HOW TO BE A SUCCESSFUL SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR

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Tips from Shawn…

How to be a successful serial Entrepreneur

    • Surround yourself with a team that you would trust with your life
    • Be a great leader and delegate everything that you are not a genius at
    • New belief systems can help you feel, know and believe in your bones that you can be successful.
    • Each stage of business growth takes a different level of leadership, vision, strategy, and team to make things happen

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Surround yourself with a team that you would trust with your life
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Doug: Welcome back listeners to another episode of Real Marketing, Real Fast. Today, I’m super excited to have Shawn Neff as my guest in the studio today. She is a success coach who will help you transform your business and she transforms CEOs that are capable of running profitable businesses and flourishing home life. We had a quick conversation before we got on the air and I think you’re in for a real treat. Her unique program draws from her ability to make millions from her multiple streams of income and her multifaceted career experience in health, entrepreneurship, and motherhood. Her incredible professional journey began at 19 when she became the youngest female paramedic search and rescue specialist in northern Michigan. I’m sure we’ll have her share a little bit more of that as we get into the show, so welcome to the Real Marketing, Real Fast podcast.

Shawn Neff: Thank you, Doug, I’m so excited to be here.

Doug: Where should we start with your introduction? Do you want to cover off any of your beginning career and how you started in the paramedic business and that transformed or worked you into consulting and the work that you do right now?

Shawn Neff: Of course. I think people are always like, “You were a paramedic,” because you look at me now and I really don’t look like a paramedic anymore. That’s been part of my transformation both personally and professionally. I graduated from high school and was concurrently dual enrolled in college and really fell in love with paramedicine and emergency medical services. Essentially went … being an EMT at 17 and then 18 graduated as a paramedic. A paramedic is a person who shows up in your life is essentially the worst day of your life, usually. I would walk into a scene and within five seconds I’d have to really assess what was happening and create an optimized strategy and develop the logistics to make that happen within 30 seconds. It was a very fast-thinking, very fast-paced, innovative career. That was the thing that I loved the most about that, was what I would say, developing innovative solutions to seemingly impossible problems.

Doug: It sounds like you’ve taken that and moved into the business world because [inaudible 00:02:37] I show up on the worst day of your life, I’m thinking, “Well, yes, the paramedic, that could be the worst life of your personal, physical life,” but there are lots of people where there are worst days in their business life when they’ve had a disaster. I’m sure those skills come in handy, especially if you do it in 30 seconds.

Shawn Neff: Literally I do. I would be able to, one of my amazing talents is I am highly intuitive and I can see what you would see in, say, in five dimensions, which made me a really great paramedic. I could see within each scenario, I could play it through and say, “Okay, this would be the outcome of this situation,” and then choose the one that would be the most advantageous and the easiest. There was always plan A, plan B and then plan C. There was the dynamic, things are fluid, so yeah. I have taken that same principle and really had a breakthrough in my consulting business about two years ago that I was actually teaching my clients my principles and my mindset and the systematic thought process that I knew and learned and embodied as a paramedic and applying it to my business knowledge and wisdom and my seven streams of revenue that I have, which we can talk about later, but how to apply that to each person’s individual circumstances. What we found was they’d take this quantum leap and have a breakthrough in every area of their life, so it’s pretty fantastic stuff.

Doug: Diving right into the meat of things, we’re serving an audience of business owners, entrepreneurs, and marketing types, what are the most common issues that you come across? You probably look at hundreds of different businesses, I’m sure you can’t work with everybody, but when you’re trying to help someone have a transformation, what’s kind of the big thing that sticks out most of the time?

Shawn Neff: I would say 90% of it starts with how we think and in the order in which we think. I’m sure you’ve seen the clause that 90% of success is your mindset in our belief systems. I have also a background in holistic health and healing, and what I found during that part of my career and my own personal transformation is that the belief systems that we carry that we’re not good enough, that we’re not safe, that we’re not lovable, that people might reject me if I put myself out there, are really running the subconscious show of our life as a leader. That’s the first thing that I do with people, is that we work on transforming their mindset and healing the story doesn’t have to be traumatic or emotional. It just has to be a transformation to reprogram or auto-suggest new belief systems so that you feel, know and believe in your bones that you can be successful. When you believe that, anything is possible.

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Doug: That’s interesting, I’m not going to argue with you on that. I’ve always said that you kind of get what you expected, especially when you’re goal-setting and you’re looking at stuff. I just gave my daughter a book to read, she was just getting ready to do a leadership speech with a youth group that she leads. It was an author by the name of Price Pritchett and the title of the book was What If All The Barriers Were Imaginary. The book’s called The Quantum Leap Strategy and I said to her, “Just read this in the secular world and look at the way that he thinks and looks at goals and doesn’t agree with the status quo. So what if the industry says that the people in your business grow at 10% a year? Why not go for 50% growth or 100% growth or 1000% growth? Who says you can’t do that? Common sense?” My explanation to her, this might not be politically correct, is, “Look at who your elected officials are. That’s the common belief of the people that live in the country.”

Shawn Neff: Right.

Doug: Whether you like it or not, that’s the common thing, so do something outside of that.

Shawn Neff: Absolutely, exactly, and really taking that quantum leap and working in, and there are no barriers [inaudible 00:07:04] what is possible.

Doug: I like that. I want to challenge you on something because we talked for just a brief few minutes before we got on the podcast and I’ve done some background, I’ve been through your website and you put something up there that I totally agree with, but I just want to push back on that, and that is you say you can have balance if your life, so be a serial entrepreneur and you can find time to do the important things like spending time with your family.

Shawn Neff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Doug: I thought that to be a serial, multiple seven figure earner, you had to work every day, all day and just nobody else in your life mattered.

Shawn Neff: Many, many, many people do that. You and I were just talking about that, but I believe, especially as a woman and as a mom, I was not available to do that, and so I thought, when I got married, that I had to choose between being a mom, which was my number one thing because my mom was a stay at home mom and did a great job, but I always looked at her life and said, “But there’s got to be something more than just raising your kids.” My sister and I are both actually serial entrepreneurs and we’ll soon be business partners in another business adventure. My mom, it is so cool, she looks at us and she goes, “I don’t know where you two came from.” My dad looks at me and he goes, “They’re our children,” because he’s been an entrepreneur and my family, I’m a third generation serial entrepreneur, so it’s obviously in the genes. Being a woman, I think really forging the path of saying, “No, we can have it all,” but you’ve, one, got to be a great leader, you have to delegate absolutely everything that you’re not an absolute genius at. We have two full-time people working for us and my husband at our equestrian center on our farm. It’s how I get to do what I do, and I don’t have the stress, just to help manage our lives, you know, run the life.

Doug: Yeah, I’m with you. I would come back and suggest that what you said, in the beginning, is really how we think. I don’t agree with that mindset. I remember when my son was really young, my son now is 28, married, and we have our first grandbaby and one more coming, so he’s long past being a little guy. I remember when he was a little guy, I came home from work one day and he went, “Hey mom, look, dad came home to visit.” I went, “Oh, I’m doing exactly what I said I would never do.” For me, that was a major shift. I went, “I’m not doing this, it’s not worth that. If I can’t figure out how to set boundaries with my clients and work somewhat regular hours, it’s not worth the price you’ve got to pay.”

Shawn Neff: No, absolutely not, no. What part of that did you not agree with, I’m curious?

Doug: No, I totally agree with what you’re saying. I was just pushing back because you can go online, you don’t have to go very far and people say you need to work, work, work, grind, grind, grind and I get there’s a season to work, but the season to work doesn’t last 40 or 50 years. There are times when I work lots of hours, but I was just pushing back because after the comment that I get from people, “Well, how come you can travel, how come you can do this, how do you do that? I don’t have time to go to the gym, how do you have time to go to the gym?” I said, “Well, you put it on your calendar and you book out an hour and a half every day and you don’t take any appointments during that time.” What I find by having a healthy lifestyle, I’m more productive and I get more done in six hours than I used to get done in eight hours, so now I have a couple extra hours. I work home-based like you do, so I save two hours of commute. It’s all about choices.

Shawn Neff: Yes, and the thing about blocking out and creating, I tell my clients, is that of course there are times in your business that we’re going to work hard, but what is hard? It’s focused, I call it more like a marathon and a sprint, or rest time. This is kind of like a marathon, so pace yourself. Also, there might be moments that you need to sprint, so prepare yourself for the sprint.

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Doug: There you go, that’s a great analogy. So, you don’t want to share with us a breakthrough that you’ve had or you’ve seen with a client, you don’t need to name the client. If you want to, that’s fine, or where you’ve helped transform them and transform their business?

Shawn Neff: Sure, let’s see, a specific scenario. I have a client that’s a tech company, multidimensional, multifaceted tech company, family, trying to figure out how to do it all, and really, really struggling. We started working together with both family and business and delegation, so we started working together and what has happened in her business, she’s on track for seven figures this year. She actually took a vacation. She’s taking the weekends off. She’s actually coming to our coaching session, she’s like, “Okay, I’ve accomplished everything on our to-do list because we only do three priorities a week.” I coach most of my clients twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, so we can set things up on Friday for the next week and Monday are really, okay, what’s the mindset and the priority? She has absolutely transformed her life, her marriage, her business and is on track for the seven figures.

Doug: That’s really cool.

Shawn Neff: Yeah.

Doug: How long would this, I know this is kind of a question that’s probably, “It depends,” because people need to cooperate, but how long do you find it takes before people actually realize that there’s a transformation taking place?

Shawn Neff: About three months.

Doug: Okay.

Shawn Neff: Yeah, the first month is getting to, I usually coach in six month blocks with this type of work. If you’re a CEO that really has multifaceted things going on and really struggling with your leadership, really trying to figure out how to go to the next level, but you feel like you’re bumping up against the brick wall, delegating and your team is completely unresponsive and you’re like, “I’m worn out and exhausted. I’m overwhelmed and I’m really quite done with being this entrepreneur.” It’s kind of that ideal client at that 250 range, at that level, because the leader that you need to be for the seven figures is completely different than at the growing your business at 250 … different mindset.

Doug: I just want to ask you about that. You start as an entrepreneur, you’re the one person, you start the business, you kind of do everything and, like you said, as you grow, you need to delegate and hand off stuff that you’re not good at. I’m not good at cutting the grass or doing chores, so you can hire that out as a very simple thing before you get into bringing people into your business.

Shawn Neff: Yes.

Doug: Can you break it down into a couple of different steps? You start out as a solo entrepreneur and your goal is to get to seven rate figures, and there’s probably a couple major stages you go through. What would those be?

Shawn Neff: The major stage would be 250, I am seeing 250 to 750 as kind of, you know, 0 to 250 is a stage, 250 to 750 is a stage, 750 above is a stage. Each one of those segments takes a different level of leadership, vision, strategy, and team to make that happen, and the person that you need to be to get there. I really focus on who is the person you need to be and who are the strategists, teams and how do you handle all of that in a way that you have balance in your life and your business and yourself and can be really successful through these quantum leaps instead of worn out.

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Doug: Would you agree that once you have some success, so when you’re going from 250 to 750 and once you’re past that, that it, I don’t want this to sound off, so I don’t know how to say it, but that it gets easier and you’re really just adding another zero. You’ve got some momentum, you’ve got some systems, you’re building some stuff, so your struggle’s to get to 250 and then once you get up to half a million dollars and over, things just kind of line up and the money just starts pouring and you quite quickly blow past the 750 or million dollar mark.

Shawn Neff: Absolutely, yes, that has been my experience, but it’s getting that momentum going and keeping momentum and keeping the mindset and keeping the vision because you know in your bones you’re destined for seven or eight figures, but it’s the small, persistent actions daily you need to take to get there. With my CEO mastery formula, which is really five steps that I teach my clients, and the first step is to stabilize. Okay, what in your business do you need to stabilize? The second step is what in your business do you need to assess that isn’t working, and this can apply to your life too? I might write these down if you’re listening because it’ll change your life, it’ll change the way that you’re thinking and operating your business and in your life. Step three is what are some optimized strategies that I could do to get to my goal? Step four is what is the order, and this is the place where there’s the biggest breakdown I see for entrepreneurs, is what are the steps and the correct order that I need to implement this optimized strategy? The analogy I give is are you fixing your broken leg before you fix the bleeding?

Doug: From the paramedic’s point of view, that’s funny. I remember going through my first date and the first thing was ensure no further danger to myself, so before I rush into a scene, am I going to get run over when I try to drag that guy off the road? If so, he’s probably going to get run over a few more times because [inaudible 00:17:31] in the road.

Shawn Neff: Right, see, so this is the formula. You stabilize and you assess. Am I stable to enter this scene with a guy who has a broken leg who’s across the road, and then assess, like is this safe, and then three, what do I need to do? I probably should call for help, right? That would be the first situation, but people get overwhelmed when they get to step two and three and four, and then it becomes a hot mess at five, which is delegate and coordinate. Unless you, as a leader, know what step you want in what order, you can’t effectively delegate to your team.

Doug: I think, from what I’ve seen and what I’ve experienced in my own life is often that we procrastinate because we kind of know what we need to, but you find yourself meddling and doing stuff, so like you said trying to fix your broken leg before you deal with the bleed. You find people say, “Hey, I need to rebuild my website, I need a new website. I need a social media presence. I need a new brochure. I need to get new business cards.” I’m saying, “No, no, what you need are more clients. You need more sales. Once we get those things, then you can, if you want to spend time rebuilding anything, then you can buy those things.”

Shawn Neff: And you could afford to buy those things, right?

Doug: Yeah.

Shawn Neff: Yeah, and lead sales and prospects our clients, prospects and leads are really critical to our, it’s the lifeblood of our business.

Doug: Yeah, it is, yeah, that’s right.

Shawn Neff: Right, to circle it back around to marketing, why is marketing important? Because without that we don’t have the income to keep going.

Doug: Like you said, it’s making the right decisions at the right time. I have a post-it note on my computer that says always milk the cows before building the barn.

Shawn Neff: Absolutely, very unhappy cows if you don’t milk some of them.

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Doug: Absolutely. I had read a book last year that I really enjoyed, it was called the Slate Edge, and this referred back to your point of doing small things every day consistently and the sum of those over the course of time is just like a compound interest of putting money in the bank. There’s a big payoff in the end.

Shawn Neff: There is. I’d really challenge everyone who’s listening, I work three hours a day, maybe two depending, but I am really fiercely focused on what it is I need to do and I segment out what my focuses are. I won’t get up from my desk until it’s done. Often times we feel that like, “Oh, I can’t do this,” and you just push through it. It might take you 30 minutes versus 10, but if you can develop the discipline to be fiercely focused about each little piece, little segment so that the sums come together, it will bring you so much success.

Doug: Do you think there’s a, you’re probably going to say there’s a mindset, so I’m going to ask you the question anyhow. Do you think there’s a big issue for people, I go to lots of events and training and I speak at events. You meet people and everybody’s got the seven-figure goal. You have a lot of the people in the room, most of them that you see there are earning less than 250.

Shawn Neff: And what’s your question?

Doug: My question is why is that?

Shawn Neff: I think it’s cultural. It’s kind of the … That’s a good question.

Doug: I wonder, part of it isn’t a belief. The biggest optic that we had in our business was during the largest financial crash in world history and my clients are all in the financial space, yet we increased our income by 500%.

Shawn Neff: I think what it is is that seven figures brings the hope of freedom and everyone craves financial freedom. However, you can have freedom at 250, you can have freedom at 500, you can have freedom at 750. What happens is you increase your income, you also increase your lifestyle. That can be complicated, but I think it goes back to the core value that most people think that money equals freedom and that freedom equals personal sovereignty and our ability to be free as a human being, to make choices, to do what it is we desire when we want.

Doug: Yeah, I heard Matthew Kimberly speaking at Chris Ducker’s event in the UK in December and he basically said something I thought was really interesting. He said, “Money gives you choices.”

Shawn Neff: Yes, it does.

Doug: He wasn’t talking about choices about, hey, having a nicer handbag or driving a nicer car. He was talking about family or friends that were going through a tough situation or needed a medical procedure that they couldn’t get traditionally. That’s what he was talking about, money gives you choices, he says. I’ve just started thinking about that, how many times we’ve seen people that need a hand to deal with something major in life. They need to go have a surgery, they need to go have a test someplace. The world may think these days, “Well, having money is bad.” Well, it’s not when it’s a family or friend that you’ve got enough money that you can just write the check and it’s not a big deal.

Shawn Neff: That is a great point and being philanthropic and very generous with our wealth as we grow more of it will actually help you to grow more wealth because God blesses those who give to others if that’s your belief system, but that’s kind of mine. The more generous we are with people who need support and need hope, people really want hope. If we can give them opportunities with financial resources for education and health and opportunities to better themselves, that’s where you see the change of those who have seven figures and above, can really make an impact in our community and in our world.

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Doug: Yeah, a friend of mine says “cast your bread upon the water and it comes back buttered.” I know it’s a paraphrase, but yeah, I get that. That’s really cool. What are you most excited about today with what you see in your business, in your clients or the world, what really has got you super excited?

Shawn Neff: I am super excited about serial entrepreneurs. If you haven’t ever heard that term before, it’s having multiple revenue streams. What I have seen over the last many, many years is that people try to stuff everything they do under one umbrella. I’m not sure if you’ve seen that, but it makes marketing really challenging. It makes your niche really challenging, but what I’m seeing as a trend, and I’m on the forefront of the trend, is helping people become successful serial entrepreneurs, meaning that each one of them has these different revenue streams, and how do you manage each one of those and lead each one of those and be successful doing that is super exciting to me and thrilling on so many levels.

Doug: That’s really neat. I’d never heard a serial entrepreneur described that way. I assumed it was somebody who just continued to build venture after venture and sell them, but multiple income streams, there’s nothing wrong with that either.

Shawn Neff: No, and I actually, my husband and I, we’ve been married 17 years and we have seven streams of revenue. It never occurred to me that that was something that was unique. We just do what we do and I love building businesses and we love buying property and we love renting property and we love investments. We just started a new company that’s going to be in manufacturing and design, and it’s like people look at us, they’re like, “How do you do that and how do you go to your daughter’s horse show and your son’s hockey games and are a hockey mom and are on the board?” Well, I just do what I do. I was listening to Ally Brown and she got up on the stage and she said, “I’m a serial entrepreneur.” I’m like, “What is a serial entrepreneur?” I googled this because I’m on the east coast and this was west coast, I’m like, “Oh, I’m a serial entrepreneur.” I’m really an expert at being a serial entrepreneur and I’m really an expert at helping others be serial entrepreneurs.

Doug: That’s amazing, yeah, it’s really a fun time. An entrepreneur wasn’t always the glamorous thing that it is now. Everybody wants to be one. There was a time when people would go, “Really, seriously, what do you do?” Now I’m glad that it’s a bit easier to explain to people what you do seeing as it’s more popular. You’ve got guys like Jerry [inaudible 00:27:06] spreading the news to the young people.

Shawn Neff: That’s the most exciting thing, is that the young, and I feel it’s going to change college education dramatically really with our children wanting to be entrepreneurs and what that looks like. I think there’s going to be some big shifts coming up for the next generation as they see their parents be entrepreneurs and have their own ideas and their own businesses that they’re already implementing.

Doug: Yeah, I guess part of that, like you said, is just expanding your mind, having your mind open to see the possibilities. Just because your family history says, “Everybody in my family was,” fill in the blank, X, “Was a firefighter, so I must be a firefighter.” There are more options out there today and what I’m excited about is that with technology, I think it is easier, faster and cheaper to get into business today than it ever has been.

Shawn Neff: Yes, and I think with a mentor or a process or a program it is much less expensive than it could be. Those of us who have been on the front lines have really been trying to navigate, “How do you make this work?” Finding people who’ve already made it work can give you the template and say, “This is what’s really working.” It helps to bypass, I think, a lot of the financial expense-

Doug: Pain.

Shawn Neff: Pain, the hundreds of thousands of dollars of investments that I’m not sure were great investments, so yeah.

Doug: People say, “Why would I pay you?” I said, “Because I have found more ways that don’t work than you have.”

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Shawn Neff: Yeah, absolutely, and I’ve struggled with it and I’ve been on my knees about it at night going, “Okay, now what do I do?”

Doug: That’s right, that’s funny. What advice would you give listeners who are listening to this going, “Okay, it sounds interesting. I’d like to take that next step. I would like to grow my business to 250 or I’m already at 250 and I want to grow to half a million, or I’m at half a million and I want to get to a million or more,” what would you say the next step is for them?

Shawn Neff: Those are about three different categories of people, so I have a program for people who are just getting started called Serial Entrepreneurial School, which is eight weeks of really laying the foundation of how to be an incredible serial entrepreneur and the things that you need, kind of a template mindset. I’d go very significantly into the mindset that you need to have and the tools and the systems and what you need to prepare yourself for. That class is just getting started here the first week of March, but we’ll be open. Then I also have private ways to coach with me, so I’d say the best thing to do is send me an e-mail at shawn@shawnneff. com and reach out to me and we can have a conversation about what you need, and of course, visit my website at shawnneff. com.

Doug: Excellent. You sent over some other website and some other information to me as well in advance, so I’ll make sure that the links are up there so you’ve got your millionaire strategy session, and then I’ve got another link here for you for five ways to delegate with confidence. As an entrepreneur myself, I struggle with that and often have to claw back and go, “Okay, I know I can do it faster this time, but how many times do I need to do this in a week.” I’m going to spend a little bit longer, I’m going to create a process for it and I’m going to delegate it so it’s done.

Shawn Neff: Yeah, yes, absolutely and surrounding yourself with, my number one tip for that is to surround yourself with a team that you trust with your life.

Doug: Wow, those are pretty high standards. That’s really good.

Shawn Neff: Isn’t that a pretty high [inaudible 00:31:17], but if you don’t you’re trusting your business in the life of someone else.

Doug: Yes, yup.

Shawn Neff: Right, or the hands of someone else. I learned that when I was a paramedic, is that your life is in the hands of your partner and your team, often, so you need to know that you can trust that person with your life. Why do we hire people that we do not trust with our life and the lifeblood of our business?

Doug: Yeah, that’s a great question, why do we do that?

Shawn Neff: Yeah.

Doug: Is there anything else you want to add or share, a tip before we wind this up and let you get back to your day, because if you’re only working two hours a day, we’ve just used 25% of your day up on the podcast.

Shawn Neff: Today is a two hour day.

Doug: Today is a two hour day?

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Shawn Neff: Yeah, today is a two hour day, then I have my other businesses and then hockey tonight. I would say, my number one tip is if you know in your bones that you are destined for something more, that you take the step and reach out to me today because this process can be so much less painful and much less of a struggle if you have some support and have a champion in your corner and have someone who has been there and done that and made some terrible mistakes and made some wonderful mistakes. I would love to hear from you and invite you to send me a private e-mail at shawn@shawnneff.com and take the step for your success because that is how you’re going to get there.

Doug: There you go, so I will close off with one of my favorite quotes, and that is never ask anyone for advice who hasn’t paid the price that you’re willing to pay or hasn’t done what you’re going to do. Clearly, Shawn has done that, I have done that, so that’s my advice to people because you don’t want to take advice from someone who hasn’t gone where you want to go. She’s gone there, she’s been there, she’s done that, so thank you so much for sharing today and sharing your superpower and taking the time out for our audience.

Shawn Neff: I so appreciate it. It has been a pleasure and I look forward to connecting too.

Doug: Thanks, listeners, that’s another episode of Real Marketing, Real Fast. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, leave a review for us. As usual, we’ll transcribe all the show notes, so all the information will be here about Shawn, her business, her offerings, links to her website, her social media sites, and if you’ve got some comments or feedback that you want to leave on the bottom of the blog post, feel free to do that, so we look forward to sharing another episode with you in a couple days.

Connect with Shawn Neff

Resources

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Links to other podcast and or blog posts:

Real Marketing Real Fast Podcast – host Doug Morneau – Episode #45

HOW TO BE A SUCCESSFUL SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR

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