Project Management

The Amazing Inflatable Business

Just Plug and Play

A few weeks ago, my twins were having a sleepover.

I had to blow up a bunch of air mattresses for the unruly gang of 8-year-olds about to descend upon my house. As I sat on the floor zoning out to the sound of the air pump, a thought came to me.

In the past few years, my team and I have built some incredible automations.

A seamless hiring process, a kick-ass content distribution system, and a sales pipeline that goes from lead gen to conversion without dropping a prospect.

So I was thinking, what If you could just transplant those processes into somebody else’s business, making their pursuit instantly scalable?

Yes, it could definitely help businesses poised to explode, I thought. But it could be even more meaningful to those innovative entrepreneurs out there who may fail from:

  • Doing it the hard way
  • Reinventing the wheel
  • Getting in their own way.

Because it’s not a character flaw that leads to extinction, it may simply be a toolkit problem.

My thought was, what if you could push a button and unfold these processes?

Would they work for anyone, no matter the business?

Yes. The answer is yes.

For example, our automated hiring process is fully “plug and play.” It includes a fully vetted Process Street checklist that is granular and shows anyone, I mean anyone, exactly how to do it.

Click this button. Copy this app over to your Zapier account. Now click this button, and it creates a Trello board for you from a template. Next, click here, and it creates the jot form from a template that candidates fill out when they apply for your job.

In about an hour, you’ve got a fully optimized, automated hiring process that’s immediately scalable.

Imagine having six to 10 processes you can unfold that will instantly grow your business.

You don’t need an Ops person.

You don’t need a VA.

You don’t need to master Zapier.

You don’t need to build an SOP.

The processes are ready to go.

They are fully automated. So there’s no interminable training session for you or your team. The process itself has already been optimized and tested on hundreds of people in hundreds of businesses.

Essentially, it’s a business in a box. Push a button, and you’re live. Your only job is to add talent or a product.

There’s one for hiring.

One for operations.

Another for the customer journey.

And one for product or service delivery.

As I put the fitted sheets on the air mattresses, I got to thinking about this company called Fitch. Do you remember it? Well, it was a personal, virtual assistant service just for buying stuff. You would tell them, “I want this thing,” and they found the best price and ordered it for you.

It was an awesome service, really responsive. In four months, Fitch was fulfilling a hundred requests a day. The customer satisfaction was huge, and then it was featured on Good Morning America.

Suddenly it was getting 10,000 requests a day, and response time went from four hours to two weeks. And that was the end of Fitch.

My plug-and-play processes could have saved Fitch. I’m sure of it. I don’t want to see that happen to anyone else. Good ideas should never be at the mercy of inefficiencies. It’s unnecessary.

So, if you want to add Miracle-Gro for your very best ideas. Vox me. If your business took a nosedive during the pandemic and could use a shot of adrenaline to right itself, please reach out. I want to help you get back and track and enjoy the kind of success you deserve.

Yay. Another Blog Post About Management vs. Leadership

Do a Google search for the word leadership, and you’ll get 2,930,000,000 results. Management comes in at 6,040,000,000.

Funny that. Maybe the word leadership holds such an exalted position in our psyches that we don’t need help researching and defining it. Management, not so much. Management we need help with because for a lot us management looks like Lumbergh. And that’s not fair.

A gifted manager is an inexorable part of the success of any organization. But the two skills, management, and leadership are not interchangeable. And even though pretty much everyone has written something about the difference between management and leadership, it’s still hard to decipher.

In 1977, Abraham Zaleznik wrote the first scholarly article about the difference between leaders and managers. His thesis was while the organization needs both managers and leaders to reach its goals, their contributions are vastly different.

Leaders, he posited, promote change through innovation, and ensure commitment through empathy and motivation. On the other hand, managers encourage stability, exercise authority, and develop methods to get things accomplished.

Today this topic is bandied about on podcasts galore, if you’d like to go deeper down the rabbit hole.

And if all else fails, there’s always infographics:

Yet, with all this information out there, it can still be a challenge to internalize the difference in a meaningful way.

I had a conversation this morning with a client who doubted his ability to take his company to the next level. The exchange got around to the same murky management leadership distinction.

He said, “I got the business to where we are now, but I don’t know if I can get it where we need to go.”

“What is the skill set you think you don’t have?” I asked.

“Probably the big one is managing people.” He admitted somewhat sheepishly.

I said, “Well, that’s the problem. I don’t want you to manage people. I want you to continue to be the leader that got your business where it is; a person who empowers the people who work for you.”

“But what’s the difference really?” he asked.

For me, the easiest way to look at it is this:

Management is not a scalable skill. Leadership is.

Somebody who can manage ten people cannot automatically manage a hundred.

But somebody who can lead ten people well can lead a thousand.

The Last Customer Relationship Management Setup You’ll Ever Need

As a productivity expert, the question I get most often is…

What is the best CRM?

To which I always respond…

Why do you need a CRM?

I’ve never been a fan of the all-in-one CRM tools that have tons of features you’ll pay for but never use and fulfill 80% of your needs and still don’t move the needle for your business. Most people say they need a CRM because all of their competitors have one, because their sales team is overwhelmed, or because they heard a sales pitch about a tool that was going to 10x their business (who doesn’t want their business to be multiplied by 10?)

So, why do you need a CRM? You want to increase sales, make customers happier, and make things easier for your team, right? I want to show you how you can build your own super-powered CRM that will serve your needs and no one else’s, will cost next to nothing, and work the way you work.

I’ve built a system that works so well that people often question whether or not they are talking to a human being. Yes, you read that correctly. it’s not that the bot is so good they think it’s human, it’s that the human is so good they think it’s a machine.

When I personally communicate with someone over email or SMS, they will often say “Is this really Ari, or is it a bot or a virtual assistant?” I see this as a massive compliment because we are able to communicate with people as if we have supercomputers in an earpiece, coaching us on exactly what to say next in a way that a mere human never could. When I tell them it’s really me and give proof (such as telling them the time and weather where I am and what I’m doing) the conversation is taken to an entirely new level and more often than not, leads to long-term relationship (what some might refer to as a “close” but the transaction is less important to me than the experience)

The components of a CRM

This incredible clip art from a Wikipedia article on Customer Relationship Management software lays it out pretty clearly. We’re taking the sum of all interactions we have with leads (customers who don’t know they will be your customer yet) and customers (customers who know that they are customers). Don’t take my parenthetical sarcasm to mean I’m not serious. It’s important to consider the emotional state of the individual in your CRM ecosphere as you communicate with someone. If someone is a lead you need to create context and relevance around the conversations you have with them in order to move them closer and closer to the point of trusting you enough to transfer your feelings to them.

As Zig Ziglar said, sales is just a transfer of feelings. You are excited about your product and service and you want them to feel that too so they become a customer. Someone who has become a customer has completely different expectations around the interaction they want to have with you.

For a lead/customer, the CRM needs to make them feel understood. My friend Joe Polish often says “People don’t buy from you because they understand you, they buy from you because they feel understood.” For a customer, a CRM should make them feel like they are your only customer.

For your team, a CRM should be Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada, whispering in her bosses ear as each person at the cocktail party approaches her “That’s the daughter of the Prime Minister of France, Coco, that last time you saw her was at the Vogue Christmas Party two years ago, she had just gotten back from a vacation in St. Barths and was writing a novel” at which point the boss gives Coco and air kiss and asks how her book turned out. This creates instant connection and context for further conversation.

So let’s break down the complements of the perfect CRM into each piece you need, but first…

We interrupt this broadcast for an important message about all-in-one software tools

I’ve written before about the Rube Goldberg setup I prefer to have in my business and the businesses of those I coach because it enables me to see the components when they work, and more importantly when they don’t. I’m able to swap out the email marketing component of my setup because I’ve found a cheaper, better alternative without the massive headache of completely switching systems, dealing with my data being held hostage by a proprietary system, or fighting with the mental fallacy of the gamblers dilemma, thinking that the expensive system will work if I just keep paying for it.

At the end of the day, I know I can build a better mousetrap, and so can you.

So the three main phases of the CRM cycle are communications, data processing/analysis, and enriching the knowledge of team members.


How do you communicate, in general? Email, email marketing (newsletters, etc…), SMS, live chat, direct mail, online and offline ads, and phone calls should cover it for most of you. We should see our outbound communication as a means to get someone to raise their hand. That’s all I want, just raise your hand so I can see you in the crowd. Every time I give a talk somewhere, I like to ask questions and get people to raise their hands. The question means nothing, nor does that answer, what matters is that they raise their hands. You’ll never get the whole room to raise their hand, it doesn’t happen. You could have Tony Robbins in a room and he could ask “How many of you are humans?” And you’ll still only get a portion of the room raising their hands. The point of getting people to raise their hands is to elevate certain people in the crowd from a “No Star” prospect to a “One Star Prospect.” Dean Jackson teaches that a “Five Star Prospect” is someone who is:

  • Willing to Engage
  • Friendly and Cooperative
  • Knows What They Want
  • Knows When They Want It
  • Knows They Want It From You

So if we can get people to raise their hand we have immediately begun to segment people and once we do that, the conversation can evolve. All of our communications to “No Star Prospects” should contain a question. If you visit our website, the live chat will popup and ask “Are you interested in becoming more replaceable?” I’ve only seen someone actually say no once (and if you are reading this article, I have to meet you so you can be studied and cloned). Usually someone answers yes and now they are at level one. If I write back and they say someone that shows a genuine struggle with overwhelm and an openness to share information, now they are a “Two Star Prospect” and the conversation evolves further. I never consider any of these conversations a “sales conversation” until we’ve gotten to four stars because up until that point, it’s just a conversation, an education, hopefully for both parties.

In every communication channel, I simply want to learn more about the person so that if we do get to the point if discussing working together, I can deliver information in way that is efficient and relevant.

You can use any email provider you want for the outgoing stuff, Mailchimp, ConvertKit, MailJet, etc….I don’t care, because all those do is get people to raise their hands. Once they do, it definitely helps to have a tool that can not only consolidate communications but also spread the load across your team so no one, including the boss, can become a bottleneck in the sales process. My favorite tool for this is which can combine multiple business email address (think or help@company or, live chat on your website, Facebook messenger for your business page, Twitter DM, and even text messages and phone calls (this requires an add on called Toky).

Intercom immediately starts to build a profile on the person based on their location, their email address or phone number (if they input it), and can pull relevant history on them including past conversations with team members, the last page on your website that they visited, their last charge through Stripe if they are already a customer, even the last time they booked a call with you through Calendly, or attended a webinar through Crowdcast for example. This shows up on the right hand side of the screen as your communicating with them. This information is shared with any team member that engages that person and can even inform automated bots if you really need to ramp up communications quickly. In addition Intercom can automate messages based on someone meeting one or several criteria. So if someone visits your site from Germany and they haven’t been to your site in two months, you could have a pop up informing them that you now have team members who speak German. If someone is a customer and they have been with you for 6 months you can automatically text them to thank them for the loyalty. Both scenarios merely open the door to another possible conversation, further evolving the relationship. Every interaction, in every channel, is captured and “paper clipped” to the persons dossier to provide that context later on.

Data Processing and Analysis

The communications system is kind of like a magician’s hat. Sometimes you flip it over and there’s nothing in it. You tap on the top, spin it around a couple times and you’re met with…absolutely nothing. Other times you reach in and pull out a bunny. If you’re really good, you reach in again and pull out a second bunny and maybe a third. But how do we keep track of the bunnies when they aren’t in the hat, since they obviously still exist. That’s where the data holding tank comes into play.

My choice for this phase of your CRM mastery is Trello. Trello is amazing for 90% of cases. If you’ve got massive amounts of leads and customers (I’m talking hundreds or thousands) then you would want something better at handling structured data, and my pick for that would be Airtable .

In Trello I create a dead simple pipeline with just a few phase:

  • New Opportunity
  • Engaging and Qualifying
  • Closing
  • Closed
  • Cold

Every new opportunity gets added as a card to the first list. This can happen manually or through an automation. If I meet someone at an event and they give me their card, I’ll take a picture and make a card in the first list. If our machine learning algorithm (more about that here) picks someone out of the crowd or they book a free info call through Calendly, a card is automatically created. When a card is created, it will automatically include the source and any other information we can pull either from their existing profile in Intercom or from publicly available sources like Clearbit and will automatically add a due date for three days later to make sure someone follows up.

Then we reach out through the most appropriate means, given our initial contact. If it’s in person I like to go with SMS. If it’s email we stick to email. I strongly dislike when companies force you to “switch channels” in order to communicate. If you ever email a company to cancel a service and they tell you that you have to schedule a phone call to discuss closing your account (RingCentral shamefully does this and it’s why I will never use or recommend them) just call your credit company and deny any further charges.

If they respond, I just ask more questions about their business and their challenge. I’m genuinely interested, because it’s one of the ways I learn, improve and am more able to help people.

The questions you ask are more important than anything you will ever tell the person. Questions show that you are listening, that you understand them, and that you understand the problem. When you are able to articulate someones problem better than they can, the human brain will automatically associate you with the solution.

Once their is a two way dialogue, their Trello card gets moved to the Engaging and Qualifying list and a due date gets added for one week later, unless the person requested a specific date for follow up, then we enter it manually. All the while, our interactions continue to be appended to the card and their Intercom profile. If I have an interaction outside our normal systems, such as personal SMSto my phone, I will literally screenshot the conversation and add it to the card.

Once they have said that they want to be part of one of our programs, they move to Closing and follow up is set for a day later.

Once the Stripe card comes through, that triggers another Zapier automation to find the card and move them to Closed.

I keep a Cold list for people who are unresponsive or not interested and that adds a 45 day follow up, just in case we want to give one more try down the line. If the lead magically revives we move the card back to the second list.

Informing the Team

Each list is sorted by due date so and Trello has a calendar view which syncs with our team Google calendar so on any given day, any member of our team knows exactly who to contact, which channel to do it through, and what to say. The Trello integration with Intercom means the persons history is right there on the card for anyone to see.

We have a metric at Less Doing called “Time to Departure” which is the number of day’s notice you would have to give your team before you could go on vacation. For many companies the number is as high as 60 days. At Less Doing, it’s zero. I could start a conversation with someone about our Replaceable Founder Course, put their card in the second list, and walk out the door to a totally disconnected vacation. Two days later, someone on my team would see the follow up in the calendar, check the card and see that there was a few texts back and forth with the person, or maybe a recording of a call we had through Toky. That team member can get the context and reach out to the person, with the simple goal of furthering the conversation.

Choose your own adventure

I always think about the customer journey in my own company and others with whom I interact. You can always improve it, make it more personal, and answer questions before people even knew they had them.

We do something unique in our coaching business, we don’t offer a contract. We don’t lock people into a year or even a quarter. I always tell people that they should remain a part of our program for as long as they find it valuable. It doesn’t lock either of us into a relationship that’s not serving both of us, and keeps my team and me on our toes to continue to provide unquestionable value, month after month. We believe in what we do so strongly that I want to remind people of their option to cancel, BEFORE we bill them each month. There are plenty of ways to email someone when they make a purchase but preempting one requires some thought. Stripe won’t email someone to let them know they will be charged, nor will your email marketing tool.

So I tried to visualize who the person is that should get that email. They should be part of one of our programs, they should have been billed 25 days prior, and as of today their status should be consider active. These are all parameters I was able to set in Intercom and within a few minutes I had built the thing I wanted without contacting my CRM technician or buying some expensive add on software.

Our CRM includes about 15 different tools, all tied together through various automations (I didn’t even mention the automated text messages, voicemails, postcards, and gifts that we can integrate) and whether or not you copy what we do (you’re encouraged to!), my hope is that you can see how you can have the exact system you want, and achieve the results you need, with a little bit of tinkering, noodling, and obsessing.

Ripcords in Business: A Prioritization Exercise Every Business Owners Should Do

You’re probably familiar with the concept of a Minimum Viable Product. Coming up with the most essential, distilled version of a business you can put together and go-to-market with as a way to quickly test the opportunity.

The concept of an MVP has transformed enterprise, particularly in Silicon Valley and introduced the world to the idea of running a “lean Business”.

The issue is, once a business hits a certain scale, founders tend to lose sight of that lean approach — the mentality of distilling value goes out the window.

So there’s a cool exercise I run often I like to call the “Ripcord Exercise”. Essentially, imagine your entire business fell apart in a day — everything failed, your customers left, even the money in your business bank account vanishes.

What are you left with? What would you take with you as the Titanic sinks?

At Less Doing, it’s the Leaders program. We’d carry along the relationships with our leaders, continue helping them with their challenges, focusing on that. If all of our other programs fell apart, that’s the one we’d fall back to.

What you generally find when you run through this exercise is you prioritize — you’re forced to dig into the crux of what your business is, so you can see what you’re wasting time on.

One of my biggest challenges running Less Doing is with prioritization. I have a ton of ideas so I’m always throwing them up there on our Trello board (this is a common problem BTW: founder of Kissmetrics Hiten Shah says his company essentially failed because of his constant “Hiten bombs”)

The Ripcord exercise helps you isolate your vision by boiling down where your biggest value comes from. In our case, we’ve realized that the Leaders program is the essence of our business — so all of our prioritization now is aligned around Leaders.

It doesn’t mean we neglect our other programs, of course, but it gives us guidance — it’s a first-pass-filter for new ideas.

The other thing it does is force you to really think in terms of the funnel. So for instance, our priority list ended up looking something like 1) leaders, 2) other programs, 3) partnerships. If we really boil those down to the funnel, it ends up being 1) retention, 2) content/marketing, 3) outreach.

Just by going through this simple exercise we managed to nail down that our core focus right now is on retention. So we guide our efforts around building a fantastic experience, really delivering value, etc. so that we don’t really have to worry about new customers — we just focus on keeping our existing clients satisfied.

As you can see, a pretty simple thought exercise, when carried all the way through, can completely illuminate the way you prioritize in your business.

“How well does this align with our vision?”

That’s a question you should be asking yourself every time you’re mulling over a new idea. Try the Ripcord exercise to gain that clarity.

Less Doing, More Sales Enablement

One of the greatest salesmen of all time was Zig Ziglar, his book “Getting To The Close” is one of the few that I always keep on my shelf and refer to regularly. In true Less Doing fashion, he once said

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have 24-hour days.” — Zig Ziglar

You can never get to good at sales, and you certainly can’t ever get too efficient with your sales process. Sales Enablement is a simple but important concept that every organization must embrace if they want to create an efficient sales machine. Topo defines it as:

Sales enablement is the process of providing the sales organization with the information, content, and tools that help sales people sell more effectively. The foundation of sales enablement is to provide sales people with what they need to successfully engage the buyer throughout the buying process. A big part of sales enablement involves equipping sales people with information they can use in sales cycles. This information might take the form of customer-facing content, sales best practices, and tools to name just a few examples. Regardless of the form the information takes, it needs to be easy to consume and reusable across the sales organization.

The Sales Pipeline

We built a sales enablement tool out of Trello, Zapier, Toky, Intercom, Voxer, Slack, and Calendly. I’m not claiming that my system is the best because it’s ever-evolving, but it works really well for us and it might work really well for you too. So here’s how it works…

Trello serves as the brains and “dashboard” of the entire process. We use one Trello Power Up which is the Custom Fields power up, this allows us to put a dedicated email address and phone number field on every card.

Our Sales Trello Board has the following Lists (which represent phases of the process)

Sales Pipeline in Trello

  • Resources — A static list of product info and pricing, templates, etc…
  • New Lead — this is where all new leads go
  • First Contact Attempt — salesperson moves the card to this list once the first contact is attempted
  • Second Contact Attempt — salesperson moves the card to this list once the second contact is attempted
  • Third Contact Attempt — salesperson moves the card to this list once the third contact is attempted
  • Final Contact Attempt — salesperson moves the card to this list once the fourth and final contact is attempted
  • Contact Made — Appointment Scheduled — salesperson or automation moves card here when a call is booked
  • No Show for Call — If a potential buyer doesn’t show up the salesperson moves the card to this list which kicks off a series of SMS and emails to the person over the course of several days to get them to reschedule. If they don’t the card automatically moves to the COLD list
  • Appointment Completed, Follow Up Call Scheduled — After a successful call with a potential lead the salesperson moves the card to this list if the person hasn’t bought or declined
  • Closed, Won — When someone makes a purchase, the card is moved to this list by the salesperson
  • Closed, Cold — If no response is received after four attempts by a salesperson or after several attempts by the no show automation, the card is moved here.
  • Closed, Lost — if the lead says no to the offer the salesperson moves their card here
  • Closed, Not Qualified — if a buyer turns out to be unqualified the salesperson moves their card here

Now to be perfectly honest, this setup by itself is a major step up from what many companies use to track their sales pipeline (I’m talking about lots of spreadsheets, like a whole lot) but here at Less Doing, we need to Optimize, Automate, and Outsource or else it’s just an Atari when what we really want is an Xbox One at our disposal.

The Machine

The first thing to tackle is how new leads get onto the pipeline in the first place. There are three ways this happens for us.


We use an intake form powered by Landbot which looks like a chatbot as a landing page, you can check out ours here. The reason we like Landbot is it allows us to pre-qualify leads and direct them to the right product or call offering depending on their circumstances. We can put an unlimited volume of leads through it and they will always be handled appropriately. Once someone fills out the form and is considered qualified, a Zap creates a card in Trello in the New Lead list with all of their information.


We use Calendly as our scheduling tool of choice to allow people to book info sessions, strategy calls, or our proprietary Productivity Power-Up Sessions. When someone books their call through Calendly it creates a card but not in the New Lead list, it puts in the Contact Made, Call Scheduled list.

Manual Entry

If a salesperson has an ad hoc email interaction with someone or if the founder gets a business card at an event the information can be manually entered by that person or a virtual assistant in the New Lead list.

In order to make the magic happen, make the salesperson’s life as easy as possible, and ultimately close more sales, there are well over a dozen automations at play, all run by Zapier.

New Lead

This is the most complex automation of the bunch and has a lot of steps to it. The trigger is a new card created in that list and it doesn’t matter if it’s manual or automated. These are the steps:

  1. Add a salesperson to the card using a round robin selection technique
  2. Try and find the lead in Intercom in case we’ve had contact with them in the past
  3. Send a message to our sales slack channel notifying the team of the new lead
  4. Format the date from Trello
  5. Find the row for that date in a google docs spreadsheet (we use this as an overall tracker for pipeline)
  6. Update the cell with the new number
  7. Update the original Trello card with the phone number from Intercom if we have it
  8. Send a text message to the person basically thanking them for their interest and letting them know a salesperson will be in touch soon.
  9. The zap then delays for 24 hours and checks to see if the card is still in the New Lead list
  10. If the card is still there after 24 hours a message is sent over Voxer to our sales group to let us know that the lead has been sitting for too long. We don’t let things fall through the cracks, ever.

First Contact Attempt

This is a simple one. When a card is moved here it sets the due date on it to tomorrow because we want the second attempt to be one day later.

Second Contact Attempt

Same idea but this time it sets the due date for three days later.

Third Contact Attempt

Again pushes the due date three more days for final contact

Final Contact Attempt

No automations here but I want to point out that none of the lists in our board are places to linger, there is always an action associated with each list so cards never sit.

Contact Made, Call Scheduled

Nothing happens when a card is moved here but if someone schedules a call in Calendly, no matter what list their card is in, the Zap will find it, move it to this list, and update the due date to the date of the call.

No Show for Call

This is a beautiful one, with sixteen steps. When a salesperson manually moves a card to this because the lead didn’t show up for their call, an email is immediately sent to them basically asking if they had trouble connecting to the zoom meeting. One hour later they get a text message asking them if they found a solution to their problem and if not, would they like to book another call. Then we delay for one day — and this part is critical — then we “Find Trello Card” and confirm that that card is still in the No Show for Call list. If it is that means the person has not responded and the zap continues. If the card is not in that list then it means the person responded and the zap will stop. This prevents a lead from getting a bunch of emails and texts even after they have responded. Three days later, it checks on the card again and if it’s still there sends them another email trying to get them to reschedule. Five days after that they get an email asking to just let us know if they are still interested. If they haven’t responded at that point, the card is automatically moved to Closed, Cold. Pretty cool right?

Appointment Completed, Follow Up Call Scheduled

The salesperson manually moves the card here and updates the due date to the expected date for follow up, no automations here.

Closed, Won

If at any point someone makes a purchase through our cart provider, ThriveCart, the zap will attempt to locate that persons card on the board and then automatically moves it to this list. If it can’t find a card for that person it will create one. The zap then continues to notify us in our Slack channel that a sale was made so we can all celebrate the win.

Closed, Cold

When a card is moved here the due date is set for THREE months from now so the salesperson can check-in and see if anything has changed.

Closed, Lost

When a card is moved here the due date is set for THREE months from now so the salesperson can check-in and see if anything has changed.

Closed, Not Qualified

When a card is moved here the due date is set for SIX months from now so the salesperson can check-in and see if anything has changed.

The Solution

So that’s how it works. This is an incredibly easy system to bring new salespeople in as the need arises since all of the minutiae is handled for them. A system like this makes life easier for salespeople for sure, but the greatest benefit, in my opinion, is that it avoids errors. Mistakes aren’t made, and leads don’t fall through the cracks. My hope is that there is enough detail for you to create your own sales pipeline and crush your sales goals

P.S. Whenever you are ready…here are 4 ways I can help you grow your business:

  1. Join our FREE Facebook Group — The Replaceable Founder
  2. Get our FREE Replaceable Founder Mini-Course
  3. Come to our next One-Day Intensive “Becoming Replaceable” Workshop. Click Here. I’ll save you a spot.
  4. Want to work with us privately? Just answer a few questions and find out if you’re a good fit. Apply Now

My Five All-Time Favorite Conversations from The Less Doing Podcast.

I’ve now done 400 episodes of The Less Doing Podcast.

It’s been downloaded 1 million times.

So, it was pretty freakin’ hard to come up with my top five favorites. But I did it and here they are. In no particular order. Links to the original podcast are included.

The Importance of Strategic Coaching for Entrepreneurial Success — A Conversation with Dan Sullivan

Raise your hand if you’re an entrepreneur and you can’t focus.

Here’s the thing: the majority of us are finding ourselves in situations where we have so much going on, but we’re losing our footing.

From meetings to product development, we’ve got to be everywhere. We have to do everything.


No, if you’re asking Dan Sullivan, one of the most experienced business coaches.

With over 35 years of experience, Dan is focused on one thing only: stopping the overworked entrepreneur syndrome.

How Strategic Coaching Helps

Let’s be real: entrepreneurs don’t really need help with management. A tool can help with that.

What entrepreneurs really need is strategic coaching.

We need to get our priorities straight. We need to know what to focus on.

However, we’re surrounded by the buzz.

You know what I’m talking about; all those articles telling you what your next direction should be, team members with their input, your family.

Everyone has something to say.

And you have to stay sane and show up for your business.

It’s easier said than done, which is exactly why strategic coaching helps.

Entrepreneurs have great ideas and skills, plenty of healthy ambition. But they can’t quite focus — there is too much going on. A strategic coach is there to simplify things and help entrepreneurs define their priorities.

If you’re not in a place to get a strategic coach, you can learn from their strategies. Dan was kind enough to share a few lessons:

Strategic Lesson №1: Positive Focus Matters

Whenever you’re meeting with two or more people, start with a positive focus.

Spend two to three minutes talking about things you’re excited about.

This can be previous achievements, future plans — something that can hype everyone. It doesn’t even have to be related to work, as long as it gives everyone in the room a bolt of energy.

Then, start the meeting.

When you’re done, go back to positive focus.

Cheer on everyone for how well they’ve handled the issues you’ve discussed.

According to Dan, positive focus is incredibly important for morning meetings.

Everyone’s coming from different things in their lives, and half of their attention is still focused on them.

By starting off the meeting with positive things, you’ll help everyone reach the same page.

The biggest skill in life is to be where you really are.

Positive focus ensures you and your team are present in the moment.

Strategic Lesson №2: You Have to Neutralize the Critic

Strategic coaches don’t have to be hard on entrepreneurs. No one can be harder on them than they are.

Think about it; chances are, you’re probably the worst boss you’ve ever had.

Dan wants to change that, as well.

Strategic coaching is the art of asking the right questions, not providing the right answers.

In strategic coaching, no one’s going to give you the formula for success. However, coaches will help you pose the right questions.

The crucial thing is to be clear about the area you’re actually good at.

When you, as an entrepreneur, know what your strengths and your weaknesses are, you won’t be exposed to your inner critic as much.

Instead, you’ll focus on doing the work that only you can do.

You’ll have no problem delegating the rest of the work to the people on your team who are more skilled.

Or, as Dan puts it…

Do what you are really, really great at. Everybody else’s job is to free you up in some way.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you know it’s hard to let go and delegate. You feel an immense sense of responsibility.

But if you shift your perspective, you’ll have a lot more time for the things that truly matter.

Strategic Lesson №3: Entrepreneurs Need Rest

Entrepreneurs often wear their burnout syndromes like badges of pride.

Dan Sullivan, who has been a strategic coach for over 30 years, has a problem with that.

You need more free time so you’re operating strategically, not tactically.

A lot of entrepreneurs are perpetually stuck in survival mode.

They’re working so hard that they don’t have an hour of quality free time. This leads to quite literally being unable to think.

You’re adding 25 important things to think about to your plate, and you’re fighting to make it through the day.

And then, Dan says, he asks his clients to take two weeks away and there’s a change:

Two weeks away, and you no longer think about twenty-five different things. You’ve got 3 things on your plate at most, and they’re all strategic.

And the more rest you take, the more will you be able to identify the truly important things.

As an entrepreneur, taking time away isn’t easy, but it’s necessary.

Do it, and you’ll become your own strategic coach.

Do You Know How To Sleep Well? — A Conversation with Dr. Michael Breus

I know what you’re thinking: what kind of question is that?

Do you know how to sleep well?

Ari, we were born with the ability to sleep. It ain’t a skill you can pick up!

Well, it turns out, your sleep quality can be poor, and it’s interfering with the way you think, work, and live.

How to Get Better Sleep: Crash Course

You’re an entrepreneur, you’re in a rush and you needed answers yesterday — I get it.

That’s why I’ve talked to Dr. Michael Breus, AKA the Sleep Doctor.

If we’ve hacked productivity, then Dr. Breus certainly hacked sleep.

An activity we don’t think of as an activity, sleep is crucial to thinking and operating productively. And the right answer to getting more rest isn’t just popping a melatonin pill and calling it a day.

Instead, here’s what you have to know to get better rest tonight:

1. Melatonin won’t help

The first problem with melatonin is the dosage.

Because of a royalty/patent feud, the majority of companies are selling too much melatonin. A single pill doesn’t contain the perfect amount (1/3–1 mg).

It contains a lot more than you need.

And whenever you introduce an exotic hormone to your body, it’s going to impair your body’s natural ability to produce the hormone it needs.

Melatonin isn’t a sleeping pill. It’s a regulator.

It can help your body realign circadian rhythms, but it’s not going to knock you out and push you into the REM phase.

Melatonin is only really useful if you’re naturally a night owl who needs to realign their circadian rhythm.

Otherwise, there are much better methods of improving the sleep you’re getting.

2. Mattress matters

With companies like Casper popping up to promise you better sleep if you invest in a mattress (for possibly the first time in your life), I couldn’t wait to talk about mattresses with dr. Breus.

The main benefit of mattresses is the support they’re giving you.

When I was twenty, I could fall asleep on literally any flat surface. Heck, I could curl into a bus seat and get my daily dose of energy.

But as you grow older, you start needing specific support.

When you’re thinking about purchasing a mattress, don’t think about the price point. Think about the support.

If you have torn discs, get memory foam mattresses that stop you from twisting in the night. Similarly, if you have shoulder or lower back issues, get mattresses that provide specific support for that.

A $10,000 mattress doesn’t have to be more effective than a $500 one. There’s no data to back that up.

Understand the position you sleep in.

If you sleep on your stomach, avoid soft mattresses. They’ll push your lower back in a way that could damage it.

3. Pillow Talk

Similarly to mattresses, your pillows matter because of your sleep position.

If your pillow is too full, it can squish your nose forward, giving you respiratory issues.

The ideal is to have your nose in line with your sternum as you sleep.

If you sleep on your side and you need extra space between your head and your shoulder, you should factor that into your pillow decision.

The goal is to get all the support your body needs for a good night’s sleep.

In fact, the majority of head, neck and shoulder problems come from the wrong pillow.

Dr. Braus advocates buying a new pillow every 18 months since the material quality degrades over time.

You ultimately end up with a pillow that’s not the pillow you bought, or the pillow that can support you.

(Talk about metaphors, huh?)

4. The Perfect Position

Sleeping on your back is actually the perfect sleeping position, even if 70% of people sleep on their side.

When you lie back, all of your weight is evenly distributed. Your limbs aren’t going numb, you’re not crushing your capillaries or moving around during the night. And yet, why can’t we sleep on our backs?

It’s actually a spinal thing.

As we use our bodies throughout the day, we wear down our spinal discs.

When we sleep, they’re rehydrated and grow apart, making us effectively taller when we wake up.

The easiest way to help them rehydrate is by sleeping in a fetal position.

A good way around it is by putting a pillow underneath your knees.

This way, you’re removing the pressure off your pelvis and allowing the discs to recuperate even as you’re sleeping on your back.

5. Banana tea

Finally, dr. Braus recommends brewing a banana tea to get some shuteye:

  • Get an organically grown banana
  • Leave the peel on and wash it
  • Cut off the tips
  • Cut the banana (with the peel on) in half
  • Put the banana in 3–4 cups of boiling water
  • Wait a few minutes
  • Presto! You’ve got your banana tea!

Bananas have a lot more magnesium than any other fruit.

And, it turns out, magnesium works wonders for getting you the rest you need to keep doing amazing things!

Phil McKernan — Dealing with Emotions as an Entrepreneur

We talk about skills. We talk about goals and meeting targets. Heck, sometimes when we’re feeling really wild, we talk about doing more by doing less.

But entrepreneurs talk about their emotions the least.

That’s why my conversation with Phil McKernan, a speaker and a coach who brings clarity to entrepreneurs struggling to go forward, brought me so much joy.

It turns out, we don’t just need strategy.

We need emotional clarity in order to make the best decisions for our businesses.

Emotional Alignment

In addition to strategical alignment, you as an entrepreneur need emotional alignment.

If you want to become a brilliant entrepreneur, you can’t avoid raw conversations.

Phil has worked with so many entrepreneurs who thought they needed business coaches who could tell them how to make the most out of their businesses.

It turned out, they were facing obstacles in other areas of their lives.

Their struggles with being better parents or spouses were translating into their business struggles. One area you’re struggling with has the ability to turn everything into one long road overflowing with obstacles.

One client told Phil that the timing wasn’t right to sell their business. Another told him there weren’t any right buyers to sell their business to.

He called bullshit and personally, I think we should be calling our own bullshit a little more often.

What we truly are is scared shitless.

Again, this is normal. This is what it means to be an entrepreneur.

We’re facing the unknown constantly, but we’ve managed to let ourselves define our journeys by the things we’ve accomplished in business.

It’s completely obscuring our view.

Our perception is giving us brain fog.

And our goal is to cut through it.

You Are Replaceable (but that’s good!)

Phil and I agree on one thing: we’re replaceable.

A lot of people — especially entrepreneurs — don’t allow themselves to consider the fact that maybe, just maybe, the world would go on without them.

You hold on tight to your business because there’s nothing else that fulfills you and gives you the meaning you need.

In the long term, it turns you into a person who has trouble letting go of what no longer serves you or helps you grow.

If you have depth in other areas of your life, you won’t be putting all of your meaning-eggs in one basket.

You’ll be fine even if you are the replaceable founder.

Otherwise, you won’t be in emotional alignment.

You’ll reach the top, achieve all you’ve set out to achieve, but you won’t get the sense of satisfaction you’ve been craving all along.

Now, the majority of entrepreneurs face that obstacle and they don’t think about it.

All they do is push themselves into more work.

It’s not a good coping strategy, so Phil goes beyond that when he works with his clients.

Accessing Your Truth

Ultimately, as an entrepreneur who wants to feel happy about their success, you have to understand your emotions and your truth.

So many people have built empires out of a simple need to avoid poverty. They grew up in poverty and they knew they didn’t want to go back there.

However, the pendulum swings the other way around, and it’s another extreme stopping you from accessing your truth.

Once you do examine your emotions and understand what truly drives you to succeed, you will be able to create a life that gives you meaning.

You won’t postpone difficult conversations or add more tasks to your to-do list.

When you’re in emotional alignment, you’ll accept all of who you are. The good, the bad, the ugly. And when you talk about it, you’ll make someone in your audience go: “Holy shit, I am not alone in this.”

Building a Relationship with Yourself

According to Phil (and this is something I can vouch for too), there are three most important relationships that can bring you meaning and help you live in alignment with your truth:

  1. Your relationship with yourself
  2. Your relationship with your loved ones
  3. Your relationship with the work you do

Your relationship with yourself gives you confidence and self-esteem.

Your relationship with the people you love allows you to come home at the end of the day and say: “You know what? I love what I have. I love my family.”

And your relationship with the work you do ultimately helps you do meaningful things and have an impact on your community.

It helps you perceive your work as a true extension of yourself.

Not just something you spend time on to feel as though you’re worthy.

Over time, you’ll see how these relationships compound to help you live a more meaningful life.

Forget about being irreplaceable.

Forget about overworking yourself and experiencing burnout every damn week.

Instead, go out there and find your meaning.

It will tell you everything you need to know.

Jordan Belfort — Sales Lessons from the Original Wolf of Wall Street

You can say whatever you want about Jordan Belfort, but you can’t deny the man knows how to sell.

A natural-born salesman, Jordan Belfort has had his ups and downs, but he’s back and wiser than ever.

In my recent conversation with him, we’ve discussed his ethical persuasion sales system, and how entrepreneurs like us can use it.

Sales Are Natural

Most people fear sales, but they’re everything in life and business.

Sales happens everywhere.

If you’re a parent and you want to convince your kid to do their homework before bed, you’ve got to sell them on the idea.

If you want to share your ideas with the world, you need to sell them to everyone.

Teachers sell constantly; how else are you going to convince your students that learning about ancient emperors is applicable to modern-day situations?

One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is that they think about sales only in terms of closing deals.

Sales are a process of empowering people with the information you’re giving them.

Closed deals come naturally. You first have to convince them.

For Jordan Belfort, that’s a skill he naturally has.

But for the rest of us, he has a few lessons to share…

1. Persuasion is a linchpin skill

If you want to sell effectively and close deals quicker, you need to become more persuasive.

You can have the world’s best pitch, but unless you’re addressing customers’ objections and selling them on your idea before you sell them on the price, you’re not going to be able to close deals quickly and effectively.

Additionally, persuasion goes further than closing a single deal.

Persuasion helps you turn your customers into raving fans who will go out there and sell your products for you.

In the current situation, getting leads is expensive.

Your marketing program could be costing you so much per every customer you acquire that you may be barely breaking even.

The best way to get new customers and retain your revenue is by getting evangelists on board.

And you can’t do that without being persuasive.

Jordan advocates the oldest trick in the book, which he claims still works: giving away free samples.

You can offer bits of your wisdom through blog posts, or literally offer free samples of your products like they do in grocery stores.

There’s a reason why they’re so persuasive and translate to more sales.

2. “I have to ask my spouse”

One of the objections I hear often is definitely “I have to ask my husband/wife.”

According to Jordan, this is only a valid argument if your prospect is making a significant investment like buying a house.

Everything else is only a way to say: “I’m not convinced by what you’re telling me.”

There are a few ways to overcome those objections and turn your product into the best thing since sliced bread for your customers:

  • Don’t address leads’ objections. Instead, deflect them and loop back around to benefits.
  • If you’re asking your prospect to make a decision that requires other stakeholders’ input, make sure they’re present at your meeting.
  • The key is to make yourself a trustworthy salesperson. Speak about your experience, and relate to your prospect on a human level. For example, Belfort mentions one situation related to the “I need to ask my wife” objection. He approached his prospect by saying: “Of course, John, but I’ve been in this business for a long time, and I can guarantee she doesn’t ask you every time she wants to buy a pair of shoes.
  • Make your company and your product trustworthy. Ideally, the prospect will have already reviewed testimonials from people just like them.

Finally, bring back the conversation to the prospect. Ask them: “Well John, does the idea make sense to you?”

Deflect the objection. Then, go back and emphasize the benefits again. Convince the prospect of what you’re telling them.

You’ll see the objection smokescreen melt before your very eyes.

3. Forget your goals, and focus on your vision

Finally, Jordan has advice for entrepreneurs that’s not strictly related to sales, but it can help you understand your life’s work and your products better.

We’re all obsessed with our goals and getting there.

Jordan says: Transcend your goal setting and focus on your vision.

You have to create a detailed vision of your life.

Imagine where you want to be in five years personally, and imagine where you want your business to be in five years.

Then, understand your vision.

Know why you want your life to look like that.

It’ll help you understand your values and your motivations.

Ultimately, knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing will help you not only believe in your products so you can be more persuasive, but you’ll also overcome obstacles with ease.

After that, the actual selling becomes a piece of cake.

Peter Shallard — How to Be the Entrepreneur You Want to Be

For the majority of entrepreneurs, there is a huge gap between what you should be doing and the kind of entrepreneur you want to be, and the kind of entrepreneur you actually are.

We all have different images of ourselves in our heads.

But come Monday, we open up our laptops and we’re no longer the people we want to be.

So how do we change that?

How do we become the entrepreneurs we’ve always dreamt of being?

According to Peter Shallard, the shrink for entrepreneurs, accountability is key.

How Accountability Improves Your Efficiency

The one thing that Shallard brings into his Commit Action program are principles taken from therapy.

One thing that works with good and bad therapy alike is accountability.

A lot of entrepreneurs today are operating in a vacuum of isolation.

No one knows what they’re doing, no one knows that they’re showing up, day in and day out.

And more importantly: no one is celebrating their success.


Because no one knows what’s happening.

That’s one of the guiding principles behind Commit Action, where entrepreneurs get a coach who can help them feel accountable and positive about the actions they’re taking.

Shallard and his team, including psychology professors from NYU, actually conducted research to back that approach.

It turns out, entrepreneurs who were consistently successful had one thing others did not: people who held them accountable.

And despite all the technology that makes it easier than ever to start and run a profitable company, it’s actually depriving us of the positive psychological environment in which human beings thrive.

Everybody Wants to Hang out with the World

We can blame our ape ancestors for needing environments from which we get recognition and acceptance.

The part of our brain that needs social acceptance and appreciation directly influences our ability to focus.

Being entrepreneurs in our PJs isn’t working for us. We’re lonelier than ever.

The more and more time passes, the less can we focus.

It ultimately creates a state that Shallard calls mental-like schizophrenia. His clients describe feeling like they live with mental sock puppets.

At one point, the puppets cheer them on to stay hyped and efficient. Then the puppets turn on them, criticizing them for not doing enough.

And despite the events and talks that are supposed to make you feel on top of the world and push you into hyper productivity, that’s impossible to maintain without a mental game plan.

It Takes a Village to Organize a Human Brain

We need socialization, and it’s striking that a lot of businesses in the US are actually one-person companies.

Yes, you may outsource your work to freelancers, but if you’re the only one responsible for your activities and your success, and you don’t have anyone to turn to at the end of the day for accountability and recognition, it’ll get lonely soon.

And when it gets lonely, your ability to focus suffers.

Some of the most successful entrepreneurs have entire support nets; teams, boards of directors, coaches, and mentors.

Celebrating wins stops being a monologue, and turns into an accountability dialogue.

It’s why Commit Action works so well.

Shallard offers the minimum viable dose of accountability, perfect for busy entrepreneurs. You just get on the phone with your coach and tell them what you did.

It’s a small step for you, but an immense one for your future.

It’s Okay Not to Be a Powerhouse

Shallard does a lot of work with burnt out entrepreneurs who are at the point where even performing a simple task like making 10 cold calls is too much.

So what does he recommend doing in that kind of situation?

Break down the task.

Is 10 cold calls too much? Make it five.

Is 5 too much? Make a list of people you’re going to call.

Is making a list too much? Dial the first digit.

It’s something, and when you have someone holding you accountable for completing these small goals, it’ll start off a positive reinforcement chain.

In the long term, you’ll be able to commit to greater and greater actions.

Even if the initial actions you’re committing to are barely moving the needle, they’ll compound.

The Key: Implementation Granularity

So, how do you become the entrepreneur you want to be?

By taking action, consistently, and having a healthy environment to do it in.

If your goals are overwhelming you (and you know how the saying goes — if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough), there’s a simple trick you can use:

Break down the big goal into small tasks.

Climbing Mount Everest is a huge, hairy goal to swallow.

But if you visualize it as taking thirty thousand steps, it’ll become much more achievable.

And if you also have someone to hold you accountable all the while, you’ll improve your productivity and your head game.