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i’ve had a bunch of friends reach out recently around doing more consulting, writing books to build a business, etc.  and i have a business that’s on the way to being 7 figures, while working 25 hours a week (usually but not always – since specially lately i’ve had to work harder to keep up & for client travel).

so i thought i’d jot down a few ideas i’ve been sharing…


* focus focus focus on a niche!  aka unique genius

why: people don’t buy general help.  they buy very specific help for specific problems.  that’s why though i write books and blog about many ways of growing sales fast, 90% of my consulting is around outbound prospecting.  it’s my unique genius (at work), my specialty, what i’m the best in the world at.  and what i can charge real money for.   consider radio stations – every station has a single specialty, because who’d listen to a station that played a jumble of “rock pop jazz classical blue grass country etc etc”?   that’s confusing, and confusion = “no”.

how: one step, ask friends and clients the question, “what’s the one thing you hired me for, or would hire me for?”

the idea of focusing this way tends to scare people…you come up with fears like “it’s too narrow”, “it’s not interesting”, “i don’t want to be limited”, etc – but you will shoot yourself in the foot by being too many things to too many people.

free training videos:


* do as many free talks as you can to get started (whether live or webinars)

why: it might help finding clients, but for me it mostly forced me to crystallize my ideas and messages into a few, compelling ones


* don’t expect to make money selling books

why:  the royalties are nice…but you need to sell a LOT of books to make much $ (in my mind, six figures a year+).  5% of the money i make is from royalties, 80% is from consulting, 15% from speaking.  or something like that.

how: i self-published my first three books, and it worked great – but now i’m partnering with a “hybrid publisher” called  i would recommend you avoid traditional publishers – who don’t do squat for you – and find a good hybrid partner.


* sell money to make money  

why: i know you want people to feel good, to have more time, less anxiety, better teamwork… but people don’t really buy those things.  the frank truth is everyone wants money.   (and in some other areas, they’ll pay money for health & relationships and a few other niches).  but my speciality is in business, so to business experts/coaches i say “sell money to make money” – that is, you have to show them how they will make money, save money or have less risk of losing money, to be able to charge much money.


* figure out how to charge more per hour, usually by doing projects that have concrete outcomes

why: you’ll be limited to lower per-hour amounts, and smaller projects, when doing per hour work.   FYI – my effective rates (for different situations) are $1k-$3k+ an hour.

how: check out for ideas


* comfort is the enemy of success

why: i know how easy it is to coast along, doing just enough.  but when you’re comfortable, you’re not getting outside your comfort zone to push yourself in new ways that help you break through into the next level.    you should be doing things that make you nervous.  constantly.   this isn’t just about hours worked, though that can be part of it.   it’s mostly doing things that scare you – like doubling prices, public speaking, writing a book, or even reducing/limiting your hours.


* what lit a fire under my ass

getting married and having kids…


so – what other questions do you have?




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for quite awhile i feel like most of my PebbleStorm has been mostly about family & adoption, rather than prior years’ focus on ‘Unique Genius’.  it’s funny how everything i do is all facets of the same gem: perhaps seemingly different on the outside, but all different reflections of the same thing, with my family influencing my work, and vice versa.

for most people, i think work and family/afterwork are like oil and water – but do they have to be?

over the past few years the ‘Unique Genius’ ideas have transformed my business; i learn every day, working ~25 hours a week, with great people and a best-selling book.  i’m taking baby steps in developing my ‘Unique Genius Selling’ ideas, helping people learn how to make ‘selling’ (themselves, their ideas or products) a life skill that’s effective and fulfilling.


and my family continues to influence who i am and how i work, plus becoming a part of my content (as in the Hubspot presentation above), and coming to talks in person.  and with milkshakes…

my 10 year old daughter Aurora is my ‘unique genius sales apprentice,’ to learn more about teaching young kids healthy business & life skills early, such as being impeccably honest, empathic, and helpful.

for example, i’m teaching her a couple of simple sales/marketing techniques to use on her mother (shhhh, don’t tell Jess) such as “WIIFM”: What’s In It For Mom.  “Ok, so you want a milkshake – but how can you ask mom for one not in a demanding or selfish way, but rather a way that she gets something valuable too out of it?”   the idea is to teach empathy, value and communication while helping her get her milkshakes 🙂

anyway, i could turn this into a whole separate post in itself (and will sometime, after making more progress), but back to the point, i only see this trend continuing of seeing all my main interests merging or greatly influencing each other, step by step, year after year…

do you have some top interests that seem vastly different, yet – how could you begin to combine, share or merge them to improve them for yourself and others?  no step is too small to take in getting started or trying something new.



so – we’ve had lots of good news over the past weeks, plus some recent bad news…

1. death

my wife’s grandfather passed away on Monday;she was very close to him.  it was a stark reminder of how fast life goes by, and what it takes to not waste it.

making the most of your time isn’t about “taking it easy” (though that sounds good); you’ll find that happiness, wealth and fulfillment come from the temporary discomfort of getting out of your comfort zone and taking on new ways to grow, speaking of which…

2. life 

we’re adopting two more kids from Ethiopia next year:
adopting again; next stop = six kids

i’m now taking the older kids on business trips:
valentin comes with me to Hubspot’s Inbound Conference

…and using lots of family pictures in my Predictable Revenue talks:
Hubspot talk: Simple, Sane & Successful Inbound Marketing


3. news from Predictable Revenue

(if you’re not on the Predictable Revenue newsletter yet & want it, you can subscribe at


Predictable Revenue hit the #1 spot on best-selling list for sales & marketing ebooks (and was the 16th of all business books)!  thank you to all of you who’ve bought, read, recommended and reviewed it!

9 takeaways from a sales leader discussion

the team at SalesLoft did a great job summarizing a Hangout video discussion between myself, Kyle Porter (CEO SalesLoft) & Ken Krogue (President,  Check it out here –

audiobook now available: 

after a two year wait, there is now an audiobook version of Predictable Revenue!  i found a woman with a wonderful voice to record it; i like to think of it as Jane Austen (you’ll see what i mean when you listen to the voice artist) meets Glengarry Glen Ross:  check it out on

new “get to your first million” ideas

i’m doing a 4-part mini-series on the Sales4Startups blog on ideas around getting to your first million in sales.  the most recent post:
Part 2: What Kinds of Pricing Or Packaging Options Generate The Most Revenue?

sept 15 Predictable Revenue special 

if you’re a CEO or sales leader and are working on getting to your first million in sales, or want to speed up new sales by 2x-3x, email us about what it’d be like to work together, since we’re offering some ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ deals for companies who sign up by Sept 15 (to hit our own goals) …email


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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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