Viewing entries tagged
Doug Sandler

1 Comment

Who wants to be a Millionaire? by Karen Briscoe

Originally published by Karen Briscoe on July 21,2017

Originally published by Karen Briscoe on July 21,2017

The TV game show “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” offers contestants the opportunity to win cash based on chance. There is a more certain way – create your own millions. Owning income producing real estate as an asset class is a proven means of wealth creation.

To net one million dollars after taxes actually requires an investor in the United States initially between $1.25 to $1.5 million. Let’s assume that an investor can expect to earn on average 6% annual rate of return earn on stocks, mutual funds and other such investments, before fees and taxes. That is an annual income of $60,000 which translates into $5,000 per month cash flow. Thus if one owns an asset that cash flows $5,000 per month, then it correlates that that investor is in possession of a $1m asset.

A residential real estate investor typically can purchase a single-family home with 20% down. That means the investor owns 100% of the asset with only 20% actual cash outlay. This leverage is unique in that to own 100% of a stock or mutual fund portfolio requires 100% funds. One can buy equity investments on margin but that just allows for the future purchase, not ownership. Real estate invest property leverages the payment of the mortgage by the tenant, in effect the 80% balance borrowed.

As the tenant pays down the mortgage, in most cases positive cash flow increases. At the juncture that the cash flow is $5,000/month, then the investor owns a million dollar asset. There are some rules of thumb that are best to follow and the values will vary depending on the market area. The best returns typically peak at a $500,000 asset which earns rental income of $2,500 plus/minus per month. The rental income earned ratio to the asset tends to go down as the price of the property increases. The reason being is that a larger tenant pool exists in the lower month rental amount.

It was truly an epiphany moment the day I realized that there are many ways to become a millionaire. One is to earn one million after tax dollars which then could be invested for cash flow. Another is to own assets that earn annual cash flow equivalent to one million dollars. Once one becomes a millionaire, it is natural to want to share the secrets to customers and clients who want to be millionaires, too.

There may be additional tax benefits unique to owning investment real, please be certain to consult your tax advisor.

Karen Briscoe with HBC Group at Keller Williams is an active and experienced Realtor® in the Northern Virginia market place. She works with investors, sellers, and buyers in all price ranges., 703-734-0192,

1 Comment


Giving First by Michael Palmisano


Four years ago, at twenty-nine years old, with zero business experience and two boys under three years old, my wife and I risked our entire life’s savings - our family house money - to start an online guitar school.  And then for 2.5 years I got almost everything wrong.  

Broke and in debt, we had to move three times and rely on family and friends for bare essentials.  We even had to sleep together in the same bed during the winter because our tiny apartment was so cold.

Today we have 70k+ students, one of the highest grossing guitar courses on the internet, major brand sponsorships, guest artist instructors, and have even had a course mentioned in Time Magazine.  Perhaps most importantly, the five of us (yes we had another boy) finally have a home of our own.

Here’s a glimpse of our struggle, and how knowing yourself and helping others made all the difference.


First off, I would like to say how excited I am to be collaborating with The Nice Guys.  Doug - or DJ Doug as he would say - and his daughter are former guitar students of mine.  They are such positive, hard working, and naturally uplifting people and I’m glad to see Doug sharing the message that he lives and breathes.  I reached out to Doug to get involved with The Nice Guys because I feel I have a compelling story of risk, struggle, and reward  - with success ultimately coming from giving first and caring - which is at the core of his message.  Of course, Doug was nice as ever and encouraged me to share.  And if this inspires to you to pick up the guitar (as I hope it does), I have included some tips and a free video to get you going. Furthermore, you can always email me at and I’ll do my best to help you in any way.  


I don’t remember not playing the guitar.  Without a doubt, I have spent the vast majority of my life chasing a singular goal: to be the best guitar player possible.

I didn’t come from a musical family, but they saw my passion and thankfully encouraged me every step of the way.  My first private lessons began in Kindergarten, and for most of my adolescent life I could be found in my room, guitar in hand.  At twenty-three I got serious and moved to Hollywood to study at GIT with some of the very best players in the world.  It was incredibly difficult, but I succeeded - even chosen by my peers to represent our class at graduation - and immediately after graduation I nailed an audition with a major record label.  They had a summer tour lined up, and I thought I had it all figured out.  

And then - seemingly overnight - iTunes and YouTube changed the music industry forever.  My peers and I watched our label gigs disappear that same spring.  I never even had a rehearsal.  It happened that quickly.

My (now) Wife was in Baltimore, and because I desperately wanted to be with her, I moved home and did what all musicians do:  Teach and gig.  

For the next seven years I taught hundreds of students, up to 50-60 a week, coached rock bands (Doug was in one), and gigged around town.  During that time I realized something critical about myself:  

I may be a good guitar player, but I’m an even better teacher - and teaching made me a better player.  THIS was my niche.

There was only one problem:  I had scaled out and couldn’t make any more money teaching.  And then a friend gave me “Crush It” by Gary Vaynerchuck and I immediately knew I had to move online to reach more people.   

Birth Of Guitargate

So - I planned the perfect product - the website I wish I had growing up: “A facebook for guitar lessons.”

It would feature a professional-grade curriculum like I found at GIT, but function as a social network, encouraging students to post videos for instructor and peer feedback.  And since I had never sold anything in my life, and my family encouraged me to complete my degree, I also went back to college full-time for business.  

Yes, you read that correctly:  Not only was I risking everything we had to start a business from scratch, but also I took out student loans to be a full-time college student, all while I was still a full time teacher, a full-time gigging musician, and a full-time husband and father of 2 non school aged children.  My Wife was also a special ed teacher and ran a skin-care business of her own.  

Hiring a firm for the site development, my main job was to create the content to fill this amazing new site:

It was a massive, 60 level, 10+ hour, all HD, multi-angle with pro audio video course.  I was the on-screen instructor and my brother-in-law manned the camera. It also featured 100+ jam tracks and 400+ images and documents.  I played all of the MIDI instruments, did all of the writing, all of the image editing.

12 months and our life savings later, I was ready to launch this incredible product that I was beyond proud of.  I thought selling would be the easy part. - because after all - who else could or would put that kind of time and money into the product??

We Lost Money For 18 Consecutive Months

Pouring every extra dollar we earned from gigging and teaching back into the company, I read every marketing book and blog known to man, took sales course after sales course, and lived and breathed Adwords and FB Ad Manager trying to make my LCV higher than my user acquisition cost.  

I finished my business degree 2nd in my class, placed in three nationwide collegiate whitepaper competitions along the way (won one), and I won our university’s entrepreneurial competition which included free office space and interns for a year.  My band was even voted “best band” in Baltimore Magazine 3 years in a row.  

I was working hard, smart, and succeeding in all my endeavors except one: Guitargate was going bankrupt.  Almost 3 years in I knew my business model was broken, and I was in complete despair.

Doubling Down On Risk - And Myself

And then I had my boldest, craziest idea yet.  The exact opposite of what I’ve been doing:  Let’s make the site completely free.  

The plan was to film a new 60 lesson course - but for complete beginners - and offer brands the opportunity to feature their products in the videos in exchange for co-promotion (I was long out of advertising money).  To hopefully make money, we would simply offer these free students a coupon to buy our masterclass at a discount (which we moved to a 3rd party course marketplace called Udemy.)

This was also when we moved for the 3rd time in 2.5 years to an old mouse-filled apartment with no insulation that backed to a train track.  We maxed out the last credit card.  

And we were having another baby.

And what did I do?  

I spent all day and night giving lessons to people without expecting or asking for anything in return.  I responded thoughtfully and consistently to every email, every video, every comment, and helped any way I could - all for free.  I talked to hundreds of guitar players a day and gave honest, professional advice and encouragement. Day after day, month after month, and now year after year.

I simply provided a link to the masterclass, explained that it picks up after the free beginner lessons, and let students know that that’s how I support Guitargate.  No ads, no email campaigns, no landing page A/B testing, nothing salesy at all.

And do you know what happened?

Within 12 months we had generated 40k+ students, $30k+ /mo in sales, and secured PRS Guitars (the 3rd largest guitar maker in the US) as our first corporate sponsor.

I could go on for hours about why, but it came down to two main points:

1.  I didn’t really know what my product was

2.  My customers didn’t know what they were buying

The Moral Of The Story

I was the product.  It was me - the good player and great teacher - not the amazing expensive website that took a year to build.

Making Guitargate free allowed people to get to know me and get value from my skill set before being asked for a credit card number.  They liked learning from me, and they bought my higher level content because they knew the value of it.

It’s that simple.

I gave first.

In that spirit, here’s a list of common questions the beginner guitarists ask and a video to help you get started.  I hope you find it useful, and if I can help you in any way, please don’t hesitate to email

Beginner Lesson

  1. Am I too old? - NO WAY!  Even if you are 80 years old, you can absolutely learn to play the guitar if you try. If you start slow, give yourself reasonable goals, and have fun, you can do this.

  2. Are my hands / fingers too small? - NO WAY!  I have small hands. Some of the best guitarist that ever lived had small hands.  Look at Django Reinhardt - he only had 2 fingers and many people feel he is the best to have ever lived! Moral of the story = you can do this :)

  3. I don’t have much time to practice - is this a waste of my time? - Absolutely Not.  Actually, especially as a beginner, you don’t need that much time to practice… you just need to practice frequently. Learning a discipline is all about repetition, not duration.  15 minutes a day is better than 30 min every other day. You will not be practicing for hours and hours in the beginning, so it’s important to realize that regular practice is the key - not practicing for a long period of time.

  4. What should I expect realistically? - You get out what you put in.  I know this is obvious, but many people struggle with this simple concept. It is related to the previous question on practice time - if you practice every day for even 5 minutes, you should start seeing results on a weekly basis. And that’s fantastic.  If you practice an hour at a time, but only once every 7-10 days, it’s going to take you at least 1-2 times as long to progress.  Yes, of course, some people are more naturally suited to playing for a variety of reasons, but it’s quite simple: if you practice regularly, you will see regular and consistent progress!



Using this “GPS” will help you find your lane for success! by Bruce Waller

In 300 feet, turn left. The destination will be on your right. Wait, this isn’t my destination. How can this be? I thought it was right here. This isn’t the destination I was planning. Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? You had an idea of where you wanted to go, but when you arrived it wasn’t what you planned. Did your destination change, or maybe you just need to use a different GPS? Unfortunately, this is a common theme when pursuing goals and dreams. We think we know where we are going, but we often take wrong turns, or get jammed up in traffic along the way.

Maybe you are a college graduate that thought it will be easy to find the perfect job after graduation only to be still searching several months later. What about the salesperson that has big dreams of success, but continues to struggle from month to month trying to land that big deal? Are you the office administrator or young business person looking for your next opportunity in the company only to be disappointed because nobody has noticed your strengths as a future leader? 

Many people start out with big dreams, but later find out it wasn’t exactly what they planned along the way. So what do you do when you learn that you took the wrong exit, or get lost or stalled on your journey to destination?

It’s time to use a new GPS! Grow, Plan, and Share!

Grow – I once heard Jim Rohn say “Success isn’t pursued, it is attracted”. If you want that promotion, you have to get better by learning more and becoming more. Growing sales means learning more about your customer. Finding the perfect job means asking more questions and connecting with other experienced leaders. Opportunity starts with personal growth. What are you reading, or doing each day to put yourself in position to get to your next destination? Write down 3 things you can do each day to elevate your growth.

Plan – Setting goals is critical to finding your destination. I once had a boss that used the phrase “plan your work and work your plan”. I have adopted this philosophy for years and used it in my navigation system. If you want to grow your sales, make a plan to practice your calls each week and include others for feedback. If you are looking for a new HR opportunity or want a promotion, turn off your radio and practice interviewing in your car on your way to work and include others for feedback. If you need a certification to go to next level, go get it! Doug Sandler once shared this post on twitter, “the 10 most powerful 2 letter words are – if it is to be, it is up to me. Start writing down your game plan each week and focus on planned activity for results.

Share – This is one lane that many people miss. You have a great opportunity to help others just by sharing and being a resource for others. Zig Ziglar once said, “If you help enough people get what they want, you will eventually get what you want”. When we share, we are serving. What can you do today to be more resourceful to help others reach their destination? Some ideas include sharing articles that inspire you, connecting mutual friends to network, or sharing an idea to a customer to help them improve their business. Share with me too!

Growing, Planning, and Sharing is a great GPS to help you find your lane to reach your next destination. I wish you safe travels on your next journey to success!

Call to action: Write down 2-3 ideas  that you can put into practice to finish strong in 2016. Please share with others so they can help you navigate to find your lane for success.

This has been “A Relocation Minute” on “Are you using this GPS” with Bruce Waller, for more information on relocation resources, call 972-389-5673, or email Follow me on Twitter too!

Bruce W. Waller, CRP, PHR is currently the Vice President of Corporate Relocation for Armstrong Relocation in Dallas, an industry leading moving company for United Van Lines. Armstrong Relocation has been helping companies move their employees, offices, and products for more than 50 years. Contact Bruce at 972-389-5673 or send an email to for assistance.



Why Engagement Matters on Social Media by Amy White

Social Media is all about the “social” aspect of marketing.  It doesn’t matter if you are doing your social media purely for fun or as part of a business strategy. 

If you are on any social media platform you are marketing a product, even if that product is yourself.  

There is a reason we constantly check our pictures to see how many people liked our images.  I post and share images, articles and status updates with the hope that my content is interesting to my followers.  

I am marketing both myself and my business with every social interaction.    

I love social media.  I love sharing photos, being social and curating interesting content from my feed to share.  

I like engaging people, sharing ideas, collaborating on projects and in general making new friends from around the world.  

Social media makes our world just a little bit smaller each day.

Why social media engagement matters:

I’m not an expert at social media, but over the last year of blogging, I’ve noticed a few things that I’d like to share.  

Anyone using social media for business wants to increase their following base.  It is all about the almighty follower, likes, comments, shares . . . . the list goes on and on.

We use our social media platform to share material.  

Simple right.  

It sounds like it should be.  

There is a myth, that as long as you put up quality content your readers will come.   I’m getting visions of “Field of Dreams” – and yes this does date me.  

Yeah, not so much.  Oh, you’ll get lucky occasionally and pick up a few new followers and have someone share your content, but it takes more than just quality content to attract people.

Engagement, engagement, engagement!  

It is kind of like the old standby in real estate of, location, location, location.

You can have the most beautiful feed in twitter land and you won’t get followers unless you are engaging people.

Over the last year, I’ve slowly been increasing my twitter following.  I had gotten my count to around 1300 just prior to having my baby 3 month ago.  1300 isn’t a huge number, but my base was solid.  I was receiving a decent number of shares and had great interaction.  

I completely abandoned twitter for 2 ½ month after giving birth.  

I kept my auto-tweeting going through Tweetjuke box, but literally did nothing else for 10 weeks.  

When I got back on Twitter, my following had dropped to around 1200 and I had lost a lot of traction.  The only people retweeting my content were friends who knew I was out on maternity leave.  

It was really disheartening to see how much ground I had lost.  

Five weeks later, I’ve increased my following to 1,815.  

I attribute my loss and subsequent gain entirely to engagement.  

I’m still posting the same auto content, but am now supplementing it with additional content.   I’m retweeting, sharing interesting articles I’ve read, but most importantly I’m commenting and interacting again.  

No one wants to follow a robot on Twitter.  

When I’m following people, I want to know that there is someone behind the screen.  

I want authenticity.  

In other words, successful social media enthusiasts are social animals who use their love of engagement to increase their following.

I’ve seen it over and over in social media land.  The friendliest users end up with the most followers.  There are certain people who just have an inherent need to be helpful.  

In the process of being helpful they have literally building their brands by sharing their knowledge base.  

I’ve touched specifically on twitter interactions, but believe this same attitude is universal through all social media sites.  

The most successful people on social media are those with the “niceness” factor.  They have turned a desire to provide useful, applicable information into a successful brand.  

I’ve read hundreds of posts on how to be successful on social media from some of the top marketers in the world.  Without fail every single article will mention some form of personal engagement.  

Yes, there is a place for automation in social media, but don’t forget that ultimately your success is tied to meaningful engagement.    

So what are you going to do differently to engage your followers?


Amy White has over 16 years of experience in business operational management.  With the birth of her daughter, Amy recently resigned as the HR Director for a medical management company, which had grown from 20 employees to over 100 during her tenure.  This experience has given her a unique insight into marketing which lead to the development of her blog  Digital Media Education began as an offshoot of her personal finance blog and was intended to highlight the learning process she experienced while blogging.  Amy loves the personal aspect of social media and blogging which allows her to reach a diverse audience.  On a personal level, Amy is excited to share her hobbies of rock climbing, canyoneering, scuba (that one may take a bit longer) and hiking with her daughter.





A Tale of Two Choices...which are you? by Bruce Waller

A tale of two choices…

I was recently reflecting on my daughter’s college selection process and it reminded me how closely aligned it is with a candidate that is trying to select a company to work for, or when a leader is considering an employee for a promotion, or even when a company is selecting a vendor to partner with. It’s all about perception…

Several years ago after high school graduation, my daughter had decided to visit two universities as she continued her college education. She was planning to be a nutritional science major and was excited about the journey ahead. So she set up a college tour with each school which were both major universities and I was fascinated by the difference with each visit.
When we visited the first college, it was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and the weather was about 75 degrees. It was amazing. We went in to register for the orientation and found our group for the tour. The tour guide was a student at the university. He was smiling, upbeat, positive, and passionate about his school. As we walked around, he would share his stories about the different areas on campus that he enjoyed and how much fun others have from the student union, to the rec center, to game days. He was engaging and connected with his group during the tour. He was proud of his school and transferred these feelings to students taking the tour. When we left, my daughter was feeling pretty good about the college but said she was keeping her options open as she still had another college to tour before she made a decision.

When we went to visit the second college, it was a cool morning with an overcast as rain was in the forecast. We went to the orientation meeting, then met with our group for the campus tour. The tour guide was also a student, but this guide was much different than the first college we toured. He was not very engaging, and didn’t really have much energy. When asked about certain areas, he didn’t really engage with the group other than share what each place was, not the experience. When we walked by the football field, we thought it might be cool to check it out, but he said it was off limits. I thought he missed a great opportunity to share game day stories, or something to let others know what it would be like as a student. By the end of the tour, my daughter turned to me and said that she really didn’t need to think about it because she had made her decision to attend first college we visited. I was proud of her for going through the process and making her own decision.

So what made the difference? Perception… Both universities were great places to get a college education, but being positive and sharing experiences with others to help them feel what it would be like to be part of the journey made the difference. It doesn’t matter if you are in customer service or operations, or work in HR and payroll. Positive passionate people that learn how to connect, ask questions, and build a relationship will get the promotion and elevate your company every time.

Call to action: Are you the tour guide for college #1 or #2? Ask someone you know this week for feedback to see what changes you need to make to elevate for impact. You will be glad you did and it could also mean big promotions ahead as well. It’s a great start to finding your lane for impact.

This has been “A Relocation Minute” on “a tale of two choices” with Bruce Waller, for more information on relocation resources, call 972-389-5673, or email Follow me on Twitter too!



3 Networking Strategies to Elevate Your Experience by Bruce Waller

When I first started networking in my business, my mindset was not very good. I would often question myself about how I could possibly add value to others? I would often think “I am not an industry expert in HR, or Travel, or Relocation, or whatever group that it is meeting”. This thinking will lead you to fear and doubt, as well as reduce your confidence around people. The day you figure out ways to add value as a business professional will be the day networking will change your perspective and open doors for you that you would have never dreamed were possible.

Networking takes skill with a focus on serving others. When I was attending a networking event years ago, I remember at the end of the meeting where the facilitator asked everyone to stand up and exchange business cards for 2 minutes and try to see who could get the most cards. People would quickly shake your hand and literally throw your card at you before moving on. It was like a tornado of business cards blowing in and you were just trying to get through it. This is NOT networking. Networking is about listening, learning, sharing, and being resourceful. It’s also about having a strategy for positive results.

Here are 3 strategies to focus on next time you network for maximum value:

Show up. When I decided to attend my second DallasHR meeting back in 2004, I pulled into the parking lot and remembered the overwhelming feeling I had experienced from the previous meeting. I didn’t know anyone and was getting nervous as I walked up to the hotel. Once I walked in, I looked over at the sea of people networking and immediately walked out of the hotel back to my car and started to leave. I was a wreck. However, I knew that in order to meet people, and connect with others, I had to take action and show up. I am glad I went back into the meeting, because it has impacted my business and personal life in a positive way for over 13 years now.

Be a learnerFocusing on the other person when networking is critical. We all know what it feels like when you have someone come up to introduce him/herself and just start talking about their business or their personal goals. My wife and I attended a book signing not too long ago and met some great people. When we left, she mentioned that she met a few people and learned a lot about what others are doing in their careers, but she also experienced an interesting observation. She said nobody asked about her career. So many times we get caught up talking about our own situation and forget to learn about what others are doing to achieve success. It reminds me of the quote by John Maxwell, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”. Asking questions and learning from others will deepen the connection every time.

Add Value. A lot of people struggle with this area because they don’t feel like they have anything important to share. We all have a story and value to share. We just need to find the connection. Value is about learning, sharing, and being resourceful. Another way to add value is to help others connect. When I am networking with someone and see another person I know, I try to introduce them so they can connect. People appreciate and value a good personal connection. I also try to learn as much as I can so that I grow and share with others to help them grow their business and/or in their personal life. Networking is a skill that you can develop with practice, but it takes some work along the way. However, the payoff will be priceless.

Call to action: Write down some questions to ask the next time you plan to attend a networking event. Focus on learning more about them and how you might be able to add value in their business. You will be amazed at the results.

This has been “a Relocation Minute update” on “Networking” with Bruce Waller, for more information on relocation resources, call 972-389-5673, or email Follow me on Twitter too!



The Secret or Not-so-Secret Weapon: Self-Reliance by Anna Nygren

Photo credit: Photogore/ Flickr / Getty Images

Photo credit: Photogore/ Flickr / Getty Images

Theatre performances. Maid of Honor Speeches. Debates. Talent Shows. What do all of these things have in common? All eyes are on the person talking. Most of the time, the speaker feels the need to abandon the things that make her unique and act in a more “suitable” fashion. But allowing one’s performance to be an extension of self is where the magic really happens.

The journey of personal branding is just like that. Once you have decided that you are going to go down the uncharted path of making who you are and what you do the same, you begin to question how you do you and second guess yourself over minute details. Not only will you begin to question yourself but others will question you on top of that. Many will have doubts (“What are you going to do if this goes nowhere? What is your Plan B?”) and others may not even entertain the idea of such a career. This is where the rubber meets the bumpy, earthy, hand-carved road. You are going face to face with what you believe about yourself and about the opinions of everyone else (including your family). From that point on, you need to have self-reliance. A characteristic that will reinforce your personality and what makes you tick. It is in the moments when you are not thinking so hard, working all day or hanging out with friends, that you begin to see the lines that you have unknowingly drawn for years. Lines that show you love British humor or that you are good at coming up with name for ice cream flavors. Whether you can crystalize these lines in a day or a month, you will feel a solidity begin to form. As you focus on those things that put a pep in your step, the ideas for Instagram posts, tweets and blog topics begin to flow. The next thing you know, a website with your name front and center is up and running and you are slowly but surely, being 100% you on the social media stage. BAAM! You start to second guess yourself less but you do not lose the care given with each step. With that, you begin to define what makes you, you. And that my friends, is the game changer. Get focused, realize that you do have the personality and the opportunity to brand yourself. Get out there and do it.

Anna Nugren is: Young, Smart and Strugglin'. She is a realistic optimist, rower, lifelong student. You can see her here or follow her on Twitter @annavnygren



Small Woodland Animals by Nicole McDermott

There’s a quote I like to share with the staff at school each year, and it’s posted in my office too:

“Think of your boss as a small woodland animal – make no startling moves or strange gestures.” (Cathie Black from Basic Black)

This is funny to many because if you know me, you know that I am probably the least likely person to be compared to a small woodland animal – or any animal, really! – but the message fits.

Your boss doesn’t want you to do things that are odd or unexpected.  Your boss wants to feel confident that when she hears from you and sees you, both in and out of the work place (and on social media, too), she knows what she’s going to get.  Your boss wants your behavior and your work to reflect well on the company or organization.  

Because if something you do is strange and startling, what will a customer or client think?

Because if your boss is feeling like your behavior is strange and startling, can he trust you?  Can your colleagues or teammates either?

I think the answer is no.  And, if there’s no trust, there’s not much of anything else…

Another way to get at this is: be consistent.

Last year, I heard a speaker say, “When people are consistent around you, they show you their integrity.”  When I think about the people with whom I work – both in my professional life and in my volunteer work – I think this quote rings true.  How do you earn respect?  How do you become seen as someone who is reliable, trustworthy, committed?  It’s by being consistent over time, living your values through your actions, focusing more on the organization or company than yourself, following through on what you say you will do – and by making no startling moves or strange gestures.


Nicole McDermott recently concluded her eleventh year leading Pinecrest School, a small, independent preschool through sixth grade school in Northern Virginia. In addition, Nicole has extensive experience working with high school student leaders through her community service work with Kiwanis International, and she spends a week each summer volunteering at Camp Sunshine, a retreat in Maine serving critically-ill children and their families from around the country. She prioritizes building connection and community, supporting people she loves and causes that are important to her and continuing to grow into a better version of herself. You can read more of Nicole’s written work on her blog.




Nice Guys Finish First? by Dara Goldberg

Last month, I had the pleasure of seeing Doug Sandler give a presentation at The Philips Collection. Doug has recently released a book, Nice Guys Finish First  about how to effectively build and maintain relationships. I have to admit, the title sounded intriguing, and so I decided not to skim through his book online and spoil the mini-seminar since I wanted to hear the author make his case in person. 

During his talk, Doug even pointed out that nothing he was saying was revolutionary. In fact, he said, everyone is already aware of most of his points, and even more importantly, they already know they should be following them. I thoroughly enjoy going to these types of talks as a refresher, to... well... keep myself sharp. Here is what I learned at this talk:

Note: Doug was speaking to a room full of sales and marketing executives -- apologies if sales or marketing is not your full time job -- but I believe this can be applicable to any industry!

We all know that communication is the key to relationships, and luckily for you, according to Doug, you're in more control than you think. When you're interacting with a client, you want to feel a human connection to that other person. People want to work with businesses focused on making an exceptional customer experience, rather than exceptional products. In order to get there, you need to connect with your customers, clients, prospects, or leads. The simplest interactions can deliver enriched, meaningful relationships; however, they can get botched by the silliest things.

The Five BIG Mistakes People Make:

  1. Failure to Listen
  2. Over Promising and Under Delivering
  3. Poor Response Time, i.e. replying to a text several days later (Why pay that forward? Don't be that person...)
  4. Failure to Have a System / Failure to be Consistent
  5. Failure to Care -- the Holy Grail of them all

OK, so all of the above are not easy habits to break. But you can turn all of this around, and position both yourself and your clients in a win/win situation. If you truly want to succeed, you will strive for leaving other people feeling good about themselves and thereby wanting a deeper more engaging relationship with you and your business. Don't forget that creating systems is very important for your daily operations, since it will build that trust and consistency that clients crave. Oh, and advising and educating your clients, rather than 'selling to your clients' will lead your client to better decisions.

'Go the extra mile, it's never crowded'

Doug asked us to take a Thirty Day Challenge, the Nice Guy’s Challenge. Here are the Nice Guy Rules:

  • Return Every Phone Call
  • Return Every Email
  • Deliver on Every Promise
  • Be on Time. Every Time
  • Send Two Messages a Day (texts or emails to two people you haven't spoken to in at least 3o days. Something quick, 'Hey, I'm thinking about you, and hope you're having a great day')

I’ve decided that December will be great month to do this. The theory behind this is to throw positivity into the universe like a handful of glitter. You get what you give, you know, the golden rule of the universe:

'Treat others as you would like to be treated'

As I said earlier, I believe anyone can benefit from this type of advice. I highly recommend Doug’s Podcast as well. I started listening to some of the episodes on my morning walks and I've been learning a lot of great tips to incorporate into my daily work.

About Dara Goldberg (in her own words):

I’m just a twenty-something woman, navigating her way through this strange, yet fascinating, adventure called life. I’m a sunshine, sand, and ocean loving  Florida girl, currently living in the heart of Washington, DC with my boyfriend, Alex. We have a house full of herbs, succulents, and cacti we are attempting to keep alive. Check out Dara's lifestyle blog at Peonies+Bees.