Selling In a New York Minute with Jennifer Gluckow

So excited to welcome Jennifer Gluckow to the podcast today!

Jennifer Gluckow is an acclaimed sales trainer, entrepreneur, writer, and speaker. She is the founder of Sales In A New York Minute, which you can learn more about by going to her website, Sales In a NY Minute.com. Together with her husband and partner, Jeffrey Gitomer, who has also been on this podcast, she is the co-host of the popular Sell or Die podcast, a podcast all about sales, which has had well over a million downloads. She is also the author of Sales in a New York Minute — 212 — Two-One-Two — Pages of Real World and Easy to implement strategies to make more sales, build loyal relationships, and make more money.

Before becoming a full-time sales mentor and business owner, Jennifer was a superstar salesperson who climbed the ranks of a Fortune 500 company to become the company’s National Sales Manager, second in command of Sales. She became the Chief Operating Officer of a major test prep and admissions counseling company by the age of 29!

In this episode, Jennifer Gluckow shared a lot of interesting insights about selling that I’m sure you’re going to love and find very helpful. Listen carefully, because she packs a great deal of value into every answer.

To listen to the interview on the podcast, click here: Zev Audio Zone

Zev Gotkin:
My guest today is Jennifer Gluckow. She is an acclaimed sales trainer, speaker, and author of Sales in a New York Minute, together with her partner Jeffrey Gitomer she hosts Sell or Die, a popular podcast about sales with well over a million downloads to date. Welcome to the Zev Audio Zone!

Jennifer Gluckow:
Thank you. I’m so excited to be here. And guess what? We literally just surpassed two million downloads!

Zev Gotkin:
Wow, that’s incredible!

Jennifer Gluckow:
Thanks!

Zev Gotkin:
You recently announced it was up to one million so the big jump must mean it’s strongly resonating with people.

Jennifer Gluckow:
Yeah, I think so. You know what? We have a lot of fun doing it, and when you can have fun in your work, I think that other people can hear it, and it makes them want to listen more.

Zev Gotkin:
Totally. Definitely agreed. On this podcast we’re not quite at two million yet. We’re a little newer, but we’re getting close to 500 unique downloads, and I know we’re going to smash that after this one.

Jennifer Gluckow:
Sweet. My goal is to be your most downloaded episode!

Zev Gotkin:
Amazing, I’ll let you know! So, Jennifer, you’re an acclaimed sales trainer now, but not so long ago you worked your way up the corporate ladder. In a New York minute, please tell us a little bit about the Jennifer Gluckow before Sales in a New York Minute, before you founded Sales in a New York Minute, your sales training program.

What’s your sales background? How’d you get into sales?

Jennifer Gluckow:
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but I worked for a company for six and a half years selling and managing sales people for a company that made educational software, and throughout that time I realized that I was pretty damn good at sales. I started out really low on the totem pole at that company. I wasn’t even on the sales team when I started. I started out as just an assistant, and then an executive assistant to the CEO, and then I begged them to let me sell 20% of the time.

Jennifer Gluckow:
And in that 20% of my time I started selling more than some of the full-time sales people. And so, I was getting noticed, and the manager of sales said “Hey, you got to come over to my team now!” And that’s how I got onto the sales team, which was my ultimate goal, and then eventually I became a manager, and second in charge of the sales division until I realized it was really my life’s goal and purpose to start a company where I could help other people sell.

Zev Gotkin:
Great. So, before you went into the world of training with sales people you worked your way up through an organization and had a ton of experience. I’m wondering what was your biggest revelation, or the most surprising thing you learned, when transitioning from your role in corporate America to being a full-time entrepreneur and business owner.

How would you compare selling as a sales rep to selling as a business owner? Is there a difference?

Jennifer Gluckow:
So one of the biggest things is that it’s easier for a lot of people to believe in the product or service that they’re offering when it’s not their own, when it’s not their own reputation, their name, all of that. And when you become an entrepreneur you don’t only have to believe in your product or service; you also have to believe in yourself, and in your company. And that belief is so important because it’s going to either get transferred to your customers or it’s not, and they’re able sniff it out right away.

And so, for a brand new entrepreneur, often times they’re trying to sell whatever the thing is that they’re really good at, but they’re also sort of hesitant. [They may doubt themselves a little bit]. “Is this really going to work? Is this the right thing? I hope it’s going to be okay. It’s my name.” That kind of thing. And so, you have to build your belief system as you’re building your business, or you won’t [be able to] build your business.

Zev Gotkin:
Wow. That’s interesting. I would’ve thought that people would be more confident when it’s their own thing, but you touched on something so interesting. Entrepreneurship is really a lot of more of a mindset game. You have to believe in yourself, and sometimes that can actually be harder than believing in say, a copying machine or a TV or something that you’re selling that isn’t your own product.

Jennifer Gluckow:
Yes. I think there’re a lot of super confident entrepreneurs out there, but you have to realize it’s something else when your name on the line. When you’re just selling a copy machine, and I don’t want to say just, but when you’re selling a copy machine, if the copy machine breaks down, it’s not really your fault. But if you don’t deliver on the thing you said you were going deliver, or come through with a promise you made to convince them to buy, well, that’s a huge [failure.]

Zev Gotkin:
Yeah, totally. So, Jennifer, you’ve traveled the country speaking at companies and corporate events and between all that public speaking and your website and webinars, and your VIP one-on-one coaching services I imagine you probably get to speak with a fair number of sales people. I think that’s probably accurate?

Jennifer Gluckow:
Yes, that’s accurate (laughter).

Zev Gotkin:
What’s the most common question you get asked and what are the biggest challenges you see people in sales struggling with?

Jennifer Gluckow:
Everyone wants to know the secret. What’s the secret to selling? What’s going to make this whole thing super easy for me? The short answer is: There is no secret, and a lot of times people go into sales because they want it to be easy, but it’s hard work, and you better be up for it. And so, I live by this three-part mantra, which is: Help; don’t sell, Show; don’t tell, Prove like hell. Let me break this down for you.

When I was a teenager working in retail, I got my very first sales lesson. We were a boutique store in the neighborhood. And some girl came in, and she tried something on, and she loved it. And my manager pulled me to the side and said “Do not let her buy that dress.” And I was like “What? But my commission! It’s a $500 dress. What are you talking about?” And she’s like “That dress looks horrible on her. She’s going to bring it home. She’s going to show her friends. They’re going to say: Where did you get that? Never go back there.” And I was like “Alright, what do I do then?” And the manager told me to bring her something that will look good on her.
So I go over to the customer and I’m like: “Hey, I know you love this dress, but I think I have something that you’re going to love even more.” She’s like “Okay, show it to me.” So I bring it over, and she tries it on. It looks way better on her. She falls in love with it even more than the first dress, and all of a sudden, not only does she buy the dress and a whole bunch of stuff, but she becomes my repeat customer! The point the manager was trying to tell me was it’s not about making sales; it’s about helping.

It was a powerful lesson. That customer became a customer for life — or for my lifetime at that store, because I adopted the mindset of help. And so, it doesn’t matter if you’re selling retail, or you own your own business, or you’re selling some sort of product or service, the theory is the same. Don’t go into sales with a mindset of “I’m going to make all these sales today.” Rather, go into it with the mindset of how many people you are going to help today, and how you are going to help them. That’s the first part.

Zev Gotkin:
I love that! Amazing way to think about it, and I don’t want to generalize about age or anything, but I think it’s usually the younger sales people or entrepreneurs who tend to rush the sale. And, when you’re starting out, it’s understandable. You don’t have a lot of cashflow and it could be tempting for people to take the shortcuts, especially if they have the gift of gab and you’re persuasive, but you’ve got to focus on the long-term, long game of building a relationship so that people will continue to come back to you and refer you to others.

Jennifer Gluckow:
Exactly, exactly. And so, the second part of that is: Show don’t tell, and when I was selling Cutco knives — which by the way I still will tell you a decade and a half or two decades later, that they’re still the best knives on the planet, but when I was selling Cutco knives, which is kitchen cutlery for people that are not familiar with it, and I would walk in with a whole presentation. Rather than just tell them that my steak knife was better than their steak knife I would actually have them pull out a steak knife of theirs, and then I would have a whole kit with me where I would show the steak knives I’d purchased from the company so that I could show mine.

And then I would demonstrate why and how ours were better. So, when you’re going in to talk to that customer, or you’re doing a call on the phone, or a Zoom call, or whatever, you always have to paint that picture. You always have to show them the possibility, and show them how whatever it is you’re offering is going to help them rather than just tell them, because telling them is boring.

I would actually take out scissors that were the strongest scissors on the planet — still are — and I would cut a penny. There’s this whole demonstration, and they would be so wowed. Now, the truth is, I realize now not that not everyone really needs that pair of strong scissors unless you’re cutting chicken or whatever, but you know what? It demonstrated the point that these knives would prevent them from being unable to cut something. And so, if I just went in there and was like “Hey, my scissors are the best scissors ever,” no one would care, but once I showed them what it looked like, they were all wowed, and wanted a pair.

You have to bring them into it and paint the picture. Bring them with you on the journey, and to me that begins with building the relationship and building the rapport. So, it’s help; don’t sell, show; don’t tell, and then the last one’s prove like hell.

Zev Gotkin:
Love that! That is great. What a great piece of value for the listeners! And something you shared in your book Sales in a New York Minute, which I personally found helpful and valuable is the idea that you should give so much value in every interaction that it entices the other party to want to learn more. By providing a great deal of value and free advice, not only in your online content, but in your in-person interactions and networking events as well, that it makes the other party excited to hear more, just like you were talking about in your Cutco demonstration where you showed how the product worked. And, we all know it’s really important to demonstrate that you’re an expert in your field to earn both credibility and trust. And, in your book you talk about getting prospects so excited about the value you have to share, that they’re the ones who are pestering YOU for the next call or for the next meeting rather than the other way around. Please talk a little bit about that for my listeners.

How can we get people to look forward to our phone calls, or even call us first so we can avoid a cycle of feeling like we’re always chasing people down?

Jennifer Gluckow:
There are so many people out there that say: :Don’t give value, don’t give them too much, because then they won’t need you.” And I’m of the total opposite mindset. Give them all the value in the world! Put yourself out there. Give them value so that they see that you are the industry expert and want to come to you. It’s more of an attraction thing. It’s a pull approach rather than having to push them to call you, because if they Google something and your article, video, podcast, whatever it may be, but your content, your information, your help comes up, all of a sudden they’re going to start watching it, and then they’re going to look at what more you have, and then they’re going to go to your Instagram or your social media, and try to find out just a little bit more.

And then, they’re going to be attracted and want to learn more from you. And as that happens, you better have some sort of free download to capture them into your email funnel; something so that you can stay in touch with them because otherwise you have no idea who’s clicking on your stuff. And, then you can offer something in your email series, in an email sequence, such as a consultation call. Maybe it’s a free demonstration. Whatever it may be that’s right for you. You have to figure that out. You have to create this kind of value attraction so that people seek you out, people are finding you based on their searches, and then coming to you for more.

I hate when people say “Well, don’t put it all out there, because then they’ll have nothing to go to you for.” People can’t do most of the stuff you’re probably helping them with all on their own. That’s why you have customers; because they think the concept or theory is great but they need more help in some way. And that’s what you probably provide. So, if you put enough helpful content out there and enough information they’re going to want to call you.

Zev Gotkin:

Exactly, yes. So, that actually answers another question I had.

What would you say to sales people or entrepreneurs who fear this value-giving approach, because they don’t want to be taken advantage of or they don’t want to give all their secrets away? And, is there ever a limit to how much you can give away for free? Some don’t want to give away anything, and then there are some people — myself included, that can fall into the opposite trap, where we’re giving so much away, and we’re giving so much value, but at some point you’ve got to be like: “Alright, are you buying the product?” You’ve got to go in for the ask at some point, don’t you?

Jennifer Gluckow:
Oh yeah, for sure. So, you don’t give away everything. First of all, most people wouldn’t be able to utilize all of your help right off the bat. If I gave my top-level sales secrets, people starting out at the introductory level wouldn’t be able to make sense of it. And so, sometimes they need to read the free stuff, watch those free videos, or listen to the podcast, or whatever, to get the base line. And then, we can have a more advanced conversation. I’m not saying I dumb anything down. I don’t dumb anything down whatsoever, but there are more advanced techniques that you only get by working with me directly; same as what you should do as a listener. If you’re listening to this podcast, and you’re like, oh my goodness, I’m going to give away the whole thing; No. You don’t give away the whole farm. You give away a lot of value so that people are attracted to you, people want to share your stuff, people find it helpful, and then you ask. And, you have to ask.

My mom always said “If you don’t ask you don’t get.” I learned that when I was five-years-old, luckily, right in time for the holidays. You have to ask, because otherwise people might not even know different ways to work with you, and so you want to give them that invite and give them that opportunity. But you asked another question, and I’m blanking on it. You asked how much is too much and what was the other part of that?

Zev Gotkin:
At what point is it appropriate to go in for the sale?

Let’s say you’ve had a call, you’ve had the meeting, maybe you’ve even given a proposal. At what point do you decide if it’s worth it to keep giving value, and to keep showing up, or you say: “Okay, maybe they’re just stringing me along, and this is not necessarily the best use of time?

Jennifer Gluckow:
It depends on your gut, and you have to listen to it. You have to determine if you established the right relationship and built enough rapport. Does this person know me and trust me? Does this person think I can offer them value? Do I feel I can help this person? If the answer to those questions is “yes,” and you believe in your heart of hearts that you can help this person, you need to try, because if you don’t, then you’re cheating them! Think about all of the people you could be impacting, and you might not be impacting because you’re not asking them, or offering them help.

Now, if you’re asking how many times you should follow up with the person, then the answer is: Until you feel that either you can’t help them anymore, or that they’re not the right client, or whatever. Would I always keep them in a warm [email] sequence or something like that to stay in touch with them? Yes. Would I personally reach out every single time? Probably not. I don’t know. It depends on the person, but I’ve followed up with people 10 times before they moved forward, so it really depends. Just remember most people give up after two of three tries, and they give up after that short amount of time, because they feel like they’re now nagging the person, and they feel like they’re being annoying.

And the truth is they probably are! So, rather than nag or annoy someone, try to find something of value that you can follow up with. And if you’ve established a good relationship, then you should know them pretty well. So, if someone told me that they love cavalier puppies, and we had a whole conversation about it, and it was a huge connection point, because I also have two cavalier King Charles, and they are my favorite dogs on the planet, and blah, blah, blah, and I saw this really cute dog, or this really cute article, I would incorporate that into my follow-up.

So I’m making it personal. I’m making it something that they’re going to want to read. Now, you also want to make it useful. You also want to make it something that’s a connection point, but it doesn’t always have to be [something dry] like: “I found this article based on your industry, and I thought that you might be interested.” You can have a little fun with it, and just make sure that it’s something that they’re going to care about. Then you’re not annoying them.

Zev Gotkin:
Right, and in fact, that’s a great topic you bring up – the human element and the importance of being human in sales. There are many different ways to provide value. Sometimes that’s information, and sometimes that can be the human touch. Speaking of human touch, let’s talk about networking for a moment. You’re a huge fan of networking, and you talk a lot about it in your book. I think many people are afraid of networking events, or any kind of networking. Sometimes they think it’s a waste of time.

How can people take a more proactive, broader approach to networking, and network with people in a way they feel like they’re making progress rather than leaving empty handed? How can they change their perspective towards networking?

Jennifer Gluckow:
Networking is just about meeting other people, and it doesn’t have to be scary unless you convince yourself that it’s scary. I was terrified the first time I went to a networking event, because I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I walked into this huge networking meeting with like 80 other people who were also there to network, and yes, it was terrifying, but it’s because I allowed it to be terrifying. And the best thing to do is realize that every single person in that room is feeling the same way. Unless they’re extremely extroverted, most people in that room are feeling like: “What is this? There’s so many people and I don’t know who they are, and this is awkward.”

It’s so easy [to lose the fear of networking]. Ready? Here’s the trick. You go find someone who’s not talking to anyone and you go over to them, you introduce yourself, and you ask them about themselves. You get them talking, because people love to talk about themselves. Go to a networking meeting where you feel you could meet other referral partners, other business builders, and gain a strong network, and start to just talk to the people one-on-one. I’ve made lifelong friends and lifelong business connections through networking. It’s totally changed my career. It helped me jump-start my business, and so I highly recommend networking.

Zev Gotkin:
Amazing! So yeah, networking can be nerve racking when you’re new to it, especially if you’re introverted, or a little bit shy, and I’ve gone to these huge networking events in New York, mostly in Manhattan, and it can be intimidating at first.

Let’s say you’ve been networking, you’ve met a lot of people, you got a stack of other people’s business cards, or maybe you’ve even followed up and had a coffee with somebody you met at an event or on LinkedIn. Now what? What’s the best way to follow up? In your book, Sales in a New York minute, you make a distinction between following up and following through, and you say that great sales people don’t follow up; they follow through. So, it pays to understand the difference between the two.

What’s the difference between following up and following through, and how can sales people stay in front of their prospect and close the deal without coming off as pushy, or annoying, or hungry for the money?

Jennifer Gluckow:
If you follow up, you do what you said you were going to do. So, let’s say, Zev, you and I had this great meeting. I promised you I would send you this one thing or make this introduction for you, and when I go home, I go to my computer, I follow up. Okay, that’s done. Follow through is not just a follow-up. It’s so much more than that, because you’re following through time after time, and so I send you that connection that I promised you. I do what I said I was going to do, and now I reach out about something else. I schedule another meeting or I come up with an idea for you; I give you something of value. If I’m trying to make a sale, then following through means you are not just following up to be like: “Hey, are we going to work together? Let’s get started. When do you want to get started?”

No, that’s not enough. Most of the time, you need to be in touch with them six to ten times before they pull that purchasing trigger, and the problem is most sales people, and I would argue entrepreneurs as well follow up two or three times, and then they give up, and that’s because they’re not following up with, or following through with value.

Zev Gotkin:
Totally. People definitely give up too easily, myself included at times, although I’m getting better as a seller. As an entrepreneur I’ve made it my business – my second job — to learn sales and master sales, because sales is the oxygen that keeps a business alive. One thing that can be a challenge when you’re in the follow-up stage is you don’t want to come off as pushy. You don’t want to be like, as Jeffrey Gitomer says on the Sell or Die podcast, “Is the money ready yet?”

How can you continue to provide value during the follow-up/follow-through stage?
Jennifer Gluckow:

Follow up with something that’s going to be of interest to the person you’re trying to work with; to the person you’re trying to meet with. And, like I said before, it may be something that’s personal that you bonded over like some cute dog thing, or it may be some real, informational value-based thing, like: “This person works in your industry, and I thought you should take a look at this,” or “this article came up in my newsfeed, I think it will help you. Here’s what I enjoyed about it. Check it out.” Maybe it’s a video you have already made that answers some of the questions they’re asking you.

And think about it in terms of you. What do your customers ask? What do they need? Give them value whenever you’re following up.

Zev Gotkin:
Awesome. Those are some great tactics right there. And now, let’s say you’ve got the client. Congratulations, you made the sale! Now, what’s the right, tactful, classy way to ask for a testimonial or referral? Obviously, when you want to make another sale, you need to be able to provide proof that you can do what they need. You need to have social proof to demonstrate your value. People like to do what other people recommend. And, you want to ask for it tactfully.

Is it ever appropriate to ask for either a testimonial or referral, and if so, when and how?

Jennifer Gluckow:
Early on in my career I was taught to ask for referrals, and it worked for me, and the reason it worked for me, which I didn’t realize at the time, is because I only asked for referrals when I felt super comfortable [with the customer], and the only reason I felt super comfortable was because I was selling to people who I’d known for a really long time. I had established a strong relationship with them before I ever asked. So, yes, you can ask for referrals as long as you have developed that relationship. If a client finds you online, you deliver that product or service, and then the next hour you’re like, “Okay, great, I’m so glad you have it installed. So, who else do you know who I can work with because my business relies on referrals?” that’s not a good way to go about it.

But if you’ve had this really strong relationship, this really strong foundation and time has gone by and they’ve sat with your product or service for a while and they’ve seen results, now you can say: “Okay, cool. Could you refer me to X, Y, Z people?” But only if you’ve established a deep relationship first.

[Here’s a story that illustrates what I mean.] I used to teach courses on LinkedIn. I don’t anymore. But I used to teach courses on LinkedIn, and I would teach people how to use it in a networking setting. When you are networking with people it’s okay to ask for referrals, because the whole point of networking is to create introductions for those in your network. And so, it’s also okay to look through your connection’s connections on LinkedIn before a networking meeting. I would teach people in my class to say things like: “Hey Zev, we’re going to have coffee next week prior to our meeting. Why don’t you take a look at my connections on LinkedIn? Filter them, sort them out, and see if there’s anyone you’d like to meet, and I’ll do the same for you, and then let’s compare lists.” And so, I might sit down with you, and say “Okay, you know these five people; they would be really great prospects for me. Which of them do you know well enough that you might be willing to make an introduction for me?” And you would do the same with me.

Now, I would teach that advice in my classes, and one of my students who I didn’t feel I had a very strong relationship with because he had only come to one class wanted to meet for coffee. I said: “Sure.” We met for coffee and he had a stack of 50 pages of printer paper in his hands, and I’m like, “What is that?” And he says: “Oh, these are all your contacts on LinkedIn.” I was like “What?” He’s like “Yeah, I did what you said. I sorted through them. I had my assistant print all these contacts, and I circled all the ones I’d like to meet.” I was thinking: “Ohhhh, that’s icky.”

So, don’t do that. [Don’t be that guy]. We literally had no relationship. It was so surface level. He was only in a one-and-a-half-hour workshop of mine and asked me to meet for coffee. I felt like I was doing the right thing by saying yes, and then he comes with this book of my contacts. That feels icky, because we didn’t establish rapport, or a relationship beforehand. So, when you are going to ask for a referral, you need to make sure that the person you’re asking would feel comfortable referring you.

Zev Gotkin:
Because their reputation is on the line.

Jennifer Gluckow:
Exactly; exactly.

Zev Gotkin:
He hadn’t exhibited anything of value, or even established basic rapport, and here he was asking for something. It’s so nakedly and obviously self-serving. And, I love that you brought up LinkedIn, because it’s the perfect segue into our last two questions which are focused on social selling or social media marketing, which is what my company, ZEV Media does.

I read something the other day in my LinkedIn feed that the face-to-face meeting is apparently in decline among sales people. They’re saying the face-to-face meeting is declining due to the rapid advance of communications technology. People are meeting virtually now traveling less.

Do you think there’s still an advantage in meeting in-person rather than virtually? Is there any benefit when you’re meeting someone in-person that you just can’t get over the phone, or over Skype, or Zoom, or something like that?

Jennifer Gluckow:
So, the best way to meet, in my opinion, is face-to-face, but that’s not scale-able, especially not in today’s world. And by face-to-face I actually mean in person. The second best way is face-to-face, but virtually such as through Zoom, or FaceTime or Dialpad, or something where you can actually see their face. It’s one thing to have a phone call with someone. It’s one thing to have an email chain with someone, or connect with them on social media. But’s another thing entirely to be able to hear their tone of voice and see their facial expressions. It feels much different. I can’t even tell you. A lot of people get business on Instagram and then the trick there, I’m sure you teach this, is getting people into the DM [Direct Messenger], because once you get them into the DM, you’re now having a one-on-one conversation with them.

To me, it’s not just about going back and forth on a texting or messaging thing; it’s about sending a voice memo, because when you send a voice memo all of a sudden they can actually hear. First of all, they know it’s not just like a copy-and-paste mass message. I’m actually saying: “Hey Zev, it was so much fun being on your podcast today.” That kind of thing. It’s personal. And, you can hear the person, because if I wrote that out, you would read it monotone, like: (imitates a robotic sounding voice] “Hi Zev it was great being on your podcast today.” You could hear the difference in my voice when I said it. And so, I think that there’s just so much value to still showing up, putting yourself out there not only online, but also in-person, and building that network.

Zev Gotkin:
Definitely. And I think people don’t take advantage of in-person meetings enough. We’re used to communicating through text, and on the Internet most communication was through the written word until recently, but I love what you said about audio, and people should get creative, and send a video or voice message. You can tweet back to somebody with a video. You can do a DM (direct message) that’s an audio message. These are ways to get around the barriers and have a more personal feel in your communication. The concern about technology is that it makes things less human or less personal. It’s harder to get an emotional connection, and you need that in order to sell.
So, I think it’s great what you’re saying. You should vary it up with some video and some audio. You can do an audio message and video call.

So, you’re quite active on social media. I see you on Instagram and LinkedIn. You’ve also got a super impressive website, SalesinaNewYorkminute.com with a ton of resources and content there. A lot of sales people and entrepreneurs are lacking in this department — the digital department. Some are even afraid of putting themselves out there on these platforms. They might have a LinkedIn bio. They’ll share an article here and there, but they’re not really putting themselves out there. They’re not posting or making content.

What are the basics of an online presence which you think any sales professional or sales-driven business owner must have in 2020 and beyond?

Jennifer Gluckow:
Video. You have to get over yourself if you’re not putting yourself out there. I heard someone say this the other day: “If you’re not on live video in 2020, you may not have a business in 2021.” Live video in my opinion is like the thing to figure out right now. If what you say is correct, Zev — and I believe it is — that face-to-face meetings are declining, how else are people supposed to get to know you? That’s why, in my opinion, being live on video is so important, and you don’t need some fancy schmancy camera. Just use your iPhone, and if you don’t have one, well, use your Droid or whatever. I’m all about the iPhone. So, the first thing is live video.

The second thing is as follows. People are going to tell you that you need to be ‘everywhere,’ and that’s BS. You do not need to be everywhere, and it’s physically impossible when you’re starting a business to be everywhere, and if you’re focused on being everywhere, then you’re really going to be nowhere.

So, start by choosing one platform — the platform that you think your audience is going to be on the most, and be there. And then, you can expand. But I know 10-million dollar entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs who have 10-million dollar businesses, who their main platform is Instagram. They got into Facebook a little bit, and now they’re just starting to expand to LinkedIn, because they’re doing it one platform at a time.

Zev Gotkin:
Exactly. I love that you said that, because people get so overwhelmed. There are so many platforms now. There are so many mediums and channels and platforms out there. People get overwhelmed and say: “I can’t do that.” But you don’t have to be everywhere! You don’t have to be an “influencer.” You don’t have to be the coolest or the best looking. The cool thing is that the more content you put out there, and the more you try, the better you’ll get at it, and the more comfortable you will get with it. And, play to your strengths! Start with the one medium or platform that comes the most naturally to you and expand later.

Jennifer Gluckow:
Oh yeah. 100%. It gets easier every single time.

Zev Gotkin:
Exactly. Thank you so much, Jennifer. This was a really value packed interview, and you left my listeners with so many value bombs, and so many things that I and many of the people listening are going to go out and try. Thank you so much for stopping by! I really appreciate it.

Jennifer Gluckow:
This was so much fun! I’m so stoked about it! Thank you.

How to Fast-Track Your Career, and an Exciting Opportunity with Dave Kerpen

Please share this episode with a college student in your life!!

Listen to the Zev Audio Zone podcast episode here:

They say you’ll shine brighter if you get closer to the sun. This saying is very true when it comes to advancing your career.

Spending some time working as an executive assistant to the person you admire most, or to a leader who is in a position where you aspire to be someday yourself is one way you can jump-start your professional life and gain experience, which you can ultimately leverage to become a star performer in your field, climb the corporate ladder, or start your own thing in the future.

Taking an internship or a job where you’ll be reporting directly under someone who can serve as a mentor, or a role model can be an amazing learning experience.

Today we’re going to be talking with serial entrepreneur and business influencer, Dave Kerpen, about mentorship, leadership, and how to make your business and yourself more likable.

Dave Kerpen is the founder and CEO of New York based social media marketing agency, Likeable Media. He’s a New York times bestselling author of such books as, Likeable Social Media, Likeable Business, and The Art of People, The 11 Simple People Skills That Will Get You Everything You Want. And he’s a renowned keynote speaker. He has recently launched a new venture, chooseapprentice.com, a platform that connects entrepreneurs who are looking for a driven executive assistant committed to professional growth, with smart and motivated college students who are looking for real world experience and mentorship.

Read the full transcipt here:

Zev Gotkin:

Dave, thank you so much for being here with us today. I have long been a fan of your work. This is truly an honor.

Dave Kerpen:

Well thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it. And it’s too bad we can’t ride a cab together like our last interview.

Zev:

Yeah, that would be great, wouldn’t it? So tell us a little more about Choose Apprentice. How did this idea come about?

Dave:

Yeah, it’s really, it’s a wonderful story. As you mentioned, I’ve been a serial entrepreneur for a while, and in my last two companies, over the last 10 to 12 years, I’ve been very fortunate to hire a whole bunch of college students, while they were in school, who have worked for me as my executive assistant, and many of them have gone on to work for me full time after they’ve graduated from school.

Michelle was my first EA while she was at Syracuse, and she ended up working for me at Likeable Media for over five years, and she is now running social media for a Fortune 50 company. And then Megan worked for me while she was at St. John’s, and then she became a Product Manager, and my first employee, at Likeable Local, my second company, a software company. And Meg worked for me for over five years after she started as my EA, she was my Chief of Staff at Likeable Local. Theresa worked for me for over seven years after she was my EA. She ended up co-authoring my second book, Likeable Business. All these guys were super, super valuable. My last EA, was named Rob, and he worked for me for over two years, while he was at Hamilton. He co-authored the third edition of Likeable Social Media, he worked on $1 million project for a major brand client, for Likeable, and he ran numerous personal projects for me.

Well, Rob came to me about seven months ago, and he said, “You know, Dave, you’ve been very valuable in teaching me quite a bit while I’m in school. I’ve learned more from you than I learned in three years of college, and I think I’ve done some valuable work for you as well. I think we really should scale this and provide the same sort of relationship for others.” And I thought it was quite a brilliant idea of his, so Rob went, literally, from being my executive assistant college student to being my business partner on this latest venture, which is called Apprentice. And Rob and I launched it just a few weeks ago and we’re up and running with our first cohort right now.

Zev

Amazing. Sounds like Rob’s a real take charge go-getter. It sounds like a lot of the other students who’ve been in this program are that type as well, and that’s really amazing. You notice that there’s a trend now of a lot of young people starting businesses right out of college. There also seems to be a growing trend of kid entrepreneurs who start businesses at very young ages. Do you think that all young entrepreneurs should first spend time working for someone else before starting their own businesses? Do you think maybe, before they run and do their own thing, they should train under someone else?

Dave:

Well, I think there are pros and cons to both methods. But here’s what I’ll say. I’ll say that I believe that higher education is in the process of a major, major disruption. It’s an area that has had very little disruption over the last century, and it’s really problematic because the costs of college have gotten more and more expensive, and yet, if you think about it, the value of a college education hasn’t gotten that much better. If anything, it’s gotten worse, relative to the job market. So, if you want to be a lawyer, you need to go to college. And if you want to be a doctor, you need to go to college. And if you want to be an engineer, you need to go to college. But if you want to go into business, I think more valuable, and maybe this will be controversial, but I think more valuable than a four year education is working directly in a business.

Many children, like my children, for instance, are fortunate in that their parents are entrepreneurs or small business owners, and if your parents are entrepreneurs or small business owners then you can probably get a taste of what it’s like to work in a business at a very young age. But if you aren’t as fortunate, my strong recommendation is, in lieu of, or if you want to be more comfortable, in addition to a four year education, that you strongly consider reaching out to and doing a program like Apprentice, or reaching out to an entrepreneur, a small business person, somebody you admire and saying, hey, is there an opportunity for me to come help out?

Zev:

Amazing. I totally agree with that. I think definitely the value has decreased, but if they’re doing this instead, or in addition to college, I think they’ll definitely be prepared for the real business world.

What characteristics do the college kids who apply to join Choose Apprentice need in order to qualify? Do they need to be in college and what kind of traits are you looking for?

Dave:

Yeah, great question. So, we have a very, very big vision for this. We want to connect at least a million entrepreneurs with college students. And the good news for us is that they’re both very, very large markets. In the future, we might be open to people that are not in school or people that have graduated, but for now we are focused on people that are enrolled in school. It doesn’t have to be a four year school. It certainly doesn’t have to be any particular kind of school. But people that are currently enrolled in school. They have to be entrepreneurial. They have to be driven. They have to be ambitious. They have to be self-starters. And we look at… we have a pretty hard application process, to be honest. But one thing that I… that’s the most important to me is writing ability.

I think that the biggest driver of success in my previous apprentices is their ability to write. I think that somebody that can write well can think well and can communicate well, and these are essential qualities in business. So, if you are not a good writer, I strongly recommend that you work on that skill. You practice until you become a better writer because writing is a skill that will absolutely benefit you and differentiate you from others. Whether you want to be an entrepreneur or not, writing is just a really valuable skill. As, obviously, you know.

Zev:

Yes, and maybe I’m biased because I’m a copywriter, but our mutual friend, who’s going to be the guest on the next episode, Jeffrey Gitomer, once said, “Writing leads to wealth,” and I couldn’t agree more with that.

Dave:

I had not heard that quote, but I do love it myself as well.

Zev:

Yes, it’s great.

This brings me to my next question. I guess it’s a little bit similar, but, when you’re looking for an executive assistant, even outside Choose Apprentice, if you have an executive assistant or anyone who’s helping a CEO or a leader, what do you think is the most important trait? I mean, besides, I guess, good writing ability, what do you think is the most important thing they need to remember or keep in mind?

Dave:

I think responsiveness is really, really important. I live a very fast paced life and I think most of the CEOs and entrepreneurs I know live similarly fast paced lives. This means that if I need something done, I need it done right away. And if it can’t be done right away, that’s okay, but then I still need to know, right away, that it can’t be done right away.

So what we do with Apprentice is we teach our kids, look, there are… apprentices rather. If you’re in class, that’s fine, but you still have to respond, right away, saying you’re in class and you’ll get to it in two hours or three hours, or whatever it is. I think responsiveness is a really, really important trait. If I want to keep going, just, like I said before, independence.

Oh, here’s another really good one! Resourcefulness. It shocks me how few people are resourceful. And the difference between somebody who’s resourceful and somebody who’s not. I’ll give you an example. Rob. Rob, I had a project, I had a client that needed a website, so I said, “Hey Rob, can you figure out… have you ever built a website before?” And so Rob said, “Well, I’ve never built a website before, but I’ll figure it out.” And he Googled it and he figured out how to build a website. It’s the kind of thing where most people probably would be like, no, I don’t know how to build a website, who can we hire? Whereas, if you are truly resourceful, you can… and smart, you can figure out how to do just about anything. That’s the beauty of the internet and Google and YouTube. You can figure it out.

So the kinds of people that I look for, not only as executive assistants, but, for that matter, any of my employees at any of my companies, I’m looking for people that are self-starters and are responsive and are quite resourceful.

Zev:

Excellent. Yeah, I’ve seen in my own experience with managing people, those qualities are essential.

So, how can leaders bring out the best in their employees and teams? How can we cultivate that environment? How can we bring out the best in them?

Dave:

Well, that’s a great set of questions, and I answer that a lot in my second book, Likeable Business, that unfortunately, while being my best reviewed book, is my worst performing book. Nobody buys it, which is a bummer. But, oh well.

But, for the purposes of this interview, in a nutshell, I would say that we need to be transparent and vulnerable, and we need to give a little bit of ourselves in order to… I ask lot of my people, but I give of myself and I think that helps differentiate me from some that don’t take that extra time to teach and to mentor and to give of themselves. I think that when leaders take that extra time and that extra vulnerability and authenticity, their people really respond to it.

Zev:

Excellent. I will admit I’m guilty as charged. The only book of yours I haven’t read yet is Likeable Business.

Dave:

(laughing) I’m telling you, nobody’s read it. It’s hysterical to me, but it’s okay. I can live with this, but it is sort of funny.

Zev:

Well, I will be placing an order on Amazon right after this interview, and I encourage everyone listening here, not only to buy that book, but the other two books that I mentioned before as well. They’re all great.

Dave:

Well, thank you. It’s kind of a funny situation, and I don’t want to get too into it, but bottom line is, ironically, because I’ll probably never earn out of that advance, and I’ve already earned out of the others. I actually make money on the other books, and I’ll probably never make money on Likeable Business. But it is, technically, my best reviewed book, Zev, which means, technically, it probably is my best, even though nobody’s read it. It has a very bad cover, and one thing I’ve learned through the years is that, in fact, everybody does judge a book by its cover.

Zev:

That’s important to remember.

Alright, so last question, Dave.

How can businesses who value creating great cultures and wish to cultivate an enviable work environment best use that to their advantage when they’re promoting themselves on social media? How do they make it an attractive place to work? You know a thing or two about social media, how do you convey, hey, this is a great place to work, on your social platforms like Instagram and Facebook and what have you? LinkedIn.

Dave:

Well, great question, but it’s really a two part-er, because the first thing and most important part of that question is to create a great place to work in the first place. You see, if you don’t take the time and energy, and frankly, money, to create a great place to work, then, when you try to promote it, it’s going to come across as inauthentic and it’s not going to resonate. So the first and most important step here is to go out of your way to create a great place to work.

So what do I mean by that? Well, the first thing is, be intentional about creating a culture, and spend money on it. A lot of folks will say, hey, we want to have a great place to work, but then they won’t actually spend money on it. What I am proudest of in all of my business accomplishments is winning Crain’s Best Places To Work in New York for five straight years. Because what that means is, we’ve been able to build companies where people are happy to go to work every day.

So this means spending money on employees, doing retreats. We just took our whole Likeable team on a two day camping retreat, which was an amazing… it was so much fun. Spend money on Christmas bonuses. Spend money on company outings. Really invest in your people.

And then, after you’ve done that, the second part of the question is, sharing it. I think Instagram is probably the best tool, but I think you can really use any of the social platforms and take video and pictures that help to demonstrate the kind of culture that you’ve built, and share that out with the world.

Zev:

Absolutely. It’s interesting you say Instagram. I would think LinkedIn also, because a lot of people put their resumes there. Do you think that’s also a good platform, or would you do it differently on LinkedIn versus Instagram?

I’m hugely bullish on LinkedIn, and I think I would point specifically to LinkedIn Live as a tool that is going to see increased use, and folks will be able to use LinkedIn Live to showcase their company culture. I think that today, in September of 2019, it’s probably still Instagram over LinkedIn, just because that’s where people expect to see slices of life, even in workplaces. But I do think that’s changing pretty quickly and I am very, very bullish on LinkedIn continuing to be, and even evolving to be, an even better place to showcase your company culture.

Zev:

Excellent. Well, thank you so much Dave. I really appreciate you taking the time to do this interview, and it was really valuable insights that you shared with us today, and thank you so much.

Dave:

It’s my great pleasure. And you know, I talked about responsiveness earlier in my EAs and in my employees and I like to practice what I preach, so one of my personal core values is responsiveness. So if anyone’s listening to this interview and has a question or a comment, you can hit me up on any social network and I promise to respond to you. No matter how many inquiries I get every week I do work hard to respond to everybody.

Zev:

I can vouch for this. He really is very responsive! You often respond to my tweets and emails, and it’s pretty impressive because I know you’re a busy guy.

Dave:

It’s my pleasure and thank you for the shout-out.

 

3 Tips for Using LinkedIn to Get a Job

Recently, I was asked what a person can do on LinkedIn to better their chances of getting hired.
I’m more experienced with using LinkedIn to prospect, get sales, and market brands. It’s been over two years since I looked for a job.
Applying what I know about LinkedIn marketing for brands and businesses, the following are 3 tips I shared with her for improving her LinkedIn presence and using it as a tool to network into finding the right career. It comes down three important ingredients, which I call the three P’s: People, Post, and Profile
Besides, applying for jobs:

1. People  

DM all of your connections. We all make connections here, but how many of them do you actually reach out and talk to?

In her case, she has nearly 1,000 connections. Message them and offer them value before asking for anything. See if there are ways you can help them. You’ve all heard that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. So true, in today’s age. Establishing relationships with people is a key part of making progress in any career.

2. Post

Post content every day or at least every week. People get super annoyed at this one. “But I’m so busy!” you wail. But, in a competitive job market, you can’t afford NOT to put yourself out there, share things of value, and differentiate yourself.

Sharing valuable content — even if it’s just your take on a piece of content someone else made — makes you a resource for people, demonstrates expertise, establishes credibility and initiates conversation.

Post short written LinkedIn updates, LinkedIn videos, and LinkedIn articles (i.e. your blog). In a competitive job market, you must get used to doing this work. Otherwise, risk losing the job to someone else who is willing to do it. We must all become personal brands and thought leaders to some extent, even if we rather remain anonymous.

3. Profile

Last, but not least, optimize your LinkedIn profile. For a job seeker, this is most important.

Make sure your bio is sterling and captivating. Include the most up-to-date, relevant info in your resume. I’d even recommend hiring a resume coach. Have a good photo (Literally Google ways to optimize LinkedIn profile and photo).

And, most importantly, feature examples and case studies of your work. As an employer, I’m more interested in seeing what you can do for me right now than reading your resume listing past accomplishments.

So, network with people, post content, and optimize your profile.
Is there anything I left out here that you would advise someone using LinkedIn to get a job? Granted, it’s not something I have as much experience with, so any and all tips are welcome and appreciated. I’ll even include them and give you credit!
Thanks!

Going from Night Owl to Morning Person

How did the biggest night owl turn into a morning lark?

I’ve had problems going to sleep for as long as I can remember.

It was hard to turn my ADHD brain off at night. Between endless amounts of thoughts and my need for constant stimulation — TV, computer, smartphone, it was very hard to settle down.

Of course, I’d always have to pay the price in the morning. Naturally, the morning wasn’t something I enjoyed. I was anything but a morning person. I wore night owl proudly as part of my identity.

Becoming a freelance content writer did not help to change those habits. Rather, it legitimatized them. “Some people just aren’t morning people!” I’d say.

Most days, I’d wake up when I wanted to and work until late, eating whatever and exercising practically never. Sometimes I stayed in pjs & crocs.

I think everybody has to find what works for them. This is not to denigrate anyone’s choices.

But my old ways were not healthy for me physically.

For the past few weeks, I’ve forced myself to stick to a tight routine waking up around 6am, going to the gym, and starting my calls and meetings around 8:30. I work until around 7pm and then I force myself to unwind with a book or a show.

While the adjustment was hard, I’ve grown to love it. After changing my habits and developing a routine, I feel that I am far more equipped to build the marketing agency of my dreams.

And, I still write, but now I usually write in the morning. I relish my morning “me” time. I look forward to it. The quiet and the solitude. The joy of knowing I have a whole day ahead of me. It’s when I do my best writing and my ideas pour out like water. Never in a hundred years did I think I’d say that, but it’s true.

I have finally become…*gulp* a morning person, and I couldn’t be happier.

How to Get on My Bad Side: My Personal List of Traits and Behaviors that Annoy Me

furious-2514031__340 pixa.jpg

In business and in life, we have to deal with all types of people like it or not.

I think one of the most challenging yet rewarding parts of being an entrepreneur is that I am forced on a daily basis to grow, improve my EQ, suck it up, eat s***, and break past my personal limitations.

I am constantly trying to expand my threshold of what I can tolerate while simultaneously learning to drop or avoid people or situations that can negatively impact me or my business.

Learning to walk that tightrope of figuring out what you need to learn to deal with and what you need to stop putting up with is, perhaps, the greatest challenge of all.

I thought it would be a fun little exercise to draw up a list of traits and behaviors I can’t stand.

checklist-1766064_960_720 pixa
I’m not sure yet what constructive purpose this exercise serves, but it does help me identify the things that trigger me negatively and it felt good to get it all out on paper.

This list might also help me learn to watch out for these traits or become more patient and accepting when people display them. Maybe it will help me become more tolerant of people who exhibit these traits and learn who or what to avoid as well (in a business partner, romantic partner, client, friend etc.)

There is a belief that if something annoys you, you might have a little bit of that trait within yourself. Sometimes, that’s precisely the reason why it bothers you so much. If anything, this list can work as a mirror on myself help keep me in check so I can steer clear of being guilty of these behaviors.

It can also help me get a bird’s eye view on what annoys me so that I can grow as a person and learn to work with people who exhibit these traits. Some of these things are negotiable in some situations, but not in others.

In life and in business you have no choice but to deal with the good, the bad, the ugly, and the boring. While one thing might be intolerable in a friendship, you just might have to eat it in a business situation. And sometimes you need to know where to draw the line — even with clients and customers.

Without further adieu, if you really want to get under my skin in a bad way, here’s how to do it:

  • Know-it-alls
  • Pushiness
  • Unsolicited advice
  • Dismissiveness
  • Double standards
  • Not owning up or taking responsibility for one’s actions
  • Holier-than-thou attitudes
  • Whining and excessive complaining (kvetching)
  • Hypocrisy
  • Self-righteousness
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Boasting
  • Life-coaches with no real life experience or who are horrible at managing their own lives or business coaches who haven’t built a real business
  • Judging unfavorably
  • Manipulation
  • Attempts to control or silence me
  • Sticklers about petty or insignificant rules or other matters
  • Putting ideology or religion before fellow human beings
  • Social media complaining
  • People who talk over others
  • Being judged as bad because you curse or pepper your everyday speech with a little profanity here and there
  • Empty talk (e.g. talks of plans or things you’re going to do or things we are going to do together with no real effort to carry them out)
  • Asking for something without establishing a rapport or relationship first e.g. “Hi, nice to meet you. Are you interested in buying x?”
  • Interruptive advertising or solicitation
  • People who get angry at you when you’re under 3 minutes late (3-minute rule?)
  • People who get upset with you when you can’t talk to them the at moment they want to talk to you
  • Long, boring talks and speeches
  • Unscheduled phone calls from anyone who isn’t family or a close friend
    Frivolity
  • Not allowing me to make my point or counterargument after you just went off on me
  • Unjustified self aggrandizement
  • Ad hominem attacks which attack character rather than ideas
  • Arguments where the speaker/writer mistakes their own subjective opinion for fact when they are factually incorrect
  • Being judged by an unfair standard or one that the other person doesn’t hold for themselves
  • Defensiveness
  • Hot-headedness
  • Bullying
  • Gaslighting
  • Grandstanding
  • Taking advantage of others
  • People who will inevitably judge me in an unfavorable light for posting this list or call me out even though we all have a “list” and we are all guilty of judging others negatively at times, sometimes for behaviors we ourselves are guilty of, but most of us aren’t bold enough to talk about it or share it with the world

There are probably more and they may range from the comical slight annoyance to the intolerable, non-negotiable.

Do any of the things above annoy you too? Are you working on changing that and becoming more flexible on any of them? Do you exhibit any of these tendencies yourself?

What traits and behaviors are on your personal list of things that annoy you? Is your list too long? If your list is short, are you truly being honest with yourself? Are you guilty of some of the very things that you don’t like and how are you going to work on that?

Are any of the things on your list negotiable or would you put up with them if the situation calls for it?

Feel free to let me know in the comments!

Ideas for Content Are All Around Us

Ideas are all around us if we pay attention.

So often, people who want to build an online presence or develop a personal brand get stymied about what kind of content to create. The same goes for companies. They become trapped in what I’d call “Creator’s Block.”

The truth is content creation is not reinventing the wheel. Not every piece of content has to be totally original to stand out or add to the conversation. One might even argue that true originality doesn’t even exist. For example, you can do roundups of opinions from industry leaders. You can also curate content from around the web and provide your own spin or unique point of view alongside it.

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Schaeffer, a sought-after marketing consultant, blogger, and keynote speaker. In his latest book, Known The Handbook for Building and Unleashing Your Personal Brand in the Digital Age, Schaeffer says the best way to keep your content fresh is to “view your daily life through the lens of possible new content…My catalog of new ideas isn’t coming from a flash of personal insight or alien intelligence beaming into my head. It’s maintained through an awareness of my environment and developing a nose for news.”

deskdefeat

Don’t break your head thinking about what sort of content to create. Accustom yourself to pay greater attention to the world around you.  Everything from current events to daily occurrences in your personal and professional life contains ideas for your next blog post, article, video, or voice note.

Observe your surroundings with an eye and ear toward content opportunities. Keep a notepad handy or use the Notes app on your phone. If you don’t like write, make an audio recording. Jot down questions your clients or customers ask you. Play around with Google’s search bar and answer questions people frequently search. Take note of interesting things you read or hear. Catalog interesting or funny things that happen to you throughout your day. And, remember, things you might think are obvious might be new and interesting to others.

Pretty soon, you’ll probably store enough content ideas to fill up an entire month or two on your content calendar. Learn to find the story angles in your everyday life and tell those stories in a way that only you can tell them.

Why I Don’t Need to Go Anywhere or Do Anything

In an earlier post, I wrote about the benefits of travel for a freelancer. Now, I’m going to completely contradict myself.

While I do think it’s healthy to get out of one’s environment now and then, I spend the vast majority of time at home sitting in front of my laptop banging out blog posts and other pieces of written content like this one. Sure, it’s great to get up, go out for some fresh air, and recharge the batteries. But, if you’re happy where you are and doing what you’re doing, who says you need to travel to some far off destination?

The following Facebook status from legendary copywriter and author of The Copywriter’s Handbook, Bob Bly, made me laugh because I related to it so much:

“”The writer’s volume of accomplishment depends precisely on the ability to sit alone in a room,” said Susan Sontag. It’s yet another reason why I view travel as an unwholesome chore to be avoided at all costs, do not go to meetings, and infrequently leave my house. And I’m as happy as a clam.”

People tell me all the time that they cannot understand how I possibly stay in my apartment all day in front of my computer and maintain my sanity (arguable whether or not it’s been maintained). They have no comprehension how I can be happy doing that. And, yet I’m totally content.

This is probably why I never really understood the “digital nomad” lifestyle that so many writers and other freelance creatives romanticize. Sure, it’s cool to be able to work from anywhere and I relish that privilege, but I’ve traveled while working. It kind of sucks!

You have to constantly worry about where to get wifi, time zone differences can make deadlines and client communication problematic, and you have to pray you don’t suffer a technical issue in a country where they don’t speak your .native tongue. Plus, if you’re really working, you don’t have much time for sight-seeing and then you feel bad that you’re not taking advantage of what your destination has to offer. I’m fine just writing and working from home. There’s nothing “out there” I need to do right now.

I keep in-person meetings to a minimum, stay inside my apartment most of the day, and rarely travel despite its potential benefits.

Other people tell me they’d go crazy. I guess we writers are a weird breed of human and I’m alright with that.