Where I’ve been…

September 3rd, 2014

I can’t believe it’s been over two years since I last posted on this site! The past two years have been eventful and not-so-eventful simultaneously.

Very long story…let me sum up.

Two summers ago I was working as CFO of Destiny Image and Publisher of Sound Wisdom. At the end of that summer, I had the opportunity to step into the President role of the newly formed parent company, Nori Media Group.

What a roller coaster ride. Nori Media Group is a family-owned business primarily in the rapidly changing industry of book publishing.

I dove in with grandiose visions of transforming the company into a conglomerate making 10x the sales and profit.

Last summer (less than a year in) I found myself extremely discouraged that the transformation hadn’t taken place yet!

The role of company president has taught me huge lessons about myself, my relationships, my abilities, my potential, my passions. And I’m still learning. Maybe even more now than two years ago!

This year I hit a point where I was forced to re-evaluate my priorities. I was allowing my JOB to take over my life–not just my time–my energy, my emotions, my vision of the future. I literally HAD to take a step back to recognize the other dimensions of my little world.

So one of the passions that I’ve recently reconnected to is the topic of money. Financial freedom is an area of interest I’ve had for MANY years. Especially the lifestyle that financial freedom allows. By reprioritizing and making sure I invest time for those people, things and experiences that give me joy, life is better.

I’ve started sharing some of those stories and tips at http://financialfreedomblueprint.com.

After re-evaluating and revising my schedule, I am still active as president of Nori Media Group. I still see the potential to 10x that company. Book publishing is changing–there are even more formats and channels to get important messages to the audiences that most need them.

I’ll do better at staying connected going forward. Connect with me on social media or sign up for the email at http://financialfreedomblueprint.com. Thanks for caring.

Book Review Tuesday: Platform

May 22nd, 2012

This month Michael Hyatt launched a new book… Platform:Get Noticed in a Noisy World. The book is far more than a pep talk on being visible in a crowded market. Platform gives the how-to steps to use modern tools in building your own billboards to launch yourself, your business, your product, your non-profit or your ministry into your chosen community.

See, Michael Hyatt has done what he teaches. He has built a platform(check out http://michaelhyatt.com). Actually multiple platforms. His resume is impressive and includes being CEO of Thomas Nelson, one of the largest publishers in the world. In his blogposts you will see that he is a very methodical teacher. He gets geeked out over the technology. Combining the methodical teaching and love of technology with his experience, he has given us an easy to read handbook for modeling his success.

Part One: Start With Wow–Hyatt challenges us to create an amazing product, service or experience. Make the customer, client or patron say “wow!” Exceed expectations.

Part Two: Prepare to Launch–Hyatt touches on correct mindset and basic tools that are required for the base of your platform. Without good goals and basic elements, there’s no sense going through the motions and wasting energy launching a product, service or inviting people to your event.

Part Three: Build Your Home Base–How to’s for your website and blogging. Very practical. Very hands on.

Part Four: Expand Your Reach–How to maximize modern tools like blogs, Twitter, Facebook fan pages, etc. Use the tools, don’t get sucked into the time waste.

Part Five: Engage Your Tribe–After you have various communication channels set up, how do you use them? What do you put on your billboards? Hyatt gives practical tips to join the conversation that your audience is already having. And finally to monetize those communication points.

I hope you can tell I’m excited about this book. It’s not a read-through once and you’re done kind of book. This is a step-by-step guide. Take action!

What inspires you?

March 27th, 2012

Recently my wife shared something she learned from the other Nathan in her life…Nate Berkus.  Nate talked on his show about surrounding yourself with things that inspire you.  Only things that inspire you.  If you have pictures on the refrigerator of people you don’t like…take them down!  Fill your life with pictures, quotes, and symbols that inspire you.

When I looked around my office the next day I couldn’t help noticing the plaque on the wall facing my desk.  The plaque was something I earned a couple years earlier…10 years at my job.  As I stared at the plaque and read the words I realized they didn’t inspire me.  Quite the opposite.  The entrepreneur in me felt trapped, claustrophobic, like I was stuck.  That last sentence is a whole nother blogpost or three, but the point is I hadn’t surrounded myself with things that inspire me.

So I replaced the plaque with a framed printout that I made…”100% Responsible”.  I think Darren Hardy is the one that brought up the 100% responsible phrase from some old Jim Rohn quotes.  Now I have a constant reminder when I look up from my desk…I am 100% Responsible for the outcomes in my life.  Definitely more inspiring and more liberating.

What have you surrounded yourself with?  Do those things inspire you?

Book Review Tuesday: It’s Not About You

September 20th, 2011

It's Not About You bookThe eagerly anticipated follow-up to The Go-Giver released today.  No sophomore slump for Bob Burg and John David Mann!  If possible, It’s Not About You is even better than The Go-Giver!  I had listened to the audio version of The Go-Giver on iTunes and loved it!  Naturally, I had to download It’s Not About You as soon as it was available–today.  And I had to listen to it as soon as I could–lunchtime and this evening.  I went with Audible this time.  Great job Bob and John reading your book!  The feelings always come through better when authors do their own reading.

Tons to learn from this book.  Written in a story format, It’s Not About You focuses on a young man named Ben.  Throughout the story, Ben learns five Keys to Legendary Leadership…

1. Hold the Vision

2. Build your People

3. Do the Work

4. Stand for Something

5. Share the Mantle

These five keys as well as a pile of one-liner supporting points have given me a week’s worth of material to ponder and begin to implement.   Living a life of character sometimes seems to run counter to good business.  Books like this illustrate how business done right can look.  If you haven’t read Burg/Mann, this is a great one to start with.  If you have read Burg/Mann, you know you need this book.


Book Review Tuesday: Get Off Your Attitude

August 30th, 2011

Get Off Your AttitudeGet Off Your Attitude by Ryan C. Lowe is one of my favorite books right now.  I should tell you that I’m biased.  This is the first book that I was involved in from beginning to end of the publishing process at Sound Wisdom.  Needless to say, I think it’s a great book.  Here’s why:

  • Ryan has lived out what he talks about.  He’s been through some tough stuff in life.  Yet every time I talk with him he is Mr. Upbeat.  Always positive.  Always seeing the bright side of situations.
  • This book has great stories.  Ryan ties the teaching principles to stories.  Read about the time he was shot.  How he failed in business.  Got dumped by his girlfriend.  Learn about his sweet grandma.
  • The lessons always point to the ways you have control over your life and outcomes in your life.   Don’t be a victim!

By the way, Ryan Lowe is a super nice guy.  The kind of guy you’d wish all the success in the world to.  So read his book.  Hear him speak.  Visit his website.  Oh, and after you read the book be sure to “Like” it and give it a positive review on Amazon or wherever you buy and review books.  Thanks!!

Customer Service/Sales/Marketing/Data Mining Done Right

August 28th, 2011

Yesterday FedEx delivered a package to my front door.  Since I hadn’t ordered anything, I was sort of excited yet sort of skeptical to open the box.  What I found about knocked me over!  When I opened the box, I pulled out an orange cardboard tube about a foot long and about three inches in diameter.  The front described the Dockers Alpha Khaki, “the first of it’s kind.”  The back of the tube had a note typed out that included, “you have been selected to test-drive the new Alpha Khaki from Dockers.”  So I opened the tube and found another note, this one looks hand-written.  “This pair’s on the house.  We think you’ll like ’em.”  -Dockers

The tube contained a pair of khaki’s that were exactly my size.  I promptly put them on and wore them to the play we attended last night.  They were super comfy and I am super impressed by Dockers’ aggressive promotion direct to consumer.  I’ve bought a few pairs of Dockers from Dockers.com and a few pairs of Levi’s from levis.com over the past couple years.  That’s how they knew my style preferences.   But I’ve also bought similar styles from Lands End and J. Crew.  By reaching out unexpectedly to give me something of value for free, Dockers just won my loyalty.

What can we do to spark that kind of reaction and loyalty in our customers?

How To Be That Guy: Scott Ginsberg (That Nametag Guy)

July 31st, 2011

As promised in my last post…more about Scott Ginsberg.  I have to share this really cool story:

About a month after I heard Scott at XBM and got Make a Name For Yourself, Jon and I were at Book Expo America(BEA) for a day.  We were standing in line at one of the food vendors when I noticed the guy in front of me holding the very same book I was reading on my way to BEA (How To Be That Guy).  When I asked him about the book, he said what an amazing speaker Scott is and that he had just heard him.  I was very disappointed that I had missed him–didn’t know he was going to be there.  After lunch, Jon and I decided to walk through the Tech conference downstairs in the Javits Center.  As we were walking through the sparse exhibits in the Tech conference, Jon punched me and said “Is that the guy you were telling me about?”  Sure enough there was The Nametag Guy being interviewed.  We waited until the interview was over then kidnapped Scott for a while over lunch.  After spending some time with him, I’m a bigger fan than ever.  At some point I hope to convince him to do a book with me.  =)

So I’m sure you’re wondering about How To Be That Guy: 47 Ways to Create an UNFORGETTABLE Brand That MAGNETIZES More Business.  He had me at the subtitle.  Scott’s quirky way of out of the box thinking makes this book shine.  Some are principles you’ve heard 47 times in your life already, but the way Scott frames them makes you stop and think for a few minutes.  And I’m pretty sure that is exactly what he wanted you to do.  Mostly we already have the answers to our dilemmas.  It’s just that we(I) seldom stop and think for a while.

So here are some of the reasons I love How To Be That Guy:

  • Kiss your power suit goodbye… “The outfit that allows you to feel most comfortable and most like yourself will, in fact, give you the most power.”
  • Is your idea simple enough that a five year old could understand it?
  • The most important word in marketing… hint: it all depends
  • Allow customers to participate in your brand.

In case I haven’t made it clear–Scott Ginsberg is awesome.  Check out some of his videos on YouTube.  Buy his books on Amazon.  Check out his website at www.hellomynameisscott.com.

Book Review Tuesday: Make a name for yourself.

May 31st, 2011

A few weeks ago, I met Scott Ginsberg (the nametag guy) at Extreme Business Makeovers 2011. Scott is an amazing speaker. I bought a book from his table…Make a name for yourself. In addition to being a beautiful full color book, it is loaded with great content.  My kind of content…short, punchy chapters that toss an idea out there and let the reader think about it.  Essentially the book helps you think through what kind of reputation you are building.  What you are becoming known for.  And how you can be intentional in steering your career and legacy.  The quote inside the cover says it best…”If you don’t make a name for yourself, someone will make one for you.”

I devoured the book.  I felt bad about marking up the beautiful, colorful pages…but it’s the kind of book that begs to be personalized.  Here are some of Scott’s strategies that jumped out at me:

  • Become a student of success.  Read books and interview successful people in your field.
  • Walk with the wise.  “You are (and become) the average intelligence of the people you hang out with the most.  Choose wisely.”
  • More books, less TV.
  • Do what nobody else is willing to do.  “What are you doing that nobody else is willing to do?”
  • Networking works. A chapter of 50 actionable networking tips.
  • Wait for nothing.  Don’t wait for the perfect timing, someone to give you permission, someone to lead the way–take action!

Bottom line…The book is easily worth the $20 if you’re interested in thinking through some things that might be holding you back from the person you hope to become.  I am now a fan of Scott and will write more about him in future posts.

Consistent, Intentional Productivity

April 22nd, 2011

I’m always looking for ways to make better use of my time.  My mantra this year is to Be Intentional.  It’s so easy to land on the couch and mindlessly watch TV.  Or sit through seemingly pointless meetings.  Or lose 15 to 20 minutes at a time waiting in a lobby.  Being intentional usually involves planning ahead.

When I don’t plan ahead, I have a tendency to have a few highly productive days then slip back into old habits.  Sometimes when my schedule gets off kilter, I don’t take the time to sit down and think intentionally about what I’m spending my time on vs. what I need to be working on in order to achieve the goals I’ve set for myself.  Brian Tracy encourages us to continually ask ourselves “What is the most valuable use of my time, right now?”

I need an Easy button

This week I was reading Dan Kennedy’s No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs(Great book!) and I came across a simple little tool to add to my productivity arsenal.  Dan has identified one activity that brings him closer to his goal.  He has decided that each day he will do one thing to stimulate demand for his services.  Doing one thing each day that moves him closer to a specific goal is similar to yet easier than The Rule of 5 that Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen used to make Chicken Soup successful.

Narrowing focus to one most important task that must be done each day no matter what, takes some of the thinking and planning out of it.  Less discipline is required to do ONE thing each day.  Focus is easier if we only shoot for one main goal at a time.  I’m thinking this is a good way to work up to The Rule of 5.  Anyone care to join me?

January Wrap-up

January 31st, 2011

Hard to believe we’ve reached the end of another month!  It was a busy month and for those interested in the goings on of my life I’ll hit a few highlights (for those not interested in my goings on…skip this post).

I’ve decided to grow the personal development/business line of books our company started a couple years ago.
1.  Working with speakers to come up with more great product.
2.  Beefing up the website (you can see why this is needed and watch my progress at http://soundwisdom.com)
3.  Next up is to design some awesome products.
4.  Product marketing and placement…we have great placement in stores…now thinking outside the box to get the personal development messages to those who need them most.

Teamed up with Tremendous Life Books.
Not far from here is a publishing company that Charlie “Tremendous” Jones started.  Charlie passed on a couple years ago.  His daughter Tracey is now running the company.  Our publishing companies have remarkable similarities and complementary markets.  We’ve now teamed up to sell each other’s products in our respective markets and help one another grow.

More fun with Toastmasters.
1.  Achieved Advanced Communicator Bronze status.
2.  Attended District leadership training in Baltimore.

Family stuff.
My grandmother who has been a dear friend to my wife and me the past 13 years especially has been diagnosed with cancer and we’re told her time on earth is growing very short.  Becky (DW) and kids are happy and healthy.  Enjoying winter festivities.  I’m ready for warm weather!