Lydia Sugarman of www.privatelabelinteractive.com Interviews Kevin Hogan
1. Please tell us about yourself, personally and professionally. Where did you start out? Where are you now? Where are you headed?
Lydia, I grew up in poverty and didn’t escape that until I was a sophomore in high school. Then because of my Mom’s remarriage, my family lived in what would be considered a lower and then middle lower class lifestyle. I worked starting at age 11 cutting people’s grass, delivering papers, selling greeting cards, shoveling snow, pulling weeds, anything I could to help my Mom. (We had six people in the 24 x 24 house after my step-dad died….five kids and my Mom).
Today I have cycled through a successful career as a therapist, I owned the first state-licensed hypnosis school here in the midwest for seven years. Going back in time I sold advertising, worked for nonprofit organizations at the gritty level, not the cush office level. (I worked directly with homeless Vietnam Vets for example.) Today I have evolved my work into a variety of expressions. I do body language analysis for media, I teach corporations how to be more influential in their sales and marketing and I show people how they can build themselves into a “brand” so they can have the security and freedom of being their own boss. I’ve never stopped working 16-hour days…the difference is I now enjoy what I do where for so many years that wasn’t the case.
2. What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?
Being a home-made millionaire. Having home base in your home where you get to see your kids when you come home….being able to deliver a superb experience for everyone when they cross my path, whether that is a presentation or a product or seminar. Being an entrepreneur is the ultimate form of security and safety in difficult times. It allows people to develop wealth in every economic climate where millions of others will lose their jobs at the whim of employers to whom they have entrusted their lives.
3. Many people I’ve met have told me they were influenced at a very early age to follow the entrepreneurial path. What set you on an entrepreneurial path? Do you think entrepreneurs are “born”? Can it be learned?
Certainly not born. I became an entrepreneur by necessity at age 11 and two years later I see on my Social Security report that I earned Social Security wages from McDonald’s and other companies when I wasn’t working for myself. I hated the labor of restaurant work. I was a kid and I was terrible at it. I had asthma so lawn, garden and snow was not helpful but necessary. I loved selling greeting cards and was proud of building my paper route over the years.
People don’t have to go through hard times to become an entrepreneur, but necessity can make things “easier.” In other words, there was no option for failure or not working. It was required to ultimately succeed if we were going to eat.
4. What makes an entrepreneur? What makes entrepreneurs different? What do you think sets entrepreneurs apart?
Entrepreneurs have beliefs that government and companies don’t take care of people (or shouldn’t). As we have lived for millenia, we are ultimately responsible for our own lives. Entrepreneurs have a spirit of achievement. Entrepreneurs don’t ultimately fail because you can’t ultimately fail. It really isn’t possible.
It’s like going to the grocery store. You simply do that which you are good at, which you love or which you find fascinating, or even necessary at times and you just do it.
Entrepreneurs in America are doing the same thing that the colonists from England and Holland did in the 1600’s when they came to America. They build wealth and value from nothing.
Entrepreneurs are the heart and soul of a free country.
Entrepreneurs value freedom, integrity, authenticity, loyalty above all else.
5. Have you ever experienced a seminal networking moment that impacted you as an entrepreneur?
Every day. It’s simply part of the lifestyle of an entrepreneur. By the nature of this life you meet fascinating people and are introduced to fascinating people every day, whether on line or in the brick and mortar world. My favorite networking moments are when I can take my Inner Circle and put them in the way of Mark Victor Hanson or Stewart Emery or Vice Presidential Candidate of the Libertarian party, Wayne Root. These are the things that excite me.
6. What have you found to work well when networking? What caveats can you offer?
People know who I am and they know that I am cut from a different cloth than many other people. So when I ask someone if they will be at an event I’m holding and I ask them not to sell from the back of the room and I ask them to work for expenses (or not)…they do it. They know that by being at a Kevin Hogan event that they have just set themselves apart. Everyone wants to do it. Many ask, few are chosen.
So I’m fortunate in that I can ask people to be there for me as a friend and a favor and they do it. People like to associate with authentic people.
If you want to get good at networking, go to events and conventions where people who you’d like to meet are going to be and starting with a couple of months in advance put the bug in their ear that you’d like to buy them breakfast (they have to eat). Bring them a gift that is meaningful and I don’t just mean your new book. Make YOU memorable. We meet a LOT of people in the course of a year. Make yourself stand out. Get a photo taken. Send it to me. Post a review of my books at amazon, ask if you can help out at an event I’m holding. Put yourself positively in the way of the person or people you want to meet. It is very hard to NOT meet amazing people when you do this.
Online, everything is much simpler. Get friends to introduce you to person X. Before you get introduced make sure you DO something for the person you want to meet…something that is noticed and appreciated.
Connections are the same as status and income in the world. Connections are REAL CURRENCY. Developing relationships with people you want to know and meet is necessary.
7. What networking lessons can we learn from the way entrepreneurs operate?
When people go to work in their “hamster wheel”, they spin at the same thing all day, every day. There is no variation or difference. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, need to make connections. They need to communicate effectively. They must be valuable to others. They must provide great experiences, services, products. It’s two very different kinds of people. People who are indeed out to PLEASE other people are entrepreneurs, and they become wealthy. People who don’t like to please other people are divorced and in a hamster wheel. My life is about making people happy, giving people great experiences, helping people and feeling good about it. By lifestyle we are out to do good things on purpose to just about everyone we meet.
8. How can thinking like an entrepreneur give one an advantage in networking and in general?
People with jobs have an entitlement schema. Lydia #2:, “Would you get me a cup of coffee?” “Oh Kevin, that’s not in my job description. That’s sexist, or racist, or something I’m not paid for.”….Lydia Sugarman, “Sure, cream and sugar or black?”
People are whiners. Entrepreneurs are doers. They are self-reliant and self-responsible. They are FUN people to meet because they live to serve others. They fail daily but never in the big picture. Because they fail and recognize it, they aren’t afraid of failure. It’s unimportant.
Entrepreneurs don’t have the mental disease of entitlement. We do for others more than most will ever do for us and that is OK because that IS how we network and how we build a truly strong network of valuable connections.
People don’t like to meet whine-y people who “deserve” health care, a mortgage, a chicken in every pot. They want to meet people who make the world a better place. Entrepreneurs are the people that other people are fascinated by.
9. How do you network? (You can read this several ways, I know. Please choose how you’d like to respond.)
There’s not a lot of people I need to meet anymore. I have access to just about anyone I might want to. I will probably use celebrity auctions in the future to meet specific people that are fun or interesting. Ebay holds these auctions all the time. So does Starwood/American Express. Celebrities auction themselves off to the highest bidder then the money is given to charity. Eva Longoria had a shopping spree auction this year. I didn’t need to go shopping though. Beyonce had a meet and greet before a gig she did this year. That would have been worth 5000 to meet her and say hello. Warren Buffet auctioned himself off for lunch. That got expensive, over 20,000 I believe. I love what he has done but I didn’t need to spend 20,000. The cheerleader gal from Heroes auctioned herself for a whale watch day at sea. I thought that would be fun but, I just didn’t have the time.
If I were starting out and I wanted to meet someone I’d simply go to a convention where the person would be at and make it impossible for them to not have breakfast with me. Or a drink. I’d send flowers to their room, chocolates, and I’d tell them I’d stop if they swap 15 minutes.
Time is precious, especially to people who are in demand. You have to not just ask for 15 minutes. There are no open 15 minutes in a well-known person’s life. But I can tell you that I have agreed to meet people in very short intervals when I’m on my way from point a to point b.
In fact, one of the best ways to get someone’s attention is to pick them up at the airport or drop them off. They MUST get to the airport and YOU will get them there. I’ve had people do that with me. That buys 45 minutes of time for that person and it is accepted by the person you’re looking to connect with.
If I want to meet someone, I connect with a connector. I know a guy out west who knows just about everyone on the planet. I’ve had G run my name past people. If there is a mutual fascination we’ll swap an email and say hello, if not, they won’t drop me an email.
Lots of people get a hold of me because one of my friends volunteered my answering an email to them. I always fulfill for stuff like this.
Networking on lower levels is something I rarely do. Usually people seek me out. I’m pretty shy and not the life of the party if it isn’t my responsibility to be, so I really don’t seek out a lot of business networkers. I get 20 or so requests per day for interviews or time. I can say yes to perhaps 1 of those.
10. What’s one secret you can share for successfully leveraging networking to build success into our businesses?
If it’s necessary, make it happen.
Do so much for someone that they can’t help but know you and you will eventually get their face time.
11. Finally, what’s coming up in the next few quarters for you and your ventures? How can we meet up with you?
You can see me at a live event in 2009. I don’t do a lot of public stuff any more, but check out the Appearances page for info.
I’ve got a few books I’m working on that will be out in ’09. There will be a couple of new CD and DVD programs and one or two E-courses that are brand new next year. For fun, I’d like to get back to the Playboy Mansion again. It would be cool to run into some people that I want to meet. And for people meeting me, read all the above one more time. I am just like anyone else, I will succumb to persistence.
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