In this episode, we look at effective networking, building strong professional relationships, and the power of reflection as entrepreneurs.
Episode in a Nutshell:
Liz welcomes master connector Michael Roderick to the podcast. Michael has had quite the unique path to entrepreneurship. As a former high school English teacher, he transitioned to a role as a Broadway producer where he learned the business aspect of finding investors for shows, before launching Small Pond Enterprises, helping entrepreneurs & small business owners grow through relationship-building. Michael and Liz discuss the importance of leveraging relationships in your life, professionally or otherwise, to enhance your business. Finally, Michael reflects on the biggest challenges he has experienced while building his business.
In detail, we covered:
00:59 – Introducing today’s guest, Michael Roderick
01:47 – Michael’s unique background
02:37 – The transition from English teacher to Broadway producer
05:20 – Asking people for money
08:38 – The negative influence of money
11:08 – Addressing the risks of investing in Broadway shows
14:45 – Different motivations for investing in Broadway shows
21:39 – Networking the right way
23:09 – Treating investors as people
28:06 – The importance of reflection
28:40 – Michael’s current business ventures
31:14 – The three factors of a referable brand
34:24 – The genesis of Michael’s entrepreneurial journey
39:43 – Challenges of building a business
41:00 – The most dangerous number
42:09 – Liz reiterates the importance of reflection and being adaptable
43:04 – The diving board metaphor
44:30 – Cultivating key relationships
48:43 – Michael shares the most difficult aspect of building his business
52:16 – Michael elaborates on his daily email
53:41 – Michael’s perspective on referral fees
1:00:45 – What Zen Money means to Michael
“I often say that you limit the things you get in life when you limit other people’s creativity.” (08:01)
“Language is used all the time to influence our decisions. So, from a marketing standpoint, when somebody talks about the idea of investing in yourself you have a completely different level of emotional resonance than somebody saying ‘Spend money on this.’” (19:10)
“I’m very bullish on the idea of frameworks over formulas.” (26:02)
“When I broke it down, I realized that a referable brand has three factors. And it’s easy to remember because it spells the word ‘aim.’ And that’s Accessibility, Influence, and Memory.” (31:15)
“If technology changes, if the way that something’s structured changes, if the tool that you’re using to collect money suddenly has a glitch or has a particular issue, you’re going to have a different business in another couple of years.” (40:38)
“If you are going to engage in some sort of referral monetary relationship, you want to make sure people know that that relationship exists.” (54:36)
“The way I think about it [Zen Money] is this idea of sort of ‘money calm,’ where, when you think about meditation and when you think about being relaxed there’s this dynamic of breathing well and everything is sort of just calm.” (1:00:57)
When Michael went from high school teacher to Broadway producer in under two years people started to ask him how he managed it. Michael began his career as a high school English teacher before producing Off Broadway and then on Broadway. This combination of experience in the arts and entrepreneurship led to Michael starting an arts incubator program to teach more artists about building and growing their own businesses (PLAE). Eventually, he decided to develop a workshop on networking which grew into a full-time consulting practice and that became Small Pond Enterprises.
Michael took a short break to work as the V.P. of Operations and as a Director of Business Development for an NYC Ed. Tech Startup which introduced him to the New York Startup community. Most recently, Michael founded The Connecting Connectors Conference (ConnectorCon).
My favorite part of recording a live show every week is the conversation we get to have on social media, with comments posted here, and messages I get from listeners.
This week's question is:
Are you leveraging your network and relationships effectively to grow your business?
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Fun Free Stuff
Check out these resources we discussed in this episode: