confuse happiness and fulfillment. They believe that to truly be content with their lives, they have to be happy. However, as human beings, you cannot be happy all day every day.
How can you reach fulfillment?
The one thing in life that everyone is trying to achieve (even if they do not know it) is fulfillment. Fulfillment is how we feel about ourselves. Many people think that money can make you feel fulfilled. However, you can be poor and still feel fulfilled, and you can be wealthy and never feel fulfilled. While making money is a science, fulfillment is an art. There is “no clear blueprint” on how you can get it and where you can find it.
An issue that Graham comes across from these ultra net worth individuals is that while they were making a way to earn money, they sacrificed their fulfillment. This sacrifice then drags them down. But Graham is here to help turn things around.
If you like what Shannon Graham is all about or what he teaches, then check out his website for more information. Or, you can always contact him personally through Facebook.
TBL Episode #119: Creating and Keeping Connections with Kevin Thompson
Ensuring a good experience for everyone involved in a partnership is an underrated aspect of business relationships, but it’s one of the most essential for long-term success. Maximum Response Marketing’s Kevin Thompson is here with us today to explain how he creates and keeps connections.
Kevin’s Path to Profit
Kevin has known that he wanted to be an entrepreneur since he was a member of the Future Business Leaders of America while in high school, but getting there took time and a lot of hard work. After four years in the army and seven as a commercial fisherman, Kevin finally had the funds to start his own cleaning and restoration business in 1997.
His first year in business was miserable. He worked 12 to 14 hour days without generating a profiting or attracting the customers he wanted to work for. All of that changed when he came across an advertisement for Joe Polish’s marketing materials in a trade magazine.
Becoming familiar with Joe’s work and then Joe himself changed everything for Kevin. He went from scrubbing engine grease out of apartment carpets for next to nothing, to working in upscale homes and making the kind of money he imagined when he first went into business.
With so much money on the line and a high risk of failure, business relationships are often fraught. It can be challenging to build lasting connections founded on trust. Despite this, Kevin has succeeded so thoroughly that he has earned the nickname Kevin the Connector.
What’s Kevin’s Secret to Success?
It’s not complicated. Go back to the basics when it comes to relationships. Before anything else, treat others the way you want to be treated. What’s true and effective on the playgrounds of elementary schools everywhere remains so in multi-million dollar partnerships.
You want your partners to walk away from a venture having been wowed and wanting to recommend working with you to their entire network. That way, their network becomes yours. One chance connection blossoms into many. The process continues as your business grows.
Kevin is no stranger to hard work. Since 2007, he has been part of 452 joint venture projects across a range of industries. By doing so, he and his partners have earned more than $16 million. If that sounds like a connection you want to make, you can contact Kevin via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on LinkedIn.
TBL Episode #118: The Importance of Relationship Building with George Bryant
When a prospect tells you, “I have a marketing problem”, the real problem typically lies in his or her relationships. How can you solve your prospects’ problems without communicating with them? Today’s guest, George Bryant has relationship building at the top of his priority list.
From Paper Routes to Digital Marketing
George, like many serial entrepreneurs, started his journey at a young age. Having a tumultuous childhood, he knew that to get what he wanted, he had to go out and get it himself. At nine years old, he had three paper routes to earn money. By 13, he had a job at an ice-skating rink. He didn’t realize until much later that he’d been an entrepreneur his whole life.
After 12 years in the Marine Corps, George was struggling with what to do. He was working on becoming healthy again after years of injuries and eating issues. To hold himself accountable, he began posting recipes and blogs online. While growing his own business, he started working as a digital marketing consultant on the side, which was the most important decision of his professional life.
George now works as a digital marketing expert (among many other things) and prioritizes relationships over all else. In his eyes, relationships beat algorithms. He’s helped countless business owners increase their revenue by showing them the true value of self-awareness and sympathy for buyers.
Priority Number One
George says that every entrepreneur must make self-awareness, exploration and integrity their number one priorities. Having a good relationship with yourself and knowing your faults is the best way to set yourself up for success. Remember that words can only go so far, but the feelings behind the words travel even further.
Many entrepreneurs forget to humanize their work. The algorithm isn’t buying your product, a real person is. Take time to nurture those relationships, even if the person doesn’t say yes. People are much more likely to refer your brand to others if you treat them well, respond to their comments or send them a gift.
Another piece of advice from George is to surround yourself with the right people. Have people around you who tell you the truth and push you to be better. It makes all the difference.
Do you need help building your entrepreneurial relationships? George is the person to help you. Contact him on his website, check out his podcast and online courses. Keep up with George on Facebook to join the Relationships Beat Algorithms group.
TBL Episode #117: Reprogramming Your Brain for Better Business with Nic Peterson
Being an entrepreneur means learning how to show up effectively for your audience. However, what if your current tactics aren’t working? Are you often asking yourself: "Why don’t they get it?” “Why is my business stagnating?” “How do I effectively communicate my intentions?” Today’s guest, Nic Peterson may have the answer you’re looking for.
Nic has been an entrepreneur for most of his adult life. He is the co-founder and director of strategic development at Mastery Mode, a business consulting firm dedicated to helping small businesses grow. His entrepreneurial journey began at the ripe old age of 21 when he opened a small gym.
Building a Network
For four years, Nic basically lived at his gym, doing everything he could to make it successful. While he mostly catered to the Ironman and bodybuilding crowd, he noticed that some of his clients were affluent and successful. Then, the lightbulb switched on. He needed to know how to get more of these successful people in his gym. He started building his network by talking to successful clients and encouraging them to bring their friends to the gym.
He was eventually able to raise membership prices by creating an exclusive environment for wealthy, successful people. The business grew and grew, and Nic gained valuable business knowledge. The craziest thing was, he did all of this without any marketing or advertising. From there, his success grew exponentially.
Clarity, Certainty and Collapsing Time
There are a lot of business consulting firms out there. What makes Nic’s methods different from the rest? It all comes down to his core marketing principles: Clarity, Certainty and Collapsing Time.
Nic realized that every prospect is essentially asking a version of the question “Am I going to be okay?” whether that means money, weight loss, business success or personal growth. To answer that question, you need clarity, certainty and collapsing time.
Think about using Google Maps to get somewhere. The clarity is that you’re at the right starting point and you’ve programmed in the right destination. The certainty is that Google Maps will get you to your destination. Collapsed time is how fast you drive to get there. The same formula works for any goal you’re trying to achieve.
Your clients all have problems they’re trying to solve: “Am I going to be okay?” Once you have certainty, you can provide clarity for how you can solve their problem. Once they realize that you have a solution, collapsed time is your money maker. “When can I start?” or “How long will it take?”
Nic’s advice to budding entrepreneurs is this: Focus on communication. Talk to people as much as possible. If you find yourself asking: “Why don’t they get it?” it’s time to work on your communication skills to deliver the best results.
Learn more about Nic by visiting his website. Click here to get started with Mastery Mode and grow your business.