Posts Tagged ‘Eric Feinendegen’

Keeping SCORE

July 11, 2014

Wednesday July 9th, 2014 – Gurnee, IL

Tonight I attended a free seminar on how to conduct business online. It was given by a member of SCORE, which is a mentoring source for small business. I had heard of this organization for a long time, and I probably should have gotten myself involved a lot sooner than now. But I didn’t.

I didn’t do a lot of things I now wish I would have, but who doesn’t share that story? We could all fill our own life’s diary with the opportunities we blew, but that’s not news. What’s important is what we do correctly, and that’s what I intend to focus my energy on. The past is exactly that.

My pit crew Eric Feinendegen heard about this meeting that was held at a library in Gurnee, IL where he lives. He asked if I felt like going, and I jumped at it. He had never heard of this group but they’ve been around for decades. It’s made up of volunteers who have business experience.

I’d guess there were 40-50 in attendance, and most of them looked to be very new at the whole idea of being an entrepreneur. The theme of tonight’s presentation was setting up a web presence in order to do business, and how important it is in today’s economy. It has become a necessity.

The guy in charge was friendly enough, but his presentation skills weren’t the greatest. I don’t mean any offense by that, as that’s not what his field of expertise is. He was obviously a member of the business world his entire life, and now in his retirement he’s reaching back to help others.

I’m grateful for any help I can get right about now, but I couldn’t help thinking of how I could do presentations like this and blow people away. He had no idea how to structure his talk, and he didn’t have a beginning or an end. He just kind of started, and then talked until his time was up.

I don’t want to rip the guy, and he really did seem like a friendly fellow. But if I had paid to be here, I would have been completely disappointed. There was zero showmanship whatsoever, and it drove home not only how crucial that is in all presentations but how I have a master’s degree.

Somebody somewhere needs someone that can make effective live presentations, and I need to find them in a hurry. Comedy shows are great, but by far not the only outlet for live presenting. I would gladly host events like this if I were being paid, and it wouldn’t have to be all that much.

Eric and I have our work cut out for us. He’s a speaker himself, and has won several awards in contests he’s entered. That would be the last thing I’d want to do, but we can help each other get to where we both want to be. He’s very good at organization, and we have been working together at getting me better in that department. I still have a long way to go, but we’re making progress.

I in turn can help him with his speeches, and eventually we’d like to bring someone else in as a pit crew to keep things running smoothly. NOBODY is able to do everything by themselves, and it’s smart business to consult someone who has experience no matter who that is or what it’s for.

Tonight we reached out to someone that has business experience – something I can really use a hand with. It’s another step on the long journey of becoming a self sufficient entrepreneur. I wish I’d done it a whole lot sooner, but I didn’t. It’s too late for wishes. Action is all that matters now.

SCORE is an organization that mentors small business. I can use some help.

SCORE is an organization that mentors small business.

The Queen Of Connections

March 8, 2014

Friday March 7th, 2014 – Libertyville, IL

It’s amazing how connections work. Sometimes people come into our lives from the strangest of places, and end up staying a lot longer than expected. One of the reasons I have loved teaching my comedy classes so much is that it has attracted a steady stream of quality people into my life.

The number of people that I have kept in contact with after having them as students is well into the hundreds, and I value and cherish every last one of them. I don’t always see all of them all of the time, but there are always enough of them coming in and out of my life to keep me occupied.

I’ve been teaching since 1994, and if I had to single out one group that stands out from them all it’s a class I taught last summer at Improv Playhouse in Libertyville, IL. It was a class filled with ‘corporate types’, and they were a Toastmasters group from Lake County, IL. They were friendly enough people at the time, but I had no idea what an impact we would have on each other’s lives.

David Stuart is the owner of Improv Playhouse, and I approached him about teaching classes at his facility because I lived in the area and there was no standup comedy around anywhere since a Zanies location in Vernon Hills, IL had closed. He agreed, and we ended up doing a few classes.

Zanies is the big name in standup in the Chicago area, and I have been teaching there for years. No offense to David, but his facility is not that nor does he claim it to be. He specializes in acting and improv training, and he’s very good at it. My class was just an added bonus to his repertoire.

We’d held a few class sessions, but nothing earth shattering quite honestly. They were just kind of ok, but nothing special. When he told me a group of Toastmasters wanted to take the class as a group I didn’t have any idea what to expect. It was the summer, and any income was appreciated.

Little did I know that we would touch each other’s lives so deeply, and they ended up without a doubt THE best class I ever taught. Period. What made them so great was that they came from an entirely different place than most students that take the class. They were already friends because of their Toastmasters connection, and they were already used to speaking in front of an audience.

They asked me to help them punch up their speeches, and I told them I would do that but I also would not sugarcoat anything. They thought they wanted that, but when I started bringing heat it ended up scaring them. I worked those people harder than I’ve worked anyone, but I knew it was exactly what they needed. It was funny to hear them whine and moan, but they did what I said.

As the class went on, I ended up giving them several more sessions than they ended up paying for. It was my call, and I don’t regret it for a second. They were eager to learn, and I got a chance to practice teaching with people who were hungry and wanted to improve themselves. What else did I have going on in the summer? El-zilcho. The extra sessions we had were very productive.

Finally it came time for their ‘graduation’ show, and they packed the joint at Improv Playhouse for what turned out to be a purely magical evening. They all went up and lit it up in front of their friends, family and fellow Toastmasters, and it was an absolute blast for everyone. I felt like their mother hen, and couldn’t have been prouder of all of them. THAT is why I’ve taught for so long.

The leader of that Toastmasters group was Eric Feinendegen, and now Eric and I have teamed up and are working on corporate speaking angles. He’s helping me with my monthly newsletter, and I’ve been helping him with some speeches he’s been doing. He wants to set up bookings for both of us, and is very familiar with the corporate world. We’re helping each other and it’s a fit.

Another member of that class is Jean MacDonald. Jean prides herself on being one of the most connected people anywhere, and she should. She is up there with anyone I’ve ever seen at being on top of the contact game, and that’s exactly what success in any field is about. She excels at it.

Jean calls herself ‘The Queen of Connections’ and I don’t doubt her for one second. She knows EVERYBODY in Chicago – at least everybody that’s important. She makes it her business to be in contact with anyone that’s doing anything, and her days are spent nurturing her vast network.

Eric and I met up with her a few weeks ago, and she was full of ideas that were very helpful to both of us. She told us to start networking and come up with a newsletter, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. She talked about ‘warm calls’ to lead to business rather than cold calling, and talked about how to get into a field and own it. She also talked about getting multiple bookings at once.

She totally knows her stuff, and I shut my mouth and listened as she spewed nothing but useful information. Then to my surprise, she went on about how much the class meant to her and how it changed her life. I was very flattered to hear that, and I could tell she was sincere. She said it was a highlight of her life to perform at the graduation show, and she’ll always remember the feeling.

Again, that’s exactly what I’m shooting for and I couldn’t be happier to hear she had fun. That whole class was special, and the effort they all put in was remarkable. They got a lot out of it for sure, but they put a lot into it too. From my perspective, it made being their teacher well worth it.

Jean sent me an email and asked to do a follow up coffee meeting at my convenience to check on how progress has been going. Today was the day I could do it, and even though I don’t drink coffee we met up at a place in Libertyville to compare notes. When I got there she was meeting with her web person, and before I sat down three different people walked over and said hello.

I’m telling you, I’ve never seen anyone network like Jean does. It was a treat to watch, and we finally got time to talk. Jean’s passion for what she’s doing just shines, and I could feel it as she explained what she’s looking to do, and how I can be a part of it. She wants to help me connect with corporate sources to both speak and teach speakers, and she wants me to help her as well.

She’s been getting some bookings lately, and wants to polish up her speech and add humor to it. Well, if there’s one thing I can help people with it’s that. Eric and I have been working at that exact same thing, and it’s working tremendously well. There’s no reason I can’t help Jean also.

She also went on to say how this is the hot season for business whereas summer is ice cold for the comedy world. She scolded me – deservedly – about being stuck in ‘comedy mode’. I’m in a new arena now and new rules are in place. I heard all she said, and I’m on board. She’s a winner. I never would have imagined that little class last summer could lead to this, but it has and we’re all better for it. Jean’s website is http://www.networkconnectsucceed.com I think the title says it all.

Jean MacDonald is a speaker, author and trainer. She knows EVERYBODY!

Jean MacDonald is a speaker, author and successful sales trainer. And she knows absolutely EVERYBODY!

Eric Feinendegen and Jean are in Toastmasters, and they took a comedy class I taught at Improv Playhouse in Libertyville, IL last summer.

Eric Feinendegen and Jean are in Toastmasters, and they took a comedy class I taught at Improv Playhouse in Libertyville, IL last summer.

David Stuart owns Improv Playhouse, and it's a wonderful place to learn acting, improv or standup comedy. Tell him I sent you! www.improvplayhouse.com.

David Stuart owns Improv Playhouse in Libertyville, IL. It’s a terrific place to learn improv, acting or standup comedy. Tell him I sent you! http://www.improvplayhouse.com.

Long Range Planning

February 21, 2014

Wednesday February 19th, 2014 – Gurnee, IL

One of the most difficult – yet very necessary – aspects of the entertainment business is to have a long term vision and work steadily toward distant goals that are far off into the future. There is usually no shortage of daily chores to keep one busy along the way, so finding time can be tough.

In my world it’s extra tough, just because I have so much going on. I have several projects I am working on at any given time, and that tends to slow things down even more. I’m too far into this to drop everything, so I’m choosing to team up with others and help delegate what I need to do.

I couldn’t do a newsletter by myself, and I know it. Eric Feinendegen is helping me get that up and running, and there have been several annoying glitches that have slowed it down. If I didn’t have him, I’d either have to shut it down or allow everything else come to a complete standstill.

A lot of my projects have come to a complete standstill, and frustrating as it may be what can I do but focus attention on the daily tasks? I’ve got all I can handle to keep myself solvent for one more month, but if I’m ever going to get out of that meat grinder there has to be a plan in place.

If I don’t work on the big picture, it will never come to be. But if I don’t tend to the daily grind, I won’t survive to shoot for the big prize. How cruel is that? The answer is to carefully divide my time between both, and stay as close as humanly possible to those parameters. It’s the only way.

Working on things that aren’t on the immediate agenda requires discipline, but I know it needs to be done so I’m including it whether I like it or not. One of those things is polishing my speech for corporate events. The last thing I want is to go up with a half baked rambling unfinished talk.

I worked diligently to prepare for my first booking last month for Coldwell Banker Realtors in Brookfield, WI, which by all accounts went quite well. I was happy with it for a first try, but I’m not naïve enough to think I don’t need a LOT of improvement. That was just a start, and to really move ahead I need to keep working on it constantly – especially when I am between bookings.

Tonight I had dinner with my speaker friend Todd Hunt who was kind enough to have watched my full video several times and make notes – five pages of them. His extreme attention to details is what he’s known for, and I listened intently as he went over his list of well thought out points.

Our roles were reversed, as for several years I have been helping him add humor to his speech. I’m his ‘fresh eyes’, and can see where the jokes go. It’s been a work in progress, and he’s used it to build a solid product. Now he’s returning the favor, and I can see how beneficial it really is.

I don’t have any speeches booked in the near future – or far future either come to think of it. It wasn’t really necessary for Todd to make his critiques tonight, but he was available and took the time to make notes so I took the time to listen. It was worth the price of dinner and much more.

Todd was dead on with his observations as I knew he’d be. I’ll add what he said, and then hear what Eric has to say as he’s a speaker too. I’ll bend and shape and tweak until my next booking – then I’ll do it again. And again. And again after that. I’ll have to find time, but I will. It’s crucial.

Long range planning takes discipline - especially when things get hectic.

Long range planning takes discipline – especially when daily life gets hectic.

Without the help of Eric Feinendegen, I wouldn't be able to have a newsletter to build a base of fans and people to hire me. It's long range planning.

Without needed help from Eric Feinendegen, I wouldn’t be able to have a newsletter to build a base of fans and people to hire me. It’s long range planning.

Todd Hunt is helping me polish my corporate humor speech. He has worked years on his own, and it's one of the best anywhere. www.toddhuntspeaker.com.

Todd Hunt is helping me polish my corporate humor speech. He has worked years on his own, and it’s one of the best anywhere. http://www.toddhuntspeaker.com.

Lost In Cyberspace

February 18, 2014

Sunday February 16th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

Isn’t technology miraculous? It can be. But not today. I am just about ready to take a Louisville Slugger to my laptop, but what would that prove? I’d have a big mess to clean up, and I’d still be a foaming at the mouth maniac like I am now. I am beyond frustrated, and I’m ready to explode.

I have never claimed to be a computer geek. Oh, I’m a geek – but not in that way. Well, I guess I would be considered more of a geek/nerd hybrid. Would that be a ‘neek’, or a ‘gerd’? Whatever the case, I’m on the wrong end of geekdom. I get all the mockery without the techno superiority.

What set me so far off today was a document I was working on for my friend Eric Feinendegen who asked nicely if I wouldn’t mind looking over the script of a Toastmasters speech he is trying to get ready for a contest. It never bothers me to do that, and in fact I actually enjoy it. It’s a great opportunity to exercise creative muscles, and also help a friend. I’m flattered that he even asked.

I made some time to go over the speech, and added my input as I had any. It’s smart for anyone to have ‘fresh eyes’ look over any creative project, and I’m not unfamiliar with the process. I like punching up scripts, and I know there are people in Hollywood that get paid big cabbage to do it.

I’ve never been able to find the in on that gravy train, but I know I could pull it off if I ever get the chance. I just like doing it, but I think I have a flair for it as well. I spent about two full hours on Eric’s speech, and I thought I had some solid additions. I worked really hard and give my all.

But when I tried to save the document, it just disappeared. Poof. GONE. I don’t know how that happened, but it absolutely did. I don’t deny for a second I’m a textbook techno idiot, but I think I know how to save a document at this point. “Do you want to save the changes to…” Uh, YES!

It’s not that difficult – or at least it usually isn’t – but for whatever reason today it just vanished into thin air. First I was puzzled. Then I was livid. Then I graduated to something of a hybrid mix of bananas and berserk. Then it became rage. Then fury. I called Eric, and he tried to get it fixed.

It was to his benefit to help me find it, as the notes were for his project as per his request. I was happy to do it for him, and all I wanted was to let him look at what I had spent so much energy to complete. It would be impossible to duplicate it exactly, and panic set in as I knew I’d been had.

I tried every trick I could think of to find the document, and Eric tried to talk me through all of the ones he knew but that made it worse. Talking to someone over the phone without being there just makes it more insanely frustrating. I have ZERO patience for things like that, and I was raw.

I knew I’d have to do it all over again, and I resigned myself to the fact. I tried my best to get it as close to before, but I knew it wasn’t. Then I tried to save it again, and AGAIN it vanished into thin air. Now I was ready to hunt down Bill Gates personally but what could I do? It was too late.

I sucked it up and did it again yet a THIRD time, but this time I copied and pasted it to a blank document on my computer and of course it worked fine. What was the trouble? I haven’t a clue, but it made me blow a gasket. It’s over now, and I hope Eric wins his contest. I need a sedative.

My friend Eric Feinendegen asked me to look over his speech for a Toastmasters contest.

My friend Eric Feinendegen asked me to look over his speech for a Toastmasters contest he is entering.

I lost the document I worked on for two hours, and it sent me into a rage.

I lost the document I worked on for two hours, and it sent me into a rage.

You've got mail!

You’ve got mail!

Bigger Circles

January 15, 2014

Tuesday January 14th, 2014 – Gurnee, IL

Life truly is all about the vibe one puts out, and when that vibe changes – good or bad – there is an equal and opposite reaction from the universe. It’s law, and there’s nothing anybody could do even if they wanted to. My vibe has significantly changed for the better, and I am feeling results.

New people are streaming into my life, and it’s not by accident. I’m attracting them because of my change in vibe. I’m going to keep doing it as long as I stay in this mode, and I’m hoping that will be for the rest of my life. It took a lifetime to get this far, so I want to make the most of it.

One recent example of this was hooking up with Dave Schwensen. I’d had contact with him on previous occasions via email and phone, but now he’s moving to Chicago and I know we will be crossing paths in similar circles. He’ll be teaching his own comedy classes, but he’s been at it for years and is very well connected with the Improv Comedy Club chain. I’ve never worked there.

I can feel that somehow my name will get out in a positive way, and at some point I’ll have the chance to work some Improvs around the country. Maybe we’ll teach classes or put together our own convention or something. Whatever the case, after all these years we are finally connecting.

The speaking game is another area where I sense valuable connections coming my way. I have been friends with Todd Hunt for years, and he’s excellent. He’s as good as any speaker I’ve ever heard, and his marketing is stellar. I have learned a lot from him. http://www.toddhuntspeaker.com.

There are fees paid to speakers that comedians only dream of. It’s a different game completely, and stakes are MUCH higher. Todd’s regular fee is significantly higher than the most I have ever made in one night as a comedian – which unfortunately wouldn’t make Donald Trump jealous.

Well, I’ve crossed paths with some of the very top income generators in the speaking business from Dale Irvin to Larry Winget, and I’m studying how they’ve put together their business plan. Mikki Williams is another top name in that arena, and she called me on the phone yesterday and went over some ideas of how I can make a name in that market. I’m crossing paths with the best.

Mikki is very highly respected in the speaking world, and has the most elaborate newsletter of anyone I’ve ever seen. It’s called “Hair She Is” because she has a lot of hair, and that’s what she uses as her trademark. She commands top dollar whenever she speaks. http://www.mikkiwilliams.com.

Tonight Eric Feinendegen and I met with Jean MacDonald, a speaker who is one of THE most connected people I’ve ever met. She knows everyone in the Chicago business world, and offered to help spread my name around. She and Eric are both Toastmasters, and they took my class last summer at Improv Playhouse in Libertyville, IL. They loved it, and now we’re working together.

It’s all about connections, and I’m starting to get some great ones. I want to be one too, and I’ll gladly help people in return. I’m feeling a whole new group of quality people around me but I’m not abandoning the good people I already know. On the contrary, I want to reconnect with all of them too. James Wesley Jackson “The Enviromeian” is an example. I want to promote the DVD I produced for him, and that’s on the agenda for this year too. http://www.jameswesleyjackson.com.

My friend Todd Hunt is one of the best speakers in the business. www.toddhuntspeaker.com.

My friend Todd Hunt is one of the best speakers in the business. http://www.toddhuntspeaker.com.

Mikki Williams has THE most in depth newsletter I've ever seen. Hands down, she sets the standard. www.mikkiwilliams.

Mikki Williams has THE most in depth newsletter I’ve ever seen. Hands down, she sets the standard. http://www.mikkiwilliams.

Jean MacDonald is one of the most connected people anywhere. She's also a speaker and author. www.jeanconnects.com.

Jean MacDonald is one of the most connected people in Chicago – or anywhere else. She’s also a successful speaker and author of two books. http://www.jeanconnects.com.

I don't want to forget about James Wesley Jackson "The Enviromedian". I produced his new DVD and he's a wonderful person to boot. www.jameswesleyjackson.com.

I don’t want to forget about James Wesley Jackson “The Enviromedian”. I produced his hilarious new DVD and he’s a wonderful person to boot. http://www.jameswesleyjackson.com.

Hump Day Business

December 20, 2013

Wednesday December 18th, 2013 – Gurnee, IL

I’ve talked about it before, and I’ve even taken action and done something – but I need to carve out a few quality hours at the very least one day a week to work on my business. Wednesday is a perfect fit, and that’s what I’m going to make happen not only in 2014 but for the rest of my life.

There are no more excuses, but there never were any. I’m a flighty ‘artiste’ type, and business has never been a priority because it never interested me. I was totally lost in the creative process that I enjoy, and let my business slip through the cracks. I’m less than thrilled with those results.

I’m looking to totally revamp everything for 2014, and it’s off to a super start. I can already see improvement, and it’s not even 2014 yet. I’m getting a plan and a team together, and that’s what I should have had years ago. I didn’t, so all I can do is look ahead and control the things I can.

One of those things is how I choose to spend my time. If I don’t make time to work on business things, I’ll keep getting the results I’ve been getting. And not only do I have to make time, I have to actually DO something during that time. I don’t think I’m going to be able to handle it alone.

I’m putting a team together to make myself accountable to somebody else. That’s the only way I see as viable to make any real changes. I’ve talked about making Wednesdays my booking day before, and I’ve done it…once in a while. From now on, it has to be every week without missing.

For the last few weeks I’ve been meeting with my ‘pit crew’ Eric Feinendegen. I don’t mean it as an insult, but that’s what his role is. He’s behind the scenes taking care of important details as I’m out there trying to win the race. No races can be won without having both of those in place.

The best driver in the world can’t change his own tires and pump his own gas, and the best pit crew won’t win if there isn’t a quality driver out there on the track. It’s a team effort, but I have fought that concept for years because of my trust issues. That’s comes with being a dented can.

If I’m going to ever accomplish anything worthwhile, I’m going to have to make a tremendous leap and learn to delegate to others. It doesn’t matter that I’ve been badly scorched before – and I totally have – it only matters that I change my ways if I expect to attain the results I’m going for.

Eric is in place in the role of pit crew chief, and he brings a lot to the table I don’t. He’s from a corporate background, and is comfortable on the phone making cold calls. I’m none of that, but I do understand the entertainment game and I can teach him a few things there. We’ve been trying to get a plan together for a while now, and I see it coming together. We’re teaching each other.

As we grow as a team there will be others added. I can use all kinds of help, and I know a great circle of people that I can call in two seconds if I need anything. Eric has his own list of contacts, and we’ll cherry pick those we want to connect with to get things moving in the right direction.

Wednesdays are the ideal day to devote to this, as I rarely have shows to do or classes to teach. It’s a perfect day to send out my avails, do interviews or work on a newsletter – something I will be starting back up in 2014. If you’d like to be included on my list, send me your email address.

The best race car driver in the world can't win a race without a pit crew.

The best race car driver in the world can’t win a single race without a competent pit crew.

I'm putting together my own personal pit crew. Wednesday is the best day of the week to work on business related things.

I’m putting together my own personal pit crew. Wednesday is the best day of the week to work on business related things.

I'm starting a monthly email newsletter in 2014. If you'd like to receive it, send me your email address at dobiemaxwell@aol.com

I’m starting a monthly email newsletter in 2014. If you’d like to receive it, send your email address to dobiemaxwell@aol.com

A Comedian No More

December 9, 2013

Sunday December 8th, 2013 – Island Lake, IL

When I started doing comedy in Milwaukee, all I wanted was to be the best comedian in town. I thought if I could achieve that, everything else would take care of itself. I’d eventually achieve my goal after several years of struggle, but it didn’t mean anything. I had been chasing the wind.

Then I moved to Chicago aiming to be one of the top comedians there. I realized it was a much bigger city, and claiming the top spot might not be realistic. Still, I did manage to become one of the top acts in town but it got me even less than it did in Milwaukee. I’d pursued the wrong goal.

I’m very proud of how far I’ve come as a performer, and there is a tremendous personal delight and satisfaction in knowing I have been able to live my original dream. Now I need to establish a new dream and make that one reality. From now on, I aim to be the very best MARKETED act.

Wow, what a difference that will make. I always assumed marketing would take care of itself, and if I was the best comedian around people would just find me. Nothing could be further from the truth, and what a painful realization that was and still is. The good thing is is that it’s fixable.

The first item that needs fixing is my title. ‘Comedian’ is akin to ’witch’, ‘leper’ or ‘pedophile’ when it comes to landing highly paid corporate work. Unfortunately, I clearly see why this is and I get it. The word itself has been forever linked to ‘dirty’ or ‘filthy’, and there’s no going back.

I had nothing to do with this negative association, but it absolutely exists and I need to avoid it like the plague for business purposes. In my heart I’m proud to be a comedian, but that won’t fly with those who hire entertainment. As with ‘gay’, the definition has totally changed over time.

Perception is reality, and I can’t change it. People who have a significant amount of money to spend on comedy related entertainment will gladly hire a ‘humorist’ or ‘humorous speaker’, but shudder at the thought of a ‘comedian’. ‘Comedians’ tell dirty jokes in honky tonks and saloons.

That’s the perception in a business environment, and I’m not going to try to fight it. I’ll let them call me anything they want if it will get me hired, but that’s when I’ll really shine because I have the skills to pull off exactly what they want. I have thirty years experience as a live entertainer.

Whether they know it or not, I’m able to deliver a funny show without swearing once. That’s a daunting task, to which any professional will attest. I was never a ‘dirty act’ in a club setting, but these people don’t know it. From now on, I won’t refer to myself by that term. It’s career-o-cide.

Next on the list of things to fix is finding out who books humorous speakers and getting myself on their radar with a positive association. They don’t know me from Adam but I’m sure there are a lot of mediocre acts in that area just as there are in comedy clubs. Being funny to strangers isn’t easy in any arena, and the supply of quality is always lower than the demand. I have to stand out.

My new ‘pit crew’ Eric Feinendegen is helping me in this area. He’s a speaker himself, and he comes from a corporate environment which will be a huge help. He’s got contacts with people in places I’ve never approached, and that’s exactly what I need. I’m finally chasing the right dream!

"Humorists" and "humorous speakers" get paid on average far more than "comedians".  I am no longer a comedian from this moment forward.

“Humorists” and “humorous speakers” get paid on average far more than “comedians”. I am no longer a comedian from this moment forward.

My NEW Business!

December 7, 2013

Friday December 6th, 2013 – Gurnee, IL

My future boils down to marketing, and I know it. It’s not a secret, and now it comes down to execution. Will I or will I not be able to sell myself to enough people to continue to forge out a living doing what I was born to do? I say I will, but I am going to have to rethink my methods.

The first thing I will need to do is assume I am starting all over – which in a way I am. I’ll need to put together a complete list of everyone I can find who has the possibility of hiring me where I see myself working, and then get my name in front of them in a positive way until they hire me.

A content filled up to date newsletter is going to be a must have for 2014. Building long lasting relationships takes consistent effort, but it’s so worth it when it works correctly. Zanies is a great example, as we’ve been helping each other for twenty years. That relationship has been win/win.

As much as I love them, that’s not nearly enough. I need to forge similar relationships with lots of people all over North America and beyond. Comedy clubs don’t pay nearly what the speaking field pays, and I’ve got enough true life stories and stage chops to make a mark there in a hurry.

There have been quite a few top level speakers that have come directly from the comedy clubs, and I know several of them personally. Dale Irvin, Greg Schwem and Tim Clue are all based out of Chicago, and they smartened up a long time before I did. They’ve all been speaking for years.

Todd Hunt is a friend who was never a comedian, but he does give humorous speeches and he is THE best marketer I’ve ever seen – with the possible exception of James Gregory. Todd and I exchange ideas often, and I’ve helped him make his speech funnier over several years. Now he’s making suggestions how I can market myself better, and I’m listening with wide open ear holes.

There’s a whole lot of work to do, but that’s not the problem. The key is to sort it out into what needs to be done in what order, and sticking with that plan no matter what. I look at it as if I were building a house from the ground up. There needs to be logical progression, or it won’t get built.

I’ll admit that’s been an issue in the past. I’ve intended to build a house, but instead of digging a foundation I might varnish a door or squeegee a window. That’s not the right order, and that’s why I’m in the position I am in now. I’m not beating myself up, I’m just assessing my situation.

A new year is just ahead, and this is a perfect time to be thinking about all of this. I’ve hung in there this long doing it my own haphazardly way, why not switch it up and learn from my many mistakes so I can achieve results I really want? I’m excited knowing I’m doing it right for once.

I met with Eric Feinendegen tonight to plot out 2014. He’ll be my pit crew chief as I transition into speaking and more corporate work. I have the ability, and now I’m putting my team together to finally get my payoff for all my decades of struggle. I know there’s a place for me somewhere.

The most important thing to remember moving forward is that I’m not in the comedy business. I mistakenly thought I was for thirty years, but I’m in the MARKETING business. Humor is my basic product, but comedy clubs aren’t the only outlet. It took a while, but I’m finally wising up.

McDonald's isn't in the fast food business, they're in the real estate business.

McDonald’s is not in the fast food business. They are in the real estate business.

Walmart isn't in the retail business, they're in the trucking and transportation business.

Walmart is not in the retail business. They are in the trucking and transportation business.

Dobie Maxwell is not in the comedy business. He is in the marketing business - and this is the age I should have known it.

Dobie Maxwell is not in the comedy business. He is in the marketing business. This is the age I should have realized that. I know now.