Wendy Kurtz is the founder and president of Elizabeth Charles Associates LLC, a public relations firm that specializes in helping executives become published authors and paid speakers. And she's an accredited professional. Wendy has been helping people develop and deliver marketing and communication messages efficiently and effectively for more than 25 years.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 104
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Higher Education Webinar – https://screwthecommute.com/webinars[04:08] Tom's introduction to Wendy Kurtz [16:15] Spent early career in corporate before she ‘broke free’ [27:19] Getting screwed over in business early on [29:33] The best and worst parts of working for yourself [38:14] Sponsor message [39:42] A typical day for Wendy and how she stays motivated
Higher Education Webinar – It's the second webinar on the page: https://screwthecommute.com/webinars
Screw The Commute – https://screwthecommute.com/
Screw The Commute Podcast App – https://screwthecommute.com/app/
Know a young person for our Youth Episode Series? Send an email to Tom! – firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a Roku box? Find Tom's Public Speaking Channel there! – https://channelstore.roku.com/details/267358/the-public-speaking-channel
Wendy's website – http://wendykurtz.com/
Call Wendy – 407-876-7730
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Basic Video Editing – https://screwthecommute.com/103/
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Episode 104 – Wendy Kurtz
[00:00:07] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.
[00:00:29] Hey everybody, It's Tom here with episode 104 of Screw The Commute podcast. We've got Wendy Kurtz here, she has been billed the Empress of PR by Mark Victor Hansen the co creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing Empire. In fact, is was her work with Hansen and his network over the years that kind of led her firm specialization today. And also, she'll tell you a little later how we met last episode was one hundred three basic video editing for business. And I'm not in favor of you trying to become a video editor. I mean, if you could even figure out all the things editing software could do, which most of us or most of you is doubtful you ever could because it'll do all kinds of stuff. Your video still might suck because there's also a big artistic element to video editing. What I am in favor of is you being able to to do little stuff. And that's the stuff I covered in in this episode on trimming the ends and putting some text on and simple things so you don't have to pay and wait for it to be done. I covered that in the last episode of our podcast app is in the iTunes store. You can check it out at screwthecommute.com/app. We have complete instructions if you're a newbie at using apps and it'll do all kinds of great stuff for you to take us with you on the road. So check that out at screwthecommute.com/app. Now, if you happen to have a Roku box or if you ever even heard of Roku or you want to get one, it's a good time. It's only about 40 bucks to get a Roku TV box and you get thousands of channels and if you do, make sure you check out the public speaking channel. We just rolled out that on Roku TV and it's brought a hundred thousand dollars worth of speaking training. All for free. If you if you get Roku TV and we're rolling out the Protection Dog Channel and Brutal Self-defense Channel, and then we're also going to take it to Amazon Fire. So watch for our TV network to really roll. Now our youth program, I'm really looking for young people when I say young up to early 20s, anything up to early 20s that are doing entrepreneurial things and we want to feature them once a month on Screw the commute. So we'll do a special youth edition or episode. So if you know anybody, have them email me at orders@Antion.com that will be in the show notes and we'll tell them how they can apply to be featured because we really want the young people to get entrepreneurial. All right. Our sponsor is the Internet Marketing Training Center of Virginia. It's a distance learning school. Now, let me ask you, do you know what colleges and universities are doing? According to gradeinflation.com, they're raising grade point averages to make it look like they're doing a better job of teaching when there's a mountain of evidence that says they aren't. So I really want you to watch the eye opening higher education webinar at screwthecommute.com/webinars to potentially save yourself and possibly your loved ones, friends and neighbors, hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt when they go for higher education. Plus, check out my distance learning school. IMTCVA.org. That's the Internet Marketing Training Center of Virginia. It's the only license dedicated internet marketing school in the country, probably the world where you can learn to have a lifestyle business in as little as six months, it's legitimate. I mean, we're scrutinized heavily by the state of Virginia. Like said, we're the only one in the country that's ever done this. So check it out.
[00:04:09] All right, let's get to the main event. Wendy Kurtz is the founder and president of Elizabeth Charles Associates LLC, a public relations firm that specializes in helping executives become published authors and paid speakers. And she's an accredited professional. Wendy has been helping people develop and deliver marketing and communication messages efficiently and effectively for more than 25 years. And I think she's lying because she's never looked more than 12 years old.
[00:04:40] So this is why I love you, Tom Antion. You always make me feel so good.
[00:04:46] I got to ask you, like I ask everybody, are you ready to screw. The commute?
[00:04:52] You have to be careful if I have you on speakerphone.
[00:04:58] Yeah, that's true. I don't want to get punched out. And also, you're, you know, get arrested because you only look 12 years old.
[00:05:06] I'll send you the check later. Thanks.
[00:05:10] Tell everybody what you've been doing lately and then we'll take it back to the beginning and see how you came up through the ranks.
[00:05:17] So, I mean, you said it when you introduced me. Basically, I help executives, entrepreneurs, business owners become published authors and get paid to speak. You know, my tagline is get published. Get on stage, get results. And I'm on the side. And this is something I haven't promoted before. But I also advise political candidates on strategy and communication. And I'm actually proud to say all of the candidates I have advised in recent years have all won. And it's good because they're candidates that are focused on issues and skills and don't get into some of the stuff going on today there. They're there to work, not, you know, make a big name.
[00:05:58] So you don't teach them to wear bulletproof vests and dodge bullets. That's the way it is now, isn't it?
[00:06:04] Yeah, sometimes in this day and age. But it's very interesting working with political clients. You know, you say why politics versus authors and speakers? But it's really all the same in terms of being able to get a message and deliver that message to the audience efficiently, effectively, you know, in a way that resonates with people. So they truly understand who the person is, whether it's the author, it's the speaker or the political candidate, and how that particular individual can help them grow their business, improve their life, etc., etc.. So it makes for some interesting times, particularly as we're coming up into another election year.
[00:06:40] I thought that it was continuous.
[00:06:41] It seems like every every two years. I mean, everybody's fundraising so early and getting that, but it bodes well for job security, right?
[00:06:50] Because there I was talking to a guy the other day. He's the political philosopher and political activist. And he had all these really off the wall ideas. And he's really pushing. I mean, he's very successful guy. But I told him I got the solution to all this politics stuff. I said, we're going to build the wall, but we're not going to put it on the southern border. We're just going to put it between the Democrats and Republicans. So nobody kills each other.
[00:07:24] So they all kind of kind of just leave each other alone.
[00:07:26] Can't get to it that they can reach through. Like, you know, the zombie movies, you know, but they can't get there.
[00:07:36] Well, and so you see why in today's climate it's even more important that people that have good quality, skill based experience based messages, stories, experiences that they can train and teach others on is so critical right now.
[00:07:51] Oh, yeah. They can get it through the noise. I mean, you got people just screaming all kinds of bizarre stuff that are winning elections and some things that just seem bizarre to to an average blue collar person.
[00:08:05] Exactly. I think I mean, it's kind of hard when we get up and go to work every day and earn our money and then come back and we're like, wait, we hired you to do a job and you're not doing the job.
[00:08:13] They know they do have a pretty good approval rating. They're in Congress and they almost hit 13 percent.
[00:08:22] I tell you what, you know, if we did that in our business, our business would shut down. So that's you know, that's why I enjoy the work I do because I get to work with it with people like you that are on the cutting edge, that are looking to the future, that are trying to help other people grow and build their businesses, doing the real world stuff. Not not that our legislature and our laws aren't important, but at the end of the day, you know, most people are just trying to put food on the table. They're just trying to feed their families, keep their families safe, have a good quality of life in the community in which they live. Go to the park, take the dogs to the park, that kind of stuff. And so that's, you know, the beauty of what I do, working, you know, with a lot of thought leaders, change agents, people who really are trying to figure out how can we navigate through all of this noise to find common ground or to help people improve their lot in life so that, you know, whether whether they're just wanting an advancement at work or they're wanting to take their business to the next level. How do we get the messages to them that help them further succeed and what they're trying to do? So they in turn can then reach out and help others succeed. And, you know, eventually we're all doing great things for the greater good. Right.
[00:09:33] So. So how do you work? Actually work with someone.
[00:09:36] So, you know, it's interesting. People come to me in all varieties of stages. You know, they may come with just an idea for a book. You know, I've always wanted to write a book or they may want to increase exposure for themselves or their companies. They may want to increase revenue. You know, there's a whole you know, they may have already written a manuscript or you mentioned Mark Victor Hansen earlier, co creator, Chicken Soup for the Soul. And we can talk about how I met him and ultimately you a little bit later. But, you know, when he wrote his book with Art Linkletter, who was well-established global brand, he came to me and had me put together some of the PR plan that went into the book proposal and then launch his book tour. So you've got him. He was already well-known worldwide for the chicken soup brand. But then, you know, I had a client last year her book just came out in the fall. She had been a franchise owner and had grown her franchise, bought two more franchises and then sold the three and is now doing some teaching, wanted to write a book and wrote her book and literally sent me snapshots off her phone of sticky notes.
[00:10:50] And that was the start of her book. So you've got from one extreme to the other, then you've had other people that aren't sure if they want to write a book or they want to speak. And so they'll contact me to see if it's a viable idea. Is it is it something people would be interested in? Is it something that's oversaturated in the market? So it's really my work is unique enough for me, which is good from an attention span. You know, it keeps things interesting. But really helping helping people go from, you know, book idea to bookstore shelf, from program concept to on stage delivery and back of room sales consulting everything they do after that as well. So it just depends on the individual client, some of them. I will actually help them draft marketing materials. The really core piece that I do with all of them and this is why it works so well with candidates as well as as business owners is they've got all of this experience, both life experience as well as business experience. They've got a background that's unique to them and them alone. And some of these people, you know, 20, 30 years in business. How do you take all of that experience and distill it down into a paragraph or two on a Web site? And more importantly, you know, a 30 second sound bite so that when someone says, hey, what do you do? They can deliver that message in a way that that enlightens people as well as encourages them to say, oh, tell me more.
[00:12:15] Right. So it really just depends on the individual. But we spend a lot of time really honing in on on some key things, really, who they are, what they do, how they do it, for whom they do it, you know, target audience. And then oftentimes why they do it, because some people are doing it for a very specific reason, whether they want to raise funds for this or they want to, you know, start a movement or be a change agent. And so really helping people get clear on who they are. And then from there, we can begin to develop their story, whether it's going to be a book that that, you know, details their experiences, offers lessons, or it's going to be a program, they're going to speak, you know, to an audience at a conference or an industry association breakout session or something like that.
[00:13:02] Do you work with them remotely mostly or people come and see you first or what.
[00:13:08] I do both. But primarily I do it remotely, virtually. You know, let's let's talk about. I mean, talk about screw the commute. The last thing anybody wants to be doing in Orlando right now is commuting back and forth, back and forth. We have got really exciting projects here in the community right now. It's called the I4 Ultimate Project. And what it is, is the the I4 is our Interstate 4. And years ago before Disney, all of that that I4 ran straight down the middle of our downtown Orlando area. And so over the years, Disney came in the 70s and then by the 90s, we had like 900 people a day moving to what is called the central Florida region. It's a geographic footprint around Orlando. And so now I think the numbers are up to, like, you know, a thousand people a day moving to this region. So you've got this antiquated transportation system and it's really the backbone of our transportation system here in central Florida. So we are in the process of a 21 mile makeover of that background, and this started in 2015 and it's set to be complete in 2021, but it's basically rebuilding 21 miles of interstate from the west of Orange County to Far East in Seminole County. That's the two adjoining counties and they're adding tolled express lanes in each direction. They're replacing more than 140 bridges. They're reconfiguring 15 major interchanges.
[00:14:36] Don't you wish you were out there driving around all day.
[00:14:39] No. No. And so when you say screw the commute I, so, so, so relate with that and say, you know, that's just one reason. You know, not to be commuting all the time and spending all that time tied up in traffic. But, you know, so my clients are all over the place. I do have several local clients right now as it as it happens. But really with with Internet technology, cell phones, Skype, you know, it's just so easy to work remotely anymore.
[00:15:08] Well, I'm sure you don't know this, hardly anybody knows this. I worked one day for some little dinky hotel production company that would give the traffic and weather reports in the hotel rooms it was so bad I'm sitting there doing the news. And behind me is the traffic. It could have been on the I4. I don't know. But they were so pitiful their machines weren't working right. And then the traffic behind me started going like zooming a thousand miles an hour right behind me on the green screen as I'm doing the weather. So I said, well seems like traffic's picked up considerably and then the machine quit and just went into pause. And so everything came to a stop. And so I said it appears like traffic has now come to a standstill. I had no choice it was live. So. So, anyway, let's take you back. Did you ever have a job?
[00:16:18] Oh, I had I had several jobs before I finally got free. And I always remember you say. You have a job and you get you work, get paid, work get paid. And how about let's just work, get paid, get paid, get paid, get paid. I always love it when you when you said that early on. But my first job out of college was this marketing coordinator for Ticketmaster. And it was when they had started the southeast operations here in Florida. And so it was a small office. I loved it. It was a lot of fun, of course. It's very exciting to be right out of college and you're dealing with concerts and all that kind of stuff.
[00:16:49] You went to college for PR journalism or what.
[00:16:54] No, actually, surprisingly, I did not. I went through the college of business and got a marketing degree and later on I went back and got my MBA. So, you know, people just assume that I went to College of Arts and Sciences. But no, I actually went college of business undergrad and graduate school. So I was working at Ticketmaster. And like I said, I loved it. But, you know, I was kind of chomping at the bit. You know, you come out of college, you think you know everything and you should be promoted within 10 days. Right. That really I was there for a while. And because it was a small operation. My boss at the time, the marketing director was was really, really good. But, you know, I thought he was older at the time. He was probably all of like 30 or 32, but it was obvious he was going to be there for quite a while. So there really wasn't anywhere else for me to go. And so I ended up leaving the company and still in touch and friends with the CEO to this day, she lives here in Orlando. And that's been real exciting as my career has come full circle to be able to reconnect with her and become friends with her.
[00:17:55] She was a great, great mentor in general and a great mentor for women. So that that's been very exciting. But, you know, I went on from there. I ran a nonprofit for few years that dealt with substance and violence prevention with high school teens. And that was a lot of fun. And then I ended up my last JOB was at Sprint. I was there. This was back in the let's say, the olden days before they had spun off the wireless division and the brand name with the wireless. But I was in their internal communications department and was on the core team that launched the company's very first intranet. Now you can really get a sense of how really old I am. Even though your compliments are much appreciated, then got promoted. By the time I left there, I was manager of special events and I really enjoyed that, but was leaving to get married and had always wanted to go get my MBA. And because of a family situation, we had we were commuting between Orlando and Tallahassee. That's about 550 miles round trip. And we were doing that every week, sometimes a couple times a week. And there were times, honestly, where we would do it same day, just depending on what was going on with the family, but we also had a house up there and Florida State had long been my favorite favorite college football team, college all around. So I had the opportunity to go back to school and get my MBA and go full time.
[00:19:26] Hold on. Did you know? You probably don't know this about me. Bobby Bowden recruited me for college football at West Virginia University before he left.
[00:19:37] I did not know that.
[00:19:40] He was sitting in my living room. Hopefully he didn't leave because of me recruiting, but they actually hung him in effigy because he left West Virginia. Know you don't leave West Virginia. You got to be loyal, right? Do you remember me talking about my first geek, Ilya Pozin as a young kid that worked for me?
[00:20:06] I did. I remember the name. Yes, I do.
[00:20:08] Well, he I recruited him out of 10th grade and then he went to Florida State and ran their I.T. department. And I still he was the first kid I would call. And then he came back to work for me. And now he's a millionaire in Los Angeles. Three big Internet startups.
[00:20:23] So you taught him under your wing.
[00:20:26] Oh, you're going to be a worker bee. And then I brought him in and me and showed him how to start his own business and everything. He credits me today for this. But this small world with the Florida state thing.
[00:20:36] Wow. Tom, I can't believe I didn't know that in all the years I've known you. Oh, it's. See, I like you even more. That's a great story. So. So I went back and I got my MBA. And while I was doing that, I had a couple clients, you know, some people that I had worked with. You know, I've always been real involved in community leadership, volunteering, stuff like that. So I started out with a couple of the boards I was serving on, just helping them do a little bit of PR here and there.
[00:21:05] Were you working while you were getting your MBA?
[00:21:08] I was not other than just a couple couple of consulting clients. So, you know, just enough to have some mad money and, you know, say that, you know, I was I was working basically to pay for my textbooks because talk about expensive books. So, you know, I was I was doing that. And, you know, you always knew I wanted to own my own firm. I mean, even when I was very little, just wasn't sure what I wanted to do. So I started doing more of that PR work. And then as I was finishing up graduate school and I'd stayed involved in my industry associations and things like that. So I was involved in the Florida Public Relations Association and leadership at the time on the board asked me if I'd chair their conference. And, you know, I said, sure, why not look great on my resume. It'd be fun, you know? And of course, you don't tell leadership. No. When you're young, you just do you think you need to say yes to everything? And I'm glad I did. So, so fast forward. I was able to convince Mark Victor Hansen, who I did not know at the time. He was just one of my mentors in absentia for several years before I finally made the call and said, could you come keynote this conference? And he did. And it was a great conference. And we clicked. And he and my husband clicked. And he started inviting me out to California, to his events.
[00:22:21] You'll remember his MEGA book marketing and mega speaking. And of course, that's where I had the pleasure of meeting you. You were one of the first speakers I think I met at one of his events. And then, you know, he in fact, I was looking for it this week, and I finally figured out where it is. I don't have it yet. I have a picture of us at that very first event. I went to you had spoken and we were in the VIP luncheon and you and I ended up sitting at the same table. I have that picture. So I've got to find it.
[00:22:52] Yeah get that. We'll put it in the show notes for you. I don't remember what year I spoke for them as long as the event was going twice a year.
[00:23:04] And I will just say this to the audience. And one of the things that always attracted me to you and why I purchased some of your products in addition to to the knowledge you shared, is that you just shared so much knowledge you didn't get up on stage trying to hawk your wares. You know, you got up and you actually taught us things that a lot of what I learned early on in the Internet world and Internet marketing and stuff came from from you and your courses and your books and CDs. So that that teacher thing and always giving back. You've always been really good about that.
[00:23:35] Thank you. Other speakers don't kind of like it when I get up and say I'm going to give you more usable information, immediately usable information and all the other speakers put together.
[00:23:45] Yeah. I've watched the video of them cringe a little bit. You always delivered. You always delivered above and beyond. And I know, you know, in the early years, if I had a question and I emailed you, I'll never hear from him. And you'd respond right away.
[00:24:00] Yeah, you can't talk to anybody anymore. They won't respond. They want to hide. I mean, the Internet's great because you can have a bad hair day all day long. But but you don't talk to people who create still enormous amounts of money and relationships to be built one on one. And in responding to people.
[00:24:22] So good grief, I haven't talked to you in so long. We could go on. So anyway, back back to how so? So I brought Marc in. And then as I started working with him more and of course, being exposed to his peers and colleagues and learning from them. And I always say go on behind the green curtain to see how the publishing and speaking business really, really worked. You know, you fast forward 20 some years and wow, here we are today. You and I are doing a podcast about what I do. And back then I was just launching my firm is is a marketing and PR firm, traditional, you know, marketing and PR. And now it's become very, very niche.
[00:24:59] Now where did the name come from. I've always wondered about that.
[00:25:03] So when when I was trying to launch the firm, I was trying to come up with something really pithy, something really catchy. And I had some friends I'd gone to college with that own an ad agency and I'd send them stuff in there like Wendy that sucks and they'd send me stuff. And I'd say, oh, really like that. I think my husband was tired of listening to me whine about it one night. Why don't you just call it Elizabeth Charles? And it's my middle name and his first name. His dad is also a Charles. So he goes by his his middle name, Dean. And I was like, oh, it was like 10:00 at night. And I called the guys and like, hey, what about this? And they're like, oh, and seven o'clock the next morning again, I'm going to date myself.
[00:25:43] There was a fax on my fax machine and they had had a girl in their office who did beautiful calligraphy, actually calligraphy out the Elizabeth Charles. And it was all within the space of, like, you know, 12 hours. It was like, here it is. Here's the logo, send it to print, get my letterhead, you know, put it all that. And that's that's where the name came from.
[00:26:02] I always thought she bought someone else's firm.
[00:26:10] A lot of people say that and that's one thing I would say to your listeners whent when they're going out on their own is, you know, never underestimate the power of your own brand equity. I was I was young enough and naive enough that I didn't realize the power of my own name at that time because I had been so involved in the community and had served on a lot of boards and committees and stuff. So I knew a lot of people and I also built a great network doing that. So I was afraid if I just put it out and said, you know, WendyKurtz.com people would be like, she can't find a job. Oh, she lost her job. Oh, she's not really serious about this, you know, in hindsight. I probably would have done even better sooner. But, you know, that's that's the gift of hindsight, right?
[00:26:49] Well, on the other hand, there's another way that a lot of people look at that is that if it's only based on your name, it's hard to sell a company because they figure if you go away, the value of the company just left. So that sometimes people specifically name them something that's not their name so that it's more saleable in the future.
[00:27:13] That's good. You make me feel better about that. Thank you. All these years later. Yeah, that's good. That's validating.
[00:27:20] It seems like you're totally up beat. Wonderful. Nice person. Did anybody ever screw you over in business?
[00:27:27] Yes. A lot to talk about. You know, it's funny. It's happened a couple times. And early on, I'm I'm embarrassed to admit. But you know what? I own it and get over it. I didn't do anything about it because one I was so embarrassed that it had happened and two I didn't know what to do. You know, I certainly wasn't making enough money to hire some fancy lawyer to go sue them. And, you know, it wouldn't have netted, you know, enough anyway. So let it go. But, you know, I remembered the lessons. You know, I call it that extra learning. And, you know, I started putting some filters in place and some processes in place. And I started, you know, getting a little more polished in my screening of prospective clients. You know, because when you're when you first starting, you want to take anybody because you're like so afraid you won't have a client. And so you'll you'll basically say yes to anybody. And, you know, and then so I started putting filters in place and then I started saying, you know, when I'm when I'm talking with a client, I mean, a prospective client. And I start getting that little, you know, nudge in my gut, you know, little red flags coming up. You know, I would I would be like but I'd charge on and inevitably regret it. I knew those red flags. I mean, I knew my gut was trying to say. And so now I listen to my gut. And, you know, that's probably strongest piece of advice I ever give anybody is listen to your gut. And so if I'm feeling like somebody, something's just not quite there. It's a little off. It doesn't feel right. That's my gut saying this isn't a good fit. And so I will, you know, try and steer them, you know, give them enough. They can go find somebody else or whatever, just say. I just don't think we're a good fit. I don't think I'll be able to help you. And you deserve to be helped so you can, you know, unlock the full potential of your business.
[00:29:21] Yeah, I had a guy come to me one time and just just neglected to tell me he was a convicted felon. It was all over the internet. So what do you like best about working for yourself? What's the worst part?
[00:29:39] So I love the flexibility. If I need to drop and run, we've had, you know, one of our shelties diagnosed with cancer right before the holidays and, you know, being able to just drop and run and get him into chemo and do all of that and focus on that. You know, that fundamentally is, you know, the best reason ever. I also love that I can control what I do if there is a client or prospective client. And I get that feeling of I don't think this is gonna work. I don't have to take them on. I don't have a boss saying, you know, we're bringing this client on. I can say no, the other thing is, you know, a lot of times and I think a lot of entrepreneurs are like this, you know, we're like, you know, square pegs trying to fit in round holes.
[00:30:18] And so you have ideas of, you know, things that you can either do, whether it's a product launch or a marketing jingle or something that you want to do in in the confines of corporate world. You know, we're often told no or held back or oh, we've never done that. This is the way it's always been. You know, my two least favorite phrases.
[00:30:35] To have meetings for three months to decide.
[00:30:39] Right. So that's another piece I really love about being on my own. I can say, you know what, I want to try this. And. And if it doesn't work, I'm not gonna lose my job, you know? Or if it works and works big, I'll reap the benefits. So I like having that ability.
[00:30:55] So what's the worst part?
[00:30:57] My boss, she just wants me to work 24/7.
[00:31:01] Well, they say an entrepreneur will work 18 hours a day to get away from working for somebody else 8 hours a day.
[00:31:07] It is. It is. You know, at the same time, I'd rather work for my boss now and then, you know, be making the money for somebody else and not be happy doing what I'm doing. Yeah, I've had a series. I did have a lot of great bosses along the way. I had a couple, one in particular, horrendous boss. And I always say I learned more from him about how to work with and manage people than all of my good bosses combined.
[00:31:35] You know what boss spelled backwards is. Double SOB.
[00:31:42] And you know, with all due respect, yeah, he was. So, yeah, I just. I don't know. I love what I do. I get to work with so many different people and learn so much about, you know, working with authors. It's because you have to get really personal and intimate with them because you're pulling out, you know, what are their true passions and their true goals.
[00:32:04] And, you know, even if it doesn't even have to be somebody that's wanted to write a book. Tom, you know, a lot of times I'll have executives say, I don't really want to write a book, but, you know, I say, well, let's put together some kind of, you know, work book or even a white paper. It can help with that kind of stuff, too. It doesn't have to be the full on, you know, thirty thirty five thousand word, you know, manuscript in order to achieve.
[00:32:25] Tell everybody how they could work with you. What are they supposed to do if they hear this and they say I'd like to work with that lady.
[00:32:30] So if they want to work with me, they can just call me 407 876 7730. Go to my Web site. Wendykurtz.com.
[00:32:53] What happened to Elizabeth Charles?
[00:32:54] It is being developed like the traditional PR stuff because I am I'm still doing some traditional PR stuff. But when it's specific to like authors, I write spelling words.
[00:33:11] What do they need to prepare before we talk?
[00:33:16] You know, here's what here's what I do. They call me I will do a complimentary consult. And that's usually about a 15 minute phone call where we just kind of say hi. Tell me a little bit about what you're doing, what your goals are. Anyway just to get a sense of because you know what There's another, you know, talk about great advisors along the way. You've always got a got to have advisers that help you that have learned before you. And I was just given it all away. I'd sit down with people for two and three hours and, you know, talk to about the difference between a traditional publisher and a hybrid publisher.
[00:33:55] And you know, why they need to have some slides, not have them all text on their PowerPoint, stuff like that. You know, I'd do that. And then they'd go off and do it. I never see him again. And I didn't get compensated for that. So I had a great adviser, taught me the power of strategic sessions and do paid strategic sessions now. So if it is a fit, they go into my strategic session. And that's, you know, hour to two hour conversation and gives you a high level blueprint of, you know, a snapshot assessment of your book idea or your program idea. Options that are available to you helps you better understand the publishing industry, the speaking industry. Of course, nobody understands this speaking industry better than Tom Antion. I will say that I've learned a lot from Tom Antion. You know, and it just really, you know, we look at the you know, the assets you bring to the table, whether, you know, it's your network or your platform or your experience. And, you know, what are some opportunities out there that you should be capitalizing on?
[00:34:55] What are some opportunities you should be creating for yourself? You know, maybe you should be reaching out to Tom and saying, hey, you have a podcast series, may I speak on it? You know, something like that. And then at the end of that, you know, there is, you know, four options. You can do nothing, which is just keep doing what you're doing. Thinking about it, you know, putting it off until you have more time or budget or whatever your reasons are, you can go and hire somebody to do all of it for you. You can do it all yourself or you can form a collaborative. And that's about where 99 percent of my clients land after the strategic session is. We form a collaborative and I help them get their book published or, you know, get ready to speak on stage. I even will find people speaking engagements in select circumstances. I always try to be upfront and say I'm not a speakers bureau and I don't dial for dollars anymore. We've done some of that, but it's very time consuming. So the work I do with my speakers is all based on an overall holistic approach. You know, what are their goals? And speaking is used to help them achieve some of those goals. It's not just calling. Get me anything. It'll pay five dollars to get money, and so that's that's what I do.
[00:36:04] We take it one step further and make him do a written application before they have a real one, because there's some scammers that make fake applications and they'll take anybody. Yeah, that's that's before the call.
[00:36:22] I tell you that that was and I'd tell your audience, too. That's another thing. You're onboarding process. You know, get get very refined in that. Because once I started, you know, I'd get prospect calls and I'd send him information. I never hear from them. Send these big lengthy proposals that took, you know, hours to prepare and, you know, had a lot of my IP in there. You know, I was young. I was trying to prove, look, I know what I'm doing and I've worked with with people. Case studies and stuff. But I started putting together there's a registration form name, rank, serial number stuff. There's a questionnaire that kind of delves into what it does is it gives me an overview of where they are. But it also forces them to start putting some thought around it.
[00:37:04] Yeah, a lot of people just want to get on and talk and ramble and all that.
[00:37:09] The time and effort I spent in that. It was frustrating when I was doing it because I was trying to get it, you know, perfect. And what is perfection? You know, if you strive for perfection, you'll never get there. Right. So just, you know, get it, get done. But I put that time and effort into it. And then what would happen is a prospect would call, say, yes, I'd really like to move forward with you. And I'd say, OK, here, complete the paperwork and I'd send it off knowing full well I'd never hear from them again. So instead of having to chase them down or go back and forth with phone calls and they you know, each time they pick my brain a little bit more, you know, if you're serious, start the paperwork. And and then if they are when the paperwork comes back, you can tell by the way they respond. They're not really serious or, you know, I've had people spend hours and I tell them, don't spend more than, you know, 20, 30 minutes on it, but they'll spend hours on it. Their answers come back and I'm like, you're the ideal client. I'll take you right now. Let's start tomorrow, because you can tell they're really serious about where they want to go. They're really serious about achieving their goals. And they understand that that it's outside the norm of their type work. You know, they've never published. They don't understand the speaking industry. So they're willing to hire somebody that can help them get get to their goals.
[00:38:14] Great. Great. Great. So we're going to take a sponsor brief break for the sponsor message. And then when we come back, we're going to ask Wendy Elizabeth Kurtz.
[00:38:27] Well, that's correct. Technically, yes.
[00:38:29] What a typical day looks like for her and how she stays motivated.
[00:38:34] Folks, I wonder if you would like to lose anywhere from, I don't know. Eighty five thousand to three hundred and forty thousand dollars. Well, maybe not. But if you're looking for higher education for yourself, your children, your nephews, your nieces or anybody, you know, maybe even your neighbors, it's very likely that might happen to you. So I'm on my hands and knees begging you to listen to the webinar on higher education at screwthecommute.com. You can hear it. And it's going to be in the show notes so you could just go over there and click and go directly to it. But it's really worth the time because I don't want to spend a nickel on higher education until you know what you're getting into. I mean, we've been kind of brainwashed that this is for everybody. And some of the things that colleges are doing are downright you know, I have a Hollywood TV show and in development called Scam Brigade and some of the things they're doing are downright fraudulent. And I don't want you to get caught in that. So check out the webinar and screwthecommute.com/webinars, but be prepared to be mad when you see some of the things that are going on there. So check it out.
[00:39:43] All right. Let's get back to our super guest, Wendy Kurtz is here, longtime friend of mine and a brilliant tactician and what she does with executives and people that want to write books and become paid speakers. So, Wendy, what's a typical day look like for you?
[00:40:01] I wish I could say I get up and I have, you know, quiet meditation in an hour of power yoga and then, you know, I launch into my day. You know, the reality is that, you know, I may get up at well, until recently, I was getting up at 6:00 a.m. and dosing the dogs with with medication they had to have an hour before they eat and then sitting back down and trying to keep them calm. You know, because they get up, they want to eat, you know. So, you know, when, you know, I'll get up and feed them and, you know, give their vitamins, that kind of stuff, let him out, then I'll sit down and check email while I'm eating breakfast.
[00:40:38] You know, respond to things that I respond to right away. And then, you know, review my task list. I try to put together a task list the night before. I try to follow the Franklin Covey model. And I've learned that when I follow it religiously, I have phenomenal results. And when I stray, things go a little haywire. But to, you know, I'll I'll do the e-mail. And if there's anything pressing that needs to get to a client or, you know, maybe I'm reviewing the last page of a author bio for a book or something. I'll do all that. Get that all kind of set out. Get all of my stuff like send out to other people. And then as I'm waiting for, you know, responses and their parts to come back to me, I'll run, you know, walk the dog, shower, you know, head off to a meeting. You know, I serve on several boards.
[00:41:21] You working out of your house?
[00:41:24] I am. I have an office. You walk in here, it looks, you know, just like an office you'd have downtown, except for maybe the dog beds and, you know, dog toys all over the floor, you know. Then I'll come on in the office and, you know, return phone calls, work on my task list. I'm trying really hard to do this. Today's Big Three thing where what are the three things I have to get done today and, you know, try and make sure I get those done before I start responding to things that crop up during the day, phone calls and stuff. So, you know, again, I might be reviewing a client's, you know, latest chapter they've written. I'm working with one client now and we're putting together the outline for her book. And so we've we've had a lot of back and forth discussion and my editor's been, you know, helping her with the structure. So reviewing that. And then, you know, then I might, you know, reach out to some potential speakers. I chair the programs, professional development for the Independent Practitioners Alliance of the Public Relations Society.
[00:42:21] So that means I have to have a speaker every month. So I recruit the speakers and now I have some committee people that can help me with that as well. They're great. But, you know, I'll I'll talk to the national headquarters and get their schedule because we have to have webinar rehearsal with the speaker as we do this monthly webinar every every month. You know, so I'll work on that and then maybe lunch with an associate or a colleague.
[00:42:46] You've only got to lunch so far. No wonder you stay so skinny.
[00:42:46] You see, I wish I did an hour of yoga every day. But you know lunch Stop by the post office box on the way home. You know, back from lunch. You know, just you know, earlier this week, I got back in a client client whose book we just just came out in October last year. She referred somebody to me. So, of course, I had to contact her right away. Thanks so much. And then immediately follow up with the referral, because, you know, if a client's going to refer somebody to you, you know, don't dawdle on that. I mean, that's now their reputation on the line, too. So follow up with them and get them scheduled for a complimentary consult and then go back to reviewing a client's manuscript. And then, you know, politics is gearing up. So I've been, you know, same day talking to some some some of the people I work with. I work with a team of just some brilliant, brilliant minds and talking about some of the things that are going to start popping here. So we'll get a little crazy. And then I had a call with my mastermind partner. And, you know, we're talking we're almost done. But then I look up and God bless him, the dogs throwing up outside my office like I got to go bye. So I go clean it up, sit with him for a little while, calm him down, go clean up, come back, you know, do some more e-mails. I mean, I know that you know this.
[00:44:05] Can you be sure that the dog is going to throw up at the right time every day.
[00:44:12] God bless him. He's a trooper. And then the other little dog's, like running around, like, look what happened.
[00:44:18] But the next question is, does it make any sense? How do you stay motivated? Doesn't feel like you have any time to be demotivating there's always something right there.
[00:44:29] I just have to keep keep going. Fire to fire. No, but I will tell you, I've been an avid reader since childhood. I love brilliant minds and I love breakout thinking new ideas. And so, you know, a lot of times, I mean, literally, you know, listening to podcasts in the car. So, you know. So I loved when Screw the Commute came out I can listen to Tom again. That always motivates me to be you know, I need to be looking at my Web site. I need to be cleaning up my Internet marketing stuff. But, you know, a lot of great books out. And, you know, honestly, my clients are very inspirational. You know, I talked to them, I've got a great, great guy who was a test pilot in the Navy. I mean, literally, his job was to test things. And if it went haywire, he could die. Right. And he's just got a great outlook on life, but he's got great stories about leadership lessons from the flight deck. So, you know, you listen to people like that and some of the situations they've been in. And I loved the thought process, how they navigated things. So I'm constantly learning. So that's very inspirational for me.
[00:45:38] You got any parting thoughts, we call them screwballs the people that listen to this, if they really go out and make something happen entrepreneurial. What are some of your best tips?
[00:45:51] You know, if you really want to do it first and foremost, I say go for it. Just the fact that you want to put you in like the upper echelon of people who do things, because so many people just say, oh, I'd love to, but they don't really want it. They don't go for it. So if it's something you want to do, go for it. I would say do as I say, not as I did. Maybe sit down and put together a plan. First of you know what that would look like, you know? You know, what is it you want to do? How are you going to fund it? How do you pay your bills until revenues start rolling in? If you're currently working in a job, that's great because you can still pay your bills while you start building your entrepreneurial venture. You know, if you're married or have a significant other a partner, are they going to be supportive? Because as you move forward in this endeavor, their support will be critical. And if they're not supportive, that can be detrimental. So include that in your planning. And then, you know, if you've got the plan in place, just just spending the time and energy, you know, it's like it's like banking. If you invest on the front end, you'll reap the wards down the down the road.
[00:46:55] And so, you know, put together a plan. I would say, you know, look for other people who have done what you want to do or are doing something similar. And it doesn't have to be the same same business you're in. But if you're looking at somebody who's working for themselves and you love that they take a month off in August every year and you want to do that. What are the things they do? What what processes and systems that they put in place that enable their business to continue running while they're taking that vacation? You know, never be afraid to reach out for help. I tell you, I had I had so many great people that were willing. And people love to help other people when they're serious and not just trying to, you know, get free consulting or drain their brain kind of stuff. But, you know, and then again, you know, just believe in yourself. You know, you can you can do it or you wouldn't be listening to these podcasts Tom's put on and you wouldn't be trying to learn what others have done to figure out how you could do it, to trust your gut. I mean, that's the biggest lesson I've had to learn in business. And and don't be afraid to say no.
[00:47:57] I mean, if somebody if somebody is trying to take advantage of you or you find yourself cringing when you open e-mail or not that I've ever done this, you find yourself not opening e-mail until later in the day because you don't want to see an e-mail from that one particular client. I mean, let them go. I mean, I've had to fire very, very few clients. Fortunately, in my business and I was terrified the first time I did it, I thought, how can you ever do that? But then, you know, once I did and I realized how much time it freed up, not just physically, but the mental drain of I need to check e-mail, but I don't want to because I might see that person. I don't want to deal with them right now. You know, be be true to you and you know, the type of people that you can work well with. You know, go for those people with whom you have good relationships and you really enjoy being. And you'll both benefit so much more from that than, you know, just trying to plug through it and work with someone you really you don't respect or you don't care for their verbally abusive on the phone, you know, just just take care of you through the process. But I mean, if you're wanting to do it, put together a good plan and you can do it. And I wish you all the best of success in the world.
[00:49:07] Well, that is great advice from the most experienced 12 year old I know. It's so great catching up. We learn some new stuff about each other. This call, it only took 20 years. We'll catch up again in another 20 years and you'll look like 14.
[00:49:33] Well, the next time I come to Virginia, I'm definitely coming out to see you and see the Internet Marketing retreat center.
[00:49:39] You got to see the dogs. There's 25 dogs here right now.
[00:49:44] I'd be in heaven watching all those little things running around. So thank you so much for this opportunity, Tom. I mean, you know, you've long been a mentor, become a friend. I appreciate it. I love what you're doing. This whole podcast and the Roku and all of that. I just I think it's phenomenal and. You are you are always on the cutting edge, you're always that that, you know, you know, what's coming and kind of helped create what's coming before everyone else. Appreciate the opportunity to do this with you.
[00:50:10] Well, it's my pleasure. And everybody, make sure you check out the show notes that you get the contact information for Wendy and her phone number will be there and her website will be there. And she can certainly help you. She's helped lots and lots of people over time. And go over to iTunes and please leave us to review, if you like, what you heard and star rating over there. Download our app so you can take us with you. Much easier on the road. Also, don't forget, if you run across any entrepreneurial youth, have them get in touch with me so we might feature them on an issue of screw the commute. So I will catch y'all on the next episode.
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