Posts Tagged ‘Tom Dreesen’

All IN

January 8, 2014

Tuesday January 7th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

All in – or not in at all. That’s my attitude for turning my business around this year, and I’m on a mission to get it done – or at least lay the solid foundation. I don’t think it’s ever ‘done’, at least as long as there’s breath left in one’s lungs. When the list of things to do runs out, life has ended.

What I’m preparing myself to do is finally START living. I have mostly just existed until now, with a few highlights sprinkled in to keep a bullet out of my mouth. I’ve plugged into a far better vibe now, and feel a whole new me getting ready to emerge. It’s the me that I always imagined.

It’s all showing up much later in life than I thought, but that’s not the point. It’s happening, and that’s all that matters. Now it becomes a race against the clock to squeeze as much as I can out of all my experiences and use my knowledge to help as many as humanly possible. It’s my purpose.

I’m throwing everything I have right now into establishing a monthly newsletter. I put an entire day’s work into it today, and I’m sure there will be many more. It’s something I’ve needed to get to for several years, but the timing is finally right and I feel it. This will be a major step forward.

I did have a monthly newsletter for several years in the early 2000s. It was well received, and it was put out by my former business partner who ended up embezzling money which stopped it on a moment’s notice. That was a really unpleasant situation, but I have to say I’m glad it happened.

It’s taken literally years to get back to a point of relaunch, and they were shaky ones at that. I’d not recommend anyone else go through their educational process quite that way, but I know I am by far not the only one who has been stolen from. That was a bad situation, but it didn’t kill me.

I was more than a little bitter about it at the time, and looking back I think I had the right to be. That’s not a good reason though, and it only hurt me and put me farther behind. Whatever he did he did, and it won’t ever change. He lost more than I did, and I don’t wish him anything hurtful.

There are too many other good things to focus on, and that’s what I’m choosing to do. Getting this together is going to be a major outlay of time and effort, and it will cost at least some money too. That’s an investment, and one I’m prepared to make because it will pay off and then some.

Quality contacts are the most important part of anyone’s life, and I intend to be in the very top .0001 percentile on the planet of maintaining my list. I was looking over my list today, and there are some outstanding people on it I haven’t had interaction with in years. There’s no excuse for it and starting immediately I won’t let it continue. I am going to keep working at this until I croak.

And when that happens, if there indeed is a next life hopefully I’ll have a solid foundation laid to be already connected when I get there. This is truly the path to wealth, and I finally realize that after all these years. I’m going to treat my contact list like gold, and I know it will do it in return.

I sorted every one of my email list into people I want to keep in contact with, and those I don’t. I’m going to weed out a few weenies, because they’re energy suckers and I don’t want to have to endure that anymore. Hopefully they won’t even realize they’ve been trimmed, but if so too bad.

Again, life is a giant numbers game. We all have a limited amount of time to do as much as we can with it. Life’s clock is constantly ticking for everyone. I for one vehemently refuse to tolerate idiots gaining unlimited access to my inner circle thereby robbing myself and others of our time.

I looked up the exact estimated population of the Earth and as of this writing it’s 7,139,249,500 and rising by the second. Even if the seven BILLION number were taken away, there would still be more people than any one person could handle in a lifetime. We need to choose contacts well.

After compiling my personal master list of email addresses and business cards of people I like and respect, my grand total is around 1000. That’s an inaccurate number right now, as some have multiple entries and I’m not sure what their current contact info is. That’s all part of the process.

I’m sure it will take a few months to work the bugs out of even sending something out in larger quantity. My pit crew Eric is working on getting the process going, and I’m terrible at that sort of thing so I know I need help. I’m sure my web guy Mark Filwett of Lake County Geeks will help as well. Mark is fantastic, and if you need web help he’s reasonable.

Between the three of us, we’ll fart around with it until we find a system that works. Then, I plan on making this as much a part of every month as paying bills and/or changing underwear. That’s obviously a joke. I don’t pay bills every month. But I’m not joking about polishing my contacts.

EVERY business needs to be on top of this, but I’m sure most aren’t. Who has time to do all of this petty little sorting of emails and writing content and deciding on templates, blah blah blah? It isn’t the most exciting project I’ve ever taken on – at least not yet. But I fully realize what I’ll get by doing it correctly so that keeps me going. I’m willing to suffer through it now for the payoff.

This is all time well spent, but it’s still time that needs to be spent. I have been pounding away at my computer for hours at a time until my back and neck hurts, but that’s how to get it done. If I’d been smart enough to pick right back up after my ex partner pulled his little stunt, I wouldn’t have to jump start it from absolute zero. I didn’t do that, so here I sit. I’m behind, and I know it.

The good thing is, I can feel the positive energy flow as I get this going. I look at the list of all the good people I’ve been out of touch with, and I know most if not all will be delighted to hear from me. Hopefully they’ll be in as good a mental space as I am now, and we’ll be able to either continue where we left off or better yet build something better. I’m looking forward to reconnect.

I’m also looking forward to building lots of new contacts and keeping them for life. There’s an outstanding book by Harvey Mackay I once read called “The Harvey Mackay Rolodex Network Builder” that really had some helpful ideas. I think I still have it, and if not I’ll go find it again.

I also plan on modeling myself after the best networkers I have encountered. Without a doubt, I have to say Tom Dreesen is the best networker in the standup comedy game. He knows everyone who is anyone, and I can’t think of anyone that doesn’t like and respect him. He’s so on top of it.

If I can be half as connected as what Tom Dreesen and Harvey Mackay are, I will do more than alright. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m not backing down. I said I was all in, and I am.

Harvey Mackay wrote a great book about networking. I read it years ago, but it's time to read it again.

Harvey Mackay wrote a great book about networking. I read it years ago, but it’s time to read it again.

If there's anyone better at networking in the standup comedy world than Tom Dreesen, I have yet to meet that person. Plus, he's a super nice person.

If there’s anyone better at networking in the standup comedy world than Tom Dreesen, I have yet to meet that person. Plus, he’s a super nice person.

Eric Feinendegen is an accomplished speaker in his own right, and my 'pit crew' in relaunching my monthly newsletter. He knows if he embezzles from me he might not have all those nice teeth of his, so we're on the same page.

Eric Feinendegen is an accomplished speaker in his own right, and my ‘pit crew’ in relaunching my monthly newsletter. He knows if he embezzles from me he might not have all those nice teeth of his, so we’re on the same page.

Mark Filwett does amazing work if you happen to need anything web related. He's my go to geek. If you need one, look him up and tell him I sent you!

Mark Filwett does amazing work if you happen to need anything web related. He’s my go to geek. If you need one, look him up and tell him I sent you! He’s reasonable, reliable and I get no referral fee.

I'm making plenty of room for her in my network. I hope she's aware of it.

I’m making plenty of room for her on my monthly contact list. In fact, I may have to clear two spaces. That’s ok. I’ll handle it.

Tom Dreesen = Class Act

October 4, 2012

Wednesday October 3rd, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   Talk about your pleasant surprises! I received an email last night from Tom Dreesen asking me to call him this morning, which I did. He had heard about the Joshua Albert fundraiser show I am putting together and wanted to offer his help. Anyone who knows Tom would not be surprised.

If there is a classier human being not only in standup comedy but in the entertainment business in general than Tom Dreesen, I have yet to meet or even hear of that person. Tom personifies the term ‘consummate professional’, and he sets the standard when it comes to conducting business.

I remember first seeing Tom on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He is originally from Harvey, IL and always talked about it in his act. Growing up in Milwaukee, I had no clue where comedians came from and assumed none would come from anywhere near me. He inspired me.

As I got into the business myself and ended up moving to Chicago, Tom’s name was spoken of with reverence and his reputation of helping younger and especially Chicago area comedians was legendary. It was many years before I met him myself, but when I did he lived up to his billing.

One of the most fun things I’ve ever gotten to do was share the air on WGN radio with Tom as he sat in with ‘Jerry’s Kidders’ a couple of years ago. Ken Sevara knows him well, and Tom was gracious to sit in with us. Not only that, he treated us to lunch at the Billy Goat Tavern afterward.

Watching how Tom carries himself is a clinic in how to be in show business. He’s never off his game, and always has a positive attitude. He just has the demeanor for it, and not everyone does. I know I don’t. I’m a kooky bastard, and I freely admit it. I’m one of those offbeat ‘artiste’ types. I’m trying to get better, but my nature is to follow my creative urges. Tom is smarter than that.

Tom played the business game of show business, and played to win. Win he did, and that gives him the freedom to do what he wants creatively. Smart formula! Why didn’t I think of that? I did think of it I guess, I just didn’t execute it. Tom Dreesen did, and that’s why he has my admiration and respect. Having him contact me about helping not only this time but in the future was huge.

Tom has some unbelievable credits to his name. He was part of the first (and only) black/white comedy team of all time with Tim Reid who played Venus Flytrap on WKRP in Cincinnati. That alone is a remarkable accomplishment, but he’s probably most well known for being the opening act for Frank Sinatra for 14 years. He’s also been a tireless charity worker for numerous causes.

This is the kind of person I aspire to be myself. If I can build half the reputation Tom did for all the charity work alone he’s done, then I’ll have been a huge success. He’s known for showing up and pitching in, and that’s how I want to be known also. Hearing from him was an absolute thrill.

Tom has a one man show he wrote called ‘An Evening of Laughter and Stories of Sinatra’ he is now doing around the country. He said if I can secure a venue in Milwaukee he’d gladly come in and help the cause. I’ll do this event first, but what a kind offer that is.

April Smarts Day

April 3, 2010

Thursday April 1st, 2010 – Vernon Hills, IL

April Fool’s Day is fun until about age nine, and then it gets old. Fast. It’s pretty hard to think up a really good prank that hasn‘t been done to death, but I’m sure many today were consumed with the desire to one up all their friends. Somehow, that never appealed to me.

I did wake up to a few text messages, voice and emails trying to get me to nibble, but it didn’t work. I knew what the date was before I went to bed last night so nobody put a big one over, at least on me anyway. I’m sure lots of ‘jokes’ were pulled off across the globe.

Wait a minute, does anyone else have April Fool’s Day? I’d hate to try pulling off some half baked lame stunt in Saudi Arabia and end up getting my arm cut off. I’m not sure if a laugh from my friends would be worth having to be called ‘Lefty’ for the rest of my life.

Instead of trying to pull one over on anyone else, I decided to uncover all that I’ve been pulling over on myself all these years. I made a conscious decision to make today the first day of my own personal six month reinvention plan. I know what I need to do, and there’s no way around it. The next six months are going to determine a lot for the next few years.

I need to redefine myself. Period. I need to have tangible goals with a well laid out plan as to how I can achieve them. I need to have an ambitious yet realistic schedule designed that allows me to get something done every day on each of the four main projects that I’m choosing to make my focus until October 1st. Then, I want to close the year with a tour.

I’m having hot shows now, it’s just that nobody cares other than me and the people who happen to be in the audience that particular night. Then when the show ends, so does their involvement so I’m the only one left who has any kind of emotion invested in my shows.

I’ve said it before, but it’s true: I have a job in comedy but not a career. BIG difference. I can squeak out a living, but as far as being on anyone’s map of big time comedians, I’m a grease dribble at best. It doesn’t mean I’m not competent, it just means I’m not known.

I couldn’t care less about the actual fame per se, but I do care about people who need to know me knowing who I am. I want to be known in the industry, like a Tom Dreesen for example. He’s done extremely well for himself, and everyone who’s anyone in the comic hierarchy absolutely knows who he is. He’s noticed on the street too, but he’s not Elvis.

He can have a life but also a career in show business. There are many other examples of what I’m aspiring to, but if I don’t readjust my battle plan I’m never going to get past my current lot in life, and I’m not satisfied with that. I know deep inside I can do a lot more.

Maybe it’s not in me to be ‘the next big thing’, but very few of anyone in any field gets to have that title. Steve Martin did it in comedy for a while, and he was around about the same time as Tom Dreesen started. Steve no longer does comedy. Tom is still performing today, not because he needs money but because he loves to be on stage. He has passion.

Well, me too. I’ve always loved doing shows, especially when the audience is into what I’m doing. They’d be a lot more into it if they paid top dollar and knew who I was before I walked on stage, but that also is reserved for only a precious few who manage to capture the fancy of the public in some way. Showmanship helps, but it’s all about the marketing.

My current situation is all over the place, and that needs to change. Six months can have a dramatic impact, and that’s my intention. I need to use it wisely, and that’s why I put my whole head around it today. It’s sure not going to be easy, but it’s time to shake it all up.

The main thing I need to do is make some products to sell. Farmers either grow crops or raise livestock, and then they sell it at the market. I need products to sell in more than one market, and ones that I can sell for the rest of my life. Once crops are sold, they’re gone.

The ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show about Milwaukee is a winner. I can feel it and I will keep working until it’s a viable product. I have decided to write a book of essays instead of just doing a live show and maybe trying to sell a CD or DVD only. I still want to have all that, but I think the book is the way to go so that’s what I’ll do. Now I have to make it happen.

I have some notes about what I want to include in it, but I am going to physically make myself a three ring binder and put the titles of the essays in order as I think of them and a complete list of everything else I want included, like pictures, quotes and chapter titles.

I’m going to do the same with my comedy classes. I have spent a lifetime learning what to do onstage and off, and I think I can put that down in three levels so people who want a head start can avoid the stupid mistakes I made that weren’t necessary. I also have a basic outline for that sketched out, but now I want to record it and put it up on a website to sell.

Once I crank these two projects out, I won’t have to worry about doing it again. They’ll be finished and on the shelf so I can go do other things that make even more money. I can tour if I want, work on Uranus Factory Outlet, or maybe even have a family at some point and feel like I belong on this planet. Right now, struggling to survive is just not cutting it.

I’ll still have the rigors of daily life to deal with, but knowing I have a plan in place that includes a deadline really helps put it all into perspective. If I have no deadline, I’ll never get anything done. I’ll find a way to blow it off, let it rot or worse yet not even start at all.

That’s not acceptable to me, and I am going to DO this and do it right. I have the vision in my head and I’m not going to let anyone else pee in my pool. I’m going to shut myself off from the world and give birth to two things that are on different sides of the spectrum so they can give me streams of income from different sources. I think it’s smart business.

I’ve also got a CD coming out very soon. I have enough in the can to have another one out by October 1st, and that’s the third of my four goals. The fourth is to get myself going in my personal life and get healthy in all ways from physical to mental to spiritual to also unloading anything extra out of my life I’m not using. Six months of work starts today.