Skip to content

Ep. 149 – The surprising breakthrough of these outstanding entrepreneurs: Guy Kawasaki, Michael Stelzner, Marcus Sheridan, Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang and John Nemo

Surprising Breakthrough photo
Share

Many entrepreneurs think that starting your entrepreneurship means leaving your ‘Nine to Five’ job. And, it sure is. However, the technology revolution opens endless opportunities to reach faster, easier, and bigger successes through your entrepreneurship.

These five entrepreneurs made a considerable shift from their previous jobs to the entrepreneurship they chose to start. It allowed them to find much bigger opportunities that led to massive success.

 

Listen to their stories and think which of these opportunities can be a game-changer for your business.

 

Guy Kawasaki Headshot

Guy Kawasaki

From being a marketing and salesperson in the jewelry business, to become the chief evangelist of Apple, the chief evangelist of Canva, and the host of Remarkable People podcast.

 

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool, and the creator of Guy Kawasaki’s Remarkable People podcast.

Guy Kawasaki new podcast

He is a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley). He was the chief evangelist of Apple and a trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation. He is also the author of The Art of the Start 2.0, The Art of Social Media, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

 

Guy’s Career

  • My career really started in the jewelry business not tech. I started a part time job when I had my MBA in UCLA. I worked for a jewelry manufacture in down town LA. It was a small manufacturing company owned by a Jewish family and that’s where I learned sales and marketing. I worked there for about six years. I have a deep understanding and love for many Jewish things.
  • I was in the jewelry business and then I got an Apple 2 and I fell in love with computers.
  • I worked for 6 months for a small software company that was acquired and my roommate eventually hired me into Apple. I went to work for Apple as evangelist, I left to start a company, and later returned to apple as Apple chief evangelist, and yet again left to start a company… Basically; I’ve been in Apple twice and I’ve been an entrepreneur, speaker and author since then.

Biggest success due to the right customer approach

  • I started at Canva when they were two years old. I think that from the get go they had a very good prototype. They truly understood the need of people, and Canva was growing like a rocket. I’m not taking credit for that, the credit belongs to the founders of Canva: Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht.
  • This is called Guy’s golden touch. So Guy’s golden touch is not whatever I touch turns to gold but whatever is gold, Guy touches…
  • I’ve learned in my career that it’s better to be lucky than smart.

Guy is hosting the Remarkable People podcast, weekly on Wednesday. Among his remarkable guests – Arianna Huffington, Martha Stewart, Steve Wozniak, Jane Goodall, and more.

 

Mike Stelzner Headshot

Michael Stelzner

From being a writer to start a new revolutionary blog sharing free content (just because he managed to secure the domain) to launching the leading global conference for social media..

 

Michael Stelzner is the founder of Social Media Examiner, author of the books, Launch and Writing White Papers, and the man behind Social Media Marketing World–the industry’s largest conference. He’s also the host of the Social Media Marketing podcast, founder of the Social Media Marketing Society, and host of the weekly Social Media Marketing Talk Show

 

Michael’s Career

  • I started as a writer, and then in 2009 I did what I call ‘my great experiment’ when I was able to secure the website, SocialMediaExaminer.com, for 10 dollars. And I connected some of my friends that were writers and encouraged them to write for this movement that I was starting that was called Social Media Examiner. In 2009, there were not a lot of websites that were giving out a lot of free information and this thing just took off, and in months, all of a sudden I had a crazy successful blog in my hand!
  • And then the rest is history… right? From that blog we were able to launch online conference, and then a physical conference, and then a podcast and live show; all these things that we are doing today, over eight years later.

Biggest success due to the right customer approach

  • I think that the greatest success that I’ve ever achieved was deciding to not just teach people online but teach them in person too. The year was 2013, I launched Social Media Marketing World, 1100 people showed up and many of them told me that was the best experience they ever had in their life and for me that was a really big deal because I didn’t know if it would work. And now we are coming up on our 6th year here and I know now that it’s the best thing that we do. I had to be willing to try and I’m glad I did because there is no looking back now.
  • The reason I started the conference was that when I launched my website the Social Media Examiner, I went to two conferences and I made contacts with a lot of the speakers while I was there, contacts that became very instrumental in the growth of my company. I began to realize that going to conferences and trade shows is really the secret source to success for so many of us.
  • I saw how poorly many of these conferences were done, and I wanted one for my audience… I wanted such a conference for me… So, I tried to make an event that was done right and would work.

Michael will host SMMW2020 the leading global social media conference with epic guests like Mark Schaefer, David Meerman Scott, Mary Smith, Marcus Sheridan, Ann Handley, Jasmine Star and many more.

 

Marcus Sheridan Headshot

Marcus Sheridan

From almost losing his swimming pool business in the crush of 2008, to being named as “1 of 20 speakers you don’t want to miss” by Forbes

 

Called a Web Marketing guru by the new York times, the story of how Marcus Sherridan was able to save his swimming pool company “Riverpools” form the economic crush of 2008, has been featured in multiple books, publications and stories around the world. It is also the inspiration for his newest book “They Ask You Answer” which was dubbed the number 1 marketing book to read in 2017 by Mashable.

Today, Sherridan has become a highly thought after global speaker and consultant in the digital sales and marketing space, working with hundreds of business and brands alike to become the trusted voice of their industry when navigating the ultra fast rate of change occurring within consumers and buyers today.

 

Most passionate about

  • “Nobody ever grows up and says they want to be a pool guy… ”, Marcus Sheridan believes he had to go through the crush of 2008 almost losing his swimming pool business in order to become what he is today, a teacher trying to help companies and organizations see the world differently and  see themselves as teachers in order to build a trust.

Company

  • Today River Pools (Marcus’s first company) is the most trafficked swimming pool website in the world. We went from being a struggling retailer to manufacturing swimming pools throughout the United States having dealers looking for us, we install swimming pools throughout Virginia-Maryland and it’s all because we said we are going to be the best teachers in the world for fiberglass pools. That’s the thing that did it.
  • The Sales Lion started as a personal website where Marcus started to write his thoughts on sales and business. It’s all started in 2009 in order to save the swimming pools business and it worked! And he felt he needs to tell everybody about it…
  • For the first year he didn’t think anybody was listening, it didn’t get much traffic and then all of a sudden people started to read and Marcus was invited to speak at an event and then two … It just snowballed… Today the Sales Lion is a consultancy that help small medium businesses to become leaders in their space and thus to be the most trusted voice, with what we call “Social Media”.

Biggest success due to the right customer approach

  • The biggest success is exactly where the new book is, being willing to answer any question any customer asks and that what made the change almost overnight.
  • Marcus decided in 2009 to write his first article by the idea of “they ask you answer” and wrote an article about swimming pool prices which any customer wanted to know yet none of the players in the market talked about. That one first article that took Marcus 45 minutes to write, generated for the company three and a half million dollars in sales.

The one thing you are most FIRED UP about today?

  • “They ask you answer” Marcus new book where he finely tell his story of River Pools, which quickly become a great success and was dubbed the #1 marketing book to read in 2017 by Mashable

Marcus will be the closing Keynote Speaker of SMMW20 – The global leading social media conference in San Diego.

 

John Nemo Headshot

John Nemo

From being a journalist to serving debt collectors, an online course creator, author and LinkedIn expert writing profiles for influencers like Chris Brogan, Mari Smith, John Lee Dumas, Bob Burg and many more.

 

John Nemo is an online course creator and the bestselling author of LinkedIn Riches: How To Use LinkedIn For Business, Sales & Marketing! John has rewritten and optimized LinkedIn profiles for business and social media marketing influencers including Chris Brogan, Mari Smith, John Lee Dumas, and many others. John’s work has been featured by Social Media Examiner, Inc. Magazine, American City Business Journals, The Huffington Post, Business Insider, LinkedIn’s official marketing blog, and many other publications.

 

John’s Career

  • I started out as a journalist for the Associated Press, and then Public Relations as in social media. I always worked for companies and I ended up getting myself in to some trouble. Eventually, in 2012, I went on my own. I didn’t know anything about audiences and what to do and the best advice I got was from my brother in law, who runs a very successful company in the US, and he said, “The riches are in the niches, be a big fish in a small pot. Identify an audience that you can serve and they can relate to you and like you, and go serve them.”
  • When I started in 2012, I wanted to open a marketing agency and I identified a small audience of debt collection agencies, the reason why was I had worked for a trade association doing PR and I served that industry; I had the chance to work with them and saw their challenges. Because the most important thing for an audience you serve is: Do you get me? Do you understand the unique challenges, regulations, rules, and the style we serve customers?
  • The first thing I teach students in the Linked Riches training is to start with an audience or an industry that they worked with. When I started, I focused only on debts collection and that got me a lot of credit in this industry because I was only for them. And that enabled me to generate 6 figures in revenues in 90 days.
  • As I was growing my LinkedIn Riches training, I started constantly trying to find out who was buying my stuff. In my email auto response for anyone who buys my course, I ask, among other things: how did you find me, tell me what you do and who you are, and then … I break up all the data of my buyers to analyze who are my customers, what are the main lead sources that work and more. That’s how I found that 40% of the LinkedIn Riches course buyers were business coaches and consultants. It’s critical to know your audience.
  • Then I started focus on these audiences and plan new services or products for them. I sent them a one question survey through my email list, or Social Networks connections and asked: What do you want to know about webinars/sales IT consulting etc.… And what I picked up from that one question survey is language patterns, phrases they use – so I know what buzzwords to use, how they refer to themselves and their needs, I picked up their pain points, their struggles. For example, the #1 concern of my audience of consultants and coaches is getting leads, the #2 concern is building my clients base, #3 is increasing revenue, # 4 is impact others. And then when I approached my potential audiences, I used these phrases, my next webinar was “How business coaches and consultants can use LinkedIn to generate leads, increase sales, and impact others”. And that sells very well.
  • Ask your audience. Talk with your customers.

John will speak on SMMW20 (Social Media Marketing World) The global leading social media conference about ‘The fast, easy, and non-sleazy way to generate Leads on LinkedIn’

 

Dr. Ai Zhang_Headshot

Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang

From being a University Professor to hosting two weekly live streaming shows, and inventing the ‘School Without Walls’

 

Dr. Ai is an educator and entrepreneur. She received her MA and Ph.D. in Communication from Syracuse University and the University of Maryland in the U.S. Ai is the founder of Classroom Without Walls, an independent and progressive school that helps young adults become future-ready. She is also an Adobe Education Leader, HubSpot Academy Instructor, and SEMrush webinar host. Ai’s work has been featured in Forbes, Inside Higher Education, Pearson Education, and Mark Schaefer’s book, among others. Ai hosts two weekly live streaming shows, in which she interviews thought leaders in social media and education, such as Seth Godin, Mark Schaefer, and Neil Patel. She frequently speaks at academic and industry conferences including VidCon, Global Marketing Day, Global Digital Marketing Summit, Social Media Week Lima (the largest social media marketing conference in the Midwest), and others.

 

Most passionate about

  • For 10 years, I was a professor of communication and public relations at a few universities. Later, when social media became more popular, I started to teach more social media and personal branding classes.
  • In May 2019, I resigned from my associate professor position to build my own school. That’s what I’m working on now.
  • After teaching in higher education for so many years, I started to notice that our educational system is not really preparing children for the future. In that educational system, we are using a very old model to prepare our children. That hurts me as an educator. I love learning. I love reading.
  • I feel like I can better prepare the next generation based on what I have learned from my personal experience as an educator, from the books I’ve read, the conferences I’ve attended, and the people I’ve worked with.
  • There are many important missing links that aren’t being emphasized in the traditional model. Like, for example, digital storytelling—our ability to talk to the camera, talk to a computer, engage in a podcast interview, clearly articulate ourselves in the digital age.
  • To me, that’s as important as reading, as writing, as sport. Our students are using technology at only a very superficial level. That’s how I started and was inspired to build a better school.

Biggest success due to the right customer approach

  • I’ve been hosting my live streaming show for a while and the content I’m sharing is doing the marketing for me quite effectively. People who listen to my show regularly come to me to ask for coaching services or to book me to host a live streaming event for them.
  • Understanding what I’m good at—which, in my case, is being a live streaming host – helps me position myself and attract the right audience, especially people in the education space who ask me to host live show events for them, or talk about using technology to break down traditional school and learning physical barriers.

Most recommended technological tool

  • For me, one thing that works well is video content. Thanks to video content, I get clients and speaking gigs. Brands like Adobe and HobSpot … they all came to me. Without video content, and especially streaming video, I wouldn’t have been able to grow as fast as I did.
  • We want to work with human beings. What a better way to humanize your brand than through live streaming and video content?

Dr. Ai’s key success factor

  • Action! Taking action. There is nothing more powerful than taking action. Action has given me so much clarity. We all want to plan and make it perfect the first time but action brings us closer to perfection. Action is our best teacher. You can learn so much from reading a book, from listening to podcasts, from taking a course from an influencer, but if you don’t start implementing, nothing will happen

 

Watch Dr. Ai live streaming show:

 

Summary

As entrepreneurs, we are starting something new every day; from starting new entrepreneurship to starting an online course or start monetizing your online business and so much more.

Many of the entrepreneurs I meet today look how to stay on solid ground while starting their entrepreneurship; however, some of the most successful entrepreneurs are those that decided to use a totally new market or service and got huge success.

How to start is indeed one of the biggest concerns of many entrepreneurs. But there are also so many opportunities around us today. Try to look around for opportunities that fit your capabilities and can help you reach success in a faster, easier way.

 

How to Start?

Want to learn how to start your Entrepreneurship?
Download for Free

 

HOW TO START ?

The 7 initial marketing essentials
for entrepreneurs

 

Want to learn how to choose the best Name and Logo? Not sure which customers to focus on right now and where they are? Want to build your website, or trying to figure out how and what content to share on social media?

Share

Leave a Comment





This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

REACH OR MISS Newsletter

 

Join thousands of entrepreneurs who already started REACHING the right customers and their Business goals!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

The 8 Golden Rules

 

Learn the How To's of entrepreneurial Customer Focus marketing, market strategy, branding and much MORE - for FREE!

The 8 Golden Rules are on their way to your inbox!

Ready to start REACHING?!

 

Get my free guide of

6 PROVEN STEPS

To create, present and
convince investors

In your

GO TO MARKET Strategy