Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do

My career as a speaker was built during the "Great Recession". Before the crash I was advised that if my desire to be a professional speaker was real, I should change topics, as teaching people how to engage, network, build connections, etc... was "fluffy and nobody would pay" for that topic.

Enter 2008 and 2009. The economy plummeted and people were being laid in near record numbers. Business professionals were scrambling either to find their next job or to show their extra value to their employer to avoid being the next one to be let go.

Those who were finding success attributed their career stability to their networks. All the news outlets were running stories about the power of networking, and the topic was considered anything but "fluffy". While I had not had years of experience as a speaker, my take on how to make, grow, and keep your business relationships touched the problem faced by so many people. Associations who were hungry to provide real value to their members hired me to present and I created win / win relationships with several organizations that have continued to work with me or refer me to this day.

Over the last two years I have again begun to see the eye rolls from meeting planners (and more so from the conference committee members) about the topic of connecting with people. The reality is in our busy and tech crazed business world the need to establish long-term and mutually-beneficial relationships is more important that ever, but in a strong economy people do not see the immediate need to connect. 

Yet we live in very uncertain times. While the stock market and job numbers are showing strong gains, there is little trust in what is ahead. The division in our society over the current state of affairs in Washington DC (and the world) leaves our economy vulnerable, and people are talking about when the bottom may again fall out. 

If people are worried about the economy, they should be taking steps to recession-proof their careers now. Too many of us (myself included) did not adequately understand what 2008 / 2009 was going to be like and how long it would take us to regain our previous income levels. Conversations these days are often full of questions about what is coming, but I am not seeing many people actively making plans to be ready for the less favorable economic possibilities. 

All opportunities come from people and there is nothing better to ensure that you will bounce back in the face of adversity than having established a network of people who will be there to help out in good times and bad. The problem is that our social media crazed world has lead people to think they have more powerful connections than they really do. A like, link, share, or follow means nothing if there is not a real relationship behind it.

Earlier this year I spoke at a conference of successful business leaders who were among the most "self confident" people I have worked with in my career (read that as: nice, successful, and arrogant). While my presentation went fine, a few of them complained to the organizer that my focus on the importance of connecting with people was "old fashioned" and "dated". They voiced their belief that this was not top of the list to take their companies to the next level. My belief is that when you choose people you always find victories, especially over the long run. When I think about the business sector where these CEOs operate, they will be among the hardest hit if their is a correction in the economy. To lessen the importance of the relationship side of growing a business will leave many of them struggling or bankrupt. 

Everyone is vulnerable to the possibility of a stall (or fall) in the economy, and business leaders and associations should be exploring what is next. Cultivating a culture of connecting is not only good for today, but will help prepare everyone for any bumps in the road. 

Choose people everyday, as there may be a time when you need them to help you. When the economy stalls is not the time to start networking.

4 Tips to Recession Proof Your Career:

1. Do not assume a like, link, share, or follow is equal to a relationship.

2. Start participating in your industry trade association (and other networking groups) now. Do not wait until the economy falters.

3. Find ways to help others. Networking has to be about give and get.

4. Work to position yourself as an expert in your industry.

Direct download: CTED_289.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:51am EDT

Growing up an engineering student in India, Rohan Kale made some bad decisions in his 20’s and ended up gambling. He was dissatisfied with his job and disillusioned with the way things worked. So - to distract himself - he hung out with some people he really shouldn’t have… who were obsessed with betting.

He lost a lot of money. €25,000+, to be exact.

Luckily, he had the support of incredible family and friends who never gave up on him and who helped him get back on his feet. Anyone who’s been through this kind of thing always says ‘I don’t know where I’d be without them’ - well, he knows where he would be (and it is not a good place).

But even though they helped him get out of debt, he didn’t come out without a scratch. Getting into so much debt when you’re still just maturing, and in so short a time (this all happened over 6-8 months) leaves you mentally and physically drained. He needed to heal. He needed a fresh start.

He decided to go for one final gamble. -- He took out an education loan and traveled 6,700km to Germany to pursue his MBA and forge a career, away from home and all his old temptations.

His had work paid off. He got a job in Daimler’s Sales and Marketing Department, and within a short amount of time he was able to pay off all his debts - including his education loan, and the money given to his by my parents.

But the biggest difference was that inside, he was a totally new person. Rohan had realized that if you put your mind and your grit to a plan, live consciously and take responsibility for everything in your life, success is automatically yours (comforting, huh?).

He spent three years at Daimler before the realization crept upon him that it was time, once again, to move on. Rohan Kale wasn’t meant for a 9-5 desk job - it was simply a transition period.

He desired make a direct difference in people’s lives, by working with their businesses.

(And enjoy the freedom and flexible working hours of being an entrepreneur, of course.)

At this time video was booming in every marketing sector.

He began to explore different possibilities - and it wasn’t long before he realized there was a gap in the market for professional-looking animations that could solve every problem from explaining how to use a piece of software to telling a brand’s story.

Not only that, but there were others who were wondering the same thing, and today those awesome professionals he know - sound designers, video editors, artists and animators - are all part of his my team.

Together they help global brands across industries like software, financial services, web development, app companies, non-profits, retail and more to present their brand stories in a way that resonates with their target audience - and entertains as well as informs.

According to CISCO, consumer internet video traffic will go up to 80% by 2019, compared to 64% in 2014.

What does that tell you?


At his agency that shares his name, Rohan Kale, they want to be trusted storytelling partners. They connect you with your audience in a more meaningful, provocative and entertaining way than ever - without breaking the bank.

They believe in story.

To date they have served hundreds of businesses all over the world. Animated millions of frames. Produced thousands of scripts - and they are just getting started.

Direct download: CTED_288.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:28pm EDT

Today’s guest is Shane Sams, part of the dynamic duo behind Shane and his wife Jocelyn are former school teachers. After years of bad bosses, job losses, and frustration at work, they started an online business. That business made it possible to quit their jobs, spend more time with family and earn millions in passive income online - all while working
only 10-15 hours per week! Now, they are helping other families do the same by connecting with people through their Flipped Lifestyle podcast, website and inside their Flip Your Life community.

Direct download: CTED_287.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:54am EDT

Vinh Giang is an entrepreneur, speaker, and magician who believes you should "Amplify the best parts of who you are". 

Vinh's family are refugees from Vietnam. They arrived in Australia in 1981, March 31st. His dad has always shared with him a simple concept - life is a miracle. He used to tell him:

"Son, do you know how ridiculous it is that you are alive? If your mother or I died in the war, you wouldn't be here. If your grandparents didn't meet, you wouldn't be here. Heck, lets take it back 50,000 generations. If a cave man ate a poisonous fruit and died, that's our entire bloodline vanished from this earth.. It took millions of years of serendipitous events for you to be here, and now that you are here, you are alive for 80 years on average. When you compare how long it took for you to get here versus how long you are here for.. it's like you are alive for 1 minute. It's a privilege to be alive. In this life of yours,remember to do what you love and jump as high as you can in life. As long as I am alive, I will forever be your net."

That right there is why he has achieved the things he has in life and why he has become the man he is today - Family. His drive to jump as high as he can in life comes from his family. 

All through Vinh's childhood he watched his family build and grow businesses. They built; farms, grocery stores, take away diners, pharmacies and even commercial property. By the time he hit 13, he had all the entrepreneurial characteristics embedded deep in his soul. It was the year 2000 when eBay first started to become popular, and he remembers buying so many different things from there and selling them to his friends for double the price! Needless to say, he didn't have too many friends. Not only this, he moved schools a total of 4 times. This happened because some of the kids wouldn't pay him after they bought music players from him, and I would then give the bully some money to rough them up a little. 

Long story short, he made it to university and studied accounting. With only 6 months left to go in his degree, he came home and told his parents he was going to quit and build a business on the internet to teach magic.... This is when things get really interesting! 

His parents supported Vinh.s dreams, and today he has a career teaching magic, communications, owns a video production company , and is one of the most sought after keynote speakers in the world. 

Check out this episode as Vinh Giang shares his advice and his own entrepreneurial journey.

Direct download: CTED_286.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:34pm EDT

Business leaders call on Ian Altman to modernize their sales and marketing. Ian’s approach helps companies significantly grow sales by aligning their goals with current and emerging trends in buyer behavior. 

Ian is a multi-bestselling author, strategic advisor, and internationally sought speaker.

A successful services and technology CEO for two decades, Ian draws on years of success and research on how customers make decisions. He shares how his clients have more than doubled their businesses following the same methods that he used to build his former company from zero to more than $1 billion in value.

You can find Ian’s weekly articles on and He is the host of the weekly podcast Grow My Revenue Business Cast.

Discover more about Ian’s keynote and how Ian’s helps his clients achieve remarkable results. On this episode you will hear his entrepreneurial story and his advice on how to grow your business. 

Same Side Selling Academy:

For more years than Ian cares to admit, clients have asked if he offered an on-line subscriber community. Ian’s done apologizing for not having one, and is launching it very soon! The community will have video tutorials for key issues sellers regularly face, tips for how to overcome common sales and marketing hurdles, and a community we will moderate to foster integrity-based selling. At least twice a month, Ian will participate via live and recorded video addressing specific questions posed by community members. He will also include special guests with specific expertise.

Direct download: CTED_285.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:53am EDT

Do you ever wish you started your entrepreneurial journey earlier? It is common to hear from business people that they regret not finding their true path sooner. Leland Jones started his first company at age 17, and is already a business owner, author, philanthropist, and motivational speaker. 

Jones wrote his book 'A Journey with Purpose' to help entrepreneurs start and succeed on their journey. 'A Journey with Purpose' provides tips, tricks, and advice to to tackle the most common and unexpected barriers that entrepreneurs face. 

He also founded his company, T-Quotes, LLC in 2016 with his trusted team of four friends that make up the executives of the company. In line with the founders’ philosophy of philanthropy, T-Quotes, LLC donates ten percent of all proceeds to various non-profit organizations and is an official corporate sponsor of the largest student run philanthropy in the United States, THON, based in Pennsylvania. 

Jones has experienced the entirety of his young life as part of a military family residing in nine different states and most recently in Singapore. He has traveled extensively throughout the Pacific Region, Southeast Asia and North America sharing his messages of motivation at leadership conferences, schools, and with other organizations. 

Leland is very proud to be a second generation Eagle Scout and has plans to start a scholarship for Eagle Scouts that are pursuing entrepreneurship.

Direct download: CTED_284.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:40am EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT