Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do (general)

Fireman Dryerman was founded by Brett Ketchum, a full-time professional firefighter. In 2014, on his days off from the fire station, Brett began repairing washers and dryers in Austin, Texas. With more than ten years of firefighting experience coupled with two years of appliance repair, Brett was witness to a handful of dryer fires and plenty of lint-filled dryers. He saw a need to include dryer vent cleaning and dryer vacuuming on his list of services. As his days off filled with bookings for this service, Brett decided to hire on some of his favorite fellow firefighters and thus Fireman Dryerman was born.

Check out this episode of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" as Brett shares how he started his side business, and has grown it through word-of-mouth, networking, referrals and social media.

Many people want to start a business, but let excuses hold them back. Brett is a busy fireman, husband and father, and he still finds the time to grow his company. He sees many opportunities in his future, and his enthusiasm is contagious as you listen to his advice.

When he’s not firefighting, teaching CPR classes or cleaning dryer vents, he loves spending time with his wife and two sons.

Direct download: CTED_259.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:23am EDT

Thom Singer works as a professional speaker and often coaches business professionals, engineers, technology experts, academics, and others on how to deliver better presentations.

The biggest problem with speaking is that many people assume it is easy to do, or that it is not nearly as important as the content. Being smart or having great research does not mean that your presentation will land strong with the audience. There is more to speaking than having the right information.

In this episode Thom talks about some of the mindset shifts that are needed for non-speakers to transition from dumping statistics and data to crafting talks that move an audience to action.

The speaker needs to be clear as to "why" they are being asked to present. It is not just to share data, as a speech alone is not the best delivery tool for data. If you just want to share the research, a white paper can do a better job of that transfer of information. A speech touches people on several levels, and human to human connections are a key part of a live talk.

If you have ever been to a highly technical conference you know that some sessions can be dry and boring, while others get people talking. No speaker ever takes the stage hoping they bore the crap out of an audience, but many audiences get lost in the sea of charts and graphs.

Too much information crammed into a talk is also a killer. There are time limits to live speeches, and they must be obeyed. Going long is never the right answer. Instead, a great speaker will choose what information goes into a talk, and what gets left out. YES - sometimes you have to leave out part of the data.

Listen to this episode for more ideas on how to speaker better at conferences, and if you want Thom's PDF on speaking tips, email him at thom (at)

Direct download: CTED_258.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:33pm EDT

David M. R. Covey has been CEO & Co-Founder of SMCOV since October 2010. He is a serial entrepreneur, author, and father of seven who left the corporate world to start his own business.

Covey, who is the son of Dr Steven Covey (Author of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People") was previously the Co-Chief Operating Officer of the FranklinCovey Company. Other positions he held at FranklinCovey include: General Manager & Senior Vice President, US Sales & Delivery, President of FranklinCovey International, President of FranklinCovey Japan and Managing Director of FranklinCovey Australia.

David was also employed at Procter & Gamble and American Express before joining his father's company and eventually starting his own ventures. Covey earned his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University and his MBA from Harvard University.

In this episode he shares key advice from his life and experience about the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

You will want to get a copy of his new book "Trap Tales: The 7 Hidden Obstacles to Success"---In this book, authors David M. R. Covey and Stephan M. Mardyks train you in the art of Trapology. You’ll meet Alex and Victoria, who have fallen into traps you’re sure to recognize. As you read their stories, you’ll learn about the seven most common traps in life and work, and how even the smartest and seemingly most accomplished people find themselves stuck and unable to see their way out. Traps are masters of disguise, but there are telltale signs that give them away every time. If you discover that you’re actually trapped right now, consider this book your lifeline—the lessons contained in Trap Tales will teach you how to escape these traps and how to sidestep them in the future.

Direct download: CTED_257.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Attending a conference is a big investment of time and money. If you have never been to an event before you have no idea what to expect, and you may be worried if your going to find real value.

Thom Singer is a professional speaker who is known as "The Conference Catalyst". One of his roles at many events is as the speaker or facilitator at the "First Timer Orientation" program. Smart event planners have special sessions for those attending for their first time, as repeat attendance is often based on the experience of the newbie. Too often if left to chance the newcomers feel left out. Associations do not mean to have cliques, but any place that people convene, groups will form. Setting the tone and expectations for first timers can change their whole event experience.

Attendees must have a game plan before, during and after the event. It is often the little things that are overlooked that limit the successful ROI. In this episode Thom Singer talks about things to do if you are going to an industry conferences, trade show, or other event.

Get excited about the show and make sure you are prepared for the whole event (the learning and the networking). Take advantage of all aspects of the conference, while still being true to yourself. If you are more introverted, don't feel bad if you need to take some time away from the agenda. Go to your room, go out for a walk, get a massage, etc... It is okay. Be you no matter what.

Share this episode of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" with friends and co-workers who might be going to an event for the first time.

Enjoy your conference and make is awesome.


Direct download: CTED_256.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Sharon Spano has a PhD in Human and Organizational Systems. She is an author, corporate business strategist, work force expert, professional speaker and former radio host of WorkSmart Live. Sharon empowers business leaders and entrepreneurs to maximize performance, improve employee engagement, and increase bottom-line results. She is also a Certified Professional Integral Coach dedicated to helping others adopt new paradigms about time and money so that they can step into radical
abundance in every area of their lives. Her research focuses on wisdom, adult development, and leadership. Her work and her new book The Pursuit of Time and Money: Step Into Radical Abundance and Discover the Secret to a Meaningful Prosperous Life (launches Spring 2017) are grounded in research in adult human development.


Direct download: CTED_255.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:20am EDT

Connor Gillivan is a 27 year old serial entrepreneur that has built and runs two million dollar companies. He started his entrepreneurial career in his dorm room buying and selling text books on the Amazon Marketplace. After becoming an expert at Amazon, he helped to expand the company, Portlight, to other product categories eventually selling over $20 million on Amazon, building a team of over 60 people, and working with over 1,000 drop ship suppliers.

Connor co-founded his second venture, FreeeUp, in late 2015 after becoming an expert at hiring remote freelancers with Portlight. He and his business partner were frustrated with the current platforms and wanted to create a simpler solution to hiring remote workers online. FreeeUp is now an online hiring marketplace offering pre-vetted workers from $5 to $50 per hour to over 1,000 businesses. The platform is experiencing rapid growth and has been featured in leading publications like The Huffington Post.

Connor's first book, Free Up Your Business: 50 Secrets to Bootstrap Million Dollar Companies, publishes on April 26th on Amazon and The book reveals 50 core lessons that he and his business partner have learned from the many ups and downs they've experienced as entrepreneurs. In his free time, Connor writes about eCommerce, leadership, and startups at

Direct download: CTED_254.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:41pm EDT

After a visit it Frank Lloyd Wright's "Taliesin West" studio in Phonenix, Thom Singer was most taken with the statistic that the famed architect did 2/3 of his celebrated work between the age of 65-91. He did not always have a storybook life or career, and yet he still is the most recognizable name in his field.

Henry Ford said "Whether you think you can, or think you can't - you're right". Mindset and taking actions are key to reaching your potential. Too many people at every age mistakenly think they have missed their boat and their opportunities have sailed past. But now is the time to start.

Everything you have done to this point, successes and failures, are just the foundation of what is to come. Do not get caught in self doubt or self pity. History has countless examples of people who started (or re-started) their business over age 50 and are now celebrated entrepreneurs, actors, business leaders, etc... Ray Kroc was over 50 when he took on McDonald's.... Samuel Jackson was 45 before Pulp Fiction put him on the map as an actor...... Col Sanders was broke at age 65 when he started selling chicken.... etc......

Thom Singer is fired up to make age 50-75 the most productive, most successful, and most fun time of his life. He had a great time from 1-25 and cannot complain about 25-50 -- but he is taking the next quarter century on as a public challenge. One year into this effort and he is already reaping the benefits in his personal and professional life.

Not matter what your age, now is the time to start taking actions to make your future happen the way you want it to happen. Desire to start a business? Do it. Don't wait for life to hand you an outcome, instead you can create what happens next.

If you have ever felt you made some bad choices and have no future ahead, this is the episode of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" that you will want to listen to and share with your friends.

Potential does not equal results, but there are things you can do to get there... start now.

Direct download: CTED_253.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Shawna Suckow, CMP, was a million-dollar B2B buyer for over 20 years. In 2008 she founded an association of buyers, which now has over 3,000 members across North America. She began studying buyer behavior in earnest in 2009, and speaking to audiences of salespeople and business owners who were frustrated with the shifting marketplace. Her third book is called Don’t Become Extinct – Join the Sales Evolution, and it’s already a best-seller!

Listen to this episode of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" as Shawna shares her story from corporate meeting planner, to association founder, to professional speaker & sales trainer. She has been both a buyer and seller and believes that the world is changing and most traditional sales professionals could find themselves out of work in the next decade if they do not take notice of how the world is changing.

How customers buy will forever be different and if you are an entrepreneur you need to be morphing how you position yourself and how you show social proof of how good you are and why they should select your product or service. People still do business with those they know, like and trust... but what does that mean in 2017 and beyond? Shawna knows and she share it all in this episode of the podcast.


Direct download: CTED_252.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:33pm EDT

Marketing professional, speaker, and writer Don Osmond focuses on authentic marketing to help businesses develop sound branding strategies. Widely regarded as a marketing and communications thought leader, he works with clients to develop the genuine narrative of their companies, which becomes the foundation for their branding and messaging. As a result, his clients establish brand positioning, avoid commoditization, and increase profit margins and market share.

If you Google DzDon Osmonddz there’s a good chance you may find someone else with a similar name—Donny Osmond, Don’s father. Growing up in an entertainment family, they were often on the move. Don was born in Utah, but he often jokes that he grew up in a suitcase. After moving more than twenty times, he has gained more than his fair share of perspective and a knack for telling and retelling his stories. And of course, growing up as the son of an international entertainment icon provided a ringside seat for the ups and downs of the public life. After a particularly harsh season of media attention toward his family, Don entered into public relations with the misguided goal of becoming "the spin doctor of all spin doctors".

Prior to going into public relations, Don studied at Brigham Young University, earning hisBachelor of Arts in communications. After a season of working as a professional in New York City as well as running his own public relations agency, Don attended the University of California Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business. While working toward an MBA, Don began pulling together his expertise, and re-launched his company as OzComm Marketing—an interdependent marketing practice.

The marketing philosophy employed at OzComm Marketing stems from Don’s lifetime experience in the entertainment industry, learning the art and strategy of transmedia storytelling. However, OzComm Marketing focuses on business-to-business brands, applying a cross-discipline approach. After years of education and experience, Don now knows that spin is not the answer at all; good marketing requires truth-telling and invitation. In fact, Don believes that authenticity is the only true value proposition that a company can offer. Customers are not looking to be sold a product or service; they are looking to engage with your story through experiences.

Don serves his clients by developing genuine story-based marketing and authentic marketing strategies. OzComm Marketing happily works with both small businesses and large corporations, and offers everything from a first glance evaluation to the execution of complex campaigns. Outside of his client work, Don is a sought-after speaker and writer. In both mediums, He waves the banner of authenticity, presenting his guiding philosophies to those looking to develop their brand or establish a leadership position.

Don lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Jessica and two tiny storytellers-in-training, Truman and Leo. He loves hiking, biking, and camping, all of which are easily accomplished in this city full of green spaces. He’s also a scuba-certified, professional bobsledder, though he has yet to use both skills simultaneously. He’s not ashamed to admit that he loves Legos and occasionally
goes by "The Donfather".

While he steers clear of the entertainment industry these days, he’s played the drums for more than twenty years—he does come from a musical family and live in the live music capital of the world, after all. Looking to connect? Find him on LinkedIn or Twitter [link these].He’ll be glad you did


Direct download: CTED_251.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:32am EDT

Milestones are important in your entrepreneurial journey. Humans like to achieve success and getting to new levels is a way to show you are making progress.

This is episode 250 of the "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do Podcast".. and Thom Singer celebrates the history of the show and the success that it has brought his way over the last two and half years.

He also highlights other milestones that he hit this week, including 25 years of marriage and 8 years of working for himself.

In a world where many married couples get divorced (marriage is hard), he and his wife have made it this far. It is not always easy to live with another person, raise kids, and start a business. But he says his wife still likes him most days, and that is a good thing.

And eight years as a solopreneur is an important milestone. April 1, 2009 Thom was laid off in the recession, and there were no jobs available. He decided that day to make the jump to being his own boss. Again, not easy, but he has cleared another year and sees that as something worth celebrating.

Everyone has the potential to achieve great things . We can all do more. But too many people never try or quit too early. Thus milestones matter.


Direct download: CTED_250.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:45pm EDT