Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do (general)

Talk about stealing the show: Laurie Guest (who was on "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" episode 68) was invited back to have a fun chat about business, customer service and entrepreneurship. She told Thom Singer she had a surprise for him, and was he willing to "play along". 

As the show kicked off, Laurie took over the role of "Guest Host" (See that, Laurie Guest...Guest Host) and made Thom the interviewee for this episode. You have to tune in and see how she made him answer the questions he often asks others. 

This is a fun and interesting show, and certainly something a little different.

Who is Laurie Guest?

Laurie Guest, CSP, began her training as a customer service expert at the tender age of nine. As a Midwest farmer’s daughter, she learned to master the art of customer engagement to sell more sweet corn than the competition. Of course, they didn’t call it superior customer service back then, but we all know the concept today. If your team needs assistance developing their skills, look no further. Laurie Guest has just what you need to get your pens moving, your brains challenged, and your people energized. Her approach to improving customer service and motivating teams has helped thousands of people in a variety of industries learn action steps that they put to immediate use. Furthermore, she customizes her entertaining, interactive programs to fit the unique needs of your event or group.

If you require a smart, skilled business woman with a proven track record in customer service training and over 20 years of experience in speaking on staff development for your next meeting, you have found her. When you hire Laurie Guest as your keynote speaker, be assured the program will be a perfect blend of humor and content, with a dash of sarcasm and unscripted audience interaction to boot. Previous clients agree that her best qualities are her relatable personality and relevant approach to customer service, team building, and communication.

Direct download: CTED_283.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:39am EST

Matt Bauer is the CEO of Motivational Media, a video and production company that focuses on events, and the speakers and entertainers who make conferences successful. He was an IT person who when out of work was driving for Uber, and then almost overnight he launched a successful video production company with a full slate of clients.

Matt specializes in creating the highest quality video products that showcase his clients and effectively convey their message, generating more business for those clients. Additionally, Matt is active in documentary work, raising awareness and education for great causes such as Parkinson's disease and autism.

As a recovering IT professional, Matt uses his computer expertise to fine tune all aspects of audio and video production. During his time working with IT services firm My Computer Works, Matt was part of the start-up team, and spent a decade growing that business.

A musician and entertainer in his own right, Matt has been singing and acting since the age of 7. One of his highlights was singing the National Anthem for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

When the opportunity arrived, Matt spent three years headlining on cruise ships all over the world, singing with Tony- award winning performers, entertaining tens of thousands of guests, and traveling to over 100 countries. As a performer, Matt understands the need to craft and customize each program, and he does the same for his clients. Each client is afforded special attention, and he carefully constructs each sizzle reel, demo reel, promotional video, interview, and all other media for his clients with the same attention they give to their audiences.

Matt’s focus is on people who perform with passion, energy, and vitality, and this is evident in his work.

Matt Bauer can be found at,, by phone at (480)205-3871, or by email at

Direct download: CTED_282.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:31am EST

Publishing is an accomplishment for anyone, especially a young writer as they build their confidence as an author. With Illustory, My Comic Book, and My Awesome Book children can realize their potential as an author and artist, and celebrate this success with a canvas print of their story’s protagonist. With nearly 100,000 children’s books available through, Lulu Jr. is the ideal destination for young readers.

Lulu Jr.'s IlluStory, My Comic Book, IlluStory Junior and My Awesome Book enable children to realize their potential as authors and artists by publishing their own professionally published hardcover book or comic book. Over the decade since being launched, IlluStory has been repeatedly recognized by parents and industry organizations as a valuable tool for strengthening literacy skills, nurturing creativity and building self-esteem.

Jen Santoro who works for Lulu Jr is working hard to relaunch the brand. She loves her job, challenges her boss, and engages retailers in ways that is having a real impact on the bottom line.

In this interview she shares her story and gives advice on how people can find more fulfillment in their careers. 

Lulu Jr.'s IlluStory, My Comic Book, IlluStory Junior and My Awesome Book enable children to realize their potential as authors and artists by publishing their own professionally published hardcover book or comic book. Over the decade since being launched, IlluStory has been repeatedly recognized by parents and industry organizations as a valuable tool for strengthening literacy skills, nurturing creativity and building self-esteem.

Please visit: or your local specialty toy store to find out more.

Direct download: CTED_281.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:56pm EST

Thom Singer met Brian Fanzo on a video podcast where they were both guest.  Thom knew from the start that the backwards hat and the cool tattoos made Brian the cooler of the two guest.  Since that time they have become friends and Thom knew he had to share Brain's story with the CTED audience.
Brian Fanzo talks fast and tweets faster. A proud, pager-wearing millennial, he is a keynote speaker and founder/CEO of iSocialFanz LLC, a social strategy consulting agency. Brian also co-hosts SMACtalk Podcast & FOMOFanz Podcast.
Brian’s #ThinkLikeAFan philosophy has powered first-of-their-kind storytelling campaigns for many Fortune 50 enterprise companies leveraging Periscope, Snapchat, and Facebook Live under the username @iSocialFanz. He was awarded the Top 25 Social Business Leaders of 2014 by The Economist Intelligence Unit and was nominated for the first ever #ShortyAwards Periscoper Of The Year 2016.
In 2016, Brian keynoted in 11 countries at more than 40 events highlighting his passion for change, collaboration and community – dubbed the 3 C’s these elements are the foundation of his first book A Millennial Mindset due out in 2017.
Career Highlights
❖ 9 years working for the Department of Defense in Cyber Security & Collaboration where he managed 30+ employees and traveled to over 50 countries including multiple trips to Iraq & Afghanistan.
❖ Economist Named Brian Fanzo “Top 25 Social Business Leaders of the Future” in 2014
❖ Host of two Podcasts: ➢ SMACtalk - 80 episodes (Sponsored by IBM, SAP, Adobe & Pegasystems) ➢ FOMOfanz - 35 episodes (100k+ downloads in first 4 months)
❖ Been Interviewed on over 100 Podcasts since 2015 ❖ Spoke at over 50 events in 11 countries in 2016.
❖ Nominated for the 1st of it’s kind Periscoper of the Year Shorty Award
2016 Digital Footprint: ➔ Twitter: 110k+ Followers ➔ Live Streamed 1800+ times on Periscope + Facebook Live since 2015 ➔ 250k total social media followers ➔ Brand Account Takeovers for: Buffer, IBM, Applebees, SAP, HP, Dell EMC, LeEco, Social Media Examiner 


Direct download: CTED_280.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:13pm EST

This episode is a conversation with Chad McNair from Aspen Beverage Group. 
This is a "must hear episode",

With over 18 years in product manufacturing, Aspen has become a leader in high quality custom beverage solutions. A quest for the “perfect” coffee has grown Aspen Beverage Group into one of the leading producers of liquid coffee in the world.

Civil Engineer and CEO, Chad McNair has explored every aspect of coffee extraction, knowing that every step in a process contributes – or detracts – from the final product. He developed the proprietary TRIO™ process and built an industry leader. Aspen discovered that the key to stable, excellent flavor comes from the quality and purity of the ingredients and gentle handling in the process. By applying sophisticated technology to excellent base ingredients, Aspen produces a cleaner, superior beverage. The company has consistently earned Silliker certification for exceptional food quality systems, culminating in the Silliker Platinum Award in 2008.

It all began in Chad and Shelly McNair’s family kitchen. Chad sought a perfect coffee extract that could be mixed with milk and used in a “granita” (ice slush) machine or poured over ice. He shared the resulting mix with his favorite café and the customers called it “fabulous.”

This success caused Chad to consider a new business. As he presented the idea to his wife, Shelly, he promised – her and the Lord – which he would invest only $1,000 of the family’s money and committed to never borrowing any money for this business, and if the business was not doing well in six months, he would quit and find a “real job.” Today, Aspen products are used in restaurants, convenience retailers, institutional kitchens and other foodservice operations throughout the United States and around the world. Distributors enjoy a brisk demand for Aspen products as more and more people “Enjoy the Best.”

The company was named after the rustic elegance and natural beauty they found in the Rocky Mountains, a place where people escape the rigors of daily life and relax in the splendor of God’s creation. “When our customers pour an Aspen Beverage, the aroma fills them with the feeling we get in Aspen – the clear, clean, natural feeling of the mountains.”

Whether it’s a hot cup of Aspen Colombian Blend Dark Roast or a cold, refreshing Aspen Iced Tea, Chad McNair’s vision has produced a line of beverages that satisfy customers all over the world.

Direct download: CTED_279.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:43am EST

In a variety of industries people try to save money by skipping hiring the professional and try to "wing it". No consultant would ever recommend this as the most efficient way to have the highest level of success, but for entrepreneurs this is a way of life because of limited funds.

In the meeting world, however, it is common to spend $50,000 on a speaker and $40,000 on a chocolate fountain for dessert, but they skip out on much less and get anyone other than a professional Master of Ceremonies.

Thom Singer is a professional speaker and master of ceremonies, and in this episode he talks about reasons why the best meetings utilize EmCees. 

But this episode is not just for #eventprofs and meeting professionals, it relates to all industries. You are a professional something. Do you know why prospective clients in your vertical should hire you vs. finding an amateur solution?

Make a list of why your customers should hire a professional.

Direct download: CTED_278.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:14pm EST

Business Productivity Coach Teresa McCloy partners with
her clients to stop being productive and do what matters.

Teresa grew up on a farm, and has always seen the benefits of working for yourself. Her father, while a hard working farmer, also had free time that other dads did not have because he was self employed. She wanted that life, and while from time to time she has worked in "jobs" she has always come back to the entrepreneurial life.

A recovering workaholic who was addicted to all the latest
apps, software, and best selling books on productivity, is now
passionate about helping business leaders and entrepreneurs
to assess their habits and execute an Individualized Productivity
System (IPS) for doing more of what matters.

Teresa is a founding trainer and coach with the 12 Week Year™
system, and uses tools such as iEnneagram© and Life Maps,
serving her clients through one-on-one coaching, webinars, and training to discover their unique talents, values and life mission.


Direct download: CTED_277.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Thom Singer is having the best year as a "Solopreneur". After 8 years of working for himself, he is seeing some of the results from nearly a decade of hard work. But he does not feel this is happening by accident. 

This year he introduced a new product line (in the form of a new keynote speech called "The Paradox of Potential", and having this new talk has lead to some of the uptick in his sales.... but there is more to the puzzle. 

In this episode he shares what he believes is helping him grow his business, and things that anyone can do to get to their own best year ever.

1. Know what you want.

2. Stop making excuses.

3. Take action.

4. Record and analyze your results.

5. Get others involved.

6. Ask. 

7. Do not undermine your success - keep working.

If you are an entrepreneur, solopreneur, have a "side hustle", are a business leader, or if you are in career job but desire to be more entrepreneurial... then you should listen to Episode 276 of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do".

Thom's Ask (hey, he is living these):

1. Tell your friends about this podcast.

2. If you know an association or company that holds meetings, let them know the Thom Singer should be on their short list of speakers they look at for their next meeting.

Also... join the Potential Mastermind Project

Direct download: CTED_276.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:36pm EST

Next Level Insurance Agency was founded by Danny O'Connell and a dedicated team of service professionals who knew there was a better way to serve businesses & individuals. 

They have created numerous innovative forward thinking solutions for employers and individuals to help address the increasing cost of insurance while balancing value based plans. 

Danny's mission is to add value to the lives of clients, their employees, and his team through creative insurance solutions & focusing on the development of the person. 

Danny was the guest on episode 181 of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do", but in the last year he left the agency where he had worked for 10 years to start Next Level and to stretch his entrepreneur journey. He is a seasoned sales person with a passion for the insurance and benefits industry. His agency has grown quickly in the first year, and his story is one that will inspire people in any line of work. 

Danny knows the value of hard work, industry expertise, and strong relationships. In this episode he shares his story and gives great advice for all who want to start their own business. We also talk about the importance of insurance and reasons to offer employee benefits. 

You definitely want to listen to episode 275 with Danny O'Connell.


Direct download: CTED_275.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:10pm EST

"If I am going to work - I might as well work hard" said young Jim Silbernagel. 
In his early job of making cold calls to set appointment he realized he was only going to be paid if he succeeded. Thus he jumped in and did the work.

Today Jim Silbernagel is an independent agent registered with Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. He entered the insurance industry in 1982 followed by the financial services industry in 1986. Jim holds securities licenses; Series 6, 7, 63 and 66. He is insurance licensed for life, health and property/casualty since 1985. Jim has earned both his CFP® and LUTCF designations.

Jim is the creator and host of Real Wealth®, an online radio program for insurance and financial professionals to educate their clients and keep in touch with them between meetings. Jim also leads Power Session LIVE, a monthly best practice and sales ideas session with top industry leaders.

Jim is a 20-year life and qualifying member of MDRT, qualifiying for his first Top of the Table in 2001. He is also a 25-year member of NAIFA, member of FSP, Forum 400, Financial Services Institute, Advisors in Philanthropy, ambassador for Main Street Philanthropy, and past moderator for Junior Achievement. Among other things, he supports IFAPAC, AHIA, the MDRT Foundation and LIFE Happens. In fact, he was a 2006 judge for LIFE Happen’s REAL LIFE STORIES. Jim is a keynote speaker, presenting for many industry groups and companies, including NAIFA, FPA, MDRT and Forum 400. Jim serves Middle America in Kewaskum, WI, a small town of 4,000 people.

Jim has been happily married to Joanne for 29 years. He has two sons, Frank and Warren, and one daughter, Angela. He spends his free time fishing, boating and flying.

Jim’s mission in life is to make a positive, meaningful difference in people’s lives.

If you want to know more about Jim, he said you should just give him a call at 262-626-8892. 

Enjoy this episode of "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do"

Direct download: CTED_274.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:46pm EST