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How To Handle The Gatekeeper

When you need to speak to the decision maker you need to navigate the gatekeeper. Here’s a few tips to help you get it done. (Guest post by Kim Ann Curtin).

  • Call early or call late
  • Have your pitch ready
  • Be “over there” with the gatekeeper
  • Make he/she care about you
  • Mine them for information

Call early or call late

Anywhere from 7am-8:30am or 5pm-8pm. This will give you a good shot at getting the Top Dog and this is when their day is calm, things haven’t really ramped up yet or they are winding down.

Have your pitch ready

What if the decision maker you need does answer the phone? Are you ready? You want a few versions of your pitch. You are going to have a brief indicator, if he/she is in the mood, so pay attention if they are open and curious. Then give them your 1minute pitch. If they seem busy, give them a 30sec pitch and offer to send it in an email for him to review. Now have that email rock and roll ready to go! Have it all prepped before you initially call so you can literally hit send as soon as you hang up. Don’t multitask while talking to your guy/gal.

Step away from your computer and look out into nature if you can. Put all your focus on the conversation. You need to have no distractions to hear the subtleties. Be over there

My personal experience: When I was a TV producer, I was trying to get the Editor of the Daily News to do an interview. He had just written a new book and he was already a best selling author so he was in great demand! His gatekeeper (assistant) put me on hold about 7 times and by “ being over there”, I picked up on how crazy busy she was. I put myself in her shoes and when she finally came back I said, “Wow you are having a tough day aren’t you?” Her response was, “you don’t know the half of it” and she proceeded to rant for about 10 minutes and I listened and empathized with her. When she finally came back in to the conversation with me, we had a bond in place and she thanked me for listening. By being “over there” with her, we connected and she put our request at the top of all her media requests. We taped the interview the next week.

Make them care about you

Be considerate and human, non-transactional, of their time and day. Include some levity; the weather or a neutral news event, you can even make fun of yourself! Promise you won’t bore them. Wink wink ;-) Let them know you are in on the fact that you are asking for something out of the norm. Be playful, not so serious!

Mine them for info

Open the conversation with, “I’m not sure if indeed your boss is the best contact for my matter (unless you are absolutely sure), but I thought you (the gatekeeper) would indeed be the best to assess. I realize you might be busy so if you’d prefer I call back at a better time I can.” Try to keep it over the phone if you can unless they insist on an email. They will usually hook you up with someone who can move you through the red tape.

My personal experience: I called the CEO of Chase to negotiate a lower interest rate. I knew I wouldn’t literally speak to him but I told the gatekeeper, I thought his office would direct me to the appropriate person. And it did! They knew the ‘right’ people for every request. Mine them carefully but mine them!

About the Author: Kim Ann Curtin is a professional life coach and super connector. If you’re looking for someone to help get your business back on track, or connect you with the right people and businesses you need to succeed, Kim is the one to turn to. Visit her site and schedule a free consultation with her at The Coach Shoppe.

What If You Only Had 60 Seconds to Share What You Know?

Guest post by Sam Rosen. I’m participating in this fun and unique new type of “short” online conference. I think you should check it out.

Next Tuesday, my company, ThoughtLead, is putting on a 60-minute virtual conference called The Influencer Project. Jim, along with other luminaries like Guy Kawasaki, Gary Vaynerchuk, John Jantsch, Robert Scoble, Brian Solis, and Ann Handley, will be speaking it.

Each one will boil down what he or she feels is the most important thing anyone can do to increase their influence online into a 60-second talk. That’s right: all 60 speakers, nearly all of whom regularly deliver keynotes, will have only 60 seconds to share the essence of their expertise—which is why we’re calling it the “shortest marketing conference ever.”

So that got me thinking: wouldn’t it be an awesome exercise if you tried to boil down your expertise into a 60-second piece?

This is different than the standard “Elevator Pitch,” which asks you to say what your company or brand does and stands for. Rather, this “60-second keynote” challenges you to take the core of what you know in a particular domain, strip out any and all supporting arguments, evidence, and stories, and communicate it succinctly and powerfully—so that anyone listening could immediately walk away with a new, actionable insight.

David Meerman Scott, who blogged about the conference last week, said that the he found the format refreshing; it forced him to get down to the bare bones of what his message really is. And if David thought it was both challenging and rewarding, I’m sure we can all learn a lot from following suit.

So, I ask you: What would you say if you only had sixty seconds to pour your heart out and get across the most important thing you know?

Using Social Media For Business Doesn’t Make You An Asshole

3522442093_68f5cd9e9f_mDid you ever read Steven King’s book “The Stand”? The premise is that disease kills most everyone on the planet and all that is left is the good guys and the bad guys. The good guys want to live peacefully and the bad guys want to use the opportunity to rule the world. Battle ensues.

Well, that scenario is happening now as we propel into the early adolescence of social media. On one side we have the “relationship builders” or “purists”. These are the people that believe that there is tremendous value in “what am I doing?” and connecting with and engaging as many people as humanly possible. They believe that business is ALL about two-way relationships and aren’t interested in putting an ROI on those interactions.

On the other side we have the marketers or “social media users” who see social media tools as opportunities to reach more customers. These people don’t use social media to have more friends, rather, they specifically want to use these tools to get the word out and create some type of ROI for their businesses.

And then of course we have the hybrid people in the middle who do both.

Neither side is wrong, or in my opinion, evil or good. They’re just different. However, that judgment is not shared by all. The relationship builders, most of them, view us marketers as evil while on the other hand, the marketers could care less how the relationship builders use social media. Not fair? Not at all, but reality.

This needs to be said in bold.

Using social media for business doesn’t make you an asshole.

Or evil. Or a liar. Or a cheat.

The vast majority of marketers aren’t assholes. Yet somehow, a small contingent of the population thinks that way. Proper marketing is about making something attractive to a consumer through words, emotion, video, etc… Not telling lies and getting people to buy a shit product or service they don’t need. Quit lumping good marketing in with that, you know better.

Back to social media usage. Yes, relationships do matter. Yes, business is relationships. The purist argument makes a heckuva lot of sense, yes. Us marketers get it. We believe it too. We just have a widely different point of view on it.

We’re trained to look for the ROI in ANY function. That is how our brains work. With social media, we look at the calculation of time spent vs. sales/leads/publicity and we make a conclusion in our heads that we either are gaining or losing that battle.

Now, the other day I wrote a post talking about some of my thoughts on social media that mimic this one. Because of that post and some Twitter bantering, I really cheezed off an associate of mine who probably thinks I’m the biggest a-hole ever now. Unfortunate because I really like this person as they are very smart and fun and I wish to continue to associate with them. But the reality is that I can’t change my feelings on this matter as much as he won’t change his. We’re at an impasse. One that I believe is not such a big deal, while from his perspective, it makes him feel dirty, as much as I disagree.

The moral of this story is. However you use social media, that’s great, good for you. There’s simply zero reason to worry about how someone else does though, and especially not put those people into some type of a-hole category because of it.

Here’s what’s going to happen at some point, however. At some point a relationship builder is going to realize what everyone does. That these tools are fantastic for helping them promote and build a brand, and that eventually, at some point, inevitably, there is going to come a time when they are finding that spending a majority of their time building relationships is going to hurt their growth for their business. This just happened to Dan. If you want even more on that topic, read about Mack’s Twitter engagement experiment.

Unless of course you somehow have learned to make money just by being someone’s friend. I haven’t figured that one out yet.

Social media relationship building WILL help your business, sure. It’s just not going to be anywhere near the top of the list as to why your business was successful. If your goal is to build a better bottom line, there’s simply no argument to this statement. If your goal isn’t to improve your bottom line, everything I just said is not-applicable and bullshit.

But remember that the next time you use social media to promote anything. As I’ve always said, “everyone’s a social media purist until they have something of their own to promote.”

Now get off my lawn you kids! haha. For even more great similar stuff, check out Nathan Hangen’s “Social Media Is A Virus” post.

5 Things Fishing For Lake Trout Taught Me About Social Media

I’ve just returned from a fishing trip in Quebec, which was about a 12-hour drive from Cleveland, Ohio. Basically, you drive to Toronto, then North four about 4 hours, then east for another 3, then up the “Swisha” for another 2 hours. The Swisha shouldn’t be called a road mind you. It was basically sand/dirt and rocks, and giant natural potholes. Oh yeah, Moose, Lynx and Bears, oh my.

In other words… I was in the middle of nowhere. (Just in case you are curious, the lake was Lac Nilguat, or Big Moose Lake).

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The cabin on the right was mine. The outhouse to the right. :)

It was 4-days of fishing for lake trout and pike while staying in a rustic (to say the least) cabin on an island in the middle of a lake (rumor has it there was beer involved as well). It was beautiful, fun and inspiring. And the best part was. No cell tower for 300 miles, which meant no phones, Internet or social media.

Now I’ll be honest. At first I didn’t want to go on the trip because I didn’t think I’d like being completely disconnected from the world. It wasn’t that I wanted to check email or work in anyway while I was there. I simply wasn’t comfortable with “not being able to” if I wanted/needed to. Not to mention that this would have been the first time I was COMPLETELY out of touch with my awesome family for days and days. No phone calls, emails, texts… nothing. Kinda scary actually when you think about it.

But I went on the trip anyway and I have to say, it was GREAT! Sure, I would have loved to be able to talk to my kids and wife once or twice, but what really was the best part of that was not thinking about emails or work or Twitter or Facebook or any of that. That is my point.

So I’m back now. And during the long ride back I started to think a lot about the state of social media and human connectivity and all that stuff. If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you’ve noticed I’ve been kind of railing against Twitter (read the comments, they agree). Don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s useful, but I’ve been wondering if the usefulness of it has been outweighed by the un-usefulness of it.

In other words, and not just talking about Twitter, sure, social media is great and helpful to an extent, but really, at the end of the day, does it allow someone like me to achieve more, or less of my goals or successes I reach for? I’m not so sure lately.

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Not a bad day of fishing in this sunset.

So here are the things that fishing for lake trout helped me realize about the state of me and social media. Please retweet or comment or both!

#1 Thing Fishing For Lake Trout Taught Me About Social Media
“Being connected” is overrated. At some point over the past 3-5 years I got so caught up in the day-to-day world of it all that I forgot that not everyone is, needs to, or wants to be connected all the time, or at all even. It IS possible to completely disconnect from the world for days and the world will still be there. And I’m not so sure that at the end of the day we are all better for being so hyper-connected. Time will tell on that one.

#2 Thing Fishing For Lake Trout Taught Me About Social Media
Social media is bullshit. The idea that we need tools like Twitter and Facebook to connect with each other is total b.s. Sure, they help us take it to a new level, but we don’t “need” them. We can communicate with each other without them, and frankly, I’m beginning to think that when we do, we’re better off. For a while there I thought that these tools enhanced our communication in a way that made us better. I’m not so sure anymore. Maybe more informed, but better?

#3 Thing Fishing For Lake Trout Taught Me About Social Media
I’m done with needing to know “what you’re doing”. Sorry, I’m just done with it. Way back when I thought it was kind of cool to know that you’re having lunch at Nobu or taking your kids to soccer practice. But now? Enough. I’ve had enough. It’s not as though I don’t care. I just don’t really need to know. It’s not helping me accomplish my goals. Not sure what I’m going to do, perhaps unfollow everyone, or well, I’m not sure.

#4 Thing Fishing For Lake Trout Taught Me About Social Media
I’m not so sure I want to be “social media” guy anymore. Nobody I met up in those cabins up there gave a you know what about Facebook or Twitter or emails or “the Internet” in general. (Just fishing, and drinking). There were no conversations about much else. In fact, I purposely did not talk about my business because I didn’t want to be that guy, even though I was. You know that guy: The Internet geek away for the weekend. Honestly, I would have been embarrassed to be that guy.

#5 Thing Fishing For Lake Trout Taught Me About Social Media
I’m old and cranky. I’m fully aware that maybe I’m just getting old and turning into the “hey you kids get off my lawn guy”. I’ve been doing this Internet stuff for over 15-years now, so from the very beginning, which makes me the old guy in a young business. So maybe, just maybe I’m just tired of it all.

Now you’re saying, “But Jim, didn’t you just write a book about social media?”. Actually, I didn’t. I wrote a book about how businesses and brands can get attention for themselves and turn that attention into revenue. Yes, some of the ways to do that include using social media tools, but in no way is the book about social media as a main point.

In fact, I purposely did not write a book about social media because I’ve been having these thoughts in my head for a long time I suppose. Plus, social media changes by the day. It’s hard to write a book about something that will probably be different in 6-months from now.

I still believe social media is a great tool for businesses and brands and marketers. In fact, that’s how I’ll continue to use it even more so, much in dismay probably to friend and fellow Wiley author Unmarketing, but he’s tough, he can handle it. :) But on a personal level, look for less from me on that from now on. Does that mean I’m not engaging as much? Probably.

I believe that you’re going to hear more stories and opinions like mine as time goes by. In fact, I predict that at some point over the next few years, we’ll begin to see a flattening in the upswing of “being connected all the time”. Maybe not a downswing, but definitely a flat line.

What am I going to do now? First, I’m planning next year’s trip to Moose Lake. Then I’m going to go back to work and use social media in the way that makes sense for me, just as you should to.

Get Your Own Iphone Application

A while back I told you about how I created my very own iPhone application for my brand. I used a service called to get it done. Pretty swanky, and cheap. Highly recommended.

The app is pretty much a vanity app. It brings in my blog feed, my YouTube video feed, my Twitter feed and now, my Facebook feed. It’s pretty cool that someone can download an application with my face on it, that feeds in all of the most important information about me. Talk about feeding my ego! So give it a try just to see how it works.

As the world goes mobile, you have got to believe that every business or brand will be required to take their presence to places like this. The beauty of where we are today is that the technology has advanced so far that you no longer need a programmer to help you get stuff like this done, and that’s a really, really good thing.

Podcast: Are You A Linchpin?

Here’s a short, fun podcast discussing Seth Godin’s latest book “Linchpin” with Kim Ann Curtin. Are you indispensable?

Here’s the transcription of the podcast.

Everybody it’s Jim Kukral from and I’m joined by Kim Ann Curtin. How are you doing, Kim?

I’m doing really well Jim. How are you?

I’m doing very well today. Kim, what site can you give out so that people can find information about you?

Kim:, and shop has 2 p’s

Shop has 2 p’s. Kim and I wanted to get together on this real short podcast today to talk about some themes to some things that we really found interesting. ëCause you know what, we were both having conversations, andÖ Actually, you know what Kim it was your idea so why don’t you tell us, you know, what the whole idea was.

Well I was reading Linchpin and I had seen Seth Godin at the small business conference in New York City. I was really inspired by his talk, and started to read his book and came upon this chapter that he says is the most important chapter of the book called “The Resistance.” And as a coach, that’s something I run into with my clients all the time. As a life coach and as a business coach, I see people have the resistance. I see it in myself and my own journey. And when it talked about “real artists ship,” it was talking aboutÖ how we get all stopped as entrepreneurs or small business owners by the fear, the fear of one thing or another. And in that moment, I really got what you do, Jim. I was like, that’s what Jim delivers. Jim teaches people how to ship, and makes sure that the product gets out there, which is what we get stopped by. So instantly I really was inspired, as you know, to call you in that moment, and I was like, Holy Toledo! I got it! This is what you do for people. And you’ve done it for me. You’ve helped me learn that I have to ship, right away, what I need to deliver to my client.

Yeah, I’m with you. When you called me, I was reading Linchpin. I just finished it. I have the same takeaway of the book. This podcast isn’t meant to be a book review. It’s meant to be more of aÖ let’s just try to help some people by talking about the theme from the book. You should still read this book, but the basic point that I took away from the book that really, really hit home away for me was that you have to ship. And by that, I mean that you’ve got to put a product or a service in a box, and you’ve got to get it out there! And this is something that I’ve been teaching people for a long time, but it’s something that I’ve learned from success and failure. I mean there are so many things that I’ve spent too much time on trying to figure out, and if I would have shipped, I would have just been in better shape. I’ll give you a good example: my coaching business, my consulting business. I spent, I think at one point, five to six months worried about the price, and what’s going to be in it, and how to set it up, and all this stuff. And what I found out at the end was that all that time I spent fretting over what I was doing right or wrong was wasted time. When I launched it & when I shipped it & I figured out exactly what needed to be done from my customers: what they liked, what they didn’t like, how I should be pricing it. Remember, you can change things nowadays quickly on the web. So it’s not like you’re printing up 100,000 brochures.

That’s right, definitely.

So shipping is really a huge thing. And it’s one of the things you’re going to get from Linchpin that I really loved and that I know you really loved. It’s one of the things I council people with all the time, especially people like you Kim & people in the service industry and people like that. It’s a matter of putting something out there, and putting something on it, and making it easy for people to consume, right?

Yup, absolutely. And I think the key is that there is a resistance that you might even stumble into with people, and this is part of my life’s work in terms of helping people deal with that resistance that shows up in them. That usually is based on something that’s very real: their fear of success, or their fear of failure, or whatever it may be that keeps them stuck. Because I know what it is that you deliver, my sense is that if there are people who don’t buy from you, it’s only because of a resistance that hasn’t been quelled. Some of the techniques I use in my coaching are able to give people the ability to not be driven by that lizard brain, as Seth Godin calls it. And that is the key. There are people that you probably could work with more of if they didn’t have that getting in their way.

Yes, that lizard brain is the thing that stops you from doing. In some cases it might be good. It might stop you from buying the donuts at the grocery store. But in other ways in your life, in your career, in business, it can stop you from taking chances, from being creative. Those are things that you don’t want to be stopped on. One of the things [Gordin] talks about in the book that is really, really interesting to me is [his take on] American culture. We’ve built this culture that, from the industrial revolution, you would go and get a job that would tell you what to do. That was the agreement that we had. They told us what we should do, we did it on an assembly line or whatever, we made money, and we had our lives. But those days have changed. Those jobs are gone now. There’s not as many as there used to be. And [Godin] argues, very effectively, that the linchpin, the person that’s indispensible, the artist, the person that’s willing to take chances and get beyond the lizard brain, is the person that’s going to drive the new economy. What makes me feel good is that I feel like I’m in that position, and I know you are too Kim. It’s that person that is going out there and pushing the envelope. The point I’ll make to wind that up is that the business of being successful online means that you have to be a linchpin. So if you want to be successful online, you’re not going to be able to come in and do the assembly line stuff anymore. You have to be the one that’s pushing the envelope, trying the new tools, putting yourself out there, failing, succeeding. It’s really what you have to do if you want to be successful on the Internet.

I want to add one thing, because I think you will have some listeners who have yet to start their own businesses who are biding their time or saving money or what have you before they take this jump. They can be linchpins even in their companies. And that’s what’s so startling. [Godin] is inviting people He talks about people in certain companies who didn’t get permission to do this new kind of system or this new kind of interaction with other staff people. And they just became so successful that now they have these unusual titles, or what have you. Just the courage we need to have, whether we have started our own business yet or not, is what he’s advocating. So it’s not just definitely leave your day job. But even if you are doing something on the side with an Internet business, you’ve definitely got to deliver something that’s not factory made.

And you do! Like I said, those days are gone where you just showed up to work, went on the assembly line, and did that. People are losing jobs now. There was 10% unemployment at the time of this podcast in the United States. It’s no longer ok for you just to sit back and let somebody tell you what to do anymore and hope that you’re going to be able to keep that job or advance in that job. That model is gone.

I think it’s hard for people because they have been so conditioned for so long to not think for themselves. They’re waiting for somebody to come and give them the solution. And there’s no solution that anybody out there has for anyone else. We have it within. Part of the tagline to the coach-off is “Be your own hero” because we have to look within. We have to really dig deep within and start to ask ourselves, what do we want? And Vaynerchuk talks about that too in that famous Web 2.0 talk. He says, “What do I want?” Nobody’s asking themselves that. Instead they’re asking “What should I do?” and “What’s going to make money?” You can’t be a Vaynerchuk, you can’t be Seth Godin. You are supposed to be you! Just be who you are and bring what you have to the table. And that is unique. But it’s not been endorsed, so hearing it is hard to translate for people.

Well, to be fair, like you said, people are conditioned not to think that way. We’ve been told that we should just shut our mouths and do our jobs, and we’ll be rewarded. And that model doesn’t exist as much as it used to. On the second hand of this, now we have social media, we have the Internet, and it’s a different ballgame. It really is a different ballgame. You can now take so many more chances, and get the word out, and do so many more things because of technology that we didn’t have before. So this is really an amazing time to be the linchpin because you have the ability to go out there and just try these tools. And this is what I teach people with all the time. There has never been a greater time in the history of the world to be able to go out there and build your brand and talk about building business online, to do things for free, and do all these things. You really need to go out there and try it. Be the linchpin.

I agree. It’s nice too because it means that we can be who we are. It means we have an opportunity to be passionate about what we do for our financial income, and that’s a really beautiful thing. It gives you back that freedom, but you need to be willing to face those fears and ship even though it’s not going to be perfect at first. We can always go back and sculpt it, as you said.

The one other thing I’d like to talk about in this book is on page 17 or 18. There was a whole couple pages where he talked about how if you have children in school right now, you would pull them out.

Yes! I remember.

I have an 8 year old and a 5 year old right now. And I literally looked at my wife, made her read the chapter, and I said to her, I almost want to pull my kids out of school right now because he makes the argument, What is school teaching them right now? It’s teaching them to follow the rules. It’s teaching them that they have to do this and this, and they’ll get that. It’s not teaching them to be creative or to think outside the box. It’s not teaching them to make their own way. It’s teaching them to be part of the system. Now I’m not going to pull them out of school, but I do feel that it’s going to be my own personal responsibility to do that, in the same way that I’m helping adults do that in their careers and in their jobs. So that whole chapter just got me, and he’s right. We’re teaching people the old way. And I don’t think the future is going to be that way.

And that’s what happened when Tim Ferriss came out with his theory of a 4-hour work week. Some people looked at that and said, “Oh, he’s advocating working only 4 hours a week.” But that’s not what he’s advocating. He’s advocating look at the model & the model is not working today. The model is broken. And if these youngsters get to travel and live this life outside of the structure that most of us grew up in, they seem to be the ones who are creating, at 17, 16, 18Ö these non-profits that take off. It’s because they are stimulated to stretch in ways that our system, our education system, and the hierarchy& we have a whole system in place that really does not endorse this way of looking at life. But now it’s imminent. We’re toast if we don’t start to think for ourselves, and that’s a little scary.

I definitely think that there are a little bit redundant, but what Seth does, which makes him one of my favorite authors, is that he makes you think. You may only get 2 & 3 points out of the book, but they are huge points. They really sit in your head and change the way that you think about your life and your business. And that’s what he has accomplished in Linchpin.

Yes, absolutely. It just felt like a slap. And also the choose one. That we cannot be all things to all people; we have to pick just one thing. I got a chance to talk to briefly after he spoke, and he I said “Well there’s this and thatÖ” and he said, “You have to pick just one.” And that is a real hard thing for entrepreneurs to stay within just one focus, but I think that’s part of why we don’t ship. And that’s part of what you help bring to the table, Jim. You help us hone it down, get that one thing chosen, and then run with it to the best of our ability.

On the other hand, I teach people how to do that, but I have a hard time doing it myself. It’s like everybody. So I guess the point is that you may think that you can do it, but you’re too close to itÖ

So I wanted to leave with a tip. So my tip is this. Don’t think that you can do it yourself. I’m not trying to sell you on my or Kim’s service; that’s not what this whole thing is about. I’m telling you from experience if you’re listening to this right now that you are too close to your situation. And no matter what it is you’re trying to build or put together, you need an outside perspective to say “Oh, you do this” or “You should be doing it this way.” I’m telling you right now that it always takes that extra person from the outside to get that done if you really want to be successful, believe me. Not many people I’ve ever met have been able to look at themselves honestly and do the right thing. The outside [perspective] really does help

And I’d just like to emphasize that all of those that I know that really are successful in the way that I want to be successful & because you want to look at all of a person’s life when you choose to emulate them & those are the people that I know who have had coaches and guides and/or wise ones who have helped them see what they can’t see. So I’m right on board with you. On my website right now, I have [a quote] from Google’s president saying that it the best advice he ever got was to get a coach. I have a coach. I have two coaches. You’re one of my coaches, and I have another coach for my life. So I believe in this stuff, or I wouldn’t be doing it.

Right. Well, this has been a great conversation about the book. I highly recommend to go out and pick up a copy of it. And just read through it, and then do something about it. This is what I help people with, and I know Kim does as well. Don’t just read it; you’ve got to go out there and make something happen. And you’ll be very surprised and very happy about it when you do. Right, Kim?

Yes, absolutely.

So thanks everybody. And I think, Kim, that this has been fun. And I think that we should, from time to time, have a podcast book club where we can talk about things.

That would be great. I’d love to do that. I’m a big reader, so it would be great to engage in that.

So tell people once again how they can track you down.

Sure, and there’s two p’s in SHOPPE.

Great, and if you want to find me, just google Jim Kukral and you’ll find about a million things. And I have a book coming out, my own book, called Attention! This Book Will Make You Money from Wiley. Depending on when you’re listening to this, it will either be out or you can order it. It’s out in August 2010. So thank you Kim. Thanks everybody for listening. Hope you have a great day. Go out there and be successful!

Podcast Interview With Chad Barr

I love talking with smart guys. This guy, Chad Barr, is one of those people. He invited me on to his show to do an interview and I couldn’t turn it down. Here’s a link to the podcast. I highly suggest you give it a listen.

Chad Barr - Pragmatic Technologies for Life and Business Success » Blog Archive » Chad Barr Interviews Jim Kukral

What will you learn from it? Well, Chad asks great questions about how to be successful in the Internet space, and I answer them as best as I can. It’s really a great exchange, full of information that is going to help you find more success online.

Jason & Gary

I’m not sure how I missed this interview from 2009. It’s Jason Calacanis interviewing Gary Vaynerchuk on his show called This Week In Startups.

It gets really good at about 45 minutes in when they begin to chat about success and failure and hard work. Now, I’ve met both these guys, in fact, I’ve introduced both of them in front of thousands of people, so I know that what you’re seeing in this video is truly what they are. No pretending here. Great video, great guys.

I’m Not As Smart As Chris Brogan

1144417033_e4273f7fdc_mHe’s a maniac. Every time he opens up his mouth, or his fingers on a blog post, I sit back and I have the same thoughts in my head over and over (below in blockquote).

“I can’t be this dude. He’s too good. He’s got all the right words and knows how to deliver them the right way.”

I mean, watch this video and try to live up to this.

But it’s ok that I can’t be Chris, and here’s why. I’m just trying to be myself.

Years and years ago I was still under the spell of thinking that I needed to duplicate what other people did in order to be successful. I thought if I could just write a blog about blogging like Problogger I’d be as successful. Or if I could master public speaking like Jay Berkowitz, or become a technology blogger turned publisher like Dave Taylor, etc… On and on…

It didn’t, and doesn’t work. The first reason is that copycats may be able to copy a format, but hardly ever do they copy the success. The second reason, and the most important reason, is that it’s pointless to try and be something that you are not. We’ve seen it a million times. How many people have tried to become the next Shoemoney or John Chow or Zac Johnson in the “make money online” blogging biz? Thousands. Yet nobody can crack those guys out of the top position. Why? Because they’re good and they continue to be themselves and kill their niche with high-quality, helpful, problem-solving content. Oh yeah, and hard work and passion.

I teach students at the University of San Francisco about online marketing. So many of them come in “fresh off the boat” wanting to learn how to copy someone else’s success. I don’t blame them, not at all. It sounds like an easy path to success. But I quickly work to turn them from that goal… of making the same mistake I made years and years ago.

The truth is that until you find yourself, and your passion, and then become comfortable with what you do and what you say and how you do it… you’ll never be truly remarkable. You’ll be a half-assed version of someone else. How far is that going to take you? Perhaps you can make a nice living off of it for years and years. But will you ever get the attention you could? Will you ever be known for being a leader or innovator? Probably not.

The problem is this. It takes time. It can take years even. For some it happens instantly. For some it doesn’t (me). You have to be patient and diligent and keep plugging away and eventually you’ll find where you fit in and what you are all about.

No, I’m not as smart as Chris Brogan, or Brian Solis or David Armano or Scott Stratten or Liz Strauss or Mari Smith or Jason Falls or Brian Clark or Shannon Paul or Elizabeth Weinstein or Marsha Collier or Technosailor or thousands of more I could post here who outsmart me by MILES. (If you didn’t make that list, sorry, I can’t list you all. You’re still smarter than me.)

I’m as smart as Jim Kukral. I’ve got my own thing going on, and I like it.

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Do You Have a Written Plan?

Guest Post by BenSpark.

It seems that many of my posts lately have been inspired by Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University. This one is no exception. My wife Allison and I have been working very hard at reducing our debts and we are currently working through Financial Peace University. The biggest thing that I’ve taken away from this process is the importance of writing down your plan. Putting your plan on paper gives you a solid goal to shoot for. We went from buying practically everything on credit cards to full on cash. I’m amazed that we actually have money left in our envelopes. We’re also not worried about what we are going to eat for the month because my wife wrote out a whole month menu plan. I feel much better about our finances because I can see things on paper. I am not overwhelmed by what we need to accomplish because we have a written plan.

Now that I have a financial plan and monthly meal plan written down I started to think of different areas where I need to set up a written plans. A major place where I am feeling overwhelmed is in my blogging and blog related activities. Right now I run one blog but I own 9 domain names but really blog on 1 blog while 8 blogs pretty much lay dormant. I write guest posts for this blog (, Dad-o-Matic and The Coach Shoppe. I am a compensated writer for and I’ve also started a blog consulting business and have 4 clients. One client has moved me up to running their Membergate site which means I now have to learn Membergate and get up to speed with that. I’ve created one course on Prfessor and need to create a few more. Oh yeah, I have two or three product reviews to complete as well and some contests to start. On top of that I have a full time job and a family.

Do you see how these priorities are a bit out of whack?

A written plan for my online life is in order. Trying to balance all of these responsibilities at once in my head and on a couple of docs is going to rive me right to failure. So, much like my Cash Flow Plan I am creating my Online Success Plan.

Steps in the Online Success Plan

  1. Family First – The whole point of this is to create a better life for my family
  2. My Job that actually pays or bills Second – Losing a major income source will hurt
  3. List out all of my online commitments – Get it all out there, what to cut, what to keep
  4. Set Goals for each commitment – What do I really want to accomplish?
  5. Document how much time I spend on each commitment in an average week and determine where I am spending the bulk of my time
  6. Are my priorities straight. – i.e. Am I spending so much time on things that don’t generate revenue at the expense of those that do?
  7. Set up a plan for:
    • writing – blog posts, guest posts, newsletters and sponsored posts
    • creating – new Prfessor courses
    • consulting – giving clients value
    • reviewing – giving each product sufficient evaluation time
    • networking – Being Social, replying to comments, tweets and Facebook messages

Am I missing anything? If so what do you think I should add?

About the author: Andrew Bennett aka BenSpark is a husband, father, blogger, photographer, Blog Consultant wired kayaker and an old school Transformers fan. He takes a photo every day and blogs about it on You can follow BenSpark on Twitter.