Escape from Cubicle Nation Podcast
Advice, support and encouragement to stop being a corporate prisoner and start your own business
Scale your business by avoiding the entrepreneur's trap: Interview with Tina Forsyth

Starting a business can be a huge challenge, with a million things to learn, and the uncertainty of landing your first customers.

Once you pass that gauntlet and develop a thriving business, another snag appears -- lack of focus, overwhelm and even burnout from trying to do everything yourself.

In this interview, longtime business system expert Tina Forsyth explains what you need to put in place to ensure that you are able to scale and grow your business without losing your mind. We discuss:

  • How to create your "yes" list
  • The THRIVE hiring system, to ensure you get the right people in the right jobs
  • Key systems every business needs in order to scale effectively

Learn more in her new book, The Entrepreneur Trap: http://www.etbook.com

Direct download: TinaForsyth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:46am EST

Popular American business culture says that the more someone "participates" by talking aloud during a meeting or networking event, the more "active," "friendly" and "supportive" they are.

This (erroneous) definition ignores the fact that many quiet, introverted people are also "active," "friendly" and "supportive," just in a different way.

In this interview with Barbara Saunders, a "formerly shy introvert," we discuss:

  1. What is the correct definition of an introvert?
  2. What are common misconceptions people make about introverts and why?
  3. How can you tell if you or someone you love is an introvert?
  4. How can we design our training, meetings and events to be introvert-friendly, and maximize their contribution in a way that respects their style

Find Barbara at http://www.barbararuthsaunders.com or on Twitter @bsaunders

Some books we discussed on the call:

Gifts Differing by Isabel Briggs Meyers http://www.amazon.com/Gifts-Differing-Understanding-Personality-Type/dp/089106074X

Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto by Anneli Rufus http://www.amazon.com/Party-One-The-Loners-Manifesto/dp/1569245134

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain http://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Power-Introverts-World-Talking/dp/0307352145

Susan Cain's TED Talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0KYU2j0TM4

http://www.amazon.com/Gifts-Differing-Understanding-Personality-Type/dp/089106074X

Direct download: BarbaraSaunders.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:08pm EST

A lot of entrepreneurs get all twisted up about branding. Either they think it is some huge, expensive thing that is only for large companies, or they get obsessed with nailing a complete brand strategy before taking the first tiny step in building a business.

Neither extreme is true.

In this podcast conversation with brand expert Liz Dennery-Sanders, we discuss what branding is and isn't, what is critical to know about branding at any stage of business, and how you must pay attention to every part of how you do business if you want your marketing efforts to be effective.

To illustrate what we talked about in the interview, Liz shares this post:

The dirty little marketing secret no one is telling you

By Liz Dennery Sanders

Why is it that some entrepreneurs have clients lining up outside their door and a waiting list a mile long, while others are struggling to pay the rent?

Why is it that most entrepreneurs are busy, busy, busy with their marketing tasks, but only a handful are truly effective?

There’s a dirty little secret in the marketing world that no one’s telling you.

Until now.

Think about it. You’ve put up a website, jumped on every social media platform that’s come along, signed up for all the “important” conferences and even invested in a cool new logo and business cards.

But your phone is gathering dust and other than a gazillion unwanted solicitations, your inbox has seen better days. You’ve been doing everything you think you’re “supposed” to be doing to market your business, but you’re still not attracting your ideal clients.

Well, here’s the Truth with a capital T:

If you don’t have a strong brand, your marketing will never work.

In order for a marketing strategy to be successful, you’ve got to have a solid brand foundation.

This means:

  • You are clear about who you are, what you offer and why you do it
  • You intimately understand your target market and position yourself as the solution to their problems
  • You know your superpowers and you use them daily
  • You communicate your value with ease
  • You lead with your heart and your passion, which enables others to make an emotional connection with you

In other words, we need to see and FEEL your awesome in order to connect with you in a meaningful way.

Let me tell you about my client, Margaret.

A self-proclaimed business coach, Margaret came to me because she was unclear as to why she wasn’t attracting clients, even though she was “doing everything right” from a marketing stand point.

To her, doing everything right meant putting up a website, getting on every social media platform possible, attending networking events and conferences and working 60+ hours a week.

Watching her made me dizzy.

Margaret was making the mistake that so many women entrepreneurs are making today: she put the marketing cart before the brand horse.

When we drilled down to WHY Margaret became a business coach in the first place, I found out that, because of her own experiences, she has very strong desire to help other women become successful, especially women over 40 who are either just starting a business or are completely reinventing themselves.

Margaret struggled with a slew of nasty bosses in her 20’s and 30’s, went back to school to get her coaching certification in her early 40’s, and now at 46, has claimed her independence and wants to help others do the same.

Bingo.

When I shared with Margaret that this was one of the keys to becoming more successful – positioning herself to work with a specific group of people – she was initially fearful and concerned.

“But I don’t want to exclude anyone from working with me,” she said, “I’m afraid I won’t have enough clients.”

My response: “Well, how’s that working for you so far?”

Margaret thought that by being available to anyone and everyone, she would certainly attract more clients. Instead, it was actually repelling them.

A confused mind never buys. On the other hand, a crystal clear, passionate message, directed at the right people, makes an emotional connection that leads to a relationship. And a relationship is the first step toward building brand evangelists.

When someone would ask Margaret what she did for a living, she used to say something like, “I’m a Business Coach,” or “I help entrepreneurs thrive in their business.” Her website and marketing materials had more of the same: Non-committal and often confusing content that was trying to be all things to all people. Not exactly a client magnet.

Now Margaret’s response is something like this: I help women over 40 either start a business or completely reinvent themselves – sometime it’s both! As a Business Coach, Entrepreneurial Evangelist and someone who has gained my own independence from the corporate world, I will help you find the passion AND the profit in your business and help you grow.

The next time you find yourself whiplashed by the latest and greatest bright, shiny marketing tools, first make sure you are clear about your brand and confident about the value you provide. This is a necessary step to make sure your marketing will be effective.

---

Liz Dennery Sanders is a brand and creative strategist, personal development coach and the founder of SheBrand.com, a global online business dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs build their confidence, their brands and their bank accounts. Previously, Liz garnered millions of dollars in press value for brands such as Escada, Hale Bob, Anastasia, Blue Cult and Elyse Walker, and connected them directly with A-list celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, Kelly Rutherford, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Garner, Cindy Crawford and Marcia Cross. A member of the Vogue 100, a hand-selected group of 100 influential decision makers and opinion leaders across the country, Liz is known for her distinctive taste in style, design and culture.

Liz is offering a brand new class to help you unlock your brand superpowers. It starts Monday, June 18 - Details here: http://theawesomebrand.com/

Direct download: Branding_Podcast_Liz_Dennery_Sanders.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:28pm EST

Grow your business through referrals: Expert interview with Bob Burg

This is the week of talent show finals: Dancing With the Stars contestants will be smiling and swirling on stage tonight, and American Idol contestants will sing their hearts out tomorrow for a chance at the grand prize.

If there were a reality show for  Nicest Person on the Internet, Bob Burg would be in the finals, graciously Tweeting and writing  his way into the hearts of millions.

Professional speaker and author of bestselling books Referral Engine, The Go-Giver, Go-Givers Sell More and his newest book, It's Not About You, Bob has built his career around teaching people that the very best way to be an effective and successful businessperson is to constantly and consistently focus on adding value to peoples' lives.

To say his perspective is a breath of fresh air is an understatement!

In this 50 minute interview, Bob and I discuss what are the underpinnings of a successful referral business, as well as specific strategies for attracting clients.

You can find Bob and all his books at http://www.burg.com/

Direct download: BobBurgEndlessReferrals.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:13pm EST

Becky McCray and Barry Moltz have just released their new book Small Town Rules: How Big Brands and Small Businesses Can Prosper in a Connected Economy. It is a fascinating resource with genuinely new insights for everyone in business.

In my 20-minute interview with Becky McCray, we discuss:

  • Common misconceptions people have about small, local businesses
  • What large corporations can learn about branding from small business
  • The formula for instant social media success :) (I am only sort of kidding - the way that Becky explained it made so much sense!)

I am extremely passionate about this topic, and will engage more of my own local business community in the coming year to learn how to make my own business more effective and more enduring. When we connect all size businesses, we ALL win.

You can find the book at all fine retailers, and at http://www.smalltownrules.com

Becky is @beckymccray on Twitter and is at http://www.beckymccray.com

Barry is @barrymoltz on Twitter and is at http://barrymoltz.com

Direct download: smalltownrules.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:32pm EST

In a departure from my normal entrepreneur interviews, in this podcast, I talk with Yum Brands CEO David Novak who talks about how to create a great culture for your startup. Although he is the head of a huge corporation, he talks about core building blocks that apply to any stage of business.

His book Taking People With You: The Only Way to Make Big Things Happen  breaks down the critical things you need to keep in mind to build a great business culture with happy employees, customers and shareholders. In our interview we discuss:

  • How to choose the right people to grow your business
  • How to develop and communicate a healthy work environment
  • How to maintain a strong culture as you grow your business

In perhaps my favorite part of the interview, I asked David what he thinks about corporate employees (even in his own organization) who are doing a side hustle in addition to their day job. His answer may surprise you.

All proceeds from David's book are going to the World Food Program to help in the fight against hunger.

Direct download: DavidNovak.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:31pm EST

Those of you who have been following my work for awhile know that I have been heavily influenced by my coach mentor Dr. Martha Beck. Her book Finding Your Own North Star changed the course of my life when I read it nearly a decade ago, and eventually led to my Escape from Cubicle Nation work.

Martha is a Harvard-trained sociologist and bestselling author. She is Oprah's life coach in residence, and writes a monthly column for O Magazine.

In this interview, I talk with Martha about her brand new book Finding Your Way in a Wild New World. Building on the research she started at Harvard many years ago, she explains how an encounter with an angry rhinoceros in Africa triggered an entirely new direction in her life, and led to this book. Rather than thinking your way to your right work, why not track your right life? We discuss:

  • How to find a path in life that will make you happy
  • Why the most "fancy" (wealthy, successful) people in the world are often unhappy
  • What elders from around the world agree on about creating happiness and magic in your life

Find Martha at http://www.marthabeck.com

Direct download: MarthaBeckPodcast020312.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:54pm EST