I was recently in Los Angeles for Jeff Walker’s LaunchCon and I had the privilege of speaking with world-renowned performance coach and performing artist Victoria Labalme.

Victoria helps elite entrepreneurs, best-selling authors, top teams, and high-level executives communicate with confidence, authenticity, and impact.

She recently gave an amazing TED Talk that is getting a ton of attention, titled Risk Forward: the Rewards of Not Knowing. (Pssst, I highly recommend watching that TED Talk here).




One of Victoria’s key skills that makes her great is her ability to instantly connect with people. Being able to instantly connect means that people are more receptive and emotionally invested in your message.

It’s a skill that is incredibly useful for speeches, presentations, high-stakes meetings, video shoots, networking events, or any other situation where you are interacting with people and trying to get your message across.


So Victoria, you are great at connecting with people to build instant rapport on stage, for example, but how can we instantly connect in all contexts of communication?


Victoria: The first place I like to start is what I call “the through-line”.

The through-line is this line that runs through ALL that you are communicating.

The simplest way to think about it is like a verb. So, for example, if my through line is to show-off – I’m on video and I just want to show off

So, for example, if my through line is to show-off – I’m on video and I just want to show off or if I’m on stage and I want people to be impressed by me – it’s not going to be great.

So I always say the through-line should be in service of others. The first thing you want to think about is, “how can I help?” and when you do that, it changes everything.

“The first thing you want to think about is, “how can I help?” and when you do that, it changes everything.”


Stu: What would be another example of a good through-line?


Victoria: To share, to inspire, to engage.

I had a client who was working with a bunch of authors and he said, “I feel like I need to control them to get their stuff done,” and I said, “well, maybe there’s another way – to engage or collaborate.”

In sales sometimes people are like, “I need to kill it,” or, “I’ve got to conquer it,” instead of saying, “I want to help grow the audience.”

Whenever you’re nervous on camera or on stage or on a phone call or in front of your team, it’s because you’re thinking about yourself. “Am I enough? Am I saying ‘um’ too much?”

But the moment you focus on helping, all of the nervousness drops.




Stu: That was a huge mental breakthrough for me. So point number one is the through-line, what’s point number two?


Victoria: Another point that’s really helpful is what I call “K D FKnow, Do, Feel”.

What is it you want your audience to know? What’s the information?

What do you want them to do? What action do you want them to take?

And what do you want them to feel? Not just during that communication but afterward, too.


“Know, Do, Feel.”


Stu: Isn’t that an amazing framework? K D F. What else can people do to form a connection?


Victoria: Another point that’s awesome to remember is what I call “first and final”.

You never go to a movie, concert, etc. where it randomly starts and randomly ends. But a lot of people get on the phone and just start talking until they end up going, “well I guess I’m out of time. Thanks for having me.”

You want your first and your final to be really strong. It doesn’t have to be huge. You don’t have to come out singing and dancing.

Just think, what’s going to be the opening moment? Do I ask a question? Do I engage them?

And same with the ending. Just make sure that it’s crafted.


Stu: Sometimes a presentation can get hijacked with questions. What advice do you have there?


Victoria: People can hijack your Q & A. They want to pontificate, they want to make a point, they want to make you look stupid.

So I always say you want to have a final moment that goes after that. When it’s over say, “I’d like to leave you with a final thought,” or a final story, or a final image, or a final quote, so you control the ending.




Stu: If I’m giving a presentation and I have my teaching points and then I’ve got a story – and it’s a really funny story – where should I put that story in my presentation?


Victoria: You don’t want something like that too close to the front, because you haven’t earned the trust and the respect of the audience.

If you put it a little later, they’ll love you already, so you’ve proved your credibility, you’ve proved your knowledge, you’ve delivered value, they’re going to go with the joke, and then you can close with what you really want them to do.

So you’ve built rapport, and then you’ve got them laughing, and then you’ve got a slam-dunk because after a moment of humour, anything you say goes right to the heart.


Stu: Boom, there it is. The three ways to instantly connect with somebody.

  1. Your through-line.

  2. Know, do, feel.

  3. First and final.

Thank you for sharing your time and knowledge, Victoria!

Check out Victoria’s TED Talk at www.riskforward.com


Your turn: What techniques do you use to prepare for a presentation and instantly form a connection with your audience? Let me know in the comments below.





Let’s face it. You probably have a really big idea.

You want to start a big business. You want to change the world in a big way.

But how do you even begin to accomplish such big feats?

My proposal to you is to start small.

Here’s the bottom line. When you have a huge idea, it can feel tremendously overwhelming.

You don’t know where to start. When you don’t know where to start, you don’t create any momentum. When you don’t create any momentum, you’re standing still.

It can feel so daunting when the rest of the world seems like they’ve got it figured out. It feels like the world is passing you by and you don’t know what to do.

It can be frustrating.

Here’s the advantage I want to share with you.

When you’re trying to start something big, there’s actually an advantage to starting small.

Here are three examples:

Think about Facebook.

Facebook started really small. First, it was just an idea that Zuckerberg and a few of his friends put together. When they first released it, Facebook was only available for Harvard students.

Then did they go to the world? No!

They released it to institutions in the Boston area. Then they released it to Ivy League schools. Then they finally opened it up to everyone else.

But it first started as a tiny idea for Harvard.

When we look at Facebook and the behemoth it’s become, realize that it only began as a little project for Harvard students.




Think about Gary Vaynerchuk.

When he was young, Gary loved trading baseball cards.

Then he got into his family’s wine business. It was similar because he saw that people collected wine like they did trading cards. There was value there.

He studied wine and became obsessed.

He helped grow his family business and then he started small in terms of marketing and growing his business.

He started his online show. That picked up a ton of momentum. That was the one thing that he focused on.

From there, he leveraged that momentum to start VaynerMedia. He’s now got a sports agency and so much more, but it all started small.




Here’s one of my favorite stories.

Think about Dollar Shave Club.

I remember seeing the Dollar Shave Club video for the very first time in March 2012. Have you seen the Dollar Shave Club video? If you haven’t, go watch it on YouTube. It’s hilarious.

This was back in 2012. What did they start with? They started with one video and one product. ONE PRODUCT! They only delivered razors to your door.

One video. One product.

Guess what? They took off like a rocket. They were SUPER focused.

A few years later, they introduced a few more products. A few months ago, they sold for a billion dollars. BILLION with a B!

They started in 2011. They really started going public with their promotion in 2012. They recently sold their company for over a billion dollars in CASH to Unilever.

That was not even on the radar for them when they began. They started small and built momentum.




So what’s the takeaway for us?

There’s an advantage to starting small.

Reason number one to start small is that it’s easier.

When you start small, it’s easier to think about what you need to do to begin a project.

When you start big, that can feel daunting. It can feel overwhelming. You don’t know where to begin. You don’t know what to do.

Starting small is easier to break down. It’s easier to see what your next steps are.

Reason number two to start small is that it allows you to create momentum.

Momentum is your friend. People are drawn to momentum.

For example, I have big ambitions to help entrepreneurs all over the world. That’s the big idea.

But when I broke it down, I realized I could build the most momentum with the one thing I am really good at which is helping people launch and grow recurring revenue streams.

That’s where I have the most experience. For years and years, I’ve been helping tens of thousands of people with this.

Instead of trying to help ALL entrepreneurs, first I start with helping this smaller market I know I can dominate and really serve.

That creates a ton of momentum. That creates a lot of opportunity.

Reason number three to start small is that momentum creates opportunity.

Momentum creates opportunity that we can’t even see at the present moment. 

When you have momentum on your side, you start attracting all kinds of new opportunities.

This is happening right now in our business. We’re just getting started.

Things, projects and people that want to do business with us are coming out the woodwork that we wouldn’t have even imagined. It’s because we have momentum on our side.

Instead of trying to accomplish the big idea right out of the gates (and I am all for big ideas), I propose that you break it down.

What are the steps leading up to that big idea that you can focus on and dominate right now?

The key here is PATIENCE!

If we’re patient in the beginning, the momentum is actually going to make it easier for us to speed up the success that we want in our lives.

When we try to do the big idea first, it’s slow. It’s heavy. It’s like pushing a boulder up a hill.

What happens is that we get frustrated. We give up. We don’t do anything. We stand still.

And when we stand still, it feels like the rest of the world is passing us by.

If you start small, it’s easy to create momentum. With momentum comes opportunity.

Think back to the Dollar Shave Club. Think back to Mark Zuckerberg. Think back to Gary Vaynerchuk.

These are all good examples of people and companies starting small and then using their momentum to create new opportunity.

Your turn: What is your big idea? And what is the first small step you can take?

Coaches, thought leaders, and expert consultants…

How do you find clients and continue to attract new clients year after year?

I had a chance to speak with Charles Poliquin, aka Strength Sensei, aka the number one strength coach in the world.

He’s been at the very top of the game now for 38 years, coaching some of the most elite athletes on the planet in over 17 different sports.

His clients include Olympic gold medalists, Stanley Cup Champions and NFL superstars, to name a few.



Recently, Charles’s client Helen Maroulis made history by becoming the first American woman to win a gold medal in wrestling.

With such an impressive roster of clients and equally impressive results, I think the number one question all of us have for Charles is:

“How do you continue to attract world-class clients?”


Charles: The best way is to actually get results.

You may start small – you may have somebody win their local championships, provincial championships, state championships, etc.

But the key is to focus on the results. Most people focus too much on marketing but your best marketing is your results. People love to work with people who have a consistent reputation for producing results.


Stu: How do you go about helping your clients?


Charles: Well, the first thing you have to do is an evaluation. 

I’ve got a battery of tests I do and then I say, “Okay you’re good at this, terrible at this, pathetic at this” – I mean, I don’t mince words (laughs).

And what I do is I establish a plan.

For example, Helen is starting her training for the 2020 Olympic games. What she’s going to do the first year is not what she’s going to do the last year of Olympic preparations.



What I do is I lay a foundation, and the height of the pyramid is a function of the width of the base.

So the first two years are about building a big base. She’s going up a weight class so she’s got to put on 5 kilos of lean body mass, so that’s what we’ll focus on for the first two years.


Stu: So the key lesson here is that you need an easy way to assess the client.

And you were sharing with me earlier that sometimes clients come in with a perception of what they want, that isn’t what they should actually be working towards.


Charles: It’s very true. For example, Gary Roberts is a hockey player I rehabbed; he stayed in the league an extra 14 years beyond what he was supposed to.

When he came to see me his perception of what he needed was completely skewed. He thought that my plan for him would make him slower when in reality it made him faster and it went on to extend his career for many years.

A lot of it too, is, people don’t really know where they can go, and my job is telling them “you can do this.”

If you go on my website www.strengthsensei.com there’s an endorsement from Helen and she explains that I’m very strict about certain things.

I tell athletes, “you can fish for somebody every day, or you can teach them how to fish.”

My approach is to teach the athletes ‘how to fish’ so they are independent and they can rely on themselves.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So we’re very structured in what we do.


Stu: So there you have it. The number one way to attract clients is to get results. Have an assessement and a clear plan for your clients, and get at it.

Any last words Charles?


Charles: Thank you for listening, and I hope to see you on my website www.strengthsensei.com.


Your turn:

How do you attract new clients to your business? Let me know in the comments below.



I need to rant about something…

We live in the greatest time in history for having access to tools and information.

It’s astonishing how many incredible tools and services are available to us right at our fingertips, many of which are completely FREE.

Yet instead of being grateful, many people have become totally selfish and entitled…

Which is why I believe that FREE IS BAD FOR BUSINESS!

Let’s look at the example of Evernote, a software company with over 100 million users.

I’m a big fan of Evernote and I use it every single day.

How about you? Do you use Evernote? Let me know in the comments at the bottom of this post.

So a few months ago Evernote made an announcement and people were FURIOUS about it.

Evernote announced that they were changing their pricing model (and in a very nominal way, I must add).

They announced that their Basic plan, which traditionally was free, would remain free…

However, users on the Basic plan would now only be able to sync their Evernote account to TWO devices at a time.


Seriously, people lost their minds.

For context, the upgraded plan costs less than 4 bucks a month, and Evernote’s most expensive plan is less than 8 bucks a month.

Now, normal, everyday users getting upset is one thing; for every change that a big company announces, there will always be naysayers.

But the fact that many of the people who were upset were business owners themselves, absolutely blows my mind.

How do you think Evernote affords to serve over 100 million people? Many of whom are using the service for FREE.

They’ve got to generate revenue from SOMEWHERE!

So the issue here isn’t that Evernote switched their pricing model, which they had every right to do.

The issue here is ENTITLEMENT.

Why do we think we should get everything for free?

Who does that really serve?

Here’s what I really think, and I would love your thoughts on this.




Free is bad for business. And there are three reasons why:


1) Support.

If you are offering a widely used product or service, you need to dedicate a lot of time and resources to supporting your user base.

I learned this in a big way while running my software company WishList member.

We had tens of thousands of customers. It took a TONNE of support.

Offering great support to all of your customers isn’t cheap and it isn’t easy, but it’s definitely necessary.


2) Development.

If people are using a company’s product, it’s in their best interest that the company continues to invest in developing and improving that product.

This ensures a great user experience over a long period of time, and lets the product adapt to the changing demands of the market.

This type of ongoing development is a huge financial investment.

If a company is giving the product away for free, where does this money come from?


3) Focus.

If you’re giving your product away for free and you are funding the support and development of that product, both of which are essential, the money still has to come from somewhere.

So you would need to invest your time and energy pursuing funding or other monetization methods, both of which distract you from your main objective of supporting your customers and developing the product to fit their needs.


So yeah, free is bad for business.

Every business needs to generate revenue, and if that money isn’t coming from the product itself, it must be sourced from somewhere else.

And like I said, that takes the focus away from the product itself, which is bad for both the business and the end user.

If you are a business owner, I want you to remember this.

The big lesson that all of us should take from this is:






If you don’t want whiny customers, don’t be a whiny customer.

If you want to attract high-quality customers, be a high-quality customer.

It is crazy the hypocrisy displayed by some business owners…

People who sell coaching but have never hired a coach.

Or they sell courses but would never buy one. Or they sell memberships but would never join one.

You get it.


When you have this mentality, it changes a lot of things.

At the end of the day, I am happy to pay Evernote for their highest priced plan. Because I use Evernote every single day.

For me, the value of Evernote far exceeds what I’m paying.

And I want to pay them to support their business because I hope the product they are offering will be around for years and years to come.

And that’s what I hope my customers think, too.

I hope that if my customers like what I provide and want to see more of it in the future, they will continue to invest to support the development of what I’m offering so that I can continue to serve them for years to come.

Those are the kind of customers I want to serve, so that’s the kind of customer I choose to be.

When a business is paid for their product directly, they can focus all of their energies on supporting and developing their product, to continue serving their customers.

In this scenario, everybody wins.