Why I Do Public Speaking and Why You Should Too

If you been following The $100 MBA Show podcast and this blog closely, you might have noticed that I’ve been heavily investing in public speaking as of late. I’ve taken an immersion program, I’ve taken voice lessons and I’ve made it a goal to get on stage more this year. In the past few months, I have spoken at Mario Brown’s event, Michael Port’s Heroic Public Speaking Live, I keynoted at a local Inbound Marketing Hubspot event here in San Diego and Nicole and I will be speaking this Saturday at Podcast San Diego. We’ve been busy.

And it’s still March. I will be speaking at many other major events this year like WistiaFest, FinCon and Podcasters’ Paradise Cruise.

You might be asking? “Why all this public speaking? Public Speaking is a lot of work.”

Public speaking IS a lot of work. I usually spend 15-20 hours creating and rehearsing my public performance prior to the event. Then, there is the travel that is usually involved. Then, there is the time off you have to spend away from your business, because you can never get as much done when traveling. You also expend an incredible amount of energy for your speech, as well as meeting and speaking to people at the event. Sometimes I will need a day to recover when I get back home. More time spent.

All this begs the question, is public speaking really worth it?

Yes. It is. And in this post, I’m going to show you why. Even if you are not getting paid to speak right now, speaking at events is a solid investment in yourself and your business. Here are my top 3 reasons why you should be getting on stage more often.

1. Communication is the mother of all skills.

Every time I prepare and rehearse for a public speech, I am improving my skills as a communicator. The better I know my material, what I can offer the world, as well as my ability to deliver it, the better off I will be as an entrepreneur. You can be offering people the formula to eternal happiness, but if you can’t communicate it in a way they can comprehend it and put it into action, it’s worthless.

Public speaking is the ultimate test of how well you can communicate and engage with your audience. And it’s always a good idea to give yourself challenges that push you and make you stretch.

2. Instant authority. 

When you are on stage, you are instantly recognized as an authority. Even if you are speaking to a crowd of 100 people, you are on stage and they are not. That doesn’t make you any better of a person than they are, but you are someone they understand as a person to pay attention to. Even if you are speaking for 20 minutes, for that moment, you are the teacher and they are the student. We inherently look up to our teachers and percieve that person with a level of respect.

If you want to influence others and have more people learn more about your work, get on stage. If you really want to have an impact, nail your performance on stage and everyone in that room will tell their friends and colleagues about you and your work.

3. Speaking at events is networking on steroids. 

Going to any event or conference is an opportunity to meet interesting people and expand your professional network- and we all know how important that is. Business is a contact sport. The more contacts you make, the better your chances of success. But going to an event as a speaker, takes your networking game to the next level.

You’ll have no problem meeting people. Attendees will come to you, knowing you are a speaker and you’ll have no problem making new friends. You not only have access to attendees but you also can now easily approach speakers- speakers you may even look up to and want to get to know. Now you have a context in which to do so. The bottom line is, you’ll have more people wanting to get to know you and checking out your work as a speaker than an attendee. You are going to conferences anyway, you might as well speak there as well.

Final advice

Don’t take public speaking lightly. I don’t even like calling it public speaking, I prefer to call it public performances, as Michael Port has taught me. Being on stage is a privilege and an opportunity.  I hinted at this earlier; go into every performance with the intention to CRUSH IT. You want every person in the room to be floored at how impactful and well delivered your performance was. Aim to be so good, they just have to tell others about you. Be the buzz of the event with your performance and you’ll never regret doing a public speech.

To learn more about being better at public speaking and how to get on stage, check out these episodes of The $100 MBA Show:

MBA45 Guest Teacher: Michael Port- Heroic Public Speaking

MBA163 Guest Teacher: Amy Mead- Heroic Public Speaking Part 2

MBA177 Guest Teacher: Grant Baldwin- How to Get Paid as a Public Speaker 

Bonus Info

I mentioned earlier that I will be speaking at a few events later this year. Here is some info and deals you don’t want to miss.

Podcasters’ Paradise Cruise: This is going to be a HUGE amount of fun. Cruising with all these amazing speakers and attendees for 7 days! This all inclusive event is like nothing else. Plus I love cruises. Sign up before this Friday and save $250. Just mention The $100 MBA in your application and the discount will be applied to your ticket. Nicole and I will see you on board!

FinCon 2015: The speakers I’ll be sharing the stage with at FinCon this year are people you’re going to want to meet. Plus FinCon’s founder Philip Taylor (aka PT Money) is a great entrepreneur and all-around great guy you should get to know. You can grab a majorly discounted super early bird ticket before the end of March. Be there and enjoy the great talks and company.

WistiaFest: If you love doing video with your business or have been dying to get started, you need to be at WistiaFest. The team at Wistia are beyond awesome. Today is the last day to take advantage of their early bird ticket, so get on it and we will see you there 🙂 Oh! And next Monday, Chris Lavigne from Wistia is giving one of the best guest lessons ever on The $100 MBA Show– How to shoot video with equipment you already have. Tune in!



The Ultimate Guide to Writing Emails as an Entrepreneur

There has been an epidemic going around in our space in the past few years. One that has become so apparent, I simply cannot ignore it any longer. Call me old fashioned or gramps, but the way many are emailing in business these days is simply inexcusable.

An email is not a text message. It’s not a Skype message. It’s not a Facebook message. An email is an electronic letter. But more importantly, it’s often your first impression in a business setting. It’s all casual and getting to know you with the other tools up to this point. Business is conducted over email and if you don’t know how to write one properly, you’re asking for trouble. This is why I decided to write this comprehensive and concise 5-part guide. Let’s begin, shall we?

1. Make time for email.

I’ve seen some entrepreneurs get an email from a client or a colleague for the first time and reply with three words. THREE WORDS?!? The reason they give is “I need to be more efficient with my time.” No, you need to dedicate your time to the right things. And email is one of them. The difference in time in replying properly and writing three words is literally 45 seconds. I know, I timed it. If someone took the time (and the courage) to email you, the least you can spare is 45 seconds.

If you are not spending your time communicating with your faithful audience and potential customers, what the heck are you spending time on? Make time to email and reply to emails properly. What does that look like? Email me with a question and I’ll personally reply to you. I have a daily and a weekly podcast, a blog, a software business and coaching clients, but I make time for email.

2. Speak with them don’t talk at them.

This is not a reply to an email:

I’m free at 3-5 pm PST on Fridays. 

That’s the rudest sh*#t ever. Who the hell do you think you are?

This is a reply to an email:

Hey Dawn,

Thanks for reaching out to me. I love what you are working on. I love cats, I have a Persian and would read a book on how to groom Felix properly. 

Yes, I do offer personal coaching and would love to learn more about where you’re at with the development of the book. I’m free this Friday anytime from 3-5pm PST to answer your coaching questions.

Looking forward to it!


Do you see how different that feels when you read it? The first reply shows no interest at all to what the sender took the time to write to you. It looks like you didn’t even take the time to read it. You are just grunting a few words at them instead of speaking with them. Acknowledge their message and their request. Show that you care a little, because frankly, you should care a lot.

3. Mama didn’t raise no fool.

Use the manners your mama gave you. Say hello. Greet them and thank them for caring enough to reach out to you. Isn’t that what you want? Aren’t we all dying for more leads, more traffic, a larger audience? Well, you have a hot lead right now in your inbox, don’t treat them like they’re Siri. They are a real person that is very interested in what you do. Email is the most personal form of communication next to a phone call. Treat it that way.

4. Have a format, it’s easy!

If you look at the email I wrote to Dawn above, you will see there is a structure to the email. It’s not complicated, it’s basically 3 parts:

1. Greeting

2. Body

3. Conclusion

Greeting: Say hello! In my email I said “Hey,” then address the recipient by name. Move on to the next section…

Body: The body is separated with a space and is the meat of the message. In the body each idea is separate and given a new paragraph. In my email, my 1st paragraph thanked and addressed Dawn’s email to me. The 2nd paragraph is dedicated to the reply to her questions. Do you see how you can decipher what the questions were and what her whole email was about through my reply? That’s when you know you’ve written a proper reply.

Conclusion: It’s time to say good-bye and wish them well. Sign off and you are done my friend.

5. Be professional. Your writing counts.

The rules of conduct below are sort of a given, but reality has shown us they are not. Keep these rules handy when writing emails.

– Grammar matters. If you look like you didn’t pass 3rd grade English because you are not reading what you wrote before sending it, it’s going to hurt your business. It doesn’t matter if you agree with me or not, it’s going to make you look bad.

– Use spell check, there is no excuse for misspelt words any more.

– If you don’t capitalize proper nouns like the recipient’s NAME, they will be offended.

– If you have trouble using commas, just break it up into two sentences.

Final Words

I want to see you win. Seriously. That’s why we do what we do.

My sincere advice to you is; the better you can communicate with your audience, in this case email, the better you will be able to earn their business. That’s just human nature. That’s science talking, not me.

Want a Free $100 MBA Course + fresh & hot goodies like this one? 



Can You Hustle Too Hard?

There has been a video that has caused a bit of a stir as of late in our entrepreneurial space. A video by Gary Vaynerchuk titled The Most Important Word Ever- with “hustle” being that word. When Gary says “hustle” he means it in the sense of hard work and perseverance, not hustle meaning to trick or connive someone.

Now as many of you may know, Gary is not one to hold his strong opinions to himself. At times he is praised for it and at times he is alienated because of it; this may be one of those times.

What’s all the fuss about? Well, in the video Gary argues that most of us just simply do not work hard enough. We complain we are not “blowing up” in our industry while we put in typical hours, like 9 to 6, and expect more than typical results. Many watch this video and shout “preach on” and others ask “what about work-life balance?”

Before I go on, let me allow you to watch the video. Make sure you watch it in its entirety.

I want to make something crystal clear. I think very highly of Gary Vaynerchuk. He’s been a teacher and motivator to me in many ways. He’s personally shown me kindness and took the time a few years ago to speak to me on the phone and go back and forth with me on email. He’s one of the busiest people on the planet and yet he’s been more generous with his time with me than many other people in our space. I personally believe he is so generous because he actually cares. He really cares about other people in a deep and genuine way.

So when I watched this video I watched it with that perspective. His words, though harsh at times, come from a good place. Call it tough love or saying it like it is, the bottom line is he speaks from the heart with no reservations.

I wanted to agree with Gary, with the entirety of his message but I can only agree with the spirit of it. I believe the spirit of his message is:

If you want something, don’t just talk about it. Do it. This means there will be sacrifices. Nothing is for free, especially things that have significant value in this life. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Da Vinci didn’t become a Renaissance Man by spending every night going out with friends. Jobs didn’t create the iPhone in between watching every episode of everything on Netflix. What’s YOUR life’s work. Figure that out and then get to work.

I am of the camp that believes hard word is what makes things happen but I am also a believer in living a healthy life. Not because it’s the “zen” thing to do but because our personal health, our family, our close friends all have a right over us. We must give them their due rights. If we don’t, we won’t last. Sooner or later, our bodies will give up on us. We’ll have no one to keep us going. We’ll have no one to celebrate our success with.

I’m sure Gary has it sorted. And for those who don’t know him, he’s not human. Seriously, he’s like a bionic force, but I love him for it.

What do you think? What are your thoughts on this? Do we hustle too hard or do we not hustle enough?


The Ultimate Music Playlist To Get You Motivated

I have often wondered what it is about music that makes it so incredibly powerful. Philosophers and biologists have been asking this question for centuries. They’ve noted that humans are universally drawn to music. It can shape our state of mind.

This is why I find music to be a huge motivator. It has the power to motivate us to do the things we need to do. And when building a business, we need to use any advantage we can get our hands on.

Our closest friends have heard of a mysterious music playlist Nicole and I curated and listen to regularly to get us going. It goes by many names- The Ultimate Playlist, The Launch Day Playlist, Team ON Playlist (ON stands for Omar & Nicole). We’ve been promising them for a while now we would share it one day. Well, that day is here.

Here are 40 songs, nearly 3 hours of music to get you pumped. We’ve curated it in a particular order but you can choose to shuffle the tracks if you wish. A word of caution though, all these songs are in their original release so explicit language will be present in some.

If you want to embed or grab the link to our playlist, just press that funny looking button ( </>) in the top right hand corner of the playlist.

No matter how much music I listen to, I often feel that it should be more a part of my life. Enjoy and let me know what other songs we should include on this playlist in the comments below.

Want a Free $100 MBA Course + fresh & hot goodies like this one? 



The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Podcast That Can’t Be Ignored: What I’ve learned after 100 Episodes, 300 Reviews & 1 Million Downloads in Just 4 Months


Quick Disclaimer: If this is the first time you’ve read something I’ve written, then know this: I don’t write to please or have you become a fan of my writing. I write to share with you what I know gets results. I show you what to do and how to do it. I’m writing with this purpose in mind. If you are looking to get lost in a story of inspiration, pick up a Dickens novel- he’s good at that.

If you have a podcast or are thinking of starting one, being ignored is probably one of your biggest fears. I know it was mine. A podcast is A LOT of work. The planning, the scripting, the recording, the editing- the whole production takes a lot of time and effort. And doing it with that sinking feeling that no one will listen to your show, makes it that much harder.

Doubt will kill your podcast but so will not having a plan of action. This is what this post is about- a plan of action. Our plan of action. The one we implemented with our podcast, The $100 MBA Show. A podcast that has seen more success than even our closest friends and family ever thought we’d achieve. What kind of success you may ask?

This part of this post is particularly hard for me to write. I need to share the specifics of the success of our podcast so if any of them match your meaning of success, then you’ll have reason to keep reading. I need to impress you (brag), so I can impress upon you that what I’m about to teach you works. So let me get this over with and if you are still with me afterwards, I promise it will be worth your patience. Let the bragging begin:

  • Apple chose The $100 MBA Show as an iTunes Best of 2014 podcast.
  • When The $100 MBA Show launched on iTunes, it held the #1 spot in Business’s New & Noteworthy for 5 straight weeks. An almost incredible feat given we launched during the same time as hit shows like Startup from This American Life’s Alex Blumburg.
  • As of December 2014, the show gets over 14,000 daily listeners.
  • The show receives an average of 10 genuine iTunes reviews a week ( we love you).
  • We figured out a way to have a daily podcast with out hating the grind of it. It’s a lot of work. A LOT. But I enjoy my work and not everyone can honestly say that. Even many entrepreneurs.
  • We never had to contact a sponsor. Sponsors came after us.
  • In less than 4 months we reached over 1 million downloads. Something that can take many successful podcasts a year to do.
  • Doors have opened. People that ignored us last year are reaching out to us to collaborate. All of sudden we matter. I’m still unsettled by this one.
  • Our business tripled in growth since the launch of the podcast.
  • We made so many great, real friends with both our guest teachers and listeners of the show.

Ok, that’s over. But seriously, if any of those things are things you value, things you would like for your own podcasting experience, then keep reading. Beans will be spilt. I’m sharing the very best lessons I learned along the way and showing you how you can craft a podcast with meaningful results.

I should take this moment to say that this post is not for someone who is looking to start a podcast as a hobby project with no real regard for how well it will be received by its audience. If you’re creating a podcast for you, and you alone, then here is an interesting video you can watch instead. If you are still reading (and not watching that video) then let’s begin!

What’s the point?

Why are you creating a podcast? If you already have one, why do keep working on it? What are you doing? Really, I’m asking what the heck are you doing? What’s the point of all this work? What are you trying to achieve? What’s the end goal?

Answering this question, asked in several different ways, is CRITICAL to your success. I begin with this question because if you can’t clearly answer this question, there is no reason to move forward. Answer this question right now. And “I’m doing this to have a hit podcast” is not an answer. Why do you want a hit podcast? What are you looking to achieve with that success?

For us, the answer to this question was: The point of The $100 MBA Show is to consistently serve our audience generously. So generously they fall madly in love with us. Only then can we continue to serve them in other ways. Those other ways may be for free or for a price, but the point is I’m trying to earn the opportunity to delight them all over again. You see, that’s what we do. That’s what a business is by the way.

After answering this question it became clear to us that The $100 MBA Show was going to be our business’s most important product (more about why I call it a product later). The podcast was going to be where people decide to trust us or trash us.

Once you answer this question, you’ll realize what creating a podcast really means for you and this post just got a whole lot more interesting.

Why your show? Why you?

Why does your market NEED your show? Why should anyone care? There are over 300,000 podcasts on iTunes, why you? Why don’t I just listen to the tried and true top podcasts in your category?

If you are an interview podcast, why would I listen to your podcast when I can hear all of your guest’s stories on any number of other podcasts? What is your differentiator? Are you really that entertaining or funny? What do you bring to the table that others out there don’t?

I mentioned earlier that doubt can kill your podcast but doubts can also raise profound questions that need answering. Hence the direct questions above. If you can provide honest answers to those questions, then you’ve taken control and are on your way to a meaningful show.

Answering these questions will ground you and force you to focus on using your strengths. For me, I’m not the best interviewer. I’m not nearly as witty as I think I am. But I know how to teach. I can confidently say I can teach the pants off anyone in the podcasting world (not that I would want to do that literally- it sounds so creepy when it’s written out). I am a trained educator. I did it for over 13 years. I know how to put a lesson together and ensure learning is actually taking place. With these years of experience, I can break down complex ideas and convey them into digestible short chunks. I realized that this is the best thing I can offer to the podcasting space and knew I had make it a part of the show.

Your Audience is The Show

Without an audience, there is no show. It’s kinda like that old saying, “If a tree falls in the forest there is no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise?” Your listeners make your show matter, they make it exist. That was huge, so let me say that again. Your listeners make your show matter, they make it exist. If your audience loves your show and listens to it faithfully then you got a successful show on your hands. Everything else doesn’t matter.

Focus on giving your listeners what they want. Study what they are dying for and give it to them. Don’t waste their time with anything other than that. They may not be giving you money to listen to your podcast but they are giving you their time, so don’t waste it. Too many podcasters get caught up doing things they think are necessary when in fact, it’s just filler. If a listener wouldn’t care for it, cut it out of your show. If your show is exactly what your listeners have been looking for, they’ll share it with everyone they know would feel the same. How’s that for a marketing strategy to gain targeted audience members?

Not sure what your next episode should be about? Ask your audience what they are struggling with. That’s the show- serving your audience with what they want or need. Where do your ideas or innovation come into play? That’s all in the delivery.

Take a look at our list of episodes. Every single one of them comes from a need or want our audience expressed. Why would I go through the pain of guessing what my listeners want to listen to or learn? I read blog post comments, Amazon book reviews and forum entries. Google “your market” + blog, i.e. wedding photography blog and read what your audience is dying to understand or master.

A Podcast as a Product

A podcast in my opinion is too large of an undertaking to be approached as a side project. Even if your podcast only publishes once a week. You must approach your podcast like it’s a product you are selling in your business. Instead of selling your product in exchange for money, you’re exchanging it for listenership. Or what I prefer to call, trust.

Like a product you should have a launch plan in place. Launching properly is particularly important with a podcast given iTunes’s 8 weeks of New & Noteworthy. In your first 8 weeks, iTunes gives you the opportunity to earn a spot in their primely located New & Noteworthy section, where you can gain plenty of exposure.

If you want to take a look at the launch plan we implemented for The $100 MBA Show, check out this blog post I wrote for The Productivityist. Oh, and that post I wrote, was a part of the launch itself.

Be Prodcaster

My friend and fellow podcaster Michael O’Neal from the Solopreneur Hour podcast introduced me to this term- Prodcaster. It’s a morphing of the words broadcaster and podcaster, and the point is to strive to be a pro. Bring your “A” game because all the top podcasters are. Some of the biggest radio networks and shows have moved to the podcasting platform and they come with a wealth of production experience. They ain’t playing around.

Get serious about production. I’m lucky enough to have Nicole Baldinu, my business partner and the President of Business Republic Media. She produces all of our media including The $100 MBA Show. The show sounds the way it sounds because of Nicole and quality sound really matters with a podcast. Having a great production is what takes you from a good podcast to a great one.

Invest in a quality mic. Take a some voice lessons. Yes, voice lessons. I did. And rehearse. I never record a show cold. I rehearse the show a few times before recording and often do more than one take of sections of the show for Nicole to choose from when she’s editing. Some might say, that rehearsing makes one sound fake and winging it is the way to go. I personally disagree. I used to say that to myself but got real and acknowledged it was my justification for being lazy. It’s not about the material. You may know the material well, but do you know how to deliver that material effectively? The point of rehearsing is to know the delivery of the material so well that it becomes natural.

Branding Matters

Your podcast is a product, remember? So the same rules of a product’s branding come into play with your podcast. Is your brand being presented consistently on your show, the show page and show’s cover art? Are you consistent about your messaging? Are there some forms of consistency with your show’s format?

In every episode I welcome our listeners with a outrageous business-centric catch phrase, introduce myself and The $100 MBA and then tell listeners what they will learn today. Every episode. But it stays fresh because the content differs every time- different catch phrase, different lesson to be learned.

Make your show your own. We didn’t want some cookie cutter, gimmicky theme music for our show. So we reached out to Matt Giovanisci, one of the most creative people I know, to create our theme song. The song is an icon of show and if you are a listener of the show, you probably hear it playing it your head right now.

Have a clean and esthetically pleasing cover art. Avoid clutter and hard to read messages at all costs. Your cover art should inspire people to click and learn more. Here a few of my favorite cover arts that do the job very well.

8-Y8h6pL newrainmaker unmistakable-creative-podcast-cover-medium-3serial-social-logo

Your Biggest Challenge

Staying focused and consistent is going to be your biggest challenge ahead. Once you launch, your audience will have an expectation. An expectation of quality and consistency. Having a publishing schedule can help tremendously. This can just be a Google calendar with your publishing dates scheduled in.

Publishing your episodes has to be treated as a “can’t miss” task, like walking your dog or taking medication. You simply have to do it. No questions about it.

Always have a buffer. Be at least two weeks ahead. You don’t want to be chained to your mic. We dedicate two days a week to The $100 MBA Show where we batch record and edit all our episodes. We get 8-9 episodes done in those two days because that’s all we do during those days. By simply only focusing on the podcast on these two days allows us to concentrate on creating the best show we possibly can.

Final Words

If you don’t want to be ignored then you need to be worth being paid attention to. At the end of the day when people ask me why the The $100 MBA Show has done so well, I can only reply, “It’s a good show.” There is no getting around that. At the end of the day, if you want any level of success, your actual content must be valuable.

Your show has to be serving your audience in a significant way. It has be doing that in a way that is professional and entertaining. It has be done consistently. This is the secret to the success of any podcast. No one seems to be saying this in our space. I’m not sure why. I guess I just started that conversation right now.

Want a Free $100 MBA Course + fresh & hot goodies like this one? 



Know Your Audience

A business is worthless without an audience. Without an audience to market to and ultimately serve, you have no way to exchange what you offer for revenue.

The why’s and how’s of knowing your audience are essential to any successful business. It’s a critical step that must be done before launching any type of business.  After all, you don’t want to be wasting your time and money on serving an audience that simply doesn’t exist.

What is an audience?

An audience is simply those who are looking at your business. They could be checking out your website, browsing your online shop, hanging out in your physical store, or just reading your latest social media post.

Note that your audience needs not to be a paying customer. They can be people who are plainly watching how your business operates or just merely observing the way you provide your service.

Ultimately, they observe you because they want to know if your business and what you offer is worth their money. And it’s your job to make sure that they answer ‘YES!’ to that eternal question.

Getting to Know Your Audience

The better you know your audience the better you’ll know how to serve them. If your audience feels you ‘get them’ more than anyone else, they’ll be raving fans for life. Here are a few key principles you should follow when getting to know your audience:

1. Be a member of that audience – I’m not going to start a ballet school because I can hardly spell “ballet”, let alone understand its culture. You need to share your audience’s collective needs or interests. By being a part of the audience, you gain the credibility to provide solutions. One of the fastest ways to fail at a business venture is to soon realize you have nothing to do with the its audience’s culture.

2. REALLY get to know your audience– What is your target audience looking for? What are their needs, desires, hopes, and dreams? What makes them satisfied and dissatisfied? What drives them away? Visit the forums, websites, or blogs where they actively post their thoughts. Take note of the kind of language that they use. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to learn more about their struggles.

3. Engage and serve that audience – Do not just observe from a distance. Instead, be a contributor. Be the person in the community that is known for being helpful. The more you help the more they will open up to you with the issues or problems they have. Issues and problems you can build a business around solving.

Remember, a business is about building one solid relationship at a time. Those relationships start before you open for business or make your first dollar. They take time to build but they can last a lifetime.

If you want to learn more about discovering and building an audience, we show you how, step by step inside The $100 MBA. Get stated for only $1.