Two weeks ago this morning, I sat at my desk staring into my computer screen in absolute overwhelm. The night before I had returned from Social Media Marketing World with so many actionable items that I didn’t know where to begin. On the plane ride home I had gone back through my notes and started putting together lists of things I needed to do. And that Thursday morning, those lists hit me in the face like the Florida humidity I had returned home to – dense, sticky, making it hard to breathe.

Picture of the bay in San Diego from my hotel room at Social Media Marketing World.From the moment I landed in beautiful San Diego until I left it was one powerful meetup of in-person networking, keynotes, and connections.

The unofficial meetup in the bar/restaurant of the Marriott Marquis Saturday night made for a big event launch. It was shoulder to shoulder people all abuzz with social media and business chatter. Some of my best connections were made in this restaurant during the event. This night I met (In Real Life) Madalyn Sklar. She is the host of an awesome Twitter Chat #TwitterSmarter, Thursdays at 1:00 PM ET. I chatted with Mike Kawula whom I also know from Madalyn’s chat. Mike and I both live in Florida, but it took a trip to San Diego to meet in real life. I met Steve Dotto of Dottotech, Kim Garst, Ian Cleary, and many others.

As I sat at the desk Thursday wondering how I would capture everything and start putting it to work, I decided to schedule a Blab. I set the Blab for the Tuesday following the event to talk about the takeaways. Unfortunately we had some Blab issues that day. Some people couldn’t get into the room at all and Mike Kawula, who was going to join me with his takeaways, could not be heard. The audio just wouldn’t work. I love Blab, but they aren’t lying when they say it’s in Beta.

Since we couldn’t get the Blab to work, I announced that I’d put it all into a blog post, and Mike agreed to send me his feedback on the conference for inclusion. At that point, I decided to do something different and wait a week to complete this post to give myself time to put more of the takeaways into practice. Other than a bit of Twitter juice from live tweets, valuable information from a conference doesn’t do you any good when it sits in your notebook and in the photos of your cell phone.


As with most conferences, much of the magic happens in the connections you make. Aside from meeting online friends and contacts (IRL), I connected with several others that were really special and will impact me moving forward.

Andrew and Pete

Two of my favorite people, that I met at the event, were Andrew and Pete. Since they hail from England, I possibly wouldn’t have met them easily without a conference like this. When asked about their takeaways, they said:

The biggest takeaway for us, was to make our content ‘Better, Bolder and Braver’ from Ann Handly’s session, as well as to find our ‘Content Tilt’ from Joe Pulizzi’s session.

I think they have the best business card I saw at the event. If they are going Bolder with their content, Picture of Andrew and Pete's business card. it could get interesting.

For those of you who attended # SMMW16 who want MORE social media fun or those who didn’t get to attend, make sure you attend the Rule Breakers Online Conference hosted by Andrew and Pete. You’ll be able to see speakers like Michael Stelzner, John Lee Dumas, Kim Garst, Ian Cleary, and more. All this without having to leave home. I hope to see you all online, at the conference, May 9.

Danielle Louise Ross

As we walked onto The Midway aircraft carrier for the opening night party, a woman in line next to me and I started danielle-ross-kim-shivler-social-media-marketing-world danielle-ross-kim-shivler-social-media-marketing-worldchatting. I felt this immediate connection to her, and fully enjoyed our conversation. Danielle is a Client Attraction Coach, and hearing about her business made me want to learn more. Hers was a card I set aside to make sure I followed up and stayed in touch long-term.

Later in the conference, between sessions, we spotted each other in the hall and immediately resumed chatting. I was wearing my Heroic Public Speaking t-shirt and she exclaimed, “Are you in HPS?” I told her I was in the grad program. Turns out she is a huge fan, too. She did one of Michael Port’s events and was coached onstage (for more information about Michael Port, see my takeaway below). We decided it was no wonder we had that immediate connection. We’re part of the same tribe.

There were many more connections with new friends and catching up with old friends at the event. I’m still sending emails, subscribing to people’s podcasts, and following up.

My Takeaways, Current and Future Implementations

Since this is a website dedicated to creating online courses, I’m including ideas for how this applies to you building and launching your online courses. I’d love to say that two weeks after the event I have implemented all of the actionable gems I returned with. I haven’t. But, I do have a plan and will continue implementing.

Michael Port – Heroic Public Speaking

If you’ve never seen Michael Port deliver a Heroic Public Speaking performance, put it on your bucket list. Whether you speak from the stage, do videos in your business, or talk to customers Michael can help you improve.

In his workshops he not only provides power packed speaking tips that you can immediately use, he brings people on stage for laser coaching sessions. It’s magic to watch speakers transform and get better live on stage.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved with HPS since the first online course and have attended both of the Ft. Lauderdale HPS live events. While I was already daily deep into working on my speech for the graduate program, having another chance to see Michael work pushed me to keep moving forward. Those of you who are my online course students will see some of this speech in our classes because it’s about teaching. And who knows, it may be unveiled as a keynote sometime soon.

Picture of Michael Port Steal the Show Book

When creating online courses, chances are you’ll be need to do some video. Improving your speaking and performance skills can definitely help you feel more comfortable delivering video training.

Make sure to pick up Michael’s best selling book Steal the Show (currently available in Kindle version for only $2.99). This is a book to read, markup, take notes on, and use daily. It’s not one to leave on the shelf.

Madalyn Sklar – Twitter cards

Madalyn Sklar onstage at Social Media Marketing WorldMadalyn Sklar is a Twitter expert. Hers was the most step-by-step tutorial type presentation I attended and it was wonderful. Madalyn showed how to create Twitter cards which allow you to do Lead Generation or drive traffic to your website from within Twitter using a Twitter card. The use of cards isn’t well documented, and they are in the Twitter Ads area, so many don’t realize that they can be used for free.

I have now created my first Twitter card. You can find it pinned to the top of my Twitter page with an optin to attend 3 Free Training Classes in my Friday Launch.

I would have liked to see this as a workshop, because even with the great information, once I got in and started working with it there were some tricky aspects to it.

Cliff Ravenscraft

Cliff’s Podcasting Blueprint workshop was not only informational, it was a full on group coaching session. When you get to have the Podcast Answerman critique the goals and ideas for an upcoming podcast, jump in and take advantage of it. Cliff helped me clarify a few things about my upcoming podcast. I’m finishing the final edits and uploading to Libsyn this week. I have already started my next set of interviews, so I won’t quickly podfade (disappear), the way many podcasts do. As long as all goes well with iTunes accepting me, I should be live next week.

Chris Brogan

Fail, then move forward. And, track the revenue. I have followed Chris for a long time and this was my second time getting to say hi in real life. Chris did something different with this speech. He left behind the slide title that had been written a year before, left the stage and podium behind, stood in front of the room and just talked about business, failure, and revenue. And, video games which was where a lot of the failure came in.

At first glance, Chris comes across as almost anti social media making points like, I know you guys are getting all excited about this Snapchat that everyone is talking about from the stage, but how is it going to make you money?

Anyone who follows Chris knows he isn’t against social media. In fact, he uses it well.
As a business owner, I appreciate this real-world look at marketing and revenue. Because at the end of the day, if your marketing isn’t in some way bringing in sales, it’s a hobby not a business. I had already been putting processes in to track sales and where my customer acquisition is coming from. Chris motivated me to further implement this.

John Lee Dumas

John Lee Dumas is one of my favorite podcasters and overall conference people. I have had the pleasure of speaking with him and Kate Erickson on two occasions (Podcast Movement 2015 and Webinar Ninja Live). I had to add a bit from John’s presentation here because it is so in-step with what I teach.

John has the Invest, Learn, Teach strategy which urges people to invest in themselves and their own learning, learn something, and then teach it to others. His is another voice I can point to as I work with my students to help them get their courses out of their heads and onto the page.

Notes from Mike Kawula

Image of Mike Kawula you don’t know Mike Kawula, get to know him. Mike is the CEO of Social Quant, a company designed to help you get more Twitter followers. Aside from now building a social media company, Mike has been very successful using social media, particularly Twitter, to get business (actual, trackable, sales) for a variety of businesses he has owned.

Along with his conference takeaways listed below, you can find Mike at and catch his great interview with Madalyn Sklar on the TwitterSmarter podcast. Connect with Mike on Twitter at:

I met Mike online on the #TwitterSmarter Twitter chat hosted by Madalyn Sklar every Thursday at 1:00 PM ET. It was great to meet him IRL (In Real Life) at the conference. We only live a few hours from each other in Florida, but it took a trip to San Diego to meet in person.

When we compared notes, I loved that Mike got to see some of the speakers that I didn’t. I missed seeing Syed Balkhi speak at this event, but heard him at WordCamp Orlando in 2014. I second Mike’s thoughts that Syed is a great speaker.

What really stood out to me, as I read Mike’s notes, is that he is a Master Networker and Connector in real life. The networking opportunities at Social Media Marketing World are huge, and I made wonderful connections. As you’ll read, Mike took connecting and engaging to a level higher than most I’ve seen.

On to Mike’s thoughts…

I’m a huge believer that Learners are Earners and thus follow many of the speakers and others on Social Media to devour their content.

It started off by having a great dinner Saturday night with Ian Cleary, Kim Garst, Ian Anderson Gray, Andrea Vahl, Jill McCarthy, Sue B. Zimmerman, Steve Dotto, Jason Swenk and others.

On Sunday, I met and headed to the beach with 2 amazing individuals. Nadya Khoja of Venngage and Nathan Chan of Foundr.

These 2 are super brilliant entrepreneurs doing great work and driving real results. Nathan, was one of the speakers on Instagram and Nadya was attending, but truly should have spoke on how to drive traffic to a website. We spoke for hours over the next 3 days about actual strategies that work rapidly to drive major traffic and engagement.

For me, attending events like this is all about really getting to spend time with those you meet online IRL (In Real Life) and meet new people. I feel if I can walk away having made or enhanced 5 really good personal connections than I’ve gotten tremendous value from attending. I did just that.

That night I headed out with old time friends John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire, Jaime Masters of Eventual Millionaire, Rich Brooks of The Marketing Agents (he puts on an amazing conference also in beautiful Maine each year) and a few others. Catching up is always great.

It was great spending time with my good friend Josh Parkinson of Post Planner and talking growth ideas with him. Josh is wicked smart and again should have spoken. Loved seeing my friend Ahna Hendrix of ARCH Digital, Chuck Moran of Bald Guy Studio, Sonja Durik Harris of Social Sonja, Heather Roach Heuman of Sweet Tea Social Marketing, Sema Erzouki of Digital Conversion Labs, Periscope star Dana Garrison of Dana Garrison (wow what a personality) and the list goes on.

I had an hour conversation with Steve Rayson and Susan Moeller of Buzzsumo discussing customer onboarding and how to reduce churn for SaaS companies. The discussion, was deep and amazing. I had a discussion with Wasfi Samaan of Jd Legends, an amazing Bar & Grill. This guy gets great entertainers to his grill like Montgomery Gentry and others. If you want to learn Facebook marketing, watch what he does. He’s crushing it and showed me how he gets massive reach and engagement without spending more than $2.

Before cutting out of town, I got the chance to meet up with a great entrepreneur who couldn’t make the event but stopped by to visit, Austin G. Netzley.

Austin retired at the age of 27 and lives a great life now helping others. He recently started and offered me awesome advice on our upcoming book launch on Twitter Marketing That Sells. Austin runs a high 7 figure business and is a wicked smart entrepreneur. Even though we only grabbed a quick coffee, it was memorable.

I only had time to jump in and hear 3 speakers in full.
Syed Balkhi of OptinMonster is one that I’ll have to listen to at-least twice to digest. He also knows how to build massive traffic and WOW what a talk.

Ian Cleary of Razor Social went over PRISM which all entrepreneurs should follow and did a great job. You can learn more about PRISM on the Razor Social website.

Lastly Nathan Chan spoke about how to grow an Instagram following and well, he knows his stuff. Look at what he did in just 18 months 0-750,000+. Nathan, and Foundr, are well worth following.

At the end of the day it’s about really building good relationships and learning actionable nuggets you can apply to your business.

I can go on and on, but here are my 2 best pieces of advice for all entrepreneurs who are either in Masterminds or attend conferences.

1) Jim Rohn’s famous quote, You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, is true. Build good relationships and look for ways to help someone. Collaboration is by far the FASTEST way to grow a business.

2) Imperfect Action Beats Perfect Inaction! Immediately upon learning, take action. Stop worrying about the details and just jump in, it’s the best way to learn. Too many attend conferences, learn a ton, but don’t implement. Find that 1, 2 or 3 things you feel will make a major impact for your business and take action.

Moving Forward

While I have started implementing the takeaways listed above, there is more work to do. I am only getting started with the information I learned from Ray Edwards and Joe Pulizzi.

Ray Edwards

I am continuing to follow Ray Edwards and learn to improve my copywriting skills with his teachings.

Joe Pulizzi

I left Joe Pulizzi’s session with two huge takeaways that I am just starting to work on. Look for changes coming soon.

He talked about content tilt. How do you make your content different so it stands out. What’s unique about what you present?

When discussing niches, he said, “If you aren’t the leading expert in your niche, you aren’t niched enough.” Ouch. Time for me to get niching.

Final Thoughts

As the sunset over the bay that last evening, I felt sad to say goodbye to new friends, exhilarated with the energy Sunset on Social Media Marketing Worldfrom the event, and sure that what I had learned would impact me and my business for a long time to come. Well, at least until Social Media Marketing World 2017. Maybe I’ll see you there.