The number one reason…

Todd Schnick

The new book!

[My next book launches October 28, 2014. Here is an excerpt. CLICK HERE to pre-order]

The number one reason people suck at fundraising…
…is that they don’t actually ask people for money.

The number one reason that people don’t close enough business…
…is that they never ask for the sale.

The number one reason you don’t get any dates…
…is that you never ask the girl to dinner.

The number one reason that guy gets the speaking gigs…
…is that he spends hours building community on Twitter whilst others watch TV.

The number one reason that guy got the big contract…
…is that he put in his 10,000 hours of practice.

The number one reason why people don’t ask your opinion…
…is that you don’t read enough books to have some answers.

The number one reason you don’t have guests for your podcast…
…is that you don’t invite people to participate.

The number one reason why you are fat…
…is that you don’t exercise and you eat pure crap.

The number one reason he is a New York Times best-seller…
…is that he actually sat down and wrote 50,000 words.

The number one reason why his video went viral…
…is that he set up the tripod and hit record.

The number one reason people actually read his emails…
…is that he got their permission first.

The number one reason you hate getting up in the morning…
…is that you are too chicken to go out and do work that matters.

The number one reason she succeeds…
…is that she isn’t afraid to fail.

The number one reason she is an overnight success…
…is that she got to work years ago.

The number one reason most people never get what they want?
…is that they never stake their claim and declare what they really want.

What’s the number one reason you aren’t getting what you want?


Pre-order the new book here:
Live the Intrepid Life

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Zero-based living: Live the Intrepid Life!

Todd Schnick

The new book!

[My next book launches October 28, 2014. Here is an excerpt. CLICK HERE to pre-order]

I trust you have heard of zero-based budgeting?

Zero-based budgeting is a technique of planning and decision-making which reverses the working process of traditional budgeting. In traditional incremental budgeting, departmental managers justify only increases over the previous year budget and what has been already spent is automatically sanctioned.

By contrast, in zero-based budgeting, every department function is reviewed comprehensively and all expenditures must be approved, rather than only increases. [from Wikipedia]

Well, I want us to practice zero-based living!

What do I mean? Check out this quote from Coach Lou Holtz:

If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven’t done anything today.

I am tired of people living on their past successes. And I am tired of a culture that references so many with “…is best remembered for…”

Sure, our past is part of our story. But I fear too many ride past victories and are blind to what is happening today… and tomorrow.

This is a shame. So, that is why we should be zero-based living. We should be starting fresh each day. We should be building, learning, preparing, striving, and always working to achieve a big, fat hairy goal for tomorrow.

But don’t forget about today. Today always seems to be lost somewhere in between remembering the past and looking towards the future. Today is where it is, literally, at.

Why are we so unaware of living in the present?

So like zero-based budgeting, we need to start each day fresh, striving to do something that makes us happy, to do something that matters. Stop riding past successes and victories – this isn’t courageous. In fact, you are treading water.

And stop wallowing on past failures. Life is too short to suffer misery like that. The sun did come up this morning, right? With zero-based living, you are back at level. You can go where you want to go.

Yes, always be building and striving for audacious goals in the future. But don’t forget to relish and tackle today. Zero-based living is living a life of being present, enjoying what you are doing, the people you are with, the challenges you are facing head on. All while building towards a big goal down the road.

Just remember two things:

1. When you achieve that future goal…don’t fall back into the same pattern and ride the celebratory wave of that success. Set the next big goal. And get moving.

2. Don’t forget to enjoy the journey. You will spend most of your life on the journey. Might as well have a ball whilst on the ride!


Pre-order the new book here:
Live the Intrepid Life

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10 things you should do every day to get INTO TROUBLE

Todd Schnick

The new book!

[My next book launches October 28, 2014. Here is an excerpt. CLICK HERE to pre-order]

Not long ago, I ran into an old friend at a coffee shop.

We exchanged pleasantries, filled each other in on what we were up to, talked about work, etc. The usual stuff. Then I said, “You know, just causing trouble where I can.”

Just a typical goof line I often mention in such a circumstance.

But then she replied, “Me too. I think that’s what we are supposed to do…”

[Insert forehead smack]

She’s right. That is what we are supposed to do. With projects. With careers. With plans. With travel. With life…

[Disclaimer: I don't mean law-breaking here. Just for the record...]

In this context, I mean we should always:

1. Question things. Just because that’s how it has always been done? Just because that’s how you were taught? There is a different perspective. On most everything. Probably worth exploring that different view. That’s how we learn. That’s how we see things differently.

2. Challenge things. Challenge assumptions. Challenge beliefs. Challenge rules (not laws, policy). You may end up where you started. Or you may end up innovating.

3. Fix things. You should no longer accept the status quo. If you know how to fix something, or even suspect you know how to fix something, you should tackle it. Some might begin to define NOT doing so as criminal.

4. Try new things. You might just find something better. It wasn’t until I was 40 that I realized I actually liked guacamole. What a shameful place to be, this being afraid to try, test, experiment, expose.

5. Repurpose old things. There’s gold in some of those old gems. Sometimes, newer just isn’t better. Some old school stuff is just better built. Reliable.

6. Connect things. We are, in fact, a social people. Life happens when people are connected. But somehow we all started living in cliques. Break free from that. Connect with new people. Force that connection. That old comfort zone leads nowhere.

7. Reinvent things. Twitter was meant as texting on steroids. We as a community decided to change the world with it. And business. And connectivity. And service to others. Always be looking at new ways to apply what you have….what you know.

8. Break things. Because in replacing it, you might find a better alternative. Or in repairing it, you’ll learn a better way. Or in tossing it away, finding more beauty in simplicity.

9. Trust things. The Sun will come up tomorrow. Weeds will grow in the front lawn. Humans will be humans. There are plenty of things to count and rely on. This should give you comfort to try other stuff. Life will, somehow, provide a foundation. You can recover. You can heal.

10. Or don’t trust things. Humans will be humans. Organizations will do what’s profitable, not necessarily what’s right. Suspicions keep you on your toes. Keep you from being complacent. And in that edginess, you might find a new path. Being wary can also mean keeping your eyes open and LOOKING. So, look closer.

Some may call this looking to cause trouble. I also call it living life.

Have you been bad?


Pre-order the new book here:
Live the Intrepid Life

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10 things you should do every day

A quick, simple memorandum written to myself. Here’s hoping there is some value to sharing this with you:

1. READ. They say a heavy majority of Americans don’t ever read a book again after they graduate high school. How unbelievable is that? Reading is the best thing I do to continue learning, to get inspiration for new ideas, and to connect to amazing ideas around the world. Learning never stops, or it shouldn’t ever stop. Reading is the best way to keep connected to the new ideas of the world. If you aren’t reading, you are losing.

2. WRITE. I don’t care if you don’t actually publish anything to the world, but you are losing out on the benefits of writing, if you aren’t writing every day. This can be your next book, your daily blog, or private notes in a personal journal. Doesn’t matter. Someone who isn’t writing every day is falling behind. You aren’t processing, you aren’t thinking, you aren’t clarifying the ideas in your head, and you sure aren’t formulating compelling messages that will motivate and move markets.

3. WALK. Be active. Move. Shift to a standing desk. Take your meetings on a walk. Pace the office when you are on the phone. Just move. Sitting is the new smoking, as they are now saying. Your phone probably measures your steps. Track them. 10,000 per day.

4. MEDITATE. I wrote about how I meditate here. The world is getting crazier. We are getting busier. And the world is getting noisier. You simply MUST take a few minutes a day to clear your mind. Meditating helps reduce stress, clears your mind, and makes you a better person. If you are still one of those people blowing off meditation, you are a fool.

5. CONNECT. Reach out and connect to someone new everyday. I do this with my podcasting. A big piece of your success depends on your relationships. And if you aren’t actively trying to grow your network, you will slowly wilt away.

6. REINVENT. I wrote about this idea here. But if you aren’t constantly seeking change, seeking ways to improve what you are doing, and learning a better way, you will stagnate. And the mind-blowing thing is, you don’t have much time to wait. Wait a few months to change, and you are already falling behind. Change is a daily activity.

7. STRATEGIZE. I’ve recently picked up a new thing I do: Whiteboarding…even on the small stuff. This daily process of thinking through a problem by sketching out ideas on a giant whiteboard, or even in my Moleskine notebook has proven to be a great way to think through a problem. We don’t spend enough time thinking. Meditating will help this endeavor, I assure you, but the active process of thinking and writing down (or sketching) your stream of consciousness is a great way to capture new ideas. Hell, doodling on a napkin matters too…

8. PRETEND. I am an old man now, but I still like to play pretend. I still like to jam on the air guitar and pretend I am in the Stones. I still like to act like I am a massive, world-renowned celebrity when I am broadcasting LIVE from a trade show floor. I guess you could call this dreaming, but I like pretend intend. I’ve been doing that since I was a kid. We ALL still need to play pretend. It is so good for the soul…

9. LET IT GO. I couldn’t think of a number nine. So, I am not going to stress out about it, and I am just going to let it go. The world will keep turning, and the sun will come up tomorrow…

10. LIVE. Do something. Anything. But whatever you do, don’t just execute on the same old routine. Too much of life is routine. I get it. That’s a part of what we have to do. But please oh please, whatever you do, don’t sleepwalk through your day. Make something happen.


More thoughts on living the intrepid life found here…

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The necessity of reinvention

“If you aren’t always reinventing yourself, you are falling behind.”

Life is about reinvention. Changes. Upgrades. And if you aren’t doing this on a regular basis, you really are short-changing yourself.

I had the pleasure of interviewing one of my favorite artists/entrepreneurs today, Jade Simmons.

I always get inspired and fired up when I speak with Jade. In addition to being an amazing and well-regarded concert pianist, she is an entrepreneur, or as she calls it, an emergence specialist. As in, we are all “emerging artists” in our craft.

In our conversation, she talks about the idea that humans aren’t meant to dream small dreams. We aren’t meant to think small…

Yeah, that point requires some deeper thinking.

We all think of ourselves, we all vision ourselves as “smaller than we are.” And it takes a third party to look you in the eye, smack you on the forehead, and tell you what you are truly capable of.

But this isn’t a post about the importance of mentors and coaches to help you see that.

This is an essay about the importance of reinvention.

If you are stagnant, you lose.
If you don’t change, you lose.
If you refuse to innovate, you lose.
If you have no new ideas, you lose.

The people around you want to be inspired. The people around you NEED to be inspired.

It is your responsibility to always reinvent yourself. And per my conversation with Jade, I am not just talking about leaving the grind and finally pursuing your entrepreneurial dream…

…I am also talking about reinventing yourself in your current gig. Even if you work for some large corporation. Or some company company that’s been around for several years.

I am in process of reinventing myself. And how I do things. It won’t be easy. It will be hard. And it will be worth it.

But man oh man, it will be invigorating. It will be inspiring. And it will change things. I will come out of the back end of this process a different person, a better person, with a new perspective on what I do and how I serve.

This particular change will be a big one. And it will be exciting. But reinventing yourself doesn’t have to be a BIG. It can be small.

And while it can be small, it is necessary. It is essential. It is required. Because if you don’t constantly focus on how to make change, to improve, to innovate, to make more interesting, integrating a new philosophy into things…

…you will stagnate.

And that inspires nobody.


More rants about living the intrepid life…

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Swotting Flies

I was never been a big fan of the SWOT analysis. Mainly because it always seemed to be one of those exercises that merely justified a marketing consultant’s time and billable hours.


So, if you aren’t familiar, a SWOT analysis is an exercise where you identify your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Put very simply, once you identify these things, you can then make very strategic decisions about how to better allocate talent and resources to maximize strengths, buttress weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities, and mitigate threats.

Let me officially declare: I was a fool with regards to poo pooing the power of a SWOT analysis.

It can be very eye opening.

Now, you don’t need to hire a consultant to facilitate one, in my opinion. Unless you need someone to conduct an honest one. [Honesty is critical with a SWOT analysis. If you fib and aren't honest in assessing your strengths and weaknesses, the SWOT analysis is totally useless.]

The second piece of advice with regards to the (honest) results of a SWOT analysis? Do something meaningful with the results.

If the outcome is obvious, if the clear direction an individual should take is obvious, go that way. Cater to those strengths (or steer away from those weaknesses).

If you bury your head in the sand, and ultimately wonder why nothing changes, there was no point to the exercise in the first place.

I, for one, promise to do a mini-SWOT analysis on things (however minor) on a much more frequent basis. It is a very effective tool to make a quick determination of the value of a person/process/concept. In fact, I did three small ones today to gauge my thinking on a couple aspects of my business.

It changed my thinking on a few things, let me assure you…


More #sales and #marketing rants found here!

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You just need one idea

When it comes to succeeding in sales, you simply need to present one (new) idea that matters to your prospect.

One idea, to get the whole damn process rolling.

Just one idea.

For the record, I am not suggesting that’s all it takes to “close the deal,” but I am suggesting that generating one key idea is REQUIRED to get the ball rolling.

I had a killer first conversation with a new prospect today. We only met a few weeks ago. There was one bit of our preliminary conversation that struck me in a meaningful way…

…A way that resonated, for both of us. I hung on to that idea, and let it process in my head.

Off of that one strand of meaningful conversation, an idea developed, one that became the basis for my whole pitch to them about how we could serve their organization.

Today, I presented the one idea.

Boom. It resonated.

And from that, three to four different strings of opportunity presented themselves. Magic was happening. From there, I was no longer pitching my value, we were brainstorming the idea, which lead to scintillating discussion on multiple directions and concepts.

All from one idea…

Too many people think they have to crack the code in the first pitch…

Too many people think they have to close the deal on the first call…

Too many people think they have to convince the decision-maker with the first white paper…

Too many people think the cash register will ring loudly when you mail the brochure…

Doesn’t happen that way. Sorry, but you’ve got to start a conversation about how you can partner and solve their problem.

And that first conversation may be raw. Unformed. Untight.

But for cryin’ out loud, at least get a discussion started.

Here’s the good news:

A positive interaction, one that might lead to a closed deal, can all result from you sharing ONE IDEA that changes their thinking on things…

Easier said than done, I know, but that’s the fun part:

Your job is simply to come up with one cool idea that gets them thinking.

It’s down hill from there…


More #rants about #sales can be found here.

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Long-term thinking: How and when to do it

I am going to be honest: All I can think about is 2015.

As of this writing, early September 2014, I’ve almost sold as much business for 2015 as I have for all of 2014.

This is very exciting. And explains why I’m so excited about the coming year. And don’t get me wrong, nothing wrong with planning for and thinking about the future.

But there are still four months left in 2014. Lots of exciting stuff can still happen now, in the short-term. This is exiting too.

But how to proceed? How to conduct oneself? How to prioritize one’s actions? How much effort do I exert to close business NOW verses the next calendar year?

Now, some big changes and evolutions afoot with the business, most of it centered on changes in how I will approach things this coming year. But I have to be mindful that there is still fruit ripe for the picking…right now.

How does one balance this?

My answer?

Prioritize serving your customers first and foremost. Act in their best interest.

Just this afternoon, I just lost a gig scheduled for late October 2014. But in the same conversation, sold two projects that will pop in 2015.

My client is a winner. But so am I (even though I might have lost a little revenue designated originally for 2014).

What I can promise you is that this mindset won’t always jive with your end-of-month numbers. And if this is a problem, well, then you have bigger problems.

But in the end, you and your prospect will come out winners.

Like I just mentioned, I’ve punted several Q3 and Q4 opportunities to 2015. While this will result in less profit for me in the short-term, it does yield a heck of a good 2015.

Look, always good to close as soon as is practicable. Not arguing that. But if you are operating in the best interest of your potential customers…

…you both will come out ahead.


Some daily tips to better serve your customer!

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Trust your sales instincts

I worked a sales opportunity about two to three years ago. It was potentially a really cool gig, for a really cool organization.

There was interest. We had several phone conversations. We had several face-to-face meetings.

Plans were sketched out. Timelines were drawn up. I was beginning to build the project into my work flow.

And then all of a sudden…poof.

It was gone.

The fellow stopped returning phone calls. Stopped answering emails. And then one day, quickly, and matter-of-factly, sent an email to say “Leave me alone.”

It was strange, but as we know from our own sales experiences, this happens with some frequency.

But I was frustrated. For two reasons:

1. I had invested a lot of time in my efforts to advance the opportunity.

2. And as I said, it was a really cool organization, and what I had in mind would have both served them well, and been really fun to execute.

It saddened me to update the CRM to reflect the latest news.

But then a funny thing happened:

I later found out that the fellow I had been coordinating efforts with had soured on the organization, and had moved on.

Turns out, he just lost interest in the organization itself. It was NO reflection on what he and I had been working up.

Flash forward to a few months ago, I came to meet the new person installed in the organization that had taken his place, and had the pleasure of running across him at a meeting.

I mentioned some of the ideas that had been bandied about a few years back. And what do you think happened?

“Wow, those are great ideas! I like them. I want to explore them further. Where do we go from here?”

Boom. We are having coffee in two weeks.

At the end of the day, trust your sales instincts. Your ideas, your solutions are good.

Sometimes, just sometimes, the person you are pitching them to just has his mind on something else.

I had allowed myself to question whether my ideas just weren’t good enough.

Turns out I was wrong.

Keep after it. Sometimes it is just a matter of the right person hearing your ideas at the right time.


SIGN-UP HERE for more of my sales rants!

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I am not a salesperson

I sell everyday. And I’ve built a business where I help my customers sell every day.

And yet, I don’t see myself as a salesman.

And by this, I don’t mean that I am embarrassed to call myself a salesman. Frankly, in business, we are ALL in sales. Some, obviously, more directly than others.

But I don’t see myself in the traditional light that many still view salesmen. Instead, I see people helping and serving and advancing.

Rather, I see people who do what I do in these following ways:


Think about it…

When I think about how I interact with my market, I am not some dude with a briefcase full of carpet and tile samples…

Rather, I am a partner. I am a co-conspirator. I am a collaborator with my customer/prospect to move the needle, to make something interesting happen.

I see a little bit of myself in everything listed above. And how I collaborate, how I interact, how I strategize is all a little bit different case by case.

It is this idea that every scenario plays out a little differently with each opportunity, that keeps my sales work interesting.

It is this idea that I have to use different strengths and skills and mindsets, that keeps my sales work interesting.

I am not embarrassed that I am a salesman. But I also don’t see myself as a salesman.

I see myself as (see list above).


CLICK HERE to read more of my occasional sales rants.

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