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I’ve been doing a whole series of Unique Genius Superhero Interviews (including some new ones coming in the next several weeks of people like Yanik Silver, George Kao, Clay Collins & Amy Applebaum), but now it was my turn to be interviewed, this time by Ali Berlin.

Ali Berlin (a life coach in San Francisco with a Saturday morning radio show) interviewed me recently about topics like:

  • Why I started PebbleStorm
  • Where the inspiration came from
  • How and why I broke away from the corporate world
  • the inspiration for Unique Genius,
  • tips and advice on finding your own Unique Genius (even if you have a full-time job and family and have little free time and energy)

The interview is a great first introduction to my own story and what PebbleStorm and Unique Genius is all about…including some practical tips 🙂

Listen To Or Download The Audio Interview

Or Download The Interview

Ali Berlin’s Original Post

On “Make Money Through Enjoyment with Aaron Ross”

Have More Questions For Me?

Leave a comment and I’ll answer them!


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Been wanting a taste of PebbleStorm or even just looking for some inspiration?  Join us on Wednesday for some inspiration! It’s a fun call on “Sharing Some Simple Success Stories”

I have a PebbleStorm program running with about 15 people in it. I kicked it off at the PebbleStorm Launch (“Thanks For Making The World More Of The Place I Want To Live“) back in March.

Every month I hold a private teleseminar or webinar for the current PebbleStorm group. PebbleStorm’s a safe, accepting environment for people to play and experiment and culture their Unique Genius, which usually involves them exploring interests, passions and ideas that are new and even unfamiliar with…since they’ve been suppressing them for years or decades.

An Example – My Art


For example, until last year I had no idea that art is part of my own Unique Genius, until I started playing with sketching about a year ago.  At first I was embarrassed about them (my first two hilarious first sketches…yeesh), and sharing them with accepting friends helped me develop my art talents.  No one’s more surprised than me that my sketches are many people’s favorite part of PebbleStorm…after the people in it.

Opening Up The Call This Month To: You

Many people in the group have had great breakthroughs and progress in their clarity and are seeing their present and future plans crystallize. My own plans for the future are getting more and more clear as well.

I’m opening up the monthly private Pebblestorm group call this time to share with more friends (it’s f-ree of course).   This call is for any (current or aspiring) entrepreneurs seeking:

1. More clarity for their work or life purpose, or
2. More enjoyment in their work, or
3. More inspiration!

…and of course all three eventually lead to more money 🙂

Inspiration Guaranteed

Most of the call will be PebbleStormers sharing about what’s happened for them over the past four months, their breakthroughs, successes and what has worked /not worked for them.  It will be inspiring – guaranteed.  I’m inspired every time I talk with one of them!

Download the Call Recording:

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I just did a blog post for touching on making money through enjoyment, leadgen and “Seeds, Nets & Spears”,, and more…

Today I ask five questions of Aaron Ross. Aaron is an original and was one of the original sales guys at While at, he invented
Cold Calling 2.0 for his inside sales team that sourced $100 million in recurring revenue. Aaron Ross founded PebbleStorm to help people and CEOs “make money through enjoyment.” Prior to founding PebbleStorm, Aaron Ross was an EIR (Entrepreneur-in-Residence) at Alloy Ventures, a venture capital firm with over $1 billion under management. He is an Ironman triathlete, graduate of the Boulder Outdoor Survival School, and volunteer mentor at SCORE, “Counselors to America’s Small Business.”

As usual, Aaron has his hands in a lot of things.

PT: Aaron, you’re a busy guy with a lot of eclectic interests. What’s holding your attention these days?

AR: Great question! I can see how it appears to be an eclectic mix of projects and interests: sketching/art, CEO flow, having fun with work, travel, sales consulting / creating predictable revenue, self-managing teams, the 4-hour work week… However, everything I do and even how I live is ALL a part of PebbleStorm and helping people “make money through enjoyment”.
Work doesn’t have to be hard – we just make it hard on ourselves for no good reason. My mission is to help people and organizations unlock their “Unique Genius” and help them make work fun, more profitable and deeply gratifying (an example note I received when I launched said “Thanks for making the world more of the place I want to live”.)

With the economic turmoil, you’re seeing people finally waking up after being asleep in their careers for years or decades. Many have been plodding along making money and, meanwhile, forgetting their dreams. You can stand it while you thought it’d bring security…but that ended up being illusory. I recently wrote a blog post (“Using the Economic Trouble to Your Advantage”) on how the recession will be good for us in the long-term, because it’s forcing our economy to detox of bad habits and is getting people, many of whom have been asleep at the wheel of their work lives, to finally take a hard look at what they want to do with their lives.

So what the heck does all this have to do with my work in sales and creating predictable revenue? Well, “Make money through enjoyment” includes the phrase ‘make money’, and it’s hard to enjoy what you do if your revenue or income isn’t very predictable!

PT: You have an interesting way of categorizing types of leads: “Seeds”, “Nets” and “Spears”. Can you tell us more about these differences and why these are important?

…continue on for the full post on 5 Questions with Aaron Ross: How to Make $ and the Most Out of Life!


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pebblestorm-heart-sketch-whole-smallWhat a fun week and launch on Tuesday!  It was just plain fun, both to create and share it, and because it resonated with people.

Here are some stats about the launch webinar (thank you again Yanik Silver!)…

…..Registrants for the March 17 PebbleStorm webinar: 1300
…..Number of people who joined live on it: 350
…..Players in the PebbleStorm “Come Play With Me” game: 15 (sold out)
…..Amount of money spent on marketing: $0
…..Receiving messages like these: “Thanks for making the world more of the place I want to live”,  “Discovering you and your work through Yanik has been a real turning point for me and I will forever be grateful to both of you“, and “It was fabulous and I’m buzzing with all the possibilities“: PRICELESS

So why should you care?  Because my mission is to help you do exactly this! I’m practicing my own principles, then distilling them for you so that you can join me.

Priceless Gratification

What does ‘make money through enjoyment’ mean?  It means you can create a business that makes you money, and has a big, positive impact on people’s lives and the world (in fact, the better/bigger the impact, the better the buiness will do).

Personally, here’s an example of priceless gratification from Sarah Levinson, who wrote “You know what happened after listening to this webinar?

  1. I was able to sleep better
  2. I began to feel much happier about my life in general, and about my original goals for work and my purpose in life.
  3. The next day at work I applied the principle of enjoyment. IT WORKED!” [Aaron: I’ll post her example in a separate post on applying enjoyment]

And I make money from this, too?  Yay!! 

Slides (you can click through them, no audio):

Webinar replay with audio

(Sound quality improves at minute 20)

For a long time, when people asked “how do I get started with you and PebbleStorm?”, I didn’t have an answer!  As part of the launch, I created a page that summarizes how people can do something with PebbleStorm:

[UPDATE 6/28/09 By the way, the best link to find out how to get started with PebbleStorm is now]

Interested in online self-study courses? I had requests from people who can’t join now, but would at least like to sign up for the game but as a self-study version, in which you can go through the game and courses on your own.  I’m not sure when I’ll create it, but it will be in months, not weeks or years.  If you’d like to be a beta player to help me test it before public release, write me at aaron at pebblestorm dot com.


No one can do it alone, and I have my own support groups of people who are enormous, no, GINORMOUS helps in shaping PebbleStorm. First, thank you Yanik Silver, who catalyzed this launch, shared his wisdom in shaping it, and invited his own audience (the bulk of the 1300 registrants came from Yanik).

A bunch of my friends sat on the phone or in my house for hours (which, by the way, was really fun, like a “work party”!) so we could create this together: Onna Young ( and Leaps And Bounds), Kim Santy (Soul Shui), Hong-Anh Ha, and Scott Krajca (Wide Awake Media Group).

Several others shared extremely thoughtful feedback on the slides & program, like George Kao, Tiffany Hamilton and Erin-Marie Driscoll, or other kinds of last-minute support or practicing opportunities: Marni Battista, Danielle Townshend, Neil Patel and family o’ course!

I’m equally as grateful to everyone else who shared thoughts, attended the webinar, asked questions on it, and sent emails and Facebook comments afterwards.

Thank you for all the support, which will help all of us bring fun and play into work!

Aaron Ross

P.S. -You can easily find me/my info on Facebook, or connect through…

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Below’s a sneak peak at the PebbleStorm overview I’m currently putting together for a webinar I’m doing with with Yanik Silver, a very successful internet/marketing entrepreneur I met through Tim Ferriss.  The webinar will be on March 17th (12pm PST / 3pm EST)…register at

Now’s YOUR chance to contribute to PebbleStorm

I’m still shaping this presentation so now’s your chance…what doesn’t make sense or could be improved?  What would you like to see?  It will be a webinar with audio, but I’d also like it to be intelligible even standing alone.  I’m sure it’ll evolve quite a bit in the coming month, so you can have a real impact on it.  Leave a comment or write me at aaron at pebblestorm dot com!

Yanik Silver & his blog

Yanik and I hit it off right away, and he felt his audience would benefit from exposure to PebbleStorm’s story.  For my part, I really liked how Yanik makes fun and meaning a part of business (in fact, his creed is “Make more money, have more fun, give more back”).  Yanik also designed his latest venture, Maverick Business Adventures, in the PebbleStorm way: he literally took a blank sheet of paper and designed his ideal business…and then went out to create it.  Here’s a note about it from his bio:

As a self-described “adventure junkie”, Yanik has found that his own life-changing experiences such as running with the bulls, bungee jumping, sky diving, exotic car road rallies and Zero-Gravity flights have not only brought a profound sense of accomplishment but also led to breakthroughs in ideas, focus and business thinking. That’s why he combined both his passions to found Maverick Business Adventures™ creating the kind of “club” he’d want to be part of.”

elvisYanik’s blog:  He has a great style of weaving in a combination of fun, success and contribution to most of his posts.  Here are a couple heavy on the fun side 🙂  “The Non-stop 35th Birthday Party (and an important marketing lesson on ‘Conversation’)“, or “Viva Baltimore….The King Krawl Hits Charm City (And a story of stellar service)”.

I have this weird craving now to get me an Elvis outfit…

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George Kao introduced me as a guest business speaker to HUB (Humanity Unites Brilliance), a very interesting organization that helps people combine their interests in personal development, business development, and humanitarian work.

Without further ado, here are the conference call notes, courtesy of Elizabeth Jarosz, the moderator (who did a fantastic job). I’ve added a few pictures, but overall the notes are unchanged:

HUB BUSINESS GROWTH – Hosted by Elizabeth Jarosz
“Making Money Through Enjoyment” with Aaron Ross


In the past, many people have tried to make a choice about doing a) what they love OR b) making a stable income. Aaron wanted the best of both worlds. He wanted to:
1) Do what he does best,
2) Make money,
3) Enjoy every day, and
4) Work through meaning (to make a difference, contribute)

This is an integration of personal development and work. They are complimentary. Why should we live a life of disconnected ‘lives’? (work, spiritual life, family, etc.)  Isn’t that a form of multiple-personality disorder?

Making money for enjoyment can be “for profit” or “non profit”. All organizations need money flow to sustain itself and do what it needs to do.

Core concept from PebbleStorm = Unique Genius

All of us have a certain combination of things we love to do, we are talented at, and it adds meaning to our life, as we can understand what those are. Once we understand this we can start to understand our “unique genius”.

Five Steps

1. Reflect – often we dive into creating a business too quickly (rush, rush society). Begin reflecting on your unique genius: 1) what you love to do; 2) what you’re good at; 3) what would add meaning to your life. Combine your passions. What do you love? What are you good at? How could you combine them? What do you want to create? Reflect – what is your unique genius?

2. Play – Play and experiment about your ideas / your unique genius. The more serious you take things, the less you enjoy them… Play with it. You’ll never know how it will look, so try this and that. Create something you can show another.  Experiment to find out what works, what clicks with people.

3. Attract (an Audience) – Examples are posting a blog, creating an event, etc.

4. Package – After you have an audience, what is it that the audience wants to buy or subscribe to. It doesn’t have to be yours… Package products in a way that’s compelling to the audience.

5. Receive – receive income, receive growth.  

Full blog post on the stages: “The Five Stages of PebbleStorm”

A Major Trend In Business

There’s a massive shift right now in business – away from masculine (forcing) energy, more to a feminine (receiving) energy. The internet is a great example. Now, for example, people can find you. You put your “materials” out there, as beacons or magnets, and they attract people. In the old days to market yourself you’d send out mail pieces and follow up in person, etc. – not any more. In sales, it no longer works to be pushy or manipulative. What does work is to be helpful. Put something out there and wait for them to be ready for it. We’re moving away from “making something happen” to “creating the conditions to make it more serendipitous to happen”.

Put something that is unique / yours – and put it out there for people who want it to receive it. And you will receive the business.

Keys To Success: Patience & Resonance

It’s usually not months when you’re trying to make money through enjoyment. This is contrary to our culture that wants it fast, that wants instant gratification. Think in years. Be patient. It will come. Spend your time to make your passion creative and unique. Find your own resonance – it’s this resonance that will appeal to others who are like minded. This will make your message stand out. Faster is NOT better, more unique / authentic is better. Take your time. This will allow you to build the business that you truly enjoy.

You can begin to enjoy your current work now – if you start paying attention to it.  How can you eliminate, delegate, outsource, automate or reframe/reposition tasks you don’t enjoy?  At least to minimize the amount of time per week you spend on them.  Selling is one example, and a theme of his sales blog,, is that by rethinking ‘sales’ and making it more enjoyable for both the seller AND buyer, both parties can be more successful.

What consistently works in creating a business?

1. Put out your stuff in places like-minded people will find it, and let it germinate.

2. Word of mouth. People will “share” what’s interesting to them.

Things that trip people up / Things to think about

Most people think they need to quit their job to create a new business. No! Start it while you’re working. It could end up to be an extension of what you’re doing. If you’re only enjoying 20% of your day and you want to enjoy 80%… perhaps you need to outsource some things and that’s it!

There is an ebb and flow to things. When there’s ebb – it’s OK to put it aside for a while. When there’s flow – go with it. It’s OK to put it on the shelf for a few months.

People feel guilt – in order to enjoy what you do, hold no guilt. At the end of each day, “am I enjoying this?” If not, how can you reframe / shift so you can enjoy it. Sometimes that means putting it down for a while. Sometimes it’s eliminating and activity. Sometimes it’s reframing your mind. Sometimes it’s creating something new.

Steps / Actions You Can Take

Unique genius is the core. Ask yourself “what is my unique genius”. Take out a blank page. Write things out for yourself. Example questions:

Assume money was abundant and you wanted to do something that makes your heart sing, what would it be?

What are your “hobbies”?

What did you want to do when you were young / 8 yrs. old. This will offer clues. I wanted to be a pilot. Now one of my core things is “freedom”

What do people come to you for advice on?

Create a list of your passions. Start to combine them. My friend started a yoga studio and also likes poetry. I said, “what if you combined yoga and poetry?” Framed pictures / large poems on the wall. Small cards by the front door for people to take. Poetry during class. She added meaning to her life in a way that was unique to her.

This is a beginning of a longer conversation with yourself about what you want to do. Start keeping a journal, online or offline.  Regularly consider it and write in it.  Within a few weeks or months, you’ll amaze yourself at what begins to take shape.

Baby Steps

What are the small steps you can do today to take you one step closer to your passion. Could be as easy as reserving a url, making a list of what to do tomorrow, do a blog post. Take a baby step. We’re used to creating such big things. The alternative is burnout, overwhelm, or penalization.

If you can only do one thing today, what would it be? (prioritization technique)

Just “throw a rock” in the direction you want to go. “Leap and the net will appear.” I wanted to do an event (didn’t know what it would be, who would come). I picked a date and posted it on a blog. That created the momentum and it will be successful. This is pre-committing. It’s OK if you don’t know how it will happen.  Throw the rock, and it’ll energize everything that needs to make it successful.

Thank you.

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What PebbleStorm is NOT

September 3rd, 2008

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PebbleStorm IS about:

“Making money through enjoyment”

NOT about:

“Making money and then enjoying it”

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Freshly painted in Kauai this morning, an image based off of an idea of Jose Caballer’s of

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I’m excited to put this information up, and so I’m doing it before it’s fully baked!  This is something that will keep evolving over the coming months.  But I just couldn’t wait to share 🙂   Also, if you’re a fan (or skeptic) of meditation, check out the last part of this post.

First version of the Stages

One of the PebbleStorm puzzle pieces (say that three times fast!) I’ve been noodling on is the stages of the journey.  I want to give people a map of where they are and what comes next, and to be able to organize content and meet-ups (such as in Los Angeles or San Francisco) by stage.

Although the names, details and pictures of the stages will likely evolve, I feel like I’ve captured the right fundamentals here.  I will go into each stage in more depth here on the blog in the future.

The Stages

  1. Reflect – What is my unique genius?  What do I enjoy doing?  What makes me happy?  What is my dream business / 5th Option?  Choose the working life you want to create.
  2. Play – How can I have fun playing with the ways I can express my unique genius and mash my passions?  How do my ideas, plans and “voice” evolve as I keep playing with writing or speaking or sketching or video or photos or …?  What if I tried [this], or [that], or [the other]?  How do these morph into business ideas?
  3. Attract – Who is drawn to me?  (Audiences, subscribers, clients, fans…)  What kind of person/persona connects with what I am sharing?  Who is most active in telling others about my work?
  4. Package – What kinds of services, products, programs or subscriptions does my audience want to buy?
  5. Receive – How can I set up my “layers of the onion” and magnets to make it easy for customers to get to know me and buy?  How can I avoid any pushy selling yet steadily grow my income?  (Sneak peak at a future post around Receiving Sales Never Selling.)

The hinge, the fulcrum, the foundation of everything is of course…Enjoyment.  What brings me the most enjoyment?  (Both the process and the outcome, as illustrated in the Enjoyment Map).  How can I do more of what I enjoy, and less of what I don’t, while making my business even more successful?

And with a bigger picture (click to expand)

Goody #1: Where the Five Stages came from: Saturation + Meditation

I started meditating in September of 2007, and have been steadily improving at it. It took about six months to become pretty regular.  I’ll write more about it around a future topic of ‘healthy hyperproductivity.’  I’m finding that one of the benefits of meditation is problem solving – I can give my subconscious a kick in the pants to cough up the answers I keep looking for!

I’ve been trying to figure out these stages for a couple of months now, playing with different versions – none of which I felt were right.  I decided I’d given my left and conscious brains enough of a crack at it, and that after saturating them with ideas and drafts, it was time to shift gears and let things crystallize on their own.  Once I posed the question, and after 5-10 minutes of meditation, the basic sketches and stages started downloading, over about 10 minutes.

Goody #2: Foreshadowing

“Receiving Sales”, “Layers of the Onion”, “Healthy Hyperproductivity” are a few key ideas I’ve mentioned here that I’m excited to write more about at some point 😀   If you’re impatient, you can find them on

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PebbleStorm’s Mission

March 18th, 2008

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We can bring integrity back to all levels of business: in our relationships, our purpose of work, and the integration with the rest of our lives. Integrity means not only getting to work with people you trust all the time, but even more importantly, making it possible to remain true to whatever our personal purpose and passions are around work and life. We don’t have to sacrifice passion, fun or health for money anymore in work – we can have it all.

Three Types of Integrity
– Integrity of the people we work with
– Integrity of the authenticity/purpose of our work
– Integrity with ourselves…never having to sacrifice either our health, spirit or purpose for work