My New Podcast for Curious Marketers

My New Podcast for Curious Marketers

I am super amped up this week because yesterday, I launched my very first audio show, The Marketing Starter Podcast, with the goal of sharing some tangible tips and career hacks with marketers around the marketing world. 

I actually started recording back in March with the idea of getting a majority of the first season produced before the show even aired – I read that on launch day that one should have three episodes ready to go for new listeners (one of the many tips I gleaned from pro podcasters).

So this week, that is what you will find… The first three episodes of Season One, featuring Beth Carr, Founder of Fortified Branding, social media king, Scott Eddy, and Rebecca Biestman, CMO at Reputation. All available wherever you get your podcasts, at, and of course, on my website.

From there, I will be publishing two new episodes each month with the hopes of expanding to once a week as time allows – but you know how it goes when you’re trying to balance daytime tasks with moonlighting content, while also moving across the country. It’s a lot! 

I did want to use this post to share my inspiration for the blog and the why behind it, which really stemmed from my last post where I announced that I’m wiring my very first book with the same name, The Marketing Starter. In the book I share personal stories of marketing starter struggles with anecdotes from a few close colleagues, friends, and advisors – but I wanted to go deeper and create something that could go beyond the words in my book while shamelessly plugging it. 

And that’s where the podcast was born. I wanted to find like-minded marketers and business professionals who can expand on the topics that I share in my book with their own personal stories. I wanted to hone in on the expertise of these guests and align their starter journeys to the tips that I shared in my book and really dig into the nuance of wearing an entrepreneurial hat while being a marketer.

So far, I have been blown away by the starter stories that my guests have shared, and I hope that you will be too. It’s so fulfilling and inspirational to actually sit down with these folks for an hour (don’t worry the episodes are only about 30 minutes) and just have real conversations about what makes them tick and what has led to their success. It’s something I have missed deeply since this pandemic sheltering has taken over all our lives.

I miss those coffee meetups and networking events that used to fuel my personal inspiration and help me balze my trails. I’m sure all of that will be back soon, but in the meantime these podcast interviews are filling the void, but also giving me great content to share with you.

I hope that you give the show a listen and subscribe, like, share, comment, blah blah blah. And of course, stay tuned for the book release later this year.


Sign up for my newsletter!

I’m Publishing My First Book

I’m Publishing My First Book

Boy, it sure has been a while since I blogged about what’s new in my marketing universe. Quite a bit has gone down in the past couple years, including three job changes and, of course, a worldwide pandemic that temporarily paused many of our hopes and dreams 

However, quarantine and lockdowns did create much needed space for me to write my very first book. That’s right, this guy is soon to be a published author! My book, The Marketing Starter, will dive deep into stories of how I have applied an entrepreneurial mindset to my marketing and share valuable insights and tips to anyone looking to jump start their marketing efforts. It will uncover all the life lessons from a marketer who has never finished anything… and you’ll learn why.

I am beyond excited that the painstaking work of researching and writing a book is finally paying off. The manuscript is currently being professionally edited and will soon be available for peer review. Trust me, just getting the manuscript done is a HUGE step — ask any first time author.

So, I wanted to use this blog update to let the world know that the book is officially on its way and will be published in mid 2021. There is still a lot of work to do on formatting, design, marketing, etc., but honestly it’s all downhill from here.

I am hoping that you will all support this long-time life goal of mine by purchasing the book and leaving a great review when it’s out. In the meantime, I hope that you will also be a part of my launch team. As a member, I can run ideas by you and where you can learn how to get the word out on launch day. If you’re open to being a part of the group, shoot me a note on LinkedIn or drop your email HERE to get notified.

And, as if I didn’t have enough to do, I am also launching a podcast by the very same name where I will be featuring kickass marketing starters from around the world! They will be sharing their stories, pitfalls, and tips about how marketers can better utilize the starter mindset in their careers. 

If you love marketing, business, entrepreneurship, or starting cool shit, then my book and podcast are for you! Stay tuned as we gear up for release of both this year.

Signup below to get notified when the book and podcast launch!

Thanks for your early support!

5 Ways to Hack Your Income In-Between

5 Ways to Hack Your Income In-Between

During my career in marketing and startups, I have been in-between steady income many times. Sometimes it is was because I was laid off or quit and other times it was because I simply couldn’t turn revenue from my startup. Nevertheless, being able to front money for rent in my in-between’s proved to be a challenge.

Whether you’re an professional between gigs or a new startup founder, it’s crucial to have a steady stream of income to fund your life while you focus on the job hunt or on launching your world-changing idea. Luckily, I have some tried and true tactics that have worked for me that you can try out to help keep you afloat in your in-between.

1. Contract with your most recent employer

Thankfully, when I left my last two full-time jobs, I was asked to stay on as a part-time contractor working on many of the same projects as while I was fully employed. This is an ideal transition that allowed me to have enough income to pay my bills while giving me the flexibility I needed to work on my own time and search for more steady income.

This may not be an option for everyone on their way out, but if the relationship is relatively positive and cordial, the option worth the proposition. It can also be great for the company as they will continue to get support on the projects that you were working on until the fully transition, and its great for you in that you can continue to work on projects that you are already acclimated to while continuing your search. Heck, they may even allow you to tell prospective employers that you still work there full-time which is valuable in your search.

In my most recent contracting stint with a past employer, I got all of that plus I still kept my work email address, laptop and access to all the necessary files to make the contract work as easy as if I still worked in the office. Getting the ability to contract is even more of a reason not to burn bridges with your employer when you’re on your way out.

2. Find temp gigs in your field

Another great strategy is to find temporary work by using a placement agency like Creative Circle. The second you are no longer full-time employed, you should register with once of these agencies in your field and begin to get their job alerts. Once you find something that strikes your fancy, apply and they will go to bat for you and get you placed.

Sure, a lot of the time the positions are full-time and often pay less than what you made at you previous full-time job, but you can negotiate flexibility and have the freedom to be completely honest that you are looking for full-time roles elsewhere. These gigs also help you to plan as they usually have a contract end date, most of which are anywhere from two to six months and sometimes a year. Some even have the ability to turn into a full-time role if you so chose.

3. Try the gig economy, carefully

With the influx of work in the gig economy, there is really no reason at all that a halfway intelligent, able-bodied American cannot have some sort of income nowadays. Whether that’s picking up odd jobs with TaskRabbit, renting a room on Airbnb, or delivering for DoorDash, there are a multitude of options out there to work on your time. I have accounts with many of these services and switch them on when I need an extra buck.

One that I have tried, and no longer touch however, is ride-sharing. Lyft and Uber sell you big promises of $1000 or more a week, but the times you need to work, wear & tear on your vehicle and downtime hardly make these services worth it. Driving can be a big commitment and less flexible than one might think, so I would strongly urge in-betweeners to look at other gig economy services first before they get behind the wheel.

4. Share your wealth of knowledge & experience

Recently I have noticed an uptick in requests to share my insight on industry topics that fall in my areas of expertise. Most of these requests come from consulting networks or research services on behalf of clients looking to make better business decisions. I got my first request in summer 2017 from a representative at Guidepoint with a question about my experience in the event ticketing industry from when I worked at Vendini.

When all was said and done, my hour-long conversation with the client paid $100. Easy money! These services will build a profile for you and when they have a client that has a question, reach out to you to get your take. Search for and register at as many of these as you can find to have the opportunity to weigh-in with your expertise.

5. Participate in focus groups & surveys

I have been participating in focus groups for years now and they are always a nice little kicker to your weekly income. You can register with services like Focus Pointe Global and when your profile matches one of there groups, they will send you a screener survey to your email. If you answer the questions the way they would like, they will schedule you participate in the focus group.

I have participated in groups that lasted an hour and paid $100 to ones where I reviewed a product over the course of a week and was paid $500. Most of the time when you leave the group they hand you cash or a check, but sometimes you’ll get a pre-paid card that can be used to offset your expenses for the week.

Whether you apply all of these or just a few in your in-between, it never hurts to get them loaded into your arsenal of income hacks. The key is to balance being humble with what channel is worth your time. These are just a few of the many ways that you can work smarter to pay the bills while you work hard to land that dream job or build a startup. Go in-betweener go!

Like this article? Sign up for the newsletter to get more!

7 Steps to Get Your Speaking Career Off the Ground

7 Steps to Get Your Speaking Career Off the Ground

My professional speaking story might sound simple, but it’s not without its challenges. In 2013, I was working on my second startup, BTSocial, which was solving a problem in the business travel space using social media. During that time, I was getting very active in the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), attending conferences and participating in my local chapter in Chicago. My eager networking lead to a feature in Hotel Business magazine profiling me and the BTSocial product.

That article was seen by the education chair of the Mid South Area Business Travel Association (a chapter of GBTA), and she took an interest in my take on how social media was impacting the travel industry. Long story short, she reached out and asked If I would come and speak to the MSABTA about social media. At that point, I had for a long time dreamt of being a professional speaker, traveling the world educating and motivating people, so I thought, ‘Why the heck not?’ They flew me down to Memphis one June and the rest is history.

While my professional speaking endeavors came out of earnest networking to support my startup, you might find that you’ll have to work at it a little more to get yours off the ground. I do have some easy steps you can take to get started, now.

1. Pick a subject your good at

I’m sure that you have a lot of tools in your professional toolbox. However, you’ll want to find a few around which you can really build quality speech subject matter. Only you know where your skills lie, but you’d be surprised how simple of a skill you may have that is in high-demand. For me, social media was my starting point as I was working on a startup solution focused on just that. My knowledge on the subject and deep work in it gave me plenty to fall back on when getting started.

2. Find out what your industry needs to learn

Each industry has key gaps in knowledge that can be exploited. The easiest way to determine what people your industry are hungry for is to scope out the industry’s premier conference website. Take a look at the upcoming event’s agenda (last year’s if the next is not available) and see what topics the sessions focused on. There may be a few that you can piggyback on or you be able to create your own spin. You can also see if there are glaring gaps where your angle might fill in.

Another way to do this is to attend industry events to hear other speakers’ topics and network with professionals. You can straight-up ask what attendees would like to hear covered at these events and apply their answers to your plan accordingly.

3. Write your topic

Once you have your subject matter based on your expertise set and know what the industry wants to learn, get to penning your presentation. The first thing you will need is a general outline, then a summary that you can use to share with potential clients. Second, you will create the presentation itself, but that is a big step and will have to be covered in another article. Your summary should also include some key takeaways, or learning points that are actionable for the attendees. Once you have all that set, you can start reaching out to prospective events to get hired.

4. Local outreach and ask to speak (for free)

The ultimate goal is to get paid for your speeches, but to get started, you’ll want to offer your services for free. You do this for a four key reasons: to practice and get feedback, to get testimonials, to gain exposure and to build your speaking resume. You may only need to do a few free gigs before you start to charge. I got lucky and was able to start charging at my second event. If you submit to speak at a conference however, expect to not get paid, but nevertheless conferences offer are great exposure!

5. Build a list and a following

Once you have presented at your first few events for free, you’ll want to build a list of prospects to reach out to and start expanding your schedule. Some industry organizations have speaker databases where you should submit your topics. You can also join speaker bureaus and create profiles on sites like and At this point, it would be important to create a simple website for your speaking profile where you can host your topics, experience and bio.

6. Start charging

When should you start to charge and how much? That’s the million, well, thousand-dollar question. I would recommend starting to charge once you and your content are deemed valuable, but you want to make sure that you have presented at few successful events before you draft an invoice. Once you have reached this milestone, you can start asking for compensation for your talents.

Trying to figure out how much to charge in another challenge. A good way is to see what organizations are willing to pay by simply asking the question, “what’s your speaker budget for this event.” Another way is to ask what other speakers, whom you feel are at a similar level to you, have charged when they spoke. Only you can decide what your fee should be, but I would recommend to always be willing to flexible. I have spoken for as little as $500 (for non-profits), but when starting out my typical nominal fee was $1000. Depending on the event I have charged nearly 5x that. Obviously, your goal is to make it more than worth your time, but you have to keep in mind that there are hundreds of speakers out there whom you’re competing with. Don’t get greedy!

7. Write a book

Since being on the speaking circuit for nearly five years, I have been looking for ways to level up my career. After much searching, everything pointed towards writing a book. Being a published author immediately gives you the clout to amp up your speaking career. I’m in the early stages of writing my book now, and while completing the book itself is a huge milestone, I see it as a step to lead me to the next level of my speaking career. Writing a book is tough and it can take over a year so before you do this, so make sure that you have the expertise, time and drive to push it across the finish line. Once the book is published, it will be easy to land speaking gigs where you can focus on the books’ subject matter. At this point, you’ll be a published author presenting on a topic where your an expert, engaging thousands of event-goers, then fielding their requests for signatures as you hock your book in the foyer. That’s the dream!

This list may seem long, but it’s actually very easy to get your speaking career off the ground. The key is to start small while you’re building your resume then scale with supportive content and testimonials. Persistence and refinement will always pay off and before you know it, speaking can become a very fun and lucrative part of your life.

Like this post? Sign up for the newsletter to get more!

5 Reasons Why Startups Shouldn’t Work In Coffee Shops

5 Reasons Why Startups Shouldn’t Work In Coffee Shops

For many entrepreneurs that are tired of working from home, the corner coffee shop has become a haven for getting plugged-in to get productive with laptops out and headphones on. I can see why many entrepreneurs make coffee joints their place of biz; they’re from open morning til night, offer a warm atmosphere and have plenty of startup fuel  flowing. However, I personally have never been a fan of this work environment and have not fallen under the spell of the cafe mystique. Leaving reeking of the smell of coffee grounds is not all it is cracked up to be. I say its time to realize what the coffee shop is good for: grabbing a cup of coffee, and conversing with friends, or reading a book in leisure. Its not the place to get your startup started and I have five reasons why.

1. It’s Distracting – All entrepreneurs can agree that focus is key to success. How can anyone concentrate for a full work day in an environment of chatting, bean grinding, and brew whooshing? Not to mention the overly-loud music filling the room; most prominent at Starbucks where music labels are forcing music down your ear canals in hopes of a purchase with your latte. If you do plan to work in these distractions, invest in some noise-cancelling headphones and blinders to keep your eyes on your laptop. Just pray no one bumps the back of your chair, asks to sit at your table or spills something on you.

2. It’s Unprofessional – I have never been a fan of taking meetings at coffee shops, mostly because of reason #1 above, but in all seriousness, its just unprofessional. Sure,  it depends on whom you’re meeting with and your relationship with them. I would hope entrepreneurs would never schedule an investor pitch meeting at a Caribou. Coffee shops can be a logistical nightmare for meetings, even if they’re quick. There’s nothing worse than scheduling a meeting, showing up and not having a place to sit to conduct your meeting. Fail.

3. It’s Un-Collaborative – There may be other startup junkies in your vicinity at Intelligentsia, but since they are also desperately trying to stay focused they’re not exactly open to having collaborative discussions. Contrast to the environment at a real co-working space that promotes and breeds collaborative behavior like 1871 or the Inspire Business Club. There, it’s acceptable to join forces with other startup geeks and not have to worry about someone stealing your seat if you need to use the rest room.

4. It’s Expensive – The average latte in Chicago costs $4 and if you buy one a day that adds up to be $120/moth and $1460/year. That’s an expensive habit for bootstrapping entrepreneurs. With that money you’re spending on coffee you could afford most open-seating co-working spaces and those typically include a warm caffeinated beverage. Good luck trying to get away without making a purchase, they’ll toss you out for loitering.

5. It’s Lacking Resources – I have yet to see a barista hand over an entrepreneur mail deliveries with his caramel macchiato. Not gonna happen. You can’t have mail sent to Starbucks; you wouldn’t use their address for your business; and they probably don’t have a fax machine you could borrow. Sure they have free Wi-Fi, but its not and will never be an office. Try reserving group of tables ahead of time to have a group brainstorming session. Nope!

These reasons may be my opinions, but you gotta admit, they have some merit. I’m not saying to not frequent coffee shops, they are local businesses that need our support. I’m just saying to think twice before working there. A coffee shop may be a fine escape every once in a while, but I recommend to find a place that you can be most productive with your startup. Kudos to you for at least getting out of the house.