The fastest way to get more consulting, speaking, or coaching work

Updated to Business, Speaking on January 23, 2023.

I was in a car the other day with a radiologist and a neurosurgeon talking about hypertension. 

This conversation is actually not as unusual as it might sound. I volunteer for a local society that does trail clearing in a popular hiking and mountain bike park and many of the volunteers happen to be recently retired doctors. 

Back in the car, one of the doctors happened to mention that recently his medical partner, who is in his early 60’s, had a mild stroke. As we wound our way further up the dirt road to our work site my education continued. 

I learned that strokes are the second biggest cause of mortality worldwide and the third most common cause of disability. The scary statistics get worse. As you age your chance of a stroke doubles every 10 years after 55

There’s a checklist of health conditions that make you more susceptible to a stroke, like obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes. But the biggest culprit – six times out of ten – is hypertension or high blood pressure. In my books, that’s worth paying attention to.

What’s interesting is that stress, in itself, is not the direct cause of high blood pressure. It’s what we do when under stress that leads to nasty results. We eat too much, drink too much, and move too little. Basically, we deal with stress by making unhealthy choices.

For me, stress starts with worry.

Ngoc Son Temple, Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam

I’ve had a lot of worries

There is a world of problems you can worry about – take your pick. You can worry that Ukraine will be pummeled into a tiny province of rubble, or that we’ve passed the tipping point with global warming, or the tiny spot on your chin is cancer. 

Or not.

“I’ve had a lot of worries,” quipped Mark Twain “most of which never happened.” Our mind loves a good worry. Like a dog chewing a bone, we want to turn our worry around, looking from all angles, poking and prodding until it swells up into something bigger than it really is.

I used to worry incessantly before every keynote speech. I’d worry I’d miss my flight or wasn’t prepared enough, or I would be greeted by the “audience from hell.” Trust me, when you have 60 minutes to educate, entertain, inspire, motivate, and get laughs from an audience you’ve never met before, any sane person would invent a long list of worries.

It was at one of those events when a fellow speaker opened an exit door for my worries. He suggested that audiences don’t want you to fail – in fact, they want you to succeed. “They want to see you having fun—enjoying yourself. That way,” he explained, “they can enjoy the ride with you.”

When I accepted the long list of what I could never control – my flights, the audience, the speaker before me going overtime – I was free to focus on what I could control.

Enjoying the moment. 

What your life will have been

In her book, Comfortable with Uncertainty, Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön tells the story of delighting in the preciousness of every single moment.

A woman is running from lions. She runs and she runs, and the lions are getting closer. She comes to the edge of a cliff. She sees a vine there, so she climbs down and holds onto it. Then she looks down and sees that there are lions below her as well. At the same time, she notices a little mouse gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries emerging from a nearby clump of grass. She looks up, she looks down, and she looks a the mouse. Then she picks a strawberry, pops it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.

Learning what to focus on, and what to ignore, seems to be the ultimate secret to living a healthy, stress-free life. “Whatever compelled your attention from moment to moment,” writes Oliver Burkeman in Four Thousand Weeks (a must-read for anyone over 50), “is simply what your life will have been.”

So, what are you focussing on?

What to focus on

You can learn a lot when you’re the dumbest one in a car full of doctors. I learned that strokes are a silent pandemic. And that hypertension is the leading cause of that pandemic. And I learned the leading cause of hypertension is stress. 

I was also reminded that stress is a choice.

We all have lions and tigers in our life. Maybe even a mouse or two gnawing away at something we value. Meanwhile, we have the moment.

Choosing what to focus on (and what not to) might just be the healthiest choice you can make.

Got this far? You might also like these posts:

Photo of eggs by Nik on Unsplash
Photo of Ngoc Son Temple by author
Photo of tigers by author

Sometimes the best solutions are also the simplest.

Instead, we love, love, love to make life complicated.

Take getting hired for example.

I help content experts get hired. Consultants, coaches, trainers, and speakers all want one thing. More clients.

And that’s where it gets stupid.

“So, tell me what you’re doing to get more clients?” I might ask, innocently expecting some version of a sales pipeline strategy.


What I hear is a crazy-complicated scheme involving YouTube videos, chopped into sound bites for Twitter with edited still images splashed on Instagram that somehow go from Facebook to a blog and back to Facebook.

What the hell?!

If any of this sounds embarrassingly close to home, please listen to me.

You are an idiot. I know because I was as well.

Seriously, do you actually think a VP of HR frantically trying to keep her troops hired, happy, and productive gives an owl’s hoot about your Instagram feed?

Before I get to A STUPID SIMPLE WAY TO GET HIRED I want to make one point clear.

Almost all of the time you spend promoting your business on social media is wasted. Don’t believe me? Here’s a simple test. Calculate your typical hourly rate, multiply it by hours spent creating, editing, posting, checking, replying, checking again, replying, etc. Now compare that number to revenue directly earned from those efforts. 

If you are not making some multiple of earnings from time spent then you have, well, a problem.


I work with influencers. People who get hired to speak on stage, lead corporate training programs, deliver personality assessments, coach, or facilitate planning sessions. 

These are talented, highly motivated people, who, just like the proverbial shoemaker’s son, have blind spots when it comes to their own business.

That’s where I come in. 

My role is to help develop simple, repeatable systems that bring in predictable revenue. My role is to also unpack damaging myths being promoted by self-motivated influencers. 

Most of these myths fall under the ubiquitous advice of “be everywhere.”

Sure, if you are selling memberships, e-books, or online courses you need to reach thousands to get hundreds of sales. But, that formula quickly fails in the arena of more expensive skill development initiatives, like live coaching or training. 

The “be everywhere” is also a direct path to burnout and starting to hate your business. I know because at various times I’ve tried it.

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” — Jim Rohn

After two decades and millions in sales, this is what I believe:

  1. you don’t need to reach millions of people to get hired by a few dozen.
  2. the best way to influence a prospect is with a conversation.
  3. when you post on social media you tell the world you aren’t busy.

That brings me to a better way to get hired.


Let me start with a question:

What do people love to do? 

Answer: talk about themselves and give advice. 

And that’s the secret: if you want to get more business, ask for advice.

Instead of pounding away with your not-so-subtle sharing of wisdom on social media, do some research.

It’s as simple as this: phone a dozen prospects or past clients and ask them what keeps them up at night. What is their biggest frustration? What is one thing they would love to start/stop/change in their business?

Your goal is to discover the solutions (that you are an expert in) that would be perfect for them and to start a conversation. Trust me, if they are talking about their business, their challenges, and their needs, and you are truly listening (not pitching) they will want to talk.

I have done this for decades and I have always gotten sales.

Here’s the beauty of this approach.

This is the most direct, respectful, meaningful way to fine-tune your products to exactly what the market needs. When you follow up from each call you know precisely what that prospect needs to hear (you can even use their words in your pitch).

I know what you might be thinking…


You’re thinking this is so easy there’s no way it can work. After all, my business is different. And don’t all the gurus tell me to create a bleeding big spreadsheet to track all my social media posts and stay up late editing my latest iPhone video?

Of course they do—they want you to buy their course, or template, or Bootcamp.

“Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.” ― Greg Mckeown

Before I sold BlogWorks I used this exact technique to close 3 to 4 sales per week, working only 15 hours a week. I wasn’t selling, I was learning all about what these business owners needed. Big difference. 

It just so happened I had exactly what they needed 80% of the time.

On the other hand, you don’t have to change anything.


If you’re after immediate gratification keep pounding away at social media. 

Just like yanking on a Vegas slot machine, social media is designed to give you intermittent rewards. And once in a while you hit the jackpot. And when that happens you quickly forget about the hundreds of hours that turned up squat. 

Chances are you love Twitter or LinkedIn or whatever. That’s great. Keep doing what you’re doing and I’m sure somewhere in the future you’ll get a hit and get hired.

Meanwhile, a boatload of business has sailed by your doors and gone to someone else who was willing to pick up the phone and make a call.

And I guarantee you that person will do it over and over again.