Have you ever thought about what it takes to build your dream business? Businesses only thrive when entrepreneurs put their heart in it. Marketing and business building expert, Jim Palmer, will share with you how you can build your dream business by serving first. As the founder of the Dream Business Academy, and Dream Business Coaching and Mastermind Program, he will explain what it really takes to build your dream business while highlighting some pitfalls that entrepreneurs might find themselves trapped in. He also touches on the impostor syndrome, and newsletter marketing, and discusses the idea of “serve first” as you get started, build, and grow your business.
Have you ever thought about what it takes to build your dream business? If you thought to yourself, “I signed up for this thing called business ownership or entrepreneurship,” yet you feel like maybe you’re wearing twelve hats or maybe you have a lot of extra drama or a lot of extra stress. What if there was a way that you could truly build a dream business? Our expert is uniquely qualified to be able to show you how to build your dream business. In fact, his theme is how to build a dream business. Captain Jim Palmer is his name. He is someone that I got a chance to meet in 2017. He’s adventurous. He and his wife travel the world to be able to build their dreams and have this dream life. Yes, you can have it both ways. He is someone who also inspires and lives as a servant leader and transformation. He’s a bestselling author. He’s impacted hundreds of thousands through his message, through his books, through his resources, his podcast shows. He’s someone who’s become a fast friend. Jim, welcome to the show. How are you?
Good. Thanks for having me on. By traveling the world, you mean up and down the East Coast of the United States at least for now.
You have quite the entrepreneurial journey. One of the clips that I found while I was getting ready for our show is this idea of being a best-kept secret. I talked quite a bit about the worst thing to be is being the world’s best-kept secret. What do you see as the biggest problem that most business owners and entrepreneurs face? That they find themselves in the trap of being a best-kept secret in the first place?
Some entrepreneurs are plain afraid to say, “This is who I am. This is what my gift is. This is how I can help you.” They want to be milk toast a little bit what I call Weak-Kneed William instead of Steel-Spine Sam. “Can your newsletters work?” “Yes, they’re great. They can help anybody. By the way, let me know if I can ever help you.” How many sales are you going to close doing that? “First of all, you should have a newsletter every business can benefit. I’m known as the newsletter guru all over the world. I’ve helped people create this.” You bring the fire. You bring the heat. What I meant by don’t be the best-kept secret is don’t be afraid to tell everybody about what your gifts are. Everybody’s born with a God-given skill and talent and to the degree that you can build a business out of that, you want to stand proud and promote that and announce that in a truthful way. Being the best-kept secret means I’m not going to rely on everybody to send referrals. I’m not going to rely on what other people say. I am going to go out there like I do almost every morning from the captain’s chair. I’ll go on Facebook Live and spread something that might touch somebody’s life. I do it in a very confident way. If you look at highly successful people and you can pick anybody from Cuban to Bezos, they’re very confident. They know exactly what they’re doing at least maybe not step-by-step. They exactly what their mission is and they’re going to go out and conquer.
Speaking of conquering, another thing that you talk about is the imposter syndrome. We have to overcome the idea, “Are we good enough?” Speak about the imposter syndrome. Why does it hold people back? What’s something our audience could do now to overcome that idea that they’re fighting against the imposter syndrome?The worst thing to be is become the world's best kept secret. – Host Click To Tweet
What’s interesting is people suffer from the imposter syndrome, which another way to say is that they feel like they’re going to be found out. “Somebody’s going to find out that I’m not as good as I say I am,” or “That I’m talking a good game. I’m putting up all success. I run out onto the tarmac and take a picture in front of a Learjet, but I always fly coach.” It’s putting on this fake persona. When I started my business in 2001, it was not as vogue or in style or even appreciated much to have a home office. I feared that when I went on my sales calls, “Where’s your company, Jim?” “I’m out there next in the industrial park.” I did live near the industrial park, but my office was my dining room table. “I’m living off of a Township Line Road.” It would drop. I had this fear that if I didn’t have an office with a receptionist and books and all this, I felt like I wasn’t a real business owner. I quickly got over that. I want to give everybody a tip. If you’re doing multiple seven figures, you still have that thought. You live in your head and you know yourself and a lot of times we know ourselves. We see ourselves as our former selves struggling or sometimes almost in our childhood state, we don’t see all that we’ve accomplished. We’re always not appreciating the things that we’ve done. One of the things that can help people overcome the imposter syndrome, which in itself is rooted in the fear of what other people will think about you, is to make a decision.
That decision is, “I’m going to choose to be judged on the value of the information. The content and the services that I provide and not the imperfect way in which I provide it.” None of us are perfect. When I wrote my first book, it took me a year and a half and in truth, it took me a year to write it and six months to get the courage to print it. I was afraid that it’s going to be a missing comma or son instead of sun and my name is on the cover. God forbid someone knows I’m horribly challenged with the English language. “Who the hell told you to write a book? That was some trash.” The last four books I wrote and published in 60 days knowing full well as soon as I pushed that button, there’s going to be some grammar or some spelling. They’re not horrible. They’re pretty good books. I worked with a good editor, but there will be something that we both miss. That’s okay because the information that I’m sharing like in this interview or what I’m doing in my Facebook Lives, I’ll probably say something that I would think of a more delicate way to say it or more appropriate way. It’s okay because the message has value. Focus on the value that we bring to the marketplace and not the imperfect way in which you may do it. It’s very liberating when you can get over yourself.
The imperfection is the perfection. You’re getting a tip of the iceberg, a glance at Jim’s approach and how he goes about building a dream business, how he looks at it. You’ve built this dream business. You’re traveling up and down the East Coast on a boat with your wife. You get to help a lot of people. You have a major impact. It hasn’t likely always been this. Can you take us back to a time in your business where you consider to be your greatest mistake or your greatest failure? What did you learn from that, that our audience can learn from it too?
The one of many that I would point to is I wasn’t willing to step up and do the things that I knew would help me. As fate would have it, it was probably about 2011. I’ve already created multiple Internet businesses. I started coaching in 2009, but by two years in my coaching program wasn’t growing as much. I got myself into this mastermind group. There was a mentor in there who had about $2 to $3 million coaching business. I was like, “I’m going to listen to every word.” I remember on a break he pulled me aside. It was a saving grace was he did it on a break and not in front of everybody. He pulled me aside and he goes, “I have a question for you.” I thought, “I’m going to soak this in.” He goes, “I’m aware you want to grow your coaching business, maybe to what some of us that are doing in this room. I’m aware of what you’re doing to promote your coaching business and build your growth. I’m also aware of what you’re not doing. My question is this, what makes you think you’re entitled to achieve the same level of success yet you’re not willing to do the things that have been proven to be successful to help you get there? How does that work for you?” I turned fire engine red. I was horribly embarrassed because I was being called out on my crap. In my head, I pictured one of the things was fear of public speaking, doing my own live events and putting myself out there in a big way. For maybe imposter syndrome, whatever other insecurities we all carry. I envisioned myself on a three-lane highway. This gentlemen and some others were like on the passing lane, but I’m coming along and I’m going okay.
I had a pretty nice revenue, although I wanted much higher. I’m getting there, but I’m doing it my way. In reality, I’m justifying why my inaction and inability to step up was okay with me. It also happened to coincide at a point in my life when my twin girls were getting ready for college. Even though I was doing okay, we were paying down a lot of debt from the early years. It wasn’t in a financial place to help them as much as we had hoped we’d help them all our lives. I got a firsthand feeling of what it felt like. If I didn’t want to go out and give a speech or if I didn’t want to do something big or conduct a live event, the inaction, the inability for me to do that in my own head was okay, “Maybe I won’t grow as fast as I thought, but I’ll get there.” My inaction was affecting my ability to be a good father like I wanted to be. I took that inaction on my part as full-out excuses. It was impacting something that was near and dear to me. I always believe as people we’re going to do things for others that more than we’ll do them for ourselves. That’s when I started kicking all these fears to the curb. I did a lot of stuff to get over my fear of public speaking. I did it all. I can get in front of hundreds of people and give a pretty darn good speech now, but it took somebody to call me out. If the question you asked, what’s your greatest failure? I wish I had stepped up or manned up earlier in my business. I have no regrets because it’s part of my backstory. It’s why I can push people in my coaching program because I had to be pushed. That was probably one. The cost of inaction is usually far greater than the cost of acting before you think you’re ready and when you think you’re going to mess up a little bit.
For you, when you had this realization if you can remember back, what were a couple of the next steps you took to break through that or get unstuck?
I was getting invitations to speak because I had started writing books and I said, “I’m traveling, I’m busy.” I lied through my teeth that I didn’t want to go. I said, “I’m not going to go put myself in front of hundreds of people, especially if it’s a big target audience.” I got involved in some local things and was getting in front of 25 people a month. I started growing from there. Within about six months, I was in front of about 150 high-level entrepreneurs through the Glazer-Kennedy Organization. It was accepting a gig that shook me to my core. First of all, I was proud that I accepted it. It was about three months down the road. I rehearsed that speech every day for 90 days. This is a tip. I got to see where the room was. It was down in Baltimore. I looked at the website for the hotel, so I could visualize. When I got introduced by Bill Glazer or Lee Milteer, one of the two, I saw the room. I was there. I did phenomenally and I was so proud of myself. The preparation, the practice. I did every single suggestion. That was the springboard to being a speaker at that point.
You’re all about transformation and serving first. You have a resource called Serve First. Talk about the idea of Serve First and why that’s part of your culture, your DNA and your approach?
It dives into a very personal part of my life. When I run my live event called Dream Business Academy, I promised to share everything that I believe has helped me. The genesis of that was after one of my events in Annapolis, Maryland. I always take the week off after the event because it’s so draining. I was mentally dead. I was sitting on my boat. We had our second grandchild. I’m thinking about how blessed I am. My coaching business is going gangbusters. I got this boat. Life was good. I wanted to figure why am I so blessed when a lot of people struggle? I started learning it through some things going through my head. Different things that Stephanie and I do, we’re mentors with the single women. I support rehabbing homes for low-income people. I’m on the board. I financially support the organization. I donate one Saturday a month to rehab. We’re doing all these different things and for some reason, these things are going through my head. Then I realized all these things that I’m doing, including tithing, were having a difference in the lives of people that I don’t even know. I believe it was finding favor with God. Therefore, I’m being blessed. I said, “Thanks for letting me know. Now I understand.” Then I was challenged to tell this story and share it. I resisted it because I’m not a preacher.
I don’t want to be known as a Christian business coach. I’m a business coach that happens to be a Christian. I’m not afraid to tell my story, but I don’t want to lead with it. Anyway, I was not going to sleep at night. I kept waking up and I thought, “Just get this done.” I recorded this audiobook called Serve First. The message is sometimes it’s easier for people especially when you start having success to be able to write checks, whether you’re building a school in Africa or you’re supporting people in your own community, you also need to serve with your time. It’s both money and time. For a large part of my career, I always felt I’ll do it when I’m ready or I feel ready or when I have the time. That’s not it. You have to do it all along. I remember I started helping this new organization get off the ground and it had taken a lot of my time. One day I was driving back to my office. It was 11:00. I drove to this place and we were meeting at 7:00 AM. I was thinking, “I’ve got to grow. I’ve got to be making more client calls and sales calls. Here I am spending four hours doing this.” My phone rang and it was a prospective client who said, “I’m glad I caught you. We’d like to have you do our newsletter for us. Can you come to see us?” I remember hanging up the phone and go, “I get it. I take care of other people. I serve others. That’s part of me being blessed as well.”Don't be the best kept secret. Don't be afraid to tell everybody about what your gifts are. – Jim Palmer Click To Tweet
What would you have to do to break through your imposter syndrome? We all have insecurities. Jim shared his as it relates to public speaking in the beginning. What could you do to overcome your fears, your insecurities? On the other hand, what could you do to take an approach to serve first? It’s counterintuitive because what are you going to give me in exchange for what I’ll do for you? What if you led first? The strategic byproducts are amazing. You’ve been able to help so many people. What would be one of the first next step somebody could take to be able to get a breakthrough to maybe break through this idea of serving first or building a dream business?
Serving first in an odd way is part of marketing. It’s part of our life. When you put up a website and you have an opt-in and you give a report or video or a ten-day course or something, that is serving people first before they even know you. It goes into both personal life and business life. One of my new clients is struggling and said, “What’s the first thing I’d do?” I said, “You’ve got to go anywhere, the soup kitchen. Go somewhere. Go serve somebody that’s less fortunate than you.” You’re wallowing in your own negativity that things are bad, but when you see how other people are, I call it #Perspective. Go do that no matter how busy you are. No matter how tight you think your checkbook is, go serve somebody.” What’s the first thing they can do? Start where you are with what you have. I didn’t go all of a sudden, “$5 in the offering plate is not enough. I need to tithe.” I didn’t go from $5 to tithing. I graduate. I kept building until I got it. My tithing muscles kept growing. The more I was giving, the more I was being blessed. To me, it seemed to go hand in hand. Start where you are. You don’t have to all of a sudden give 10% of your income away, but you’ve got to start doing something. I know a lot of people who have grandiose ideas about making a major impact on the planet, sometimes that seems too big. Why don’t you just be a big impact in your local community? When Stephanie and I lived in our home, it wasn’t a palatial estate, but it was a nice home in a very well to do area, but five miles down the road was abject poverty. You don’t have to go far to make an impact. Start working locally.
It’s not about a new idea, it’s about taking action and implementing. What commitment could you make to yourself to go serve one person in your local community? To go visit a soup kitchen. To go visit someone in need. To go to an elderly home. To have a conversation with someone who might be lonely. To go to a children’s ward in a hospital and see the burn victims and get into some volunteer stage to help. It’s not as complicated or hard as we think. Jim, as you’ve worked with so many different clients in so many different industries over the years, let’s narrow it down to the last twelve months because things shift all the time. Our show is about breakthroughs, helping people get breakthroughs much like what your program represents with transformation. If you had to pick one to three crucial strategies either you’re using directly or maybe through your clients that you’ve seen that have been the needle movers, that 20% that creates 80% or one domino that tips over a thousand. What would be one to three strategies you’d recommend people put in place that you’ve seen that will help them get a tremendous breakthrough?
A lot of times, the first thing is getting the brand right. This always rattles the cage of people especially if they’ve been in business for three to five years and they think they’re well-established. In reality, it doesn’t matter how well-established you are, you’re not that far established with the availability of prospective clients. If your brand, the name, the tagline doesn’t speak to the benefits someone has for working with you, then that may need to be changed. You lead with that. It doesn’t matter if you can help. If you have five different offerings or 25 or three, you lead with that one thing. When I started in the newsletter business, I then coined myself the newsletter guru and the name of my business was No Hassle Newsletters. I’ve got some pretty good branding and then everything was a push. The first thing is to make sure your brand is good and it speaks to exactly what you do. It may need to be changed. One of my clients years ago had a twenty-year carpet cleaning business. The name of the company was Cleaning with Pride. I convinced him over a few months to change the name of the company because the first word that’s missing was carpet. It didn’t have carpet anywhere in there. It meant something to him and I appreciate cleaning with pride something he felt he did with every job, but no one’s searching pride to get clean carpets. Make sure your brand is right. That’s number one.
Number two and three go together. It’s consistency and persistency. You have to be a consistent marketer. Almost every day, you have to be pushing the same message. Whether you jump on Facebook Live. Whether you’re doing pushing out some memes or quotes or using LinkedIn or Twitter, it all has to be relevant to that brand. When I jump on Facebook Live, “It’s Captain Jim Palmer, The Dream Business Coach.” I sign off that way. Then I’ll give a nugget in the middle. You have to have that core message. It’s one of the ways to be able to create a dream business and to live your dream lifestyle. The first comes establishing financial freedom through a great growing business. Financial freedom ushers in time freedom, which is the ability to live life on your terms. Consistency and persistency are very important. What I find with a lot of entrepreneurs is they become bored with the same message. The time you’re going to go change it because you’re bored is the time your customers and prospects are beginning to understand who you are and what you offer.
For our audience, I encourage you to take action. What’s one thing you can do to reposition your brand or check in on your brand? It’s not about being well-established, it’s about being able to connect with your perfect ideal clients. How well are you doing that? Take an assessment and then follow Jim’s advice. Consistency, are you getting out there on a regular basis? With persistency, make sure that that core message is in front of people and delivered the same type of way in a consistent way. Jim, because you are a marketing expert, what are a couple of marketing strategies that you and/or your clients are using that you see that a lot of people could be leveraging more, but they’re under leveraging or are underutilizing them?
Facebook Live. I started doing videos in 2009 when the Kodak Flip Cam, it’s about the size of a cell phone. It had a little lens that flipped up. Suddenly you don’t need a $300 or $400 cam. For $99 you could be shooting great video. The iPhone is even more powerful than that. It can broadcast live. It’s so powerful. I hope this doesn’t sound terribly sexist, but I have a good friend of mine who probably introduced it and said, “I can’t do it on video like you Jim because I got a pretty myself up.” I’m not going to say names but women sometimes feel, “I’m not going to get on until I look appropriate.” For me, I’m ready to go. A lot of people are like, “What’s my message going to be? How do I do it? Do I have a teleprompter?” You know what you need to know, just share. Think of one person when you do it. Don’t think if there are ten people or 100 people or 1,000 people. Talk to that one person, which is your avatar, your perfect target customer. What can I do to serve that person with some value? Facebook Live is one. The other one is what you and I are doing and that is podcasting. People love to listen to podcasts in all different places and different ways. I’m both a guest on podcasts. I’ve had my own podcast for six years. Podcasting and Facebook are some pretty powerful things to do. It all comes down to which one of these platforms is going to drive people ultimately usually to a website or landing page or to your phone number or if you’re in a physical location that way. Then make sure that’s not at the point which the ball gets dropped.
There’s so much more that we could share. You’re getting a chance to get a glimpse at the wisdom that Jim has. You get a chance to see, go behind the curtain. I wish I had hours of time with you to pick your brain and share some of the nuances. If somebody wanted to go deeper with you, some of your strategies of how you can help them build a dream business and a dream lifestyle, how do they reach you? Where do they connect with you?
My home base is www.GetJimPalmer.com. There are links to my programs, my books, everything can emanate from there. If people are curious in a nonbusiness way, if they’re curious about how the hell do you live and work on a boat, our personal blogs is Our Floating Home. Stephanie writes most of it. The boat is called Our Floating Home. It’s www.OurFloatingHome.com. We tackle a lot of different things from how we get Internet and where we go. If somebody is curious about what living on the water is like 24/7, they can check us out there.
You brought up Stephanie a few times, your wife. You’ve been married how long?It's very liberating when you can just get over yourself. – Jim Palmer Click To Tweet
If you were going to turn to Stephanie and you were going to say thank you to her, what would you thank her for in the way that she’s shown up for you? As your partner, your spouse, probably your best friend to allow you to be you at your best?
This will sound silly or stupid or ignorant, but I would say, thank you for saying yes. She has said yes, not only to me, to our lifestyle. It was her idea to move on the boat, which I thought was pretty cool. It’s been 38 years. My parents have been married 65 years. I got to see them when we were in Florida. My dad said it much more eloquently than I can. I’m going to give you my dad’s advice when they moved into their retirement community. I said, “65 years, that’s great. What’s the key to a happy marriage?” I thought my dad might throw out a comical little something or other. He goes, “It’s two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.” I was like, “Dad, that’s pretty good. That should be on a Hallmark card or something.” That’s how the marriage can go the distance.
You have four kids.
Four kids and three grandkids.
Your kids are older now. With what you’ve been able to build and this lifestyle that you’ve been able to create, what is a couple of the values that you hope that your kids live with as they build their future and their future families?
Two. It’s the serve first model and I see that in all of my children. Even giving away kid’s clothes when you’re done having kids. Taking them to a shelter instead of selling them. One of the most important things is always doing the right thing. I heard this expression many years ago and I share it in different ways. You’re always playing to an audience of one. Even when you’re by yourself, you’re always playing to an audience of one so make sure you do the right thing always.
What were you known for in high school?
Not much. I was certainly not a popular kid. I was in a rock band. I had my small circle of friends. In eleventh and twelfth grade, I played the drums and had a big drum set. We got a lot of fun that way. Other than that, I got a job when I was fifteen so I wasn’t into anything. Plus, I moved around a lot. I moved to my eighth-grade year and I moved to my tenth-grade year. It wasn’t in the same town for a long time.
What’s something that most people don’t know about you?You will earn significantly more income for who you are. – Jim Palmer Click To Tweet
I come from a family of four kids. Stephanie comes from a family of four kids. We have four kids. I don’t know if that counts. I’m a pretty open book. After seventeen years of sharing and caring and espousing stuff, there’s not a lot of people don’t know about me.
What’s something I should have asked you that I didn’t?
What’s the number one thing people can do to earn what they’re worth?
Go for it.
First of all, is to realize that you will earn significantly more income for who you are than what you do. What you do is the deliverable. It’s not about the deliverable, whether you’re an accountant or an SEO guy or a strategist, a lawyer. Whatever you do, there are a thousand people who also do what you do. You all do the same thing. When you become the person, whether you become the newsletter guru, the dream business coach or whether you become a fill in the blank. When you anoint yourself, when you become the one with the steel spine and say, “This is who I am. This is why you want to work with me. This is my gift, my God-given skill and talent. This is why I’m going to help you and make your life better whatever that looks like.” It’s about who you are. When it comes down to it, people will be attracted to two things, hope and certainty. They’re looking for hope that there is an answer. When I had cancer, I needed to find the best melanoma surgeon there was. They want to be certain to the best of their ability that they’re with the right person. If you’re with ABC accounting and then there’s a guy that comes up with a name and says, “Small business accountant so and so,” which is a horrible branding. That’s how I found my guy.
I want to know who works with home-based businesses that knows QuickBooks. That’s my guy. This guy only works with customers who have QuickBooks, probably $1.5 million and below. Other accounting firms might go, “We help everybody. We got the big Fortune 500. We take our big resources.” That’s crap. You want to find a person who’s known the best for what it is you want to do. When I searched for my book editor, who’s the best editor that can help me with a business book? I didn’t say who’s a good book editor, who could write mysteries or not. I want to know who’s somebody that can help somebody with a good message and who can teach entrepreneurs. I said, “I need people to realize that I did pass sixth grade English, but I don’t write like that. Take my message and edit it in a way that makes me sound smart.” That’s how I started looking for somebody.
What are one to three action steps you hope that our audience will take from this podcast episode?
Realize that the clock is ticking. The sand is falling out of the hourglass, whatever metaphor you want to use. Waiting is not an option. You need to go now. Start where you are with what you have and start going in building your business. Number two would start serving other people. We’re not here to be purely selfish people. Everybody has a skill and a talent. If you’re a business owner and you nurture and grow that talent. Don’t wait for this magical time when it suddenly feels comfortable to start giving away. It’s got to be part of your everyday life. I believe if you do it and you’re a cheerful giver, you’re going to be getting more back to you. You’ll be blessed. Realize that no matter how much you suffer from the imposter syndrome, you’re an awesome person. You have amazing skill and talent and you got to let enough people know about why they should be working with you.
I want to encourage you to take action with what Jim has been sharing. Go check out what Jim’s up to www.GetJimPalmer.com. If you want to get a glimpse of behind the scenes of his life on the boat, you can do that at www.OurFloatingHome.com. Jim, it’s been awesome to have you with us.
Thanks for having me on.When it comes down to it, people will be attracted to two things: hope and certainty. – Jim Palmer Click To Tweet
Apply the idea. Don’t be a Weak-Knee Willy. Have a steel spine. Move through the imposter syndrome. Start locally and start than building your momentum. Serve one first before you focus on having a global impact. Start small and build it from there. Focus on building your brand on consistency and persistency. Get out there and do a Facebook Live. What’s one thing that you can do to spread your message? Don’t focus on you. Focus on the people that you’re impacting. Focus on that one person. The clock is ticking. Seize the day.
Jim Palmer is a marketing and business building expert and in-demand coach. He is the founder of the Dream Business Academy and Dream Business Coaching and Mastermind Program.
He is the host of Dream Business Coach TV, the hit weekly Web TV show watched by thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners, and he is also the host of Dream Business Radio, a weekly podcast based on Jim’s unique brand of Smart Marketing and Business Building Strategies. Jim is best known internationally as ‘The Dream Business Coach’ and creator of No Hassle Newsletters, the ultimate ‘done-for-you’ newsletter marketing program used by hundreds of clients in nine countries.
Jim is the acclaimed author of a dozen books, including: