Making Waves at C-Level

In episode 428 of the “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” podcast, Thom Singer shares his tips for how to find a speaker and hire the right person to “WOW” your event. In the previous week before recording this Thom was contacted by three different people asking for advice on how to hire a motivational speaker. These people were seeking experts in other topic areas that his expertise, but they had never before brought in outside professional speakers. 

Please note that this episode is all about discovering and connecting with speakers. 

Why hire a speaker? Often an expert with an outside view is just what your company or association needs to get fresh ideas. Too many people will tune out their co-workers, but based on third party suggestions will take new actions.

Some roll their eyes at motivation, but Singer believes that all speakers need to be “Motivational Speakers”, as the opposite is not good for your meeting (de-motivating?). 

Before you begin you must know all the details of your meeting and be clear on the desired outcomes. Do you want the speaker for an hour or three hours? Is it your desire they stay all day and be part of your event? Should the speaker be experienced on stage or is their knowledge enough? Does your group prefer a lot of interaction? All of these things must be determined before you start your search.

To find great speakers start by asking your co-workers, friends, vendors, clients, and even competitors who they had seen speak in the last year that could be a good fit for your event.

Next turn to any speakers you have worked with in the past. The best motivational speakers have other friends in the business, and they know who is good and who is great. 

Be aware that professional speakers may cost more than you think. Celebrities can cost over $25,000 for a one hour talk. There are many factors that determine the free that a speaker charges, but you can always try to negotiate (within reason).

If you or someone you know is looking for some tips on hiring a speaker, check out this episode.

Direct download: CTED_428.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:32pm EDT

Mike McDerment is the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, the #1 cloud accounting software in the cloud designed for freelancers and service-based businesses. Mike has spent the last decade making accounting software accessible to small businesses and is the co-author of Breaking the Time Barrier, which helps professionals better price their services. A lover of the outdoors, Mike has been bitten so many times he is reportedly the first human to have developed immunity to mosquitoes.
Check out episode 427 of “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” for a compelling interview with Mike McDerment.  He and CTED host Thom Singer have a great chat about Mike’s journey to success and how he founded and grew FreshBooks.
Direct download: CTED_42.7.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Business Growth Ideas 

As business owners we know this journey can be hard and lonely. Attracting new customers is the most important thing we can do, but it is easy to get lost in the weed of developing new products and services, meeting payroll, customer service, and serving existing customers. 

On the “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” podcast Thom Singer has worked hard to interview business executives, small business owners, and solopreneurs to get a cross section of fresh ideas that can inspire listeners to grow their business.

Success leaves clues, so getting around others who own and run a successful business is the best way to get fresh ideas. After a flat 2018, Thom is supercharged to make this new year his best year ever. If you want to grow your business, then you have to listen to this episode of the CTED Podcast and join him in this year’s growth journey.

Thom believes that all opportunities come from people, so part of his growth plan is to extend his network. He has done a few things to match with the four legs to his business table:

Connect with more people - NETWORK
Attend educational events
Develop an outbound strategy
Improve “Findability” and SEO / Social Media

Direct download: CTED_426.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:15am EDT

Brianna Carney started her career at a small startup which helped her to better understand how small organizations scale. She moved to Amazon which is where she experienced the impact leveraging the global workforce can have on an organization. She began to question why so many domestic companies are limiting themselves.
After traveling around Asia, she was inspired to connect the robust workforce of the Philippines to US businesses looking to scale. With outsourcing being a very competitive market, she set out to differentiate CrewBloom by reinventing the industry. By outlining rigorous screening process to applicants and clients alike, CrewBloom now has access to the top 2% remote professionals in the Philippines and clients supporting human-centric workplace.
With leadership built on confidence and empathy, Brianna guarantees client happiness by taking care of her people. For her, preserving humanity in the workplace is more crucial than ever in a world that’s becoming more technology-focused by the minute, and that trust continues to be the recipe for a successful business.
In her spare time, Brianna loves scuba diving, running, reading, and cooking. She has also been taking the time to learn to speak Tagalog.
Direct download: CTED_425.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30am EDT

January is National Mentor Month, and this episode is dedicated to how anyone can go out and find a guide to help them with their career and their life.

Thom Singer has been fortunate to have several people who have helped him along the way in his career. He met these mentors through volunteering, at work, through professional associations, and via networking. 

He also serves as a mentor to others, especially two young professionals who he has worked with for over 6 years. They have become like family, and he realizes that his level of mentor / mentee connection is rare, he also understands that it is valuable for the both the mentees and the mentor. 

Check out this episode for tips on how to find a mentor. 

1. Realize you have to develop a relationship before asking someone to be your mentor. Successful executives are no waiting for strangers to call and ask for this level of commitment, but once someone knows you and sees a reason for the relationship, they just might be willing to help. 

2. Being a mentee is give and take, Do not just assume the mentor has no needs or that you cannot help them find more success. Keep your eyes and ears open and look for ways to help them grow their business or meet key people. If you help someone they are more likely to notice you exist, and then be willing to serve in a more official way as your mentor.

3. The mentee must own the relationship in the early stages. If you want grow a meaningful connection with your mentor, you have to be the one who calls them and schedules your getting together (by phone or in person). Your mentor is busy, and probably has never been a mentor before, so you must instigate the ongoing conversations (at least early on).

4. Do what is asked of you. If your mentor gives you a suggestion or advice, take action and then report back. If the advice does not resonate with you, that is okay, but let them know why you did not do anything. 

5. Be flexible on when you meet. Do not expect your mentor to move his schedule to accommodate yours. If early morning or a weekend is the best time for them to meet, that is when you meet.

6. Remember that you must make all decisions. You cannot ask you mentor to make decisions for you. A mentor is a guide, but you have to take ownership of the decisions you make. 

7. Be open and honest with your mentor. You must tell your mentor the whole story (even if you do not look good), as they cannot properly advise you without all the knowledge of the situation. 

All opportunities come from people, and a mentor can directly and indirectly impact the future success that you will have in life and career. If you are fortunate enough to find a real mentor, cherish that person. A real powerful mentor will help you from making the same mistakes that others have made, and thus let you accomplish more.

Direct download: CTED_424.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:24pm EDT

Roman Gonzalez knows about growing food and growing a company. Gonzalez is Founder and CEO of Gardenio, an Austin based startup with the big mission to get the world reconnected to their food by sharing the joy of growing it themselves – not with fancy, expensive, patented gardening gizmos, but with old fashioned good soil, good plants, and good people. Gardenio sends you everything you need to start growing on your porch or balcony, in the amount you need, curated to your area, for under $35. A kind of Blue Apron and Brandless for making your space edible. They're working on a mobile app to help you as you grow, organizing thousands of years of food growing wisdom, and more. Gardenio is a public benefit corporation built on the pillars of sustainability, public health, and food justice. 
Roman is a Brown University philosophy graduate, former community organizer, and current human centered designer hell bent making the gardening experience more accessible, approachable, and fun for the new gardener. Eighty percent of new gardeners are millenials like himself, and he found others like him had a similar difficult experience starting, often giving up on gardening, all for reasons that were completely solvable. Roman spends the little time he has not working on Gardenio to read books about fruit trees, learn about craft cocktails, and advocate for social justice in tech, in the food system, and in the rest of the world. 
Direct download: CTED_423.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:58pm EDT

As a follow up episode to last week where Thom Singer talked about how to overcome a failure in 2018, he has dedicated this episode to how to focus on sales.

Since his conversation about coming up short last year, many people have commented that they understood the feeling of last year not being their best. Getting refocused for entrepreneurs and sales professionals is important, and there is no time to waste. 

Thom believes we need to have a plan and "Try New Things" ( To be more attentive to his sales for the new year he spent several weeks reviewing his past and present situation, and had to be brutally honest with himself about why he came up short. 

Sales is the life-blood of any enterprise. You do not have to be the entrepreneur or the sales person to care about how business development is progressing. Everyone is in sales.

Thom has five tips for selling more in 2019. He has implemented them in his own business, and just a week into the new year he is seeing some momentum and is excited about where the rest of the year is going.

1. Have a strategy. Thom is honest that he has spent too much of the last decade relying on word of mouth. While this has worked well, hoping the phone will ring is NOT a strategy. Thus he now has a plan in place that is changing up how he acts on a daily basis. 

2. Your attitude matters. Failure is not an option, and feeling sorry for your past failures is not going to bet you to new results. Thom encourages everyone to believe in their products and services and to believe in themselves. But cautions that having a thick skin is key in sales, as some people are going to say "NO". A rejection is not personal, it was just not the right fit for that client, and each "NO" brings you closer to the next "YES".

3. Understand your clients. We cannot tell people what they want to buy. If we want to sell (and we all want to sell), we need to analyze what the client needs and wants. We also have to understand that there might be more than one constituency within each client.

4. Visibility / Findabililty / Social / Networking. The world of connecting with people and showing up on their "Short List" is not about one thing. SEO, word of mouth, networking, reputation ,etc.... all are intertwined. To get success we cannot ignore any of these and must get them all working together.

5. Take action and have accountability. Ideas alone are not enough. To get more sales you have to take actions. Thom is all about actions in 2019 and thinks you can be too. He also share the importance having people who will hold you accountable and check in on your progress. Great sales professionals do not live alone on an island.

Make 2019 your best year ever. Get focused on sales and make thing happen.

Direct download: CTED_422.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:12am EDT

Tamara Celeste, the Home Buying Coach, is a real estate financial empowerment coach and the #1 bestselling author of Buy Homes Not Shoes (or other stuff) a Women’s Guide to Buying Her First Home.   
She coaches women who are looking to buy their first home or invest in real estate so that they feel comfortable and confident when starting the home buying investment process.  Tamara’s believes “Buying a home should be exciting and easy, not complicated or confusing”.
Tamara also coaches female real estate agents to teach them how to grow their business and align their work with their passion.
Tamara has always had a passion and a gift.  Her passion is for people; always expressing a genuine interest in getting to know the people she meets. Her gift is being able to talk to, and find a commonality with almost anyone. Tamara started her career on Wall Street after graduating from law school.  After almost a decade on Wall Street Tamara realized that she could never be fulfilled in a job unless she was making a difference.  Upon moving to Florida in 2006 she obtained her real estate license and finally found her passion.  Having joined real estate at a time when the market was tumbling she soon found her niche in short sales and became one of the top agents in her County serving others in their time of need and helping her clients navigate the long, arduous and complicated short sale process with dignity.
Tamara is the owner of Sweet Life Realty Group in West Palm Beach, Fl.  Tamara has earned numerous real estate awards throughout her career such as Broker of the Year and Global Realtor of the Year from her Realtors Association.  In her spare time she loves spending time with her family and travelling to visit friends and exploring new countries.  She also volunteers her time and currently sits on the Boards of The Sonoran Initiative, which is a non-profit based in Miami whose mission is to break the cycle of generational poverty among underprivileged youth and Pace Center for Girls in Fort Pierce FL, which is an intervention and educational program for at-risk girls.
Direct download: CTED_421.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:26pm EDT

Many people are glad to see 2018 end. While some had record years with lots of celebrations, others had trials and tribulations that left last year coming up short from their expectations.

Thom Singer is honest that 2018 was not great. It was not horrible, but he came us short in business and is ready to launch into 2019 with a fresh perspective. 

If you can relate, then this episode is a "MUST HEAR".

Thom has 7 tips for making a fresh start in 2019:

1. Learn from your hard-knocks in 2018

2. Take action now.

3. Don't dwell on the mistakes you made.

4. Set goals.

5. Try New Things (

6. Build your network.

7. Be realistic.

If you want to be part of something bigger in 2019... join the Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do community (check out the Facebook page, Twitter, etc...). Reach out to Thom and start a conversation. 

Thom is all about making 2019 "The Year of Human Connection".... and it starts with you.

Direct download: CTED_420.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:14pm EDT