What Is Your What? with Steve Olsher

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TSP Steve | What Is Your What


Episode Summary:

Figuring out what you are good at and how to deliver it is a mystery that most entrepreneurs initially struggle with. International keynote speaker and author of What Is Your WHAT? Steve Olsher teaches us how to become an entrepreneur by figuring out our purpose. He tells us how he began his first entrepreneurial endeavor by opening a nightclub at the age of nineteen and then later on creating a house rental website for digital nomads that offers flexibility, equity, and privacy. Steve shares the reinvention workshop which made him realize the three important pieces of the puzzle in figuring out your what, including the gift, the vehicle, and the people. He also discusses the vortex of invincibility and how difficult things can end up becoming as natural as breathing.

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What Is Your What? with Steve Olsher

Our guest is Steve Olsher who’s known as the world’s foremost reinvention expert. He’s famous for helping individuals and corporations become exceptionally clear on their what. That is the one thing they were created to do. His practical no-holds-barred approach to life and business compels his clients towards achieving massive profitability while cultivating a life of purpose, conviction and contribution. He’s a 25-year plus entrepreneur. He is the Chairman and Founder of Liquor.com, which is an online pioneer that launched on CompuServe’s Electronic Mall in 1993. He is the New York Times bestselling author of What Is Your WHAT: Discover The One Amazing Thing You Were Born To Do and also the author of Business Technology Book of The Year, Internet Prophets: The World’s Leading Experts Reveal How to Profit Online. Steve, welcome to the show.

I appreciate you having me.

I’m always interested to hear my guest’s story of origin. You can take us back as far in childhood, high school or college or wherever you want. Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? How did you come up with these concepts for figuring out our purpose? What was it that got you where you are now?

Here’s what I believe, and I believe that entrepreneurs are not made. I do believe that they are born. I think it’s either on your DNA or it’s not. For me, I’ve always been wired as an entrepreneur pretty much from the time I was old enough to pick up a rake to move leaves around or grab a shovel and shoveling sidewalks and driveways. It’s always going back to some of my rap roots trying to rub a couple of dimes together to make a quarter, trying to make $1 out of $0.15. I’ve always been naturally wired in that way of trying to figure out where the opportunity is and can I create a product, program or service to solve that problem. I ended up opening my own nightclub when I was nineteen. That was my first real entrepreneur endeavor. I’ve been DJ-ing in clubs for a number of years and built a decent following so I thought maybe there’s an opportunity here for me to have my own club but I was young. I couldn’t even legally drink.

It was interesting because I think that’s where my true entrepreneurial roots were born because I saw the opportunity. You create a club that would be a non-alcoholic club which would be in the middle of all these alcohol lane environments, in that same central district. Because we wouldn’t serve alcohol, we would be able to care for the teenagers, those eighteen and under for a number of hours. We could close down, clean up, reopen and then cater to those eighteen and over and stay open as long as we wanted because we weren’t serving booze. We won’t subject to those liquor laws. When you’re young, the bar closes at 1:30, it’s a little early. There are some folks who still want to stay and do their thing. That was the basic idea and I thought there was a good opportunity there to create a non-alcoholic club. That’s what I ended up doing. I ended up writing a plan, raising some money and open up the club when I was nineteen. That was my first real entrepreneurial endeavor. Right off, there were some of the other things since. I think it’s in the blood. We’re naturally-wired to excel in specific ways and it’s up to us to figure out what that is.

Entrepreneurs are born not made. Click To Tweet

The irony to me is you’re young and starting a nightclub not serving liquor and then you somehow from that get to launch to be the Founder of Liquor.com. What was that journey?

My family has actually been in the liquor business for a couple of generations. My grandfather started Foremost Liquor Stores out at Chicago back in 1939. My mom went to work for him, my grandfather, in 1977. It was a family business. After the club thing ran its course, I was sitting there trying to figure out what to do and mom said, “Maybe you want to come and join the family business and see if there’s a way that you can help here.” I didn’t want to be involved with stores necessarily. I don’t want to be in the retail environment. This wasn’t my bag, but then this very small piece of the company which was called Foremost Liquor by Wire, which basically did the same for wine, champagne and spirits as FTD did for flowers. If you’re in LA and you want to send a bottle of wine to your friend in New York, you call our 1-800 what’s line way back in the day and we would take care of that delivery through a local retailer. I saw that piece was interesting. They were maybe doing a couple of thousand dollars a month so it was a very small piece.

I thought there was an interesting opportunity there so I said, “Let me dig in here to this,” and ended up launching a catalog in ‘91. In ‘93, when AOL, CompuServe, Prodigy and some of those hit the map, it’s like, “Let me see what we can do here in this online space. I think this is going to be pretty big.” We launched one of the first stores on CompuServe’s Electronic Mall in ‘93. All the while, we were called Liquor by Wire. In ‘95, we launched one of the internet’s first fully-functional eCommerce sites. In ‘98, we had an opportunity to pick up the domain Liquor.com. It was a monetary stretch. It was certainly a financial stretch to do it, but I thought I could really change the phase of the business and so we made that leap.

Have you ever had to raise money for this company?

TSP Steve | What Is Your What

What Is Your WHAT?: Discover The One Amazing Thing You Were Born To Do

Several times.

Talk about that first because everyone’s always interested in what you learned pitching-wise.

We actually have a couple of iterations on it. In ‘98, after we got the domain, that’s when things started to pick up on the online space in a pretty big way that was internet 1.0 if you will. It was crazy. If you remember ‘99, those years, nearly ideas on the napkin were being funded. It didn’t matter. If you had a decent idea, you wrote it down, you had somebody like, “Let me give you a check.” We were an anomaly in the space because we were profitable. We were doing millions of dollars in revenue at the time we started heading down that path of fundraising. We were already doing about $3.5 million in sales which in nowadays’ dollars, that’s in $28 billion or something like that. Using the terms of the day, all the heavy lifting was done. We just needed money for marketing. We really just needed money to let people know that we existed.

Any infrastructure was in place, we can handle the load that was a niche. ‘99 we went out and brought in someone to help us get to the Promise Land, raise initial friends and family around. Call it maybe a series A, but just a very low-price round to give us additional capital to be able to hire an official investment bank to take us public. That was the ultimate goal. Part of that capital that we raised, I think we raised about $500,000 in the first round and ended up raising about another $4 million in total before the S1 was filed and we were ready to go public. That was the roadshow, the whole nine with the S1, and trying to get investors to sign on once obviously to commit to participating in the IPO. Did the roadshow and we were slated to go public in March of 2000. That’s when everything imploded.

Did your investors still get a good ROI?

They got zero. They got nothing. Everything imploded. As a matter of fact, part of the money that we brought in, we brought in because Wall Street wanted to see more of these lettered saviors. The CEOs, the CMOs, the CTOs, the CFOs, the WTFs, all these people that you don’t really need. We bought into it hook, line and sinker so much that I actually signed away my management rights to the company. We were completely blinded by the dot com light. We found ourselves in March of 2000 being unable to go public and by August of 2000 I had walked away from everything. I had built the company for nine-plus years. I literally walked away from everything. My mom walked away in December. Grandpa had passed many years before that. She walked away in December and I put it out of sight, out of mind for years. Mind you, I had never signed away my rights to the domain, just to the company. I washed my hands off it and I was like, “I’m out of here. I didn’t get along with the CEO.” That story is for another day.

You are the solution to someone else's problem. Click To Tweet

In 2006, I won’t go into too much detail here because I know we’ve got other ground to cover, but I was finally able to reclaim the domain and subsequently put it up for sale. I had a couple of very interesting offers. The highest offer was $4.25 million just for the domain. Needless to say, I accepted. The guy made the first few payments and then bailed on the rest. I kept the money and I kept the domain. In 2009, I ended up teaming up with some folks out of San Francisco who now run the business. I’m the chairman but they actually run it on the day-to-day. I’ve got no day-to-day with it at all and we’ve raised about $12 million to date or so in this current iteration.

What a fascinating story of it go away. It comes back because you had one piece that could allow you to rebirth it, which is one of the big storytelling genres I’m always talking about. It’s also the not giving up and now the people who have invested in this iteration must be happy.

Not yet. It’s interesting. It’s like, “Screw me once, fool me twice.” You would think I would win but no. When I brought in this team out of San Francisco, the deal was I would contribute the domain and they would build the business. Once again, I signed away my management rights to it because I just didn’t have an interest in building the business at that point. In hindsight it was dumb, but it is what it is. I love those guys to death. They’ve done great on a lot of different levels. We’ve got millions of people who subscribed to the newsletter. We’re number one or number two in any SEO search you can think of. We work with all the biggest brands in the world but revenue has been limited to ads and those brand-related relationships. Revenue has been suffering. They’ve been operating in the red for God knows how long. We ended up striking a deal with a pretty big conglomerate to put a big chunk of change in and it’s needed at this point because the thing is bleeding. We’ll see what happens. That will be an eCommerce initiative and we’ll see how things go.

Amazon lost money for quite a while too. It shows the importance in investors going, “I still see the big picture.” The fact that you have relationships, revenue, the search, something that all that equity is worth a lot. You now seem to be the kind of entrepreneur, Steve, that has the ability, some people call it their gut, some people have described it as having their pulse on the Zeitgeist. It’s a little bit ahead of everyone else of, “I see this could be an opportunity,” which you did with this. It starts off as a little thing. You have a gut instinct. You look at something and you go, “This is something that’s a seed of an idea.” You have a seed of an idea that you feel now is going to be your next big thing. Can you share with us a little bit about what that concept is and what you’re doing?

I take that as a compliment because what you’re saying is that I’m able to see to Wayne Gretzky saying, “I see where the puck is going.” That hasn’t worked to my benefit, to be honest, because I’ve actually been too early in most cases. If you look at Liquor.com as a whole, it’s a perfect example of just being too early. There are other things that I’ve done where it’s been too early. In this case, I hope the timing is spot on. I think the timing is spot on but long story short is the endeavor that I’m undertaking is called Latatud. For those of you who are familiar with Software as a Service, you pay a monthly fee, you get access to a particular software, membership-driven recurring revenue, etc. This is built around the same general principles except that it is housing as a service.

TSP Steve | What Is Your What

What Is Your What: No guy ever wants to hear anything that he’s associated with being associated with the little thing.


It’s a membership opportunity for people who live the laptop lifestyle or as they’re commonly known as digital nomads to be able to pay a set membership fee and have access to housing that we own. That’s the biggest difference between Airbnb and us or any of those types of people. Our company owns that housing and it gives these digital nomads the flexibility to move from location-to-location as often as every 30 days and they have the ability to have privacy. It’s not like one of those co-living type environments that you see for so many of those types of folks. One of the more unique elements of what we’re doing here is they build equity as if they’re a homeowner without the headaches of homeownership. It combines flexibility, equity and privacy in ways that frankly isn’t being done right now. We would actually own the real estate which gives us the opportunity to provide equity for not obviously dollar-for-dollar but it’s certainly a lot better than renting. That’s what it is.

There are two things I want the readers to take away here. One of the things investors look for is why you and then why now. In Steve’s case, he’s got this experience of launching a company with huge revenue and brand. He knows what to do. They’re putting their money on the jockey and if you’ve already been through some of the pain points, that lets them feel like you’re not going to give up and you’re going to figure out how to make something work. The second part is why now. In other words, if Uber tried to launch or even Airbnb which is a more relevant example, Uber without people having smartphones in urban areas, that wouldn’t work. Airbnb, if 2008 hadn’t happened with people being open to new ways of making money, the concept was so revolutionary. This is yet another example of why now. The growth of all the digital nomads is one thing and the only options they have now is we work, we sharing, co-living or Airbnb and there’s some downside.

If you can boil down to your pitch like you just did to three keywords: privacy, flexibility and equity, then that lets people lock in three key things that you’re offering, the solutions to the problems you’re solving. That is what allows people to go, “I get it. I can explain it. I don’t have to work so hard in 30 seconds to understand digital nomads are going to get a place to live that gives them privacy, flexibility and equity.” That’s your one-sentence pitch right there and so that is the secret sauce to then having people double click on each of those different topics and how it’s different than what’s out there. It’s great stuff.

I appreciate that and the piece that we didn’t talk about and the reason why I think this combines so much of my particular skill sets is that I actually have done real estate development for the better part of several years.

The why you is very strong there.

We're just naturally wired to excel in specific ways. It's up to us to figure out what that is. Click To Tweet

There have been big huge hits and there have been big huge misses and the learning experiences with both I think does make me uniquely qualified to be able to lead this charge. I often say that this is a real estate play disguised as a tech play. The reality is that real estate and tech is where I’ve cut my teeth for the better part of many years.

I want to get to your book, What Is Your WHAT? because my first question to you is there are a lot of people reading that have a dream of a book or have a book but you were able to get yours to be a New York Times bestseller. Can you tell us that story?

2013 is when What Is Your WHAT?: Discover The One Amazing Thing You Were Born To Do was released. I knew that it not only had the ability to help people in ways that Myers-Briggs and What Color Is Your Parachute? and StrengthsFinder and some of those types of modalities couldn’t. I also knew that from a personal branding standpoint, if I wanted to build this career and the expert space, which I started pursuing in 2010 when I had this wake-up moment. I realized that my life was focused on the money and it was great for me and those closest to me but really no one else, which of course was short-sighted because money is awesome and that is a whole discussion for another day. There’s that, we come to that come-to-Jesus moment and that’s what it was for me in 2010. All these real estate developments all we were good but it’s just money. What am I going to do to serve humanity? That’s when expert-type space came about. I knew that if I wanted to build a personal brand, that more of the Steve Olsher brand, there were some things that you need to be able to check some boxes on. Having major media, having a book hit the list, have a live event, all these things that go hand-in-hand with being seen as one of those top folks. It was always the plan.

What Is Your WHAT? was my third book but it was always my plan to put that one on one of the lists, ideally the New York Times list. Back in 2012, 2013, even a few years after, there was a company called ResultSource. ResultSource’s claim to fame was if you can put enough pre-orders together for your book, we will then place orders throughout the country so that it shows up on BookScan or whatever it’s called nowadays. It looks like all of these people are buying all of these books across the entire country at the same time. If you have a certain number of books that are sold in a finite period of time, that then gets you on the radar of the list. Back in those days, if you’ve got to 10,000 books, the odds were good that you would hit the New York Times list. It was 10,000 books in a week.

You get to 20,000, you probably hit the top five and if you could get to 30,000 or so, you’d probably be top one or top two. The plan was that I’m going to work with ResultSource. We’re going to blow this thing out of the water. We’re going to focus really hard on providing incentives for people to buy the book, to buy more than one book. You buy ten books, you get this. You buy twenty books, you get this. You buy 50 books, you get that. Let’s shoot for 13,000 as our goal because that’s the number that we had said, “If we can get to 13,000, we should have a pretty good shot at hitting the list.” When all was said and done, we ended up right around 13,800 in terms of the number of copies that were pre-sold. On release date, they were then distributed out through all these various points of entry to the book system there across the country and that’s how we ended up hitting the list.

TSP Steve | What Is Your What

What Is Your What: You can achieve your desired results if you focus on what it is that you’re doing.


It reminds me of the way movies are launched. A lot of money spent on marketing to get watching trailers so that opening weekend is a killer because if it’s not, then the movie will not be a hit. All the buzz that has to go on is very similar. That skill set alone is completely transferable to so many other things and I know you’re doing a lot of other kinds of launches as well. There’s a chapter in your book, What Is Your WHAT? that I want to get you to talk about, which is The Vortex of Invincibility. You certainly have that. What is it that we can all learn from your book and you to become more invincible when things knock us down?

The Vortex of Invincibility is built around the framework of the conscious competence learning stages model. Basically, we have these four stages of the conscious competence learning stages model. We have what’s known as unconscious incompetence where you literally don’t know what’s going on, you don’t know what you don’t know. We have the stage of what’s known as conscious incompetence where you become familiar with what it is, where you’re weak or where you need improvement, etc. Those two are obviously very important as you move through this process of getting to a state of invincibility because if you don’t know what you don’t know, you don’t know it. If you’re out of luck, you’ve got to figure it out. Getting to step two of turning the light switch on is huge in terms of your own personal growth, your business growth, whatever it is.

Step three is then all about achieving what they call conscious competence which means that you can achieve your desired results but you’ve got to focus on what it is that you’re doing. Maybe you’re learning a new language. You’re sitting there, you’re reading a book and it’s in Spanish. You have the ability to read Spanish but you have to think about what that sentence meant, every word, etc. Ultimately, the last stage of the conscious competence learning stages model is unconscious competence and an unconscious competence basically things come naturally to you as breathing. You don’t have to think about your process.

To get to that point of invincibility, even if you can just master one area of life or business, the world stands up and generously applauds and compensates those who have achieved unconscious competence in any area of life or business. It’s so hard to do. Few people will ever achieve that state of invincibility outside of things that come naturally to them like breathing, walking or talking. I’m not talking about 10,000 hours or anything of that nature. I’m talking about truly becoming a master of whatever that craft is that the world handsomely rewards those people for whatever that one thing is. The tag on the book, Discover The One Amazing Thing You Were Born To Do, that’s the interesting part about all of this is it doesn’t take more than one thing to have a monumental impact. Not only of course on your life and on the lives of those closest to you, but on the world at large.

I remember this process learning how to drive stick shift and it’s like, “I don’t know anything about this.” I didn’t have any energy on it like, “I don’t know how this works,” but once I started the stop, the jolting part of it, it’s such a great metaphor I think if you’ve ever tried to learn stick shift on the hills of San Francisco. Now I’m aware of how incompetent I am at this and sweat’s pouring down my face as I’m almost going back down the hill because I can’t get the car in gear.

A single thing can have a monumental impact not only on your life and on the lives of those closest to you but on the world at large. Click To Tweet

The first stage honestly is you didn’t even know there was a stick shift.

When I don’t know it, I don’t have any judgment on myself yet. I just go.

You just get a car, put it in drive and go.

Someone’s going to teach me how to drive stick. I haven’t a clue what it does or how it works or clutch or any of that. For me, the challenge that I’ve seen myself face and I think other people do too is when you get to this conscious incompetence stage, the negative self-talk really amps up. “You’re never going to learn this. You were stupid even to try to learn this.” That’s where the invincibility is probably at its most fragile. Once we get to the place where it’s like, “I have to concentrate. I can’t be listening to the radio or talking to anybody when I’m driving stick.” That’s fine and we know we’ve got it at least. We’re not going to crash or go down the hill. This part, you can use this for everything in your life, anything you’re trying something new, in your business, to getting a new client, whatever it is. This conscious incompetence stage, do you have any insights that you personally have said to yourself or any tips for people who don’t realize that you will get it but it might take a little longer than you think? Try to talk down or turn down the volume on all that negative self-talk?

Yeah and I’m not going to sit here and say that negative self-talk isn’t helpful. There are things that you are not meant to do. I could sit here and I’m 5’8” on a good day and the reality is there used to be a time where I could touch the rim in basketball. If I can slap at the net, I’m doing pretty good. The bottom line being I never could dunk. I’m not going to dunk. For me to continually sit here and try to get to the stage of unconscious competence, dunking isn’t going to happen. It is a fine line of recognizing where reality intersects with dreams, hopes, wishes and what actually is possible. What I know to be true is that for me, if I’m banging my head up against the wall on a consistent basis, let’s use the analogy of trying to jam a square peg into a round hole.

TSP Steve | What Is Your What

What Is Your What: Once you understand what your core gift is, the question is then what is the primary vehicle that you’re going to use to share that gift?


There are times where you can continually do that and you will whittle that thing down and break it away and eventually you can jam it in, most of the time it just results in pain. When you find yourself in that state of conscious incompetence and you’re continually trying to jam that square peg into the round hole, it may be time to go outside of yourself and ask someone for feedback. That’s the beauty of having a mentor, coach, guidance or accountability partner. Go outside of your own head to say, “Am I an idiot here? Is this something that I should continue to press through?” I’ve been doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu for the better part of many years. For me, it’s still conscious incompetence. I have some conscious competence but I have yet to reach the stage of unconscious competence. I’m still in phase two and I’ve been doing the thing for many years.

You obviously like it so you keep doing it.

I do like it but I also know that with enough time, with enough practice and with enough consistency, I can achieve that level of unconscious competence with one move at a time. It won’t necessarily be the entire sport because it’s endless and there are a number of things that you can do and the number of things that happen. There are so many variables in it. You’ll never get to that stage. Even the grandmasters find themselves like, “I didn’t even know this was possible,” because the sport is always evolving but you can certainly move beyond that stage of conscious incompetence to at least achieve some conscious competence with it. It’s an interesting discussion because at some point though, you do have to cut the rope and say, “This is not something that I can do or I no longer want to do it.”

At the end of your book, let’s say you found your one thing, your what. Now what? Obviously, the one thing you talk about is helping people in corporations figure out what their one thing is that they were created to do. Once people have identified that, what do you recommend they do with it in the book and in life?

It probably requires to talk just briefly about the What is Your WHAT? framework so that people understand what we’re saying here. What I’m talking about what your what is, in author land they say that you write the book that you most need. For me, this has always been a struggle trying to figure out as a grown man what it is that I’m good at and should be doing with my life. I did the Myers-Briggs, What Color is Your Parachute? and all those. They all left with more questions than answers. There’s got to be a better way. There’s got to be an easier way to get to an answer in terms of how I can hit the ground running to make a meaningful impact on the world. What I realized in having taught a class called The Reinvention Workshop, this is something that I had started doing back in 2009 where I was helping people to reinvent their lives and just try to move powerfully forward. I started doing workshops that I call The Reinvention Workshop and kept teaching The Reinvention Workshop, I became clear that there are three important pieces of the puzzle. If you can solve these three pieces, everything else falls into place.

Bend your time or invest your time to start pursuing your what. Click To Tweet

It all begins with understanding what your core gift is. Your gift could be something like teaching, healing, communicating, enrolling, protecting or entertaining, something like that. We all have a core gift. John, your core gift is probably either communicating or teaching, I would think something like that, maybe but we could get into. Once you have an understanding of what your core gift is and if you look at the cover of What is Your WHAT? you’ll see that the only graphic element on there is the DNA strand. What I honestly believe is that what really has chosen you is not that what you chose is truly a part of who you are. You can spend a lifetime in denial about what it is but ultimately, it’s a part of who you are. Your gift I believe is in your DNA. It’s there. It’s static throughout your entire life.

The other two pieces are more organic. They can evolve over time based on new experiences or based on things that come out of you. Either things come into your life and it opens your mind to something new or something new comes out of you. The second piece is the vehicle. Once you understand what your core gift is, the question is then what the primary vehicle that you’re going to use to share that gift is? For example, your core gift could be let’s say healing. The primary vehicle that you use might be a massage or might be acupuncture or something of that nature. Core gift, primary vehicle.

The third piece of the puzzle and this is the What is Your WHAT? framework. When I talk about your what, it’s the combination of these three elements. The third element is the people and understanding the people that you are most compelled to serve. Let’s say hypothetically you’ve got a tripod and you’ve got all three pieces here. You’ve got your gift, your vehicle and your people. You’re going to have a stable place to sit, it’s going to work, whatever. If you take away any one piece, if you’re clear on the people that you’re most compelled to serve but you’re not clear on the vehicle that you’re going to use to serve them, obviously that doesn’t work. If you’re clear on what your gift is and you’re clear on what your vehicle is but you’re unclear on who the people are that you’re most compelled to serve, you’re just going to end up serving anyone. That’s going to be a tough thing to take to six, seven or eight figures depending on how far you want to go with it. You can run it six ways from Sunday and you’ll see how that all comes together.

I love this so much because figuring out what you’re good at or gifted at, figuring out how you’re going to deliver it and then this is the biggest mistake I see people make so many times is trying to be all things to all people. Who do you help? What problem do you solve? Why are you uniquely qualified to execute it? It’s all answered in these three structured. It’s great.

The question that I asked people then is, “Who are you most compelled to serve?” The God-honest truth is you found your what, now what? That can evolve over time but then you found your what, now what? The first thing you do is you get started and you don’t quit your day job. If you’ve got a day job that’s paying you money, don’t quit that day job. Think about it like a recipe mixture. I know what my what is but right now 100% of my income is derived from my what isn’t. 0% is derived from what I think it is. Use those hours in the day. You can either spend your time or you can invest your time. That’s all you can do. Use those off-hours meaning before work, after work, the weekends to start pursuing your what.

As soon as those dollars start coming in, then that recipe mixture starts to shift. 100% of your income becomes 99% of your income and now 1% is derived from your what. It starts to shift 70/30, 60/40, 50/50 whatever and it’s the point you’ll understand when it’s time to cut the rope. You’ll also understand once you get in motion, what are the things that you need to be doing to make this work for you in a way that not only reflects something that you love doing but it also reflects something that you’re really good at. It reflects something that people will pay you handsomely for.

I can apply this personally to my own speaking career. I discovered I loved speaking and was good at it but I realized I needed to have some training to make it even better. The vehicle of communicating, in my case helping salespeople who struggle, but pushing out a bunch of information learn to become storytellers. I was very clear in who I helped and then specific industries, not just all salespeople but tech people, executive recruiters, healthcare people, design people. I knew exactly who I could help in that niche and the vehicle was being hired as a keynote speaker but then I was like, “I need to get more talks to be from 10% of my income to 50% to 80%. How do I grow that and all the steps to do that?” I think that example for people who go, “You don’t start out being Brené Brown with the Netflix Special. First, she did a TEDx Talk. She was a researcher but she found that she was gifted at taking information and turning it into stories. Anyone can take a real look at that. Are there any last thoughts or pieces of advice you want to leave our audience with?

As you relay the What Is Your WHAT? conversation which we’re having here now is the end, I have to simply say that the bottom line is that you are the solution to someone else’s problem. There are people who are literally praying for you to show up in their life. The God-honest truth is I believe that you do not have to succumb to life as a starving artist simply because you are compelled to draw. Why shouldn’t you be paid extraordinarily well for what it is that comes naturally to you as what comes as naturally to those who make millions of dollars a year doing what comes naturally to them? For me, I’m wholeheartedly on the mindset that once you show up in these people’s lives, those people who are praying for you to show up. They can get up off of their knees and stop praying because they have now found you and found your solutions, that they should start paying. We embrace the notion that you are the solution to someone else’s problem and that people should pay you for your talents and pay you handsomely for any gifts that you bring to the table.

Steve, thanks so much for sharing your story, your incredible journey. This new Latatud is going to be a huge hit, I’m sure. Of course, all the insights on what makes this book a New York Times Bestseller.

You’re welcome.

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John Livesay, The Pitch Whisperer


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